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Old 11-24-2019, 06:36 PM   #1
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T444E start weirdness

OK!
So I tried starting her up today with temperatures in the mid 40s. Engine would turn but no start, then a little bit of smoke from the pipe. Black at first, then some white.

I tried about three or four times with no success. Each time I waited for the light for the glow plug to go off before starting. The light says "Wait to start".

Then I got a circuit tester and my wife sat behind the wheel while I poked at the glowplug solenoid.

Video below shows results of the poking.

This time I waited until the light on the circuit tester went off, not the dash light. Unfortunately, I somehow stopped recording without knowing and missed the engine actually starting.

To be clear regarding when/how the engine started: I connected the circuit tester to ground, and poked the terminal that turns on to ignite the glow plug. That's the last one I am touching to in the video. The tester light stayed on way past the dash "wait to start" light.
When the tester light finally turned off, after maybe 20 seconds, I told my wife to start the engine.
This time the engine started-a little rough at first, but then smoothed out. No white smoke, just a puff of black at first, then no smoke.




So what do y'all think? Seems like I'm getting the glow plug light in the dash turning off prematurely.


Also: engine is idling fine, then after about 5 or ten minutes, slowly raises RPMs to 1,400 and stays there. If I tap the accelerator or brake, RPMs go back down to normal. This seems to happen about 4 times, then won't do it again.





Here are a couple of pictures of the solenoid:
IMG_1019.jpg

IMG_1020.jpg




Here's the video showing me poking the solenoid:
https://youtu.be/4qf4abiXmCU




Is there a way to put in a manual glow plug on/off switch? Any advice?


Thank you!!!
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Old 11-24-2019, 06:46 PM   #2
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some of your glowplugs are bad im guessing... that engine doesnt sound like its running on all 8 cylinders... im guessing after it runs for a couple minutes it smooths out and runs fine...



sometimes the connectors on those harnesses going into the valve covers get messed up.. oil in the contacts or cooroded.. the end pins are the glowplug wires.. you should have resistance between ground and the 2 pins on each end of that valve cover connector...



unplug it and measure with a digital meter on Ohms. from the pin going into the engine to ground.. it should be like .5 or .6 ohms.. if its up in the 100s or in K ohms or just open, that plug is bad.. each pin is one glowplug. so 2 end pins on each end of the connector are those cylinders on that side..


manual switch if forgotten and left on will likely ruin the glowplugs... they would probably over-heat and swell and you'd never get them out of the head to replace them after they burnt up..



the ECM uses coolant temp and outside air temp as its means for timing the dash light.. the computer leaves the glowplugs on for i think its 60 or 90 seconds past that...



-Christopher
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Old 11-24-2019, 06:50 PM   #3
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the RPM raise is the CAP system operating.. its normal... its intention is to maintain a coolant temp of near 165-170 degrees... the engine will slow down as it gets close to that mark.. you can also manually set your idle speed using the Cruise control switches on the dash.



by turning cruise to 'ON' and then pressing or holding the resume/Accel you can raise the RPM up... you can lower it by pressing to the Set / coast side of the button..



Brake pedal or trans engagement cancels any auto or manual idle adjustments..
-Christopher
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Old 11-25-2019, 10:46 AM   #4
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So if I keep starting it like that it can damage the engine, I imagine.


I have to get the bus to the mechanic in town to get those things looked at. Working on this in this cold weather is not an option. I'm also pretty much done with mechanical stuff. I'm looking forward to building up the inside etc., but when it comes to all the mechanical stuff in the engine/tranny, no thanks. I'll leave that to those who have the skills, tools, and a place to work in.



Thinking of somehow encasing the engine area in plastic painter's tarp and putting a heat lamp on the ground so it can heat up during the night and I can start the bus in the morning. Hopefully that will work.
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Old 11-25-2019, 11:26 AM   #5
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Most all of the T-444E's were built with engine bloick heaters factory installed even if the cord was never connected..if you crawl underneath. and look at the bottom left side where the oil filter is.. there is a long cylinder that runs from front to back on the lower left side of the engne, thats ther oil cooler.. right behind the oil cooler you may find a round fitting with 2 metal pins inside of it... if thats the case.. then your engine has a block heater, order the cord.. clean the dirt out of that fitting without bending the pins.. screw on the cord and plug it in...



-Christopher
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Old 11-25-2019, 11:28 AM   #6
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Does the engine have a block heater? Look around for a random plug hanging. if it has one plug it in and leave it sit for a few hours. That really helps my truck start which is down a few glow plugs. If it doesn't have one, I believe you can install one easily.

Edit: beat me to it cadillackid!
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Old 11-25-2019, 12:05 PM   #7
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I'm gonna check on that when I get home later! This was a Scottsdale, AZ bus, so no freezing temperatures there, but hopefully it does have the block heater!


Thank you!




In the meantime, I'm gonna see if I can find a picture of that heater to help me find it!
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Old 11-25-2019, 01:10 PM   #8
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Mine has the T444 and also has a block heater - my plug for it is in the front bumper. The wiring for the glow plugs I believe is under the valve covers (as is the injectors) and the wiring harness for these is a fairly common failure, to the point that replacing the valve cover gasket and associated wiring harness is a fairly standard part of replacing the injectors or glow plugs.
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Old 11-25-2019, 04:20 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad_SwiftFur View Post
Mine has the T444 and also has a block heater - my plug for it is in the front bumper. The wiring for the glow plugs I believe is under the valve covers (as is the injectors) and the wiring harness for these is a fairly common failure, to the point that replacing the valve cover gasket and associated wiring harness is a fairly standard part of replacing the injectors or glow plugs.



I'll take a look and see if I can find a glow plug, otherwise, I'll have to install one.

Thanks!
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Old 11-25-2019, 06:26 PM   #10
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If the Ford version is just like the International version, there should be 2 electrical connectors on each valve cover on the "valley" side. Each connector is for two cylinders. The outer pins of each connector will be the glow plugs, the other 3 pins in the middle will be for the injectors. Connect your test light to the power and touch each glow plug pin. If the test light does not light up, the glow plug or the internal is bad. Don't forget to check if your test light is working before hand by touching a known ground. If there is any signs of melting, damage, or oil contamination, replace the connectors on the harness end and valve cover gasket. If any pins come up as bad you might as well put a new set of glow plugs and valve cover gasket on and not have to worry about another problem there.

You can also check the wiring from the glow plug relay to the valve covers by switching your test light to ground and gently touching the outer pins of each connector while cycling the key while cold. No light means bad wire, unless they're all "bad" then you may have a bad glow plug relay instead.
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Old 11-25-2019, 07:15 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Truthseeker4449 View Post
If the Ford version is just like the International version, there should be 2 electrical connectors on each valve cover on the "valley" side. Each connector is for two cylinders. The outer pins of each connector will be the glow plugs, the other 3 pins in the middle will be for the injectors. Connect your test light to the power and touch each glow plug pin. If the test light does not light up, the glow plug or the internal is bad. Don't forget to check if your test light is working before hand by touching a known ground. If there is any signs of melting, damage, or oil contamination, replace the connectors on the harness end and valve cover gasket. If any pins come up as bad you might as well put a new set of glow plugs and valve cover gasket on and not have to worry about another problem there.

You can also check the wiring from the glow plug relay to the valve covers by switching your test light to ground and gently touching the outer pins of each connector while cycling the key while cold. No light means bad wire, unless they're all "bad" then you may have a bad glow plug relay instead.

Thanks!

Is there a picture or diagram of this? Can't exactly picture it, and worried about touching a tester connected to power to the wrong thing.


Is removing and replacing/gasket adding of the valve covers an easy job on these engines? Just some bolts? Or is there more to worry about?
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Old 11-25-2019, 09:46 PM   #12
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I did some digging for you and it turns out I may be wrong about the connectors somewhat, apparently later Powerstrokes used a different connector.

This is the style I was describing, which my 97 pickup uses


This is the later Ford style using a single connector for each bank, the big pins at the ends of the connector tells me the glowplugs are still the 4 outer most pins. It appears Navistar also used this version so it is most likely the one you have.


7.3L Power Stroke Glow Plug Replacement Guide
Here is a decent guide on how to replace glow plugs on a Ford, it's a pretty easy operation if the plugs want to come out. I've heard some horror stories about them not wanting to, but mine came out without a problem on mine that had 260k at the time.


And a wiring diagram, this mostly showing the older version, but does confirm my theory about the later connector.
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Old 11-26-2019, 12:36 AM   #13
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Awesome!
Thank you!
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Old 12-01-2019, 07:33 PM   #14
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I've got a few videos about 7.3s, mind you it's powerstrokes but it's mostly the same engine.


First though, plug in your block heater, wait 2-4 hours and try to start.
DO NOT USE STARTING FLUID OF ANY KIND, great way to ruin these engines.
If you still need help hit me up, I'd be happy to help any way I can.
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Old 12-01-2019, 07:35 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PatrickBaptist View Post
I've got a few videos about 7.3s, mind you it's powerstrokes but it's mostly the same engine.


First though, plug in your block heater, wait 2-4 hours and try to start.
DO NOT USE STARTING FLUID OF ANY KIND, great way to ruin these engines.
If you still need help hit me up, I'd be happy to help any way I can.




Does it smoke when cranking (white looking)? If no smoke at all then you got no fuel being injected.
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Old 12-01-2019, 08:28 PM   #16
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Thank you!

Yes, some white smoke came out.



I still have to check to see if it has a block heater. Got back late last night from Thanksgiving getaway with wife to a foot + of snow, and it was 16 degrees. Too damned tired today to check anything.


Thanks for the tip on the starter fluid!


I'm not cranking that baby up again until I either find and connect the block heater or install one!
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Old 12-01-2019, 08:57 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
Most all of the T-444E's were built with engine bloick heaters factory installed even if the cord was never connected..if you crawl underneath. and look at the bottom left side where the oil filter is.. there is a long cylinder that runs from front to back on the lower left side of the engne, thats ther oil cooler.. right behind the oil cooler you may find a round fitting with 2 metal pins inside of it... if thats the case.. then your engine has a block heater, order the cord.. clean the dirt out of that fitting without bending the pins.. screw on the cord and plug it in...



-Christopher
Is there a chance my bus has a block heater? I didn't realize that was possible without the cord thing. My bus came from Buffalo and even had a See II air foil, but I've always been curious why it didn't have a block heater already.
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Old 12-07-2019, 10:33 PM   #18
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This might sound a little weird, but try changing the oil. Unless you did it yourself or had a reputable diesel mechanic do it for you who knows whats in there. T444 and power strokes are famous for not wanting to run on dirty, low, or incorrect oils. This is especially true in cold weather. The description you gave is exactly what they will do. I had the same happen to my power stroke and this was the advice I was given by an International mechanic over the phone. I thought he was F-N with me but I tried it and it resolved completely after the first start. It certainly wont hurt anything and it is much cheaper than going to a mechanic.
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Old 12-08-2019, 12:35 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AZHippie View Post
This might sound a little weird, but try changing the oil. Unless you did it yourself or had a reputable diesel mechanic do it for you who knows whats in there. T444 and power strokes are famous for not wanting to run on dirty, low, or incorrect oils. This is especially true in cold weather. The description you gave is exactly what they will do. I had the same happen to my power stroke and this was the advice I was given by an International mechanic over the phone. I thought he was F-N with me but I tried it and it resolved completely after the first start. It certainly wont hurt anything and it is much cheaper than going to a mechanic.
"T444 and power strokes are famous for not wanting to run on dirty, low, or incorrect oils" Amen.
One really good thing about them, you aren't going to run them slap out of oil and seize the engine, once the oil gets too low there isn't enough for the HPOP to drive the injectificators.
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Old 12-10-2019, 09:17 AM   #20
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Use of a 5w40 in colder weather is also a big help to any heui engine.

I've seen on some vehicles where the actual block heater was a standard part, the only optional part was the cord for it. You can order the cord seperately if you do find yourself in that position. This was on duramax pickup trucks.
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