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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
1. Describe the problem you are having in detail:
Sudden loss of power and lots of white smoke even at idle. Obvious miss on at least one cylinder when warm, runs smoother when cold. Oil level was at full yesterday and is overfull now. Oil is not milky, coolant doesn't appear to have oil in it.

The more complete story is I've had this truck since it was new (well, originally it was my dad's truck, and now it's mine). The only issue it's ever had was the IP PMD failed and the whole pump was replaced under warranty. The PMD failed again after the warranty was up, and my dad bought a kit to remote mount the PMD behind the bumper. I don't use the truck a lot, only when I need a truck for something (maybe 2 to 4 times a month now - some months more, some months less, but very little use). Only issue I've noticed lately was the temp gauge would stay quite low, and never come up to proper temperature, so I figured the thermostat must've been stuck open. I always kept an eye on the gauge and it was always staying low - just a little off the bottom of the gauge. I've been meaning to fix it, but because it isn't used much, hadn't gotten around to it yet. So yesterday my neighbor comes and asks me if he can borrow my truck to pick up some large stuff from work. Sure, whatever, let me just check the oil to make sure it isn't low (I hadn't checked it in a few weeks, wanted to check it before someone else is borrowing it). Hmm, the oil level was at full, and I would've expected it to be down at least a little. Possibly the first clue

So he uses it today, and when he brings it back, big issue. Temp gauge is up close to 100C, coolant has obviously come out of the overflow of the coolant bottle. When I cranked it, one of the cylinders definitely cranked harder than the rest, but it started. It's blowing white smoke, missing on at least one cylinder, and has very little power. Smoke smells to me like raw diesel. Oil level is now substantially higher than it was yesterday (fuel in the oil??) Let it sit in his driveway for a few hours, and went back to restart it and drive it back to my driveway. Before attempting to start it again, I wanted to remove the coolant cap to check for exhaust coming out of the coolant bottle, but the cap wouldn't open (maybe it was still too warm even though it was a lot cooler than it was earlier). Again, one cylinder took more effort to crank than the others, but it started and ran, but rather poorly and rough, and still plenty of white smoke. Pulled it into my driveway, and it was running better, smooth, not missing, almost normal, little to no smoke. Shut it off, and restarted it within a minute - normal crank (no extra effort on any cylinder), running pretty smooth. Pulled dip stick, no blow-by. Then after a minute or so, it got rough again and the smoke came back. Shut it off after that and haven't done anything further.

Is it an injector that failed and is just dumping fuel into one of the cylinders? The injectors are original and have never been changed. How to check for that vs something worse? Just check coolant bottle for pressure right after starting wen cold? What are my next steps?

2. Year of truck/engine. 1995
3. Odometer reading (indicate miles or kilometers). 253,000 km
4. Indicate the model number on the Injection pump (starts DS4 or DB2......).
5. Indicate if you know if it’s a 1500, 2500, 2500HD, 3500, 3500HD. 1500
6. Do you have an EGR on the engine? (An F or an S engine code 8th VIN digit) yes, but the egr valve has been disconnected for years
7. Air Filter condition (visual check). Checked within the last couple of months - Fine
8. Fuel filter condition (freshly changed, mileage since changed). - Hasn't been changed in who knows how long, but no issues with power previously
9. Location of PMD/FSD? (ex. on pump/remote over intake, behind bumper). Behind bumper
9a. If remote mounted, describe wiring harness (homemade or purchased from which vendor). Purchased from vendor
9b. Indicate the location and condition of the FSD/IP grounding wire. ?
10. Outside Temperature (C or F). It was low 80's °F today

11. Service Engine Light while running?- on/off/intermittent (because of disconnected EGR)
11a. Service Engine light does glow during start/cranking/bulb check: Yes/No
12.Have you scanned for engine codes? Yes/No
12a. List exact results on engine codes.

13. Condition of Battery terminals (removed, cleaned and tightened). Not recently
14. Known condition and age of Batteries. New 2 or 3 years ago
14a. Are batteries a matched set of same age? Yes
15. Condition of Major Grounds (removed, cleaned and tightened) Not recently
15a Have the batteries been individually load tested? No

16. Does engine crank, or "turn over"? Yes
16a. Does engine start and run? Yes - varies from running poorly to well
17. If engine does not start- Crack injector line: do you have fuel? Yes/No Engine starts
18. Does your Wait To Start light come on? Glow Plug light? Yes
18a.Number of seconds WTS light is lit. Probably 10 or so seconds - seems the same as it's always been
19. Engine Cranking speed (if you have an accurate tachometer). ?

20. Are you experiencing Stalling? No, but if I ran it longer, maybe?
20a. Describe the event (upon startup only, down the road, hit a bump, etc...) Pretty well described above
20b. Do you notice loss of dash or instruments? No
21. Check turbo inlet and air filter for obstructions. Naturally Aspirated - no turbo
22. In a no-hot start, pour a bottle of room-temp water on the injection pump. Does it start now? Issue isn't hot start / cold start related
23. Lift pump test - Describe results. Not done

24. Upon cold start, does the radiator hose get hard quickly? Yes (presumably from stuck open thermostat)
25. Upon cold start, do you have excessive white smoke? Yes
26. Do you have excessive cranking time before the engine starts? No
27. Have you used the block heater? Does it affect engine starting? (only try for starting problems).
28. Are all glow plugs in proper working order? Unsure - doesn't seem in any way related to glow plugs

29. During hard acceleration, do you have excessive black smoke? No
30. Do you have any unusual exhaust smoke issues? Yes, excessive white smoke
31. Turbo check out - No Turbo - Naturally Aspirated
32. Indicate fuel that you are using: #2 Diesel (pretty sure it has some bio diesel in it - whatever's at the pump labeled #2 Diesel)
33. Are you using any fuel additives? If so, please list. Stanadyne additive used in the past, but not recently
34. Upon unscrewing fuel cap, do you have a large vacuum formed in the tank? Yes
35. Do you have any service history available that might pertain to the problem you are having? If so, it's above
36. Please indicate any modifications to the vehicle that might help us diagnose better. Basically as stock as it gets - PMD mounted behind the bumper is the only modification since new
 

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Welcome to DieselPlace

If your engine is making oil and you have white smoke you might have a head gasket issue or worse yet, a cracked piston.

Pull your oil dipstick and place a few drops of oil on a paper towel and wait. If diesel fuel is present in the oil , the Diesel will separate from the oil and create a halo around the oil drops on the paper towel. The oil should also smell like diesel fuel.
 

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Also the Radiator hose getting hard right after start up. Points to a bad head gasket. Hopefully no cracks.
The hose gets hard from combustion gasses under pressure entering the cooling system. Not stuck thermostat.
You should do a compression test to confirm.
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I did the oil blot on paper towel test - it looks to me like there's definitely a halo around the oil spot after a few seconds - not as evident in the picture as it is in real life, but the center of the spot is black, and there's a lighter ring around it.
Green Rectangle Wood Font Pattern


I took the radiator cap off, and started the engine - there's no pressure there at all when I put my hand over the opening, but with the cap on, the radiator hose gets hard in the first 20 to 30 seconds, and if I release the cap there's pressure there. I checked the oil fill and dipstick pipes too - no pressure there either that I can feel, but then again I couldn't feel the pressure at the coolant cap either, so that might not be reliable.

Today it's running perfectly - no misses, no smoke, no nothing, but I didn't let it warm up much either.

I don't know if this helps at all, but videos:
So the glow plug light usually stays on much longer, but I forgot to press record, so that was a very quick shutdown and restart which is why the glowplug light is only on for a couple seconds.
The radiator hose is soft in the picture, but the cap is open - I realized that to test that I needed to have the cap closed. As I said, with the cap closed, the hose gets hard within 20 to 30 seconds, and releasing the cap releases pressure.

After about a minute, steam from the coolant bottle.

I also realize now that what looked like coolant from the outside of the bottle is actually some kind of gunk on the inside of the bottle - probably combustion products mixed with coolant :(

So, seeing as it runs fine when it's cold, and the radiator hose is getting hard, is that enough to call head gaskets? Would doing a compression test yield more useful info?
 

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I did the oil blot on paper towel test - it looks to me like there's definitely a halo around the oil spot after a few seconds - not as evident in the picture as it is in real life, but the center of the spot is black, and there's a lighter ring around it.
View attachment 652805

I took the radiator cap off, and started the engine - there's no pressure there at all when I put my hand over the opening, but with the cap on, the radiator hose gets hard in the first 20 to 30 seconds, and if I release the cap there's pressure there. I checked the oil fill and dipstick pipes too - no pressure there either that I can feel, but then again I couldn't feel the pressure at the coolant cap either, so that might not be reliable.

Today it's running perfectly - no misses, no smoke, no nothing, but I didn't let it warm up much either.

I don't know if this helps at all, but videos:
So the glow plug light usually stays on much longer, but I forgot to press record, so that was a very quick shutdown and restart which is why the glowplug light is only on for a couple seconds.
The radiator hose is soft in the picture, but the cap is open - I realized that to test that I needed to have the cap closed. As I said, with the cap closed, the hose gets hard within 20 to 30 seconds, and releasing the cap releases pressure.

After about a minute, steam from the coolant bottle.

I also realize now that what looked like coolant from the outside of the bottle is actually some kind of gunk on the inside of the bottle - probably combustion products mixed with coolant :(

So, seeing as it runs fine when it's cold, and the radiator hose is getting hard, is that enough to call head gaskets? Would doing a compression test yield more useful info?
I would lean towards the head gasket issue. There is definite fuel in the oil from the pic posted.
Once you get the heads off you'll be able to see if there is any piston damage allowing fuel to pass
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I would lean towards the head gasket issue. There is definite fuel in the oil from the pic posted.
Once you get the heads off you'll be able to see if there is any piston damage allowing fuel to pass
The thing that's confusing to me is what is with it not coming up to operating temperature previously? I noticed the issue last year when I took it out for a warmup before doing an oil change, and it just wouldn't come up to temperature, yet when I changed the oil, it seemed pretty hot to me. Ever since then I've kept an eagle eye on the temperature gauge, as I knew something was screwy, but it always stayed at or just above 70C (the bottom of the gauge). Does not coming up to temperature mean anything other than thermostat is stuck open? Was that a precursor to this failure? I'm trying to figure out how much blame to put on myself for not addressing that issue sooner.
 
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