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1995 K3500, 6.5TD, Vin F, Ex-Ambulance
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
1. Describe the problem you are having in detail:

Long crank when the engine is cold (been sitting for 4+ hours). It takes between 5-15 seconds of cranking to fire, and sometimes it sounds like it’s fired but then dies when the starter disengages. There’s lots of white smoke during the time it’s “trying” to start, but none during the initial crank, and none once it starts idling. It doesn’t seem to be ambient temp related, as I’ve had it fire off quickly when it’s freezing, and take multiple long cranks when it’s warm, and everything in between.

I’ve been slowly working on this problem for months, and getting no closer to fixing it. Honestly with the new starter and battery cables it seems to take longer to fire than it used to, but maybe it just feels that way because of how fast it’s cranking. But it started as a longer crank, and the dying after catching is new, and concerning.


2. Year of truck/engine.
1995
3. Odometer reading (indicate miles or kilometers).
102XXX miles
4. Indicate the model number on the Injection pump (starts DS4 or DB2......).
DS4
5. Indicate if you know if it’s a 1500, 2500, 2500HD, 3500, 3500HD.
3500
6. Do you have an EGR on the engine? (An F or an S engine code 8th VIN digit)
F vin, no EGR
7. Air Filter condition (visual check).
Brand new, clean
8. Fuel filter condition (freshly changed, mileage since changed).
Freshly changed, 100 miles
9. Location of PMD/FSD? (ex. on pump/remote over intake, behind bumper).
Remote behind bumper
9a. If remote mounted, describe wiring harness (homemade or purchased from which vendor).
Leroy diesel PMD relocation kit
9b. Indicate the location and condition of the FSD/IP grounding wire.
Stock location, cleaned and in good shape.
10. Outside Temperature (C or F). All temps, 28°F-100°F

11. Service Engine Light while running?- on/off/intermittent
No
11a. Service Engine light does glow during start/cranking/bulb check:
Yes
12.Have you scanned for engine codes? Yes
12a. List exact results on engine codes.
None

13. Condition of Battery terminals (removed, cleaned and tightened).
Clean and tight, new batteries and cables
14. Known condition and age of Batteries.
5 months old, basically new.
14a. Are batteries a matched set of same age?
Yes, purchased together
15. Condition of Major Grounds (removed, cleaned and tightened)
Yes, cleaned and tight.
15a Have the batteries been individually load tested?
No, but I’ve had this problem since before buying these batteries. Crank speed seems to be more than sufficient.

16. Does engine crank, or "turn over"?
Yes
16a. Does engine start and run?
Yes
17. If engine does not start- Crack injector line: do you have fuel?
Yes
18. Does your Wait To Start light come on?
Yes
18a.Number of seconds WTS light is lit.
Varies depending on ambient temp, up to 25 or so seconds if it’s very cold
19. Engine Cranking speed (if you have an accurate tachometer).
According to my scanner it’s 250 rpm

20. Are you experiencing Stalling?
No
20a. Describe the event (upon startup only, down the road, hit a bump, etc...)
During cold cranking
20b. Do you notice loss of dash or instruments?
No
21. Check turbo inlet and air filter for obstructions.
None
22. In a no-hot start, pour a bottle of room-temp water on the injection pump. Does it start now?
N/A
23. Lift pump test - Describe results.
Lift pump is strong, fuel pressure gauge read 6 psi at idle @ injection pump inlet. Truck continues to run with t-valve open.

24. Upon cold start, does the radiator hose get hard quickly?
No
25. Upon cold start, do you have excessive white smoke?
Yes
26. Do you have excessive cranking time before the engine starts?
Yes, when cold
27. Have you used the block heater? Does it affect engine starting? (only try for starting problems).
No change
28. Are all glow plugs in proper working order?
Yes, new 60G’s and a ptwiring glow plug harness. All glows are tested and functional.

29. During hard acceleration, do you have excessive black smoke?
No
30. Do you have any unusual exhaust smoke issues?
No
31. Turbo check out - Pass/Fail
TBD
32. Indicate fuel that you are using: Bio-Diesel, #2 Diesel, SVO/WVO, other
#2 diesel
32a. If running Veggie Oil fuel setup, indicate details of your conversion (homemade or packaged system).
N/A
33. Are you using any fuel additives? If so, please list.
No
34. Upon unscrewing fuel cap, do you have a large vacuum formed in the tank? Yes/No
Yes, fuel cap is left partially unscrewed to prevent this
35. Do you have any service history available that might pertain to the problem you are having?
No
36. Please indicate any modifications to the vehicle that might help us diagnose better.

  • New Powermaster 9052 gear reduction starter
  • 00 gauge wires from batteries to grounds, between batteries, and to starter
  • New fuel filter manager (old one was leaking)
  • Leroy diesel lift pump wiring harness(wts prime)
  • New injectors (quadstar tuning, with injector install kit)
  • New lift pump (old one was weak)
  • New fuel tank and sending unit (old one was clogging, tank was delaminating)
  • Tank sock delete
  • In-line fuel strainer pre-lift pump
  • Clear fuel line for injection pump return line to watch for bubbles coming from injection pump (none visible)
  • Fuel pressure gauge Tee’d in between fuel filter manager and injection pump (6 psi during crank and idle, slowly drops to 0 under prolonged WOT)
 

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Your DS4 IP may have an Optical Sensor filter attached to the harness. The Filter is known for causing performance issues.
( If equipped ) Try removing your filter from the OS harness and see if the condition improves.

The filter on the harness will look like this: Sputtering 6.5
 

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1995 K3500, 6.5TD, Vin F, Ex-Ambulance
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I did a few tests today:

1) cold cranked with the optical sensor unplugged. It never started and sounded terrible.

2) cranked it immediately after with both the crank sensor and optical sensor plugged in, but with the filter removed. It fired right off.

3) cranked it with the optical sensor plugged in and the crank sensor unplugged. It didn’t even try to fire, it just spun. My scanner didn’t display any rpm.

4) cranked it again with the crank sensor plugged in, and the optical sensor unplugged. It fired up pretty quick and the idle surged up and down a bit.

I’ll try again in the morning with both sensors plugged in, but no filter.
 

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I did a few tests today:

1) cold cranked with the optical sensor unplugged. It never started and sounded terrible.

2) cranked it immediately after with both the crank sensor and optical sensor plugged in, but with the filter removed. It fired right off.

3) cranked it with the optical sensor plugged in and the crank sensor unplugged. It didn’t even try to fire, it just spun. My scanner didn’t display any rpm.

4) cranked it again with the crank sensor plugged in, and the optical sensor unplugged. It fired up pretty quick and the idle surged up and down a bit.

I’ll try again in the morning with both sensors plugged in, but no filter.
It should crank ( with some extended cranking) and start with either the Crank sensor or Optical sensor unplugged.
It shouldn't start with both unplugged.

The ECM relies on both the Crank sensor and Optical sensor for timing verification. Remove both = no start

Removing the filter from the harness should show some improvement
 

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1995 K3500, 6.5TD, Vin F, Ex-Ambulance
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It should crank ( with some extended cranking) and start with either the Crank sensor or Optical sensor unplugged.
It shouldn't start with both unplugged.

The ECM relies on both the Crank sensor and Optical sensor for timing verification. Remove both = no start

Removing the filter from the harness should show some improvement
That’s what I thought. So if it won’t fire with the crank sensor unplugged then there’s likely something wrong with the optical sensor? Or the wiring?
 

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That’s what I thought. So if it won’t fire with the crank sensor unplugged then there’s likely something wrong with the optical sensor? Or the wiring?
Try removing that filter on the OS harness and see what it does...
That filter causes lots of issues
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Here's a video of the cold crank with the Optical Sensor Filter removed. It had been sitting for about 20 hours at an ambient temp of around 34° F. That's a really good start for it, and there was minimal smoke, but I'll need to finish reassembling my upper intake plenum and air filter to go on some drives with it.

"
"
 

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1995 K3500, 6.5TD, Vin F, Ex-Ambulance
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Well I finished putting the intake plenum, cdr, and air cleaner back together after swapping out my injectors. I started it up and took the video below. Sorry that it's out of focus and that my phone fell over during the video, but I posted it anyways because it shows the issue. It was about 50° F out, and the glow plugs were on for 10 seconds.



I let it sit for about 3 hours, at an ambient temp that dropped into the low 40's, and took this startup video. Glows were on for about 10 seconds as well.


The idle in the first video sounds off, so I'm wondering if it's a timing issue? At this point I'm highly considering taking it to a local diesel shop and seeing what they can find.
 

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Well I finished putting the intake plenum, cdr, and air cleaner back together after swapping out my injectors. I started it up and took the video below. Sorry that it's out of focus and that my phone fell over during the video, but I posted it anyways because it shows the issue. It was about 50° F out, and the glow plugs were on for 10 seconds.



I let it sit for about 3 hours, at an ambient temp that dropped into the low 40's, and took this startup video. Glows were on for about 10 seconds as well.


The idle in the first video sounds off, so I'm wondering if it's a timing issue? At this point I'm highly considering taking it to a local diesel shop and seeing what they can find.
I would verify your glow plug controller voltage to/from the controller
 
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1995 K3500, 6.5TD, Vin F, Ex-Ambulance
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I checked last night before bed. Battery voltage was sitting at 12.33V. Voltage at the controller input was 12.33V. Voltage on switched side was 9.97V while the glow plugs were cycling. I’ll have to double check, but I believe that’s what my batteries sag down to while the glows are cycling. However I noticed that the battery voltage didn’t recover after cycling the glows and stayed down at 11.97V. Now I’m thinking I should go get my batteries load tested even though they’re basically brand new.
 

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I checked last night before bed. Battery voltage was sitting at 12.33V. Voltage at the controller input was 12.33V. Voltage on switched side was 9.97V while the glow plugs were cycling. I’ll have to double check, but I believe that’s what my batteries sag down to while the glows are cycling. However I noticed that the battery voltage didn’t recover after cycling the glows and stayed down at 11.97V. Now I’m thinking I should go get my batteries load tested even though they’re basically brand new.
If you haven't done a load test already that would be a great start.
Make sure whoever does the load testing ( parts store or yourself) that the batteries are individually load tested.
If one or both fail the test, replace them both as a matched set
Inspect your battery cable connections and clean if needed while things are apart.

I've had new batteries right off the shelf, test bad..
 

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If those batteries are only putting out 12.33V. there is something wrong.
A fully charged good new battery at rest should have 12.6V. Or 2.1V per cell.
Did you check your batteries individually? Maybe one has a bad cell.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I took it to a shop and they were eventually able to diagnose the issue as a sticking timing stepper motor. I don't know if it was ever fixed though because I sold the truck right after the diagnosis and then the next owner blew the engine.
 

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I took it to a shop and they were eventually able to diagnose the issue as a sticking timing stepper motor. I don't know if it was ever fixed though because I sold the truck right after the diagnosis and then the next owner blew the engine.
Thanks for giving us an update!
(y)
 
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