I have a 2006 F350SD 6.0 that was purchased used earlier this year. It currently has 83K on the odometer. Everything has been fine until the weather turned cold. Now it is a bear to start. It cranks and fires, but runs rougher than a corn cob for the first couple minutes and seems to put out quite a bit of white smoke. If you try to drive away, it jerks and hesitates and has no power at all. The smoke clears in about a minute and it develops full power after about two minutes. After that time, everything is fine. Throughout the course of that day, it will restart in an instant with no hesitation. But by the next morning, the process repeats. I have noticed that the glow plug indicator light on the dash only stays on for 10-15 seconds. I AM NOT using a block heater for overnight storage which is outside. I am also not getting any check engine lights indicating a thrown error code.
I had a Chevy 6.5 Turbo before this that had 400K on it and would start easily and drive away in 20-30 seconds so this is quite different. The glow plug indicator on it would stay on for up to a minute in really cold weather.
So my questions are:
1. How long should the glow plug light on the dash stay on in this vehicle (from
other people's experience)?
2. Do you guys think this might be a bad glow plug controller that is not properly
heating the glow plugs?
3. If so, is it easily replaced by a fairly competent owner?
4. Is there any programming required that an owner couldn't do himself?
5. Is the initial smoking and lack of power normal under cold weather conditions
(about 30 deg F).
Would appreciate any help from somebody with experience with this. Thanks.
I am just now at the point where I am due for another oil change. I will be using Rotella and a Motorcraft filter. The dealer that sold me the vehicle had changed the oil when I purchased it but I don't know what oil or filter they used. I will be using Rotella and Motorcraft exclusively based on information I have read on the Internet about using other non-branded products. We will be doing some heavy towing with this vehicle (13,000# loaded fifth wheel around the country) so will be doing oil changes every 3,000 miles.
Let's see what comments others have on my issue. In the meantime, I'll try to find the article(s) on the Fuel Injection Controller and might consider running some injector cleaner through it since past maintenance is unknown.
Injector cleaner isn't going to help with sticky injectors. Not on a 6.0L. The injectors on a 6.0L are fired by high pressure oil. The problem occurs on the oil side, not on the fuel side. There are a couple of products (REV-X is currently the most popular), that might help on the oil side. Another thing that might help is to use 5W-40 Synthetic oil, like Rotella T-6. It flows easier cold and lets the injectors work better.
Most off the shelf injector cleaners are not designed for diesels and can contain alcohol, which can do more harm than good.
What is strange is that this is only occurring at first start up. After about two minutes of running, everything smooths out and settles down and you would never know there was a problem. I just had it out and started it multiple times. All secondary starts were almost instantaneous with the turn of the key. At temps of around 45-50, the motor will crank over for about 10 seconds on first start and then hit and run pretty smoothly. Let it warm up about a minute and you are good to go. Seems like if the injectors were sticking, I would notice problems all the time. It tows my 13,000# fifth wheel just fine in any terrain and there is no diesel smoke. I have to run a couple tanks of gas before I even start to notice any black exhaust residue on the lower part of the right rear fender.
I'm really thinking a glow plug issue or a fuel injector control issue on start up as you have suggested earlier.
Injector cleaner isn't going to help with sticky injectors. Not on a 6.0L. The injectors on a 6.0L are fired by high pressure oil. The problem occurs on the oil side, not on the fuel side. There are a couple of products (REV-X is currently the most popular), that might help on the oil side. Another thing that might help is to use 5W-40 Synthetic oil, like Rotella T-6...
1. Gauges to monitor voltages, pressures, temps
2. (address whatever problems this may reveal)
3. 5w40 synthetic oil, Motorcraft fuel and oil filters
4. Diesel Kleen or some other fuel treatment
If problem persists after all this, an IDS scan tool will be required to be connected to the data link connector, with the Power Balance graph screen ready to view when the engine is started up during overnight cold soak, to pinpoint the faulty injector(s) and replaced as necessary.
For what it's worth, if glow plug(s) or any part of its control system were at fault in any way, you would have a CHECK ENGINE light on, 110% sure of that. Also, the WAIT TO START light on the cluster is only an idiot light, and has NOTHING to do with the glow plug control system. Depending on how cold ambient temperatures are, the glow plugs can remain energized up to a couple minutes even after the engine is started to reduce white smoke emissions.
These engines run better using either 10W30 or 5W40 Synthetic grades of oil, whichever you prefer.
Unfortunately, I have temporarily relocated to sunny south Florida for the winter so cold starts have not been an issue.
However, that having been said, I did do the following things before I left:
1. Went with Rotella T6 5W-40 oil
2. Installed new Motorcraft oil filter
3. Installed new Motorcraft fuel filters
4. Installed two new matching batteries as the ones in the truck from the
previous owner were mismatched in brand, capacity, and probably age.
I am in the process of installing the block heater cord which did not come with my truck. During the small amount of cold weather I experienced before I left, the truck did seem to start quicker and the period of rough idle was down to between 20-30 seconds.
I have never experienced a check engine light coming on in this vehicle.
Truck towed a 12,000# fifth wheel trailer 1250 miles with some mountainous terrain in Tennessee with no problems whatsoever.
Next step will be to monitor voltages and hook up a scan tool if the problem persists in next fall's cold weather.