2003 E350 6.8 running rough, no warning! - Ford Truck Enthusiasts Forums



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2003 E350 6.8 running rough, no warning!

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Old 01-09-2013, 09:24 PM
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2003 E350 6.8 running rough, no warning!

Hopped in tonight to drive kids all over. Last time out, about a week ago, was running fine, just as it has for the last 135,000 miles. Started it up tonight and and WOW...yuck. Feels like it's a V8. Or maybe a V7?? V6 & 3/4?? It's been really wet this week in East Tx. Guessing maybe that's related. Was raining last time the bus was driven too, come to think of it. Thinking to start with plugs and boots. It's been about 70,000 since last set Not sure how or if I should check coils? Thought about just swapping them, then found out how much they cost. Ended that though right quick like. Here's hoping.
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Old 01-09-2013, 09:29 PM
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CEL on? Maybe just a bad coil. I just had my plugs all changed in my '04 5.4 E350 after the CEL came on and my code reader said #2 and #7 coils bad. Turns out the coils were fine but the plugs were so bad they were causing the coils to throw a bad reading. I guess 190k miles is a bit much for the original plugs!
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Old 01-09-2013, 09:38 PM
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Nope. No CEL. Just yucky runnin'. Worst part is I'm running out of working vehicles! '92 Civic tires are so bad there's no way I'll drive it in this rain. F350 has a pulley or bearing going bad, kinda scary to take off in it too. I feel like the belt and ______ (fill in the blank with whatever else) will fall off the motor and leave me high and soggy. And this weather is just not the weather that is good for working on either of the Fords. (Imagine some guy with a socket wrench in a wetsuit and SCUBA gear. ) I did notice that the van's exhaust smelled really funny. Incomplete combustion kinda funny.

Last edited by jtexfisher; 01-09-2013 at 09:39 PM. Reason: added info
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Old 01-10-2013, 06:53 AM
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I'd get in there with a can of WD40 and spray the wires and coils to disperse the moisture. Could also check to make sure the coil to plug connections are dry and tight.
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Old 01-10-2013, 06:57 AM
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I just had a thought, the first time my van had a bad coil it didn't throw a code right away since the problem was intermittent. The CEL only came on after a couple weeks of rough running.
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Old 01-10-2013, 07:51 AM
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How long or miles ago were the plugs changed or the boots checked?

The WD40 spray down might be a quick test to see if the boots are an issue. Nothing beats an in-hand visual inspection though.
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Old 01-10-2013, 12:56 PM
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fords tend to be slow to throw a misfire code, so it'll often take awhile to get it to tell you which cylinder is missing.

sounds like you likely have one or more cylinders not firing, so you could try to isolate the problem by unplugging the wires to the coil on one cylinder at a time, taking note of any cylinder that doesn't affect the way the engine runs.
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Old 01-10-2013, 05:23 PM
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Exactly....twice now I have fried my IDM's and not set a code....biggest thing is eliminating corrosion from all connector contacts and Di-electric grease is your friend ....If it was my truck I would slap a set of MSD COP's on it with new plugs ( E3) and never deal with it again ....Ford is notorious for stupid design concessions , and the electrical /electronics can be bizzare sometimes....
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Old 01-11-2013, 06:17 AM
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Blaugeurt has good points but I'd disagree with any brand of COP replacement. I swapped out a set of Granatelli's in my '00 E250 5.4 and so far three of them have died. seems they don't like "cold" weather (>38* over night)

Since MotorCraft COP's can now be bought for less than $50 each and they're proven to be among the best available that'd be my recommendation.

Sealing/protecting all other ignition connections is great advice!
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Old 05-17-2013, 10:06 AM
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Well I'm done being mad at the van. Doing plugs, boots and fuel filter. The plugs and coils are not much fun. Got 3 of 10 done last evening. Looks like a 3 day job.
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Old 05-20-2013, 11:08 AM
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It sounds like others have covered the COP issue well enough. I thought I'd take a different tact on it. With all the wet weather, you might also consider your fuel source. Have you put fuel in it during this wet weather? Could the station's supply tank have been contaminated? Or, could your tank? A wet ignition and/or bad COPs as a result of being wet are the obvious conclusions, but if you still have issues, look at your fuel supply (it wouldn't hurt to throw a can of dry gas additive in, just in case). It sounds like your going with a fuel filter, good. When things are dry, do you get a gassy smell around your rig? If so, you could have some tank rust through or a bad gasket on the tank that is allowing water to get in when it gets on top of the tank.

Also, since it sounds like you are just doing plugs and boots, if your coils got wet, bear in mind that some of them could still be bad. If you don't have a scan tool, take it in to one of the chain parts stores and get it scanned.

75% of the job of changing plugs/coils is getting all the stuff out of the way so that you can get to everything. Once you clear a path, the actual plug/coil replacement isn't too bad.

Interesting the mention of WD-40. Most people don't know its history. It was originally developed for the Atlas Rocket program as a water displacement coating. It was the 40th formula that they ended up using...thus the name WD-40!
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Old 05-20-2013, 06:54 PM
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Only time will tell now. Doing the broken cop bolt thing (see the thread "ARRRRRRRGH.....") Might have it up and running after the long weekend and see how it goes. I've got an ODBII pgm and hookup that I'll try to get running on the new PC. Sooner or later it'll run good again.
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Old 06-17-2013, 05:51 PM
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Finally finished the fixes. Plugs, boots, fuel filter. Running very well now! I ran these plugs about 75k, two were in pretty sad shape. 2nd bank went much better knowing to get the harness up and out of the way. Only took a couple of hours pretty much goofing around. SOOOO much better than the first go round.
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Old 06-17-2013, 08:56 PM
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Well Bob's your Uncle as they say ....glad you got it sorted out.......
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Old 06-18-2013, 08:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtexfisher View Post
Finally finished the fixes. Plugs, boots, fuel filter. Running very well now! I ran these plugs about 75k, two were in pretty sad shape. 2nd bank went much better knowing to get the harness up and out of the way. Only took a couple of hours pretty much goofing around. SOOOO much better than the first go round.
Glad this got worked out! Typically plugs in these motors are pretty much shot at 50K---much more than that and you'll feel the loss of power and see MPG's go down too. Even though they look somewhat passable once the new set is in its a whole new feeling.

We can never stress enough the importance of checking/replacing the boots too. Thanks for the update BTW!
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