A couple weeks ago this vehicle started really rough - even using starting fluid - after being turned off for 30 minutes. I thought maybe my daughter had flooded it, so I drove it for 15 minutes then turned it off. The problem remained. After sitting 2 days it started normally.
This morning it won't start at all. I'm in SD, so assume the fuel has been winterized but am not positive. One time this afternoon it gave a couple pops like it was going to try to start, but nothing since.
my first pass would be to check the glow plug relay, it looks like a Ford starter solenoid and on my 97 it's located directly on top of the engine next to the filter bowl. Make sure it has voltage at both large terminals when the key is in the on position. When you key the ignition, the relay should stay on for approximately 2 minutes. This is a very easy replacement.
If this isn't the problem, the glow plugs should be checked.
Thanks for the info jeepcolorado1. Sorry I forgot to say that I am trying to start this using starting fluid. In the past this has worked in even the coldest SD weather without even having to wait for the glow plugs.
On another forum (before I found this one) an owner of a 1999 was having a similar sounding problem. They told him it was almost certainly his cam sensor, but I couldn't find any info about my 1995, and am not mechanically inclined enough to know if this also applies to mine.
Vehicle just started by using starting fluid & not waiting for glow plugs. It was a bit rough, but idled ok after several minutes. Could problem possibly have been caused by cold fuel if it wasn't winterized? It was single digits here. At what temp does diesel gel? Will that prevent it from trying to start with starting fluid also? Or is it likely something else altogether? Thanks in advance for any and all suggestions. (I'll get some supplement & add just in case that's it.)
I vote glow plugs. More than likely your fuel is winterized. If it was gelled it shouldn't have ran after starting on ether. Also if you get your glow plugs working don't use ether any more. It will make hole in thing that can't have hole in them! Ether explodes when exposed to glow plugs. if that were to happen on the up stroke of the engine it could have bad consequences.
Use a test light to check your glow plug relay. IF that is working then you need to test the glow plugs with a multimeter. The plugs should have continuity to ground with no more than about 3 ohms.
This is a van so this will not be very fun but its what it takes.