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Yes. I'll try to explain this. The glow plugs work by electric resistance. When they are clean and new, they work very well as there is no crud or coating on each part. The material composing each glow plug deteriorates over time something like a sparkplug.
The amount of time it takes to heat up increases as the glow plugs fail. This puts a strain on the wiring feeding the glow plug circuit.
You can test each individual glow plug using auto jumper cables and securing one end to the base and the other is briefly shorted to the top of the glow plug using battery voltage
Be careful-they melt. As you will see, some stay dark(bad) and some glow brightly(good). Or you can just put in all new glow plugs and be done with it.
Sounds like the glow plugs are frazzled. There is one electrical wire going to a plug, then each plug is connected in sequence. The glow plugs are heating devices used to get the fuel up to temperature before ignition.
They are fiddly to replace, but are relatively inexpensive and the most common source of issues with cold-starting diesel engines (first thing to fail).
Some cars had a 'pre-heat' available with glow plugs, where you simply turn the key part-way to 'on' and you would see a glow plug light come on (looks a bit like a picture of a spring). If you see this light on your van, you can turn the key to turn on the glow plugs and they will pre-heat your engine slightly and make starting easier
You havent said which engine you have got so I presume it is the 1.8 diesel. Therefore, when you go to start it when it is cold, wait for the glow plug light to go off then wait approx another 15 seconds as the glow plugs continue to heat up after the light goes off before you try to start it.
For a short term solution, you could run a small electric heater within the engine compartment which will keep everything nice and warm for your early morning starts. I remember my father using an extension trouble light and leaving it under the engine compartment during the winters.
DEPENDING HOW COLD OUT IT IS DIESELS DONT LIKE TO START IN COLD WHEATHER UNLESS THE GLOW PLUGS ARE WARM THIS IS THE REASON FOR PLUGGING DIESELS IN MOST WONT START IF ITS COLD OUT IF ITS NOT THAT COLD OUT IT SHOULD START IF YOU HAVE ENOUGH BATTERY POWER MAYBE THERES NOT ENOUGH FUEL GETTING UP TO THE THROTTLE BODY HOPE THIS HELPS