The truck has a block heater that has been plugged in. The temperature outside is about 10 max. Sometimes it cranks and wont start, other times it still takes a long time to start, sometimes up to 20 seconds.
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In the old days, because of the ambient temperature's effect on the crankcase oil and the diesel fuel, often two batteries were used to state the diesel in cold weather.
You might see if there is room for an additional battery on the opposite side of the vehicle from the one that is installed now.
The additional battery can be wired parallel with the one already there, which will not increase the voltage, only the starting amps.
I have done this before, several times.
Another choice is an engine heater, which either screws into the block or is installed inside a radiator hose that has been modified for this purpose.
The cord then is plugged in to an outside 110 volt source, and that will heat the motor oil to ease starting.
God bless your efforts.
This is a good engine but they need work from time to time. What is the outside temperature while you experience this hard start? If you plug in the block heater, does the engine start better? Is the engine light on or does it come on at times while you are driving? Hard starts can be related to several different issues. This engine isn't easy to work on unless you have an advanced scan-tool. You need to look at live data and run some tests. The more common failures are clogged fuel and air filter. Dirty ,worn, or defective fuel injectors, low fuel-line fuel pressure, poor oil quality or low oil level, worn or defective ICP sensor, low injection pump pressure, loose or leaking IPR valve, or low compression. These examples should help get you started. You may need to have the truck diagnosed so you know what direction to go in. If you need any additional information, please write back. Good luck.
you answered your own question with # 1 the fuel leak is doing opposite when starting it is sucking air . i had the same problem on mine, it also let the fuel drain back to the tank that then takes forever to reprime itself hope this helps
the glow plugs are bad when replacing replace the wiring harness as well any ford dealer will not replace just the glow plugs, i know i used to be there diesel mechanic.this is the reason it will start with the block heater is pluged in
most likely the relay. its located to the left of the fuel filter( looking at the motor from the front). my experience is that they only last about 50,000 miles. the part costs about $20 at an navistar dealer. remove the cowl over the filter, disconnect the batteries(so you don't short the new relay out if you cross the polarity with a wrench) ,remove the four wires from the ceramic relay, un-fasten the relay from the base. reverse the process with the new relay. CAUTION; do not over-tighten the nuts on the wire studs, you could crack the ceramic relay.(iv'e done it) . hope this helps