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Old 01-14-2011, 10:15 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Truck cranks then dies?????

Ok, this is the first time I have ever posted a thread, but I am in desperate need of assistance. My truck has about 251,000 miles on it and it has been very good to me, but recently I have had some problems.
About 2 weeks ago I got off on a thursday and went out of town in my wifes car. When we got home on Sunday I went to go crank my truck. It immediately started, ran for about 6 seconds and died. When I went to crank it up again it would turn over but would not start. The temperature outside had dropped about 30 degrees since that Thursday, but it was still only about 45 degrees outside. After cranking on it for about 4 minutes, I gave it a shot of ether and it started up.
At this point I started plugging my truck in at night, and it has been starting fine in the mornings (even when it got down to 22 degrees). However, when I get off of work if it is below 50 degrees or so, it does the exact same thing it did that Sunday.
I have heard mixed reviews from different people about the problem. Some say that my grid heater relay or the grid heater itself is bad. So, I checked the relay with a fluke and for some reason I am only getting 6 volts to each relay/sollenoid...
Other people I talk to say that I shouldnt need the grid heater unless the temperature drops in the negative (which doesnt happen in my part of the country). They believe it may be my lift pump losing prime, but I dont understand why plugging it in at night would solve this problem. However, when I went to check the solenoids I did smell diesel under the hood pretty strongly, and I do believe that I am losing diesel somewhere.
Please help if you have any clue...
Also, when I turn my key on it takes between 5-20 seconds for my WTS light to even come on, but it has been doing this for about 3 years now...
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Old 01-14-2011, 06:48 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Start by checking all electrical connections even if they look good.
Tune your nose in on the smell of fuel leak and find/explain it.
The leak heals itself when warm...
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Old 01-14-2011, 10:35 PM   #3 (permalink)
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First off, the fuel pump never looses prime because it doesn't hold pressure when its off. Thats not how it works. With that said, the fuel lines (supply and return) must stay fuel of fuel. So if there's a leaky fitting or injector o-ring then the fuel will be allowed to run back to the fuel tank, thusly loosing prime. If this happens on the supply side then the fuel pump has to reprime the system prior to start up and can cause a hard start issue when the engines been sitting long enough for the fuel to drain. But if this happens on the return side then the VP looses prime and will cause a hard start issue when the engines been sitting long enough for the fuel to drain out of the fuel line. The amount of time fuel the fuel to drain is depending on the size of the leak, but usually its overnight. A good way to look for a leak is with baby powder.

The grid heaters will come on at 60* outside temp registered by the ECM, as you will read here: Cold Weather Diesel Operation
The Cummins needs the grid heaters to start right in cold weather. I think what your buddies were thinking was plugging it in. The Cummins will start without the block heater plugged in (but with the grid heaters) at temps as cold as -20*. Although I'd suggest not making a habit of doing that since its really hard on the engine and the engines electrical charge system. If the grid heaters aren't working right then read this:Ram Diesel Manifold Heater Problems

Lastly, the only part of this that concerns me is the WTS light not coming on right away. That can be an indication of a ECM problem. Have you checked for codes? As dozer mentioned, check all major electrical connections and check both batteries separately and independently for their condition. A bad battery can be hard to detect unless properly tested and will cause loads of problems since the ISB is fully electronically controlled and doesn't like low voltage.
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Old 01-15-2011, 08:33 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Check your fuel canister for leaks since you said you can smell diesel. My drain is leaking, and havent fixed it yet. If the truck sits for a couple of days, it is enough to drain the fuel filter. Truck starts buts thens starts missing. Sometimes it dies some times fuel pressure builds quick enough to not happen. Now I just bump the key and make sure there is FP before I start it up. I need to fix it but it be cold here.
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