1. Thank you for visiting HeavyEquipmentForums.com! Our objective is to provide industry professionals a place to gather to exchange questions, answers and ideas. We welcome you to register using the "Register" icon at the top of the page. We'd appreciate any help you can offer in spreading the word of our new site. The more members that join, the bigger resource for all to enjoy. Thank you!

'92 Ford 7.3 glow plug controller

Discussion in 'Trucks' started by mitch504, Dec 14, 2012.

  1. mitch504

    mitch504 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2010
    Messages:
    3,752
    Location:
    Andrews SC
    I have a '92 F-SuperDuty w/ a mechanical 7.3 and a 5 speed. This is a computer-free truck.

    There is a glow plug controller at the rear of the intake. It has a relay mounted to it that is very similar to a Ford starter relay. One of the large terminals on this relay has battery voltage at all times. The other large terminal is connected to the glow plugs, and it has 6.5 to 7 volts when the key is first turned on.

    When my glow plugs were working, I would see a big drop on my dash voltmeter for a few seconds when the key was first turned on, then it would come up to normal, then cycle every few seconds if you didn't start the truck. Now, there is no drop on my volt meter, which suggests that the large glow plug load is not being applied.

    This suggests to me that the problem is in this relay, since that is where the big voltage drop is. I wanted to run this by those of you who are more familiar w/ these engines than I am before I changed this relay.

    I just got this truck this summer, and have no experience w/ light duty diesels.

    Thanks guys,
    Mitch
     
  2. Steve Frazier

    Steve Frazier Founder

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2003
    Messages:
    5,586
    Location:
    LaGrangeville, N.Y.
    Those relays are famous for failing
     
  3. Birken Vogt

    Birken Vogt Charter Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2003
    Messages:
    1,335
    Location:
    Grass Valley, Ca
    Steve answered the direct question but I thought I would add some tidbits since you are likely to revisit this system sooner or later.

    It is an annoying system where every single connection must be in perfect shape or it fails to work.

    It works by sensing the voltage drop across the big flat wavy bar that is part of it, and as the plugs heat, the current decreases and the voltage drop decreases. So if you have a loose connection from the battery to the glow plug anywhere it will think that the plugs are already hot, and cut off power to them. And the truck won't start.

    It is at least better than the 6.9 system that failed in the on position, sometimes leading to burning and swelling a glow plug tip and wrecking a piston.
     
  4. mike in idaho

    mike in idaho Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2012
    Messages:
    58
    Location:
    north idaho
    The glow plugs are well known for burning out too. Check them for open circuit(burnt out) with a circuit tester clipped onto the positive battery cable. If the bulb doesent light, the glowplug is toast.
     
  5. Oxbow

    Oxbow Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2012
    Messages:
    842
    Location:
    Idaho
    I thought that the 7.3's didn't come out until 94? I had a 95 7.3 (that I wish I had kept - traded it with 325,000 miles on it) that was definetly not a completely mechanical system so this may not apply at all to Mitch504's question. I had to replace glow plugs occasionally and teseted them as mike in idaho suggested. I also had to replace the valve cover gaskets which had the wiring running through the middle of them.

    As Steve mentioned, the relays are prone to failure. Often times you can swap relays with another pretty quickly to determine whether or not that is the cause. These are all methods that one who is not a mechanic (don't posess the equipment or knowledge to utilize more proffessional diagnostics) can use to help find the problem. My 95 had a glow plug relay right on top of the engine which was easy to test with test light to see if it was receiving the signal to connect, and if it did indeed make the connection.
     

    Attached Files:

  6. Austin G

    Austin G New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2012
    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Laramie, WY
    The power stroke didn't come out until 94. There was a 7.3 IDI and a 7.3 IDI Turbo.


    Sent from my iPhone
     
  7. mike in idaho

    mike in idaho Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2012
    Messages:
    58
    Location:
    north idaho
    The boss bought a (well) used '94 powerstroke 3/4 ton several years back. Had to change the turbo first thing, later rewire the glowplug circuit, another new turbo after that. It's parked behind the shop right now with a holed piston. One thing the 7.3 powerstrke motors will do is burn up the glow plug harness, under the valve covers. New wire harness pieces from Ford are scary expensive, fortunately an affordable repair harness can be had at the NAPA store.
     
  8. Oxbow

    Oxbow Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2012
    Messages:
    842
    Location:
    Idaho
    Ah, thanks Austin G, I remember the "Powerstroke" distinction now.
     
  9. Gooseidi

    Gooseidi Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2012
    Messages:
    99
    Occupation:
    Union Electrician, Local 351 IBEW / owner of Cut '
    Location:
    Galloway Twp, NJ
    Mitch, you have the 7.3 IDI engine as you know, not a powerstroke as others are suggesting. It does sound like the GP controller is not working properly. Even if a couple of gp's are bad, it should cycle, just for a very short period of time. As stated, the GP's can be checked with a continuity tester or ohm meter. Keep in mind when replacing glow plugs you only want to use the Motorcraft/Beru plugs. the Autolites and the Bosch one are prone to premature failure and will also swell over time causing them to become stuck in the head when you need to remove them at a later date.

    Oliburners.net is the best site going for the 6.9/7.3 IDI engine. You can find all the information you could imagine over there. Good luck with yours and keep us posted on your progress.
     
  10. bar tl

    bar tl Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2012
    Messages:
    38
    Occupation:
    farmer/trucker/whatever
    Location:
    saskatchewan canada
    you can also try www.powerstroke.org a forum based site that deals with all of fords diesel trucks.good luck
     
  11. capt_met

    capt_met Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2005
    Messages:
    131
    Location:
    Northeast Tenn.
  12. Dozerboy

    Dozerboy Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2006
    Messages:
    2,182
    Occupation:
    Operator
    Location:
    TX
    IIRC there is a mod you can do that evolves switching to a starter relay and going to 12v GPs. I think it was the bosh ones that where the best. It s pretty common trick so you should be able to find info on one of the Powerstroke sites.
     
  13. Birken Vogt

    Birken Vogt Charter Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2003
    Messages:
    1,335
    Location:
    Grass Valley, Ca
    A '92 has 12v plugs already. It was the 6.9s except for the very last ones that had 6v plugs. For what it's worth I liked the 6v system better when it was working right. It heats up much faster. The 12v 7.3 system is smoother starting, though. Maybe the longer heat time makes it that way.
     
  14. Reel hip

    Reel hip Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2010
    Messages:
    238
    Occupation:
    owner operator bobcat"s and dump truck"s
    Location:
    San Diego
    All good info. My 1990 with an aftermarket banks turbo is having the same problem. I have somewhere to start.
     
  15. Birken Vogt

    Birken Vogt Charter Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2003
    Messages:
    1,335
    Location:
    Grass Valley, Ca
    They are not too hard to figure out if you have a voltmeter and know how to use it. A clamp on ammeter is nice, too. The trouble with them is that they are too blasted sensitive to every little thing going wrong that will take down the whole system until repaired.

    My old 6.9 had only 3 glow plugs working for many years and it always started immediately unless at high elevation and very cold and then it would still start fine, just caused a wall of smoke. Under normal conditions the 3 cylinders firing would pick up the other ones so fast you couldn't even tell. If you have a 7.3 system with any glow plugs burned out, you have a no start condition because the whole system collapses due to lower current draw than it's expecting.
     
  16. Gooseidi

    Gooseidi Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2012
    Messages:
    99
    Occupation:
    Union Electrician, Local 351 IBEW / owner of Cut '
    Location:
    Galloway Twp, NJ
    Any luck Mitch?
     
  17. crewcab1984

    crewcab1984 New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2013
    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    ca
    Hey you guy's can check out ebay seller ck-sr (4743☆) sells a super relay bypass kit that bypasses all electronics he explains where the factory ford glow plug systems go wrong I have a 1990 ford F-350 7.3 IDI. I have not put it on yet but I'm going to get one as soon as I get my truck back.I'm having that problem now and surfing the web and came across his page I know you guy's are saying how can I vouch for it, great feed back on it and the way he explains the set up.I don't for this guy maybe if there is any of the other members out there have it chime in let us know, oh yeah the $$ on the kit. Was $54.00 &$8.00 shipping
     
  18. crewcab1984

    crewcab1984 New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2013
    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    ca
    Almost forgot guy's the kit is for 1983-1995 Ford's IDI,but I do believe he has made some for the newer PowerStroke's
     
  19. Birken Vogt

    Birken Vogt Charter Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2003
    Messages:
    1,335
    Location:
    Grass Valley, Ca
    That guy's kit is for a full manual setup, which I do not like so much. I want it to work automatically and more or less the same as it did stock.

    As for the alternative relay, the guys on another board liked a big honkin' White-Rodgers relay for the Powerstrokes, which is what I got when mine went bad, and it has worked great ever since, so there is another alternative out there. I see no reason it coulnd't work on a 7.3 IDI or 6.9 but you'd have to make it fit. So the ebay guy might be better because his looks the same shape as a Ford relay.
     
  20. crewcab1984

    crewcab1984 New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2013
    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    ca
    According to him it not complicated tonto install just swap out the relay & cut 2 wires & put in the toggle switch provided in the kit.he sells just the heavy duty relay by itself which he explains is a major leap better then the factory one.the reason he made a complete bypass was he said the where the factory went wrong was every time we start our trucks it cycles the glow plugs weather it is cold or hot therefore using them when we don't need to, His explanation was with his kit you now have the ability to energize the G.P. only when we need them, yeah like I said early he does sell just the relay on his ebay page he tells you how to diagnose everything weather its your G.P. or your relays or G.P. controller