SureTrack Community Fix: Hard Starting Diesel

Real Fixes from the SureTrack® expert information resource are documented issues from actual shop repair orders and community discussions. Read on to see how SureTrack can help you correct issues that are not easily diagnosed using OEM information alone. SureTrack is currently available free with the purchase of a current Snap-on® diagnostic software version.

Diesel engines can be sensitive to fuel quality even though they employ several filters to remove water and other contaminants. But one contaminant in particular is a harder to handle. SureTrack community member kenscssvc had a Ford F350 Super Duty diesel in the shop that was hard to start and ran bad when running. They posed their question to the community, and with the help of fellow community member powerstroketech1 and others, they were able to resolve the issue quickly.

The following Community Fix summarizes the interaction between members of the community that led to the solution.

Vehicle
2005 Ford Pickup F250 Super Duty 6.0L

Title
Hard start, white smoke, replaced fuel.

Complaint
Hard to start, white smoke and running rough.

Diagnostic Steps Performed/Parts Replaced
Heavy white smoke when started after extended cranking. Acts as if it is running out of fuel. Will run smooth for about 10 seconds if you allow the fuel pump to run for a minute first. Checked fuel pressure and HPOP system. Achieves pressure quickly and maintains it. Fuel pressure steady at 50 psi tapped into the fuel line at the fuel pump. FICM voltage is 49. Cranking voltage is 10.8. ICP solenoid at 50 percent. Is it possible for these to have fuel pressure but not volume. I have never had one perform this way.

Cause
I forgot step #1, VERIFY FUEL TYPE. Driver had put gasoline in it. Not enough to keep it from starting, but enough to keep it from making power. Connected fuel supply to 5 gallon external fuel source with good fuel in it, and all is right in the world again.

Correction
Drained fuel tank and filled with fresh diesel fuel. Ran until bad fuel purged from system. Engine now starts and runs as it should.


SureTrack® is a powerful value-added feature available with select Snap-on diagnostics tools. It offers an exclusive combination of expert knowledge and detailed parts replacement records, all wrapped in an interactive community.

Want more? Click here for more information on using SureTrack.

New or Expired SureTrack users: Click here for authorization key instructions.

About the Author

Nick Taylor

Nick Taylor is the SureTrack Community Administrator and a Senior Applications Specialist at Mitchell 1 with over 25 years of experience with electronic repair data systems. Nick previously worked in the automotive dismantling and engine rebuilding industries.