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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How can I check to make sure all glow plugs in an engine are functioning properly? Does the ECU display any error messages?

Yesterday (during the polar vortex) it was -20°F when I started my car to leave from work. The starter engaged for a good 3-4 seconds and then the starter continued to crank for another 10 seconds while the engine seemed to be "misfiring." It was chugging like only one or two cylinders were initially firing and it eventually caught and ran with only one or two other "misfires" in the next 20 seconds of running. Obviously it was running loud with a lot of clatter in the cold weather.

For a car that others on this message board say starts fine down to -40°F this gave me the impression that it was really struggling to start. Another 5-10 degrees colder and I believe it might not have started at all.
 

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The ecu will display a check engine light.
A code reader will show a glow plug code and going further into the menu it will then tell you which glow plug has created the code. I might add I am using a Tech II for this diagnosis.......a fairly generic failure that does not require use of the GM Global diagnostic system.
It will also test resistance and ohms and report accordingly.

I have to address two or three glow plug failures a year on our three company Duramax's.......all over two hundred k.
No rhyme or reason......they just go open.......same as any other electric heating device.



There is no specific glow plug failure beyond the cel illuminated.

Rob
 

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How can I check to make sure all glow plugs in an engine are functioning properly? Does the ECU display any error messages?

Yesterday (during the polar vortex) it was -20°F when I started my car to leave from work. The starter engaged for a good 3-4 seconds and then the starter continued to crank for another 10 seconds while the engine seemed to be "misfiring." It was chugging like only one or two cylinders were initially firing and it eventually caught and ran with only one or two other "misfires" in the next 20 seconds of running. Obviously it was running loud with a lot of clatter in the cold weather.

For a car that others on this message board say starts fine down to -40°F this gave me the impression that it was really struggling to start. Another 5-10 degrees colder and I believe it might not have started at all.
I believe the extra cold guys are Gen 1, not Gen 2. The 2.0l TD has a higher compression ratio. That would be beneficial in cold start. Gen 2 really needs glow plugs for the extra cold start with it's lower compression ratio. I'm not sure of many extra cold Gen 2 people out there.

Sent from my Moto G (4) using Tapatalk
 

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Yes the ECM monitors the glow plugs and the glow plug controller. The ECM sets DTCs related to glow plug function. If there's a glow plug function issue, it'll set a code. There's only four glow plugs, and like 15 DTC the ECM monitors conditions for
 

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I believe the extra cold guys are Gen 1, not Gen 2. The 2.0l TD has a higher compression ratio. That would be beneficial in cold start. Gen 2 really needs glow plugs for the extra cold start with it's lower compression ratio. I'm not sure of many extra cold Gen 2 people out there.

Sent from my Moto G (4) using Tapatalk
This is my first winter with the Gen 2 had four winters on the Gen 1.
I pretty much always plug my cars in when its cold. Really can't say much for a true cold start.

I have found the Gen 2 to start a bit easier/smoother than the Gen 1 diesel.

The Gen 1 below -10F or so would crank slower like the battery was weak, even from new.
A few times I didn't think it would start when below -20F or so.
If not plugged in I could only imagine it may not have started?
Also, the engine seemed to stumble/miss and run rougher at these temps once first started.


Even the cabin heat output seems better in the Gen 2, I have not had a cover on the grille and the car warms up much faster.
Without the grille covered on the Gen 1 below -10F and the car took forever to warm the cabin.

Part of it may be the Gen 2 cranks over easier/faster with the larger capacity battery thanks to the AS/S system (auto only)
Not sure if the manual trans Gen 2 have the same battery as the auto trans cars?
Maybe, hotter glow plugs, different injectors or head design?
 

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Part of it may be the Gen 2 cranks over easier/faster with the larger capacity battery thanks to the AS/S system (auto only)
Not sure if the manual trans Gen 2 have the same battery as the auto trans cars?
Maybe, hotter glow plugs, different injectors or head design?
Same battery in manual as auto for Gen 2 Diesel. I have both. A lower compression ratio makes for an easier to turnover engine, but less compression heat, and thus a need for more glow plug heat.
 

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This is my first winter with the Gen 2 had four winters on the Gen 1.
I pretty much always plug my cars in when its cold. Really can't say much for a true cold start.

I have found the Gen 2 to start a bit easier/smoother than the Gen 1 diesel.

The Gen 1 below -10F or so would crank slower like the battery was weak, even from new.
A few times I didn't think it would start when below -20F or so.
If not plugged in I could only imagine it may not have started?
Also, the engine seemed to stumble/miss and run rougher at these temps once first started.


Even the cabin heat output seems better in the Gen 2, I have not had a cover on the grille and the car warms up much faster.
Without the grille covered on the Gen 1 below -10F and the car took forever to warm the cabin.
Interesting observations. The Gen 1 had quite a few week original batteries from production, and I think the AGM under the hood suffers higher temperatures than it should have. It appears both those issues solved in Gen 2. For the better heat, yes, it's noticiable, and you can thank the all Aluminum engine block in Gen 2, over the cast iron engine block on the Gen 1 for the faster cabin heat. That said, the Gen 1 had the electric boost for the issue, which helped a bit I suppose.
 

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How can I check to make sure all glow plugs in an engine are functioning properly? Does the ECU display any error messages?

Yesterday (during the polar vortex) it was -20°F when I started my car to leave from work. The starter engaged for a good 3-4 seconds and then the starter continued to crank for another 10 seconds while the engine seemed to be "misfiring." It was chugging like only one or two cylinders were initially firing and it eventually caught and ran with only one or two other "misfires" in the next 20 seconds of running. Obviously it was running loud with a lot of clatter in the cold weather.

For a car that others on this message board say starts fine down to -40°F this gave me the impression that it was really struggling to start. Another 5-10 degrees colder and I believe it might not have started at all.
It is possible that your fuel had begun to gel a bit and was not being sprayed properly through the injectors causing a hard start.
Not being plugged in does not help this.

Interesting observations. The Gen 1 had quite a few week original batteries from production, and I think the AGM under the hood suffers higher temperatures than it should have. It appears both those issues solved in Gen 2. For the better heat, yes, it's noticiable, and you can thank the all Aluminum engine block in Gen 2, over the cast iron engine block on the Gen 1 for the faster cabin heat. That said, the Gen 1 had the electric boost for the issue, which helped a bit I suppose.
I never found the aux. electric heat helped much below 20F or so, couldn't really feel it anymore anyways.
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The 2.0l TD has a higher compression ratio. That would be beneficial in cold start.
It wouldn't kill anyone at GM to give us an 18:1 compression ratio or a bit higher. I know the 16:1 ratio is both for emissions and for NVH reduction (less ignition clatter) but it doesn't help efficiency and it makes cold starts harder.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Even the cabin heat output seems better in the Gen 2, I have not had a cover on the grille and the car warms up much faster.
Without the grille covered on the Gen 1 below -10F and the car took forever to warm the cabin.
I think all the Gen2 cars have those active shutters that close off the front grill when extra cooling isn't needed. That certainly helps with cabin heat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
It is possible that your fuel had begun to gel a bit and was not being sprayed properly through the injectors causing a hard start.
That would not surprise me. My fuel source is a major commercial fuel station with a B11 blend. It's for fleet customers and I always see nothing but semi tractors fueling there without any notable issues in winter so when I set up an account with them I assumed their winter treatment is robust enough.

However, this polar vortex is one of the worst I've experienced in my life. At -20°F with a -45°F wind chill, it was obscenely cold. It was so cold that things hurt everywhere. I know the wind chill doesn't affect inanimate objects other than accelerating heat loss, but it wouldn't surprise me if -20°F was right on the edge of fuel gelling.

I've got video of the hard start. I should upload it to YouTube and post here if anyone is interested.
 

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I think all the Gen2 cars have those active shutters that close off the front grill when extra cooling isn't needed. That certainly helps with cabin heat.
The Gen 1 diesel has the shutters as well, on both versions they only cover the lower grille.
I almost completely blocked the top grille opening off on the Gen 1 to get it to warm up faster in very cold weather.
Otherwise it did not put out heat for quite a while and would cool off quickly in town.
 

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That would not surprise me. My fuel source is a major commercial fuel station with a B11 blend. It's for fleet customers and I always see nothing but semi tractors fueling there without any notable issues in winter so when I set up an account with them I assumed their winter treatment is robust enough.

However, this polar vortex is one of the worst I've experienced in my life. At -20°F with a -45°F wind chill, it was obscenely cold. It was so cold that things hurt everywhere. I know the wind chill doesn't affect inanimate objects other than accelerating heat loss, but it wouldn't surprise me if -20°F was right on the edge of fuel gelling.

I've got video of the hard start. I should upload it to YouTube and post here if anyone is interested.

Agree on the weather.....here in DesPlaines I started Wednesday morning showing -25 and this Thursday (today) showing -20.
I reflect back to winter 1985 here.....-26.....a record still standing.

House makes cracking noises all night......car sounds like it is made of glass over the first few bumps.

A true character builder, eh?

Rob
 

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That would not surprise me. My fuel source is a major commercial fuel station with a B11 blend. It's for fleet customers and I always see nothing but semi tractors fueling there without any notable issues in winter so when I set up an account with them I assumed their winter treatment is robust enough.

However, this polar vortex is one of the worst I've experienced in my life. At -20°F with a -45°F wind chill, it was obscenely cold. It was so cold that things hurt everywhere. I know the wind chill doesn't affect inanimate objects other than accelerating heat loss, but it wouldn't surprise me if -20°F was right on the edge of fuel gelling.

I've got video of the hard start. I should upload it to YouTube and post here if anyone is interested.
Be interested in seeing the video.

Definitely worth running an additive before such weather. Or find some #1 diesel.
 

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I think all the Gen2 cars have those active shutters that close off the front grill when extra cooling isn't needed. That certainly helps with cabin heat.
No shutters. They were deemed unnecessary.

Aluminum block (diesel too) and water cooled exhaust manifold (not sure on diesel, don't see it mentioned) help the 1.4 make heat nearly 5x as quick as the old one.

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Definitely worth running an additive before such weather. Or find some #1 diesel.
Look, I was trying to get two days off work. I'd rather just stay home with the "My car won't start" excuse.

There is no #1 diesel anywhere near me that I'm aware of. It just doesn't exist this far south. There are some K-1 kerosene pumps in town but that's still too much sulphur in the fuel to be used in my car unless/until I get a DPF delete.
 

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Look, I was trying to get two days off work. I'd rather just stay home with the "My car won't start" excuse.

There is no #1 diesel anywhere near me that I'm aware of. It just doesn't exist this far south. There are some K-1 kerosene pumps in town but that's still too much sulphur in the fuel to be used in my car unless/until I get a DPF delete.
Had an old guy at work, now retired. He used to just phone in on these real cold days and say the dog unplugged his truck.
Was a '98 F-350 7.3L diesel. Doubt he even tried to start it! :lol:

No shutters. They were deemed unnecessary.

Aluminum block (diesel too) and water cooled exhaust manifold (not sure on diesel, don't see it mentioned) help the 1.4 make heat nearly 5x as quick as the old one.

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
The Gen 2 diesel still has the lower grille shutters.

Not sure about the exhaust manifold, can't really see it. The turbo bearings are water cooled though.
 
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Had an old guy at work, now retired. He used to just phone in on these real cold days and say the dog unplugged his truck.
Was a '98 F-350 7.3L diesel. Doubt he even tried to start it! :lol:
There were no 1998 F-350 pickups. Production of the ninth generation F-series ended in 1997 and then 1998 production of Super Duty models skipped to 1999 model year.
 
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