2003 Ford F250 - Knucklehead broke it. Is it the radio?

We have a 2003 Ford F-250 Diesel 7.3. It ran like a charm the first few years we had it. Then I let a knucklehead drive it for a year bc I felt sorry for him and he needed a truck for his job.
Now it sometimes will not start. Usually after you’ve already driven it somewhere, it has sat for a while, and you need to get back home. Not every time, but enough times that we can’t, in good conscience, sell it which is what we want to do.
We thought maybe he did something to it before he returned it, but nobody we’ve had it to can figure out what’s wrong.
He did put a cheap radio in it so we thought he may have messed up the electrical somehow, but every mechanic is scratching his head. Any ideas?

Radio is my bet.

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On my diesel, I used to have the fuel solenoid on the injector pump stick. No fuel no start. Glow plugs were another issue but the symptoms of glow plugs were different with lots of smoke when it finally did start. Try and find a Ford diesel certified mechanic.

Ok. We’ve considered glo plugs. Good to know symptoms. I’ll check on the smoke thing.hadnt thought about Ford certified. Duh. Thanks.

17 year old truck… problems… perfectly normal. The guy may have been a knucklehead but how can you ignore the fact this is an old truck and things will will just break.

I doubt the radio had anything to do with its problems. You need a diesel tech, as @bing posted, to find the cause.

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… with an unknown maintenance record.


That’s our bet too but we can’t figure out how.

Take it to a good car audio shop and have them check out the installation. I doubt that’s the problem, but at least you’ll eliminate it.

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Also, when we got the truck back it had been driven hard. We had new tires, struts (I think), two new batteries. In short, we took it to a mechanic and had everything done that had said to do. So it should be in top notch running order. Only it’s not.

What happens when you try to start it and it does not start? Dashboard lights or none? Cranks normally, or slowly, or not at all? What helps it start: charging or jumping the battery? Or …?

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In theory the radio should have nothing to do with it. However, if he started butchering wires then it’s anyone’s guess. Without truck in hand it’s impossible to know.

Three things will cause a diesel to refuse to start. Inoperative glow plugs, an inoperative fuel shut-off solenoid, or low compression.

The first 2 COULD be related to a hacked wire. You did not state how many miles on the truck but it is 17 years old and was possibly ridden hard. When compression on a diesel gets low there is not much going to help it except major engine repairs.

My experience is with European and Asian diesels mostly so the particulars on the domestics are unknown to me. No matter, principles are the same. I tend to think that maybe your guy is not real familiar with diesels. If he is, then I apologize up front.