A new set of glow plugs
After a couple of days during the cold snap where I wanted to use the van it was reluctant to wake up. And I decided to attack the problem at the root. The glow plugs. There is a good chance that they were not changed in the past but even then they are due to be change again coming up on the 200K mark.
I decided to use a trusted shop locally that has done outstanding work on the van before. Curt's Service in Oak Park, MI. After being dropped off yesterday I got a call today that there was a problem with the push-on connectors that go on the glow plugs. I had been forewarned that these are notoriously a problem from being in the location they are in. Between corrosion and heat they are usually toast. They were toast so the shop is in the process of fixing that. A quick consultation with some friends at Northwest Diesel Service & Performance confirmed the issue was common and there was a reasonable solution. I passed the info on to the people at Curt's. So we are on our way to a fix. I was informed by Curt's that they found ceramic shielded spade fittings, origonally used on late model fog lights, and once they arrive they will get them installed. Nice. Fixed right! I like these guys.
It turns out that the glow plugs had been replaced sometime earlier using Bosch units. Unfortunately 4 of the 8 were not working. Another discovery was that the block heater appears to be non-functional. After a 6 hour plug-in it wasn't heated. So it really doesn't make sense to have the glow plugs updated if the block heater is DOA. So I made the decision to just have it fixed.
Another reason I like Curt's is that they go over the vehicle during it's stay to alert you to any issues. They caught the need for an oil change and worn front brake pads. I was already aware of both. But it was greatly appreciated that they let me know. Well done again gentleman!
Until then I will wait to hear back on when the van is ready. Stay tuned! An oil change and brake job are in the near future!