Ford Repair Questions? Ask a Mechanic for Answers ASAP
From experience it is most likely the glow plug relay, locate and replace it and your problems should be fixed.
On the E series it is under the enginecover and mounted on the rear of the drivers side valve cover. I believe they run about $100.
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There should be two there, one is for the glowplugs and the other is for the air intake heater. You have to make sure you replaced the correct one. You said it will start and run with using starter fluid so the high pressure oil system is working properly, if the IPR were stuck or inoperative it wouldn't keep running.
Is this a US built econoline?
The US models had a glow plug controller, this is a aluminum box type moduel on the drivers valve cover with two large connectors in it, one should be black and one should be green