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Diesel vs. COLD temps.
I'm new to diesels. My truck has a Cummins diesel, and last year wouldn't start when it got around zero degrees. I've since had a block heater installed, but haven't use it yet. Now I'm afraid to go hunting in remote locations, alone in the big woods, where I can't plug it in. What experiences do you have regarding fuel additives, how many hours it can sit, etc. before I find myself stranded in the middle of nowhere?
Well, Joey should pipe up here in a bit. But....
1. Going hunting in near 0* conditions with a diesel. Bring a generator rated to the watts needed for a block heater... or
2. starting fluid... farmers best friend in cold weather. However, check with a mechanic about the Cummins.
I have a 7.3 Powerstroke. I carry starting fluid for cold conditions and I don't have a block heater. I have to move the gasket just enough to spray into the turbo and my truck starts right up. I've had to do this if I'm 7500' above sea level and if I'm below 35*. My glow plugs just don't do it......
My hunting partner has a 7.3. This time of year, before any major cold spells, he puts about 1/4 the normal dosage of fuel additive in the diesel. When a major cold front approaches, he goes full tilt and keeps it at that level. We discussed that last Saturday on the way to chasing antelope.
Might be an old wives tale, but starting fluid in passenger vehicle diesels will hurt the glow plugs.
I always plugged mine in the night before. Once it has ran down the road, it will start if left turned off for a few hours by adding anti-gel additive to the fuel tank.
Besides, if it's 20 below, what the heck you doing out hunting anyway!! 8^)
My 7.3 Powerstroke was always cold blooded. The block heater helped some, but that wasn't always possible to use. That was one of several reasons I got rid of the stinking, smoking, loud, fuel guzzling pig.
I have an 06 Duramax, I haven't had it in sub freezing temps very much, but when I do, it's a slug unless I let it run for about 25-30 minutes before I drive it. I can't say it hasn't ever started though, it just takes a long time to get going. Kinda like me without coffee:/
I've got an 07 Duramax. Never an issue with starting down to 15 degrees above zero. Doesn't get much colder than that here. Glow plugs seem to be adequate. No starting fluid. No fuel additives. Great engine. Pulls 12,000 lbs no trouble.
One thing to be sure of if you have a diesel and it's not your daily driver be sure you have winter blend in the tank, if not you need an anti-gel formula additive. Power Service Products make reliable products. Also make sure your glow plugs are working properly and your batteries are holding a full charge.
Yes you don’t want to use starting fluid if you have glow plugs.
I used to have a 7.3. I could get it started pretty easy down to -15 with out plugging it in. You will want to cycle your glow plugs a few times. By doing this your fuel pump kicks on every time. Every time it puts a little more fuel in the cylinders. Since your new to diesels you can not flood a diesel. The more fuel in the cylinders the better.
Fuel additives won’t Be a lot to help if your already running blended fuel. Around zero I would look for 50/50 blend or 70/30 blend. The more number 1 you have the better. Biodiesel is not cold weather friendly. Even with blended or even additives it will gell.
Yes plugging them in helps a lot but it is not necessary to get a diesel to start. Also check owners Manuel. I have seen some diesels that will allow a 10/30 oil for winter.
I have a 2001 Dodge, bought it new. I snowmobile and it sits in sub zero temps for days. Sometimes it helps to cycle the manifold heater 2-3 times but it always starts up.
The key is good batteries and that your manifold heater is in good shape. The manifold heaters get weaker with age and can cause issues.
I have a 2002 Duramax and just turn the key until it says start. It always starts easily. doesn't normally get much below zero here but sometimes it does. I don't use any heater and my truck is outside.
It also makes a huge difference if you use a full synthetic oil. I always used 0-30 full synthetic in the winter and my truck always started in 25 below zero weather.
I have had two cummins diesels, The block heater helps but is not necessary, I have never had trouble starting mine in those temps. Make sure your fuel isn't gelled. Make sure you change your fuel filters and drain the water. There are a lot of diesel additives, I like Howes but you have to add more than the directions call for, Also XDP Extreme Diesel Performance has a good one but frankly the fuel stations sell diesel that has a winter additive in it. The other thing is make sure your glow plugs are all working properly and you have good batteries. other than that they should start with no trouble in 0 temps. A block heater will cut down on the time to wait for the glow plugs and will give you warm air quicker inside the cab. Also regarding the batteries, I change mine out to AGM batteries they are a much better choice for cold temps like that as they won't freeze like a regular wet cel will.
Jumper cables and a cell phone is all I can add. :-)
I have a 7.3 powerstroke and have never had a problem with it starting down to 0 just using the glow plugs. I've never plugged mine in in 16 years.
I go snowmobiling and ice fishing in northern MN. Many times the temps are the minus side of 30 below. I have a 2012 duramax and my buddy has a 2015. Never had an issue starting either one. Just turn the key.
Never had a diesel in a pickup, but spent near 10 years driving big trucks with Cummins, Detroit and Cat's for power.
When temp's hit in the teens I'd change over to running #1 Diesel (includes additives), and be sure you also carry at least one extra fuel filter. When running, a percentage of the fuel pumped gets dumped back into the tank after running through the engine bypass, and that will help keep the fuel in the tank at a decent temp.
If it's a "life or death" situation when you're deep in the bush and it won't start, you can always make a big fire, let it burn down and then spread the coals under the engine so the heat goes up into the engine. If it doesn't burn your truck down it'll warm the engine enough to start..:)
Starter fluid in a VERY short burst and then a very short burst of WD-40. Keep your batteries in peak CCA for diesels.
I have a 2014 Ram with the diesel. It gets below zero quite often where I live. I have left it unplugged in -15 to -20 before and it will start. It just takes a minute or so for the plugs to warm up. If you live in an area that routinely gets below a certain temperature (20 degrees I think) the filling stations are mandated to sell winterized diesel.
I use this in my skid loader...good stuff. I can start it all winter.
thank to those who stayed on topic & offered advice. I'll pick up some of that additive, as the winter blend didn't cut it last winter below zero.
I've had diesel pickups since 1994 and owned a lot of Peterbilts in my day and the thing you need with a diesel motor is good batteries , good glow plugs and a working glow plug relay !!! If your truck has glow plugs I would not shoot starting fluid into it to try and start it. If your truck doesn't have glow plugs go ahead and give it some starting fluid. I had a guy working for me once and he ran the batteries down on my diesel pickup , it wouldn't start so he kept spraying starting fluid in the intake until it blew up a glow plug which caused parts of the glow plug to fall onto a piston and really tore that cylinder up. With good maintenance a diesel is no harder to start than a gas motor. #1 diesel fuel is the best thing to put in your tanks if you can find it other than that I have used FPPF, Howes, Power Service and have never had my fuel gell up and I am talking running diesel trucks coast to coast and border to border and Canada through over 30 cold winters !! .........Key to cold weather...GOOD GLOW PLUGS !!
FYI- Cummins uses an intake manifold heater v.s. glow plugs like GM and the Ford 7.3
Never have owned a Cummins.... Owned plenty of Powestrokes and Caterpillers. The 6.7 Powerstroke starts in -10 temps like it does in +80 temps with full syn. oil in it.