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Thread: Diesels in the cold weather

  1. #1
    Member mjm316's Avatar
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    Default Diesels in the cold weather

    I'm starting to look at newer pickups to pull an enclosed trailer/toy hauler and am curious as to what the diesel guys do to keep their diesels working in the cold weather when a plug in isn't available? Right now I have a gas pickup but lately the diesels have been intriguing me. Thanks
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    Member theultrarider's Avatar
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    A full synthetic oil is a must. They start easily at much colder temps and is easier on the engine. When it's gonna be really cold at the trailhead for a weekend, pack a generator to plug it in for a couple hours if needed. Sub -30 temps.

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    Member Have Gun Will Travel's Avatar
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    FYI: At -30 F, engine cold, my F-250 turbo diesel takes just about three hours for circulating engine heater to warm diesel temperature enough to start. Honda I2000 is adequate to run circulating heater on pu.

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    Diesel take a lot more amperage to start in the cold it would not hurt to have a big cold weather battery and battery blanket. I don't have a Diesel what I carry is a tarp, stove pipe, propane tank and a weed burner.

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    Member ak_cowboy's Avatar
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    A lot of diesels will run dual batteries which helps a lot. You can also get an autostart that you can program to run 5 min every hour, or whatever interval you'd like.

  6. #6

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    Another vote for synthetic oil, I run Mobil 1. A generator to plug into would always be good. The old propane, stove pipe and tarp are a proven Alaskan way to start a diesel in cold temps. Just remember more then one vehicle has caught on fire by that method. My 2008 Duramax starts good for a diesel, but I imagine most of the newer diesels start better then they used to. I have a remote start, but can't speak to programming one to start every hour, but I like the idea. Always have 2 big batteries and replace them every 3 to 4 years if you can.

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    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    My Duramax starts easier and in colder temps than the F150 it replaced. I have regularly started it at -35F without plugging it in. I do replace the batteries every 3 years.
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    I have had 2 duramax's, never had a problem with either of them starting, even at -40f. My wife had an 07 dodge and never had a problem with it either. I know the power strokes I drove at work would need to be plugged in at anything below 0. The 08 power stroke am driving at work now is better, no problem down to -20. All run the same oil 15/40 delo LE. I am not a fan of synthetic oil, nothing wrong with them just my preference after being a diesel mechanic.

    Just make sure you have good fuel, and change your fuel filter at every oil change in the winter.

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    I use Die Hard Platinum's in my F250 as they had the highest CCA I could find in the Group that would fit. I also changed the Alternator up to a 160 amp from DP Power and replaced the OEM Glow Plug Relay with one that has bigger contacts inside of it and can handle more amperage. It is quite a bit larger too.
    I also run Rotella T6 5W-40 or Mobile 1 5W-40. My truck has seen winter temps up north of -10 and summer temps of 122dgF. The higher amperage alternator recharges the batteries quicker. My truck is a 2000 and has a block heater I can plug an extension cord into and set on a timer. It is nice to turn it on an hour before I need to start it which helps it heat up a bit quicker. Rotella also makes a 10W-30 Oil I think it is their T5. I'm not sure if the is a 0W rated oil for diesels but Mobile 1 comes in a 0W-20 for gas engines. I think one of the biggest reasons diesels have trouble in below 0 weather is old worn out glow plugs and worn out batteries.

  10. #10
    Member Roger45's Avatar
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    I will only pull with a diesel. I don't use synthetics. I do have a block heater and I tap a battery tender on both batteries. They do a trickle charge, shut off when full, and a warm battery is a happy battery, and my truck always starts :-)
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    Member AK Troutbum's Avatar
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    Default Diesels in the cold weather

    I have a Cummins 1 ton that I bought new in 03 and have pretty much always used synthetic oil in it. I've never had a single problem starting in cold weather. I couldn't even begin to tell you the number of nights that it's stayed outside in 20 to 30 below temperatures without being plugged in and still, aside from it being a legal little sluggish initially starting up, it has always started. I still have the original two batteries in it and the truck currently has about 170,000 miles.

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    Supporting Member Hoyt-Hunter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AK Troutbum View Post
    I have a Cummins 1 ton that I bought new in 03 and have pretty much always used synthetic oil in it. I've never had a single problem starting in cold weather. I couldn't even begin to tell you the number of nights that it's stayed outside in 20 to 30 below temperatures without being plugged in and still, aside from it being a legal little sluggish initially starting up, it has always started. I still have the original two batteries in it and the truck currently has about 170,000 miles.
    Hate to see you the damage you're doing to your oil pump starting it cold at that temp. I work in that temperature all winter and if you were ever caught starting any engine when it's that cold, and not plugged and/or heated, you would get canned.


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  13. #13
    Member AK Troutbum's Avatar
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    Default Diesels in the cold weather

    Quote Originally Posted by Hoyt-Hunter View Post
    Hate to see you the damage you're doing to your oil pump starting it cold at that temp. I work in that temperature all winter and if you were ever caught starting any engine when it's that cold, and not plugged and/or heated, you would get canned.


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    I have no choice in the matter. It's parked in a heated garage when I'm at home but, I also work in those conditions and where I work there are no places to plug-in. For years I worked 12 hour night shifts at the same place I currently work and they do not offer any place to plug-in. If the oil pump goes, so be it, I'll deal with it then, but for now I'll just keep on truckin'. 12 years and pushing 175,000 miles and all is well as far as I can tell.

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