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Old 03-05-2018, 08:18 PM   #1
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Dodge truck diesel question?

Hey Everyone,

This is not bus related but I bet someone here has an answer.

I have moved to a small town in a cool climate. My only choices for my daily driver are my Dodge 3500 or a Ford E450. Both diesel.

Problem: I have the grill of my truck completely blocked to facilitate warming up. It still never gets up to operating temperature. My typical daily driving amounts to 4-5 miles. 10 if I am really busy. In the last 8 months I have made 2-3 trips long enough to get up to normal operating temperature.

I know that this is hard on a diesel. Short of moving I can't really solve the short trip problem.

Is there anything else I can do to mitigate this issue?

Thanks.

S.
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Old 03-05-2018, 08:34 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PNW_Steve View Post
Hey Everyone,

This is not bus related but I bet someone here has an answer.

I have moved to a small town in a cool climate. My only choices for my daily driver are my Dodge 3500 or a Ford E450. Both diesel.

Problem: I have the grill of my truck completely blocked to facilitate warming up. It still never gets up to operating temperature. My typical daily driving amounts to 4-5 miles. 10 if I am really busy. In the last 8 months I have made 2-3 trips long enough to get up to normal operating temperature.

I know that this is hard on a diesel. Short of moving I can't really solve the short trip problem.

Is there anything else I can do to mitigate this issue?

Thanks.

S.
You can check that the thermostat is not stuck open.

10 miles isn't much distance to fully warm a big diesel engine though.
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Old 03-05-2018, 08:42 PM   #3
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Thanks Steve.

No the thermostat is not stuck open. it is a simple case of really short trips in freezing weather.

I manage a longer trip from time to time and it warms up normally.

It is the 2 mile trips in 30f weather that have me concerned.
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Old 03-05-2018, 08:48 PM   #4
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Block heater??
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Old 03-05-2018, 08:54 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by TrailLifeBill View Post
Block heater??
Thanks Bill,

Yes I have a block heater and use it. It does not warm enough to get the temperature gauge off of the peg.

I can tell the difference in how she starts if I forget to plug in.
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Old 03-05-2018, 09:17 PM   #6
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short trips wont warm it up... my red bus has a 444E.. (7.3 ford essentially).. even witha heavy bus attached it takes a bit to warm up.. if im a bad boy and dont warm it up when its in the teens or 20s.. (just start it and go).. it takes me 4-5 miles just to get up to 120 or where ill then turn on the heaters which make it warm very slowly after that..

if I let it sit and run for 10 minutes or so then drive it.. I am at 120 within a couple miles and in that same 5 miles I may be up to 145 or so (even with the heaters on)..

warm it up for a bit each morning and you;ll niotice a big difference in how warm the engine temp goes.
-Christopher
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Old 03-06-2018, 10:03 AM   #7
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How long do you have the heater plugged in for? Unless it's 0 out with a head wind, the block heater should noticeably make the upper radiator hose warm. If not, your heater is slowly going bad. I've also seen cords go bad too so don't count them out either.
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Old 03-06-2018, 10:04 AM   #8
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And if after all that checks out, you're still too cold. You can get stick on oil pan heaters to plug in as well.
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Old 03-06-2018, 10:20 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
short trips wont warm it up... my red bus has a 444E.. (7.3 ford essentially).. even witha heavy bus attached it takes a bit to warm up.. if im a bad boy and dont warm it up when its in the teens or 20s.. (just start it and go).. it takes me 4-5 miles just to get up to 120 or where ill then turn on the heaters which make it warm very slowly after that..

if I let it sit and run for 10 minutes or so then drive it.. I am at 120 within a couple miles and in that same 5 miles I may be up to 145 or so (even with the heaters on)..

warm it up for a bit each morning and you;ll niotice a big difference in how warm the engine temp goes.
-Christopher
My truck behaves similarly. Unfortunately a trip including the hardware store, supermarket and the pharmacy is a total trip of about 3 miles.

About every 6-8 weeks I drive to Walla Walla. My truck warms up fine after 5 minutes or less on the highway.

I think that my cooling system is operating properly. I just don't drive far enough to let it warm up fully.

I am looking for steps I may take to minimize or mitigate the ill effects of driving it that way.
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Old 03-06-2018, 12:05 PM   #10
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Your best bet is to be a cheap beater car, the long trips you take help get the condensation out of the oil
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Old 03-06-2018, 12:13 PM   #11
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when I drive in the winter, i actually try and run on the faster roads if I can.. it sure seems to make a very fast difference if I drive it through the warehouse district near my house which is 35-40. (thats assuming im not behind a semi which I usually am.. then its 25-30. as they are slow looking for their stops)..

vs driving it on a road thats 1 mile longer but is a 45-50 MPH road.. (just a few miles).. my bus engine warms up much faster on the higher speed road..

on my DEV bus. if I leave my block heater plugged in constantly running, on a zero degree day with a small wind (always wind in ohio in the cold).. I'll have an engine temp of 80-90 degrees F about anywhere I point my infrared gun.. except near the plug where the heater is will be above 100.. usually 110 or so...

my normal way is to run my block heater 5am to 7am every day.. if im going to use that bus its usually asround 7 to 730am. and it kicks right over without issue on a zero degree f day with just 2 hours on the block heater.. my temp gauge doesnt show movement. but it starts easier and warms up for heat much faster!..

-Christopher
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Old 03-06-2018, 02:08 PM   #12
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Generally the problems with short runs are condensate in the crankcase change the oil a little more often to get the condensate out and you will be doing as much as you can and probably need to do keep your vehicle alright.
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Old 03-06-2018, 02:17 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Gdog 5651 View Post
Generally the problems with short runs are condensate in the crankcase change the oil a little more often to get the condensate out and you will be doing as much as you can and probably need to do keep your vehicle alright.
Thank you.

It sounds like my best bet is to start riding my bicycle more when the weather warms and switch my oil change interval to 3000 miles.

When I was living on the West side my typical trips were 10-30 miles each way. Now, my most frequent trip is less than a mile each way. Also, the speed limit in town is all 20-25 mph. Not an ideal environment for a happy diesel.
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Old 03-06-2018, 02:39 PM   #14
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or just every so often take the bus out and run it.. I use a 6000 mile oil change interval and a 3000 mile filter change interval on both mine.. if I drive in town in winter a couple days and notice it hasnt been warmed.. then I take it down the freeway for 30 minutes or so ( or if im cold enough I drive it 1000 miles to florida where I know it will be warmed up!)
-Christopher
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