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Old 01-10-2014, 08:19 PM   #1
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Advice for Diesel Owners

From Tom and Ray on NPR's Car Talk.

Idling is for Inconsiderate Knuckleheads | Car Talk
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Old 01-10-2014, 08:31 PM   #2
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In 7 years of half-timing, I can't even begin to count the number of times I have been parked next to someone who just had to light off their big honkin' diesel at oh-dark-thirty and let it idle for half an hour.

If only this article could be pasted to every diesel pump...

Mike
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Old 01-10-2014, 09:28 PM   #3
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One would think that "having your way" for 23 and 1/2 hours would be considered a good deal out of the 24 hours available per day. However there are those that demand more than that, such is life in the great outdoors. Different strokes for different folks. Be thankful if 30 minutes per day is your worst nightmare, there are worse things that could happen.
One might find themselves camping next to someone that has a smelly smokey fire for hours on end, or animals that do whatever it is that animals do, or enjoy drinking or smoking intoxicating stuff, [known to the surgeon general to cause all sorts of bad things, worse than diesel fumes] There is a light at the end of the tunnel ! Due to the nature of an rv, one can move to another location if any of the above becomes too much to bear. One might consider camping at a monestery where it most likely will be quiet and they will certainly "forgive those who trespass against them."
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Old 01-10-2014, 09:33 PM   #4
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Most RV parks that we go to, have a quiet time regulation which includes engine idling.
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Old 01-10-2014, 09:46 PM   #5
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Most pickup or auto diesels require no warm up before moving.

But all units, gas or diesel, pulling a trailer, should do a daily inspection, IE: pretrip, before heading out onto the highways of the nation.

This check will involve hitch connections, air if equipped, electrical, and suspension and tires and etc.. This final part of a pretrip is usually done with the engine running and lights and flashers on. If the unit is equipped with air brakes, then a air brake test procedure should be done also before moving the unit.

How would you want to be meeting a unit in your travels that has not done an inspection on a daily basis? Many accidents can be faulted on vehicle and equipment failures.

Your complaint was not about me as I rarely use trailer parks, but I always do a pretrip before leaving the overnight stop. This inspection could be done in an area away from close quarters of a camp site, but should be done daily when you are putting on miles.

If one wants to have complete control of your surroundings then don't go where other people are because it just ain't going to work!

Below is a very condensed version of a simple daily inspection of an air equipped vehicle.

Dave
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Test low-air warning device
  • Ensure air pressure is at least 621 kPa (90 psi). (If air pressure is too low, warning will activate as soon as ignition key is turned on.)
  • Ensure key is ''on". Engine may be running or shut off. (If ignition key is not turned on the warning will not activate.)
  • Press and release the brake pedal several times until the low-air warning device activates.
  • Watch the pressure gauges and note the pressure value when the low air warning device activates. (Warning may be only a light or a light and an audible device.)
If the device fails to activate or activates below 380 kPa (55 psi), the vehicle is defective.
Test air pressure build-up time
  • If the vehicle has a trailer attached, ensure the trailer supply valve is closed (pulled out).
  • Reduce air pressure to below 552 kPa (80 psi).
  • Maintain engine speed of 600 to 900 rpm.
  • Observe time for pressure to rise from 587 to 690 kPa (85 to 100 psi) while maintaining specified engine speed.
    If the air-pressure build-up time is greater than two minutes, the vehicle is defective.
Report defective vehicle conditions

It is illegal to operate or drive a defective vehicle.

Test air-compressor governor settings
  • Observe the air pressure gauges until pressure ceases climbing. (Air dryer purge also signals compressor cut-out.)
  • Reduce air pressure slowly and note the point where pressure begins to climb again. (A change in the sound of the air compressor also signals compressor cut-in.)
If cut-out pressure is greater than 932 kPa (135 psi) or is less than 690 kPa (100 psi) and/or cut-in pressure is less than 552 kPa (80 psi) the vehicle is defective.
Test air-loss rate
  • Ensure vehicle is secure and release the spring brakes.
  • Ensure air-system pressure is between cut-in and cut-out settings and shut off the engine.
  • Press and hold the brake pedal in the fully applied position.
  • Observe the air-pressure gauges for one minute and note any change. (Disregard the initial pressure drop and begin test after pressure has stabilized.)
If the pressure drop exceeds the value specified for the vehicle, the vehicle is defective.
Test tractor (towing vehicle) protection valve
  • Ensure air-pressure is within its normal operating range.
  • Ensure the trailer supply valve is closed (pulled out).
  • Remove the trailer service-line coupler from the trailer or its storage location and place it where it can be observed.
  • Press and hold the brake pedal. (Note: If concerned that the vehicle has no anti-compounding valve, ensure the vehicle is secure and release the spring brakes before applying service brakes.)
  • Note whether air exhausts from the trailer service-line coupler.
If air exhausts from the trailer service line, the vehicle is defective.
Test automatic application of the trailer brakes
If the trailer brakes do not apply, the vehicle is defective.
Test (parking/emergency) brakes
  • Apply the brakes.
  • Remove wheel chocks or blocks.
  • Add engine power gently to the wheels and observe the vehicle response.
If the brakes fail to hold the vehicle stationary, the vehicle is defective.
Inspect air-tank drain valves
  • Ensure air system pressure is within its normal operating range.
  • Drain the supply tank until it discharges only clean air.
  • Drain the remaining air-tanks.
  • Watch the discharge from the air-tanks and ensure that the drain valves function properly.
If any drain valve fails to function properly, the vehicle is defective.
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Old 01-10-2014, 09:55 PM   #6
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While it is true with modern diesel engines with EGR valves and hyped up coolant systems bring their engines rapidly up to operating temps are the rule these days, my Isuzu TD is a different beast. It has no EGR valve or high tech coolant system and has 15 or so litres of thick 15W40 engine oil to bring up to temp. Old diesels are very slow to warm up compared to gas engines, but ever mindfull of others I do try and keep my idling to a minimum.

Sorry for the smell

Cheers
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Old 01-10-2014, 09:59 PM   #7
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It is a proven fact that after a short idle period a loaded power train will warm up faster.
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Old 01-11-2014, 12:46 AM   #8
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I find it interesting the callous disregard for another individual's sizable investment in a diesel engine. That five or six thousand dollar "adder" is in addition to the cost of the base gasoline engine, so the diesel power plant could cost way over ten thousand to get a new one.

We designed turbo chargers used on Cummins, Detroit diesel, Caterpillar, John Deere, Continental engines etc. The folks that drive these vehicles have learned that warm oil lubricates the bearings better than cold oil. There is a need for good lubrication on the turbocharger bearings when that turbo can be turning over 100,000 rpm under load. There is a way to take care of the engine so it lasts over 300,000 miles or one can score the cylinder walls and or bearings and have to pay for major damage/repairs for putting the engine under load too soon.

Dodge would love to sell parts to repair the abused engines as the damage would not be considered warrantable.

Even the turbocharged gasoline engines need time for the oil to get to the bearings and be warm enough to do a good job.

But, what the heck, a turbo costs only a couple of thousand dollars.

Since most places require a disconnect because the lot is too short for truck and trailer to stay connected, the truck has to be started to get reattached, the brakes and turn signals and other lights need to be checked and the trailer secured for travel. I am nearly 69 and do not move like a teenager. I have to double check that all the stuff is secured, retracted, stowed or whatever and the motor is running and the air compressor is filling the tank for the air suspension system, especially if I drop the bed so I can load the gen set and other associated gear and then have to raise the bed back up.

This all does not happen in fifteen minutes for me. If I rush, I can forget an important check item and someone could get hurt or dead.

YMMV
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Old 01-11-2014, 12:51 AM   #9
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SWitz in the post above has it pretty well covered. I do warm mine up while hooking up, and it has almost 600,000 trouble free miles. Of course we are usually camped where there are few people also.

The guy complaining about the diesel engine at 6 AM may be the same one that had the outside TV or stereo cranked up until midnight
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Old 01-11-2014, 01:22 AM   #10
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My strategy for not annoying my fellow campers with an idling diesel truck is to wake up late. Like after 9.

So far, it's been working out.
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Old 01-11-2014, 04:36 AM   #11
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Ha Ha , this is pretty interesting. A few years ago we camped in our 18 foot ultra light which should be better known as an ultra noisey instead. We had that 30 minute diesel idler at 6 am as well. Additionally, we had those post midnight noisemaker campfire party types keeping us up. We might as well had a tent. It was that very experience that led me to an Airstream. My Airstream is way, way more quiet that that ultra light. Just make sure those windows and vents are closed tight at night and keep a small fan on for white noise and you will be able to live and let live. And it doesn't hurt to try and select the best possible campsite if it is quiet you desire.
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Old 01-11-2014, 05:53 AM   #12
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A diesel won't warm up for beans unless under a load. Plug it in (block heater) if a jump-start on such is needed (to about 115F coolant temp). Oil pressure will come up plenty fast (and use of fully synthetic oil will help, too) in any case.

Now, I might not want to hit highway speeds within a few hundred yards -- no different than with a gasser TV -- so the lower speed limit on an Interstate is useful, then.

It will take more than 45-minutes/45-miles for the other temps to rise (axle, trans, power steering, greases, etc) and another 45-minutes past that for tire temps to stabilize past that when at a steady speed.

Unless the engine has a warm-up protocol stated in the owners manual, idling a cold engine is worse for wear than a reasonable departure.

On an air brake equipped moho, okay, (as with the Peterbilt I drive these days) it might take a few minutes to do a test. But it sure doesn't take any 30-minutes and all caveats about wet-stacking, condensation, etc, ought to have more attention paid to them.

Be specific about engine operating procedures from that manufacturer. These aren't two-stroke turbosupercharged Detroit Diesels running straight grade 40W.


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Old 01-11-2014, 07:33 AM   #13
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I suspect that these complaints will lessen as time goes on and older trucks are replaced . My 99 Dodge cummins is quite noisy and also takes about a week to warm up.
My 2013 Ram is much quieter and warms up much faster.
I spent several years delivering trailers to dealers and spent a lot of nights in rest areas and truck stops. What would wake me up is when the guy next to me shut his engine OFF.
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Old 01-11-2014, 07:59 AM   #14
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The Dodge truck with Cummins diesel engine owners manual is specific about no full load until approximately 170 degrees of engine water temp. Taking the transmission out of "park" and putting it in drive puts the rig under full load. The trailer is not a drag sled that gradually increases resistance. The mass and resistance is there when it starts to move. Of course, the air resistance increases with speed.

The more recent emissions stuff clouds the issue because by it's very design, the engine is inhaling it's own exhaust which can carbon up the intake manifold, the compressor wheel on the turbine wheel etc.

The simple solution is to always stay in a warm climate so the engine starts from a higher "cold" temperature. Unfortunately, a block heater is not an option in the middle of the woods....
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