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Old 01-03-2006, 09:28 PM   #1
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Powerstroke idling

I have always heard that diesel engines do not like to startup and shutdown frequently. They want to run for long periods and be left to idle when I stop for a reasonable period of time like 10 or 15 minutes. I am told the hardest thing a diesel engine does is to startup, lots of strain on the starter and lots of wear while the piston skirts slap in the cylinders during warmup. Does this logic apply to my 2004 F-250 6.0 or is it just for 18 wheelers. Or is all of this "Old wives tales"?
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Old 01-03-2006, 09:55 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by jfowler218
I have always heard that diesel engines do not like to startup and shutdown frequently. They want to run for long periods and be left to idle when I stop for a reasonable period of time like 10 or 15 minutes. I am told the hardest thing a diesel engine does is to startup, lots of strain on the starter and lots of wear while the piston skirts slap in the cylinders during warmup. Does this logic apply to my 2004 F-250 6.0 or is it just for 18 wheelers. Or is all of this "Old wives tales"?
I would say it is about 50/50...no engine likes to be turned on and off especially if it has not had a chance to warm up throughly. I do know with a diesel if it has been driven hard...towing or at high speeds, it does need a few minutes for the turbo to cool down and disipate the excess heat build up prior to shut down. IMHO if I am going to be idling for more than 5 minutes I am shutting down. In a gas engine 2-3 minutes tops. The only possible exception for the diesel would be in very cold weather if I wanted to keep the heat in it. BTW mine is a '96 7.3 PSD this is my first turbo diesel, most of my gas powered vehicles have all run in excess of 200k so I expect the diesel to hit 500k

Aaron
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Old 01-04-2006, 12:11 AM   #3
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hi jfowler218 and others

we had some exchange about this issue on recently, on the powerstoke forum. the master mechanic who provides most of the best info said no on long idles for the psd.

as i understood his post.......at idle speed the engine will not reach full operating temperature. fuel will not fully combust and this leads to fuel in the oil eventually, and increased deposits on the exhaust valves...

his advice was in cold weather, idle till defrost air is warm and go. in warm weather just go and after heavy running let the turbos cool 1-2 minutes max.

i asked about 15 minute idles, while hitching and before long towing trips...he suggested that wouldn't be harmful because the increased load from pulling would burn off the fuel....

we didn't discuss why the big rigs can do prolonged idles but seems to me, the rpms are higher....and it's still not long compared to the full service time of a long haul diesel....

if you aren't a member of the powerstroke group on yahoo, i highly recommend it. questions are answered quickly and the content is very good.

i've learned lots about my first ford psd.

cheers
2air'
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Old 01-04-2006, 04:58 AM   #4
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Something else just came to mind...the newer rigs (big rigs) have a computer control that will turn the engine on and off under certain conditions. I have no clue as to what all the "certain conditons" are...perhaps engine heat, cab ac, battery charge etc. I do know that on certain models of Bluebird Wanderlodges the generator can be set to automatically crank up when the house batteries hit a certain state of discharge. I agree with the unburned fuel and the carbon build up. Especially in the newer diesels. I suspect it was less of a problem in the older ones...nobody cared to much about the emissions at the time.

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Old 01-04-2006, 06:28 AM   #5
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Good Manners

Having owned a couple of diesels - and having been through periods with no diesels - my present feelings are:

Leaving a diesel idle is much like smoking in a crowded elevator.

Recent afflictions to my ears and nostrils from someone leaving their "cool" diesel idling have occured at the following locations:

Sonic Drive In
Local "mom and pop" hardware store - multiple times
Napa
Home Depot
Company parking garage
State Park while camping

I would propose to anyone who owns a diesel - do the rest of us a favor -

Turn the d*mn thing off whenever you get out of the drivers seat.

The older I get, the more militant I become.
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Old 01-04-2006, 07:04 AM   #6
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jfowler218

Your '04 is a 6.0 Powerstroke. The 6.0 was built to comply with the new government environmental regulations. It is a completely different animal than Wahoonc's '97 model 7.3 Powerstroke. The 7.3 was replaced by the 6.0 during the middle of the 2003 model year. There were many issues with the 2003 6.0 engines and those put into the 2004 models through the trucks built in February of 2004. Your dealer can advise you whether or not you have one of the early engines. Ford dealt with a multitude of problems with those engines before finally getting the kinks out of most of them. I would imagine that your engine is either one of the later ones or its system components have been updated by now through the various recalls applied to that engine.

The new regulations required that any unburned fuel be captured before entering the exhaust system and this is generally accomplished while the engine is operating under load and at speed, but not while idling. Leaving that engine idling clogs the EGR valve which leads to all sorts of performance issues and as cited above dumps unburned fuel into the oil. I have been told to drive the 6.0 like I had stolen it and that by doing so I would avoid most problems. My dealer said to NOT let it idle any more than absolutely necessary. While I haven't driven the motor as if I had stolen it, I haven't allowed it to idle and I have gotten along very well with my engine.

The various diesel forums all advise the owners of the newer 6.0 engines to never allow them to idle excessively. Just operating the 6.0 in city traffic is very hard on the emmisions components and can lead to performance issues in short order. Fortunately, I don't live in an urban environment and I have the luxury of using this truck only for towing our airstream trailer and what incidental transportation we require in shopping or sightseeing while out with the trailer.

I own both a '96 Ford F-350 with the 7.3 and a 2004 F-250 with the 6.0. The two engines are both referred to as Powerstrokes, but they are completely different in how they behave and in how one can use them. I ranch with the 7.3 and it sees extensive idling while feeding and caring for our cattle. It always has and has never seemingly suffered from the extended idling that it often endures, but I try to never idle the 6.0.

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Old 01-04-2006, 08:40 AM   #7
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I agree, though our fams cars were not truck diesels, nor modern 2000 or above diesels, the cars were used just as a gasser and all lasted and the one remaining are well over 200k. The only real issue we ever had with diesel was the that the diesel would gel in near zero temps. This was overcome by using the juice to put in the tank to stop that from happening and use of the block heater.

None of the cars were ever idled exessivley FWIW.

I read total horror stories on several forums about the 6.0 stroke. I heard one guy didn't even make it home from the lot before the injection system failed, while a staunch Ford man of 30+ years, had so many issue with his 6.0 stroke, that he's going GM or Dodge next time around. Several units were re-purchased and also Ford got in trouble for trying to charge customers for some of the repair issues. I've heard that the new(er) 6.0s and the ones that have gone through the long list of recalls are much more reliable, but IMHO that thing should never have left the factory in that condition.....just my .02.

I thought I read that a new diesel was coming for the Fords, but don't quote me on that.
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Old 01-04-2006, 10:06 AM   #8
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Thumbs up GStephens has it right ...

You don't want to idle the 6.0 very long because of the EGR valve. I had mine replaced under warranty (5 year/100,000) at about 27,000 miles ... and I don't leave it idling very much.

The new EGR is suposed to be better ... and the new reflash is supposed to deactivate it after a certain period of idling time (5 minutes, I think). Also, a clogged EGR will not leave you stranded ... you can still tow with it. If you are so inclined ... you can remove the EGR and clean it yourself. It's not that big of a deal.

My advice ... install some gauges ... let the EGT cool down to 300 and then shut if off. If you must idle in cold weather, install an AIC (Automatic Idle Controller) to prevent wet stacking.

Quote:
There were many issues with the 2003 6.0 engines and those put into the 2004 models through the trucks built in February of 2004.
Not quite ... officially, Job 2 (a.k.a. 2004 engines) began on 9/29/03 ... actually, it began on Sunday night 9/28/03.

The Navistar Indy plant began production on the Job 2 engines on 9/22/03.
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Old 01-04-2006, 10:15 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvertwinkie

I thought I read that a new diesel was coming for the Fords, but don't quote me on that.
Okay so this is an unquote

There will be more changes in the diesel landscape in the near future. New EPA standards for emissions on the light diesels go into effect for 2007. It is my understanding that few if any of the current crop of diesels on the road are capable of meeting those standards without some type of suplemental injection system, as well as changes in diesel fuel formulation.

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Old 01-04-2006, 10:18 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvertwinkie
I thought I read that a new diesel was coming for the Fords, but don't quote me on that.
6.4 litre ... dual turbos ... 2007 model year.
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Old 01-04-2006, 11:32 AM   #11
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Idling Diesel Engines

Hello Diesel Owners,

I have 35 years' experience with the design, manufacture and servicing of diesel engines. I can tell you for sure that whether your engine is a line haul diesel or in a pickup truck the worst thing you can do is shut it down too soon, or too late!

If you shut your engine down before the exhaust gas has cooled to 300 degrees F, the heat will begin to convert the lub oil in the turbo bearings to coke. This is death for turbos. Three minutes of idle time is all it usually takes to cool. I put an exhaust pyrometer on my Powerstroke so I will know when it is safe to shut down. You can also buy devices to do this for you. This lets you get out, lock the doors and leave, and it will shut off automatically.

On the other hand, idling diesel engines longer than it takes to cool the turbo is a terrible waste of diesel fuel, can lead to oil consumption and the loss of thousands of miles of engine life due to unnecessary wear. Drivers have developed the mistaken belief that a diesel should not be shut down, but should be left to idle. Sometimes this is because of their desire for heat, or airconditioning, while they sleep. There are better ways to provide them comfort. We wouldn't be paying so much for diesel fuel today if it were not for this wasteful habit. When you watch them at rest areas or truck stops you will see why millions of gallons of fuel are wasted daily.

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Old 01-04-2006, 02:36 PM   #12
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In a gas engine 2-3 minutes tops.
With my gasser mh if it has been running at speed for awhile and I shut down that quickly I get an over temp alarm. At times I have let it idle not quite long enough before shutting it down and the alarm will come on 10 or 15 seconds later, there is a lot of metal and coolant that retain heat, it takes time for it all to cool at idle speed.

I also think this contributes to BB exhaust manifolds popping studs and cracking manifolds, the heads and block are a huge mass compared to the manifolds and take a lot longer to cool off. 15 minutes after shut down the manifolds are cool enough to touch but the engine is still very close to operating tempurature. If you start it back up the exhaust is up to normal temps within seconds and heats the cast iron manifolds extremely rapidly and that is not good. If I am going to be stopped for less than 10 minutes I let it run, it doesn't cool off enough so there are unburned fuel problems or lube problems.
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Old 01-04-2006, 03:24 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 74Argosy24MH
With my gasser mh if it has been running at speed for awhile and I shut down that quickly I get an over temp alarm. At times I have let it idle not quite long enough before shutting it down and the alarm will come on 10 or 15 seconds later, there is a lot of metal and coolant that retain heat, it takes time for it all to cool at idle speed.
I can agree with that, when I said 2-3 minutes I was primarily thinking of smaller gas engines like in light trucks and cars. I agree that the big blocks do require some addtional cool down time. Especially in a MoHo chassis which has marginal cooling to begin with.

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Old 01-04-2006, 05:58 PM   #14
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a little trivia for you cold weather diesel folks, my international at work will up the idle speed to 1500 rpm if it is below 10 deg. makes for some interesting pto operation on my bucket truck.

somewhere in my stack of stuff here shows what pin on the ecm to ground in my '97 6.5 silverado to do the same thing. for pto operation or for cold idling.

if you are gonna leave them run in cold weather idle up!

john
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