How To Start A Diesel Truck In The Cold?

“Rise and shine, campers, and don’t forget your booties because it’s chilly out there today…. Every day is chilly out there. What the hell is going on at Miami Beach?” (From “Groundhog Day”)

That’s true, here in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, winter has returned. With a so-called “polar vortex” expected tomorrow, we thought it would be appropriate to display a video of some of the best “cold diesel starts” from last month, as well as provide some recommendations on how to start a diesel engine on a chilly day. Take a look at some of the suggestions provided below.

A Few Tips On Starting a Diesel Engine On a Cold Morning:

1. Glow Plugs and Block Warmers: On a chilly day, the vast majority of diesel engines can be started with glow plugs or block heaters. Glow plugs work by heating the internal combustion chamber, allowing for proper compression and, eventually, ignition.

2. Wait for the Glow Plugs to Warm Up: If the combustion chamber isn’t sufficiently heated with glow plugs, cold fuel sprayed over the semi-heated plugs will cause the diesel fuel to gel and stick to the cylinder heads. The wall of the heads or the surface may be damaged as a result of this.

3. Install a Second Battery: Make sure you have a fully charged battery or a separate battery specifically for the glow plugs installed. Glow plugs require a significant amount of power from your vehicle’s battery to operate. The capacity of a battery to keep a charge decreases as the temperature drops. At 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit, a battery will have 100 percent power available, but at 0 degrees Fahrenheit, it will only have 46 percent. Installing a second battery could mean the difference between the motor starting and not starting.

4. Change the Oil Frequently: At 0 degrees F, an engine is typically 2-3 times harder to start due to heavier oil lubricating the engine’s hard internal parts. The greater resistance on the bearings and moving parts, the thicker the oil. Most people are unaware that the crankshaft does not “sit” on the bearings; rather, oil pressure raises the crankshaft, which floats on top of the bearings in an oil cavern. Having enough new oil with a high chemical grade will assist in keeping the internal diesel engine parts lubricated and aligned.

For diesel engines, both synthetic and natural mineral oils are suitable. Oil “goes bad” mostly as a result of chemical bi-products from the combustion cycle, such as silicon oxide and different acids, being captured in the suspension. It also loses viscosity by transferring a lot of heat away from the combustion cycle and limiting oxidation exposure at higher temperatures. Diesel engine oil is destabilized by heat, pressure, and chemical reactions.

When oil fully oxidizes, the additives separate and begin to chemically break down, resulting in black engine sludge. If a diesel engine is not unclogged and cleaned, sludge will eventually ruin it. As a result, it is critical to change the oil on a frequent basis, especially in colder locations.

5. Turn Off All Non-Essential Accessories: On a chilly winter day, you only have so much battery life available. When starting the engine, turn off headlights, radios, iPods, phone chargers, heaters, and air conditioners. If at all possible, avoid using these gadgets while the engine is running. These devices divert vital amps away from glow plugs.

6. Use the Correct Diesel Fuel: There are two types of diesel fuel: Diesel #1D and Diesel #2D. The most extensively utilized diesel fuel on the market is Diesel #2. If you go to any gas station, you’ll almost certainly find Diesel #2D as the major fuel option. Diesel #2 is the standard fuel recommendation for regular driving conditions, according to all of the major auto manufacturers. Diesel #2 has a lower flammability than Diesel #1. A higher cetane number indicates that the fuel mixture is more volatile. For light-duty diesel engines, most manufacturers recommend a cetane rating of 40-45. Due to the higher fuel economy, heavy haul truck drivers prefer to utilize Diesel #2 over long trips. More combustion stability = greater, more consistent fuel mileage.

In cold weather climates, however, Diesel #1D is advised. The viscosity of diesel fuel is also measured. Because #1D diesel is thinner, it flows more freely within the engine. During cold temperatures, Diesel #1D is also less likely to thicken or turn sludge-like. In cold conditions, the higher chemical volatility, which is generally a hindrance, becomes an asset since it ignites much quicker during compression. During the winter months, many stations will provide a blended Diesel #1 and Diesel #2 choice, despite the fact that Diesel #2D is the most popular diesel fuel option.

7. Use Winter Fuel Additives: Winter blend diesel fuel additives may be purchased at most gas and service shops and added to your diesel fuel. The Cold Filter Plugging Point (CFPP) is a standard test that determines the rate at which diesel fuel will flow through a filtering device under cooler circumstances. A Low Temperature Flow Test (LTFT) is also available, which evaluates the operation of diesel engines with no or inappropriate additives in the fuel lines. It’s worth noting that the Pour Point is the third and final test for determining how effective diesel fuel is at working in freezing temperatures. The Pour Point refers to the temperature at which diesel fuel loses its liquid form and pumps cease to function.

When a diesel engine is started in a cold temperature environment, it may operate for a period of time below its Cold Filter Plugging Point (CFPP). When this temperature is reached, the fuel from the injector pump and injectors stops flowing, and the spill is returned to the fuel tank. Cold Filter Plugging Point Additives keep fuel from freezing in lines and gelling in the engine and gas tank. Fuel will be released to the injectors after the temperature has warmed up again.

8. Mix Additives During Fueling: These additives will only work if you add them above the Cold Filter Plugging Point (CFFP). At warmer temperatures, the additives need time to mix with the fuel. On a cold day, the additives should be added right after filling up with Diesel #1D at a service station. The heated diesel fuel straight from the pump should be warm enough to adequately combine the two solutions. Choose an additive that is rated at least 10 degrees cooler than the temperature you expect to encounter if you want to drive long distances in the winter.

9. Do Not Combine Additives With Winterized Diesel Fuel: Diesel additives are not a panacea for cold-weather problems. The additives will only prevent the formation of big gel particles in the engine, which could clog the fuel filter. Regardless of the temperature or additives employed, some gelling will occur. You should not add any additional additives to a gas station’s winterized diesel fuel (not to be confused with mixed diesel fuels). Incompatibilities with a variety of additives may cause the fluids in the fuel blend to degrade, obliterating any benefits.

If you suspect the fuel has gelled, replace the fuel filter. Wait for the temperature to raise or use a block heater to warm up the engine if you fear your diesel fuel has gelled before attempting to start it. On older vehicles, a gel in the fuel filter might obstruct the passage of fuel from the tank to the injector pump, requiring quick replacement. Because they are managed by the ECM, common rail injectors are less prone to gelling.

11. Keep Your Diesel Equipment or Vehicle in a Heated Location: It may seem obvious, but even a few degrees warmer might be the difference between a vehicle that starts and one that doesn’t.

On cold days, if at all feasible, keep trucks and tractors in garages, barns, or sheds. Consider utilizing a block heater on a timer a few hours before use to save time. It may not be a quick fix, but it will assist in getting the engine started.

12. Allow Engine to Warm Up Before Putting It Under Load: Allow the engine to warm up for 5-10 minutes before putting it under load. The harder internal parts of the engine are put under higher stress when the engine gets colder (camshaft, crankshaft, connecting rods etc…) The oil temperature will reach appropriate levels and effectively lubricate the engine after only a few minutes of warming.

Why won’t my diesel truck start when its cold?

Diesel drivers all across the world are grateful that their vehicles have grown easier to start in the cold. The majority of them turn over within 1.5 seconds of the ignition being turned on.

Because metal cylinder walls become extremely cold when the temperature decreases, most vehicles are more difficult to start in the winter. Diesel engines have traditionally been more difficult to start in cold weather than gasoline-powered vehicles because they require significantly greater temperatures to ignite the fuel. A variety of heaters have been designed to keep various components of the vehicle warm and cuddly even when it isn’t being driven in order to warm things up before the engine can start. Some of these accessories may be included when you purchase the car; others can be purchased and installed later if the need arises.

Is it bad to start a diesel in the cold?

In cold weather, diesel engines are more difficult to start because they rely on high temperatures caused by compression to ignite the injected fuel. In fact, starting a diesel engine at 0°F (-17°C) is five times more difficult than starting one at 80°F (26°C).

How do you warm up a diesel engine?

You aren’t allowing your engine to warm up.

Don’t be the guy who starts his hot engine and cranks it up right away. The only thing you’re bragging about is your ignorance of the fact that cold, thick oil will not adequately lube your turbo and engine bearings. Allow your engine to warm up in the same way as you would in the morning. Allow the intake heater and glow plugs to do their jobs. Start the engine and give it some time to warm up evenly from the combustion heat.

Do you have to warm up a diesel engine before driving?

Allow time for the engine to warm up. If you want to start a diesel engine and keep it going in cold weather, make sure you give it plenty of time to warm up. If you don’t let your engine warm up before driving, you’ll be forcing it to work harder than it needs to, which will cause difficulties later.

How cold is too cold for a diesel truck?

When it comes to diesel trucks, how cold is too cold? At 15 degrees Fahrenheit (-9.5 degrees Celsius), the diesel fuel in your fuel tank will gel and you will have problems starting your engine. Your diesel vehicle will have troubles if the temperature drops below 15 degrees Fahrenheit / -9.5 degrees Celsius. The diesel won’t be frozen solid, but it won’t be liquid either. You must now rely on heating solutions such as block heaters and glow plugs, which are not available on all diesel engines.

There’s a lot of debate regarding what temperature is too cold for a diesel truck. On the internet, it is stated that the freezing point of diesel fuel is roughly -112 degrees Fahrenheit or -80 degrees Celsius. Now you believe you will never be in a region that gets that cold, so you should be fine. Wrong.

It is not necessary for the diesel in your fuel tank and fuel lines to be solidly frozen to cause you problems. When the temperature drops below 15 degrees Fahrenheit / – 9.5 degrees Celsius, the diesel fuel begins to change shape and becomes more like a gel. Consider a gel-like fuel that travels from the fuel tank to the engine. Traveling through the fuel lines would be difficult, and you would have difficulty starting your engine in the frigid winter.

What temp is too cold for diesel?

At a temperature of 15F-9C, your fuel tank will change into a gel, and diesel fuel will become gel. You won’t be able to start the engine if the temperature is below 15 degrees. It’s not going to work if it’s below 9 degrees. Diesel cans will fail even if the temperature is lowered to 5 degrees Celsius. Although diesel will not be completely frozen, it will have an ice-like consistency.

At what temperature does a diesel truck need to be plugged in?

Many of us in the Edmonton area rely on driving to get to work, bring our kids to school, and get food for our families during the winter months. While driving in light winter weather isn’t too bad, harsh winter weather puts a strain on engines. Our engines, like the majority of us, dislike the extreme cold. They work best in warmer weather, and while we can’t control the winter temperatures, we can use engine block heaters to keep our engines warm. Many of our Ford automobiles come equipped with engine block heaters to keep your engine warm throughout the chilly winter months. The cord to plug in your engine block heater is normally situated under the hood, as seen in the photographs below, and we’ve even drawn a box around it for your convenience.

What is an Engine Block Heater?

Let’s take a look at what an engine block heater is and what it does before we get into when you should plug it in. When you start your car, oil circulates through the engine block, lubricating all of the working parts. When we have harsh winter temperatures, such as -20° C or below, the oil thickens and becomes sticky. This makes it more difficult for the oil to travel through your engine, causing it to work more, consume more petrol, and emit more pollution. The engine block heater maintains a temperature that allows the oil to remain thin and flow freely through the engine block.

When to Plug in an Engine Block Heater

While the precise temperature at which you should consider plugging in your engine block heater varies, the main thing to know is that if it’s going to be severely cold overnight or early in the morning, you should probably plug in your vehicle. Newer vehicles can usually start at temperatures as low as -30° C, but if the block heater isn’t connected, the engine will be put under more strain. To be safe, plug in your engine block heater when the temperature drops to -15° C or lower. If you drive a diesel car, you may need to use the engine block heater to keep the temperature from falling too low.

How do you start a diesel with a dead battery?

Even though diesel-powered vehicles can have dual or bigger batteries, a diesel can be jump-started using the battery from a regular gasoline-powered vehicle. To avoid misunderstanding, I’ll refer to the vehicle with the dead battery as the disabled vehicle in this section, and the vehicle you’re jumping the start from as the source vehicle. To jump-start a dead diesel battery, follow these steps:

  • Make sure both cars are in Park or Neutral and the parking brakes are engaged.
  • To safeguard the electrical system of the disabled diesel vehicle from voltage surges, turn on the heater.
  • Make that the disableddiesel vehicle’s lights and other electrical accessories are turned off.
  • One of the batteries in a car with two batteries normally has stronger cables. If either vehicle has two batteries, use larger cables to connect the jumpercables to the battery. Use any battery for the jump if both vehicles have dual batteries with the same thickness cables. If a vehicle only has one battery, make sure the cables are connected in the correct order.
  • Connect the positive terminal of the disabled vehicle’s battery to the clamp on one of the jumper wires.
  • A (+) or a red cover should be on the positive terminal.
  • Connect the opposite end of the same jumper cable to the source vehicle’s positive terminal.
  • Connect one end of the other jumper cable to the source vehicle’s negative terminal (-).
  • Here’s when it gets tricky: Connect the opposite end of the jumper cable to a metal section of the disabled car that isn’t painted. I frequently use the bracket that holds the hood up, but any similar part will suffice as long as it is not near the batteries, belts, or other moving engine components.
  • Start the disabled vehicle’s engine and let it run for a minute or two, or longer if the battery has been dead for a long time.
  • Turn off the source vehicle’s engine. (Continue to run the disabled vehicle’s engine.)
  • To guarantee that the battery is fully charged, the disabled car should be driven around for at least 15 minutes.