Skip to comments.Vanity: Info Required On Cold Weather Starts
Posted on 01/01/2014 8:32:17 AM PST by Gay State Conservative
My dilemma...tomorrow night my diesel and I will spend the night in a town where it's forecast to drop to -40F overnight.I'll have no garage,no battery charger,no oil pan heater...nothing.Does anyone have any experience with diesels at that temperature? My previous diesel once started after a night of -30F but I'm concerned about this.As on the previous occasion I plan to fill up with locally blended Shell diesel when I arrive but my car maker forbids the use of *any* fuel additives (it's still under warranty).Thanks in advance for any advice.
Leave it running.
If it’s that cold there, there might be engine block heaters scattered about? I know Fairbanks has them.
Run the preheater or glow plugs, depending on your model, numerous times (3 or 4) before attempting to start...good luck. Otherwise, go and start it every few hours and allow it to warm up.
Well for me my wife blowning in my ear usualy works. ;-)
Leave it running. Might also find some cardboard and cover the grill. Your biggest problem is going to be a fuel fikter full of green jello. 40 below is ugly....red
I think I’d leave it running.
Take the battery indoors with you. Keep in mind that a freezing cold battery has less than half the cranking power. A full tank of #1, plus a warm battery may make all the difference you’ll need.
At those temps, fuel gelling may be a bigger problem than starting unless your truck has a fuel heater for the filter.
If you can, the only real advantage you can give yourself would be to bring the battery (ies) inside overnight.
Only problem with that is removing batteries will usually effect the radio among possible other electric components which would then need to be reset.
Check your owner’s manual if the car is new for instructions on extended idling, and follow them when you let it run all night. I know my semi requires me to run a couple of hundred RPMs higher than idle for long periods.
If you can’t find a heat source letting it run is best.
If the Shell local blend is done right it should work. There are specific winter blends of diesel that are good, one example being Flint Hills’ Arctic Diesel (that particular brand is in the upper Midwest).
Better yet, travel to kinder climes.
How much does an oil pan heater cost (and how well do they work) - I'm not sure my gasoline engine would be happy trying to start in -40 (it would need someone to sub form because my tush ain't hitting that cold a seat).
Hope someone else has more useful stuff to say.
Head to the local hardware store for a long outdoor extension cord and a 100 watt trouble light. Plug it in. Turn it on. Place under the hood next to the engine block, and close her up. Should provide just enough heat to stave off problems in the morning.
(Old timers used to make these, warm them by the fire or wood stove, and take them to bed with them to stay warm at night)
heh..heh...heh....some simians are faster than others.
I agree. The important thing is to not let it get too cold. Besides difficulty starting, your lubricating oil will get too thick to do its job of reducing wear, possibly resulting in engine damage IF you manage to get it started.
A tank of fuel is cheaper than a damaged engine. Run it frequently overnite to keep it warm, and get a block heater as soon as possible.
Outstanding out of the box thinking!
Are you some kind of stalker?
Where in the world will you be for it to get to -40? You gonna drive to antartica to rescue those dimwits?
I’ve used baked potatoes or water bottles filled with very hot water inside a sleeping bag. I even read an article by a lady researcher who works in the Antarctic. She does the same thing.
Leave it running.
Buy a couple cases of beer. In case your truck does not start, drink the beer.
Yep. There's ways to keep warm if there's no access to electricity.
We make "quilted" type corn bags for sore muscles or just to deal with winter night chills because they're easy. The corn is sewn into small square pockets to keep it evenly spread out. Sooooo toasty warm!
This is entirely out of my range of experiences, but perhaps a trip to the local pub and a plea for advice over a scotch with a local patron might reveal the answer to the problem. That’s what I’d do.
While taking the battery inside might very well allow starting the next morning,something to consider is how practical this will be. Depending on the vehicle,it may well have dual batteries,neither of which will be particularly easy to remove/replace at -40F. I’ve done this before under those conditions w/satisfactory results,but it was a gas car w/ single battery.
In an emergency keep a bag of charcoal an old pan and charcoal starter. Light the charcoal in the pan and when the flame goes out and you have a pan of hot coals, slide the pan under the engine block for about an hour, then crank you truck.
but it's prolly easier finding a heated dipstick or keeping it running all night 8^)
Thats what I was thinking. I’ve done that along with a tarp over the front of a truck to keep wind out and hold the heat in.
“slide the pan under the engine block for about an hour, then crank you truck.”
I’ve done this before, on tractors, and it does work. Don’t know if he will be able to find charcoal some place that will be -40.
I have used a radiant electric heater pointed up from under the engine compartment, but I like your idea.
It should increase the temp inside the engine compartment by 20 to 30 degrees, maybe more if no wind.
There is usually no wind when it gets down to -40.
I would also recommend starting the vehicle first thing in the morning, if it was not left running overnight.
If the vehicle is parked in a garage I would find an unused electric heating pad and place that in the engine compartment.
I think that would do the trick if your minus a block heater.
You shouldn’t have to set the temp up too high either.
You're making the right move by filling up in the local area. The fuel stations will try to have the correct blend for the local weather. However, make sure you drive it for a while before stopping, so that the new fuel mixes old, and also clears through the filter.
My cousin thought he would be smart, and left his Mercedes running. It survived just fine, but ruined my dad's garage door, since it was backed up against the garage to protect it from the wind.
At 40 below, I would use three: two 100-watt underneath the engine facing up, and one under the hood.
Ran a hotel for 6 years in MT where -40 was common in winter. Truckers without plugins would run the engine every 2-3 hours for 15 min. Never saw that fail but plenty that didn’t bother couldn’t get started the next morning.
I remember well the struggles starting carburated V-8's, filled with heavy mineral oils back in the 70's. Within ten years we had fuel injected fours with synthetic oils that actually turned over.
A trickle charger will use the resistance of the battery to keep it warm, but at the temperatures you are expecting, bringing the battery inside is a better idea.
We also put our tools inside an oven to warm them up before going outside to use them.
They make magnetic mount engine heaters. You can stick them to the bottom of the oil pan, the block, wherever. You can use several and take them off when you no longer need them.
Another warning that almost got me. Get some lock deicer and keep it outside the vehicle. Don’t set the e brake either. Good luck. I don’t own a diesel.
But listen up, run down to Pep Boys and get a block heater. That's what they are for.
Via info gleaned from this thread, and some personal experience, being from the North....
If you can get 110V to the car with a long extension cord, that would be helpful. A trouble light is good, and since they have 110V taps on them, a dip-stick heater would be a good idea too. If you can’t get the 110V, I like the idea of the burning charcoal. Don’t let it get too hot! You don’t want to crack the oil pan (or more likely the plug gasket).
Either way, blocking the front end with sheets of corrugated cardboard is a must, because if there’s wind, there will be a tendency for the powdered snow to blow up into your engine compartment, which will cause complications with your electrical system. You don’t say how old you car is, you may consider changing spark-plug wires now because extreme cold kills them.
Let the car idle a good half-hour before you drive it. (This one’s a bit of a “duh.”)
Another item I haven’t seen mentioned yet: Using a Hygrometer, verify the concentration of your anti-freeze. Drain water and add AF if you must. Blown freeze-plugs will screw up all your careful plans. If you don’t have cloth seat covers, thrown some towels over the leather or vinyl to help keep them from cracking. Sit on them as little as possible until the car warms up.
(I fixed all this years ago by moving to AZ....lol)
Obviously someplace where the Global Warming is totally out of hand.
Granted, its not available everywhere, but I use 0W-20 both for the turnover and to get the oil pressure up faster.
Diesel is the way to go!
I am in northern Manitoba and it got to -40 the night before last with a -49 windchill. My gear shift froze. I let it warm up for 2 hours and was just able to shift. Got my erands done, came home and am staying put till it warms up to -20 on Friday (hopes).
5 years with this car, this has never happened. And that is with winter gas, synthetic oil and plugged in block heater and battery charger.
Hope you figure something out.
Changing the plug wires on a diesel is difficult - best ask your dealer to do that...
Ah...yeah. Missed that. Boy, do I feel stupid. That happened to me on my gas car back in the ‘70’s....
I was up in Fairbanks with a rental car and just set my alarm and went out and started the car a couple times. Finally started it at 3AM and just left it running.
My diesel pickup had a factory installed block heater and a radiator cover.
Get some “Diesel 911” (the red bottle) Add to your tank and fuel it.
Use your spare key, leave it running and lock it up.
Also, make sure your antifreeze is up to snuff in case you do shut it off.
If you do shut it off and can’t get it started, expect using a salamander heater and a tarp tent over the front of the vehicle, or having it towed to a heated facility to sit overnight.
Hair dryer on low (that will give you about 500 watts of heat) pointed at the engine block. However, if your fuel is not blended for -40 it is going to be jellied. Fill up you tank with the local blend.
Now that you have had the practical advice ...
Have Al Gore come and lecture on the evils of fossil fuel and how the oceans are rising and carbon credits must be bought (from him) to save the planet. That should keep things nice and toasty.
PS: if he freezes, stick a carrot over his nose and wait for spring!