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  #1  
Old February 14th, 2008, 09:14 PM
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Mike Lynch
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Diesel Questions

Just picked up a new Grand Cherokee diesel and really like it so far. I am new to the diesel world and have found myself asking alot of questions. One question is with the engine block heater. I have read the entire manual and still have a lot of questions. First, how cold does it need to be for me to have to plug in the engine block heater? I live in Michigan and it's pretty damn cold right now. Second, a few people that I have talked to regarding diesels have told me to just leave it running if I am going to be only a few minutes in a store or at the gym for 30 minutes or so. They say it easier on the engine just to leave it running and it keeps the engine warm in the winter months. I was also told that less fuel is used/burned running at a idle compared to turning it on and off. After thinking about it, I seem to remember a lot of big rigs leaving their trucks running while parked or while taking a break at a rest area.

Any info, suggestions or opinions would be great.

Thanks
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  #2  
Old February 14th, 2008, 11:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Defender13
Just picked up a new Grand Cherokee diesel and really like it so far. I am new to the diesel world and have found myself asking alot of questions. One question is with the engine block heater. I have read the entire manual and still have a lot of questions. First, how cold does it need to be for me to have to plug in the engine block heater? I live in Michigan and it's pretty damn cold right now. Second, a few people that I have talked to regarding diesels have told me to just leave it running if I am going to be only a few minutes in a store or at the gym for 30 minutes or so. They say it easier on the engine just to leave it running and it keeps the engine warm in the winter months. I was also told that less fuel is used/burned running at a idle compared to turning it on and off. After thinking about it, I seem to remember a lot of big rigs leaving their trucks running while parked or while taking a break at a rest area.

Any info, suggestions or opinions would be great.

Thanks
It's true that it's a good idea to keep it running for short stops, but I would shut it off for a 15min or over stop. It dumps fuel when it starts so it does use quite a bit at startup. On the heater, no idea. I don't even run glowplugs. SoCal rules!
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  #3  
Old February 15th, 2008, 06:59 AM
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Jack Walter
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If its under 32 degrees definitely use the engine block heater. Here's what I used to do with one of my old diesel Mercedes: I had an outlet in the carport that I could plug a timer into - it has to be a heavier duty unit that you would use for a lamp (higher current capacity). I'd set the timer to turn on about an hour before I normally left for work. The engine block would be nice and warm by the time I came out and unplugged the block heater and the car would light right up. The really nice thing would be that I'd have heat coming out of the vents before I got to the end of the driveway. I didn't live far from work so under normal circumstances the heater would just start putting out heat about the time I pulled in the parking lot. I thoroughly enjoyed having a warm car on cold days.

There is a big advantage to using block heaters that many people don't realize. Most of the wear that an engine experiences happens during the time when it first fires up and starts coming up to operating temperature. Clearances are bigger, fuel condenses on the cylinder walls, lubrication qualities of the oil are reduced, and the engine is working harder. The shorter the interval that the engine has to operate until it reaches optimal temperature (roughly around 180 degrees) the less wear the engine will experience. The engine is also more fuel efficient at operating temperature. Obviously if an engine has to go from an ambient temperature of 30 degrees up to 180 it will take longer than if your starting out with the coolant temperature of 90 to 100 degrees. I've seen data where the use of block heater anytime the temperature dips below 50 degrees will reduce engine wear by a pretty signifigant amount. The reason the big trucks will stay at idle is that the capacity of the cooling system is so great that it takes a long time to bring those guys back to nominal operating temperatures. Hope this helps.
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  #4  
Old February 15th, 2008, 10:23 AM
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Brad Harris
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I'm a big believer in using engine warmers on diesels... I think forking out for a fuel opperated pre-heater is a total worthwhile investment as well (like a Webasto or similar). I personally would use the thing at just about any temperature as it brings the engine up to operating temp and keeps it there so everything works better and lubricates like it is supposed to etc.
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Old February 16th, 2008, 09:04 PM
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I dont know about the new Jeeps but my D-max will set a SES if i plug it in if the Abient air temp is to high. You may be able to find a diesel site for Jeeps, i am a member of Diesel Place which caters mainly to GM products but there are quite a few other folks on there with other brands who are more than welcome. I dont plug mine in until it gets down around +10 or colder and i dont leave it plugged in very long, couple hours at most before i drive it. The block heater pulls around 1800 watts so i would put it on a good timer or at least a switched outlet. I leave mine idling all the time although it has been said that extended idling can be harmful to the oil. I run Valvoline full synthetic for better cold starting and i beleive it helps the fuel milage too. I still change the oil every 6k and i have never had any oil consumption problems. My truck has a programmer on it, tows on a daily basis and i plow driveways for my business so it does get a workout, never going back to a gasser. Good luck with your new ride.
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  #6  
Old February 16th, 2008, 11:31 PM
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shane cates
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My F250 d started fine every time in zero degree weather recently. A hard ran truck like the big rigs or your rig towing something needs to cool during idle before shutting down, hense the big rigs running thing at the truck stop.
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