Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Diesel Engine Idling

It's happened to all of us. It is 7:00 a.m. and you are still asleep. For some reason, the diesel owner seems to believe that the engine has to be hot and idle for 30 minutes before moving from the RV space right next to yours. Not the sort of alarm clock you were expecting.

This message is not to the considerate diesel owners who idle for a few minutes. Thank you. This message is to those diesel owners who did not read the owners manual or were recalling the diesels of decades ago. There is a risk to your modern diesel engine by excessive idling.

Quoted from RV The Magazine -- Winter 2011, Page 8

Diesel Idling
Garry Miller
Shady Spring, West Virginia

As a retired diesel electrician, I support Jim Harper’s opinion on excessive no-load diesel idling (August 2010 RV View). Diesel engines are so efficient that they generate little heat when not doing any work, so idling when cold can actually harm any diesel, especially a modern, computer-controlled engine with a soot filter. The low temperature idling causes incomplete combustion and soot (an abrasive) to get into the lube oil and can clog the pollution exhaust filter that must be burned off with extra fuel by the engine. Read and follow the engine manufacturer’s instructions. Idle only to bring up the air for the brakes and suspension. By then the oil will have circulated and it will be safe to drive at moderate speed and load until the engine reaches operating temperature. If you are still concerned and must operate your diesel at high speed and heavy load immediately, do what standby diesel generators and emergency diesel fire trucks do: run your electric block heater, with care, so the engine is somewhat warm when it is first started.
More support on the same issue comes from RVBasics on the subject of diesel idling.

1 comment:

  1. Lloyd - In support of that, I have a 1999 Ford Power Stroke (manual). During my working life, Electrical Engineer at Chrysler, I sometimes had to block an entrance to the plant fo a special shipment. During the winter, after driving 50 miles at road speed, Cab and engine warm, I would sit in the truck with the engine idling. (It was winter). The engine would cool down low. Enough that I would have to (a/c disconnected) have to redirculate inside air. Not enough heat for the incoming air.

    The truck used 0.15 gallons of diesel per hour (20K BTU) and most of the heat went out the exhaust pipe


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