Do you have to "plug in" new diesel engines?

Discussion in 'Trucks and Trailers' started by Pastaboy62, Jan 23, 2008.

  1. Pastaboy62

    Pastaboy62 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 362

    I have a 1992 f250 IDI, it has a plug I can use to keep it warm in the winter. I have never plugged it in because I have been to afraid that it would screw something up. Do the new powerstrokes and cummings need to be plugged in? Also, do you think something could go wrong if I left my truck plugged in for to long? Thanks
  2. fool32696

    fool32696 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 991

    I would just plug it in overnight if you're using it the next day. It's nothing but a block heater that makes it much easier to start in cold weather. If you're not going to use the truck it's just a waste of power. I think you may still be able to special order block heaters on trucks but my 02 duramax doesn't have one and starts fine in 20 degree weather.
  3. Dirt Digger2

    Dirt Digger2 LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Posts: 2,396

    fool has it...theres nothing you can hurt by plugging it in, unless your block heater is which case it probably just wouldn't makes cold morning starts a lot easier, i wouldn't plug it in until the night temp goes below 30 and you have to start it early in the morning...otherwise theres no real sense in plugging it living where it gets down to single and negative digits at night is another story.
  4. SiteSolutions

    SiteSolutions LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,114

    I plug mine in with temps ranging from daytime highs of low 40s down to the 20s or lower at night.
    Basically, plugging it in just helps keep the motor from getting too cold. It's not going to burn it up. I like it because it starts right up in the morning, and takes less time to warm up. It also reduces stress on a lot of other systems, like glow plugs, starter motor, and all the metal parts that have to contract and expand with temp changes.
  5. john_incircuit

    john_incircuit LawnSite Senior Member
    from NC
    Posts: 309

    I drove a Sprinter diesel for many years. Started OK even at below 0 F, without being plugged in. Gotta use the right oil and have good batteries. On the other hand, if you have a block heater, put it on a timer and use it. Nothing beats that instant heat when you start the engine.
  6. J&R Landscaping

    J&R Landscaping LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,096

    My 06 Ford 6.0 PSD does not have a heater on it. Starts fine with no trouble and the past few mornings, its been in the single digits early in the morning.
  7. dcondon

    dcondon LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,246

    I never plug mine in and it was 8 degrees yesterday morning
  8. TXNSLighting

    TXNSLighting LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 6,462

    (cummins not cummings) no you dont have to plug any of the new diesel engines in. unless its below 0.

    "I have never plugged it in because I have been to afraid that it would screw something up."

  9. IA_James

    IA_James LawnSite Silver Member
    from Iowa
    Posts: 2,593

    You don't HAVE to do anything. However, if they start alot better if they are plugged in. Plus you get the benefits of your oil being warm already and flowing to your turbo and bearings quicker. It's probably not a bad idea to plug yours in, unless you or the previous owner has kept on top of the glow plugs and glow plug controller, the older Fords won't start if you walk past 'em with an ice cream cone.
  10. GravelyNut

    GravelyNut LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,594

    Diesels that are warm are easier on the batteries. So if you've got it, I'd use it.

    Slight side step. On a Diesel locomotive, I found out it is far better to plug in when the temps are going to be down in the 30's. We didn't plug it in overnight as the plan was to run the steam loco. Next morning the steamer had a mechanical failure. Diesel starting procedure for when cold is:
    1. Open test ports and disconnect injection pumps to clear cylinders.
    2. Crank over for 15 seconds.
    3. Close 1/2 the test ports. ( 3 of 6 )
    4. Reset 1/2 of injection pumps to match cylinders.
    5. Crank and hope it fires.
    6. Close other test ports as soon as it is running smooth.
    7. Reset other injection pumps.

    When the engine fired off that day, the smoke went up the stack thru the spark arrestor. Barely! Then fell over and down on the hood. Fell off the side of the hood and on to the running board before rolling off the edge and on to the ground. It took almost an hour to get up to operating temp that day. Takes a while to get the 110 gallons of 40 weight railroad oil up to temp too.

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