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How to drive a diesel

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Old 05-14-2018, 06:19 PM
prometheus1351
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How to drive a diesel

Well I finally picked up my truck and it's my first diesel! Unfortunately I've come to realize I don't know what's best for how to warm up, drive, and cool down this motor and I've heard a few different things in my adventure through the interwebs. Can anyone tell me if there's a general consensus to my questions below? I assume there will be just as many opinions as there are people on the forum but I figured it couldn't hurt to ask:

1. I'm told letting diesels idle to warm up won't work as they won't get hot enough just idling and you'll end up washing down your cylinders with fuel. So is best practice to get in, push the button without the brake engaged, wait for the glow plug light to go out, start her up, and drive her gently until everything comes to temp?

2. On the topic of temp, I see there's oil temperature, coolant temp, transmission temp. Which one is the one everyone refers to when they talk about operating temperature and what is it? I'm assuming it's oil temperature at 200 degrees but I don't know...

3. Since idling is bad does that mean my remote start I would otherwise use to warm up my cab on chilly mornings shouldn't be used? Is there a benefit to remote start for diesel trucks? What would be considered excessive idling?

4. Unfortunately I'm stuck having to drive a short distance between my office and job sites once or twice a day which means my truck doesn't get fully warmed up or run very hard. I've been driving really gently considering but don't know if there's something different I should be doing?

5. Should I let the engine run to cool down even after these easy, short drives or is that more for when you're towing?

Thanks in advance for any input... I'm sure I'm over thinking everything but I just want to develop good habits if I can.
 
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Old 05-14-2018, 06:53 PM
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I cannot tell from your post but will you be doing any towing/ hauling with this truck or any Hiway mileage? With all the government mandated anti-pollution devices installed putting a load on the engine or driving consist speeds over 45 mph is better on the systems than short stop and go or long term idling situations. These engines were made and set up for work duty not puttering around. You may want to put it under a load occassionally.
 
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Old 05-14-2018, 07:34 PM
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Originally Posted by MPawelek View Post
I cannot tell from your post but will you be doing any towing/ hauling with this truck or any Hiway mileage? With all the government mandated anti-pollution devices installed putting a load on the engine or driving consist speeds over 45 mph is better on the systems than short stop and go or long term idling situations. These engines were made and set up for work duty not puttering around. You may want to put it under a load occassionally.
Oops, should have specified... This will be my daily driver on weekdays which means 20 minute drive to work on the high way and 40 minutes home due to traffic, plus the mid day drives. Weekends I'll use it for longer drives occasionally and we're currently in the market for a used toy hauler and plan to shoot for one towing trip per month . I'll also be in general road trip vehicle.
 
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Old 05-14-2018, 08:04 PM
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Way, way, way overthinking it.
If it’s cold out,start it and drive.
If it’s hot out, start it and drive
if you want heat sooner (or a/c), idle it for 5-10 mins first.
The truck will tell you if it’s too cold to drive. (Literally. It’ll tell you to wait on the dash).
If you’re towing heavy, let the motor warm up for a few mins before romping the 7% grade.
If you want to idle for an hour at a job/camp site, then let it idle.
when you’ve where you’re going, just turn it off.
If you need to drive for 5 mins and turn it off, go for it.
If you tow across country, you can start it in the morning and shut it off at night. It doesn’t care if it is running for 14 hours straight.
Top off the DEF every 5k miles or so. If you forget, it will tell you.
Don't worry about the regen discussions. The truck will do it all on its own when it needs to.
There is NO behavior you have to change with a modern diesel. Other than actually enjoy hauling a trailer or heavy load. No more white knuckles or worrying about the engine. Just get in and push the go button and drive.

There will be a lot of naysayers that think they have tricks for older diesels. This is not some older diesel. Until you get outside of “normal” operations, don’t worry about it. If you need to idle for 3 hours + or tow a 25,000lb+ trailer through Colorado, then we’ll talk about different strategy.
 
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Old 05-14-2018, 09:18 PM
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I agree with Nuc man !
Just drive it like you stole it !!
Way too much worrying about this and that.
 
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Old 05-14-2018, 09:57 PM
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That's funny... My fiance thinks I over think things and worry too much, too! Thanks for the input guys
 
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Old 05-14-2018, 11:11 PM
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I'd tell you the same as the guys above. I've had 6 Ford Powerstrokes over the past 19 years. Put almost 600,000 miles on those engines.
I don't do anything special unless it's below 0° F
 
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Old 05-14-2018, 11:17 PM
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I agree. Like me when I first got it; you're overthinking things.

Just drive it.

15% idle time is typical. I remote start mine nearly every time, just because it's FUN! LOL. ...especially in the parking lot and people kinda get startled when it starts 'on its own'
 
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Old 05-15-2018, 12:29 AM
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This is my first diesel also. I agree with almost everything that was posted above except for the case when I'm towing heavy and come to my destination (or plan to fill up). I let the engine idle long enough to bring the engine oil temperature down to between 200° F and 205° F. I try to avoid short trips which isn't hard as I have other vehicles to use for that.

My engine and transmission have seen temperatures of 242° F and 235° F, respectively, when towing heavy in the Rocky Mountains. No warnings were displayed. They seem to like to run hot.
 
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Old 05-15-2018, 08:31 AM
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If you have to park outside in snow, you might consider a tank type coolant heater. You'll have faster heat in the cab to clear the window. They work nice to heat the coolant. You may not have room near the engine and if you don't have snow then I'd forget it.

I'd wait and see just how fast your truck heats up. Like said before, this ain't your old time diesel.
 
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Old 05-15-2018, 09:19 AM
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I like this thread. Makes me think about May of 2012 when I started driving my first 6.7L. Had similar worries, it had been a few years since my last Diesel. FTE did nothing the stop worrying.

Best advice that I can share is, while in base warranty, you have nothing to worry about. Ford will fix it, if you can prevent yourself from pumping gas into your fuel system or putting a gallon of def into your diesel tank. I purchased a Ford ESP plan and allow Ford to continue to worry about my truck until 8 years and 125,000 miles. Purchased from one of the low cost providers when my base warranty was running out. Then drive it and enjoy it. You will be fine. These are very good quality trucks and they don't break much. Don't read too much here, either. Change the oil when the truck tells you to and fuel fuel filters every 15,000 to 20,000 miles.

Bruce....
 
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Old 05-15-2018, 10:39 AM
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I think the key thing is to wait for the glow plug light to go off before starting the engine. I've often wondered if the remote start is smart enough to wait for the glow plug light to go off before starting the engine.
 
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Old 05-15-2018, 10:53 AM
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Crank mine up in the morning and let it idle for about 2 minutes and go. If I'm running it hard on a trip or pulling the camper I'll let it idle down for about 3 minutes then shut it off. Change the oil at 5 to 7K miles and hope for the best. With the 4.10 gears I usually cruise at 65 to 67 mph on the highway so the fuel mileage is not that bad. Diesels have come a long way since I drove the first one in 1972..a Diamond Reo with a 270hp Cummins.
 
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Old 05-15-2018, 11:10 AM
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Well I'm already feeling much less stressed out (which I figured would happen eventually anyway), so thanks for that.

Another over-thinker type question that may actually be a valid one... but probably not... I live in Southern California and occasionally do trips up the mountains in California and Utah in the winter. I've read things about fuel gelling or something bad happening to fuel in cold weather unless it's treated with something. Is there something I should do in preparations for trips somewhere below freezing?
 
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Old 05-15-2018, 11:13 AM
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Buy a bottle of PM-23 and add an appropriate amount before you hit the colder weather. Diesel #2 starts to have problems at 32° F but gets really bad at around 12° F-15° F.
be
 

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