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Excessive idling

Discussion in 'Ford Trucks' started by butler L&S, Dec 17, 2002.

  1. butler L&S

    butler L&S Member
    Messages: 89

    How long does a truck have to idle for it to be considered excessive? I have a new Powerstroke and hear of the dangers of excessive idling. If I run into the store or have lunch for 30 minutes should I shut the truck off? I know when plowing I would not shut it down, but what about everyday driving?
  2. Pelican

    Pelican 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,075

    Just curious, what is the need to leave your truck running? I've left a truck running over night in extremely cold weather, but 30 minutes is not going to cool your engine to the point that it won't start.

    In cold weather, your idle should be 1000 to 1200 rpm for extended periods; otherwise your engine will cool and unburned fuel will both wash the cylinders and drain down into the oil.

    In cold weather, my Powerstrokes begin to make heat in only two minutes, there's no need for extended warm ups. I only let my trucks idle if I have electrical accessories running, and then only to keep the battery charged.
  3. cat320

    cat320 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,222

    Pelican you have a nice new P.S.D. mine takes for ever to warm up i'm usually where I have to be by that time
  4. Pelican

    Pelican 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,075

    The block heater is standard equipment on the Powerstroke, if you find it takes too long to heat up, plugging in the truck will give you instant gratification. You might want to check your thermostat too. My '97 warmed up quickly as well.
  5. butler L&S

    butler L&S Member
    Messages: 89

    Would 30 minutes be excessive idling? If the outside temp is below 10 would you shut the truck down or keep it running? I keep the truck in a heated garage so there is no need to plug it in in the morning.
  6. Pelican

    Pelican 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,075

    I wouldn't be afraid to shut my truck down for 30 minutes at any temperature we would see in NY, they don't cool down that quickly. Plus, the PowerStroke has a preheater built in, if you feel it is excessively cold, you can cycle the heater twice or more by turning your key off and back on, this resets the glo plugs to cycle again.

    I don't know if 30 minutes is excessive, but it won't do your truck any good. If you're that concerned, go to your dealer and order the Auxillary Idle Control, it's a computerized module that controls engine rpm and takes about 15 minutes to install. Then you can set your idle to 1200 rpm and not worry about damage to your engine.

    I've had PowerStrokes since '97 and have never had a cold starting issue with them. The older and larger diesels are sometimes hard starting, but the modern engines cold start fairly well.
  7. John DiMartino

    John DiMartino PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,154

    butler,you dont need to be that worried about starting the truck.My Cummins likes the block heater,but it certainly fires up fine below zero,without any trouble at all. I suspect your truck will fire easily to about zero. just get your batterys checked,and all connections cleaned,have the alternator checked too.You should be fine shutting it off,those engines are heavy,it takes hours for the block to cool down after shutdown.Keep it plugged in over night.
  8. Butler,
    Be sure to use 10W-30 in the winter. I live in WV. where 15-40 is all you can get without special ordering. One of my PSD's is very touchy about viscosity and requires 10W-30 during the winter.
    If I don't use it, it will start surging when first started without the block heater.
    Ford tells me that one out of every twenty of these engines is like this. (figures I got one!)
    My point here is this, when starting, the PSD injectors must reach an oil pressure of around 800 psi to fire. (they run at 2800 psi normally) the thicker the oil is, the longer it takes it to reach the needed pressure.
    If you really want to let it run I would be very inclined to follow Pelicans advise and get an Aux. idle control. These are used on ambulances and other vehicles that idle excessively.
    Also, all trucks 99 and newer have an idle controller that increased the idle to 1100-1200 rpm while the engine oil temp. is below 160 degrees. This occurs after the truck is idling for more that 1 minute, and shuts off after either touching one of the pedals or the oil reaches 160 degrees.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2002