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1999-2007 General Questions General questions related to 1999-2007 Super Duty trucks. If it doesn't fit the other categories, post it here. Gas engine discussion that pertains to all models is allowed. Specific gas engine questions should use the Gas Engines forum.

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Old 12-11-2008, 11:06 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Plugging Diesel engine in at night during cold weather

What is the 'rule of thumb' about keeping a diesel engine plugged in through the night when the temperature gets below freezing?
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Old 12-11-2008, 11:22 PM   #2 (permalink)
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From what I have heard you should be good down to 0 if your glow plug system is working properly. I like to plug mine in for a few hours before start up when its below freezing it just sounds a lot more happy not as much smoke and noise but still need to turn down my programmer for winter.
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Old 12-11-2008, 11:38 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Depends on the engine, oil, weather.
I never plugged my 7.3 in but it only gets down to single digits at worst here.
Now my 6L is a little cranky especially on 15-40 oil. A few times below 20 I had to cycle the key twice and let the glow plugs warm 40 seconds or so. With 5-40 oil it fires in cold fine. I set my heater on a plug in timer and set it for about 4 hours before starting in above zero temps, 8 hours in below zero temps. The block heater speeds warm up times even if you don't need it for cranking. My cab heat starts working in about two blocks when it is plugged in. Otherwise it is several miles before warm.
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Old 12-12-2008, 10:14 AM   #4 (permalink)
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What is the 'rule of thumb' about keeping a diesel engine plugged in through the night when the temperature gets below freezing?
It won't hurt a thing except your pocketbook. And the Greenies will frown at you for wasting energy. The block heater draws one KW every hour. Depending on your cost per KWH for electricity, it will probably cost you about ten to twenty cents per hour to keep the block heater plugged in. So a ten-hour overnight will probably cost you between one and two $US dollars.

The rule of thumb to minimize your cost and keep the Greenies from going ape is to use a heavy-duty timer. When the low temp for the night is expected to be between freezing and zero F., turn on the block heater about two to three hours before you plan to crank it. Below zero F. maybe add an hour. With a little experience, you'll learn how much time is required for the expected low temp for the night to achieve the ease of starting the engine and almost-instant heat from the HVAC you are willing to pay for. Of course the Greenies want you to walk to work, so any use of the block heater is a no no.
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Old 12-12-2008, 10:16 AM   #5 (permalink)
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What is the 'rule of thumb' about keeping a diesel engine plugged in through the night when the temperature gets below freezing?
Get a timer that'll handle 15amp draw & set it for 3 hours. Anything over that & you're wasting money. The heater draws 1kw so it starts to add up after a bit.

Loop the extension cord around your driver's mirror, so you don't forget & take off down the road with it attached.

Make sure your batteries & charging system are up to snuff & you should have no problems down to 0f.

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Old 12-12-2008, 09:11 PM   #6 (permalink)
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It won't hurt a thing except your pocketbook. And the Greenies will frown at you for wasting energy. The block heater draws one KW every hour. Depending on your cost per KWH for electricity, it will probably cost you about ten to twenty cents per hour to keep the block heater plugged in. So a ten-hour overnight will probably cost you between one and two $US dollars.

The rule of thumb to minimize your cost and keep the Greenies from going ape is to use a heavy-duty timer. When the low temp for the night is expected to be between freezing and zero F., turn on the block heater about two to three hours before you plan to crank it. Below zero F. maybe add an hour. With a little experience, you'll learn how much time is required for the expected low temp for the night to achieve the ease of starting the engine and almost-instant heat from the HVAC you are willing to pay for. Of course the Greenies want you to walk to work, so any use of the block heater is a no no.



The "Greenies" can kiss my hiney. I'll plug it in any ol time I want. Those types go right thru me...sorry for the rant
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Old 12-13-2008, 06:38 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I have mine set up on a timer (3 hours) as mentioned by others. I went one step further and put a battery tender from NAPA on my batteries that is on the same plug as the block heater. This way the batteries get a little warm up too. I only plug it in below freezing and really just so that I get defrost quicker, my truck is outside 24 -7 so it helps a lot.
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Old 12-13-2008, 09:38 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I thought you could overcharge batts in real cold weather...
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Old 12-14-2008, 11:14 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I thought you could overcharge batts in real cold weather...

Can't overcharge a battery in any weather IF you use the proper charger, like a Battery Tender/Battery Minder. Or an automatice style charger. They will sense battery condition and cut off.
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Old 12-14-2008, 11:40 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I thought you could overcharge batts in real cold weather...
You can overcharge a battery in any kind of weather, if you use a cheap battery charger that's not "automatic". The good automatic battery chargers cost more in the short run, but they won't ruin your battery by overcharging it.

The battery minder type chargers (trickle chagers) are almost all automatic, but even if pure manual they charge at only a tiny charge rate so they won't overcharge much, even after 24 hours or so on a "full" battery. I keep one plugged into my RV battery all the time, with no problem of overcharging.
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Old 12-15-2008, 06:46 PM   #11 (permalink)
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As said, I have a timer on Rach's Excursion, set for 3 to 4 hours depending on the temp.

Mine on the other hand, I have plugged in all night at low temps. Sorry to the greenies, I have no idea when I may be toned out in the middle of the night.

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Old 12-16-2008, 10:44 AM   #12 (permalink)
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7.3 is a mighty motor, it loves to be plugged in, when its cold like everynite in winter in wisconsin here when its below 20 ill plug mine in at nite and will stay plugged in alll nite till i leave in the morning, the motor LOVes to be warm all nite
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Old 12-16-2008, 12:09 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Electric draw

I've read the forum replies on the electricity draw per hour (just to plug in) and I've read the forum replies on whether or not you can remote start the car while it's still plugged in...
Anyone know what the draw is when starting the car and it's still plugged in?

Many thanks!
Dae
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Old 12-16-2008, 01:59 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Anyone know what the draw is when starting the car and it's still plugged in?
As the motorboat people would say, the block heater is 120 volt "shore power", and has nothing to do with the 12-volt automotive electrical system that powers the starter.

So a remote starter should use the 12-volt batteries in the truck, and has nothing to do with the extension cord that runs to the electric plug in the garage to heat up the block heater.

That extension cord to the block heater is going to be drawing about 1,000 watts before, during, and after you crank the engine with the remote starter.
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Old 12-16-2008, 03:15 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Hmmmmm.....I keep my truck in the garage, which happens to be right at 40 degrees when it was below zero the last couple days/nights. But hey.....if it pisses off the greenies, I might just plug it in for the heck of it.

The forecast here shows a high on Sunday of 4 degrees and a low of -12. You guys up north are REALLY gonna feel it. Better get ready to plug it in now. Perhaps we all should have a National Plug-in Day for the greenies.
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