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I have done some searching and found many threads out there about these PSD's not wanting to warm up in the cold. However, my issue is slightly different.

I picked up my 1996 ambulance in Phoenix last month on a 113 degree day and set out for the drive to Michigan. Even while climbing mountain passes with well over 100 degree temps and AC blasting, my truck rarely even got up to the middle on the dash temp gauge.

Now that I get ready for this trucks first Michigan winter I am wondering if I should be doing something to address this??? Any ideas? I see a lot about thermostats but I would think given the conditions leaving phoenix the thermostat would have been open anyways. It is am ambulance which means it has a rear A/C / heater hooked up though not functioning. Might the additional travel of coolant be causing even more cooling?

Lastly, any good links or tips on a DIY winter grille cover? This truck is not my daily, just a camper project and trying to avoid spending $150+ for something that may only get used a handful of times this winter while I do the build out.
 

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Diesels run cool and yes, even when it is hot out. On my 96 the only time I even seen the stock gauge start to move was when pulling a trailer with a slide in camper in the bed of the truck driving across Utah's desert at 100 degrees+ with the AC on. And even then it just went up slightly above where it normally ran, down on the N in normal.

What you need to do is to install a real temperature gauge to see just where it is running. Without actually knowing the temperatures of the coolant there is no real way to judge just how cool yours is running.

As for thermostats I am now running a 203 degree one. My stock gauge will get up to the R and M in normal and just stay there.
 

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Diesels run cool and yes, even when it is hot out. On my 96 the only time I even seen the stock gauge start to move was when pulling a trailer with a slide in camper in the bed of the truck driving across Utah's desert at 100 degrees+ with the AC on. And even then it just went up slightly above where it normally ran, down on the N in normal.

What you need to do is to install a real temperature gauge to see just where it is running. Without actually knowing the temperatures of the coolant there is no real way to judge just how cool yours is running.

As for thermostats I am now running a 203 degree one. My stock gauge will get up to the R and M in normal and just stay there.
Thanks, Any recommendation on a real temp gauge? Or in the meantime, where would be best to point my infrared temp gun for testing? I'm just surprised because my ambulance body is extremely heavy. Much heavier than a standard slide in camper so to not see it approach the middle in 113 was crazy to me. I'll check out a 203 thermostat.
 

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As for gauges there are all kinds out there. When I was running hopped up VW's I was running Stewart Warner ones. You can plumb it in at the same location that the stock one is located at on the top of the water pump. I'd just place a T in the existing hole and run both of them.

There is also a another sensor that will trip the overheating light in the dash. That one is on the passenger side front of the engine.

As to where to point your temperature gun, I would do it at the thermostat housing, but remember that the metal may show a bit higher than the actual coolant.
 

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I agree with Bugman, first move is a real temp gauge. My 96 did fine in the winter once it was warm, the heater would roast you out, same for my 99. Unless the truck is plugged in expect 10 miles of driving before it starts to throw good heat. I did have my 99 in -57 degree temps once and even after driving for two hours we could barely keep the windshield clear. I have seen posts of guys pulling the fan in the winter in hopes of getting better MPG. I think a winter front would be the way to go if needed. It has been a while since I had my 96 but I think you could slide some cardboard down in front of the radiators to do the job, that is how we did the cars back in the old days. I would keep the rear heater it will make for a nice party truck!!
DENNY
 
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Lastly, any good links or tips on a DIY winter grille cover? This truck is not my daily, just a camper project and trying to avoid spending $150+ for something that may only get used a handful of times this winter while I do the build out.

You can go to your local tarp and tent maker, or do like I do, put cardboard behind the grill...
 

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Back in the day we always just used cardboard. You can move it around and cover more or less of the radiator as you see needed.

Cheap and easy to use

Sent from my SM-J737V using Tapatalk
 

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Back in the day we always just used cardboard. You can move it around and cover more or less of the radiator as you see needed.

Cheap and easy to use

Sent from my SM-J737V using Tapatalk
Did a trip before installing my grille cover. Didn’t think I’d need it yet but she is running very cold. Stopped in a liquor store to get a box (and some beer while I was there) and blocked the radiator. Probably 75% covered as the box wasn’t a perfect fit and it seems to be running colder some how. I’m stumped. Thermostat is getting replaced when I get home. If it’s got one.


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The cooling system on these trucks has to be one of the best out there.

I have never had a problem with it getting warm but there have been a couple of times when I thought that it was never going to warm up. I came off of a mountain one year after I had got soaked in a rainstorm. The first dozen or so miles were all downhill and I thought that the cab was never going to get warm, finally after around 25 miles when I got home the needle on the gauge started to move.
 
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