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Idling  RSS feed
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Dave

Joined: 26/01/2010 13:56:59
Messages: 27
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For anyone who believes the old wive's tale that idling is good for your diesel engine, please hear me out. Idling is the worst condition for any engine, but especially for a diesel. Not only does it waste fuel, it acceleraters wear, comparable and maybe even worse than WOT! Would you let your Jeep sit out in the parking lot at WOT while you go inside to fetch a Coke?

I am third generation trucker in Michigan. Our family owns and operates a fleet of trucks (154,000 lb. gvw). My Granddad told me stories of lore where he carried tarps and a charcoal grill during winter months in case he got shut down in cold temps. Old mechanically fuel injection and poor fuel made in nearly impossible to start those beasts in sub-zero weather. It was common in dire situations to drape a tarp over the engine to create a tent, slide the charcoal grill (after it flamed out) under the oil pan to heat the engine, and with ether (breath of death) and hopefully still good batteries, the truck would start, so long as the fuel wasn't gelled. Ohya, he also carried extra fuel filters because once gelled, it was wax, couldn't be thawed and the filters were trash.

That was yesteryear. It was better to idle a truck during the winter because ones' livelyhood depended on it. Things have changed. Much higher injection pressures, electronic injection, better attention to winter fuel blends, etc. Now, starting a diesel in winter is much less a problem.

So how is idling harmfull?

Our fleet was a test bed for Detriot Diesel (we ran Series 60) while they did tests on fuel filtration. I had a chance to get to know Craig Morris (DDC Engineer). There had been numerous articles out in the trade magazines preaching the evils of idling. I asked him why. He explained that diesels are compression ignition. Diesel fuel combusts more efficiently at higher heat and pressures. At idle, there is little to no boost. Less compression, less heat, incomplete combustion. Incomplete combustion causes soot. Soot is abrasive. High idle engines typically show upper cylinder wear. Worst posible location, since that is where compression is highest. I have also talked to Cat Engineers who say the same. All that was before EGR. I don't have a clue how much more relevent this topic is to our EGR engines.

Bottom line. If you are concerned about longevity, shut it down rather than let it idle, even if for a minute. Unless, of course, you're not sure you can get it restarted.

Dave
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