Hey Everybody. It's my first time posting here and I hope you guys can help me out.
I have a 2005 Ford E-350 Turbo Diesel van with 220,000 miles on it. This van has two new cold cranking batteries installed. I use it to do small apartment moving jobs. This past summer I had the EGR valve cleaned out and the fuel filter and fuel pump replaced. I have the oil changed regularly using the recommended thickness. 10-W40 I believe.
My problem is that I live in Brooklyn, NY and have a hard time starting it up when it gets very cold out. In above freezing temperatures it starts fine, but when it gets colder out it becomes more difficult. I know that this is not a unique problem, but more an attribute of diesel engines.
I have looked at engine block heaters, dipstick heaters and oil pan heaters, but I CANNOT RUN AN EXTENSION CORD to my van. I do not have a garage, I often have to park a block or two away from my apartment and I can't leave anything on the street unless I want it stolen. Is there any other method I can use to get the van to start easier?
I know there are diesel fuel additives for cold weather. I've never purchased any. Being that I buy diesel fuel locally would the cold weather additives already be in the fuel?
Right now my normal method for getting her started is to turn the key to the accessories position to let the glow plugs do their work. I'll wait about 30 seconds until the glow plug indicator light goes off and I no longer hear any sound. I'll repeat this three times and so far it's been fine. I remember it being much more problematic during the coldest parts of last winter though so I want to prepare for the worst.
I could use ether, but I'm told that it's unsafe and can cause engine damage. I'm afraid that I will cause engine damage by cranking it hard to get it started when it's simply not warm enough.
So, is there a way I can heat up the enigine for an easier start without running an extension cord?
Is my method of letting the glow plugs run through three or more cycles smart, or is it killing my batteries?
Any help, ideas, or suggestions will be greatly appreciated.