Diesel Starting


#1

A friend has a mid-size pickup truck with a diesel engine which is kept outside in CT. he says when it is quite cold out it will be extremely hard to start so he has to plug in an engine block heater to warm it up. He also says that someone told him to mix a little kerosene in with the diesel fuel to correct this problem. Does this make any sense to anyone? Is there a downside to doing this?




#2

No downside to using the block heater, plug it in when you park the vehicle and unplug it when you leave. Chances are you will not have to worry about mixing kerosene.


#3

What make and year is this truck there are a few things that can make it harder to start a deisel in cold weather that may need to be looked into first.


#4

It’s always a “friend”…


#5

Kerosene will help to prevent the fuel from turning to Jello. The downside is the cost, but it’s better than walking. For Ct. maybe 10% should be the maximum. It won’t hurt to run more but he probably doesn’t need it. Northern Maine people use Kerosene mixtures all the time. It makes the coffee taste funny.


#6

he says when it is quite cold out it will be extremely hard to start so he has to plug in an engine block heater to warm it up.

It can be hard to start when cold and a block heater is a good way to go. However depending on the make model and year, that could be an indication of other problems. My last diesel managed to start at 27 below when all the gasoline cars around were just cranking. Nothing special was done to get it started.

He also says that someone told him to mix a little kerosene in with the diesel fuel to correct this problem.

Likely a no on this one. Years ago you could by diesel that was not properly treated for cold weather. That day has long past (well almost). A good dealer will have properly treated fuel based on the weather, but if you fill up in Florida, by the time you get to Cleveland, you could have problems with that warm weather fuel mix. You might also get untreated fuel in the beginning of winter from a low volume dealer. You can buy additives that are far safer for a modern diesel than kerosene, I would recommend that if needed.


#7

Diesels run perfectly fine on kerosene; it is a higher grade fuel than No 2. The winter blends are a mixture of No. 1 (K1) and No. 2. If you run 100% K1 then it is a good idea to use a lubricity additive, though almost nobody runs 100% K1 in diesels due to cost, except the military:)


#8

Diesels run perfectly fine on kerosene

Well maybe old models and trucks, but modern diesel car engines are a little more picky, about fuel.


#9

“A friend has a mid-size pickup truck with a diesel engine”

I wonder what THAT could be…An old Isuzu or Mitsubishi? Direct or indirect injection? Glow plugs/no glow plugs. What are we dealing with? Dare we ask how many miles on this vehicle?

Kerosene is also sold as #1 Diesel (or was). Todays commercial diesel fuel is “winterized” and will not gel. Winter starting problems are as old as the Diesel itself. Benz once recommended a small amount of gasoline be added to the fuel to assist cold weather starting.


#10

I have gotten some additional information from friend (yes, Caddyman it really is a friend of mine - at my age I don’t need to hide behind a screen to ask a question). He tells me the truck is a 2002 Ford 350 V-8 that has what was called a “power stroke” engine with 100K miles on it. Apparently, when he turns the ignition on the glow plug light on the dash comes on for about 11-12 seconds. Then it goes out. When he does this with the engine block heater on the glow plug light stays on for about 3 seconds then goes out. Could the glow plugs which I believe have never been serviced be the problem? Could the dash indicator light function OK even though one or more glow plugs are not getting hot?
Thanks very much for all advice.