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Gas vs Diesel

Diesel are built to idle for hours compared to Gas. Correct?

Im looking to buy a used truck for a few 1000 dollars. Im thinking diesel. Im looking at 50 below winter. Can you give me opinions on reliable trucks. Trucks,engines,transmissions that have proven themselves. Thanks

Not correct…

A $3000 used diesel truck is not likely to start in below zero temperatures…Leaving it run all winter is one option I guess…You will need to change the oil and filter at least every 500 hours, that’s about 20 days…

I dont see how you figure that 3000 dollar diesel wont want to start. It would have heaters, Oil pan and Block heater at least. Leaving it run all winter wasnt my thought but if i wanted to let it run for a couple or few hours at a time i could

Ive been in northern for 4 years and never had a vehicle NOT start at -50

That was supposed 2 b northern alaska

I once asked a truck driver why he never shut the engine off in his truck…His answer was that he would be fired if he turned it off and it would not start…This fear must hold true throughout the diesel-powered industry, judging by the numbers of diesels that are seldom shut off…If all I had to buy a truck with was $3000, I think I would buy a gasoline powered one…Especially if I lived in a place where 50 below zero was a possibility…

Anymore, I try to limit my winter temperature exposure to 50 degrees ABOVE zero…At that temperature, my vehicles never fail to start either…

sILLY TRUCK DRIVER. Im 75 miles from the arctic circle. -50 isnt a possibility its common. Im looking at 3-5 thousand and what about the idle question? And reliability. you managed to answer neither but i do appreciate your input

Diesels not starting is laughable. Your kidding right? Where do you live that people dont shut them off? Thats crazy stuff

Well, I live in IL and knew a guy who had a two year old Powerstroke Ford. Temps got down to around zero degrees F and he did manage to get his truck to start, but barely. Diesels really don’t like the cold. In all fairness, I do believe he forgot to plug it in. That’s not a concern for gasoline powered vehicles. Neither is gelling, at least not on this planet. Gasoline starts to gel around -250 degrees F.

As far as diesel or gas being designed to idle for hours, neither are necessarily designed for this purpose, but either can do it. For example, you can buy standby generators powered by either gasoline or diesel fuel. Propane powered generators are also available. For that purpose, they simply run at one speed all the time. Any modern fuel injected vehicle can idle indefinitely as long as the cooling system is up to the task, and don’t disregard that statement just because it’s fifty below. An engine still needs a good cooling system at bitter temperatures. Given your climate, I would definitely lean towards a gasoline powered vehicle.

Reliability wise, it’s a toss-up. Diesels are built heavier than gas engines, but mostly to cope with the higher compression ratio and combustion pressures. Over the road trucks are notorious for going a million miles between engine rebuilds, but I believe a gas powered rig could do the same thing if driven in the same manner. You also need to consider who will fix the vehicle when something goes wrong. In an auto repair shop, there’s no shortage of people who have worked on a gas rig, but they may be leery of touching a diesel engine if they are not familiar with it. It’s best to take a diesel to a diesel specialist. If you don’t know of one or can’t find one, that could really put a dent in the reliability factor since a major factor in reliability is being able to get the vehicle repaired easily.

If I were in your situation, I would definitely lean towards a gas powered vehicle, especially with the bitter temperatures that are common where you live. Even if you have it plugged in, what if a heater goes out or you have a power failure? You might wash the cylinders out with ether trying to get a diesel engine to start under those cold conditions, and could blow it up if you don’t wash it out. Wouldn’t it be nice to not have to worry about something like that? Unless you have some other compelling reason to be considering a diesel, the choice shouldn’t be hard.

Im aware that diesels start harder in winter than gas.
Iknow a guy with a dodge diesel about 2006 he claims it started at -30 unplugged. It has 2 batteries. Thanks for the info. Recommendations for gas powered trucks that have proven themselves? I tend to me a Chevy GMC fan. Was thinking dodge if i went diesel but i think you may have talked me out of it. Thanks

Anybody know a website i can go to for info on trucks that have proven themselves?

On the topic of exessive idling on modern diesel pick up trucks, from page 262 of the 2006 Dodge Ram owners manual;
Engine Idling — In Cold Weather
Avoid prolonged idling in ambient temperatures below
0°F. Long periods of idling may be harmful to your
engine because combustion chamber temperatures can
drop so low that the fuel may not burn completely.
Incomplete combustion allows carbon and varnish to
form on piston rings and injector nozzles. Also, the
unburned fuel can enter the crankcase, diluting the oil
and causing rapid wear to the engine.

Page 264;
Avoid Low Coolant Temperature Operation
Continual operation at low coolant temperature below
the normal range on the gauge (140°F/60°C) can be
harmful to the engine. Low coolant temperature can
cause incomplete combustion which allows carbon and
varnish to form on piston rings and injector nozzles.
Also, the unburned fuel can enter the crankcase, diluting
the lubricating oil and causing rapid wear to the engine.

Modern diesels are not made to idle better then a gas, they just happen to do it more efficiently. I would not buy a diesel unless I had a specific need for it’s low end torture, efficiency and potential longevity. I would not buy one just for cold idling or to be cool as they cost too much and are only worth the additional expense for hard use.


Truck drivers here in the North East turn the trucks off all the time and don’t have any problems starting them again when temps are below 0. If they had a problem then more then half the grocery stores in this area wouldn’t be getting their groceries during the winter. I driven by one of the large grocery warehouses many times during the winter and all their trucks that are NOT making deliveries are sitting in the lot SHUT OFF…

Now if you lived in Alaska during the winter…where temps never get above -20…then MAYBE it’s true…but not in the lower 48.

Yeah. That truck driver was not the rule. Even in the cold (depending on temp) they can be shut off for a certain amount of time

in Northern Alaska, I’d be more concerned about having a mechanic and/or parts to fix the truck, should something go wrong. So, whatever shops/dealerships are available is what you should be looking at. Nothing like having an oddball truck and having to wait a month or so for parts to arrive.

BTW, if I had only a few thousand dollars, your chances of getting a good diesel truck deal compared to a gas truck are nil. You need a rich relative or benefactor to give you one. Used and cheap, I feel you should put your energy into looking for a gas model. Diesels that cheap will eat up any savings in the first repair bill, which will likely be sooner. Go traditional with Ford f150 as a first choice and Chevy/GMC half tons as second. Manual that’s easier to repair will be cheaper used. Forget diesel option. Rust will be a BIG concern with a used truck…best of luck.