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Old 12-14-2012, 01:29 PM   #1
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7.3 winter start

Im taking my 2000 7.3L D up for its first winter camping trip. Never had a diesel before and not sure about the cold start. I know there is an outlet in the front of the engine. DO i just plug my generator up to that or just wait for the plugs to warm up. I'll probably be in it over night in temps at the lowest down into the teens. Thanks for the help never doen this before!!
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Old 12-14-2012, 01:57 PM   #2
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Re: 7.3 winter start

good question. i was wondering about this too.

my buddy said the engine heaters take a lot of juice. he recommended to save some money on power bill to use a timer when i plug it in overnight to kick on 3 hours before i need to leave each morning.
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Old 12-14-2012, 02:05 PM   #3
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Re: 7.3 winter start

Not sure about a 7.3L, but my 6.0L has started in the mid teens. Just wait for the glow plugs to cycle and it fires right up.

If you can plug in the block heater (1000W)for 3 hours or so it will start easier and warmup faster.

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Old 12-14-2012, 02:08 PM   #4
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Re: 7.3 winter start

As long as your van has good batteries and working glow plugs
you shouldn't have any trouble starting it. Maybe add some fuel
treatment in your tank to keep your fuel stable. When it gets
cold here I plug my van in at night, it starts much easier in the
morning if you plug it in, but not pluging it in doesn't mean it won't
start. It just takes a little longer. How long it takes to start when it's
cold is a good indicater of how well your glow plugs are working.
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Old 12-17-2012, 07:57 PM   #5
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Re: 7.3 winter start

if your rig is all working properly then those temps should be fine.

you can do the generator thing, but that is up to you.

you can also let the wait to start light go on, then wait even longer cause the glow plug relay is still working the Glow plugs. the wait to start light is just an indicator.

you can also turn to the first postion and wait about a min or two. then cycle them again.

that lets the glow plugs warm up even more.

but really just let wait to start light go for what ever time its supposed to and wait 30-60 longer.
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Old 12-18-2012, 07:04 AM   #6
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Re: 7.3 winter start

^^^ nice info, thank you.

i have been letting my wait to start light go off for about 10-20 seconds before I start the colder it gets. didnt know if it helped or not, but it seemed to start a little easier the longer i waited.
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Old 12-21-2012, 09:34 PM   #7
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Re: 7.3 winter start

The following things can bite you:

Purchasing fuel in a warm climate and then driving somewhere cold. For temperatures down to the teens, run a minimum 50%#1 diesel, 50% #2. Anti-gelling fuel additives will suffice if the station doesn't know the blend or if it's straight #2. We heat our homes in my area with straight #1 and it never gels, even though the tanks are outside and above ground.

Weak batteries

Heavier, conventional oils make the starter and the batteries work that much harder. 5W40 works pretty well. 0W40 even better. 15W40 will work into the teens.

It would not hurt to perform the routine fuel filter drain in case you have water in the bowl.

The simple work-around for questionable batteries and/or oil is starting the vehicle every 4 hours and running it for 10 minutes, or plugging in the block heater for a few hours as others have stated. Alternately, take your generator and a battery charger and enjoy your camping trip for a few more hours if things don't start as you hoped.

The above is the boy-scout answer. Simple answer is mid teens is no problem for any half-way mechanically sound vehicle, and negative mid-teens is okay for a well maintained 7.3.
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Old 01-06-2013, 01:53 PM   #8
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7.3 winter start

In the winter I switch to 5W40 Delvac from my regular 15W40 Delvac, in my highway tractor. Night and day difference in start ability even at a mild -15 Celsius.
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Old 01-06-2013, 04:18 PM   #9
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Re: 7.3 winter start

If you have good starter batteries, you are fine.

When I came out to start the van in the Sierras one morning last week, it was -7deg F and I had forgotten to plug in the block warmer. Coldest temp I've ever experienced up there. It started fine on glow plugs alone, but I had to let it warm up for a long time before the coolant temp got to above 100deg F.

The next day I plugged in the block warmer about 3 hours before I needed to start the engine. The engine started much easier.

I have used my eu2000 generator to warm the block in the past and that also works well.

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Old 01-06-2013, 05:31 PM   #10
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Re: 7.3 winter start

You can always cycle the glow plugs more than once.


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