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Old 07-06-2012, 10:49 PM   #1
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Overnight idling?

In an attempt to avoid a generator and a separate 110v ac unit, what about allowing the van to idle all night and run the ac? This would keep a charge on the batteries and run the ac, all without the purchase cost and separate maintenance of the generator and second ac unit. I am looking at vans with the 5.4l engine. Except for the fuel bill, will an 8-10 hour period of idling damage the engine?

I'm in the southeast, ac is a part of life. Would like to simplify the setup as much as possible.

Thanks for the help.

Adam
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Old 07-07-2012, 12:55 AM   #2
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Re: Overnight idling?

Its not that good for an engine to be at idle for hours at a time. If you were going to idle all night at least you should hook up the high idle set up that emergency vehicles use, its just a wire and a switch. I am not sure if the 5.4 vans have that option but the V10 and Diesels do so I would think at least newer ones would. Also engines don't charge really well at idle either another reason for high idle control. I would also get a carbon monoxide detector as well if you are going to sleep with the van running. Another thought is what if it over heats or losses oil pressure at night while your in back, how would you ever know? Unlike a generator you van is not designed to shut off if there is a problem.

That said I dont know where you are camping that you could run a generator or a van all night long. Most places have noise curfews of some type. I know I would be very upset if I heard a generator or a van running all night long while I was camping. If I want noise at night I would just stay home, there is plenty of that around here. We go camping to have the piece and quiet and to getcaway from it all. If you want air conditioning stay at a hotel or get a shore power and A/C set up in your van and use that.

I grew up on the east coast and its hot and humid for sure. And I used to live in Georgia for ten years and while it is very hot no doubt about it, sometimes at night it was great to just open the windows and sleep in the warm air, I miss those warm nights back east since I moved out west. I have been camping hundreds of nights all over the east and southeast I found it nice to sleep in the van at night with just a fan even on the hottest nights. Did I ever wish I had A/C (or heat) you bet but its camping in a van you have to give up something, right?

To be fair I am sure at some time I have started my van at night for heat or A/C but I try really really hard not to and I would never fall asleep with it running. A well insulated van will realy help.
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Old 07-07-2012, 02:53 AM   #3
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Re: Overnight idling?

The Triton motors tolerate idling just fine. Except A/C doesn't quite work as well because the engines don't get warm enough to kick the van on. Gulf-State ambulances also get a set of electric fans for better A/C performance at idle.

My V10 uses 0.7 GPH idling with AC on, and both fans on med.

I don't think anyone would notice a V10 idling, since its so quiet. The V8 does have a slight exhaust rumble that the V10 doesn't have though.
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Old 07-07-2012, 03:30 AM   #4
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Re: Overnight idling?

Quote:
Originally Posted by carringb

I don't think anyone would notice a V10 idling, since its so quiet. The V8 does have a slight exhaust rumble that the V10 doesn't have though.
OK good point on the V10 noise...Do you use the idle up feature ever? I have been thinking about hooking it up.

...Jamie
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Old 07-07-2012, 08:42 AM   #5
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Re: Overnight idling?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ultrasport12
Quote:
Originally Posted by carringb

I don't think anyone would notice a V10 idling, since its so quiet. The V8 does have a slight exhaust rumble that the V10 doesn't have though.
OK good point on the V10 noise...Do you use the idle up feature ever? I have been thinking about hooking it up.

...Jamie
No, I haven't hooked it upped. The only time I've wish I had it hooked up is using the inverter for large loads, and once when I was moving jersey barriers with the winch.
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Old 07-07-2012, 05:37 PM   #6
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Re: Overnight idling?

Quote:
Originally Posted by adschantz
In an attempt to avoid a generator and a separate 110v ac unit, what about allowing the van to idle all night and run the ac? This would keep a charge on the batteries and run the ac, all without the purchase cost and separate maintenance of the generator and second ac unit. I am looking at vans with the 5.4l engine. Except for the fuel bill, will an 8-10 hour period of idling damage the engine?

I'm in the southeast, ac is a part of life. Would like to simplify the setup as much as possible.

Thanks for the help.

Adam
nothing is gonna like idling that long... some engines will tolerate it longer than others.
don't even think about doing it with a diesel. that will destroy a 6.0, even on high idle.

an EU 2000 honda genset and a 50' cord would draw minimal fuel, and unless placed
in a parking structure, would be almost unnoticeable. it'll also give you continuous power
without running full tilt boogie to do it. on minimal load, it'll run 24 hours on a filling,
and it's hard to hear 25' away.

having someone run a V-8 all night next to me, unless it's in a truck stop, would probably
lead to a can of "great stuff" into the intake horn behind the grill.... did i say that out loud?

good batteries, and a good alternator would be a solution, but won't run an a/c.

best batteries other than golf cart batteries, would be Oddesy batteries, with a
DC Power 270 amp alternator replacing the OEM. ford OEM alternators, imho, suck.
that alternator produces 200 amps of clean power at 600 rpm idle, and a smidge over
300 amps at 2,000 engine rpm... it's very conservatively rated.
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Old 07-07-2012, 07:26 PM   #7
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Re: Overnight idling?

I would get a real good co 2 tester for inside the van, also the extender running will generate a lot of heat in the exhaust system that will radiate into the van. I think only the ambulance chassi are rated at extended idle time because of additional heat shields under the van. You could just check into a hotel on the real hot days!!!!

Dave
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Old 07-09-2012, 01:07 AM   #8
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Re: Overnight idling?

I did that a few times for about 4 or 5 hours, my V10 was quiet and did not have any problems. Once in the desert I also left the hood open, it was still 95 outside at night. I don't think I'd make it a regular thing though...
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Old 07-09-2012, 09:41 AM   #9
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Overnight idling?

Plain and simple, your ac won't cool at idle over time. I would work that out first. Please let me know how you do it!
I'm in the Southeast too and I know what you mean, I think that's mostly why there are few SMBs and similar type (simple) campers here. Because of the humidity everyone wants a mobile house to camp in with a residential output ac unit.
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Old 07-09-2012, 09:51 AM   #10
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Re: Overnight idling?

It's definately the combination of heat and humidity that makes summer camping miserable in the SE. Really like the idea of idling rather than the cost/complexity of a generator and then a 3rd ac (110V) system. I don't want a roof mounted unit and the Danhard is cost prohibitive.

To address some of the concerns, it would not seem too complicated to set up some type of aural warning for low oil pressure or high coolant temperatures. Does the 5.4L have the high idle option? If not, possible to set up some type of hand throttle? I have seen a few older Broncos and Scouts with this feature, was told it was for a hydraulic winch. If cooling was an issue, perhaps a supplementary cooling fan on the radiator?

This may end up being a non starter, but figured it's worth investigating. Sounds like there is concern for the long idle periods, would hate to kill 5K worth of engine to save 1500 worth of generator and 110V ac.

Thanks for the help.

Adam
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