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Old 12-13-2013, 12:00 PM   #1
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Starting diesel motorhome and gen in winter?

HI,

Our first deisel pusher is sitting in cold storage right now. We will be going to visit it soon to start it up and take it over to a cabinet maker for some work.

So it's been really cold lately under 20f. How do we start up the deisel? In the storage lot there isnt anywhere to plug in to run the block heater. Do we run the block heater off the batteries for some time or do we just start it up and let it warm up well in the lot.

How about the generator?
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Old 12-13-2013, 12:05 PM   #2
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DO NOT START THE DIESEL MH, same for the Generator.
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Old 12-13-2013, 12:08 PM   #3
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DO NOT START THE DIESEL MH, same for the Generator.
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?
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Old 12-13-2013, 12:08 PM   #4
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Nothing on your profile to let us know just what you have....so, cycle your ignition key and this will cycle the intake heater in the engine(glow plugs), cycle it 3 or 4 times(waiting just a bit in between cycles) and give it a try. In those temps. your oil is going to really thick and might not want to roll very good, if it does not roll and start try the genset(glow plugs also, heating cycle) and if it starts run it and turn on your block heater, this warm up is going to take 3-5 hours in those cold temps. to warm the cold engine up as there is a ton of coolant and a lot of steel to warm up. Good luck.....
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Old 12-13-2013, 12:11 PM   #5
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If you have 120V power, plugging the MH in to let the block heater run would be ideal. But, as stated, 3-5hrs.
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Old 12-13-2013, 12:13 PM   #6
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How are the batteries? As long as you have good batteries, I would start the generator and let it get warm before putting a load on it. Once the generator is warm, plug in the block heater for the engine and give it a couple hours to warm the engine. After the engine is warm, it should start without too much of an issue.
The only thing that might be an issue is what fuel does it have in the tank? Is it number 2 diesel or were you lucky enough to have gotten winter diesel before you put the MH away? If you do in fact have number 2 diesel, it might be a little difficult to get started and keep running, depending on the current temp.
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Old 12-13-2013, 12:13 PM   #7
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HI,

Our first deisel pusher is sitting in cold storage right now. We will be going to visit it soon to start it up and take it over to a cabinet maker for some work.

So it's been really cold lately under 20f. How do we start up the deisel? In the storage lot there isnt anywhere to plug in to run the block heater. Do we run the block heater off the batteries for some time or do we just start it up and let it warm up well in the lot.

How about the generator?
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If you have 120V power, plugging the MH in to let the block heater run would be ideal. But, as stated, 3-5hrs.
No power outlet as posted......
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Old 12-13-2013, 12:15 PM   #8
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Hi there:

Not sure if your generator has a block heater, but the main engine most likely does. Investigate both. Assuming the main engine does and the generator doesn't, I'd rent a small generator (2000 watts should be lots) and plug the main engine in for 4 or five hours (use the middle of the day). Bring a battery charger to charge the chassis batteries while you are waiting. This will avoid cold starting the diesel and you'll get better initial lubrication and combustion. As a rule, the generators come right up to full speed (3600 for Onans), which is kinda hard on the engine when started that cold. Under no circumstances attempt to use you house or cranking batteries to power up the block heater (it shouldn't be connected to the inverter circuits in any case). Let the engine run for several minutes to get the oils in engine/transmission well circulated and starting to warm up. Take care and good luck
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Old 12-13-2013, 01:39 PM   #9
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Hi there:
As a rule, the generators come right up to full speed (3600 for Onans), which is kinda hard on the engine when started that cold.
Under no circumstances attempt to use you house or cranking batteries to power up the block heater (it shouldn't be connected to the inverter circuits in any case). Let the engine run for several minutes to get the oils in engine/transmission well circulated and starting to warm up. Take care and good luck

00wabbit
I agree with 3 Birds.

My diesel engine has no block heater.
It has never failed to start, (even after sitting in sub zero temps for days/weeks).
Same for my 6.3 kw LP Onan.

However. I believe that most, (all?) Onan generators run at a regulated 1800 RPM.

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Old 12-13-2013, 01:44 PM   #10
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No power outlet as posted......
Thank you, but I did say if.
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Old 12-13-2013, 02:01 PM   #11
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Cycle the grid heaters thru 3 or 4 cycles and start it. There are millions of Big trucks started this way every day.
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Old 12-13-2013, 02:02 PM   #12
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At 20 degrees your diesel engine should start just fine. There are 1,000's of diesel pickup trucks in Michigan that start every morning at that temperature without using the engine block heater.
IMO let your generator rest.

Hopefully your cabinet guy can get your MH inside to work on.
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Old 12-13-2013, 02:36 PM   #13
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Sorry let me elaborate -

Cummins ISL 400hp in a 2006 National Tradewinds

Onan 8.0KW Diesel Gen.

The unit does have a built in block heater.

No access to 120v.

I have to start it because we are planning to leave this area in January.

It has a full tank of fresh diesel, but not "winter diesel"
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Old 12-13-2013, 03:13 PM   #14
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Are you going to take the coach for a 20-30 minute run (or more)? Are you going to run the generator UNDER load for an hour or more? If either answer is no, then just leave them alone until spring. Am assuming that you did fill the fuel tank up before putting her to bed?

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