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Old 12-27-2012, 04:39 PM   #1
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Like a "Semi" ?

Just wanted to know is it possible to idle my truck so I can run everything in my 5'ver "like long haul truckers do"? What would be needed to set something up like that?
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Old 12-27-2012, 04:54 PM   #2
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Prior to the motor home we had pretty much the same set up as you are talking about.
The truck charged two 6v batteries that were in the 5th wheel. Then through an inverter the electrical stuff worked in the 5th wheel. Example, we could use the fridge, microwave, tv, etc. The truck didn't have to be running all the time, but the batteries had to be charged up.
We never boon docked, so I don't know how long the batteries would have lasted.
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Old 12-27-2012, 05:23 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by rmalikone View Post
Just wanted to know is it possible to idle my truck so I can run everything in my 5'ver "like long haul truckers do"? What would be needed to set something up like that?
I'd like to know too.

On the North Slope of Alaska we idle our diesels 24/7 after the temps hit minus 30. This goes on for a month or more. At times these trucks do not get driven for 2 or 3 weeks.

We just hit the high idle function and let them run.
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Old 12-27-2012, 05:54 PM   #4
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If you are talking about running stuff in your trailer, NO, won't work.. Some stuff yes, but not everything, Wires in tow vehicle are not big enough, nor are the umbical wires or the tow vehicle side wiring in the trailer.

HOWEVER,,, you can run lights, nad perhaps a furnace. Control power for the fridge, but use gas, not electric,
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Old 12-27-2012, 07:04 PM   #5
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Just wanted to know is it possible to idle my truck so I can run everything in my 5'ver "like long haul truckers do"? What would be needed to set something up like that?
Possible, but not cheap. Your high-draw 120-volt stuff such as air conditioner(s), coffee pot, microwave, curling irons, etc. require lots of "juice" - more than a high-idle diesel engine and stock/optional altenator(s) will produce.

So there at least are two ways to go about it - neither option is cheap.

1) haul a truck bed full of batteries, plus an inverter that will produce about 30 amps of 120-volt electricity, with one or two large altenators that can charge up those batteries while you're idling the engine. Plug your 30-amp RV electric cord into that inverter.

2) install a PTO and a PTO-driven generator with enough output to result in about 30-amps (about 3,600 watts or 4 Kw) of 120-volt electricity. I'll use Ford PowerStroke pickups as the example, but the other brands of diesel pickups probably have something similer.

The PowerStroke engine comes standard with the SEIC (stationary elevated idle controller), but your dealer has to do some wiring to make it work. Plus your truck must have the factory option of the PTO provision. With the PTO provision, you can mount a Chelsea or Munci PTO plus a hydraulic system to power a hydraulic generator. Then you can add a hydraulic-powered generator under, on, or in the bed of the truck.
MAS Hydraulic Generator - Learn More | Harrison Hydra-Gen

Plug your RV power cord into the 30-amp plug on the generator, then set the SEIC to idle the engine at at about 1,200 RPM.


You can run all the 12-volt stuff in the RV without either an inverter or generator. So your normal lights, sterio, gas furnace, gas water heater, gas range and oven, etc. will all work. Just hook up and use the SEIC to run the engine at high idle RPM so the altenator(s) will keep the batteries charged up. But no AC or microwave or hair dryer or curling irons or any of the other 120-volt stuff in the RV.

DO NOT allow a diesel engine to idle as normal idle RPM of around 700 RPM. You need at least 1,100 RPM, and probably Ford's requirement 0f 1,200 or 1,300 to prevent "wet stacking" of the engine. Look up wet stacking if you don't know what a big no no extended idling at normal low idle RPM is.
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Old 12-27-2012, 07:19 PM   #6
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This is why Honda and Onan make gen sets for rvs much cheaper to buy and on fuel. Some states now have idle laws so can't idle for long.
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Old 12-28-2012, 10:34 AM   #7
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This is why Honda and Onan make gen sets for rvs much cheaper to buy and on fuel. Some states now have idle laws so can't idle for long.
I nominate this as the best response to the Original question in this thread and second the opinion contained threin.

I'd go with a Yahama EF-3600I in the bed of the truck.
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Old 12-28-2012, 09:47 PM   #8
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This is why Honda and Onan make gen sets for rvs much cheaper to buy and on fuel. Some states now have idle laws so can't idle for long.
I already have 5500 LP Onan, but wanted to know if it could be done.

Thanks OP
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Old 12-28-2012, 10:23 PM   #9
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I'd like to know too.

On the North Slope of Alaska we idle our diesels 24/7 after the temps hit minus 30. This goes on for a month or more. At times these trucks do not get driven for 2 or 3 weeks.

We just hit the high idle function and let them run.
Your last sentence has the correct answer - high idle! Allowing a diesel engine to idle at low idle RPM's is a sure way to invite problems. A diesel engine will not maintain correct operating temperature unless RPM's are increased. Of course you already know that, but I repeated it for malikone. Smokeywren went into more detail than I.
Now; malikone I agree with running a genset for power instead of running a 400HP truck engine for electrical power. Fuel savings would pay for the genset in a short while.
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Old 12-29-2012, 07:51 AM   #10
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I see new 18 wheel trucks with RV gensets running so they can have power when parked without idling the main engine. I saw a utility truck a while back with a "certified clean idle" badge on the fender. Wonder if this is a legal alternative to the no idle laws?

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... I agree with running a genset for power instead of running a 400HP truck engine for electrical power. Fuel savings would pay for the genset in a short while.
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Old 12-29-2012, 08:03 AM   #11
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Most diesel manufacturers now recommend idling periods that are very short...like 10 minutes. It loads up the emission systems, dilutes the oil and washes lubricants from the cylinder walls. On top of that, it is very wasteful of fuel.

Better to run a smaller generator.

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Old 12-29-2012, 09:22 AM   #12
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Most diesel manufacturers now recommend idling periods that are very short...like 10 minutes. It loads up the emission systems, dilutes the oil and washes lubricants from the cylinder walls.
True for the "normal" low-idle RPM of 700 RPM or thereabouts. At low idle RPM, the temp inside the combustion chamber gets too low to support complete combustion. Incomplete combustion of the diesel fuel is what causes the problems.

But at around 1,200 RPM, the combustion chamber gets hot enough to result in complete combustion, so extended idling at high-idle RPM on a well-maintained engine is no problem.
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Old 12-29-2012, 09:11 PM   #13
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Even truckers don't idle there rigs as much as they used to. Increased fuel costs and more complicated engines and emissions controls make it much less desirable to do this. Many modern day "big rigs" have auxillary power units to provide power for HVAC, lights, etc. instead of running the main engine.
Most modern day pick-up engines would be harmed (or at least their emission systems would be) by prolonged idling.
If you did want to use the pick-up this way you would at least need the dual alternator set up offered as an option on most diesel pick-ups. You would also need very large wire, #2 or larger, running from the alternator to the trailer batteries.
In my opinion it's not worth considering this option.
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Old 12-29-2012, 10:32 PM   #14
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I see new 18 wheel trucks with RV gensets running so they can have power when parked without idling the main engine. I saw a utility truck a while back with a "certified clean idle" badge on the fender. Wonder if this is a legal alternative to the no idle laws?
Most newer diesel engines have an automatic high-idle feature to reduce emissions and reduce engine problems related to prolonged low-idling. As for power when parked, many truck-stops now have 120VAC power pedestals at parking spaces if the semi doesn't have a genset onboard, to eliminate prolonged idling where prohibited.
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