Have you had trouble starting your diesel equipment this season? Winter brings with it temperatures that not only make you shudder, but can also make your equipment sluggish. With new equipment under cold weather conditions, you shouldn’t have any problem starting a diesel engine. But if your equipment struggles on a brisk morning, there are a few things you can do to ease it into a hard day’s work.
1. USE PROPER SEASONAL BLENDS
Keep your diesel engine in great shape throughout the year with seasonal diesel blends. Winter blends, for example, are designed for colder temperatures and have an anti-gel additive that serves as a slowing property so your blends will remain liquid in the cold. If you use a summer blend during the cold winter months, you might run into issues starting your engine.
2. WATCH YOUR BIODIESEL PERCENTAGES
Some choose to make their own biodiesel blends - more power to you if that’s the route you take, but use caution. If you do make your own blend, avoid high concentrations of biodiesel because a higher percentage tends to set and lose liquid under cold temperature. While John Deere only recommends 5% biodiesel to 95% conventional diesel, concentrations up to 20% biodiesel still meet the standards set by the American Society of Testing Materials.
3. IDLE BEFORE HITTING THE ROAD
Extremely cold temperatures can wreak havoc with your machine, so always run the engine at a low idle to warm up your equipment when it’s frigid. Something to consider when it comes time for snow removal.
4. MAINTAIN YOUR COOLING SYSTEM
Regardless of the season, people tend to ignore the cooling system. Frequently check the level and quality of your coolant.
5. ENGAGE STARTING AIDS
If your diesel engine has issues starting in cold weather, it’s likely that one of the following starting aids isn’t working correctly.
- Glow plugs - These are one of the standard starting aids offered by manufacturers. By engaging the glow plugs, the air in the cylinder heats up prior to cranking the engine and injecting fuel.
- Intake Pre Heater - Like glow plugs, intake pre-heaters are often a manufacturer standard. It heats air as it’s pulled into the cylinder.
- Block Heaters - While most engines come with glow plugs and intake pre-heaters, block heaters are recommended for equipment used in temperatures under 20 degrees. Block heaters warm the coolant in the engine block, allowing easy fuel ignition.
If you have problems starting your diesel engine, our Papé Machinery Agriculture & Turf service department offers 24/7 support and service. Visit us at one of our full service facilities in Oregon, Washington, California or Idaho today.