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OT Why do people leave their diesel engines running?

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  • OT Why do people leave their diesel engines running?

    Just about every time I go to Lowes or WalMart, I'll see a diesel pickup sitting empty in the lot with the engine idling. Sometimes they're still there when I come out. Why do people do that? I see it all year 'round, so I don't think it's just to keep the truck cool or warm inside.

    Are they that hard to start? Do the starters wear out so quickly that people leave them running to avoid using the starters?

    Roger
    Any products mentioned in my posts have been endorsed by their manufacturer.

  • #2
    If it was a large diesel motor fitted with a turbo and the semi had just been doing a long up-hill pull, then you would let the motor idle down to reduce the heat in the turbo bearings before you switched it of. A lot of the larger diesel motors fitted to semis have a timer switch so you can NOT switch it of whilst it is still HOT, say, a five minute delay after turning of the key.

    Now these idiots who leave there motors running in the parking lot at Wal-mart or some such place, well they deserve to have there vehicle stolen.

    No, the starter will not wear out any quicker than one fitted to a petrol motor.
    It appears that the idiots who do this, are just a bunch of wankers, think they better get their hand of it before they start to grow hair on the palm of their hands.

    Comment


    • #3
      I think the reason why some people leave their rigs idling is that they're the same people who used to clothes pin playing cards so they flap on their bicycle spokes. Among other things, they like to draw attention to their presence. When confronted for the reasons their explanations are thin and don't stand up to technical examination. It's the same reason why people buy $500 putters or put straight pipes on their motorcycles. Or spend thousands on home shops or run for political office.

      Comment


      • #4
        "...people who used to clothes pin playing cards so they flap on their bicycle spokes." Guilty as charged.

        And I had a straight pipe on the lawnmower engine I put on my bicycle a couple years later.

        And I've spent a couple thou on home shop stuff.

        Now I see. They're pretty much like me, only different.

        Roger
        Any products mentioned in my posts have been endorsed by their manufacturer.

        Comment


        • #5
          Roger,

          I think this stems form an old Wives tail I always used to hear that said it used more fuel to start a dsl than it did to just leave it idleing. This might have actually been true with some of the big rig older diesels, but modern electronic fuel injection has made it a thing of the past. if it was ever true.

          I will say that diesels use very little fuel at idle, but that is still no excuse. In Maryland it is illegal to leave a vehicle unattended and running anyway !
          Bill Koustenis
          Advanced Automotive Machine
          Waldorf Md
          www.enginerepairshop.com

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by winchman
            Just about every time I go to Lowes or WalMart, I'll see a diesel pickup sitting empty in the lot with the engine idling. Sometimes they're still there when I come out. Why do people do that? I see it all year 'round, so I don't think it's just to keep the truck cool or warm inside.
            So you will know the owner owns a diesel, like if anyone cares. Now if the guys dogs are inside, well, that is a good reason.

            Clutch

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            • #7
              Well, I've been a diesel mechanic for over 30 years, and I've always said that those folks who won't shut 'em off don't dare to. If they had an old 5.7 GM diesel, or even a 6.2, I don't blame 'em.

              Given the underhood temps of modern trucks, and the turbo itself, what happens is that with the engine off, the oil inside the turbo barbecues. Leaves a brick inside, after lots of hot soaks. I've tried to chisel a couple out. A tough go. A few minutes of idle to cool off the turbo is called for after hard runs up grades and across the desert, etc.

              Mostly, I think it's ignorance on the part of the driver. Given the price of diesel, I suspect that fewer people are guilty of excess engine idling nowdays.

              TC

              Comment


              • #8
                In 1985 my uncle bought a Ford F-250 diesel,it was one of the first to offer a diesel in that size truck.He went through 6 starters before Ford came up with one that would work.Many folks around here bought that same model pickup and the 350 starting about then and they all had the same problem until about 1988 when the starters were finally upgraded to a reduction unit.Some of it stems from then.

                Many of the guys here who bought the early Ford and GM offerings left their idle and many of them have been die hard diesel owners since,old habit.

                The other class are the yuppie horse "farmers" as we call them.$50,000 truck,chrome everything and trying desperately to fit in.So much so they leave theirs idling too.Most times while they are in the local feed store buying hay
                I just need one more tool,just one!

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                • #9
                  I'd bet if you had been there when the "Knuckle Dragger" that parked and left his engine running, first got there he rolled down the window and listened to it rattle and rumble for awhile and also looked around to see if any one else was looking at him.
                  Mel
                  _____________________________________________

                  I would rather have tools that I never use, than not have a tool I need.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Forrest Addy
                    It's the same reason why people put straight pipes on their motorcycles. Or spend thousands on home shops.
                    Whats wrong with straight pipes and home shops..........LOL

                    Not defending the pickup diesel crowd in your climes but once it gets below -30C up here in winter you don't see many turned off outside, oil rigs in the bush can run for weeks. I must say though that the new diesel pickups start way better cold nowadays.
                    Opportunity knocks once, temptation leans on the doorbell.....

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                    • #11
                      Years ago I asked a semi driver that question. He said "I can leave it idle all afternoon on just a 1/4 tank." I said I can shut off mine for free!
                      mark costello-Low speed steel

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by hardtail
                        Not defending the pickup diesel crowd in your climes but once it gets below -30C up here in winter you don't see many turned off outside, oil rigs in the bush can run for weeks. I must say though that the new diesel pickups start way better cold nowadays.
                        I remember a radio program where the person from Alaska that was being interviewed commented that the locals were more interested in how many hours were on a vehicle instead of miles.

                        Clutch

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I dont think this is the reason as for me it wouldnt matter anyways,--------- But - people who leave their rigs running for short periods of time instead of turning them off have extended rod and main bearing life, in fact the majority of connecting rod bearing wear is attributed to "dry starts" ------- now pump the compression ratio of the average diesel into the factor and it could actually prove to be cost effective (if your talking short run intervals)

                          There was much experimentation even with the common gas engine in which an electric oil pump was used to Pre-prime the rods and mains before start up -- the results were amazing as bearing wear was almost non-existent.

                          On the flip side - I knew a guy who was an alcoholic -- he used to leave his rabbit diesel pickup idle outside the bar for 4 to 6 hours (lunatic )
                          came time I had to rebuild his engine and never seen a piston ring ridge that deep in so small a bore, Maybe the rods and mains where getting theres but I think the piston was lacking at that low of an idle....

                          Bottom line is people dont have a clue but want to act like they do, its wise to let a Turbo D or turbo gas Idle down after a hard beating --- but talk around the barbeque gets hyped and lots of guys take it to the extreme --- Fact is is turbo's have come along ways --- many only need to be treated nice just before parking and all is fine...

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            The thing about leaving a diesel engine running rather than shutting it off comes from back the early days of large trucks and large tractors (Caterpillar) types. The fuel was nowhere near as good as today’s and neither was the fuel pumps and injectors.
                            Those of you old enough and ever around the old “cats” and other large diesel tractors, remember they was started on lighter fuels then switched to diesel and or started with a auxiliary gas engine. Other words, a pain in the a$$. Diesel fuels had a tendency to “jell” at wintertime temperatures because they did not have the additives we have today. I’ve heard stories about engines that were left running continuously, because they were so hard to restart.
                            Mel
                            _____________________________________________

                            I would rather have tools that I never use, than not have a tool I need.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Back in the days of yore diesels were hard to start and many used a pony motor to start them, it was easier to leave them running. Peopls continue to do things out of habit or false assumptions.
                              When you shut your diesel your turbo has no oil unless you have an electric
                              coast down pump to supply oil once the engine is shut down. A turbo may spin for ten minutes after the engine is secured. Larger diesels have pre-lube pump for start up and a coast down for securing. The pre-lube pump senses press at the most remote bearing from the pump.
                              There is no reason to idle a diesel unless you are in the dead of winter.
                              The proper way to start a cold diesel is to crank and stop a few times, this will generate sufficent heat for combustion if you don't have glow plugs or a block heater.
                              Non, je ne regrette rien.

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