5 Things To Help Combat and Cure A Cold CumminsPosted in How To: Engine on September 30, 2016
When the temperature dips to the bottom of the needle, diesel fuel transforms into a consistency resembling molasses, leaving the wax particles within the fuel and thickening or “gelling” inside the arteries of the truck clogging. And just like cholesterol clogs human arteries, gelled diesel fuel in your truck’s fuel system is like a heart attack waiting to happen. Most diesel fuels can withstand 32 degrees. For most of us, we know it often gets much colder than that! Here are five easy ways we’ve found to help defend your Cummins against the evil freezing arctic temperatures.
1. Fuel Additive: This simple solution should always be running in the veins of your 4x4 at all times during cold months. As an added bonus, they contain cleaners to help remove deposits that are built up within your fuel system, as well as additives to combat the gelling process in colder temperatures. In short, it prevents the paraffin wax found in diesel fuel from thickening. Diesel fuel additives usually have a cetane booster that helps with faster start up times. Cetane is the measurement of delayed ignition of the diesel fuel represented by a number. Most U.S. filling stations have diesel fuel with a Cetane rate of 45. Increasing Cetane levels in your diesel fuel will help with faster ignition times for your diesel engine.
2. Batteries: Long starts drain the batteries in colder conditions. You'll find two batteries in parallel maximize the cranking amps (CA) needed to spin your diesel engine and ignite the air/fuel mixture. When purchasing your next battery, look for a rating of cold cranking amps (CCA). This measurement is found on the battery and is a measurement based on 30 seconds of starting while holding at least 7.2 V. The minimum need for most diesel engines is around 750 CCA.
3. Engine Preheater: Your Cummins engine doesn't come with glow plugs. It's equipped with a grid heater that uses electrical current in a heating element that is shaped like a grid. This maximizes surface area warming the air to be drawn through the engine block for ignition. As soon as the key is turned to the On position, the heater then will heat the grid. Once it reaches the set temperature, your dash light will turn off letting you know it’s time to turn your key over to the On position.
4. Coolant: Sometimes when a low coolant warning shows up, some of us just add water that's nearby for a simple solution. This isn't always a bad thing since most antifreeze mixes are 50/50 coolant and water mix. Unfortunately, water will start to crystalize to ice when the temperature falls to 32 degrees. This can lead to cracked blocks, lines, and radiators. On the other end, most antifreeze manufactures recommend not going more than 70 percent coolant mix to help keep the heat transfer and other benefits, like freeze/boilover ratings, optimal. So before the freezing season starts, it's a good time to perform a coolant flush so you have the right mix going into the cold season.
5. Oil: This fluid doesn't seem like it plays a role in the help of starting your diesel, but in reality, it does have a dramatic effect since so many rotating engine parts are submersed in it. The term viscosity is the measurement of fluid while drawing the fluid through a device known as a viscometer. It's then labeled with the correct weight rating. For example, with 10W-40, the first number is the viscosity of the oil when the oil is cold. The "W" means it has been tested at colder temperatures, or winter rated. In this case, the 40 is known as the thickness when the oil becomes warm. The thicker the oil in colder environments, the harder the oil is to flow, leaving more resistance on internal parts on the engine and creating more drag, especially when starting.