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Old 12-21-2001, 09:53 AM
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making sure it will start at 40 below

I recently purchased a 1983 300 D TD with 320,000 KM. (about 200,000 miles) on it and I plan to use it year round. In Ottawa where I live the temp. can range from 90 F. in the summer to -40 F. in the winter. Please give me as much advice as possible to increase my chances of starting every time in the winter. Thanks, Dave Joyce
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Old 12-21-2001, 10:13 AM
Registered Diesel Burner
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Northern Virginia
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Don't turn it off.

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Old 12-21-2001, 10:15 AM
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Join Date: May 2000
Location: Boise, Idaho
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Hi Dave, I believe that many folks on this forum will recommend, as I do, that you use a synthetic oil with a small winter number, such as 0 or 5W and a block heater. There are many threads which more than adequately cover these areas. Use the search engine! In addition, a properly "tuned" diesel will run great in cold or hot climates. Roger
1983 300CD 246k sold
1998 C230 52k
1980 450SL 75k needs AC
1999 Subaru Outback Ltd 43k
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Old 12-21-2001, 02:17 PM
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Thanks Ken, maybe I could just move to Florida instead!
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Old 12-21-2001, 08:27 PM
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Location: Omaha, NE
Posts: 962
Yep, synthetic oil (e.g. Mobil 1) is your best bet. It really lets the engine spin faster when cranking which in turn lets it develop more heat in the cylinders.

The other major tip I've heard is to use the glow plugs liberally. In really cold weather, some go through 3 cycles (i.e., turning the ignition to the "2" position and keeping it there till the glow plug light goes off. Also, the glow plugs keep heating for up to a minute or so after the glow plug light goes out -- you can listen to the relay and keep the key in "2" until the relay clicks.

Once glowed adequately, crank it and keep cranking until the engine runs smoothly. Don't stop cranking once the engine "hits" the first time, wait until it's really running (but don't exceed the cranking time limit in your owner's manual).

Oh, one other thing -- make sure fuel filters are clean. Apparently diesel fuel is more likely to gel in the filters if they're dirty.
'93 400E
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Old 12-21-2001, 11:00 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: St. Albert, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 3,492
Make sure you drive the car and don't have fall-formulated-fuel in your tank.

Use a block heater at -10C or lower.

Use Mobil 1 0-30 or 5-30.

Make sure your battery is in top condition. Diesels need good batteries. You're running the glow plugs and the starter.

As mentioned, let the glow plugs go past the light-out until the relay clicks. This REALLY works. My wife forgot to plug her diesel in the other night, and it was -26. She let the relay click, and VROOM, off she went.

Don't do short trips with starting and stopping the engine. Not only is it tough on your engine, but it's hard on your battery.

And yes, clean fuel filters are required.
John Shellenberg
1998 C230 "Black Betty" 240K

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Old 12-21-2001, 11:51 PM
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Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Los Angeles, Calif, USA
Posts: 521
If the engine has low compression, you will have hard time to start it at low temperature. One of the causes of low compression is the valve adjustment too tight. Adjustment the valves now and then perform a compression test.

Read the owner's manual. It has a sestion of starting the car at low temperature.

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Old 12-22-2001, 12:59 AM
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Location: Vernon, CT
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Use some diesel additive to prevent gelling. I don't know if Power Service products are available in your area, but they have an additive that will literally ungell, gelled fuel. If you'regoing to be doing errands let the car idle.
1994 MB E320 Coupe (199,500 mi)
1992 MB 190E 2.6 (173,000 mi)
1983 Porsche 911SC (148,000 mi)
2004 Volvo V70 2.5T (198,000 mi)
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