Part of winter driving - the challenge when you drive a diesel vehicle - starting up in the morning in below freezing temperatures - engine oil is thick - which increases pressure and can contribute to engine seal failure.
Glow plugs are adequate for single digit cold weather engine starts - but I want my engine to last - I donít want to contribute to premature engine seal failure.
Hotel & motel prices can be steep depending on the time of year & area of the country you are in - few places for overnight lodging have 120 volt ac outlets where you can plug in an engine block heater when you are pulling a trailer.
This year I decided to buy a portable generator for my F350
7.3 PSD engine block heater which draws 1200 to 1500 watts.
I decided on a Predator 2000 model from Harbor Freight.
As I write this - it is humming away powering my engine block heater - I plug it in at least (2) hours before I start the day.
It starts right up after a couple pulls - the fuel capacity allows
at least one continuous run of (4) hours with a 1200 To 1500 watt linear load.
It features a power saver mode - low oil shutdown - circuit breaker - relatively quiet operation.
The only drawback is to check engine oil - the side plastic cover has to be removed - I just keep it off.
Harbor Freight generators are not subject to the 20% discount coupon - the 2000 watt model is usually $499 which is a good deal.
I bought mine for $439 using a coupon found in the back of one of the monthly auto magazines I read while waiting at Discount Tire Co.
The best 2000 watt out there is the Honda, but it is about $1000.
Before we ever used our new 3000 watt Honda a friend needed it.A small part of the village was without power and when people asked about his,the Honda was in the garrage working but no one could hear it! Bud.PS,The oldest grandson home from Mich Tech is running his old 7.3 to keep the battries up! Bud.
Please be careful running the generator in the garage, or out of sight. A neighbour toasted his garage and melted his new Audi during a blizzard. Also, carbon monoxide is the silent killer.
I don't have any generators that small, I have a Craftsman 5500 (running) a Honda 7500 (running) and a predator 6500 (running) all of them bought for less than $200. About 1 year after a hurricane people will try to crank their generator they bought for the last storm and find they cant crank it because they didn't drain the fuel and run the carburetor dry. The Craftsman is the oldest (1985) and runs great as long as people don't take care of their Equipment I will wait and claim the spoils!
In my opinion, Dean is correct- the 2000W Honda's are the best out there but they are not cheap and are seldom on sale. I can attest to the ABSOLUTE WORST 2000W generator out there, and that's a GENERAC. Their 2000W imitation of the Honda is a total POS, to the point where their authorized service shops won't even work on them. Its impossible to call Generac and purchase any spare or replacement parts or get any type of after sale support. Even the service depots cannot get repair parts from GENERAC. Just sayin. Dan
We also have a generac with a 13 hp Honda engine that has been our standby for maybe 15 years with not a problem! That one sits in the shop and we run 220 back to the house.Bud.
Good for you G.R.,That's how I happened upon a Brand new Power Wash in the garbage.Has a Honda engine and we know you can't kill those. I found a splinter of wood blocking the carburetor fuel intake.
Sorry for the hijack.
Now back to Generators
FJ - good stuff!
I have a '96 7.3 with 86K miles which won't start below about 45 degrees without the heater. I've been concerned that traveling in cold weather would be problematic for us, but your solution is so obvious I am embarrassed to say I didn't think of it myself. Will consider HF generator in next month or so...
Thank you again.
The weak points in the 7.3 PSD first generation are the oil cooler o-rings - front main seal - oil dipstick connection to pan.
Running the block heater keeps the oil thin enough to relieve pressure & limit leaks.
this vehicle is new to me about 2 years ago, but only recently have we moved to cold area. Is my first and only diesel. We keep it out of snow and mess by storing in garage. I park on cardboard and there are zero leaks...which I think is amazing for it's age and I want to keep it that way as long as possible...thank you for the pointers. Our 300K mile jeep Cherokee is our snow car. I start 7.3 every few weeks to keep batteries and such in good shape. We plan to travel in Feb and this is just the ticket.
Call me if you have any questions.
If we are discussing the good the bad and the ugly of small generators? Maybe I should ad this.
I have a nearly thirty year old Craftsman 1800 W that my dad bought for the business because we occasionally needed to run tools and equipment where people objected to our need to "borrow" electricity (as a business, we often had a contractual right to do so, but also offered to pay for what we had to use, still, people are funny). It seemed to do the job okay (most of our draw was a couple hundred Watts at most).
So I bought one just like it for myself for family camping trips (Somehow, I don't think of it as "camping" if one MUST have electricity, but, family, what can I say). The one I got was clearly defective, we managed for one camping trip, then returned it. The place (Sears) was apparently so used to seeing these things returned that they didn't even question my reasons, although I went on to explain the part that totally did not work.
Fast forward a few years, my dad passed away, I wound up with the company generator when the business was closed down. And believe me, I have been very happy to have it. It has comfortably gotten family through several major power outages, some that were a day or a few.
As I said. It is an 1800 Watt generator. Reading the labels (who does that besides me?), it does clearly say that it is 1800 "PEAK" Watt, 1500 Watt continuous load. So why is it that it cannot carry the load of a 900 Watt microwave oven? The microwave does not dim the house lights or show any issues anywhere but on that generator. Loading up with the refrigerator, TV, and a few 60W lamps indicate that the generator seems okay for about 800 Watts max. Sounds to me like they doubled the actual numbers.
Moral of the story. Make sure that the generator you get can actually carry the load needed.
We have a 17kw Generac fully automatic for our home and my car barn. Since we installed it 11 years ago it has logged 190 hours which includes the 20 min weekly dio check run. This is the best part of our remodel. Quiet always at the ready and if we are conservative it produces plenty of power and all systems are go to go including refer, freezer, lights, and most importantly the big screen tv!!!
I bought a duel fuel generator (4500 W) and if I always use propane it will never clog and always start with a good battery. I don't have to start it every month or so to avoid the G.R. Cheshire vulture!!!! I also installed a port off my 500 gal. house propane tank so I can run for a long time without fuel shortage.
Scott: I have worn out several 7.3 Fords. Loved them, still have one ( 400K). It is mostly a dirty job truck now. I found that they had to have good batteries or they were hard to start. Have yours checked, if they are a little on the bad side will not start. And do not replace just one, do them both. Dan
Agreed - if the batteries are older than (3) years - have them fully charged & duty tested at a good auto supply store.
Replace both always together - check the one piece positive battery cable at the passenger side post to make sure it is not corroded away.
Check all of he grounds ( including the bonds ).
The glow plug controller is easy to access & replace - the glow plugs are a bit of a challenge but do all of them if you find a bad one - be careful pulling them out ( they can swell up making removal a challenge ).
I do understand the batteries! Bought 2 the day I got the truck as it would only start with a boost. Was good all summer and FL winter. Became hard to start around 50 degrees this year and then promptly had alternator fail on a trip. Got new alternator installed and now we are in deep winter here in WY, so don't really know if alternator is keeping batteries topped up more than original did. Original seemed fine per the gauge, but lost a bearing on the interstate, prompting a replacement in Kalispel. Truck is wintering in barn right now. Fires almost instantly if I have block heater plugged in...same in summer (without warmer, of course). Thanks for advice and encouragement. It really is a great truck.
Check glow plugs and the controller. Follow what FJ says about plugs. Good luck with the truck. Dan
When key is first on, battery gauge goes from 13+ to about 8-9, so am assuming glow plugs are energizing...loud "clack" from the relay when they go on or off so assume relay is working. Possible I'm getting voltage drop across relay? I've thought about that in the past...with 80+K miles am not sure that time or duty cycles will use up the relay. Seems like I have an awful heavy draw from the plugs, no?
Sounds like you may have a bad plug. look on U-tube about checking them. Truck should not need heater till you get lot lower than 50. I had to replace controller and plugs on the older 7.3 when I thought it was too early. I think it is more about age than miles. Dan.
Scott, check the connections at the glow plug relay. It's on the passenger side of the engine, under the fancy cover. It looks like an old Ford starter solenoid. They get corroded and can't give the glow pugs a full jolt. After you clean the connections, jump across the two big terminals with a fat insulated wire. You should get a good spark, indicating that your glow plugs are capable of drawing amperage. They'll start in the cold with a few dead glow plugs.
We are about due to step up to the large Generac unit Bras Car Guy spoke of but i wish they would offer a Honda engine. The 17 kw sounds like overkill but you wan't one that will pick up the whole house instead of pissing with breakers when your not there.Bud.
Scott: Another thing you may want to watch. Let the glow plug light go off before you try and crank it anytime, cold weather or not. I have heard that cranking while the plugs are on can damage them. Not sure if that is true or not. But I do each time. Dan
We had an automatic 10KW Generac at our house in Massachusetts. I was very happy with it, and in 10 years we never had to touch it except for oil changes and filters. A friend bought a 17 KW Generac about five years ago and it was nothing but trouble. In fairness to the manufacturer, the original installation was so poor that my friend sued the installer and Generac dropped the company from it's approved installer list. This does not get Generac off the hook though - at some point they did approve this idiot to sell and service their products. I'm presently looking at a 22K Briggs&Stratton generator.
Dan, I tested the glow plug system on my 1997 the other day. I was surprised to see that the glow plugs are still on, after the wait lamp goes off. By the way, I fixed my injector problems by cleaning the glow plug relay connections. :-)
Cumberland, Maryland this morning
Both funny and sad that the Japanese engines are some of the best out there. Used to be....... Anyway a lot of stuff out there is using Chinese engines and their getting quite reliable. Mostly because they use other peoples designs! You think you recognize something but a closer inspection reveals the true manufacturer.
Hi Jim, I'm wondering if you ever thought of a Wabasto heater for your diesel truck, I have two deisel zoom boom forklifts, I set the timer to go off for 35 minutes they start like its summer, my mechanic says his big trucks running with block heaters do not start at -28, only the ones with the Wabasto's start. They are just amazing
I have a 22k generac on propane. it comes on once a week to check its operation. But generac makes their own motor, about the only part you can buy at the parts store in oil filters and spark plugs, you can only get air filters from them. You can only get a air filter if you pay them $200 to put it in.The generator is as good as you can get but their service in the poorest. They can program for warning lights to come on so you will call their service. I would not buy another one.
Thank you Eugene!! That is good to know before laying out that kind of money!! Bud.
I thought of supplementing the factory block heater with a magnetic oil pan heater but there are two opposing strong opinions about that.
Last night was a long night - normally I do not sleep in my truck partly because it would be depressing to sleep where you drive all day.
But it got down to near zero so I bought a small ceramic fan forced heater and plugged into the generator.
Extended idling of a light duty diesel engine will result in an excess of carbon buildup on the injector nozzles which causes them to prematurely fail.
I learned that this past winter in Florida when I had to replace my injectors ahead of schedule because of fouling due to carbon buildup.
Every couple hours I started up the truck and ran it for about 20 minutes while varying the idle speed.
FreighTer Jim - Hate to post something negative, but might be something to be aware of:
Out here in the Seattle area, I have heard of some theft incidents involving those Honda generators. In looking at the photo you posted, I like the idea of a CABLE instead of chain, because it's a known fact that bolt cutters cut chain easily, but not so easy with cable. However, there have been cases where someone had locked the generator to the vehicle the way your photo shows, and come back to find the only thing left of the generator is a little chunk of the plastic handle laying on the pavement. Be aware that a hack saw or portable cut-off wheel can cut thru' that handle quicker than I can write this. I secure my Honda 2000 watt generator the way you do, however, I'm still looking for a better way,......FWIW,......harold