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Discussion Starter #1
I don't really know where to put this question but this maintenance thread seems the most appropriate. Probably a dumb question but .....

I'm new to diesels. One of the things I've noticed reading thru threads here is that short trips are death warrants for diesels. Way worse for a diesel than a gasser. But that begs the question - -
how short of a trip is too short? Is there a hard number? One mile; three miles; five miles? Or is it more a question of just getting engine temps up to normal range regardless of distance?

I live in a fairly small town. Most things are only a very short distance - - - a mile or two. For example, the grocery is just 1/4 mile from me. I know that is way too small of a trip so I've been taking a looped route to the store that totals just under 5 miles. Engine temp by the time I get to the store is pretty close to normal range so when I'm done I just hop in the truck and go home. Are short hops after the engine warms up a bad idea? And why are short trips such a bad idea with a diesel and how badly would they impact maintenance issues?
 

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It has to do with evaporating condensation in the crankcase. If you're always doing short trips, and the vehicle never reaches a prolonged warm temperature, you run the risk of collecting condensation.

This is true for any vehicle, not just diesels. Diesels, however, run slightly colder when driving around town without load, compared to gasoline vehicles. Gasoline vehicles will typically reach a higher operating temperature, usually over 200*F. Diesels will sometimes be lower, in the 180-200*F range. This makes evaporating condensation in a diesel a little more work, AKA, drive time.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you, Shibby. That is helpful.

I googled several variations of 'condensation/crankcase' and have learned that time at temp is more important than temp alone. You have to give the process (condensation elimination) time to finish. Just letting the temps get to operating range is not enough. I guess I'll have to rethink my driving strategies.
 
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