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Keeping Old Man Winter Under Control

Here is a list of preventive maintenance items, operating practices and equipment that can help your customers maximize reliability and uptime through the harshest winter weather conditions:

  • Verify that all coolant lines and connections are leak-free; use the proper coolant/antifreeze mixture (ethylene glycol concentration) for route conditions/temperatures. Add a winterfront when temperatures are -10°F and below.
  • Add starting aids (a coolant heater/intake manifold heater, battery warmer, fuel warmer) in extreme environments.
  • Use an Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) for cabin heating and to save fuel when idling for extended periods of time.
  • Use winterized diesel or a blend of #1 and #2 fuels, to prevent waxing.
  • Double-check Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) supply lines to verify adequate warming.
  • Modify the air intake to pull air from within the engine compartment when temps drop below freezing. In extreme cold (-25°F and below), position the intake adjacent to the exhaust manifold.
  • Switch to 5W30 engine oil for normal winter conditions, or 0W30 when encountering prolonged Arctic conditions; a dipstick oil heater can help maintain oil lubricity and improve the cold-starting capability of your customers’ fleets.
  • Closely monitor and drain the water/fuel separator.
  • In below-freezing conditions, set the “fast idle” setting to 1,000 rpm to 1,200 rpm.

Customers with 2010-2014 Cummins engines using the High Pressure Common Rail (HPCR) fuel system need to verify that their engine is equipped with a Thermal Recirculation Valve (TRV). The TRV automatically takes excess fuel heated by the engine and redirects a portion of it into the fuel lines that go directly into the engine, with the remainder being returned to the fuel tank. This effectively raises the temperature of the fuel throughout the entire system, minimizing the potential for gelling and waxing. The TRV is capable of melting wax inside the primary fuel filter at as low as -9°F (-23°C) ­– well below the point at which the fuel starts to “cloud.”

The TRV is available as a retrofit kit for ISX engines dating back to 2010. Some specific components are required, depending on the OEM configuration.

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