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Am I killing my diesel sprinter by letting it idle?

Jumbuck

Seasoned Expediter
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I cannot afford an expensive heater right now, so I HAVE to let me sprinter idle sometimes for hours at a time to stay warm. But when I get up in the morning and take off, it smokes like crazy until it warms up again.
My question is, is this damaging my engine at all? After it reaches operating temperature, it doesn't smoke at all.
Anyone offer any suggestions or help as to this problem?
Thanks...
Jumbuck:confused:
 
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asjssl

Veteran Expediter
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Always wondered that also...how bad is idling to a motor??

Get a big buddy LP heater ..been using it for 3 years ....150.00 investment..save on that idling

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Turtle

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...I HAVE to let me sprinter idle...
I had no idea you were Irish. Top o' the mornin' to ya! :D

When you idle, it's best to use an idle stick on the gas peddle to increase the engine RPMs to between 1200 and 1800, the higher the better, in order to keep the heat and pressure high enough to keep the EGR valve working properly. If it idles for long periods at low RPMs, the EGR valve remains mostly wide open letting too much exhaust gases into the engine, which causes soot buildup, which then mostly gets blown out the back when you start rolling. The massive amounts of smoke looks bad, but will clear itself out after a few miles of driving.

Idling a Sprinter is bad for the engine, but it's not nearly as OMG-Never-Do-That-Bad as some would have you believe. The primary consequence of idling is having to replace the EGR valve twice as often as you otherwise would. The turbocharger does need a minimum amount of boost pressure to maintain the condition of the seals, so extended idling could result in oil consumption and premature seal failure of the oil cooler and injector pump seals, which can lead to expensive repairs if leaking oil gets into the high pressure fuel injector pump ($1300) and damages it, like it did mine. But those seals will eventually go bad, anyway, and if you idle you may end up replacing the seals and/or the injector pump at 300,000 or 400,000 instead of 500,000 or 600,000 miles.

There are added problems with idling the newer Sprinters with the DPF, as it will need cleaning or replacing sooner than otherwise with idling.

At low idle you'll burn about a third of a gallon per hour, at the expense of having to replace the EGR valve early and other possible (probable) expenses later, and at high idle you'll burn a gallon an hour. Either way the expenses end up being roughly the same. At $4 an hour idling, even a rudimentary cost analysis shows that an Espar heater is far more cost effective in both the long and short term (and in the long term is quite a bit cheaper than propane heaters, not to mention safer). It seems like a lot of cash to outlay all at once, but an Espar heater should be near the top of your list of things to get for the van, as it pays for itself the first winter and then keeps paying you back after that.
 

ChanceMaster

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Also have heard that a low rpm idle does not allow oil to lubricate the engine properly.

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Jumbuck

Seasoned Expediter
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Aye! I'm actually Scotch-Irish which roughly translates into "Hillbilly"
Thanks SO much for the info on idling. I really like the idea of the idle stick raising the RPMs. I never woulda thunk of that!
"May you be in Heaven a half hour before the Devil knows you're dead!"
Jumbuck
 

60MPH

Expert Expediter
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I wonder if you can install a EGR block off plate and delete the dpf. I know on a GM and Ford diesel you can. On my D-max I removed the CAT and muffler. I also have the EGR block off plate in the truck just waiting for my tune so I can install the plate this week. Since I have a 06 I do not have a DPF luckily :D

With everything I have listed I also have my PCV rerouted so I am not liked by the EPA or tree hugger's :D:D
 

60MPH

Expert Expediter
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Turtle how much boost are they requiring at idle for a sprinter??

At 680rpm my boost is .03 pounds when the truck is a operating temp. If I hit the high idle it stays the same. During warm up the vanes close on my turbo and it only goes as high as 3 pounds during warm-up, but that is controlled by the ECM.

Do the Sprinters require a high boost at idle to keep the seals lubed??

Do Sprinters use VVT's?? (variable vane turbo)
 

chefdennis

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You are also slowly plugging up the catalytic converter...The driver in my son in laws 2010 sprinter had the check engine light come on..the menz dealer checked it out, and the cat is 40% plugged...you think you can't afford a heater, the catalytic converter is $1400 plus labor for his sprinter at the menz dealer

As was pointed out, buy a big buddy..mine is on its 4th winter...
 
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mjmsprt40

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One problem I noted when I had a Sprinter is that, during really cold weather, it wouldn't keep you warm at idle anyway. The accelerator stick helps with that by keeping engine RPM up, at 1500 RPM it might keep warm. At low idle, you'll freeze when it gets cold. Trust me on this. Watch the temp needle sink while you get colder in low temps.

I had a Ford which did the same thing, it was a gas engine, so I know it's not just a diesel thing. I kept the engine running one morning while loading, the temps were near zero F that morning. At the beginning of loading, the van was at operating temperature and I had warm air. At the end, the needle had sunk to the peg and I had cold air coming from the vents. So, some other method of heating while standing seems like good idea regardless of what we drive.
 

briggie1

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onther thing to keep in mind is what happened to me. i woke up one morning after leaving my sprinter idle to having the idler pulley fall off and break both belts, i never idled while i slept again i bought a little heater
 

AMonger

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Always wondered that also...how bad is idling to a motor??

Get a big buddy LP heater ..been using it for 3 years ....150.00 investment..save on that idling

Sent from my Droid
A big buddy for a bill and a half? Where's that?

--

You know the problem with bad cops? They make the other 5% look bad.
 

greg334

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Who wants the Big Buddy, get the smaller one. I have the small one and use it on low which heats everything up in an uninsulated shack.
 

Monty

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Another option for the Sprinter is the OEM, "high idle" switch. Something that is included in all semi trucks, where you can idle it up.

The Sprinter option takes it to a prset 850rpms. It is most common on ambulance conversions, and those using the truck for other commerical purposes.

I believe the pricing on it is about $850.00 amd needs a dealer install, because it alters the ECM program.
 

OntarioVanMan

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Another option for the Sprinter is the OEM, "high idle" switch. Something that is included in all semi trucks, where you can idle it up.

The Sprinter option takes it to a prset 850rpms. It is most common on ambulance conversions, and those using the truck for other commerical purposes.

I believe the pricing on it is about $850.00 amd needs a dealer install, because it alters the ECM program.
I think the "high idle" option takes it up to near 2,000 RPM...the factory recommended idle speed to clear the EGR and other functions...I know of no one that even uses it in my circle of friends and bandits...lol
 

chetjester

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All of our Sprinters at A. Blair have the high idle (ADR) installed on our vans. It was determined that most drivers were idling so much that there was possible damage to the engine.

I have an Espar installed in my Sprinter, but even I know that when I'm way up north and the temperature is 0 or below, I'm going to need to idle. Without the ADR, idling would accomplish nothing except use my fuel. With the high idle, I can expect heat along with keeping the engine from freezing.

Freightliner of Dallas does most major repairs on our Sprinters and they installed all the ADR switches.
 

OntarioVanMan

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All of our Sprinters at A. Blair have the high idle (ADR) installed on our vans. It was determined that most drivers were idling so much that there was possible damage to the engine.

I have an Espar installed in my Sprinter, but even I know that when I'm way up north and the temperature is 0 or below, I'm going to need to idle. Without the ADR, idling would accomplish nothing except use my fuel. With the high idle, I can expect heat along with keeping the engine from freezing.

Freightliner of Dallas does most major repairs on our Sprinters and they installed all the ADR switches.
What is the idle range?
 

60MPH

Expert Expediter
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I know GM sets the high idle switch at 1200rpm. I had mine turn down to 1000. If it gets cold enough the ecm will raise the rpm to as high as 1200 for heating and emission function. The only idling I do is when it is below zero. I idle for 30 mins every 4 hours to keep the fuel warm. This a.m. in ME. it was 9 degrees and the ecm was idling the truck at 1200rpm's. Do the sprinters ecm raise and lower the rpm's for heating and emission functions?
 

OntarioVanMan

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I know GM sets the high idle switch at 1200rpm. I had mine turn down to 1000. If it gets cold enough the ecm will raise the rpm to as high as 1200 for heating and emission function. The only idling I do is when it is below zero. I idle for 30 mins every 4 hours to keep the fuel warm. This a.m. in ME. it was 9 degrees and the ecm was idling the truck at 1200rpm's. Do the sprinters ecm raise and lower the rpm's for heating and emission functions?
The simple answer....nope....idles about 750-800 range ALL the time..
 
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