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Junior Member
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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

If I drive just 2 miles to work everyday, with a weekly 20 minute drive where it should get warmed up at least once a week, would this kill a diesel? I'm in Buffalo, so it gets down to 10F or so occasionally in the winter.

I kinda want one, but the question is would I just kill it by driving it most of the time cold and only occasionally running enough to get it hot.

Thanks
 

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Junior Member
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Discussion Starter #2
No replies? I'm just wondering if it's true that the moisture from the combustion will build up in the crankcase and end up spinning a bearing or something unless it gets run for 20-30 minutes most of the time its started up?
 

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Senior Member
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590 Posts
i cant see this being good for any engine, much less a diesel. If i were faced with this situation, i would use the engine block heater at least every other day during cool temps. Below freezing, use it every day.
 

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Junior Member
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Discussion Starter #4
No, it's not great for a gas engine either, but my 5.7l gmc truck at least is blowing hot air by the time I get to work. I would be worried that a diesel wouldn't even get that warm.

I was told by a friend with a diesel that if I had one good long drive, 20-30 minutes, every week or two that it would drive the moisture out of the engine oil and it would be ok.

Would a block heater help get the engine up to temperature faster and drive off moisture, or is that just to help get oil to the bearings quickly?
 

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Junior Member
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No, it's not great for a gas engine either, but my 5.7l gmc truck at least is blowing hot air by the time I get to work. I would be worried that a diesel wouldn't even get that warm.

I was told by a friend with a diesel that if I had one good long drive, 20-30 minutes, every week or two that it would drive the moisture out of the engine oil and it would be ok.

Would a block heater help get the engine up to temperature faster and drive off moisture, or is that just to help get oil to the bearings quickly?
The main benefit of a block heater is to have the cylinders and head warm to aid in getting the compressed air to a piont where the heat of the air will make the fuel burn when injected.
I believe.
 

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Senior Member
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nope, a 6.5 diesel will not likely have a heater on a cold morning after driveing 2 mi, unless of course it's idle'd a while first. Remember the block, heads and most all other componets are thicker/heavier on diesels, which means a slower heat transfer/build up. Also the coolant system is generally larger too. Other then a bit higher light bill, there is really nothing but positive results that can come from useing your block heater.
 

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Junior Member
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Discussion Starter #7
It's 2 miles, but it takes 10 minutes.

If I ran a block heater, then did this drive twice a day 10 times in a row, then drove it a good 20,30, or 40 minutes every week or two, then repeated this schedule of usage another 1000 times (with the appropriate oil changes mixed in), would this be detrimental to the engine. I mean, ideally you'd want to start up a diesel and just run it continuously, but my circumstances are such that I live close to work and I'm not moving just to give a diesel time to heat up completely on the way to work!

Why a diesel then? Well we occasionally put the whole family in the car and drive 200 miles to visit extended family. We also tow a small (2500 lb) camper a couple times a year. The towing is a bit much for my chrysler minivan so I'd like to move to a Suburban but the thought of 12-13 mpg with gas doesn't sound too great. So maybe a diesel suburban? I'm afraid my driving pattern, not counting the long drives and light towing, would kill it in short order.

Any opinions? I'm wondering about condensation buildup in the engine affecting the oil.

nope, a 6.5 diesel will not likely have a heater on a cold morning after driveing 2 mi, unless of course it's idle'd a while first. Remember the block, heads and most all other componets are thicker/heavier on diesels, which means a slower heat transfer/build up. Also the coolant system is generally larger too. Other then a bit higher light bill, there is really nothing but positive results that can come from useing your block heater.
 

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Man. Trans 2wd Enthusiast
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185 Posts
how many kids? a 350 powered tahoe or suburban sounds more the ticket, but if you must go diesel, get a custom winterfront, or just plain ol cardboard, and make sure and use your blockheater. It needs to get hot enough to boil off any moisture in any compartment. 2500-3000 mile oil changes are definitely going to be necessary.

the fuel savings are desireable in a 6.5L, but with that short of drive, I would also be wary of the longevity.
 

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Junior Member
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Discussion Starter #9
Only 3 kids, so the 18mpg minivan is ok in general. But the 2-3 times a year we hook up the 2500 lb camper (it's a canned ham, 1959 travel trailer) and load up for a 1 -2 week vacation it's a little too much for the minivan. I'd rather have a rear wheel drive vehicle with a frame for towing. So if I could get 18 mpg or better with a 3/4 ton diesel suburban, that would be fine with me.

I've heard it both ways, I'll kill it, and no it'll be fine as long as you take it on the highway once a week and let it fully warm up.

Yes, I'm kind of a freak about oil changes and only do my own. I would definitely keep an eye on the oil to see if it's changing appearance. I could do a block heater on a timer and play around with a cardboard radiator cover too.
 

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Man. Trans 2wd Enthusiast
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185 Posts
2wd tahoes or suburbans dont do too horrible on mileage, so I would find one with a 350 vortec, and make sure and keep it low (aka, stock, dont lift it or level it) for better aerodynamics.

I like the idea of people going diesel, but honestly, that is a hard routine for any rig, let alone the 6.5L. I think a 350 running synthetic oil for good protection, and a good cooling system that will warm up to operating temp quickly would be the ticket.
 

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Senior Member
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Getting a 2wd new sub or tahoe with the 5.3 would get you even better fuel mileage. Fact is, a steady diet of short runs isnt good for any vehicle. If the 6.5 is what you want, go that route. Do the block heater,routine oil change, and card board rad cover, and you'll be fine. I do believe i would run a syn oil as mentioned however.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I found a 1997 K1500 Suburban diesel with over 200k miles on it for what I think is a good price. I'm planning to give it a try, what the heck. I'll keep an eye on the oil and make sure it's not building up water / foam and take it for a good stretch of its legs occasionally to get it good and warm and dried out.

Can someone tell me what the difference between this K1500 and a K2500? This one seems to be the kind called a 'heavy half ton', it has the 6.5L TD, 8 lug wheels, and 4L80E tranny. I think the main difference might be that it's on the lighter duty frame instead of the heavier 2500 frame. Anyone know?
 

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Man. Trans 2wd Enthusiast
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185 Posts
What is the 8th VIN digit?

take off one of the little plastic hub covers on the rear axle. is there a hub with a flange bolted to it that protrudes 3 inches or so, or is it flush?

really, maybe the spring rates are different, but to my knowledge, there is very little differences between the K1500 and K2500 frames.
 

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Junior Member
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Discussion Starter #14
8th VIN digit

It's an 'F'.

This has 8 lug wheels and is a 1500 diesel suburban I'm trying to buy. Wondering if there's any advantage to the 1500 in terms of lightness helping out with fuel mileage. I don't have access to it, it's out of town, so I can't check to see if it has that full floating axle setup, I really doubt it.
 

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Junior Member
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Discussion Starter #15
I got it. :) Flew down to Atlanta, looked at it, and drove it home 15 hours. Filled it up, drove 377 miles and filled it again. Took 18.0 gallons. 20.94 mpg. Didn't fill it up after that so I don't know what it got in the hills of West Virginia on up.

Found out once home, that the turbo solenoid was broken. So that was w/o the turbo working. Could it possibly get better than 21mpg with the turbo working?



It's an 'F'.

This has 8 lug wheels and is a 1500 diesel suburban I'm trying to buy. Wondering if there's any advantage to the 1500 in terms of lightness helping out with fuel mileage. I don't have access to it, it's out of town, so I can't check to see if it has that full floating axle setup, I really doubt it.
 

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Junior Member
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48 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Remote starter, or plug her in everynight (if you got a block heater)

the oil is quite thick, so let her warm up!
It has a block heater, so I'll use it.

One thing I noticed, it started better in the cold after I changed the 1 working glow plug out for 4 working ones on the drivers side. Had some friends over and after getting off the turbo etc on the passenger side, those were all dead. So it was able to start in 20F weather with 1 working glow plug, now it will have all 8. I bet it will start better now!
 

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Junior Member
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Discussion Starter #18
Update

Things I've learned about the 6.5L and my short commute:

It warms up fast, faster than a 5.7L gas engine. I only go a couple blocks before the gauge is coming up off the 160F line. After my ~2 mile commute it's not quite fully heated up, just gets to around the 180 line. From driving it on the highway I know it will eventually end up around 190.
 
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