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Short periods of idling from cold - maint. tips? #4668411
02/17/18 01:27 AM
02/17/18 01:27 AM
Joined: Mar 2015
Posts: 25
Canada
BobandWeave Offline OP
BobandWeave  Offline OP
Joined: Mar 2015
Posts: 25
Canada
This Spring and Summer, I'll be getting a new van with the Dodge/Chrysler 3.6L V6 Pentastar (gas) and plan to camp and travel with it.
It'll be modified lightly for camp duties (not fully converted to an RV).
Small battery bank (maybe 2 x 6V golf cart batteries) and an inverter to run laptop, charge phones, maybe light duty cooking/re-heating using a microwave or induction hotplate.

I'm NOT planning to put in solar panels at this time.

When I'm out in the country for a few days (not any longer than 3 days) I could find myself needing to recharge the house batteries, maybe on a daily basis, by running the engine and charging off of the 220 Amp alternator. I'm thinking this could take maybe 10-15 minutes, meaning I would fire up the engine from cold (overnight) and idle it for 10 or 15 minutes every morning to replenish the house batteries. (though if you guys with more experience think otherwise i.e. it'll take longer, let me know). During these charging times, I'm not planning to drive anywhere.

Questions: How hard is this on my engine? Should I maintain my van any differently?

My initial guess is "Idling from cold is not that hard on the engine; maintain it as normal (e.g. wait for engine computer to recommend an oil change and then do it at that time)". What do you guys think?


Dodge Caravan, Gen 5, Pentastar
Re: Short periods of idling from cold - maint. tips? [Re: BobandWeave] #4668416
02/17/18 01:50 AM
02/17/18 01:50 AM
Joined: Aug 2017
Posts: 173
South Texas
Insertcoolname Offline
Insertcoolname  Offline
Joined: Aug 2017
Posts: 173
South Texas
What does the manual ask for? Conventional 5w20?
Id suggest a quality 0w20 for those cold starts
and I believe the consensus here is that the 0w20 is more
shear stable anyway with better cold flow characteristics.

Pick your favorite...

All those starts not going anywhere, I'd change it before that light comes on.
Not sure if fuel dilution is a problem on these engines.




04 Camry 2az-fe 209k
M1 5w30
PremiumGuard filter
Re: Short periods of idling from cold - maint. tips? [Re: Insertcoolname] #4668420
02/17/18 02:14 AM
02/17/18 02:14 AM
Joined: Mar 2015
Posts: 25
Canada
BobandWeave Offline OP
BobandWeave  Offline OP
Joined: Mar 2015
Posts: 25
Canada
Originally Posted By: Insertcoolname
What does the manual ask for? Conventional 5w20?
Id suggest a quality 0w20 for those cold starts
and I believe the consensus here is that the 0w20 is more
shear stable anyway with better cold flow characteristics.

Pick your favorite...

All those starts not going anywhere, I'd change it before that light comes on.
Not sure if fuel dilution is a problem on these engines.




Not sure if the factory fill is synthetic or not. The specs for the oil is 5W-20 Chrysler-Standard-Number MS 6395.

Since it's a new vehicle, I'm going to have it changed at a dealership while it's still under warranty. This kind of bugs me as I change the oil and filter on my Caravan myself without any issues. I just don't want any fuss if there is ever an engine problem and I can't prove I changed the oil at a certain time or mileage [though I fantasize about video-taping my oil change, my VIN and odometer reading in one continuous shot and then upload to Youtube and seeing them try to refute it.]

Re: fuel dilution. That's what I was worried about. I guess the safe thing to do is to, as you say, change the oil before the light goes on.


Dodge Caravan, Gen 5, Pentastar
Re: Short periods of idling from cold - maint. tips? [Re: BobandWeave] #4668428
02/17/18 02:59 AM
02/17/18 02:59 AM
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 3,987
Southeast Texas
gfh77665 Offline
gfh77665  Offline
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 3,987
Southeast Texas
No need to stress or take any special precautions. The Dodge van is a fine vehicle, and the use you describe is well with in its capabilities. If idling a few minutes a day was going hurt it, millions and millions of vehicles of all makes would have died by now. Won't happen.

If anything, I would consider going up slightly to 5w-30, to combat a bit of potential fuel dilution. Even with the factory 5W-20 Chrysler, it will be fine too. (FWIW, the same engine around the globe probably calls for 5w-30, except for in the CAFE regulated US.)

Re: Short periods of idling from cold - maint. tips? [Re: gfh77665] #4668443
02/17/18 04:28 AM
02/17/18 04:28 AM
Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 30,992
NY
demarpaint Offline
demarpaint  Offline
Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 30,992
NY
Originally Posted By: gfh77665
No need to stress or take any special precautions. The Dodge van is a fine vehicle, and the use you describe is well with in its capabilities. If idling a few minutes a day was going hurt it, millions and millions of vehicles of all makes would have died by now. Won't happen.

If anything, I would consider going up slightly to 5w-30, to combat a bit of potential fuel dilution. Even with the factory 5W-20 Chrysler, it will be fine too. (FWIW, the same engine around the globe probably calls for 5w-30, except for in the CAFE regulated US.)


That is correct, and it they haven't changed the print in the owners manual for the PUG upgrade they mention 5W30 is OK to use as well. That's what I'm using in my 2016 Jeep and have been since 1,000 miles on the vehicle.


God Bless Our Troops

Re: Short periods of idling from cold - maint. tips? [Re: BobandWeave] #4668468
02/17/18 05:50 AM
02/17/18 05:50 AM
Joined: Oct 2017
Posts: 745
Georgia
MParr Offline
MParr  Offline
Joined: Oct 2017
Posts: 745
Georgia
There is another option, a small Honda generator. As long as itís used outside the van while you are parked.

Last edited by MParr; 02/17/18 05:51 AM.

2013 KIA Optima EX 2.4L. Now: QSUD 5W30 & STP S2808ML
2017 Ford Escape SE 2.0T Now: Mobil 1 5W30 & NAPA Gold 1348
Re: Short periods of idling from cold - maint. tips? [Re: BobandWeave] #4668482
02/17/18 06:49 AM
02/17/18 06:49 AM
Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 4,825
Taiwan
Ducked Offline
Ducked  Offline
Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 4,825
Taiwan
In that situation, I might try using a (bigger version of?) the Punkworks Choke Substitute, available at a tobacconist and medical supplies store (two very complementary biznizes) near you. Especially if I was camp-cooking with butane or propane.

I assume the engine would be operating in closed loop so the added butane/propane would cause the FI to trim the petrol down, reducing fuel dilution. However, I suppose it might confuse the adaptive tuning and it'd take a while to re-educate itself to normal operation.

Maybe not in a brand new van that I lived in though.

Last edited by Ducked; 02/17/18 06:59 AM.
Re: Short periods of idling from cold - maint. tips? [Re: MParr] #4668497
02/17/18 07:27 AM
02/17/18 07:27 AM
Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 3,035
SE British Columbia, Canada
Snagglefoot Offline
Snagglefoot  Offline
Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 3,035
SE British Columbia, Canada
Originally Posted By: MParr
There is another option, a small Honda generator. As long as itís used outside the van while you are parked.


+1

Your alternator is not designed to recharge deep discharge storage batteries. A small generator is a better bet.

A 1000 W generator would be more suitable. A 2000 watt generator would be even better as it could run a coffee pot while charging your batteries.

Last edited by Snagglefoot; 02/17/18 07:33 AM.

If you want the job done right......do it yourself.
Re: Short periods of idling from cold - maint. tips? [Re: BobandWeave] #4668501
02/17/18 07:33 AM
02/17/18 07:33 AM
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 1,198
Campbellsville, KY
Alex_V Offline
Alex_V  Offline
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 1,198
Campbellsville, KY
Judging by your concern in the first place I assume you intend to own the van for a while or at least put a lot of miles on in the time you own it. The 3.6-powered Grand Caravans I've seen run the OLM out to somewhere around 10,000 miles - I would use a good quality synthetic (my own choice would be Valvoline - might even step down to red bottle Maxlife for a little cost savings) and change it every 7,500 mi. regardless of OLM. That should leave enough reserve in your oil to keep it good and clean inside in spite of some idling, etc.

I don't think the idling will be a big deal unless you did it for a week or weeks straight. Letting it run for 2 minutes each time? Yeah. But 10-15 minutes lets things warm and circulate a while. Not ideal, but mom vans see 10x more torture.

I like the current gen Grand Caravans and the Pentastar, but be aware of the oil cooler/oil filter housing leak. Friends have a pretty clean one with 118K on it - since they got it @ 104K the mileage has mostly been highway with Synpower 5w30 changed more or less by the OLM, and at the last service a few weeks ago I found the oil 1.5 qt. low and a good stream running out from under the intake. I missed ordering the last assy. RockAuto had in stock so I called the dealer... 1300 piece backorder on that part. No recall or extended warranty. I'm about to order one off of Ebay. I did the 100K maint. (plugs, filters, PCV, ATF, PS, etc.) at 112K and not too long after that the tranny cooler lines started leaking. Manageable stuff but kinda disappointing.

Last edited by Alex_V; 02/17/18 07:39 AM.

To quote a friend, "Synthetics, man."

'85 GMC C3500, 454, 132K
'82 Mercedes 300CD, OM617 turbo, 173K (totaled 2018, in rehab)
'85 Mercedes 300TD, OM617 turbo, 217K (wife's)
'67 Suburban, 350, 331K
Re: Short periods of idling from cold - maint. tips? [Re: BobandWeave] #4668510
02/17/18 07:53 AM
02/17/18 07:53 AM
Joined: Dec 2011
Posts: 1,750
War Eagle
toneydoc Offline
toneydoc  Offline
Joined: Dec 2011
Posts: 1,750
War Eagle
Police and emergency vehicles idle for way longer times than that many times a day
Those vehicles don't seem to have any crazy issues with oil and engines as they go many miles
I highly doubt that 15 minutes of idling will do any harm at all
Like others have said, use good quality synthetic oil, change at 7500 miles


1994 Jeep 161k Castrol Synblend 10w30
2014 Camry 36k Havoline 5w20
2018 Jeep Cherokee 3k FactFill
2014 HD Ultra 42k Mobil1 15w50
2012 Rav4 39k Mobil 1 0w20
Re: Short periods of idling from cold - maint. tips? [Re: Snagglefoot] #4668547
02/17/18 09:05 AM
02/17/18 09:05 AM
Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 3,035
SE British Columbia, Canada
Snagglefoot Offline
Snagglefoot  Offline
Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 3,035
SE British Columbia, Canada
Originally Posted By: Snagglefoot
Originally Posted By: MParr
There is another option, a small Honda generator. As long as itís used outside the van while you are parked.


+1

Your alternator is not designed to recharge deep discharge storage batteries. A small generator is a better bet.

A 1000 W generator would be more suitable. A 2000 watt generator would be even better as it could run a coffee pot while charging your batteries.


Forgot to mention you would also have to buy the battery charger to plug into the generator. The 12 v outlet the generator does not have enough amperage to charge batteries quickly. Also, Pick a battery charger that is suitable for deep discharge batteries. Good luck.


If you want the job done right......do it yourself.
Re: Short periods of idling from cold - maint. tips? [Re: BobandWeave] #4668569
02/17/18 09:33 AM
02/17/18 09:33 AM
Joined: Feb 2018
Posts: 14
Seattle, WA
GLG1 Offline
GLG1  Offline
Joined: Feb 2018
Posts: 14
Seattle, WA
I would get a small generator, Honda makes an excellent Inverter generator; EU2000i that has a very smooth sine wave so it's an excellent choice for sensitive electronics like laptops and stuff like that and the Honda gen set run super quiet. Also I think you can even get a propane conversion kit.
As for your van I would follow the severe service maintenance schedule in the owners manual for the OCI If your're constantly Idling the engine w/o reaching operating temp. Run the grade and viscosity oil the manufacturer recommends and you will be fine.


GrannyLowGear (GLG1)

2016.5 Mazda CX-5 GT AWD
Idemitsu ZEPRO Eco Medalist Advanced Moly 0W-20
OEM Mazda filter 1WPE-14-302

2013 Mazda 3
Mobil-1 0W-20 or Pennzoil platinum 0W-20
Bosch or M1 filter
Re: Short periods of idling from cold - maint. tips? [Re: BobandWeave] #4668739
02/17/18 01:17 PM
02/17/18 01:17 PM
Joined: Jul 2015
Posts: 508
Southern Indiana
Mantooth Offline
Mantooth  Offline
Joined: Jul 2015
Posts: 508
Southern Indiana
I'd save my money and just pick up the 2kW inverter generator from Harbor Freight. Tack on the 2-year warranty and you're still hundreds less than the Honda.

Harbor Freight Gen.


'14 Durango AWD 3.6,(mine) Hav ProDS 5w30/Napa Gold
'15 Journey AWD 3.6, (wife's) Napa Syn 5w20/Napa Gold
'01 F250 4x4 7.3PSD, 126k, M1 TDT 5w40/MC

Re: Short periods of idling from cold - maint. tips? [Re: BobandWeave] #4668756
02/17/18 01:39 PM
02/17/18 01:39 PM
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 771
missouri
ragtoplvr Offline
ragtoplvr  Offline
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 771
missouri
you could have a 1000 amp alternator and it would still take several hours to recharge lead acid batteries, there are special batteries, that charge faster, mostly they do not last. you may want to reconsider solar cells?

rod

Last edited by ragtoplvr; 02/17/18 01:45 PM.
Re: Short periods of idling from cold - maint. tips? [Re: BobandWeave] #4668803
02/17/18 02:35 PM
02/17/18 02:35 PM
Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 3,035
SE British Columbia, Canada
Snagglefoot Offline
Snagglefoot  Offline
Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 3,035
SE British Columbia, Canada
Generators are becoming common now and the campgrounds in my area allow two hours in the morning and two hours in the evening to use them. No longer any stigma against them. Rain or shine, these things do their job.

SF


If you want the job done right......do it yourself.

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