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#4668411 - 02/17/18 01:27 AM Short periods of idling from cold - maint. tips?
BobandWeave Offline


Registered: 03/08/15
Posts: 25
Loc: 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

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#4668416 - 02/17/18 01:50 AM Re: Short periods of idling from cold - maint. tips? [Re: BobandWeave]
Insertcoolname Offline


Registered: 08/28/17
Posts: 157
Loc: 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 2.4L 200k M1 HiMi 10w30
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#4668420 - 02/17/18 02:14 AM Re: Short periods of idling from cold - maint. tips? [Re: Insertcoolname]
BobandWeave Offline


Registered: 03/08/15
Posts: 25
Loc: 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

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#4668428 - 02/17/18 02:59 AM Re: Short periods of idling from cold - maint. tips? [Re: BobandWeave]
gfh77665 Offline


Registered: 09/01/08
Posts: 3791
Loc: 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.)

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#4668443 - 02/17/18 04:28 AM Re: Short periods of idling from cold - maint. tips? [Re: gfh77665]
demarpaint Offline


Registered: 07/03/05
Posts: 29746
Loc: 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.
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#4668468 - 02/17/18 05:50 AM Re: Short periods of idling from cold - maint. tips? [Re: BobandWeave]
MParr Offline


Registered: 10/28/17
Posts: 514
Loc: Georgia
There is another option, a small Honda generator. As long as itís used outside the van while you are parked.


Edited by MParr (02/17/18 05:51 AM)
_________________________
2013 KIA Optima EX 2.4L. Now: Castrol Magnatec GTX 5W30 synthetic & STP S2808ML
2017 Ford Escape SE 2.0T Now: Pennzoil Platinum 5W30 & Motorcraft 910s

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#4668482 - 02/17/18 06:49 AM Re: Short periods of idling from cold - maint. tips? [Re: BobandWeave]
Ducked Offline


Registered: 10/25/12
Posts: 4336
Loc: 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.


Edited by Ducked (02/17/18 06:59 AM)

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#4668497 - 02/17/18 07:27 AM Re: Short periods of idling from cold - maint. tips? [Re: MParr]
Snagglefoot Offline


Registered: 12/31/17
Posts: 1707
Loc: Alberta
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.


Edited by Snagglefoot (02/17/18 07:33 AM)

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#4668501 - 02/17/18 07:33 AM Re: Short periods of idling from cold - maint. tips? [Re: BobandWeave]
Alex_V Offline


Registered: 04/10/16
Posts: 1155
Loc: 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.


Edited by Alex_V (02/17/18 07:39 AM)
_________________________
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'13 Cruze, 1.4T, 112K
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'82 Mercedes 300CD, OM617 turbo, 167K
'67 Suburban, 350, 331K

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#4668510 - 02/17/18 07:53 AM Re: Short periods of idling from cold - maint. tips? [Re: BobandWeave]
toneydoc Offline


Registered: 12/16/11
Posts: 1693
Loc: 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 158k Mobil 5000 5w30
2014 Camry 32k QS AD 5w30
2018 Jeep Cherokee 1k factory fill
2014 HD Ultra 35k Mobil1 15w50
2012 Rav4 35k PP 5w20

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#4668547 - 02/17/18 09:05 AM Re: Short periods of idling from cold - maint. tips? [Re: Snagglefoot]
Snagglefoot Offline


Registered: 12/31/17
Posts: 1707
Loc: Alberta
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.

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#4668569 - 02/17/18 09:33 AM Re: Short periods of idling from cold - maint. tips? [Re: BobandWeave]
GLG1 Offline


Registered: 02/17/18
Posts: 14
Loc: 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
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#4668739 - 02/17/18 01:17 PM Re: Short periods of idling from cold - maint. tips? [Re: BobandWeave]
Mantooth Offline


Registered: 07/26/15
Posts: 479
Loc: 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


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#4668756 - 02/17/18 01:39 PM Re: Short periods of idling from cold - maint. tips? [Re: BobandWeave]
ragtoplvr Offline


Registered: 01/14/15
Posts: 528
Loc: 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


Edited by ragtoplvr (02/17/18 01:45 PM)

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#4668803 - 02/17/18 02:35 PM Re: Short periods of idling from cold - maint. tips? [Re: BobandWeave]
Snagglefoot Offline


Registered: 12/31/17
Posts: 1707
Loc: Alberta
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

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