Stuck with a non-working vehicle 3 degrees outside

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Stuck with a non-working vehicle 3 degrees outside

Post by wulfen » Mon Feb 23, 2015 1:37 am

My truck needs work. The coolant leaks, the alternator is likely going bad, and I don't think my glow plugs are working anymore. It's caused issues, but I don't currently have the money it would take to fix it all. A couple years without a job drained all saving. But, now I have two jobs and find myself stuck at one of them.

I work at a news station and upon leaving tonight, I couldn't. My truck will not start, my batteries are trying but no fuel is making it to the engine. I have added antigel to my fuel, double checked my battery charge, and have a cell phone. But, I am stuck. It's about 3 degrees outside before windchill, and in about 30 seconds my fingers start going numb from the cold and I lose coordination. Now, luckily I can hide in the office (where I am typing this) and stay warm while I attempt to find a ride.

However, if I was not able to. If I was stuck. I had a spare jacket in my truck (that I put on over my other one while trying to start my truck), I have a small sleeping bag, and a SOL emergency bivvy. I most likely wouldn't be cold--i also had a spare watch cap that, I was wearing both of them. I also have snacks, water, and a book to distract me before bedding down. If I had to stay the night in my truck I can be comfortable. Luckily I can sit in an office. Today, my preparedness wins.

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Re: Stuck with a non-working vehicle 3 degrees outside

Post by Halfapint » Mon Feb 23, 2015 1:47 am

Well luckily for the preps you do win. Hopefully you can find a ride home.

But, if your glow plugs stopped working you wouldn't be able to drive your truck. That could be the problem. If it's that bitter ass cold, your batter my have shit out on you. Antigel is good, but really not needed unless you hit -20F or so....

Good luck! Glad you found work!
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Re: Stuck with a non-working vehicle 3 degrees outside

Post by FORGE01 » Wed Feb 25, 2015 5:02 pm

I am not advocating the use of this method (as continued use will cause your engine to become "addicted" to ether IE it will not start without it and or could blow up in your face!), but in life or death situations its good to know.

Diethyl ether, with a small amount of oil, a trace amount of a stabilizer and a hydrocarbon propellant, has historically[1] been used to help start internal combustion engines because of its low 160 °C (320 °F) autoignition temperature.[2] Some current products sold as starting fluid are mostly volatile hydrocarbons such as heptane, (the main component of natural gasoline) with only a small portion of diethyl ether, and carbon dioxide (as a propellant).[3][4] It is often useful when starting direct injected diesel engines or lean burn spark engines running on alcohol fuel. Some formulations include butane or propane as both propellant and starting fuel.

Diethyl ether should not be confused with petroleum ether (a crude oil distillate consisting mostly of pentane and other alkanes) which has also been used for starting engines

For more Scientific mumbojumbo related to Ether and why/how it will help a cold start diesel engine... ... 131087.pdf

Again I do not advocate the use, and am not liable for anything that happens should you choose to employ this method.

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Re: Stuck with a non-working vehicle 3 degrees outside

Post by Maeklos » Wed Feb 25, 2015 5:18 pm

How're your fuel lines looking? I know you said you thought your glow plugs might've gone out, so that's probably cause #1. But I'd double-check the fuel lines, just in case. If your vehicle is decently old (past the 5-year point of planned obsolescence), that could be a simple fix. And if your alternator is going, it could be that, too - speaking from personal experience, cold winters are brutal on alternators. During the last time I lived in Vermont (2000-05 or so), I went through two alternators for my '93 Ranger. My original alternator lasted me to my second winter here, the replacement lasted me another 3.

Can you tell exactly what your vehicle is doing? Is your engine turning over at all? Are you turning the key and getting a click-click-click sound? Do the lights come on and dash light up?
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Re: Stuck with a non-working vehicle 3 degrees outside

Post by JeeperCreeper » Thu Feb 26, 2015 1:48 am

Is it plugged in?
Have you tried turning it off and turning it on again?

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Re: Stuck with a non-working vehicle 3 degrees outside

Post by sheddi » Sun Mar 01, 2015 2:15 pm

It's been a week now so I'm thinking that you're not stuck at work any more.

Have you managed to get your truck running? Do you know what the problem was, and have you fixed it?

My guess would have been gelled diesel, but as you've got an additive to stop that maybe it was ice in the fuel lines?
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Re: Stuck with a non-working vehicle 3 degrees outside

Post by wulfen » Wed Mar 11, 2015 11:00 pm

I appreciate the suggestions and advice all. I wanted to respond sooner, but life kinda came at me and everything got super busy.

But, the truck wasn't getting any fuel at all. Upon the investigations since, and my truck had issues all winter, the glow plugs need replaced, the block heated no longer heats, and the fuel filter needed replaced. The fuel filter has been replaced, and I"m working on getting enough money to fix everything else before next winter happens. Looks the biggest problem was some water in the fuel lines, which has also been fixed.

One of my co-workers, that I hadn't met yet (he writes the morning newscast), gave me a ride when he came in and I went to retrieve my truck a couple days later when it finally got above freezing again. So, things I could fix have been fixed and I met a co-worker I had not yet met. Not too bad overall. And I my winter truck kit meant I could have spent the night in my truck if needed. Instead I just went back inside the building.

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