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Old 01-22-2012, 01:49 PM   #1 (permalink)
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No power when cold

New to the diesel world, have had this 2500 Ram since Nov and so the first winter with it.....not used to the noises and other diesel quirks having driven gassers for the last 30 years. Truck was well maintained and have the service records.

It was -20 C out today and I forgot to plug in my Cummins truck but it still started right up, set the high idol from the cruise control and let it run in neutral (automatic) for about 4 minutes, then gently out the driveway. There is a steep hill that runs for 300 yards just as I exit the driveway and I didn't think the truck would get to the top. Didn't seem to have any power, tach at about 1400 pretty steady even if I pushed on the pedal so I don't think it was tranny slip, lots of white smoke but again its -20 C . When I got to the top of the hill I stopped before turning onto the next street which was dead level. The truck seemed to accelerate fine to 30 mph (speed limit), still some smoke but not near as much. Drove for 15 minutes, shut it off and came back to it an hour later and it started and ran up to speed without any issues, still a little white smoke but all of the vehicles around me were smoking due to the cold.

A few days ago the temp was -2 C and the truck ran up the same hill without any fuss. Does the hill problem seem to be just a really cold tranny with thick fluid? Truck is stock, Howe's additive in the fuel tank for the winter, tranny fluid changed 10 000 miles ago and Rotella 15W40, Baldwin oil and fuel filters and a Napa Gold air filter all new 2000 miles ago.
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Old 01-22-2012, 04:44 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Quite surprized that no one has an opinion on this given the number of members on here today!!
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Old 01-22-2012, 04:49 PM   #3 (permalink)
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any codes?, sounds like it's going into ECM limp mode.

may be tits up intake air temp sensor. will produce ECM code.
may not kick off the CEL.

-20d C or -20d F. makes a big diff.

if F, then a 5w40 diesel CJ-4 engine will help immensely. 15w40 at those temps is like Karo syrup and takes long time to warm.

put a cold weather front on it or block off 3/4 of the radiator with card board, put between the IC and the radiator if you're using it for winter towinng. still want the IC to cool the boost air into engine.
if just a boy toy driver, block the air flow in front of the IC, warms up faster on the hwy and hills.

how much and how long are you getting white exhaust at the -2d temps?
white exhaust smoke is just one part of the leaking injector nozzle engine killer syndrome.
white exhaust smoke + smell of raw diesel in exhaust + oil lab analysis rpt of excess diesel in oil
=s tits up nozzles

like sex, takes more than just seeing a woman to have sex. multi step process with several requirements involved in equation.

remember, it's a football game day. like trying to find a working Canuck on Stanley Cup day
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Old 01-22-2012, 05:04 PM   #4 (permalink)
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No codes, -20 C not -20 F....not worried about warmup when driving as this is an out the driveway problem a couple of minutes after the truck starts. Once I pull the hill (empty by the way) and start along a flat , the truck seems fine and 3 minutes later when I hit the highway it accelerates from the stop sign without a problem to 50 mph. Have not seen a vehicle here that does not smoke on a cold day for a while until it warms up.

Does the truck automatically get itself out of ECM limp mode because it does not exhibit this problem after I get up the hill and start along the flat at the top.

Totally get the football day reference, Cup day here would be a no go for a reply also!! Thanks for yours.
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Old 01-22-2012, 07:22 PM   #5 (permalink)
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You need to warm up the truck more, its so cold that the diesel isn't burning very efficently, and your piston rings might be letting compression by. My truck when cold takes a few minutes to warm up to get full power. Go to a synthetic 5w40 oil ams or better.
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Old 01-22-2012, 08:35 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Sounds the trans since you have an auto. Torque converter might not be transferring much power at those temps, maybe the fluid? Either way, letting it warm up some more might help.
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Old 01-22-2012, 09:54 PM   #7 (permalink)
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My '07 auto 5.9 was like this when cold. It would be almost impossible to make it move, especially up a hill. But let it run for 5-10 min or more and get a little heat in it, it would smooth right out and run perfect no matter what the temp was. I think it is/was mostly tranny/TQ just being cold, and after fluid thinned out it was fine. It also would not shift right, but that is also normal and due to cold, as stated in owners manual.
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Old 01-22-2012, 10:00 PM   #8 (permalink)
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maybe a shot in the dark... but have you replaced your fuel filter lately?
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Old 01-23-2012, 08:19 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Thanks guys, this morning (-15 C) let the truck run for 8 min on high idol (1300 rpm) and no issues on the hill. Love this Forum.
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