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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
QUESTION: Was idling my truck in sub freezing temperatures doing severe damage to my engine / parts?

QUESTION BACKGROUND:
My truck is a new 2020 RAM 2500 Cummins Diesel engine. Currently my wife and I are pulling a large travel trailer and we were caught in a snow storm at night where we had to pull off the road. Because it was too cold (25*F) and we could not warm the travel trailer, we both decided to sleep in the truck. As a result we kept the truck idling for 5 hours and over that time the engine changed sounds multiple times. The truck’s Coolant Temp fluxed between 167*F - 210*F, Trans Temp stayed 167*F, Oil Temp 178*F - 213*F, and Oil Pressure between 20psi - 40psi.

Is this something I want to avoid doing in the future or can my truck’s engine handle it?
 

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No,
I did not know Ram made a 2500 series car.
25*F is barely chilly
All readings seem normal
Oil pressure gauge is fake, so you had at least 6psi
You should sell the car and get a truck to tow that trailer.
 

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You do want to avoid "extended" idle time. It is or at lease was called out like that in the manual. It's more to do with the exhaust system than engine. You dont generate enough heat at idle to properly burn out the particulate matter. That said it is unlikely you did any harm sleeping in the truck to stay warm except maybe to you back.
 

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That will help but high idle does not raise your heat output very much. Not enough load on the engine. I only see about 50f between normal and high idle. It's about 150f when the turbo clamps down though. Aftermarket Pyro in collector.
 

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These trucks idle a lot around here and down in the oil patch. The change in tone you heard was probably switching between regular idle, automatic high idle (1000 rpm to keep itself warm) and ‘Soot reduction mode’ (900 rpm to help keep the exhaust clean) which is mentioned in the manual. Your truck is fine.

Edit: Turning on the exhaust brake will help it warmup faster and will kick off (while idling) around 140f.
 

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I am not up to date on the new Cummins manuals, but the older gens of cummins engines said to keep idle time below 10% of total run time. So as long as you put 50 hours of driving time on it afterwards with minimal idle time, that 5 hours of idling likely will not hurt the engine in the least bit. With the automatic high idle, the chance of washing down the cylinders, especially at those warm temperatures, is pretty slim.
 

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Alaskan here.. and I idle a lot. Being a company owner and supervisor on the move all the time my truck sees a lot of idle time.. roughly 30% of it's total hours. I have had no issues with my 2019 so far. I'm surprised your travel trailer can't heat up in 25F temps, that's really not that cold.
 

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It's fine, but if it were a more common occurrence then you would want to leave it in high idle to keep oil pressure up for top end lubrication, combustion temps hotter for minimal cylinder glazing, etc...
 

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I looked at a 2018 recently it had over 3000 hours idle time and 600 drive time. I passed on it.
 

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I looked at a 2018 recently it had over 3000 hours idle time and 600 drive time. I passed on it.
Neat story but how was the engine to keep on topic?
 

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... I'm surprised your travel trailer can't heat up in 25F temps, that's really not that cold.
+1. I’ve been RVing for thirty years, at times living in my travel trailer full-time in the Pacific Northwest and I’ve never been unable to warm up the interior of my trailer (although you can go thru propane rather quickly). You might want to have that furnace checked out.
 

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Sometimes the new digital thermostats won’t turn on because they are so cold. Great design. Sometimes I have to warm up the thermostat so I can get the furnace to kick on.

no offense OP, but when I see your avatar I think of this.

914323
 

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It won't hurt a thing. If you idled it 5hours a day every day, you may need to do some forced re-gens, IF you don't get the truck up to speed to regen normally, which is not the case I presume since your towing.
Second, figure out how to work the furnace in your TT. Can't imagine having a rolling house with a queen size bed behind me and sleeping in the truck, lol.

Evidence, a fleet of 2014s I had in the arctic that got anywhere from 1000 to 4000 hours, no loads, -30F most of the winter and never over 35mph or more than 5 miles in one direction. Relatively few issues, mostly severe temperature related like frozen def injectors. Only one truck that required more than forced regens to straighten out.
 

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Just idle up to prevent oil loss for cylinder lubrication and fuel build-up.
(Cruise on, hit set while in park, use the + and - for the rpm)
It will be fine. Some hotshot guys idle for 10hrs or more.
 

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The worst idling is in super cold temps when it gets to the point it will start to glaze the cylinder walls because it’s not warm enough to burn all the diesel.
 

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Second, figure out how to work the furnace in your TT. Can't imagine having a rolling house with a queen size bed behind me and sleeping in the truck, lol.
Furnace? I can't sleep when the furnace is on...and off, and on. Which is why one morning I woke up to 16 degrees inside.
Yes, the toilet had ice in it, the shower head had icicles, the pump was frozen solid, and so on. But the trailer and I lived to tell about it. and I slept in a comfortable bed.
 

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Wont hut engine, just clog the exhaust. Occaassional wiith a good burn ou tdrive afterward is going to be ok. Maybe buy a good down comforter for the camper. Hunters here commonly stay nice and toasty in tents to -25 F below zero with a good sleeping bag and a couple of extra blankets.
 
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