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Old     (espritv8)      Join Date: Dec 2009       07-13-2012, 6:31 AM Reply   

I've been looking for a new tow vehicle for my centurion. I might be getting an older ford or chevy diesel. I would be looking for late 90's trucks, and will use the truck as a winter beater.

Being in Canada, I'm just wondering if they are reliable starting in cold weather. They have a bad reputation for that. What you guys are thinking about this?

Old     (jaegermaster)      Join Date: Sep 2002       07-13-2012, 6:44 AM Reply   
Either buy one with a block heater or install one yourself. When I get into my truck in the winter my temp gauge is sitting at 130.
Old     (sppeders)      Join Date: Jul 2011       07-13-2012, 6:49 AM Reply   
I've got a 1999 powerstroke. The first year i had it, it was horrible starting. Even plugged in it wouldn't start below -5 (fehrenheit). Last fall i changed to 5W-40 Rotella full synthetic, and it now starts at our cabin down to -10 without being plugged in.... it chugged and caughed for awhile but it started. Plugged in i've fired it as low as -20. We're in MN so our winters are probably much weaker than yours. It's also not my daily driver, only my toy hauler.

I've been told, but can't confirm that the block heaters are 1800 Watt units. Basically running a space heater outside everynight. It could get expensive if you had to do that on a daily basis. You could always install a timer on your wall outlet though...

Good luck.

Last edited by sppeders; 07-13-2012 at 6:52 AM.
Old     (michridr69)      Join Date: Dec 2008       07-13-2012, 7:39 AM Reply   
1999.5- 2000 7.3, great motors, and these years have forged rods Started great in the winter, new batteries with some high cold cranking amps will do the trick.
Old     (Texan)      Join Date: May 2011       07-13-2012, 8:42 AM Reply   
Ya better batteries and a OEM aftermarket starter will generally fire it up.... BUT as Steven said, they can definitely have their issues. I've never dealt with those kind of temps so I can not speak from experience.
Old     (JohnAr)      Join Date: Jun 2010       07-13-2012, 8:53 AM Reply   
For late 90's I'd get a Dodge diesel (cummins). The chevy's were ****, for sure.
Old     (timmyb)      Join Date: Apr 2007       07-13-2012, 9:15 AM Reply   
I've heard that the 90's chevy diesel is not a good engine so go with a Ford or a Dodge.
Old     (Thrall)      Join Date: Oct 2010       07-13-2012, 9:33 AM Reply   
The GM 6.5TD's could be made pretty reliable, but dump them as an option and get a GM gasser if that's your budget there.
Best option is the Cummins, 24V, find one with a new VP44 pump or expect to replace it and the lift pump.
Early Dmax, great truck, I'd argue better than the Dodge except for high milers over 250k miles.
FInd one with no history of injector problems or fresh injectors though.
Powerstroke. 99-03 7.3's great engine. Hardest starting in cold weather of all of them in my experience. They tend to take more maint with glow plug replacement and even then seem to be more cold blodded than the others. Otherwise another solid option.

FWIW, my 02 DMax and 07 5.9 Cummins both start(ed) easily and unassisted in cold, -20F, weather easily without even being plugged in. Even after extended periods of a week or 2.
I'd still reccomend plugging them in for sure though.
The 7.3 Pstrokes I've been around don't start for crap in the cold unless plugged in.
Old     (ilikebeaverandboats)      Join Date: Jul 2007       07-13-2012, 9:51 AM Reply   
Will totally depend on how cold it is....I have started my 02 7.3L in temps around 0 degrees F without plugging it in.....I had to cycle the glows plugs a few times and it took a few trys and once it started it was not happy and had to be warmed up for 15 minutes..... this is after the 3rd year of cold weather and no plug in....its definitely taking its toll (new glow plugs wouldn't hurt) but if you can plug it will be fine. I think my manual says plug in isn't required until like -15 F or so...
Old     (tracktor)      Join Date: Sep 2005       07-13-2012, 2:18 PM Reply   
Most people who talk about the Chevy 6.5 TD have no idea about them. I have had two of them and my current DD is a '96 Suburban 6.5td. I get 18 MPG lifted with 33's & It tows my Malibu VLX without a whimper. Is it a match for a Cummins or Powerstroke? Power wise probably not but all and all I have had it for 200k and have had almost no problems at all. Our farm truck has 280k and has been stone reliable also. It often hauls a 10' camper and 3 horse trailer over the Santiam pass. Move the PMD, bigger exhaust, remap and a turbo-master and you have a great truck. Cheap & easy to work on.......................Find me a another diesel SUV that can do all this for $6000?...........................I won't speak to the Dodge or Ford as I have oly rode in them..........
Old     (WSRarmy)      Join Date: Jun 2012       07-13-2012, 3:01 PM Reply   
Go with a dodge with the 5.9 cummins or a ford 7.3 powerstroke I have owned both and I live in colorado where the winters get pretty harsh and I had no problems. Stay clear from any early t late 90's chevys they were crap!
Old     (93rx7)      Join Date: Jan 2010       07-16-2012, 10:46 AM Reply   
i had a 02 7.3 powestroke without a block heater

in the ohio winters it would start fine as low as -5. once it went to -10 it would have trouble turning it over.
Old     (SydneyACE)      Join Date: Jun 2012       07-17-2012, 9:56 AM Reply   
Here in MT when I was working at the dealership, whenever my service manager told me to go get a diesel from the lot for service, I always brought a jump-box out there with me. (2 jump-boxes if it was a 7.3)

I assume it gets as-cold or colder there in the winter, so I would say there is a good chance of having some problems. You can plug them-in, and that helps some for sure. The synthetic 5w-40 is also a good idea. Just make-sure you have 2 good batteries and don't leave it sitting for more than a few days at a time. You should be alright. Don't rule-out the option of the 454 Chevy gassers. They will use more gas for sure, but if you don't drive it much, who cares?


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