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What's Best For Our 53's?


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So after reading more about high idle, and 3 cylinder high idle, I kinda got to thinking about what is best for the 53 block.I always let it warm up to operating temp before driving, and if I have to just cruise around the pasture, I'll let it run for a minute, and then I'll start to drive. (1st and 2nd gear, not getting above 1,300-1,400 RPM) If I'm in a hurry, I'll let the temp get to 140*, and then go easy on it.Here in SE Texas, I'll probably never start the truck below 20*F, so what is the best warm up procedure in those temps? Is a rapid warm up better for a 53 block? I know if it idles too long without the coolant temp rising, there can be some damage, but I don't think it gets cold enough down here for that to happen.Last winter, most of the time I was starting the truck between 40*F and 60*F, and would have a 10-11 minute warm up. If I had nothing to do, I would do a "manual" high idle,(hold the pedal, and put about 1,100 on the tach) and that would decrease the warm up time by a minute or two. With that said, my question is, which warm up procedure is best for the 53?

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I don't think it is different than any other block, just don't whoop the dog pee out of it cold. I know there are some that say its a fleet engine and you can start it and beat on it right away, most of the people I know do just that but I never have. I start mine and when I see oil pressure, I go easy until the thermostat has opened. I used to start and wait several minutes but I don't believe it matters.

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I don't think it is different than any other block, just don't whoop the dog pee out of it cold. I know there are some that say its a fleet engine and you can start it and beat on it right away, most of the people I know do just that but I never have. I start mine and when I see oil pressure, I go easy until the thermostat has opened. I used to start and wait several minutes but I don't believe it matters.

I'm not paranoid about the 53 or anything, but some DO crack, and if it cracks, we're pretty much sunk. I've always heard a proper warm up will give you better odds...
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In cold starts I let it warm up till 100*F worth of coolant and then take off. Once I see the temp gauge up to 165*F the bottom of the normal band then I kick the pig. Warming up fully before driving is rather wasteful for fuel either using high idle or idling the engine. The only time I use high idle any more is when I'm in a hurry and need heat to get the ice of the wind shield or need to idle for extended period then I kick 6 cylinder high idle. The best man to ask is CajFlynn since he cleared 1 million miles with a 53 block.

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So I'm anticipating the release of the high idle mod from Ed, but It'll probably just be a waste of money.I read and read, and it sounds like high idle is the best thing ever, and then I ask about it, and it's like, yeah whatever... I'm not blaming y'all, it's just that I stay so F'n confused. :duh:

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So I'm anticipating the release of the high idle mod from Ed, but It'll probably just be a waste of money. I read and read, and it sounds like high idle is the best thing ever, and then I ask about it, and it's like, yeah whatever... I'm not blaming y'all, it's just that I stay so F'n confused. :duh:

I'll fix this. After all, someone without a 24V has no bias towards opinions :lmao: High idle is for any temp that water freezes. It kicks in and lets it warm up faster. However, Mike has a chart in the articles that show high idle alone barely does anything. Same story with my 12V, idling it up barely does crap. Alright here it is, almost the bottom of the page it shows a table. http://articles.mopar1973man.com/2nd-generation-24v-dodge-cummins/26-engine-systems/51-high-idle-mod You can see that high idle gets it to 300F...which is nothing. You can see everything is crap unless you add an exhaust brake. The 3cyl high idle does do some though by itself. I think Mike uses the high idle for nothing but keeping his alternator going when he does some of these car accident calls and has all his lights running. Other than that I see no use in the regular high idle. The MPG fooler is basically ONLY for maybe <50F temps. Mike told me his mileage goes to crap in the winter but mine never does and I get down to -10F sometimes. I thought about it and the only difference in the winter vs. summer is the IAT so I told him to fool it and low and behold his mileage stays the same in the winter as the summer now. So it is ONLY for the winter. Whatever these things do in the winter for emissions just seems to have a negative impact on MPG's. There is another thread for what to do during warmup in the diesel research section and basically the best thing to do is let the engine idle for maybe a minute <32F, maybe 30 seconds from 32-60F, and 10 seconds for anything hotter. After that, just go. Don't floor it, just load the engine with easy driving until it gets nice and warm (>140Fish). Take off slowly, etc. This is because a cold engine is a tight engine that causes the majority of the wear so idling just keeps the wear going for a long time. Starting it and driving it gets it up to temp quicker and out of the "wear temperature" range. These things won't produce any heat just idling. I wouldn't even bother with the 3cyl high idle. Unless you have an exhaust brake to combine with the 3cyl to really get the heat rolling. If you didn't live in Texas then I could see the 3cyl high idle only as being better than nothing. In other words, I wouldn't get it for Texas. Get in and drive it instead.
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when i learned about what 53 on the block actually meant, i was worried also. i learned that if it cracks its not going to stop running and most start weeping coolant b4 u have a huge problem. during each oil change i inspect the area known for the crack. also a company called Lock-N-Stich (if i remember correctly) makes a product to repair. i live in oklahoma (save the jokess) i use the following, every 2 years i flush the coolant, when i start up i wait for oil pressure, hold the pedal to create a high idle for 30 seconds, maybe 2 mins if its at or near freezing, and then drive. i believe fueling is related to engine load (as mike showed with high idle, 3 cylinder high idle, and with the exhaust brake) therefore it warms up much faster with a lite load than virtually none that u have at idle. on that note, every gasser i have looked at with a tool shows around 20-30% load at idle while my diesel shows single digit %, possibly one of the many factors that allow them to warm up faster. (i think i read somewhere that ENGINE LOAD is based on injector duty...ie 20% would be 20% of the max an injector can flow) more fuel= more heat. :2cents: food for thought. hope that helps

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I'm chiming in a little late here but after seeing a couple 53 blocks cracked in Dodges, one of which came out of a fedex truck that had over 300,000 miles on it, I have come to the conclusion that it is actually the location of the engine mounts that causes the blocks to crack. The fedex trucks and almost every other medium duty truck that uses the 5.9 has mounts on the flywheel housing or bellhousing and on the very front of the engine. Dodge uses side engine mounts, which combined with a thinner than should be casting and power adding devices causes the side of the block to flex to much and eventually crack. Since there were some 53's made that weren't too thin they are able to handle the flex from the engine mounts loction. This is only my opinion on the reason that I came up with from the few I have seen, wish I had the correct equipment and the engines to test my theory.

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I'm chiming in a little late here but after seeing a couple 53 blocks cracked in Dodges, one of which came out of a fedex truck that had over 300,000 miles on it, I have come to the conclusion that it is actually the location of the engine mounts that causes the blocks to crack. The fedex trucks and almost every other medium duty truck that uses the 5.9 has mounts on the flywheel housing or bellhousing and on the very front of the engine. Dodge uses side engine mounts, which combined with a thinner than should be casting and power adding devices causes the side of the block to flex to much and eventually crack. Since there were some 53's made that weren't too thin they are able to handle the flex from the engine mounts loction. This is only my opinion on the reason that I came up with from the few I have seen, wish I had the correct equipment and the engines to test my theory.

Interesting... :think:
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I'm chiming in a little late here but after seeing a couple 53 blocks cracked in Dodges, one of which came out of a fedex truck that had over 300,000 miles on it, I have come to the conclusion that it is actually the location of the engine mounts that causes the blocks to crack. The fedex trucks and almost every other medium duty truck that uses the 5.9 has mounts on the flywheel housing or bellhousing and on the very front of the engine. Dodge uses side engine mounts, which combined with a thinner than should be casting and power adding devices causes the side of the block to flex to much and eventually crack. Since there were some 53's made that weren't too thin they are able to handle the flex from the engine mounts loction. This is only my opinion on the reason that I came up with from the few I have seen, wish I had the correct equipment and the engines to test my theory.

Interesting theory...:think:
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I'll fix this. After all, someone without a 24V has no bias towards opinions :lmao: There is another thread for what to do during warmup in the diesel research section and basically the best thing to do is let the engine idle for maybe a minute <32F, maybe 30 seconds from 32-60F, and 10 seconds for anything hotter. After that, just go. Don't floor it, just load the engine with easy driving until it gets nice and warm (>140Fish). Take off slowly, etc. This is because a cold engine is a tight engine that causes the majority of the wear so idling just keeps the wear going for a long time. Starting it and driving it gets it up to temp quicker and out of the "wear temperature" range. These things won't produce any heat just idling. I wouldn't even bother with the 3cyl high idle. Unless you have an exhaust brake to combine with the 3cyl to really get the heat rolling. If you didn't live in Texas then I could see the 3cyl high idle only as being better than nothing. In other words, I wouldn't get it for Texas. Get in and drive it instead.

I cut down the post, just to reduce the extra read-hope you don't mind!:pray: I'm running a 12ver now too, so I don't have a dog in this fight anymore, however, I would have to disagree with one thing you mentioned-that the 3cyl high idle isn't really worth anything. The only reason I personally would disagree with this is when I did have my 01, I had both a high idle solenoid, by Hbowers off of ITD, and I had the 3 cyl high idle, at different times. In Indiana, in the winter, my habit was to start the truck, let it idle normally for a minute, then engage the high idle (6 cyl) and go back inside and finish getting ready. The truck would sit for anywhere from 5-10 minutes before I came out and started driving it. With the regular high idle switch, I noticed that the engine wouldn't start warming up enough to put out comfortable heat in the cab until I was pretty close to work, about 20-30 minute drive, city. A lot of stoplights, and not a lot of opportunity to get up to speed. I would have heat for about the last 5-10 minutes of the drive. After the solenoid quit working at one point, and I heard about the 3cyl high idle, I got a buddy of mine to flash it on the truck with his SMARTY. Now, for the OP living in Texas, I do agree that it wouldn't work for him very well, as the 3cyl high idle flash has to meet a requirement of the IAT reading at 10 degrees or colder for it to function...and if the block heater has been plugged in for any period of time, the IAT won't read this...so it has to be ran on a cold block. The drive conditions were the same, as well as my startup procedures, except with the 3 cyl high idle, I could just start the truck and go back inside. Truck would start up, and begin idling. after about 5-6 minutes, and I'm assuming this is built into the flash to allow the oil to warm up and be fully circulated throughout the block, the 3 cyl high idle would engage (As long as it was cold enough for the IAT to be reading 10 degrees or colder). This meant that the truck was idling under load for about 5 minutes or so, before I hopped in and started my drive to work. With the 3 cyl high idle flash, I would notice a marked difference in how long it took the truck to start blowing hot air inside the cab-If it was actually high idling for close to 8 minutes or so, I could actually start feeling heat by the time I hit the end of my road, about 1/4 mile. If it had only been engaged for about 5 minutes or so, it would take maybe 5-10 minutes tops before I started feeling heat coming from the vents. I know, not as scientific as some explanations, but there was a marked improvement in heat and temps with the 3 cyl high idle flash working, as opposed to normal startup, or a 6 cyl high idle switch.
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I cut down the post, just to reduce the extra read-hope you don't mind!:pray: I'm running a 12ver now too, so I don't have a dog in this fight anymore, however, I would have to disagree with one thing you mentioned-that the 3cyl high idle isn't really worth anything. The only reason I personally would disagree with this is when I did have my 01, I had both a high idle solenoid, by Hbowers off of ITD, and I had the 3 cyl high idle, at different times. In Indiana, in the winter, my habit was to start the truck, let it idle normally for a minute, then engage the high idle (6 cyl) and go back inside and finish getting ready. The truck would sit for anywhere from 5-10 minutes before I came out and started driving it. With the regular high idle switch, I noticed that the engine wouldn't start warming up enough to put out comfortable heat in the cab until I was pretty close to work, about 20-30 minute drive, city. A lot of stoplights, and not a lot of opportunity to get up to speed. I would have heat for about the last 5-10 minutes of the drive. After the solenoid quit working at one point, and I heard about the 3cyl high idle, I got a buddy of mine to flash it on the truck with his SMARTY. Now, for the OP living in Texas, I do agree that it wouldn't work for him very well, as the 3cyl high idle flash has to meet a requirement of the IAT reading at 10 degrees or colder for it to function...and if the block heater has been plugged in for any period of time, the IAT won't read this...so it has to be ran on a cold block. The drive conditions were the same, as well as my startup procedures, except with the 3 cyl high idle, I could just start the truck and go back inside. Truck would start up, and begin idling. after about 5-6 minutes, and I'm assuming this is built into the flash to allow the oil to warm up and be fully circulated throughout the block, the 3 cyl high idle would engage (As long as it was cold enough for the IAT to be reading 10 degrees or colder). This meant that the truck was idling under load for about 5 minutes or so, before I hopped in and started my drive to work. With the 3 cyl high idle flash, I would notice a marked difference in how long it took the truck to start blowing hot air inside the cab-If it was actually high idling for close to 8 minutes or so, I could actually start feeling heat by the time I hit the end of my road, about 1/4 mile. If it had only been engaged for about 5 minutes or so, it would take maybe 5-10 minutes tops before I started feeling heat coming from the vents. I know, not as scientific as some explanations, but there was a marked improvement in heat and temps with the 3 cyl high idle flash working, as opposed to normal startup, or a 6 cyl high idle switch.

That is why I said it is better than nothing somewhere other than Texas, but in Texas it's not like you have icicles hanging out of your nose so you might as well just get in and lightly drive it. If you have a foot of snow on the windshield and ice under that and it's 0F out then that "better than nothing" becomes a lot better than nothing, especially better than the 6cyl high idle. You are correct you just read what I said the wrong way or I said it the wrong way. Even you still came to the conclusion that it isn't worth it in Texas so you are basically seeing the same point of view. IMHO I would just plug it in. I know it's easier to just flip a 3cyl high idle switch to heat it up but going out of your way to get a receptacle in front of your truck at your house has 10fold benefits in my opinion. Diesel is like gold, electricity is cheap. Starting a warm truck also cuts a lot of wear and tear. Even though you have 3cyl high idle, you still wear everything every time you start it at 0F.
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IMHO I would just plug it in.

Ultimately plugging in is the best because now your already at 110-120*F of coolant temp from the start. But out here in Idaho the current bushes don't survive the bit cold so it tough to plug in a truck to keep a block heater going if there isn't any power. That's the stop gap that the high idle fills in. Kind of like easy to plug in at home but go to work and leave the truck parked for several hours unplugged in the cold then the high idle will cover that void. I guess it comes down to getting the block up to temp any way you can. If you can even purchase a coolant heater that is diesel powered so you never worry again. (Going over board now!) :lol:
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Ultimately plugging in is the best because now your already at 110-120*F of coolant temp from the start. But out here in Idaho the current bushes don't survive the bit cold so it tough to plug in a truck to keep a block heater going if there isn't any power. That's the stop gap that the high idle fills in. Kind of like easy to plug in at home but go to work and leave the truck parked for several hours unplugged in the cold then the high idle will cover that void. I guess it comes down to getting the block up to temp any way you can. If you can even purchase a coolant heater that is diesel powered so you never worry again. (Going over board now!) :lol:

That's why I said even if you have to go out of your way to do it.... I would spend all summer shoveling one shovel full a day to run a conduit over to a post with an outlet on it, anything, starting a cold truck is the only thing that wears it out. You don't see Caj doing that and look at the result. He lets it idle all night while he sleeps in it, I mean that thing shoulda worn out 5 years ago, but it doesn't because it's always warm. Plus he drives it nice and sanely. There's 100 videos of retards on youtube starting them and flooring them and you can see the results very quickly. The second time they do that it barely starts. I know we don't floor ours so we don't have anywhere near as bad of results but the cold start is the single biggest wear contributor IMO.
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Work is the best place to plug it in---I dont have to pay for the electricity!! :woot: I work alot of 14 to 16 hour days and Im not the least bit shy to plug that sucker in when I pull in, and leave it all day long. You won't catch me doing that at home though! :broke: Your best bet is to buy a heavy duty timer and have it set to kick on a few hours prior to leaving for work, or something to that effect. The juice you save will pay for that timer! The block heaters no doubt makes life much easier and has to be easier on the equipment, but Cummins says it isnt necessary or "recommended" until 0 degrees or below. With that bieng said, I've personally witnessed my brother in laws 08 sit up at the cabin in Wyoming at 10,000 feet for days on end with night time temps at or below -30 below zero, go out, cycle the grid heaters a few times, and light er off :stuned: I asked him about plugging his truck in once and he looked at me like I was crazy. Last I knew he was pushing the 250k mile mark, still running strong....

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