I received this email from reader Don Self about overheating problems with his turbo diesel engine. If you would like to offer Don a tip, please leave a comment. Perhaps you’ve had a similar experience. —Chuck/editor
In 2007, I bought my first RV (5th wheel) and a new turbo diesel one-ton pickup the same day to pull it. Since then, for my business we’ve pulled that RV and two others all over the continental USA (usually about 5 or 6 months a year, staying at each place one to three nights). There have been times when pulling the 37 foot, 15,000 pound rig that we’ve overheated going up mountains in Utah or Pennsylvania. Since upgrading to a 43-foot, 18,000-pound rig the overheating has becoming more common. No one ever taught me how to drive a turbo diesel and I thought it was like any other, but I was wrong.
By the way, I’ve added a pusher fan to the front of the radiator to push air in, hoping it would help. Two months ago I even added a secondary auxiliary cooling system to the radiator (haven’t been out with it yet to see how that will work).
For the past 10 years, when it starts to overheat, I would let off the accelerator and get it down to about 1,500 RPM to help it cool down. Wrong! I have been told that I’ve done more harm than good. Apparently, with a turbo diesel, the turbo kicks in about 2,200 RPM to help cool the engine. Reducing the RPM has done more harm than good, per a diesel mechanic.
Pass the word on if you think that I’m not the only ignorant one about turbo diesels. You may help someone else avoid overheating problems.
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