Non-ether cold weather starting solutions for the 8.3?

simp5782

Feo, Fuerte y Formal
Supporting Vendor
11,354
6,797
113
Location
Mason, TN
Two 8'Ds or even going with 4 since you are going to be off the grid would be your best bet. Especially with the quality of crap that is made these days. Two of them should spin that 8.3 for about 30 mins straight if you have a gear reduction starter on it. You could put a lockout switch to let the other 2 engage if you need the extra power to start. or you feel like jump starting a C-130 if you come across one needing it.
 

Guyfang

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Steel Soldiers Supporter
11,450
9,326
113
Location
Burgkunstadt, Germany
Gotta tell this story. In the dead of winter, a bunch of trucks came back from down range, I guess it was 2006? Maybe 2007, cant remember. All us contractors got a call, go to Ansbach. A crap load of trucks in, and the unit needs help, ASAP! I am a generator guy, but went anyway. There were vehicles everyplace, and none would start. Not a one. It was -20 Celsius. We worked all day on trucks. The guys must have used two cases of ether. Nothing. Since I was the only non truck guy, the boys sent me into the building to try and start a truck in a bay. There was no heat in the bay, and it was as cold as outside. I found the heater valve and turned it on. But with a maintenance bay half the size of Texas, it would not be warm for 12-14 hours.

I decided to try my fire stick trick on the truck. I tried to take off the air cleaner cover, but it would not come off. I tried every thing I could think of, including beating it with my favorite BFH. Nada. I went out and told my boss. Everyone laughed at me, and made my life miserable. Stupid old fart, couldn't get the air cleaner cover off. One of the boys condescendingly offered to "Help the poor old man". Good by me!! After about 45 minutes, he gave up. Nada. Went outside and said it wont come off. Now at last I had another fool to stand by me and be laughed at. Someone else went in, and only fooled with it 10 minutes. Nada. We gave up. Drove 1.5 hours home, and went back in the morning. The bay was kinda, maybe a little bit, warm. I went over to the truck, and there was a large puddle of water under it. Strange, there had been no snow, or ice on the truck. I started to fool with the cover, and it moved much more freely! Didn't come off, but almost. So I fooled with it till noon. Got something to eat, and came back. The water puddle was bigger! And, low and behold, the air cleaner cover came off!! The air filter was solid ice. A block of ice.

Then the lights came on. When the trucks had come in, they had been washed. With high pressure hoses. The fools had filled up the air cleaners, because when you ship a 5 ton, its too high! You have to take off the air cleaner pipe dome! The water filled the filter housing. The rubber gasket, to seal out the dirt, on the cap, kept the water from leaking out. And it froze. Since the ice had filled up the air filter, no air to the engine. I got a gas welding kit, and after 2 hours got the ice/air filter out. Truck started right up. I drove it out, and around the motor pool. Would not tell anyone how I got it to run, until they all went down on hands and knees, singing my praise. Young punks.
 
Last edited:

Mos68x

Active member
828
31
28
Location
Seligman,AZ
Also, a piece of cardboard in front of the radiator does wonders for heat once started. Cardboard is cheap, infinitely adjustable, and if discarded, doesn't matter.
I use that truck a lot, just doesn’t help if she won’t start first lol


Two 8'Ds or even going with 4 since you are going to be off the grid would be your best bet. Especially with the quality of crap that is made these days. Two of them should spin that 8.3 for about 30 mins straight if you have a gear reduction starter on it. You could put a lockout switch to let the other 2 engage if you need the extra power to start. or you feel like jump starting a C-130 if you come across one needing it.
I’ve been thinkin of doin the 4 6V batteries already because of that reason, but since the truck came with two brand new batteries that are still less than a year old I figure that can wait till they’re toast or pretty close to it.


Gotta tell this story. In the dead of winter, a bunch of trucks came back from down range, I guess it was 2006? Maybe 2007, cant remember. All us contractors got a call, go to Ansbach. A crap load of trucks in, and the unit needs help, ASAP! I am a generator guy, but went anyway. There were vehicles everyplace, and none would start. Not a one. It was -20 Celsius. We worked all day on trucks. The guys must have used two cases of ether. Nothing. Since I was the only non truck guy, the boys sent me into the building to try and start a truck in a bay. There was no heat in the bay, and it was as cold as outside. I found the heater valve and turned it on. But with a maintenance bay half the size of Texas, it would not be warm for 12-14 hours.

I decided to try my fire stick trick on the truck. I tried to take off the air cleaner cover, but it would not come off. I tried every thing I could think of, including beating it with my favorite BFH. Nada. I went out and told my boss. Everyone laughed at me, and made my life miserable. Stupid old fart, couldn't get the air cleaner cover off. One of the boys condescendingly offered to "Help the poor old man". Good by me!! After about 45 minutes, he gave up. Nada. Went outside and said it wont come off. Now at last I had another fool to stand by me and be laughed at. Someone else went in, and only fooled with it 10 minutes. Nada. We gave up. Drove 1.5 hours home, and went back in the morning. The bay was kinda, maybe a little bit, warm. I went over to the truck, and there was a large puddle of water under it. Strange, there had been no snow, or ice on the truck. I started to fool with the cover, and it moved much more freely! Didn't come off, but almost. So I fooled with it till noon. Got something to eat, and came back. The water puddle was bigger! And, low and behold, the air cleaner cover came off!! The air filter was solid ice. A block of ice.

Then the lights came on. When the trucks had come in, they had been washed. With high pressure hoses. The fools had filled up the air cleaners, because when you ship a 5 ton, its too high! You have to take off the air cleaner pipe dome! The water filled the filter housing. The rubber gasket, to seal out the dirt, on the cap, kept the water from leaking out. And it froze. Since the ice had filled up the air filter, no air to the engine. I got a gas welding kit, and after 2 hours got the ice/air filter out. Truck started right up. I drove it out, and around the motor pool. Would not tell anyone how I got it to run, until they all went down on hands and knees, singing my praise. Young punks.
LMAO! Make ‘em eat their words!
 

red

Active member
1,988
19
38
Location
Eagle Mountain/Utah
Coolant heater that can be powered by a generator or battery bank is the best option.

If you have to do a fire under the engine a much safer way to do it is with a small wood stove (like a modified ammo can) with the exhaust vented out. That way you get the radiant heat with no concern of setting the truck on fire.


Also the cold is not the only problem, altitude. Many of those who write/video about their expedition trips have mentioned this problem. Same concept that the engine needs to be warm to start
 

Jbulach

Well-known member
Steel Soldiers Supporter
2,237
1,112
113
Location
Sunman Indiana
What he said. Mine will start without issue down to around 20 degrees. At around 15 it will start but cranks a while so good batteries are needed. Not sure below that, never tried. What's your idle set it? Any smoke after warmed up? I think ether start is the least of your worries if your headed to bfe with a questionable engine.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Hmmm... you have me wondering about mine, starts in a half second down to about 35-40 degrees. Any colder than that it just cranks, until I drop a shot of ether, then it fires right off no matter how cold. My idle is set fairly low at 450, so I’ll try cracking the throttle a bit the next time before I go for the ether button and see if that helps.
 

74M35A2

Well-known member
4,147
269
83
Location
Livonia, MI
Coolant heaters work great but take a long time. Nobody wants to listen to a low cost (loud) generator run if they don’t have to. The 8.3L should start well if the fuel suction side is completely renewed, from dip tube to injection pump. Ether works instantly, even if sprayed in the snorkle cap.

You could retro a flame heater kit from an M35a2 as another option. Grid heaters are more for visible emission (white cloud exhaust) control than anything else, but you could install one. You could also do a fuel fired coolant heater. Lots of options. I started my 8.3L at -23F on the factory ether system, no coolant heater.

Keep your batteries less than 5 years old, and load test them annually. Once their tested CCA results fall below their label value, replace them with new. I have fuel fired heaters and gear reduction starters available if you are interested.
 
Last edited:

162tcat

Active member
695
25
28
Location
Washington
Hmmm... you have me wondering about mine, starts in a half second down to about 35-40 degrees. Any colder than that it just cranks, until I drop a shot of ether, then it fires right off no matter how cold. My idle is set fairly low at 450, so I’ll try cracking the throttle a bit the next time before I go for the ether button and see if that helps.
My idle was at 450ish when I got the truck. Bumped it to just under 600 and it made a huge difference.

For the OP, I would carry ether for the just in case type situation but focus on getting it running perfect and less on ether. If your in an off grid type situation, you'll probably have a generator so get a block heater and you'll be good to go. Nice quiet inverter unit would be great and also help to charge the batteries if you screw up and leave the switch on or something. Mine is a 1000 watt zero start unit. Installed but haven't used it yet.

Sent from my LG-M210 using Tapatalk
 

Mos68x

Active member
828
31
28
Location
Seligman,AZ
Coolant heater that can be powered by a generator or battery bank is the best option.

If you have to do a fire under the engine a much safer way to do it is with a small wood stove (like a modified ammo can) with the exhaust vented out. That way you get the radiant heat with no concern of setting the truck on fire.


Also the cold is not the only problem, altitude. Many of those who write/video about their expedition trips have mentioned this problem. Same concept that the engine needs to be warm to start
I live at 5800ft, while it is not extreme I have noticed the drop in power vs when I’m at lower elevations with it. There is one place that I’d like to go that sits at 16,000ft so having this issue worked out beforehand would be ideal.


Hmmm... you have me wondering about mine, starts in a half second down to about 35-40 degrees. Any colder than that it just cranks, until I drop a shot of ether, then it fires right off no matter how cold. My idle is set fairly low at 450, so I’ll try cracking the throttle a bit the next time before I go for the ether button and see if that helps.
Mine idles at about 8-900 because I still haven’t installed the gov spring kit after increasing my excess fuel. Got it to idle as low as I could, but I have to press lightly on the go pedal to get it to start. I need to get that gov spring kit installed, but I want to be sure that I don’t need to replace the injector pump first before I do that.


Coolant heaters work great but take a long time. Nobody wants to listen to a low cost (loud) generator run if they don’t have to. The 8.3L should start well if the fuel suction side is completely renewed, from dip tube to injection pump. Ether works instantly, even if sprayed in the snorkle cap.

You could retro a flame heater kit from an M35a2 as another option. Grid heaters are more for visible emission (white cloud exhaust) control than anything else, but you could install one. You could also do a fuel fired coolant heater. Lots of options. I started my 8.3L at -23F on the factory ether system, no coolant heater.

Keep your batteries less than 5 years old, and load test them annually. Once their tested CCA results fall below their label value, replace them with new. I have fuel fired heaters and gear reduction starters available if you are interested.
I don’t enjoy listening to a generator either, but since I’m sure I’ll be using it in the mornings for things like the coffee pot it’s not that big of a deal. I’ll just be sure to get the most work out of the generator while it is on. I already replaced the entire fuel line up to the engine so the only possible culprit would be my lift pump. The fuel fired kit could be an idea if it’s not too hard to do and doesn’t require too much to be changed.
 

Jbulach

Well-known member
Steel Soldiers Supporter
2,237
1,112
113
Location
Sunman Indiana
My idle was at 450ish when I got the truck. Bumped it to just under 600 and it made a huge difference.

For the OP, I would carry ether for the just in case type situation but focus on getting it running perfect and less on ether. If your in an off grid type situation, you'll probably have a generator so get a block heater and you'll be good to go. Nice quiet inverter unit would be great and also help to charge the batteries if you screw up and leave the switch on or something. Mine is a 1000 watt zero start unit. Installed but haven't used it yet.

Sent from my LG-M210 using Tapatalk
I think that was it on mine. The shop was about 35 degrees tonight, cranked for about 5 seconds, no start. I pulled the hand throttle to the first notch (usually about 700 RPM), hit the switch and fired right off!

X2 on the ether, get the factory system going, perfect dose every time with no scary hammering sounds. After 3 years I’m still on the canister that came on the truck. I bought a spare last winter off ebay for around $25 if I remember correctly, whole case price was a lot cheaper per can, but I didn’t want a bunch sitting around.
 

Mos68x

Active member
828
31
28
Location
Seligman,AZ
I think that was it on mine. The shop was about 35 degrees tonight, cranked for about 5 seconds, no start. I pulled the hand throttle to the first notch (usually about 700 RPM), hit the switch and fired right off!

X2 on the ether, get the factory system going, perfect dose every time with no scary hammering sounds. After 3 years I’m still on the canister that came on the truck. I bought a spare last winter off ebay for around $25 if I remember correctly, whole case price was a lot cheaper per can, but I didn’t want a bunch sitting around.
I would like to have the original system there and functional, for the same reason tcat said - just in case, I just don’t want to rely on it as my only cold weather solution.

So far I’m thinking block heater with the arctic kit as an alternate main solution. With OEM ether canisters, silicone spray, and maybe hand held ether cans as backups.
 

gimpyrobb

dumpsterlandingfromorbit!
27,721
422
83
Location
Cincy Ohio
24v fuel burning coolant heater. Espar, Webasto, military-Southwind/Benmar, or Chinese-Snugger.


Once the motor is warm it will start normally.
 

BKubu

Well-known member
Steel Soldiers Supporter
4,593
704
113
Location
Gaithersburg, MD
I recently started my M925A2 at 11 degrees Fahrenheit; it had been four degrees that night. The truck fired off on my second try. For what it's worth, I am only using two 6TLs. I hate starting my trucks when it is that cold, but I needed to use it to recover a crate.
 

162tcat

Active member
695
25
28
Location
Washington
I would like to have the original system there and functional, for the same reason tcat said - just in case, I just don’t want to rely on it as my only cold weather solution.

So far I’m thinking block heater with the arctic kit as an alternate main solution. With OEM ether canisters, silicone spray, and maybe hand held ether cans as backups.
Don't over think this. Spend the money on good, standard batteries (matched), name brand high amp alternator, gear reduction starter, block heater and ether start. Unless your headed to the Fairbanks wilderness for extended periods, you won't need all of this other crazy stuff. It's just more stuff to purchase, malfunction, or maintain. Focus your efforts to have the fuel system in tip top shape and get the basics dialed in before you waste time and effort on stuff that isn't needed. The 8.3 spins over easy and starts easy (for a diesel) in cold weather.

Also, changing to a standard spin on fuel filter system would make a lot of sense. Common cat and cummins filters are available all over the world. I run a 2 filter system. Water separator first then a 5 micron final before the small filter that's on the block.



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

BKubu

Well-known member
Steel Soldiers Supporter
4,593
704
113
Location
Gaithersburg, MD
Don't over think this. Spend the money on good, standard batteries (matched), name brand high amp alternator, gear reduction starter, block heater and ether start. Unless your headed to the Fairbanks wilderness for extended periods, you won't need all of this other crazy stuff. It's just more stuff to purchase, malfunction, or maintain. Focus your efforts to have the fuel system in tip top shape and get the basics dialed in before you waste time and effort on stuff that isn't needed. The 8.3 spins over easy and starts easy (for a diesel) in cold weather.

Also, changing to a standard spin on fuel filter system would make a lot of sense. Common cat and cummins filters are available all over the world. I run a 2 filter system. Water separator first then a 5 micron final before the small filter that's on the block.



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Can you post some pics of your fuel filter set up? Thank you!
 

Mos68x

Active member
828
31
28
Location
Seligman,AZ
24v fuel burning coolant heater. Espar, Webasto, military-Southwind/Benmar, or Chinese-Snugger.


Once the motor is warm it will start normally.
I’ll look into that, hadn’t thought of that - best of both worlds.


Don't over think this. Spend the money on good, standard batteries (matched), name brand high amp alternator, gear reduction starter, block heater and ether start. Unless your headed to the Fairbanks wilderness for extended periods, you won't need all of this other crazy stuff. It's just more stuff to purchase, malfunction, or maintain. Focus your efforts to have the fuel system in tip top shape and get the basics dialed in before you waste time and effort on stuff that isn't needed. The 8.3 spins over easy and starts easy (for a diesel) in cold weather.

Also, changing to a standard spin on fuel filter system would make a lot of sense. Common cat and cummins filters are available all over the world. I run a 2 filter system. Water separator first then a 5 micron final before the small filter that's on the block.



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
That is the kind of places I’ll be going to, only the southern version instead so Patagonia. Very remote and little to no help if you find yourself in trouble of any kind. That is why I was looking solutions that don’t involve ether as a primary solution. I’ve spent most of my traveling time rushing from one to the next and I refuse to do that now, I’ll be taking my time and leaving an area once I feel like it, whether it be days or weeks.
 

74M35A2

Well-known member
4,147
269
83
Location
Livonia, MI
Above all the cold start stuff, I'd recommend to replace all 12 of your rear axle torque rod end joints if you have not yet, especially if you plan to keep doing as your avatar pic displays. I've taken mine to simple off-road excursions, and a different one has been jumping off each time. My opinion that these are about shot on our trucks from a time perspective. In my opinion, this is one of two weaknesses of these trucks, second being the transfer case if operated in low-reverse with the front axle engaged. Luckily, the torque-rod situation can be easily improved over the stock setup, when replacing, via 2 different methods available. Not the purpose of this thread, but.....
 
Last edited:

Mos68x

Active member
828
31
28
Location
Seligman,AZ
Above all the cold start stuff, I'd recommend to replace all 12 of your rear axle torque rod end joints if you have not yet, especially if you plan to keep doing as your avatar pic displays. I've taken mine to simple off-road excursions, and a different one has been jumping off each time. My opinion that these are about shot on our trucks from a time perspective. In my opinion, this is one of two weaknesses of these trucks, second being the transfer case if operated in low-reverse with the front axle engaged. Luckily, the torque-rod situation can be easily improved over the stock setup, when replacing, via 2 different methods available. Not the purpose of this thread, but.....
Yup, already on the todo list that is long than the truck lol
 
Top
AdBlock Detected

We get it, advertisements are annoying!

Sure, ad-blocking software does a great job at blocking ads, but it also blocks useful features of our website like our supporting vendors. Their ads help keep Steel Soldiers going. Please consider disabling your ad blockers for the site. Thanks!

I've Disabled AdBlock
No Thanks