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Had a layover in near zero indiana last night. A good time to do a real experiment.

In 11.33 hours of idling (all of it at 1100rpm, out of my control, i used 6.127 gallons which means a rate of .5422 gallons per hour.

I tried to be as scientific as i could, filling up at the exact same pump and only driving across the parking lot. Those uconnect 5.0 naysayers will be happy to learn that the trip computers feature a travel time timer, which runs when idling and is how i timed all of this.

I feel 1/2 gallon per hour is kinda high. Ill run this test again in the summer, but its possible the a/c will dictate a high idle and negate any savings.

Seems to me that a gas fired heater would consume WAY less than .5gph. A small generator would probably consume less too. Maybe the answer is a genset strapped to the roof or bumper.

I will also add that ive been researching it, and i find zero evidence that extended idling is harmful to the engine (gas only). Provided it can keep cool, and the exhaust doesnt set fire to the ground below you, the engine doesnt mind idling.
 

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I find that any idling over a few minutes really cuts into the MPG. I think your ½ gallon per hour is probably very close.
 

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6 gallons X $1.89 per gallon is pretty darn cheap for 11 hours.
Buying a generator or other heaters would take you some time to recoup the cost of those items to purchase considering how inexpensive it is to just idle for heat or AC. :)
 

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I don't drive my PM that much in the winter, I prefer to use my wife's minivan. But I estimate I am loosing 2 mpg city driving in the cold.
 

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Propane seems like a viable choice. Perhaps a small furnace from an RV. It's not really any cheaper per BTU than gas or diesel, but you can probably get a propane heater that's at least 80% efficient. The gas engine is probably less than 20% when used as a heater. Your .54 gpm burn rate is about the equivalent of operating a typical 50,000 BTU heater.

There are some very small pellet stoves but they would still be larger than a small furnace. Fuel would be easy to deal with though. No tanks or lines. Buy it at most big box home stores.
 

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My '99 Audi has a 1.8 4cyl turbo engine. With a ScanGauge installed (for several years now) I can get some good info, including gallons per hour fuel usage.




With the engine warmed up in warm weather it idles at .25 to .26 gph. In cold weather (for here, that's <30F) it will use significantly more during initial start (first 30 seconds) but not much more at idle, about .28 to .30 gph.


I can make it increase usage by maybe .02 gph by turning on the headlights. Engaging the A/C compressor adds another ~.03 gph.




Considering you're running a 3.6L V6, twice the size of my engine, it doesn't seem unreasonable it would take twice the fuel usage at idle.
 

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Espar heater from bunkheaters dot com, no affiliation, $900. Not a good deal for an occasional nights heat but for a camper or those who spend lots of nights in their van. It makes up to 7500 BTU/hr and it only uses .06 gal/hour on high!
 

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KOT,

I have done some idling recently. I want to get some of the inside projects built for my PM, but it won't fit in my garage. I start it and let it idle with the heat on FULL.

In about 15 minutes the van is toasty warm (outside has been around 20-30 degrees for quite a while in CT). I have no insulation in the walls (yet), so I'm pretty happy with the heater alone. I tried a 1500W electric space heater - no way it could warm up a cold van!

No scientific data to report, but it seems to sip gas and the front heater does warm the whole 159 hi-roof well.

I find your information encouraging. I can certainly afford 1/2 a gallon per hour for my project work, and at today's gas prices it's a bargain!

Ed
 

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Had a layover in near zero indiana last night. A good time to do a real experiment.

In 11.33 hours of idling (all of it at 1100rpm, out of my control, i used 6.127 gallons which means a rate of .5422 gallons per hour.

I tried to be as scientific as i could, filling up at the exact same pump and only driving across the parking lot. Those uconnect 5.0 naysayers will be happy to learn that the trip computers feature a travel time timer, which runs when idling and is how i timed all of this.

I feel 1/2 gallon per hour is kinda high. Ill run this test again in the summer, but its possible the a/c will dictate a high idle and negate any savings.

Seems to me that a gas fired heater would consume WAY less than .5gph. A small generator would probably consume less too. Maybe the answer is a genset strapped to the roof or bumper.

I will also add that ive been researching it, and i find zero evidence that extended idling is harmful to the engine (gas only). Provided it can keep cool, and the exhaust doesnt set fire to the ground below you, the engine doesnt mind idling.

I have a feeling your numbers are dead on. They line up well with my drop in MPG since the cold hit and I got addicted to my remote start. I got lazy and let it go for 30 minutes each morning and a couple shorter runs per day and saw a noticeable drop. Such a large drop that I have changed my habits to 5 minutes warm up.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I should add that after 10 minutes its sweaty hot in the van . I can walk barefoot on the plywood floor, and i can sleep in underwear and a tshirt.

One of the BIG problems is i have zero insulation in the van. I put it in service the week i bought it, and i havent had time to do any of the buildout. Shut off the engine, and the van goes from toasty warm to ambient outside temp in about 20 min. I actually use this "feature" as an alarm clock - napping in my sleeping bag, i will be too cold to sleep in 1 hour!

All the heating solutions are trade offs. I dont like open flame solutions. Speaking of, i tried sterno cans - totally useless.

Propane ? Maybe, but storing the stuff and filling the tanks is clumsy. Kerosine is pretty dirty, and a spill would be a stinky mess.

Spare batteries and an inverter would probably be ideal because then you have A/C in the van and could use a flat screen tv and popcorn maker!

Ditto for a genset, but where do you put it, and how do you fuel it?

Im open to suggestions.
 

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I had a sprinter before with 4 6v golf cart batteries and an espar heater with a domestic roof air . I transferred them to the new promaster .I run the roof air during the summer with a Honda 2k generator and I have a diesel espar heater that I run off the batteries , I added a 5 gallon boat gas tank to keep diesel in for the heater . I have been doing a lot of work in MI and PA this year so temps have been below freezing and I can run the espar on 5 gal for about 5 days . I have the digi gauge and have it set to 70 degrees and when truck is running it shuts off auto . When I park and shut off truck it starts right up. When I am at job sights for the day I just leave it run that way when I get back to truck it's nice and warm. I am sure that some people walk by it and wonder when they hear the espar running it sounds like a really small jet engine. I also have inside the van a domestic freezer fridge and a 2k inverter charger . The batteries will last about 2 days running the fridge , heater and misc. electronics without starting the vehicle . And I have a battery auto separator so it won't drain down the start battery. I did all this to keep idling to a min. I think it worked pretty well as when I got rid of sprinter I had 550,000 miles on it . With the promaster being gas I am hoping to get at least 400,000 .
 

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I have rear heater that runs off the engine coolant plus have Webasto gas heater.
If I run both I can roast a turkey :eek:.
Dang it can get hot back there.
 

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Does anyone know why Dodge has chosen to make the Promaster Pentastar engine idle at nearly 1100rpm during cold outside temps? I see no reason for it.
My Promaster has been to the dealer twice now on the subject of high idle in cold temps
(below 25degrees Fahrenheit). During the appointments a number of service department personnel looked at my vehicle and observed the 1050rpm idle with the vehicle fully warmed. None of the staff including the service manager was aware that it was a normal idle condition. none of the staff or myself thought that the 1050rpm idle was a good thing.
Its like resting your foot on the gas pedal while at a traffic light or train stop.
The vehicle normally idles at 750rpm when fully warm.
I am hoping that Dodge will produce a software update that can adjust the vehicle idle to the more 750rpm we a familiar with. Until then I will warn perspective buyers who inquire about my 2014 Promaster.
Please comment if you have a solution or helpful input.
 

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I don't know about the gas version of the PM but the diesel has a fuel tap as part of the fuel tank assembly. Tap off of that to provide diesel fuel to the Espar heater and you should be good to go. At least that's my plan should I decide to puchase a new PM diesel within the next year or so.
 

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The gasser has the fuel tap as well. You can get a Diesel or Gas fired heaters from Webasto.
I have the gas fired heater and it works great.
So if you have the gasser get the gas heater, Diesel get the Diesel heater.
Does Espar have a gas version?
 

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I am hoping that Dodge will produce a software update that can adjust the vehicle idle to the more 750rpm we a familiar with. Until then I will warn perspective buyers who inquire about my 2014 Promaster.
Please comment if you have a solution or helpful input.
I have tried today to bring that issue to Chrysler via a case manager and it wasn't a success, he wouldn't even listen. It all has to go through a dealer.

Do you know if your dealer relayed the problem to a higher level?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Did another 10 hour idling test last week. .58 gallons per hour to idle with the only electrical load being the heater fan on full blast.
 

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My '99 Audi has a 1.8 4cyl turbo engine. With a ScanGauge installed (for several years now) I can get some good info, including gallons per hour fuel usage.




With the engine warmed up in warm weather it idles at .25 to .26 gph. In cold weather (for here, that's <30F) it will use significantly more during initial start (first 30 seconds) but not much more at idle, about .28 to .30 gph.


I can make it increase usage by maybe .02 gph by turning on the headlights. Engaging the A/C compressor adds another ~.03 gph.




Considering you're running a 3.6L V6, twice the size of my engine, it doesn't seem unreasonable it would take twice the fuel usage at idle.
I agree that relating fuel rate to engine displacement is a good approximation for estimate purposes. I've seen reports that Ford 6.8L V10 burn approximately 0.8 gallons per hour. That puts it in same range as your 1.8L or ProMaster 3.6L on a displacement basis. Of course there will be some variation because all engines don't idle at same speed or have the same amount of friction (or external load like alternator or air conditioner, which are not proportional in size to engine).
 
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