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  1. #1
    Site Sponsor SammyB's Avatar
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    New to Diesel - What do I Need to Know?

    Hi all - the Mrs and I just pulled the trigger on a new Ram 2500 diesel. Iíve never owned a diesel truck before, so time to get educated!

    What do I need to know?

    Look forward to the discussion!

    Best wishes,
    -Sam
    Sam & Kay, 2 kiddos and the dog (rescue pup - lab mix)
    2021 RAM 2500 6.7L I6 Cummins Turbo Diesel
    2020 Grand Design Transcend 243BH

  2. #2
    Setting Up Camp
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    2018 Ram 2500, Laramie Tungsten Edition.

    1. Learn the engine brake controls and use. YouTube is a great resource.

    2. Change fuel filters on time. My truck tells me when.

    3. Don't expect the cabin heater to be instant. Takes some time to heat up. Diesels warm slowly.

    4. Make sure to use the GREEN house at fill up. Don't laugh, common mistake for newbies. If you do, DO NOT START THE ENGINE. Have it towed and drained.

    5. Enjoy the power, longevity and sweet sound of that Cummins Turbo Diesel.

    Sent from my SM-G988U using Tapatalk
    2021 GD 344GK-R
    PullRite Super 5th 24K
    2006 & 2018 Ram 2500, 5.9 Cummins Diesel
    Wife: Canadian

  3. #3
    Site Sponsor Steven@147's Avatar
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    Hi Sam, Have had Ram Cummins diesels for a long time. These days in any newer diesel engine its not just the diesel fuel, now its the DEF as well. Just use good quality diesel fuel (bio and or efficient diesel)(check your owners manual) from reputable stations. Mom & Pop's broken down diesel fuel pumps may not be the best for fills ups. Diesel fuel pump handles are mostly green but i have also seen yellow pump handles. Get it in your mind diesel, diesel, diesel. I have known people that put gas in the diesel tank, it will be a very expensive lesson.

    Always use good quality DEF, again from reputable sources, and check that the seal on the jug/box has not been broken or is missing or if the jug has a lot of dust on it, that means its been setting around for a long time. DEF has a short shelf life. Search the web for how to decode the date on the DEF jugs/boxes. If running in very cold temperatures 10* or below consider using a diesel fuel antigel additive. Most stations up north change over to winterized diesel or #1 diesel sometime around Oct but if it gets really really cold, add some antigel when filling up. I always use Power Service brand products they are OKed by Cummins.

    Remember diesel engines hate dirt so keep the fuel filters changed (2) at the recommended intervals, also the oil filter. use good quality oil usually full synthetic is recommended most likely you'll run with 15W40. Read your manual. I use only MOPAR Cummins filters and Shell Rotella T6 full synthetic oil. Read your owners manual for what to do if the "Water in Fuel" light comes on. I could tell you but you will remember better if you read up on it in your owners manual. Do not ever run a diesel engine out of fuel. Diesel fuel is what helps keep the fuel pumps cool. The newer diesel engines are self purging of air if they are run out of fuel, but it can be a pain to get them restarted. Also diesel engines do not like to run for short trips to the store and back, they need to come up to temp and run a while to keep the emission systems running cleaner and more clog free.

    Just my first thoughts.
    Last edited by [email protected]; 05-17-2021 at 10:58 AM.
    Steve & Tami Cass - Escapee's Fulltimers - Location - Currently Bristol TN
    2019 Solitude 3350RL S-Class, Pin Weight 3550#, Avg Loaded Weight 15,500#, MorRyde RPB72-1621 pin Box, TST-507-TPMS, Centramatic Wheel Balancers
    2018 Ram 3500, Laramie Longhorn Southfork, 6.7L CTD, 4x4, 220a Alt, Exh Brake, AISIN 6sp Auto, CC, LB, DRW, 3.73 gears, 5th Wh Prep, Payload 5,390#, B&W Companion RVK3600 Texas Class A Non-CDL Exempt Drivers License

  4. #4
    Setting Up Camp
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    yup...enjoy the engine brake in the mountains....gobs of torque and power.....diesels have to be moving to warm up. Get yourself a TDS/Open Roads discount card.

  5. #5
    Site Team D2Reid's Avatar
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    Oh boy! You have just opened a really good topic fraught with much opinion and discussion. This should be interesting.

    A few things I believe.

    There are many diesel truck/engine forums out there. Like RV forums you kind of have to pick the one that suits you best and take everything posted with a grain of salt using your own good judgement to separate the wheat from the chaff.

    You should have thing called an Exhaust Brake, sometimes referred to as a Jake Brake. It builds up back pressure in the engine that keeps the engine from over revving while going downhill, thus slowing the truck and trailer without using the brake pedal. Read the owners manual carefully on this subject as they some differences between make and model. I keep mine on while towing. Even when it's flat the exhaust brake helps with slowing on off ramps.

    DEF, diesel exhaust fluid. Lots of good discussion on this subject. I have decided, for me, to not ever delete the emission control system that utilizes DEF. There is much heated debate on this, but I believe it helps with the environment. That statement will probably draw some contradicting replies. DEF quality is another much discussed topic. I believe any SAE rated DEF will do. I have read some threads on contaminated DEF. The sensors built into the system can indicate that something is not correct and a trip to the dealer becomes mandatory. I have been buying DEF for over 5 years, I have bought Blue DEF in many gas stations across the nation. I have purchased AutoZone DEF, NAPA Def, O'Reilly's DEF, and I regularly buy DEF when I fill up at truck stops.

    Biofuel. Read your owners manual to see what % of bio-fuel is allowed in your engine, be aware of that number and look at the pumps when you get there to make sure the values are within limits. There are folks that claim they buy old grease from fast food restaurants and put it into their diesels. I would never do that myself, I simply don't know enough about it. But I have put bio-diesel in my gas tank and my trucks don't seem to mind.

    Diesel engines pull differently than gas engines. There may come a time when you have to gear down and keep RPM's up higher for a particularly steep hill with a heavy load. But try just leaving it in D and let the automated engine/transmission system do it's thing without you overriding it. My 2005, 2010, 2013 diesels I had to gear down to climb long steep hills pulling a heavy trailer. My 2019 I do not, it adjusts what it needs to adjust and I don't interfere.

    Fuel contamination is an issue. Water in a diesel engine fuel injector turns it into a torch that melts stuff, very bad. The ways to keep the bad from happening are pretty simple. Buy fuel at a reputable gas station that sells a bunch of it and takes care of it's pumps. Replace the fuel filter as directed in the owners manual. I have had fuel/injector issues in the past so I go one step further and replace the fuel filters at every oil change. My owners manual says I have heavy usage and should change oil every 5000 miles. It's a pretty big expense, but I feel it's necessary to keep my very expensive diesel truck running.

    Air intake. Diesels are pretty sensitive to the amount of air they get, thus the turbo-chargers that are on them. I replace my air filter at regular intervals. I have looked at aftermarket air intake systems but never felt the need to get any of them.

    Speaking of after market stuff, performance chips, programmers and other ways to change the factory computer settings. Lot's of them out there. I don't use any of it. I believe that the manufacturer engineers built this stuff to operate within a certain performance envelope that balances performance and longevity. I see the need for these devices within professional specialties that utilize diesel engines. I am not that, I am just a regular person towing an RV.

    Red handles, green handles, and the other green handles. Tie a string around your finger before you go to the gas station to make sure you remember to get diesel, not gas. Same goes for anyone else that fills your truck up for you. Generally red handles are gas and green handles are diesel. There are exceptions. I think BP stations have all green handles. Do sign up for the Flying-J/Good sams fuel card and the EFS fuel card. My rig is almost as big as a tractor trailer rig so I love filling up at truck stops.
    Dallas
    2017 Momentum 376TH, 2019 Ford F450, Dual Rear Wheel, 4x4, diesel.
    2015 Harley-Davidson Street, XG750

  6. #6
    Rolling Along TNFSolitude's Avatar
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    I never, ever use the terminology "gassing up", have to stop for gas, 1/2 tank of gas, etc. It is very rare DW fuels up for me but I'm consistent in always calling it diesel or fuel. I've never made the mistake of putting gas in my tank but I know some who have and it's an expensive mistake. Like mentioned above, if gasoline is ever pumped accidently, regardless of how little, do NOT attempt to start the truck. Leave it there, call for a tow, explain to the attendant the error and ask for patience.
    Read the owners manual on diesel maintenance and driving, very good information there or they wouldn't have printed the book.
    Ask friends or family, other campers that own diesels for tips but be wary of advice that's contrary to the owners manual.
    Good luck going forward and enjoy your new toys.
    Tom & Nancy
    Newport, MI
    369RL, #302


  7. #7
    Site Sponsor Steven@147's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
    Hi Sam, Have had Ram Cummins diesels for a long time. These days in any newer diesel engine its not just the diesel fuel, now its the DEF as well. Just use good quality diesel fuel (bio and or efficient diesel)(check your owners manual) from reputable stations. Mom & Pop's broken down diesel fuel pumps may not be the best for fills ups. Diesel fuel pump handles are mostly green but i have also seen yellow pump handles. Get it in your mind diesel, diesel, diesel. I have known people that put gas in the diesel tank, it will be a very expensive lesson.

    Always use good quality DEF, again from reputable sources, and check that the seal on the jug/box has not been broken or is missing or if the jug has a lot of dust on it, that means its been setting around for a long time. DEF has a short shelf life. Search the web for how to decode the date on the DEF jugs/boxes. If running in very cold temperatures 10* or below consider using a diesel fuel antigel additive. Most stations up north change over to winterized diesel or #1 diesel sometime around Oct but if it gets really really cold, add some antigel when filling up. I always use Power Service brand products they are OKed by Cummins.

    Remember diesel engines hate dirt so keep the fuel filters changed (2) at the recommended intervals, also the oil filter. use good quality oil usually full synthetic is recommended most likely you'll run with 15W40. Read your manual. I use only MOPAR Cummins filters and Shell Rotella T6 full synthetic oil. Read your owners manual for what to do if the "Water in Fuel" light comes on. I could tell you but you will remember better if you read up on it in your owners manual. Do not ever run a diesel engine out of fuel. Diesel fuel is what helps keep the fuel pumps cool. The newer diesel engines are self purging of air if they are run out of fuel, but it can be a pain to get them restarted. Also diesel engines do not like to run for short trips to the store and back, they need to come up to temp and run a while to keep the emission systems running cleaner and more clog free.

    Just my first thoughts.
    Agree with all comments so far. Another is donít put DEF in fuel tank that will also be an expensive lesson.

    Not mentioned yet is transmissions. Your 2500 most likely has the Ram I believe like 68RFE one. For a lot of towing follow the heave use manual change intervals. Use only the trans fluid it calls for. The AISIN trans is a whole different animal. I always use tow/haul mode when towing 5th wheel and exhaust brake.
    Just me but I never use quick change oil places, donít trust them.

  8. #8
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    I have been in my first diesel for 2 1/2 years now. There was a lot of hand wringing over the decision. At the end of the day, it's just a truck and it's just fuel. I'm still a little nervous at the fuel pump but that means I'm focused on not pumping gas into the tank. I'm just as anxious when it's time to top off the DEF. Look twice, pour once.

    Mostly, I just drive it and enjoy it. I always say I'll wait for the truck to tell me it's time to change the oil, but I get anxious around 7500 miles...that means I just did my third oil change. All of them have been at the Ford dealership because their price is as good as anyone else's. When I set off on a long trip, I carry 10 gallons of diesel and 2 1/2 gallons of DEF.

    Enjoy your new truck!
    2019 F250 Platinum, 6.7, LB, FX4, High Capacity Tow Package
    B & W Companion
    2019 303RLS

  9. #9
    Site Sponsor Richter's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Dugoutnut;370121]
    4. Make sure to use the GREEN hose at fill up. /QUOTE]

    EXCEPT AT A BP STATION!!! Their gasoline hoses are green at most of their stations. I refuse to stop at a BP station for just this one reason. My brain is old enough. It doesnít need any help to get confused.
    Tom and Janice (known as Tom in PGH on the ďotherĒ forum)

    First came the 18' Comfort bumper-pull, was great for 20 years.
    Now a 2019 Reflection 303RLS, second air, double glass, table and chairs
    2019 F350 Lariat (Diesel) 4x4 Crewcab with lots of goodies
    Andersen aluminum with the puck system holding it all together
    Cranberry Twp. PA, about 30 miles north of Pittsburgh

  10. #10
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    Most has been said, and I could have missed it... but keep in mind that diesel gels up in single digit weather. This may or may not be an issue if you stay in say Florida... but be aware that a diesel additive may be necessary in the winter - you don't want to let it gel up. Some of the northern states (or mountain areas) will use a cold-weather diesel formula in winter to address this issue - the pump will state it. Once you go diesel, you won't go back... enjoy the ride.
    351M-R On Order!
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    Gone: 2018 Reflection 28BH; 2017 Ford F350 Platinum CCSB 6.7L Powerstroke FX4; 2015 GMC Denali 2500HD CCSB Dmax
    Gone but still in the family: 2004.5 Chev 2500HD CCSB LTZ Dmax

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