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Ok guys, I’m new to the truck, a 2014 Ram 3500 DRW, which just turned 50k kms, and diesels so please forgive any stupid questions.

I keep the truck on a battery tender as I do not, or try not to, use it as a daily driver during these Canadian cold months.

When I went to start it yesterday, the DEF gauge did not move to full, as usual, even though I just had filled it the weeks before with fresh DEF and all was fine on my last trip. I got the °Fill DEF Soon° message but I could see that the gauge kept creeping up as the truck got warmer until it went to half full. This took a good 5 minutes. Turned the truck off and then on and then all seemed normal. I did not have the engine block heater on for a long enough period, maybe 15 minutes, so not sure if that caused this that has never happened before.

So is this what to expect on cold weather starts or am I seeing the signs of worse things to come with either a bad DEF system or other areas that will need attention? By the way, I normally start the engine then place it on fast idle until oil temp is above 15 degrees celsius (what is that in F?), before driving it.

Thank you for any advice and suggestions.
 

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Could it have been the DEF was frozen and therefore the gauge did not read it properly due to that? Once it started to thaw it may have started to read the DEF level. Remember the DEF gauge is not like a fuel tank gauge that moves up and down with the level of fuel or in this case DEF, the DEF gauge is just a long stick that does not go to the top of the DEF tank, that is why the DEF gauge will read full for so long. As the DEF is used the stick becomes exposed to air and the gauge starts to show the DEF use.

Remember the DEF pump has its own heater to thaw the DEF in the DEF tank.

This is simplified explanation of the DEF tank and Gauge.

15 Degrees Celsius is 59 Degrees Fahrenheit.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Could it have been the DEF was frozen and therefore the gauge did not read it properly due to that? Once it started to thaw it may have started to read the DEF level. Remember the DEF gauge is not like a fuel tank gauge that moves up and down with the level of fuel or in this case DEF, the DEF gauge is just a long stick that does not go to the top of the DEF tank, that is why the DEF gauge will read full for so long. As the DEF is used the stick becomes exposed to air and the gauge starts to show the DEF use.

Remember the DEF pump has its own heater to thaw the DEF in the DEF tank.

This is simplified explanation of the DEF tank and Gauge.

15 Degrees Celsius is 59 Degrees Fahrenheit.

Thanks for your quick reply, it’s always nerve wracking when you don’t know... I was noticing what must have been the DEF pump heater coming on as it would dim the lights. So I guess everything is working as it should. Thanks again.
 

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2018 Ram 1500 Cummins Delmonico Red
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Thanks for your quick reply, it’s always nerve wracking when you don’t know... I was noticing what must have been the DEF pump heater coming on as it would dim the lights. So I guess everything is working as it should. Thanks again.
Doubt your dimming lights were from the DEF heater. Most likely from the grid heater. But this is also normal.
 

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Doubt your dimming lights were from the DEF heater. Most likely from the grid heater. But this is also normal.

As the dimming lights occurred after the truck was started, I assumed that it was due to the DEF heater trying to do it’s job. Does the grid heater still come on after engine start?
 

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2018 Ram 1500 Cummins Delmonico Red
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As the dimming lights occurred after the truck was started, I assumed that it was due to the DEF heater trying to do it’s job. Does the grid heater still come on after engine start?

Yes it cycles once running to heat the incoming air charge and improve emissions.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Yes it cycles once running to heat the incoming air charge and improve emissions.

Good to know, thanks, as the batteries were just able to start the engine even though I had them fully charged with the Tender.
 

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2018 Ram 1500 Cummins Delmonico Red
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They should not struggle. Should spin over fast and easy and start right up. Even bypassing the grid heaters these will start down to 0 degrees F.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
They should not struggle. Should spin over fast and easy and start right up. Even bypassing the grid heaters these will start down to 0 degrees F.
Thanks, I believe these are original batteries so 6+ years old and perhaps time to replace...
 

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The issues you are having are because it is unhappy that you called it a "Cummings"...
 

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The issues you are having are because it is unhappy that you called it a "Cummings"...

Oops, I knew the noob in me would get me into trouble... in my defence I called it that only after the issues surfaced but I guess it must have read my mind, just like my wife when she tells me I’m not hungry...
 

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Ok guys, I’m new to the truck, a 2014 Ram 3500 DRW, which just turned 50k kms, and diesels so please forgive any stupid questions.

I keep the truck on a battery tender as I do not, or try not to, use it as a daily driver during these Canadian cold months.

When I went to start it yesterday, the DEF gauge did not move to full, as usual, even though I just had filled it the weeks before with fresh DEF and all was fine on my last trip. I got the °Fill DEF Soon° message but I could see that the gauge kept creeping up as the truck got warmer until it went to half full. This took a good 5 minutes. Turned the truck off and then on and then all seemed normal. I did not have the engine block heater on for a long enough period, maybe 15 minutes, so not sure if that caused this that has never happened before.

So is this what to expect on cold weather starts or am I seeing the signs of worse things to come with either a bad DEF system or other areas that will need attention? By the way, I normally start the engine then place it on fast idle until oil temp is above 15 degrees celsius (what is that in F?), before driving it.

Thank you for any advice and suggestions.
For sure your DEF had froze up. As far as the block heater, it depends on the outside temp. It it is zero or minus 10 the grid should do the job to get it started. Colder than that then you will need the block heater for at least 4 hrs before starting. Make sure you are running 5-40 oil for the winter months. good luck....
 

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Discussion Starter #15
For sure your DEF had froze up. As far as the block heater, it depends on the outside temp. It it is zero or minus 10 the grid should do the job to get it started. Colder than that then you will need the block heater for at least 4 hrs before starting. Make sure you are running 5-40 oil for the winter months. good luck....
Thanks, unfortunately it was due for an oil change a month ago, every 5000 kms, and I went with the 15wxx, noob mistake.

I imagine I need to expect DEF to freeze and the heater for it to do it’s job unless I added bad DEF 2 weeks before.
 

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Thanks, unfortunately it was due for an oil change a month ago, every 5000 kms, and I went with the 15wxx, noob mistake.

I imagine I need to expect DEF to freeze and the heater for it to do it’s job unless I added bad DEF 2 weeks before.
You change the oil every 5000 kilometers???
Why???
Owner's manual service schedule sure doesn't call for it that often.
My truck has over 575K miles on it, and I change at 15K miles(just under 25000 kilometers).
 

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Discussion Starter #17
You change the oil every 5000 kilometers???
Why???
Owner's manual service schedule sure doesn't call for it that often.
My truck has over 575K miles on it, and I change at 15K miles(just under 25000 kilometers).
It’s what the previous owner strongly advised and I followed since there is so much gunk go through the engine with all of the emissions. Figure it was/is easy insurance.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
It’s what the previous owner strongly advised and I followed since there is so much gunk go through the engine with all of the emissions. Also, for a 2014 with now only 50,000kms, it’s a very low mileage truck so short trips and the length of time since it’s last oil change plays a bigger role in determining when the next oil change is due.
 

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Isn't there two schedules for changing the oil, one for what they call severe service which includes short commutes, towing and dirty dusty conditions among a few other things and then the normal schedule where you have longer trips of 20 miles or more and do not encounter dirty dusty conditions and do not idle the engine for long periods of time. I would follow the manual if you meet the severe conditions then change the oil at that point the manual calls for, if you meet normal conditions then run the full 15,000 miles. If the oil change is the same for severe and normal than follow the manual. Cummins does not want their engines blowing up so there 15,000 miles oil change interval is sound.

Oil today can handle well over 15,000 miles, if you really want to know the condition of your oil send a used oil sample to a company like Blackstone or one of the others. Just remember that they are measuring in parts per million so don't get spooked by readings, every engine wears differently one engine might show more iron wear than another, or one might show more aluminum wear than another.

I run Redline oil because it is a Group V Ester Synthetic 15w-40 oil, were you live you will need to run a 5w-40, if you wanted to run Redline in that weight you would have to use their professional series oil which is a Group III/Group IV PAO blend 5w-40.

I live in Southwest Florida where our winters are mild and a 15w-40 oil works fine for the temperatures we see. If I lived up north I would look for a 5w-40 oil that is a Group IV PAO with Group V Ester blend synthetic or if you can find one a Group V Ester synthetic.

Apparently Normal operating and Severe operating condition call for the same mileage schedules for the 2019 plus 6.7 Cummins, for an oil change it is 15,000 miles for either one. Transmission and differential fluid changes are different schedules for 2019 plus.

Here is a link to that schedule for 2019 plus: 5th Generation 6.7L Cummins Maintenance Guide And Service Schedule
 

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It’s what the previous owner strongly advised and I followed since there is so much gunk go through the engine with all of the emissions. Figure it was/is easy insurance.
Well, is the previous owner a factory powertrain engineer? I figure the engineers at FCA and Cummins know more than I do about when oil changes are needed.
And, so far the factory maintenance recommendations have worked just fine for the last 6 years and 575,000 miles on mine.
I guess if you like throwing money away by doing your current maintenance schedule then have fun.
Were I to follow that schedule, I'd be changing the oil nearly every week!
Do you follow such an abbreviated maintenance schedule for the other systems on the truck?
 
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