Diesel generator, 2 questions

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I finally have a working small diesel generator that is working, although I still have to fit a starter to it. It is a military surplus, like new Coleman 4000W small diesel generator with an Acme Motori diesel engine. 110/220 volts.
Four questions.
1. What is the life expectancy of such a small diesel, in terms of hours. This one has an oil pump in it, it is not "splash lubricated".
2. I heard some stories about how difficult it is to start diesels in winter. Accidentally, that would be the time when I need a generator the most, to power the furnace in the house.
I will have a starter to spin it up very fast, but will I need to warm up the engine prior to starting? What is the ambient air temperature beyond which starting a diesel, even with a starter, becomes difficult?
How would I warm up the engine, practically? Can I do it with a propane torch or a little "candle" that is used to keep food warm at social gatherings (forgot the name of that thing)?
3. The generator will be on a concrete pad (most likely made of concrete patio blocks). I want to build an enclosure for the generator. At times when it is not needed, the enclosure will be "closed". At the time when the generator runs, I will open a "window" near the exhaust, some other "window" so that adequate air can be fed into the enclosure. The roof of the enclosure would lift a bit so that even more air circulation is permitted.
The enclosure would be lined with "basement soundproofing panels".
Would this be a workable plan. Does the enclosure need to be made of steel (which would be a pain and bad from soundproofing standpoint), or can it be safely made of plywood (again, provided adequate ventilation and a few inches clearance, from the standpoint of fire safety.
The diesel engine is quite loud and my neighbors would not appreciate its unsilenced sound at night. Plus, from the standpoint of protecting ourselves from thieves, it would be better if the noise is not as conspicuous.
Thanks
i
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How do you know it is " good"
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My experience would be that in a power outage the noise is going to be the last thing the neighbors complain about
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wrote:

Well, it's quite bad and needs to be rectified... Even though you have a good point.
i
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On Wed, 22 Sep 2004 08:47:44 -0700, Robert Morein

The ones who have no electricity will be the ones who complain !!
It happened to me (recv'd complaint) after "Frances" rolled thru and I fired up my diesel genny. :-(
I recommend storing the unit inside and then rolling it outside when needed. Otherwise the unit may not work (corrosion) when needed.
Definitely build a noise enclosure. A temporary one will do in a pinch.. surrounding unit with Garbage can's, bags of lawn clippings, etc can knock off 10 to 20 dB. A better solution would include building a pair vibration isolated forced air cooled plywood boxes around the genny.
I would skip the concrete pad. I used large concrete patio tiles 18"x18", and they seamed to magnify the ground & house vibration. :-(
My next setup will have multiple layers of shock isolation.. isolation pads. Air filled 8" rubber wheels.. Soil indentation for wheels, etc. It's a work in progress..
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Absolutely. As of now, the generator is stored in my shed and can be rolled out when needed, easily.

Can you describe this "pair vibration isolated forced air cooled plywood boxes" please, thanks.

I will put some rubber pad between them. The generator is on caster wheels anyway.
i
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On 22 Sep 2004 16:31:02 GMT, Ignoramus13667

Basically, it's two boxes with no solid physical contact between them.. Setup vents so that they are offset in both vertical and horizontal dimensions..
I.E.. top view only.. used fixed pitched font.. not to scale..
PPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP P4xx A A 4xxP Pxx4    pppppppppppppppppppppp xx4P     Pv p2x4         2x42p P     Pv p         pv P         Pv p pv P Pv p pv P P pvF genny pv P P pvF p Pv P pvF         p     Pv P pvF p Pv P p2x4 2x4p Pv P4xx pppppppppppppppppppppp 4xxPv Pxx4 A A xx4P PPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP
designations. 4xx PT.. 4"x4"x8' (set in ground) xx4
2x4 PT 2"x4"x8' (set in ground) P thicker plywood.. p thinner plywood., A Material to block airflow..low density foam..etc. (Not shown, must also block all air gaps between top of the two boxes) (Make redundant barriers too insure air flows to/from outside of boxes) v vents in plywood. (exact size, location to be determined). F 110v AC powered fans mounted on plywood. Multiple units,individually inlined fused, connected directly to genny output. (Three 100cfm+ muffin fans will probably do the job.) Mount two of them so they blow air directly onto the engine and one blows air over the alternator.

You might want to reconsider replacing them with larger air filled wheels.. Casters may dig into soft ground as you try to move it. (Murhpy is waiting for his chance).
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Thanks, excellent picture.

It's okay, it is basically movable on these wheels and I have some concrete walkways.
i
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On 22 Sep 2004 16:31:02 GMT, Ignoramus13667

Basically, it's two boxes with no solid physical contact between them.. Setup vents so that they are offset in both vertical and horizontal dimensions..
I.E.. top view only.. used fixed pitched font.. not to scale..
PPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP P4xx A A 4xxP Pxx4    pppppppppppppppppppppp xx4P     Pv p2x4         2x42p P     Pv p         pv P         Pv p pv P Pv p pv P P pvF genny pv P P pvF p Pv P pvF         p     Pv P pvF p Pv P p2x4 2x4p Pv P4xx pppppppppppppppppppppp 4xxPv Pxx4 A A xx4P PPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP
designations. 4xx PT.. 4"x4"x8' (set in ground) xx4
2x4 PT 2"x4"x8' (set in ground) P thicker plywood.. p thinner plywood., A Material to block airflow..low density foam..etc. (Not shown, must also block all air gaps between top of the two boxes) (Make redundant barriers too insure air flows to/from outside of boxes) v vents in plywood. (exact size, location to be determined). F 110v AC powered fans mounted on plywood. Multiple units,individually inlined fused, connected directly to genny output. (Three 100cfm+ muffin fans will probably do the job.) Mount two of them so they blow air directly onto the engine and one blows air over the alternator.

You might want to reconsider replacing them with larger air filled wheels.. Casters may dig into soft ground as you try to move it. (Murhpy is waiting for his chance).
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Probably, but who's going to listen/respond to their complaints? And as pointed out later in this thread, sharing the electricity goes a long way to friendly neighbor relations (until they abuse your gesture.)

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On Wed, 22 Sep 2004 21:44:44 -0700, Robert Morein

Ahem.. Sometimes it just isn't safe or prudent to share!!!
It my case, the complaining neighbor was separated from my back yard(dock) by a seventy foot wide canal filled with sea water.

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wrote:

Particularly if you give them an extension cord connected to the thing.
Vaughn
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On 9/22/04 8:56 AM, in article cis09g$k3e$ snipped-for-privacy@pita.alt.net, "Ignoramus13667"

One thing to do would use #1 diesel or add fuel additive to #2 diesel. #2 diesel should run an engine fine down to about 5 F. One way to start a diesel in cold weather is to use starting fluid. You should be able to find some at a farm supply or auto parts store. Another way would be to preheat the incoming air. You might have to disconnect the air cleaner hose temporarily. I don't think there is a set temperature where starting difficulties occur. It varies by manufacturer and engine. The John Deere 30 series of tractors were particularly cold blooded.
Dean
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Thanks. Are you saying that my diesel would be completely unable to run at, say, -10F (a realistic temperature in Northern IL)? Or, would I be able to start if I warm up the engine with, say, a propane torch?
I will check out starting fluid. Is it necessary even with electrical starters?
i
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Ignoramus13667 wrote:

NO! NO! NO! See my other post.
--
"You take the BLUE PILL, you wake up in your own bed,
and you BELIEVE WHAT YOU WANT TO.
  Click to see the full signature.
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You _really_ don't want to do that. I just failed a piston trying to get my engine going on starting fluid. Only upside is that I now know much more about the engine than I had planned on.
Rory
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On 9/22/04 11:03 AM, in article cis7ns$979$ snipped-for-privacy@pita.alt.net, "Ignoramus13667"

It probably wouldn't run on #2 diesel. My experience with a diesel pickup and a diesel generator and trencher seems to point to about 5 F as the low temperature range for #2. You should be able to find a winter blend of fuel for winter time or use a diesel fuel additive. A little bit of additive goes a long way and it's not too expensive. Either one should be done before the weather gets cold or you might have some problems. Using a winter blend or #2 with additive should keep it going for you I think. Look at all the semis and snow moving equipment that run in your area or farther north. One thing I didn't mention with the starting fluid. Don't use it if your generator motor has aluminum heads. You'll probably need to use the starting fluid or preheat the intake manifold air once the temperature drops too much regardless of the electric start. You'll find that temperature point by trial and error on your engine. Use your torch or something else to heat the incoming air. Don't use the torch and starting fluid at the same time. Starting fluid used to contain ether and maybe still does.
Dean
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On 22 Sep 2004 16:03:08 GMT, Ignoramus13667

weed burner maybe...
Best thing you can do with that torch is NOT light it, but turn it on and stick the end of it in the intake manifold, and then pull the engine over. Makes pretty good starting fluid with few of the side effects of ether. Works great on that lawnmower you havent used since last year also.
Gunner
"In my humble opinion, the petty carping levied against Bush by the Democrats proves again, it is better to have your eye plucked out by an eagle than to be nibbled to death by ducks." - Norman Liebmann
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Gunner, thanks, it sounds like a good idea. My lawnmower starts pretty well, so far, but using propane to start a diesel seems like a most sensible thing to do. You sound like you know engines pretty well. How long do these small diesels last?
i
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No Dufus, your not heating the engine, or the Base Oil, your heating the AIR Going down the Intake Pipe, and it doesn't takebut few seconds to fire up a diesel engine.
Me
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