Minimizing the Effect of Cold Weather on Diesel Engines

John Deere diesel engines are designed to operate effectively in cold weather.

However, for effective starting and cold weather operation, a little extra care is necessary. The following information outlines steps that can minimize the effect that cold weather may have on starting and operation of your engine. See your John Deere dealer for additional information and local availability of cold weather aids.

Use Winter Grade Fuel

When temperatures fall below 0°C (32°F), winter grade fuel (No. 1-D in North America) is best suited for cold weather operation. Winter grade fuel has a lower cloud point and a lower pour point.

Cloud point is the temperature at which wax will begin to form in the fuel and this wax causes fuel filters to plug. Pour point is the lowest temperature at which movement of the fuel is observed.

NOTE: On an average, winter grade diesel fuel has a lower BTU (heat content) rating. Using winter grade fuel may reduce power and fuel efficiency, but should not cause any other engine performance effects. Check the grade of fuel being used before troubleshooting for low power complaints in cold weather operation.

Air Intake Heater

An air intake heater is an available option to aid cold weather staring.


An ether port on the intake is available to aid cold weather starting.

causym CAUTION: Do not use ether when:

  • Starting with an engine equipped with glow plugs

  • Starting with an air intake heater

Coolant Heater

An engine block heater (coolant heater) is an available option to aid cold weather starting.

Seasonal Viscosity Oil and Proper Coolant Concentration

Use seasonal grade viscosity engine oil based on the expected air temperature range between oil changes and a proper concentration of low silicate antifreeze as recommended. (See DIESEL ENGINE OIL and ENGINE COOLANT requirements this section.)

Diesel Fuel Flow Additive

Use John Deere PREMIUM DIESEL FUEL CONDITIONER (winter formula), which contains anti-gel chemistry, or equivalent fuel conditioner to treat non-winter grade fuel (No. 2-D in North America) during the cold weather season. This generally extends operability to about 10°C (18°F) below the fuel cloud point. For operability at even lower temperatures, use winter grade fuel.

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IMPORTANT: Treat fuel when outside temperature drops below 0°C (32°F). For best results, use with untreated fuel. Follow all recommended instructions on label.


When operating with biodiesel blends, wax formation can occur at warmer temperatures. Begin using John Deere PREMIUM BIODIESEL FUEL CONDITIONER (winter formula) at 5°C (41°F) to treat biodiesel fuels during the cold weather season. Use B5 or lower blends at temperatures below 0°C (32°F). Use only winter grade petroleum diesel fuel at temperatures below -10°C (14°F).


Use of fabric, cardboard, or solid winterfronts is not recommended with any John Deere engine. Their use can result in excessive engine coolant, oil, and charge air temperatures. This can lead to reduced engine life, loss of power and poor fuel economy. Winterfronts

may also put abnormal stress on fan and fan drive components potentially causing premature failures.

If winterfronts are used, they should never totally close off the grill frontal area. Approximately 25% area in the center of the grill should remain open at all times. At no time should the air blockage device be applied directly to the radiator core.

Radiator Shutters

If equipped with a thermostatically controlled radiator shutter system, this system should be regulated in such a way that the shutters are completely open by the time the coolant reaches 93°C (200°F) to prevent excessive intake manifold temperatures. Manually controlled systems are not recommended.

If air-to-air aftercooling is used, the shutters must be completely open by the time the intake manifold air temperature reaches the maximum allowable temperature out of the charge air cooler.

For more information, see your John Deere dealer.

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