[Vwdiesel] Starting a COLD Rabbit ? -- ( the Rabbit in winter ? )

LBaird119 at aol.com LBaird119 at aol.com
Fri Dec 24 22:54:33 EST 2004

> Especially if you have young kids along.   So if you got stuck there in a 
> VW diesel
> let us in on how you did.

  I've probably told this one before, sort of fits the request.  We didn't 
get stuck 
but were in weather you REALLY wouldn't want to get stuck in and driving 
a diesel in it really was a bit risky, if you didn't know what you were 
  Several years ago we drove from WA to CO for Christmas.  When we 
left it was nearing -30F and held that most of the way.  My uncle had 
pulled a sample from the #2 pump and the #1 pump and had them in 
a jar in the shop.  The shop was semi insulated and below my other 
uncle's house.  The #2 was the consistency of the stuff you find between 
a canned ham and the can!  The #1had quite a few long, spikey, white 
crystals in it.  Remember this was inside and below a heated house!
  It's scary driving in weather so cold that you watch the exhaust from 
a semi just drop to the ground behind the trailer.  All along the way 
were trucks, GM pickups, early 80's GM cars (diesels) and a several 
Rabbits.  It was like a scene from some apocalyptic movie!  Stranded 
cars all along the road and you hoped nobody was in them.
  Our heater was hot enough that I couldn't hold my hand over it.  As the 
sun set, the ice would start to form on the car windows.  It'd start in the 
back and creep forward.  Soon all you could see out of was most of the 
windshield, between the rows of ice across the back window and a hole 
big enough to see the mirrors.  The edges of the windshield were iced 
over and you had to keep at least half of the heat going to the defrost 
to keep it that way!
  We'd pull in for fuel and the first thing I'd do is pull up to the regular 
pump and put in a couple gallons of gas.  Then I'd come in, warm up, 
and inform them what I was doing and then pull around to the ~75/25 
winterized diesel pump.  A few questioned what I was doing.  The lines 
of truckers buying Power Service, brake deicer, etc was where the interesting 

comments came from.  "You can't run gas in a diesel!  You'll RUIN it!"  
or "Just fill it up, their fuel is winterized, you'll be fine."  And my 
"All that happens is the fuel separates when it gets cold.  You just have 
to put an air line in it to keep it mixed up and everything's fine."  These 
comments all came from guys who were frozen and trying to get back 
on the road again.  I was still running fine.  I wonder who was right?  ;-)
  I had the thoughts of what'd happen if the engine quit.  In reality that 
engine is what stood between us and freezing to death.  
  One night I woke up in the passenger seat, looked at the fuel gauge 
and commented about how long I must've slept AND through a refueling!
My wife informed me that she hadn't stopped for fuel.  Oh CRAP!  We 
were in the middle of nowhere UT or so, 2AM and less than 1/4 of a tank 
of fuel with at least 100 miles to the nearest town that would have diesel.
I told her to drop to 45mph and we MIGHT make it.  We were midway so 
going back wouldn't help either.  After about 15 tense minutes there was 
a sign that indicated diesel fuel.  There was no town, no lights, nothing.
We took the exit, came to a T with nothing to indicate which way to go.
50/50 chance so we went left.  Nothing, nothing, nothing...  About 3 miles 
down the road was a station.  We figured if they were closed we MIGHT 
be able to idle until they opened, which wouldn't give a lot of heat but 
probably enough to keep us alive.  Luckily they were open!  Even had 
straight #1 on tap!  
  He assured me that the #1 would be fine but with what I'd seen at the 
shop, I still put a little gas in there.  My wife had thyroid trouble at the 
time so while I'm bundled up and freezing, she's slowly walking into the 
place with a light jacket unzipped!  There was about a 30mph wind 
blowing as well.  Brrrrrrrr!
  On the way home I woke up one evening very cold.  She hadn't noticed 
but there was NO heat coming from the heater!  I turned it up because 
I was really getting cold.  Still nothing.  I turned it ALL the way up, still 

nothing.  I asked her how long we hadn't had heat???  She hadn't 
noticed!  Ok, keep out of boost, keep the EGT down and pull into the 
first mini-mart.  Anti freeze was about $12/gallon that year.  It was half 
again more at that middle of nowhere truck stop!  Turned out there 
couldn't have been more than a half gallon left in the car!  Filled it up 
and never lost another drop.  Strange.  I was REALLY glad for the COLD 
temps and the "my special" oil squirters I'd put on that Dasher!  Otherwise 
I'm sure we'd have overheated and blown a head gasket!
  Didn't get stuck in any snow drifts but I'd rather have a story about NOT 
getting stuck than waiting one out any day!  :-)

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