Covering Durango grille in winter to raise engine oil temperature

wwillson

Staff member
Messages
3,847
Location
Naperville, IL
I cover most of the grill on my Durango in the winter to reduce the air across the radiator, in an attempt to get the oil temp above 165F. Below 165F the oil pump is always on the high pressure side and above it's on the low pressure side. I see no need to run around constantly with 90 pounds of oil pressure. This can be a bit tricky because you can overheat engine. I've experimented for several years and know how much much of the grille needs to be covered given the ambient temperature.

I recently drove about 600 miles in one day where the outside temp didn't get above 0°F and was as low as -10°F. The pictures below show the oil temp and outside air temp after about 2 hours of driving on the interstate. The high side of the oil pump kicks in if the engine oil temp is below 165°F. I was able to keep the oil temp higher than 165, but it never got higher than 175°F. The water temperature indicator was normal or just below the entire time.

My guess is that a portion of the cold water coming from the radiator passes directly through the oil cooler.

If you cover your grille, do it a little bit at a time until you know what you can get away with.

Sorry for the blur

20210208_124636472_iOS.jpg


This is how much I covered - I figure it's about 90% of the surface area. The entire lower portion is blocked.

20210208_140019168_iOS.jpg
 
Messages
7,104
Location
Roanoke Virginia
I’ve heard it actually works pretty good to do that. My dad is a truck driver and covers his grill with cardboard and has done it for years that way. He still has the cardboard on it lol because he runs up north a lot.
 

OVERKILL

$100 Site Donor 2021
Messages
46,064
Location
Ontario, Canada
I cover most of the grill on my Durango in the winter to reduce the air across the radiator, in an attempt to get the oil temp above 165F. Below 165F the oil pump is always on the high pressure side and above it's on the low pressure side. I see no need to run around constantly with 90 pounds of oil pressure. This can be a bit tricky because you can overheat engine. I've experimented for several years and know how much much of the grille needs to be covered given the ambient temperature.

I recently drove about 600 miles in one day where the outside temp didn't get above 0°F and was as low as -10°F. The pictures below show the oil temp and outside air temp after about 2 hours of driving on the interstate. The high side of the oil pump kicks in if the engine oil temp is below 165°F. I was able to keep the oil temp higher than 165, but it never got higher than 175°F. The water temperature indicator was normal or just below the entire time.

My guess is that a portion of the cold water coming from the radiator passes directly through the oil cooler.

If you cover your grille, do it a little bit at a time until you know what you can get away with.

Sorry for the blur

View attachment 44959

This is how much I covered - I figure it's about 90% of the surface area. The entire lower portion is blocked.

View attachment 44960

I assume it's an issue related to the displacement.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_5a6.jpg
 
Messages
1,028
Location
Virginia
The AC compressor comes on with the defroster. You do not want to limit the air flow across the condenser. That will burn up the compressor.

The fan(s) is still pulling air through the condenser and radiator. He's blocking areas that only reduce forced airflow (ie, driving down the road). It's still getting more airflow than it would sitting still, so everything should be fine.
 
Last edited:

Pew

Messages
1,333
Location
Illinois
Did you just use black duct tape to cover the grill? I'm having the same issue with the focus. It's annoying having the car run rich all the time because the car won't go over the 1/4 temp line. The active grill shutters do nothing to help this issue either.
 
Messages
4,885
Location
Lakeville, MN
Did you just use black duct tape to cover the grill? I'm having the same issue with the focus. It's annoying having the car run rich all the time because the car won't go over the 1/4 temp line. The active grill shutters do nothing to help this issue either.

If the shutters on your focus work like the shutters on my F150, they default to just under 1/3rd open at temperatures below 35 Degrees F. Assume it does this to prevent issues with icing in below freezing temps. My truck gets noticeably better fuel mileage if the shutters aren't defaulted open.

Also, if you aren't getting to operating temp in the coolant, time to check the thermostat...
 

4WD

Messages
16,806
Location
Texas
I'd be worried about that duct tape causing damage to the finish on the grille. That stuff is nasty, especially in extreme temperatures.
I actually bought some advertised not to do that … loved it. So much so, now wish I could find it 👀
 
Messages
4,928
Location
Lima, Ohio, USA
I did the same to my neon when i had it, more as a slight "aeromod" because the "grille" on 2nd gen neons was blocked from the factory.
if you get close enough to one to look in there, all you see is the blacked out styrofoam of the bumper bar. ALL the air came into those cars from the lower panel.
 

Pew

Messages
1,333
Location
Illinois
Also, if you aren't getting to operating temp in the coolant, time to check the thermostat...

Yea I'll have to get it checked but it's always done this since new. It seems a lot of other focus with the 1.0L have issues getting up to temp in below freezing temperatures (as per the focus forums.)
 
Messages
12,349
Location
Colorado Springs
I am trying to wrap my mind that oil and coolant temperature are not at least equal regardless of outside temperature. Does Durango have oil cooler and oil cooler thermostat?
 
Top