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Does the van only idle cool, but runs at normal temp all the other times?
I ask this because for that year of engine, they are designed to do that. In the 2004 US EPA engines, they were designed to only idle for 5 minutes and that is it. They idle cooler to keep the EGR gases lower to meet the EPA standards as well as the Euro standards for those engines were in both the USA and the UK. The UK requires low idle emissions where the US requires low emissions all the time.
I ran into the same problem a few months ago on a 2004 model and had a long talk back and forth with several Freightliner higher up people. What I was basically told is the engine is designed to start up, heat quick when you drive it (within 10 minutes) and then cool down fast for the 5 minute idle time to cool the oil in the engine and the turbo bearings. This was done to make the EPA happy so they didn't have to use a dual EGR system on the engine. A dual EGR system would have bogged the engines down like the large bore engines were, which have a lot of issues with them.
I replaced a thermostat in one and couldn't get it to warm back up. I thought the same issue was going on and I was told that if the engine idles warm, there is something wrong. They should idle around 160 degrees or less. Some idle cooler, but if it idles above 160, there is an issue with the cooling system. The reason it is cooler is as the engine is idling, the EGR valve is open and allowing the gases back into the cylinders to burn off the unburned gases, which creates less combustion and heat, so they idle cooler from that. It is not straight fuel and air going into the engine.
I know it seems a bit confusing for it was to me as well, but I'm told by Freightliner that if the engine is warming up within 10 minutes while driving and holds its temps, then cools down within 5 minutes of idling to 160 or less, then engine is operating normally.
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