Car heating

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I wondered what the other experts here think about the following idea.....
During the winter months my garage does get a bit on the cold side when the temperature plummets. It isn't attached to the house and has no heating.
No big deal when I'm not working in there, and when I am I can always use a fan heater to warm up the corner I'm working in. But what I'd like to do is arrange things so that the car engine (Freelander - plenty of room underneath!) isn't stone cold when I go out in the morning - it can take a while to reach operating temperature and on short journeys I'd reach the destination before the heater is working.
What I was thinking about was to put a couple of tubular heaters under the engine bay, on a timer that comes on at about 3am. These things are insulated against moisture and so on, and at 120W each they don't get particularly warm:
http://www.tlc-direct.co.uk/Main_Index/Heating_Index/Tubular_Heaters/index.html
What I'm thinking is that the little warmth they do generate would rise into the engine compartment, taking the chill off the engine so that once I start up and move off it doesn't take so long for normal temperature to be acquired.
Does this sound like a plausible idea, or has Dr Strangelove got hold of my noggin?
PoP
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snipped-for-privacy@anyoldtripe.co.uk says...

I've seen infrared lamps that you hang in your garage to do pretty much the same thing I guess. Alternatively, walk the short journeys!
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PoP wrote:

There is an aftermarket device that you fit to the car that keeps the coolant water warm. I expect it is a atandard fit in countries where the winter temps get really cold. Your dealer should know about it. A mate of mine had one on a Disco some years back.
Bob
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[29 lines snipped]

I used to have one on my Rangie.
It was lovely, getting into a prewarmed car. Until the day the thermostat failed short circuit, it boiled the coolant, then the seals failed and lost all the coolant, then the wiring failed and tripped the house RCD.
I really like having to repair car plumbing in the driving snow, late for work.
Oh, and then they could find no record of my having bought it, so quibbled about the warrantee. Fortunately, I found the receipt and they grudgingly provided another, which I sold.
I've never bought another Kenlowe product, and have no intention of ever doing so.
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Bob Minchin wrote:

Oil sump heaters are common in Scandinavian countries. They appear to screw in instead of the drain plug. I have even seen points to plug them into at some parking places in Finland.
Reminds me of many years ago at a very posh hotel in the New Forest, Chewton Glen, I got talking to a wealthy long term resident. He had garages on the site which were centrally heated to keep his car collection warm .... They were better housed than the staff.
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tml
Just use fully sythetic oil and they are redundant. Use a water heater in the bottom rad hose or in some case they replace the block drain plug.
I used these heaters in the desert on my Chevy Blazer run from 12v. Yes the desert, summer and winter, using a separate battery and dynamo splitter, as in a caravan. I nearly always had two batteries. Very handy having all that spare power.
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It will save fuel and wear and tear. However, some sort of water heater is the only efficient way.
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Regards

John



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On Mon, 6 Oct 2003 19:57:50 +0100, "John"

I've just done a search on the web. Preheaters are available for 250 and upwards - which is quite a lot of money. I think I'll stick to my putting a small heater under the engine compartment.
PoP
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PoP wrote:

Our standby genny has a small immersion heater in a steel can and circulates 50 degree water by convection round its block, try genny suppliers for one off an old unit?
Niel.
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On Sun, 05 Oct 2003 22:11:32 +0100, snipped-for-privacy@lineone.net wrote:

I think a major problem would be to install something which didn't have the capacity of setting fire to the engine compartment. From that perspective I'd rather not be fiddling around with any modification to the vehicle, otherwise the insurance company might decide the fire and theft policy only worked for burglars.....
PoP
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On Tue, 07 Oct 2003 07:52:29 +0100, PoP

Dead easy, just use an element with a negative thermal coefficient that doesn't need a thermostat. They're not common (Kenlowe still palm off unreliable overpriced crap on us), but they're available as commercial process heating. I don't know why we don't see more of them.
I once built a pre-heater using an injection moulder nozzle heater of some huge power. But run off a 50V transformer, it was a reasonable power to pre-heat a Rangie.
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On Mon, 06 Oct 2003 18:26:13 +0100, PoP

Keeping the engine warm is very reasonable. In countries with colder climates such as Sweden - especially in the north where it can go below -40 degrees - vehicles are fitted with engine warming. Some is done by the manufacturer but I am pretty sure that there are after market products as well. It is common for parking places to have 220v outlets for people to plug them in.
You can also get small heaters to go inside the passenger compartment, often a small fan heater and timeswitch.
.andy
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wrote:

warm up the sump and oil ready for a cold start,not so sure about fuel leaks though?
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wrote: <snip>

caused a fire in the engine compartment of his Fiat Punto - nearly burnt the garage down as well.
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Using fully synthetic oil eliminates having to warm up engine oil, unless you are in the Antarctic. It is very thin at low temperatures.
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Oil viscosity isn't dependant on the type of oil. And regardless of how 'thin' the oil is when cold, you should still treat an engine carefully until fully warmed up.
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PoP wrote:

Used to be able to buy these thins at halfords. They do work. Up to a point.
Trouble is you want an engine water temp of about 90C. the difference between coming up to that from 0C or 20C isn't huge.
What you REALLY want is a immesrion heater in teh radiator, switched on ten minutes before uyou start teh engine :-)

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You can buy purpose made heaters that fit in a water hose - I think Kenlow make them. I'd say they would be a bit more efficient at keeping the engine warm. And if you're going to fit one add a battery trickle charger as well for that instant start.
IIRC, these are fitted to fire engines so they can be driven flat out from a 'cold' start.
I'd also add a relay so the engine couldn't be started with the mains still plugged in, although I suppose something like an IEC would pull out ok if it was in a straight line.
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PoP wrote:

Had a plumb-in device by Kenlowe - called a Hotstart - in my diesel RR. I also installed a thermostat to turn the interior heater fan on at a preset temperature. Worked an absolute treat. Cost approx 150. Kenlowe were great. They replaced it 3 times without quibble. Reason for replacement? The solid state relay in the timer that I used to switch the Hotstart on in the morning developed a serious fault that blew the wiring in the Hotstart. Nothing wrong with the Hotstart!
On another tack, IIRC warmth and damp are ideal breeding grounds for rust and paraffin heaters produce a lot of water.
Richard
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