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Old 07-10-2008, 11:43 AM   #2 (permalink)
Daox
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Location: Germantown, WI
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CM400E - '81 Honda CM400E
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Daox's Grey Prius - '04 Toyota Prius
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I looked into replicating Toyota's design over this past winter. Its a fairly complex setup with sensors and an automated valve and pump that controls flow to the thermos. Their setup is really ideal, and also not easy to replicate. Its also really the only way that is worth while IMO.

Insulating a coolant reservoire in most cases is going to do nothing. Reservoires are usually outside of the normal coolant loop so they never heat up (there are exceptions of course). In that case, insulating the reservoire still will not really not help much. If the reservoire is after the radiator then the coolant in the reservoire is already going to be cooled down. If its before (and I'd tend to think this isn't the case just due to plastics and their vulnerability to heat) the radiator then you may see a small benefit, but still not much. This is because when the engine warms up the thermostat is closed and the coolant circulates only inside the engine block and head until it is up to temperature. At this point the thermostat opens and lets cool coolant into the engine to cool it down. If the tank was insulated it would simply flow the warm coolant through until it got cool coolant again.
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