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Old 12-08-2010, 03:14 AM   #1 (permalink)
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engine/trans heater idea

I am thinking about trying to mount an electric interior car heater under the hood (if I can find a good spot) to hopefully keep the whole drivetrain warmer. I have a full grill block and insulated belly pan already to help keep the heat in although the wheel wells and exhaust are open. The block heater helps, but it's just not enough when it gets really cold. Has anyone tried this before? Do you think it will work or is it a waste of time.

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Old 12-08-2010, 07:18 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I think it won't make much of a difference. If your block heater isn't enough, you can glue a heating pad to the oil pan and/or transmission (or even to the block, like MetroMPG did).
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Old 12-08-2010, 01:37 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Why is your garage door open most of the day? It it's attached to the house, you're loosing some heat from the house too..

You could use the glue on pad heaters for the oil pan & trans pan. If you're creative enough you may be able to put them onto your uprights to warm the wheel bearings also.

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Old 12-08-2010, 02:08 PM   #4 (permalink)
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people are always coming and leaving... Nobody cares enough to close the door behind them.
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e·co·mod·ding: the art of turning vehicles into what they should be

What matters is where you're going, not how fast.

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Old 12-09-2010, 12:18 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Piwoslaw View Post
I think it won't make much of a difference. If your block heater isn't enough, you can glue a heating pad to the oil pan and/or transmission (or even to the block, like MetroMPG did).
You could be right, and after looking under the hood, I'm not quite sure where I'd put it anyway. But, I know that a friend of mine from years past found a heat lamp mounted under his VW Beetle helped quite a bit with cold starting. I thought the heater might do the same thing, if it could raise the under hood temp. enough. Oil pan heaters do help, but they have to be on a smooth surface below the oil level. I could put one on the engine pan, but there is no flat spot on the transmission. Also, I think the ECU looks at coolant temp., not oil temp. when determining fuel mixture.
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Old 12-09-2010, 12:30 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZOMGVTEK View Post
I agree that a 400W block heater is simply not enough. Even with the car in my garage, now that its about -10ºC outside, my car takes a LONG time to warm up, and everything feels stiff until it does. The garage barely helps, since the door is open most of the day. Its maybe a few degrees above ambient.

Im looking into putting a 250W heater pad onto the transmission, and possibly a electric heater in the interior to warm everything up before I leave.

And wow, your KIA gets the same MPG as my 3.0L V6!
I only wish I had a garage to put the car in, and yes, everything is very stiff in the cold. All our driving is short trips right now so it usually doesn't even get warm enough for the thermostat to open. By next month, my mileage will probably be much worse than yours.
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Old 12-09-2010, 02:38 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by puddleglum View Post
I know that a friend of mine from years past found a heat lamp mounted under his VW Beetle helped quite a bit with cold starting. I thought the heater might do the same thing, if it could raise the under hood temp. enough.
A heat lamp directed at the oil pan or engine block would be better than a heater since its radiation would go straight to where it's needed, while the heater first heats air, which later gives only some of its heat to the engine. The heat lamp is immune to drafts, and warms only what it's directed at. The heater, on the other hand, will waste energy warming everything in the engine bay: not only engine, but also radiator, wires, fluid reservoirs, ducts, hood and side walls, etc. Sure, the engine bay will be warm, but you'd have to keep that heater on all night for the engine block to soak up some heat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by puddleglum View Post
Oil pan heaters do help, but they have to be on a smooth surface below the oil level. I could put one on the engine pan, but there is no flat spot on the transmission. Also, I think the ECU looks at coolant temp., not oil temp. when determining fuel mixture.
Flat or curved, but no compound curves. A coolant/block heater won't heat your oil, so even if the coolant is warm, your oil has the density of thick molasses. With an oil pan heater, once the oil warms up it transfers some heat upwards to the rest of the engine. It may not have a noticeable effect on coolant temperature at start up, but the coolant will warm up faster once it starts circulating. Thinner, warmer oil is what you want most if your trips are short.
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e·co·mod·ding: the art of turning vehicles into what they should be

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Piwoslaw's Peugeot 307sw modding thread

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Old 12-09-2010, 01:29 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by puddleglum View Post
I am thinking about trying to mount an electric interior car heater under the hood (if I can find a good spot) to hopefully keep the whole drivetrain warmer.
(SNIP)
Do you think it will work or is it a waste of time.
I think it's rather risky-- if there's any arcing (like in the thermostat) it could possibly start a fire. At the very least, make sure that heater is at least 18" off the ground.

It'd probably be better to clamp a brooding light with a 250W bulb (make sure it's got a ceramic socket) to the (open) hood and point it at the engine. (This might not work well if you have 'neighbors' of any kind, as typically we like our hoods to be closed when we're not around, lest they try to help themselves to your battery, or just the easily grabbed sensors like the MAF or whatever.)

You might also be able to find dipstick oil heaters. They help a smidgeon (maybe get two, so you can use one for the transmission). That would allow you to have a closed hood, and still get the oils warmed up.

Last edited by AlaricD; 12-09-2010 at 01:31 PM.. Reason: I see that the OP has no garage, which changes some of the parameters of my suggestions
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Old 12-09-2010, 02:40 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Three words: Coolant tank heater.

They come in models up to 1500 watts. I use one on my Prius and it takes 40 minutes to heat the coolant from cold to operating temp. Not just warm... actual operating temperature. Cuts my fuel consumption in half on short trips.

A space heater would only work well (but slowly) if you have a well insulated and airtight engine compartment.
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Old 12-09-2010, 09:10 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by orange4boy View Post
Three words: Coolant tank heater.

They come in models up to 1500 watts. I use one on my Prius and it takes 40 minutes to heat the coolant from cold to operating temp. Not just warm... actual operating temperature. Cuts my fuel consumption in half on short trips.

A space heater would only work well (but slowly) if you have a well insulated and airtight engine compartment.
I think your talking about a canister style recirculating block heater, right? I think that would probably be the best, but I haven't figured out how I would install one since there is no block drain and the thermostat is in the lower rad hose. I just realized last night that the OE block heater looks like it screws in. If I can find out what thread it is, maybe I could use that port. What wattage heater are you using?

Thanks for all the responses. It's sure nice to be able to bounce ideas off others, to find the flaws before I start, especially when they're kind of odd like this one.

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