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Old 02-21-2008, 11:24 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Heated Washer Fluid

In full-disclosure: I rent a lot of different cars for work -- lots of travel.

I requested an "Economy" car and ended up with a Buick Lucerne CXS V-8. Ugh.

Confessions of a Buick Driver...

The agency was thin on vehicles and offered either a Toyota Tundra Pickup or the Buick Whatever. The Car sounded like the efficient option...

Some insight on the situation:

The vehicle is loaded with feature content, one of which is Heated Windshield Washer Fluid.

From an efficiency and not luxury standpoint, I can see this helping retain heat to the windshield during those freezing rain and snow situations while driving the average vehicle.

For those who drive in cold, road-spray situations or freezing rain and snow, it is common to divert a LOT of heat to the defroster/windshield air flow to keep the windshield surface liquid and not frozen (critical for vision). Coolant heat is lost, efficiency could decrease...

Hypothesis: a small electric heater warms the washer fluid to avoid coolant temperature loss, and is more efficient (depending on alternator load).

Any thoughts? I know it's a stretch, but brainstorming could produce some interesting conclusions...

RH77

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Old 02-22-2008, 12:45 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Any thoughts?
Albeit trivial, the Lucerne was the last Buick that Joel Piaskowski designed while at GM. He left there and joined Hyundai and designed the Santa Fe that seems rather Buick like to me.
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Old 02-22-2008, 01:10 AM   #3 (permalink)
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are the heaters on the washer jets electric, or are they heated off the coolent?
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Old 02-22-2008, 01:19 AM   #4 (permalink)
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You could just put this stuff in there.

Quote:
CE FREE was developed with NASA-based technology to provide protection from ice in temperatures down to -20° F.
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Old 02-22-2008, 01:26 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lazarus View Post
You could just put this stuff in there.
Ah, even better -- Chemistry vs. Thermodynamics (roughly).

Also, I'm not sure how the fluid is warmed -- as I used it, I recall stories of people not used to ice, throwing hot water on the windshield to thaw frozen precipitation -- the result -- cracked glass.

It can't be much of a warmup -- probably 70-80F. When the button is pressed, there's about a 10-second indicator: "Heated Windshield Wash Wipe Pending". Then it automatically sprays and wipes.

It makes a great way to chip away at ice/snow without starting the vehicle.

I'm sure the solvent method works similarly...

RH77
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Old 02-22-2008, 02:21 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I had a Canadian Tire Motormaster "HotWash" heater for my car's wiper fluid and it worked very well. I put in summer fluid too early in spring and the freezing caused the mechanism to crack and be junked.

When it was working, I could feel the added electrical load on the engine.

Here's a recall for the device: http://www.cbc.ca/consumers/market/r...08mar2006.html
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Old 02-22-2008, 08:55 PM   #7 (permalink)
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The often used method for the prevention of freezing washer fluid is to add alcohol.
Unfortunately the stuff does evaporate so the mix changes over time and the problem of freezing jets still exists.
Maybe siting the fluid container near the exhaust would help?

Pete.
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Old 02-22-2008, 10:39 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I think the electric heater approach would be less efficient than a standard defroster. The fluid would lose a fair bit of heat to the outside air. However, if you encounter a situation where the defroster isn't up to the task, supplemental warmed washer fluid could do the trick.

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