Engine Preheater - but not what you might think

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joemurffy
Posts: 103
Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2007 6:00 pm
Location: Southwest Iowa

Engine Preheater - but not what you might think

Postby joemurffy » Fri Jan 16, 2009 3:05 am

No one denies that reciprocating engines need to be preheated in the winter. Most sources that I've read say that engines should be preheated as the temperature gets towards freezing, but even doing it as warm as 45F isn't uncommon. There are several ways to get this done, including putting the plane into a heated hanger, Tanis or Reiff systems, and blasting heated air through the cowl (I personally hate when an FBO does this since there is no way that the engine can be heated throughout in 20 minutes. My opinion.).

When I get a new engine I'm going with either Tanis or Reiff, but with my 1850hr engine I'm not going to spend the money. As an alternative I have rigged up a 1500W ceramic heater with a fan to blow into the underside of my engine compartment. Aiding in this I have used safety-wire to attach a metal drier vent hose to the heater so that I can direct the majority of the heated air into the engine compartment. I make sure to position the heater off to one side, just in case there is a problem, but since doing this over the past two years I've had no problems. I did have to replace the original heater today, but that has been it. As long as I remember to turn on the heater a day before I want to fly, the engine has always been adequately warm. I do have cowl plugs, and I'm going to make the plane a blanket for the engine, so that should make things even more toasty.

I know that some people say I shouldn't feel comfortable with leaving a heater running, and I wouldn't with a coiled-wire heater; but I feel safe with ceramic heaters, and I love that I'm treating my engine as it should be treated.
Joe Murphy - KPMV

N4706E / N115CC "Circus, Circus"
'51 Aeronca Champ 7CCM / '79 Bellanca Super Viking
'Once you fly fabric, you won't settle for metal.'

n55596
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Jan 27, 2009 9:56 am

Re: Engine Preheater - but not what you might think

Postby n55596 » Tue Jan 27, 2009 9:58 am

check out this cool looking ceramic aircraft engine heater on EBAY

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayI ... 028wt_1192

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joemurffy
Posts: 103
Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2007 6:00 pm
Location: Southwest Iowa

Re: Engine Preheater - but not what you might think

Postby joemurffy » Tue Jan 27, 2009 1:25 pm

I'll check out the ebay listing after getting home and away from my work's firewall.

Update to mine - two nights ago I actually screwed some duct-work to the front of the heater that allows me to hose-clamp a dryer hose to it. No more lock-wire and much more secure with much less heat loss. Still under $80.

When I got out to the plane to fly the other day, it was 22 degrees as read on the windshield temperature gauge; while the oil-temp indication, prior to startup, was 61 degrees. I figure that is fairly representative of the entire engine compartment, not just the parts that a Reiff or Tanis would heat. And it is through the entire engine-block, versus surface like a propane heater being used for twenty minutes. Nice!
Joe Murphy - KPMV

N4706E / N115CC "Circus, Circus"
'51 Aeronca Champ 7CCM / '79 Bellanca Super Viking
'Once you fly fabric, you won't settle for metal.'

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PilotBillFromTexas
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Joined: Mon Dec 24, 2007 10:10 am
Location: KGPM Grand Prairie, Texas

Re: Engine Preheater - but not what you might think

Postby PilotBillFromTexas » Tue Jan 27, 2009 3:20 pm

Joe, Do you preheat the interior before flight as well?

Greg Bockelman
Posts: 119
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2008 2:58 pm

Re: Engine Preheater - but not what you might think

Postby Greg Bockelman » Tue Jan 27, 2009 4:35 pm

Joe, you have any pictures?

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joemurffy
Posts: 103
Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2007 6:00 pm
Location: Southwest Iowa

Re: Engine Preheater - but not what you might think

Postby joemurffy » Tue Jan 27, 2009 6:18 pm

Greg,

I'm not as obsessive about the interior as I am about the engine, but if it is in the low-twenties, or I have some time at the airport before I need to get going, I will carefully place a heater inside the cockpit for awhile. I hesitate to leave a heater on in the cockpit like I do outside the plane.

I have started the avionics with it really cold and they sound ugly and the AI doesn't erect right away. I don't like doing that.

No pictures right now, but I'll take some in the next couple of days.
Joe Murphy - KPMV

N4706E / N115CC "Circus, Circus"
'51 Aeronca Champ 7CCM / '79 Bellanca Super Viking
'Once you fly fabric, you won't settle for metal.'


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