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  1. #1

    Keep your engine warm at night.

    Brand new to this site (Howdy, Howdy). In reading about plug-in hybrids, I haven't seen anything to indicate that the experimenters use their house-current connection to do any more than charge batteries. But another big improvement would be to add an engine cooling-system heater, or a headbolt heater, to keep the engine semi-warm all night. Any I.C. engine kept warm in this way will start easier and reach operating temperature faster, with significantly less engine wear, fuel consumption, and polluting emissions. Plug-in heaters are very common on big trucks, and have been widely used on ordinary cars in cold northern regions for decades. But they provide the described benefits even in temperate climates. I think they should be included on all new cars, especially since they are simple and cheap. But in the meantime, anyone can add such a device to his/her own vehicle. All my cars are plug-ins.

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  3. #2

    Keep your engine warm at night.

    sorry if i missed something but why all night, whatss th advantage of keeping it hot all that time as opposed to say a timer being set to come on at 4 or 5 am. The engine could heat up in those 4 hours or so and you havent run a heater all night?

  4. #3

    Keep your engine warm at night.

    Hi, Rob. It seems to be easier, and use fewer watts overall, to keep the engine warm than to get it warm. The little heaters I'm talking about don't have the BTUs to warm a cold engine very much, I don't believe, especially in colder climates. Now, I don't actually know that for a fact, since I run my heater all night (not all my cars, just the one I plan to use the next morning). It should set up a thermo-siphon effect, ideally, which would last at least until the thermostat closes completely. Thermostats all used to have little air-bleed holes (I always drill one when I get a new thermostat), but I don't know to what extent this would keep the thermo-siphon going.

    If it is really cold, after I plug the car in, I open the hood and drape an old blanket over the hood, and slip a piece of cardboard in front of the radiator, then close the hood. This is a little more trouble, but in years to come, I think we will all be forced to go to a little more trouble . . . .

    Now, another system that used to be (maybe still is, somewhere) popular is the "headbolt heater." I believe this was a replacement headbolt that was extra-long and had some ni-chrome wire wrapped around it and insulated. You plugged it in at night and it would conduct heat directly to the block. I don't know if anybody ever did comparative tests on these various systems.

    Surely the best method is to have a well-insulated garage (not easy!), and keep it warm at night . . . preferrably with some solar heat storage set-up, of course. But I just thought as long as people are plugging in their hybrids anyway, why not keep the engine semi-warm as well?

  5. #4

    Keep your engine warm at night.

    Rob, if you happen to see this, I found something interesting. Bottom line: you might be right!! This site says a cooling system heater works about as well if you put it on a timer to switch on about three hours before you plan to use it.


  6. #5

    Keep your engine warm at night.

    Also, there are other interesting varieties of engine heaters. Google engine heaters.

    One good site: www.tractorpartsinc.com/engine-heaters

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