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Thread: Engine heater

  1. #1

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    Default Engine heater

    I know some of you all on here are heartier pilots flying more extreme conditions Than I do down here in Maryland. Itís starting to get cooler and I was thinking of engine preheating. I was on another board and folks talk about using some fancy expensive heaters: propane blowers, etc. Are they worth the money or is this just hanger jewelry?

    I bought a heat gun from harbor freight and stick it in the exhaust for 30 minutes while I preflight. I have never had a hard time starting. And, when I turn on the engine monitor I recall seeing some good temps on the cylinders and oil. The heat gun seems to do some good. Is this a good poor manís solution or am I fooling myself. I wonder if I need much given that I am down here in Maryland.


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  2. #2
    Jim's Avatar
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    Default Re: Engine heater

    Hi,

    I made a couple of styrofoam plugs for the cowl nose holes and leave a 60 watt light bulb in the engine compartment. I pretty much leave the bulb running all winter, especially spring and fall when things are condensing moisture out of the air.

  3. #3

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    Default Re: Engine heater

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim View Post
    Hi,

    I made a couple of styrofoam plugs for the cowl nose holes and leave a 60 watt light bulb in the engine compartment. I pretty much leave the bulb running all winter, especially spring and fall when things are condensing moisture out of the air.
    I have heard that idea too and blankets over the cowl. I am a little worried about leaving something on while I am gone thought. I was just wondering if I am fooling myself. The heat gun was $20 at harbor freight and puts out 1500w, 1100f. I just stick it in the tailpipe and it seems to work. What am I missing? I see others praising their fancy cellphone controlled 800w cowl blowers. They cost like $600 and more. Are they worth it? The flight school I went to used some propane powered pre heaters. Given the tight margins they work on I canít imagine they were spending money on preheaters they didnít need. Just curious what others think.


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  4. #4
    Jim's Avatar
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    Default Re: Engine heater

    Hi again,

    If you're comfortable doing what you are, stick with it if you don't get better ideas. I hang the bulb fixture from the engine mount and it's just about sitting on the muffler back there. What I'd really like to heat is the interior, the battery, and I, would feel better getting at it.

    I also have a very small electric heater I set on a bucket and aim under and toward the air exit on the bottom back of the cowl. Haven't used it often though.
    Last edited by Jim; 11-16-2021 at 07:36 PM.

  5. #5
    Gilbert Pierce's Avatar
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    Default Re: Engine heater

    If I am going to fly when the temp is 30 or below I put two 100 watt light bulbs up against the bottom of the oil pan the night before and throw a sleeping bag over the cowl. In the morning I will have OT & CHT’s in the 70 to 80F range.
    Cold starts is a Lycoming cam killer. Lycoming recommends maintaining 1000rpm until the OT temp starts to move.
    I don’t take off until I have 100F on the OT.

  6. #6

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    Default Re: Engine heater

    Gilbert, Jim,

    Thanks. These seem like good ideas. I thought I was smart with a $20 heat gun, but a shop light and an old sleeping bag is even cheaper. I can always count on you guys for good ideas. It just caught my attention that folks were talking about $600-1000 preheaters and I wondered what I was missing.

    Tim


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  7. #7

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    Default Re: Engine heater

    On the airplane I had, I applied an EZ Heat pad on the oil tank. Plug it in the night before you fly and good to go, assuming you have access to electric where the airplane is parked. The light bulbs work too, but not the new LED type bulbs, they don't produce enough heat.

    E-Z HEAT AIRCRAFT ENGINE PREHEATER | Aircraft Spruce

  8. #8

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    Default Re: Engine heater

    Cool, I was just trying to understand why folks are spending a grand on preheaters if lightbulbs and heat blankets work fine.


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  9. #9
    Jim's Avatar
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    Default Re: Engine heater

    Hi,

    ....."why folks are spending a grand on preheaters".....

    Perhaps they can afford to drive a McLaren too?
    https://www.mclaren.com/

  10. #10

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    Default Engine heater

    I thought I would hear that home spun solutions are but that they donít get the heat where itís needed or donít heat it enough. Thatís not what anyone is saying, so, I will stick with the home spun solution and keep 1k in the bank for gas.


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    Last edited by Tnathan; 11-17-2021 at 10:34 AM.

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