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Old 01-03-2015, 09:50   #1
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Diesel engine heating in cold weather

Has anybody used a diesel engine heater, the type that is glued to the bottom of the oil pan and plugs into a 120 volt outlet (to warm the oil), to improve starting in cold weather? Is it also beneficial to warm the diesel fuel (although, I don't know how you would accomplish that)?

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Old 01-03-2015, 09:59   #2
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Re: Diesel engine heating in cold weather

Tempco Heating Tape
This site says it is good for fuel line heating.

The oil pan heaters work well but water immersion heaters are probably better. I particularly like this one.
HOTflow Engine Heaters | HOTSTART

Edit: might be a little overkill for your engine though so just a straight immersion heater should do well.
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Old 01-03-2015, 12:28   #3
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Re: Diesel engine heating in cold weather

Diesel fuel has a cold filter pour point, what this means is below a certain temp the paraffin in the fuel comes out of suspension and clogs the fuel filter, treat your fuel, run winter fuel or some trucks have heated fuel filters.
I'd just put a heat lamp on the engine a few hours before I wanted to go.


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Old 01-03-2015, 12:30   #4
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Re: Diesel engine heating in cold weather

Most factory installed block heaters just replace a freeze plug, they heat the block by heating the cooling jacket, this eventually warms the entire engine


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Old 01-03-2015, 15:43   #5
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Re: Diesel engine heating in cold weather

KimHot Start, Spokane,Wa. makes various coolant heaters, both remote plumbed and direct inserted in a freeze plug, and Racor used to make fuel lines with heater elements inside the line, but this mostly for trucks that have to start in sub zero temps. USCG uses Kim Hot Start for rescue equipment that has to start and go WOT immediately. An engine block at 150 degrees will keep a lot of fuel lines warm too.

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Old 01-03-2015, 15:59   #6
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Re: Diesel engine heating in cold weather

Hair dryer blown in intake is one I have heard from a few old salts in the south island of new zealand.

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Old 01-03-2015, 16:15   #7
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Re: Diesel engine heating in cold weather

On my truck engines, 6.5 and 7.3 liters, I would use an engine block heater that was on a timer that would warm the engine about three hours before startup. Pretty danged expensive if doing this daily since the block heater pulled 1500 watts.

1500 watts for three hours is 4.5 KWH and at 10 cents per KWH that is 45 cents a day which is not bad. But for 20-24 days a month for 3-4 months that 45 cents adds up. In my case, it was cheaper to use a synthetic multi weight oil so I did not have to use the block heater.

The nice thing about the block heater is that you had heat to supply the cab ASAP instead of 10-15 minutes down the road with the multi weight oil.

If I only had to start every once in awhile, and I could wait for the engine to heat up via a block heater, I would install/use a block heater.

My tractor has an air intake heater that works real well and runs off the battery. Start the tractor engine up pretty easy but that engine is a 48 HP Yanmar. Can't remember the displacement but it is around 2 liters.

As mentioned earlier, the diesel fuel is a concern. In the US, diesel is sold with additives to handle cold weather, or should be, when loaded on to the delivery trucks. I don't worry about after market additives in my truck but I do use an additive for the tractor since I can have fuel bought in the summer that lasts into the winter. You can buy additives like Power Service that will lower your gel point if the fuel sits around for a while.

I won't use bio diesel for a variety of reasons, but one is that it gels at a higher temperature than regular diesel. If you are buying a biodiesel mix then add an additive approved by the engine company.

Later,
Dan
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Old 02-03-2015, 02:26   #8
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Re: Diesel engine heating in cold weather

If your engine needs to be warmed to start, you'd be better off with a block heater. While an oil pan heater helps by heating the oil, it doesn't get much heat to the engine. Better fuel filters like Racor, etc., either come with a built in heating unit or can have one added. But the fuel doesn't get heated unless you are running an engine or a circulation pump.
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Old 02-03-2015, 09:32   #9
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Re: Diesel engine heating in cold weather

I just replaced the block heater in my truck. OK, so not a boat motor, but diesel is diesel. Easy job to do if one is already there. Getting the freeze plug out might be more of a challenge if not. They come in a lot of standard sizes and are typically 650W or 1000W and can be found at most auto parts stores. Timers are a good idea too. That's a lot of watts to burn all night long! Or plug it in 2 hours prior to starting.
If you're having trouble starting in the cold, cycle your glow plugs a couple times before attempting to start. Make sure you're using Winter Blend fuel, or have anti-gel additives! Diesel gets "Goopy" when it gets cold and doesn't flow well (and plugs filters).
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Old 02-03-2015, 09:42   #10
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Re: Diesel engine heating in cold weather

For my Peecup, when it's very cold I run my block heater, I went to Walmart and got a timer meant for coffee pots to turn it on about three hours before I start the truck. Most timers are meant for lamps etc and cannot hold the current draw, ones meant for coffee pots can.

Or just plug it in three hours or so before you go
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Old 02-03-2015, 11:31   #11
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Re: Diesel engine heating in cold weather

Quote:
Originally Posted by BozSail View Post
Has anybody used a diesel engine heater, the type that is glued to the bottom of the oil pan and plugs into a 120 volt outlet (to warm the oil), to improve starting in cold weather? Is it also beneficial to warm the diesel fuel (although, I don't know how you would accomplish that)?

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To digress possibly, having read later posts. If your look at dockside you could probably come up with any no. of uses, for the heat tapes sold for home use to stop pipes from freezing. Sold in various lengths and wattages. They don't say "marine" so would probably save some money.
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Old 02-03-2015, 11:46   #12
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Re: Diesel engine heating in cold weather

I would have thought that, if the diesel has frozen, the water surrounding the boat would also be frozen solid.
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Old 02-03-2015, 11:52   #13
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Re: Diesel engine heating in cold weather

What engine? That'd help a lot, even though I agree diesel is diesel, someone with your particular engine may have a solution.

That's why God invented engines with glow plugs.

Good luck, lotsa good ideas here.
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Old 02-03-2015, 11:55   #14
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Re: Diesel engine heating in cold weather

It really does have to be very cold usually, way colder than I will ever be sailing in, I hope, but ULSD and common rail engines have complicated the matter somewhat, plus I believe Bio-Diesel does to.
I believe like in Brazil, they mandate S10 Diesel which is Bio-Diesel
This article helps explain and at first look I didn't find any errors
Well-Worth Products, Inc.: Articles - White Paper on Emergency Backup Power Generators and Fire Pumps
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Old 02-03-2015, 12:06   #15
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Re: Diesel engine heating in cold weather

This is one situation where synthetic oil can be of benefit. Shell Rotella T is a 15w40. Shell Rotella T6 is a 5w40. That means the viscosity is lower when cold, and more amenable to being pumped at low temps.

If you are seeing very low winter temps, changing to synthetic is something to consider.

One problem with a block heater is this : it only works at the marina. What if you're at anchor?
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