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Winter maintenance and HEAT


DLR1982
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Ok so its starting to get a little nippy here, last winter we had temps around -20C° and I didn't have my SeriesIII (200tdi conversion) then.

These questions might seem trivial but here goes:

How long shall one let the engine warm (idle) for before take off?

What fluids would be a good idea to change pre-first snowfall? (This is also a general maintenance question)

Would it be a good idea to put in a electric heater on the engine with a wire inside for very cold days?

Lastly my cab heat is not working, the radiator get plenty hot but the fan (and the cable between the unit and cockpit is not there) is dead, is there any way to resuscitate a old fan/anything worth trying before getting a new one?

I'm not sure if my fan is a defender unit fitted onto my series or if its a series unit but soon i think ill be allowed to post a picture or two. Right now I just ride in thermal coveralls that works but some heat would be ever so great. Thanks in advance

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I always work on the principle that the engine isn't always going to be available to keep me comfortable ( and alive ) , in Norway I always carry my snow suit in case, even in the UK I keep insulated overalls in the truck in case - although normally rescue isnt that far away. I'm sure you know but a bit of food and drinking fluid can make a big difference.

Anti freeze and good screen wash are important, make sure your engine thermostat works. I think most oils are ok down to the temperature you mention.

I dont like to idle an engine too long, I just give it a few mins for the oil to slosh about then drive it steady till warm

I would say that restricting airflow into the engine compartment with a baffle - I use an old fertilizer bag in front of the rad helps to stop that icy blast finding its way to the bulkhead and slows down the freeze

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Assuming you've got the right grade of oil in it, there's no need to let an engine idle after starting: indeed, doing so can be positively harmful.

Start it, and when the oil-light goes out, drive! It'll warm up quicker that way [at -20 an idling TD5, for example, loses so much heat by radiation/convection from the block and sump that it will _never_ get up to the temperature where the thermostat opens!]

The big Caterpillar turbodiesel generators I am involved with are started from cold at *any* temperature and immediately taken to 85% of their rated output. They don't fail.

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Again, start and drive. The biggest issue, especially with a dead heater, is going to be demisting the windows. You need to fix that heater, probably just SIII as fitting the Defender type is a bit of a faff (worth while, but rarely done, and the SIII unit can be modified to work just as well). Heated screens are a very big safety as well as practical benefit. I also rate heated wing mirrors highly.

Being a bit soft, I also fitted seat heaters and a Kenlowe Hotstart to mine. The heaters get used a lot in the winter, but the Hotstart is not that useful and not worth the money unless you find a cheap second hand one.

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We have our cold here - and where we go - and have taken the easy route : Ebensprächer / Webasto.

The 110 has 2 - one for the engine aqnd one as a night heater, the other 2 are just night heaters for the interior.

Serious money for serious heat & comfort.

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Check the coloured wires at the motor have voltage with the ignition on - if not, you have a supply fault (fuse, switch or wiring), and check the motor's earth wire is attached to a suitable earth point (clean and rust free, greased on assembly).

The heater matrix benefits hugely from being flushed. I emptied mine out and then left a caustic soda solution in it for 15 minutes before prolonged flushing (caustic soda won't do much for your water pump or hoses). The steel pipes along the head and the control valve also block up with scale and rust, so cleaning or replacing them will be of benefit. You could use 13mm copper pipe from a plumbers shop (with olives soldered or compressed on for the hoses to grip) and plumbing pipe lagging will help keep the water in the pipes hotter until it reaches the heater matrix.

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Thanks Snagger, great stuff of course it's pissing down today, first rainy day in 3 weeks so I might have to purspone til tomorrow. As of now the fan is not moving a inch so starting w wiring then see if I can lift the whole thing out and take it from there.

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