How important is it to first warm up the car? winter

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snipped-for-privacy@u1.netgate.net (Geoff Miller) wrote:


It's the engine not the battery. If the engine is warm enough, it starts without needing much from the battery. If it's too cold to start, all the battery in the world won't start it. The batteries are also fairly well protected, and are not going to get so cold for several hours that they wouldn't provide enough energy to crank the engines. On the other hand, the engine doesn't have to get nearly as cold as the battery would before it has a problem. Remember that the engine is designed to get rid of heat. The battery can be in an insulated container designed to keep it warm for hours...
But the big problem is that they do not have facilities in the villages to heat the plane. If it gets cold enough, it'll be there until someone brings in the equipment to restart it. That's big bucks.
BTW, it isn't just that "extreme cold" reduces cranking power. It's a simple case of the colder it gets the less energy can be extracted from the battery. I don't recall specific figures for lead-acid cells, but with each degree in temperature drop there is a drop in available energy. However, even at -50F a typical battery will provide enough energy to start a warm engine. Its just that if it doesn't start, with a warm battery you can crank it for several minutes convincing yourself that it really won't start! With a cold battery, a few minutes or even less than a minute is all you get. (Either way, it isn't the battery!)

A whole 737 full of people and cargo is just as big in Barrow as it is anywhere else.
And they commonly don't stop *anywhere* long enough to justify the hassle, but it is less expensive to shut it down if restarting it is easy and reliable. However, the facilities to power the plane and to restart are not economical here, nor are mechanics available if there is a hitch. Plus, it is true that there is never any reason to hold a plane here for any length of time. They typically do a turnaround in about 1 hour. At other airports (Anchorage is a good example) they may have scheduling reasons to keep an airplane on the ground for half an hour longer, or even more, just to wait for passengers from another arrival that might be transferring to that particular aircraft.
Hence, at locations other than Anchorage and Fairbanks (Juneau I'm not sure about) in Alaska they leave them running more as an insurance policy that anything else.
-- Floyd L. Davidson <http://web.newsguy.com/floyd_davidson Ukpeagvik (Barrow, Alaska) snipped-for-privacy@barrow.com
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C-130's don't use battery power to start the engines, anyway. They use electricity generated by the APU. IF the APU requires a battery for start, it doesn't take a whole lot of energy to do it. I've never crewed a 130, but I've done my time on F-4s and F-15s, plus a lot of transient in between. F-4s never used the batteries to start (couldn't - needed external electrical and air sources). F-15s don't even have a battery.
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In case you're responding to something I wrote rather than to Floyd (it's hard to tell, what with all the quoted text you included)...
Actually, they use bleed air generated by the APU, which in turn is started with the battery. (The APUs on the newer models generate electricity also, but the engines still use pneumatic starters.)
But I didn't mention C-130s in connection with batteries. I mentioned them in connection with somebody's assertion that the ones flown to Antarctica are never shut down, but are flown out again after unloading/reloading because of the cold.
Where I mentioned batteries was in regard to the small recips or turboprops that Floyd was describing before he mentioned 737s.

Actually, it uses a pull cord like a lawnmower. If you've ever noticed bootprints on the left landing gear sponson, that's why.

How can an airplane not have a battery? What provides standby power to things like instrument inverters and lights in the event of an electrical failure?
Geoff
--
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"Michael" wrote

march?
I'm not against using a block heater...it's just all the dire predictions that people make. You "must" use a block heater, and an oil pan heater, and battery blanket (actually, that last one is probably the smartest of the bunch) in order to start in -30C weather. Give me a break....I've been starting cars for years in that kind of weather unplugged. I'll take cold starts any day, over not changing your oil in a timely matter....when it comes to what will "blow up" your engine.
I have no doubt there are many places that are colder then -36C. In that case, they use different techniques, which will include synthetic oil and always plugged in or garaged. Makes sense to me.
Ian
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The battery blanket is the dumb one! You don't need it to begin with unless the temperature is going to get down to -65F/-54C or so. But even then the smart thing to do is not blanket or heat pad, but a little 1 Amp trickle charger.

Both are dumb.

Any place where temperatures commonly are below 0F/-17C it would be smart to use only synthetic oil. Any place where temperatures get colder than maybe -15F/-26C it is advisable to use a block heater. Using an oil pan heater and a transmission heater is a good idea starting at maybe 10 degrees colder than that.
(Actually, I wouldn't put anything but synthetic oil in an engine no matter what the temperature.)
-- Floyd L. Davidson <http://web.newsguy.com/floyd_davidson Ukpeagvik (Barrow, Alaska) snipped-for-privacy@barrow.com
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On Thu, 19 Feb 2004 01:46:14 GMT, "shiden_Kai"

I'm curious, who lives in places where air temperature gets down to -36C
That's COLD!

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Above the snowbelt in Ontario, we get to see that occasionally. Good thing I have a heated garage that keeps the car around -2 to -5 depending on how severe it is outside.
wrote:

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Way down south here in Grand Forks, we hit -44F (-42C) one morning--I've got a .jpg of the gate at the airbase that said -34F (I guess when it said -44 folks had other things on their minds.) When it gets that cold the slightest breeze is painful. Block heaters & garages at night, then hope for a block heater available during the day. Down to -10F, car starts just fine when cold. Always had it plugged in if it was colder.
--
Raider Rick
"Just drive, baby"
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(Childfree Scott) wrote:

Are you some kind of a pussy or what? Every morning for the last 2 weeks, its been -10F. I've gone outside and started my car, waited 5 minutes and drove away. Never had a problem. She fired right up at -20F with wind last weekend. No block heater or anything like that. So you're saying that we should just stay home because its below 0? Come on, I just start thinkin bout puttin on a jacket when it gets to 0. What a dumbass
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(Childfree Scott) wrote:

and
last
we
Give me some proof that starting my car when it is below zero will harm it. Facts, stats, something other than what you think. But until then, I will be starting my car when it is below zero, and letting it warm up for five minutes, then driving away. I've been doin it that way on all my vehicles, and never had a problem.
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"Mistercmk" wrote

it.
vehicles,
He can't, but since he lives in Alaska, he figures he's the resident expert of "cold starting" cars.
Ian
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Well, lets see... you get how many cold starts per year? 10? 30? 60?
There are roughly 60 days a year when it is not below freezing here. That's probably 300 days a year for cold starts, which means anyone living here probably gets 5 to 10 times the experience that you do.
Ten years here is like a life time there.
-- Floyd L. Davidson <http://web.newsguy.com/floyd_davidson Ukpeagvik (Barrow, Alaska) snipped-for-privacy@barrow.com
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Go to google, and use the advanced web search features. Search on
"cold start" wear pre-heat
Include the quotes because you want that one as a phrase. You'll find *many* references to the wear caused by cold starts. You will not find a single one that says pre-heating is not useful in reducing wear. Not a single one!
Here are some examples, from a variety of sources,
A Canadian magazine:
"Vehicles subjected to Canada's cold winter starts experience more engine wear in a couple years than a California vehicle may in a couple decades of starts."
http://www.canadiandriver.com/articles/jk/030312.htm
A commercial site:
"preserve the life of their engines by avoiding cold starts which can be directly attributable to up to 80% of engine wear."
http://www.kenlowe.com/pre-heaters/trucks/whatwill.html
A government site, primarily concerned with non-wear affects:
"Plugging in for 2 to 4 hours when the temperature is 20 F above zero or colder drastically reduces emissions. Cold engines produce 50 to 100 times more carbon monoxide, hydrocarbon, and nitrous oxides emissions in the first minute of operation than pre-warmed ones. Over 90,000 cars and trucks are registered in Missoula. Plugging in a car in can reduce carbon monoxide by almost a pound per cold start. If we all plugged in, we could greatly reduce carbon monoxide pollution in our area.
http://www.co.missoula.mt.us/envhealth/AirQ/AdvisoryCouncil/Projects/EngineBlockHeaters.htm
A techie outfit (the whole article is very interesting):
"We believe there are two major causes of wear in a properly filtered engine: cold starts and bore rust.
STAHL HEADERS/CAMS 1513/1515 Mt. Rose Ave. York, PA 17403 June 1988 STAHL HEADERS/CAMS NEWSLETTER
www.stahlheaders.com/JpgFiles/issue5.pdf
While you are looking at what the google search comes up with, don't avoid the ones that reference aircraft engines... They get a bit more adamant out it proceedures because the effects of engine failure are legally more of a liability for them than for Ford or Subaru!
-- Floyd L. Davidson <http://web.newsguy.com/floyd_davidson Ukpeagvik (Barrow, Alaska) snipped-for-privacy@barrow.com
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Floyd, please remind me not to challenge you to provide proofs. Sheer genius.
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Team EuroMeko
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Thank you!
(That was an easy one though. There's a lot more available than what I showed.)
-- Floyd L. Davidson <http://web.newsguy.com/floyd_davidson Ukpeagvik (Barrow, Alaska) snipped-for-privacy@barrow.com
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Once again, proper oil type and maintenance, modern engine with ECU (no choke) should have help to reduce this concern. Just drive it and enjoy what life has to offer. I don't know about gas consumption graph up 46% with std automatic choke engine vs 1 mile driving distance. I think they need to update that graph since over 90% of the car today has fuel injection and ECU. That data from my perspective is almost useless.
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What is off that if cars emit 50-100 time more pollutants when cold, one would think that the air quality alerts we have so often in the summer time would actually happen more in the winter. Hmmm...
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Depends on local conditions more than anything else. Fairbanks sits in huge valley, with the Alaska Range to the south and the Brooks Range to the north, and sometimes the air just doesn't move for weeks. (Which is why it can get 80 below in some parts of that valley in the winter, and also be 100 above in the summer.)
They get temperature inversions in the winter, with cold air settling to the low areas and warm air rising above it.
And the EPA has been after them for 20 years because of the dozen or so pollution alerts a year that they sometimes have. Most of it is produced by car engines. They've done all kinds of studies on how to reduce air pollution, and one of the big ones is pre-heating cars before starting, even at 20 to 30 degrees above zero. Another is getting an annual tuneup (which is most effective for older cars).
In that particular location, air pollution is a winter only event.
The advice to plug in even at such warm temperatures ran into a serious conflict with the local military bases 15 years or so ago, as they were trying to reduce costs and decided one way to do was cut the power to all of the parking lot plug-ins any time the temp got up to about 10 degrees (if I remember right).
They eventually compromised and raised it a bit.
-- Floyd L. Davidson <http://web.newsguy.com/floyd_davidson Ukpeagvik (Barrow, Alaska) snipped-for-privacy@barrow.com
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wrote:

I used to live in a part of Canada where every January we would see some nights -45 F and a lot of nights -25f to -40f. This was in '64. There was no such thing as Synthetic for the average motorist. We used 5w30 if we had a new engine or 10w 30 if it was a bit "Dodgy." If you lived in an apartment you didn't get a line for a block heater. We would warm the engine while we scraped the windshield, then drive "carefully" to the Highway when we would drive at the normal limit(60mph.) It was not unusual to get 150,000-200,000 miles from a small V8. Cars are for using! Buy 'em, drive 'em, maintain 'em and get rid of 'em. It's really not worth getting anal about a lump of metal. :-)) (Just my sense of humour)
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