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Old January 10th, 2009, 14:53   #31
Northof60's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Whitehorse, YT <--Just South of the middle of nowhere.
TDI(s): 2002 Jetta

I live in the Yukon. I have an Oil Pan heater, Battery Pad and Battery Blanket. The car gets plugged in any time it gets shut off for an extended period of time. If a plug is not available it gets left running. Our average Temp this winter has been -30C. I have only had two issues to note.

One: The cord on the ends of the plug are very fragile when cold and they break. The solution is to always have a spare cord end available ($2 at your local electrical shop) and monitor the cords. Which leads to issue two.

Two: The wife didn't plug it in one evening @ -35 and attempted to start it in the AM. Needless to say I was replacing a starter @ -35.

I agree with the statement "Whatever it take to get it running in the morning" My focus with my setup is to keep oil warm so it flows at startup and keep the battery warm so I have the power to crank it over. The heated seats take care of the 'comfort' part of the equation until the cabin is up to temp.

Just my IMHO from a guy who has two seasons. Winter and Not winter.
2002 Jetta TDI 270,000+km
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Yukon Territory: A wonder of nature. The only place in the world with two seasons. Winter and Not Winter
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Old January 10th, 2009, 16:14   #32
Jack Frost
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Rural Manitoba

Being a former Winter-peger in Snowy-toba, I have some experiences to add.

The ideal situation is to have both a coolant heater and an oil pan heater. But if I was stuck with only one, I would choose only to warm to block. I have tried it all ways and done measurements with laser thermometers. Time and time again, I found that oil pan heaters loose a lot of heat to the air and very little gets into the block. Net result is that the car does not start well at very cold temperatures. They are great for warming the oil and that never hurts. But, even synthetic oils congeal at cold temperatures - not just as much as others.

However, giga watt coolant heaters need some caution. A 1500 watt heater (12.5 amps) is putting a 15 amp cirucuit on its hairy edge. A 15 amp circuit is only intended to carry 15 amps for short periods of time. Should you plug a 1500 watt heater into a shared outlet at work, and someone else puts in their 600 watt heater, a fuse should or might trip and you both will be calling the tow truck.

Another point. Just because your block is warm does not mean one can forget about the effects of cold weather on your car. I once started up when it was -40 C. Backing out of the driveway, a hydraulic hose exploded as I turned the steering wheel. With a warm block and a warm interior, it is too easy to forget that the rest of your car is lubricated with molasses.

That said, a high amperage heater when used with a timer to bring the engine block up to a normal summer tempertures (say 20 C), will consume vastly less electricity than a smaller one that operates continuously. To use these heaters for anything more is only a comfort issue. From your motor's point of view, summer has become your cold starting season.
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Old January 10th, 2009, 16:52   #33
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Chicagoland
TDI(s): 2004 golf

IMO, a frostheater warms the oil a bit. And it warms the head, actually the head becomes HOT to the touch. The tranny gets warm too, apparently as shifting is instantly smooth and not cold/notchy/

And as for gelled oil in the galleys, im not so sure... Hot oil "runs off" hot engine parts pretty quick and im sure after a few hours most of the oil is drained back into the pan.

Example, I can check my oil a few minutes after shutdown, and it will read visibly lower than if I let it sit for a few hours. I used a magnetic oil pan heater years ago on a different car, but it just didnt do much at all. Seems possibly safer than an adhesive one.
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Old January 10th, 2009, 18:42   #34
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Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: northern B.C.
TDI(s): 2002 golf
Fuel Economy: 55mpg highway

Originally Posted by Northof60
One: The cord on the ends of the plug are very fragile when cold and they break. The solution is to always have a spare cord end available ($2 at your local electrical shop) and monitor the cords. Which leads to issue two.

Just my IMHO from a guy who has two seasons. Winter and Not winter.
I heard it was either winter or getting ready for winter ?

On that note there are extension cords and there are extension cords ,I find you can't get the plug into some of them at -25 .

I got a a nice 50fter from princess auto that is always easy to plug into and whatever material the cord is made of it stays more pliable at low temps .

A plug-in circuit tester is a good thing to have if you are on the road & plugging into strange places
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Old November 9th, 2011, 16:10   #35
TDI March
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Grimsby, ON
TDI(s): 2006 Golf
Fuel Economy: 5.5

Sorry if I am beating a cold dead horse but I was wondering if the consensus that coolant heaters are preferred to oil pan heaters remains.
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Old November 10th, 2011, 12:40   #36
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Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Central Wisconsin
TDI(s): Golf 2004
Fuel Economy: as good as 58 (over 700 miles) and as low as 30 over the same route

Yes. Several TDI's have started on fire from the poil pan heater turning the plastic belly pan or other build up in the area on fire. Get a frost heater and be done with it.
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Originally Posted by rmchambers
I really had no idea that VW dealerships were so awful to go to, they sound like undertakers cos everything that goes in there winds up dead.
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