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VW MKIV-A4 TDIs (VE and PD) This is a general discussion about A4/MkIV Jetta (99.5-~2005), Golf(99.5-2006), and New Beetle(98-2006). Both VE and PD engines are covered here.

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Old November 29th, 2008, 08:59   #1
BruceT
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Angry 2003 TDI oil pan heater FIRE!

Ladies and Gents,please be aware if you have a factory installed oilpan heater on your TDI that it may cause a fire(it will dead short)....I plugged my car in for the first time on Monday night ,only to get panicked shouts from my neighbors and son that my car was on fire...my next door neighbor heard a loud bang(that's when the refrigerent line melted and blew up) and they ran across the street to find flames coming out from under the Jetta! I was in the back yard raking leaves and did not hear the noise,they finally found the garden hose and put out the fire,and found me in the back yard still raking...hey your car is on fire....so long story short,thanks to good neighbors the Jetta survived,$1800 later I'll get it back on the road next week when the new parts come in.......

SO PLEASE,don't use your pan heater,..
get an inline hose unit if you want to keep the block warm in winter areas

regards,bruce
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Old November 29th, 2008, 09:29   #2
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Sorry for your loss. Could you post some pictures so we can see the extent of the damage. Thanks
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Old November 29th, 2008, 09:46   #3
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http://forums.tdiclub.com/showthread.php?t=231965
http://forums.tdiclub.com/showthread.php?t=231966
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Old November 29th, 2008, 11:09   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BruceT

SO PLEASE,don't use your pan heater,..
get an inline hose unit if you want to keep the block warm in winter areas

regards,bruce
Good and hard earned advice. Listen to this fellow and learn!

Thanks Bruce!

Bill
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Old November 30th, 2008, 14:29   #5
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I can understand the angst, but you cannot condemn the pan heater. Same thing can and does happen with in line heaters. Anytime there is 120 volts involved, and no GFI, you can get an arching fault that will start a fire (I had a friend have her stove do the same thing).

Bet protection is a GFI. That will kill the circuit.
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Old November 30th, 2008, 18:16   #6
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So you plugged your pan heater to a ungrounded source - is that correct.

Did you use a extension cord, and if so how many feet.
What is the amperage of this OEM heater anyone know.

I have a 180 watt pan heater on my car and although its on a 25ft 16ga wire I can feel no heat in the cord, so it can not be drawing much. A GFI outlet might be a good idea. I wonder if my surge protection would make a difference.
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Old November 30th, 2008, 19:56   #7
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And this has what to do with fuel economy?

Thanks for posting the same thing in 5 different forums...
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Old December 6th, 2008, 06:13   #8
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Wow, glad you got out relatively unscathed! A couple of years ago I read a post on this list where a member's TDI AND his roomate's car were parked in a garage (detached I think) and the operating VW dealer-installed oil pan heater fell off the pan and onto the plastic belly pan and caught the TDI on fire. Both cars and the garage were a total loss.

I thought VW would have stopped marketing this type of heater!

--Nate
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Old December 6th, 2008, 15:30   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wjdell

I have a 180 watt pan heater on my car and although its on a 25ft 16ga wire I can feel no heat in the cord, so it can not be drawing much. A GFI outlet might be a good idea. I wonder if my surge protection would make a difference.
180W heat will draw about 1.4 amps. Not something you could feel in a cord that can carry 15 amps.

Surge protectors are irrelevant to the issue. If you had enough of a surge to fry an oil pan heater connection, your entire house would have burned out the wiring.

GFI not only is a good idea, most places require it for outdoor outlets, kitchen outlets and bathroom outlets. While the intent is to keep electricity from killing you in those hazardous areas, it also reacts to power devices starting to fry themselves.
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Old December 6th, 2008, 21:04   #10
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I'm currently apprenticing as an electrician and by code, you must have GFI plugs outdoors and/or within 1.5 meters of any water source. Like a sink or water faucet.
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Old December 6th, 2008, 21:46   #11
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Old December 6th, 2008, 22:12   #12
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Bahhh... a GFCI will not stop arcing.

Yes, you need Ground Fault Circuit Interruption to detect and stop any current flow on the "hot" wire that is not returning on the neutral wire.

But arcing between the hot and neutral will not trip a GFCI so long as the load is balanced. Arcing is stopped by an AFCI: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arc-fau...it_interrupter

AFCI is supposed to be REQUIRED in the 2009 NEC (National Electrical Code).

My complaint is where I have used SquareD brand GFCI circuit breakers in many of the electrical panels I have serviced over the years... now if I do any new work in those panels, I am supposed to trash the GFCI breakers (like $60 each) and replace them with AFCI circuit breakers... OKaaaayyyy... but then I will have to rework each of those circuits to add the GFCI back to the circuit... try that on a ceiling lighting only circuit or a circuit dedicated to one machine that is hardwired in conduit... it sucks...

AFCI C/B's are a great idea! But they should not be required by the NEC until combo GFCI/AFCI circuit breakers become available...
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Old December 20th, 2009, 17:24   #13
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If you were raking leaves and hoses were still working, then what were doing heating the oil pan with a heater? Those things are meant when it is cold outside like winter and below zero 32F or colder!
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Old December 21st, 2009, 09:25   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BruceT
Ladies and Gents,please be aware if you have a factory installed oilpan heater on your TDI that it may cause a fire(it will dead short)....I plugged my car in for the first time on Monday night ,only to get panicked shouts from my neighbors and son that my car was on fire...my next door neighbor heard a loud bang(that's when the refrigerent line melted and blew up) and they ran across the street to find flames coming out from under the Jetta! I was in the back yard raking leaves and did not hear the noise,they finally found the garden hose and put out the fire,and found me in the back yard still raking...hey your car is on fire....so long story short,thanks to good neighbors the Jetta survived,$1800 later I'll get it back on the road next week when the new parts come in.......

SO PLEASE,don't use your pan heater,..
get an inline hose unit if you want to keep the block warm in winter areas

regards,bruce
Sorry for your mishap. I read a post on this list a few years ago of someone using the same heater on his TDI and it was parked in a detached garage and the TDI caught fire and burned the garage to the ground, along with his roommate's car that was parked in there too. These things are dangerous.

--Nate
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Old December 22nd, 2009, 11:31   #15
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From post #8:
Quote:
Originally Posted by PDJetta
Wow, glad you got out relatively unscathed! A couple of years ago I read a post on this list where a member's TDI AND his roomate's car were parked in a garage (detached I think) and the operating VW dealer-installed oil pan heater fell off the pan and onto the plastic belly pan and caught the TDI on fire. Both cars and the garage were a total loss.

I thought VW would have stopped marketing this type of heater!

--Nate
And again in #14 above:
Quote:
Originally Posted by PDJetta
Sorry for your mishap. I read a post on this list a few years ago of someone using the same heater on his TDI and it was parked in a detached garage and the TDI caught fire and burned the garage to the ground, along with his roommate's car that was parked in there too. These things are dangerous.

--Nate
OK, Nate. I get it. Hopefully everyone else does, too. Thanks. Again.
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