Inline Coolant / Oil Pan / Battery Blanket Heaters

WolfgangVW

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2003 Jetta TDI - Manual
So i've touched on this before, just thought i'd post. So i've got a decent setup in my car for cold starts. I have a recently installed 1000w inline coolant heater, on top of what i've had for years which was a 350w oil pan heater and an 85w battery blanket. Anyway i ran a heavy gauge plug thru the grill with three outlets under the hood, as to which i can have any three of the heaters plugged into individually or simultaneously at any given time. So the inline coolant heater is incredible, thats the only one i've had plugged in until today. Seen temps around -24C started like summer GP's didn't even cycle. Got a cold snap here so thought why not plug the battery blanket in too. Worked all night tonight and was about -32C and same thing started like a dream mid summer.

So is there any harm in using all 3 heaters?? Like adding the oil pan heater to the mix?? I have no reason to, car sat for about 10 hours in -32C and glow plugs didn't even cycle. But why not keep the oil warm too, gonna be cold for a bit here yet. That being said i don't wanna bake any components!!!
 

HPsenicka

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No harm using all three IMHO provided your extension cord is heavy enough to deliver 1500W of current.


I would also consider using a timer and limiting the duty cycle to a couple of hours rather than having it left on overnight.
 

Beaker80

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1500 watts on a 120 volt line is 12.5 amps. Most house receptacles are rated for 15 amps. You're close but not over unless you have a very long extension cord. Can you use 2 different outlets on different circuits?
 

wonneber

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I would replace the 1 outlet with a 20 amp outlet.
It has slightly heavier contacts inside.
If it was a dedicated outlet (only 1 outlet on the circuit) and has a 20 amp breaker you will be covered.
You would plug both extensions in it.
General rule is not to exceed 80% of the circuit rating.
To be clear, just replace the outlet, not the circuit breaker.
 
Last edited:

HPsenicka

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Upgrading a receptacle from 15A to 20A requires more than replacing the breaker and receptacle. The wiring will need to be upgraded to the appropriate specs as well.
 

Andrew Dale

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MK4 TDI Golf
ive thought about doing this and splicing off a connection to run a small space heater that melts the snow off my car/makes the inside toasty before i leave for work but im honestly too worried about starting a fire with the indoor heater.
 

Nero Morg

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ive thought about doing this and splicing off a connection to run a small space heater that melts the snow off my car/makes the inside toasty before i leave for work but im honestly too worried about starting a fire with the indoor heater.
As long as the heating element didn't blow onto anything directly, it should be fine. I leave a heater on in my camper and haven't checked it in about a month. It's set to low and elevated on a 2x6 pointing away from the door. Keeps it at about 60°F inside.
 

Genesis

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Upgrading a receptacle from 15A to 20A requires more than replacing the breaker and receptacle. The wiring will need to be upgraded to the appropriate specs as well.
Yep.

If the breaker in the panel is 15A do NOT replace it with a 20A. You may get away with it but you may also get a fire behind the wall doing that and if you do when the cause is discovered (and it will be) you may find your insurance is void too.

15A circuits are typically wired with 14AWG; 20A circuits require 12AWG. Put a 20A load on 14AWG wire and you are asking for serious trouble.
 

WolfgangVW

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Thanks for the replies! Ya i'm not worried about my outlet / breaker/ cord etc. My friend is an electrician and actually installed the outlet on the side of my house i plug into and asked him about all that. Was more wondering if it could somehow be bad for my engine / car. Like too much heat or overheating oil or something . On a side note does anyone use as pad heater on their transmission to keep it warm?? I know overkill but while we're on the topic!! Cold snap here so kinda in the zone to talk about it lol
 

WolfgangVW

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ive thought about doing this and splicing off a connection to run a small space heater that melts the snow off my car/makes the inside toasty before i leave for work but im honestly too worried about starting a fire with the indoor heater.
That would be cool! I'm kinda the opposite in a way, i just want to ensure my car starts in the coldest temps. When it's -30C i turn the heater to floor only cause if it hits the windshield thru defrost it will melt off ice and snow but at that temp it just starts to refreeze. Even on my hood the last few nights it was -30C and light snow, you could see where the coolant heater heated the hood and the snow melted and turned to ice.....
 

RollinCoalTDI

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sounds like a little overkill lol....it was -40 here yesterday in Winnipeg and with the coolant heater only and a good battery mine fired up first try....I think you might be good to -75 with all three going!
 

Beaker80

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Good news on the outlet. My electrician made my garage outlets "Split Receptacles". Basically 2 seperate circuits each rated for 15 amps. So conceivably I could power 30 amps thru one outlet!

On your transmission you might try another battery blanket draped over it. Or around it somehow. Maybe another pan heater strapped to the bottom of the transmission. Definitely overkill but a good thought for very cold, thick trans oil.
 

WalkerHD

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Jan 2, 2019
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Vancouver, BC
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diesel fueled heater

I work on semi trucks and got several diesel fired coolant heaters as they often get tossed out. It also circulates the coolant with small electric pump. I just got a VW TDI, I'm going to attempt install one and have a remote to activate it and also to turn on the heater fan. I got a wagon with Pano roof. Living in Canada, I go on long trips so would be nice not to have to plug in for heat in car if I need to sleep in the back. It works on big trucks so why not a VW... They can be a bit pricey to buy, for a small one 1,200$ CDN. Plus a dual remote electrical switch. Would take some work to get it installed correctly. Would have to T off a fuel line somewhere, heater fan electrical etc. See how it works out. I would carry a booster pack in case it killed battery if running for longer than a hour.
 

WolfgangVW

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sounds like a little overkill lol....it was -40 here yesterday in Winnipeg and with the coolant heater only and a good battery mine fired up first try....I think you might be good to -75 with all three going!
Yup !! It's total overkill! Basically in past i already had the oil pan heater, added the battery blanket as i find they work quite well for the $30, i have one on my truck as well. Then upgraded to the inline coolant heater, and theres no point in ripping off the pan heater etc. The coolant heater is incredible. I have yet to even have the GP's even cycle with it alone plugged in at -30C.
 

WolfgangVW

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I work on semi trucks and got several diesel fired coolant heaters as they often get tossed out. It also circulates the coolant with small electric pump. I just got a VW TDI, I'm going to attempt install one and have a remote to activate it and also to turn on the heater fan. I got a wagon with Pano roof. Living in Canada, I go on long trips so would be nice not to have to plug in for heat in car if I need to sleep in the back. It works on big trucks so why not a VW... They can be a bit pricey to buy, for a small one 1,200$ CDN. Plus a dual remote electrical switch. Would take some work to get it installed correctly. Would have to T off a fuel line somewhere, heater fan electrical etc. See how it works out. I would carry a booster pack in case it killed battery if running for longer than a hour.

So is this like a Webasto heater or something???
 

WolfgangVW

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Good news on the outlet. My electrician made my garage outlets "Split Receptacles". Basically 2 seperate circuits each rated for 15 amps. So conceivably I could power 30 amps thru one outlet!

On your transmission you might try another battery blanket draped over it. Or around it somehow. Maybe another pan heater strapped to the bottom of the transmission. Definitely overkill but a good thought for very cold, thick trans oil.
Ya my inclination would be an oil pan heater rated for the volume of oil / fluid present in the transmission. Honestly doubt i would do it but if a person lived in a climate where -30C was a constant temp in winter might be worth it!
 

wonneber

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Upgrading a receptacle from 15A to 20A requires more than replacing the breaker and receptacle. The wiring will need to be upgraded to the appropriate specs as well.
I did not mean to replace the breaker, only the outlet.
 

BobnOH

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central Ohio
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New Beetle 2003 manual
That one left me scratching my head as well. Would have to be 2 breakers with AWG14(or 12) connected to 1 outlet (normal receptacles are 20A, guess they make a 30). I guess 2 14s will carry 30A, have to look it up, but why do it? And what would draw 30A?
 

Genesis

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Sevier County TN
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'03 Jetta Wagon
BobnOH -- Most duplex receptacles are in fact split receptacles with a tang between the two "hot" screw points. You can break it off, which makes it two independent 15A receptacles.

The reason for this is that *wise people* wire their houses with one of the outlets *controlled* by an "N" way (3, 4 or whatever) switch at the entry points. This allows you to have table lamp(s) around the room that are all controlled by one switch (usually on the top outlet) and the other always "hot" for anything you want powered all the time. It's VERY nice and costs almost NOTHING in additional cost to do when you're building the house, since it only requires running 14/3 instead of 14/2 from the switch and then through to the outlets.
 

BobnOH

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Yes that's correct, I thought he was doing something else entirely. Like I said "scratching head".
 

wonneber

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That one left me scratching my head as well. Would have to be 2 breakers with AWG14(or 12) connected to 1 outlet (normal receptacles are 20A, guess they make a 30). I guess 2 14s will carry 30A, have to look it up, but why do it? And what would draw 30A?
12 gauge wire is 20 amps.
14 gauge wire is 15 amps.

'normal receptacles are 20A'
Normal wall outlets are 15 amps.
20 amp outlets have a T slot on the neutral side. (white wire)
These are mostly used in commercial buildings but there is no reason I know of why they shouldn't be used in all homes.

See below picture for what I am babbling about. :)

https://www.lowes.com/pd/Legrand-White-20-Amp-Duplex-Outlet-Commercial/1000003392
 

Genesis

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12 gauge wire is 20 amps.
14 gauge wire is 15 amps.
'normal receptacles are 20A'
Normal wall outlets are 15 amps.
20 amp outlets have a T slot on the neutral side. (white wire)
These are mostly used in commercial buildings but there is no reason I know of why they shouldn't be used in all homes.
Because you need to run 12 ga wire, many switches are not rated for 20 amps (which means you can't use the common stuff with them since they're all 15A switching devices) and there are very, very few US-centric plugs that are 20A plugs -- virtually all are 15, so you're wiring for something (at some extra cost) that nobody will actually use.
 

Andrew Dale

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Dec 26, 2018
Location
Chilliwack BC
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MK4 TDI Golf
Yup !! It's total overkill! Basically in past i already had the oil pan heater, added the battery blanket as i find they work quite well for the $30, i have one on my truck as well. Then upgraded to the inline coolant heater, and theres no point in ripping off the pan heater etc. The coolant heater is incredible. I have yet to even have the GP's even cycle with it alone plugged in at -30C.
Take the front bumper off and block your rad with coroplast and throw some HVAC tape on the top and bottom hose connections. With those temperatures insulating is your next step.
 

WolfgangVW

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Alberta, Canada
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2003 Jetta TDI - Manual
Take the front bumper off and block your rad with coroplast and throw some HVAC tape on the top and bottom hose connections. With those temperatures insulating is your next step.
Ok thanks for the input! I currently have a cloroplast sign blocking my rad, and pipe foam insulation over the exterior grille. Where do i apply the HVAC tape??
 
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