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Thread: Pre Heaters

  1. #1
    Ursa Major's Avatar
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    Pre Heaters

    Its getting to be that time of year again. The last couple of mornings had a little frost and I've been putting off getting a new heater for much too long.

    I'm lucky enough to have access to an electrical outlet at my tie down so I'm wondering if anybody has some advice on a good electric pre heater. I'm sorta leaning toward the Reiff system with a sump and cylinder heat elements. Does anybody have any experience with this brand? I've also looked for the portable automotive type of heater with not much success. Most of those I've found are too big to fit under the cowling.

    I've used Red Dragons and Northern Companion propane and gas heaters in the past but now that I have electricity I'd like to try the slow cooker method. Any suggestions?
    Mike

  2. #2
    Dave Calkins's Avatar
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    I've got Reiff, and it sure puts some heat in those barrels, just where you want it. The oil gets warm too, with it's pad.

    I've used the ceramic cube heaters, too, and they'll do a fine job if you have some time.

    Northern Companion's and other camp-stove based heating systems work fine, just don't walk away from them. And that's a couple hours of "not walking away from them". Which is fine, if you have no other options or don't mind the wait. You need to be carrying one anyway, for survival or the morning after an out-landing.

    Tanis are great, but you better have time for the barrels to conduct some heat from the head-mounted elements. The head-mounted elements warm the heads and definitely help to vaporize the fuel/air charge for easy starting, and the oil gets warm from it's pad, but with cold barrels, you ain't doing them any favors.

    Big Bear already knows what I think.

    What do the rest of you "real" Cub flyers think?

    Dave Calkins.

    Ski flying for coyotes and wolves is the most fun you can have. Yes, that's a period at the end of the sentence.

  3. #3

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    Symantec Heater

    I've had the Symantec Heater for three years. I leave it on all winter, my open T hangar has free electric. I was cautioned that it would "cook the oil". When I had the pan off this summer for the oil pump gear AD we could find NO evidence that the heater was even on the oil pan. It is thermostatically controlled to 300 degrees according to it's literature. It works fine, I've always got oil temps above 100 degrees on startup. Use a Kennon engine cover as well. Happy with both....Jeff

  4. #4

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    Mike:
    Just bought a Reiff. I'll let you know. He has an extensive website with a lot of infomation on it. I think it is www.reiffpreheat.com. Tried a lot of other heaters over the years that did not require electric service -- red dragon, kerosene heaters and Northern Companion. Never had electric before this year. I have to say I really like the Northern Companion. It is light and the MSR stove delivers a good amount of heat. I had to fashion a velcro opening in my engine cover to get the flow right. In the bush, I will continue to use it. The downside of the Northern Companion is the barrels. I doubt you can do the same job a Reiff or Tanis can without barrel heat elements. All said, I still will always carry my Northern Companion as it is so simple and reliable and does not need electric. One note of caution: I used 100LL in it for a while and it really fouled it up. I now use white gas -- most times.

  5. #5
    Ursa Major's Avatar
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    Good info. The Reiff website has some interesting stuff, thanks Slowgo.

    I too, carry a Northern Companion for heating away from electricity. I've alway used Coleman fuel or unleaded in it because thats what happened to be in the fuel bottles I use in my MSR camping stoves. I just sorta figured I could refill them from the sump with 100 LL when I need to. Its good to know that even though the stove is supposed to be "multi fuel" that there is a chance it won't work on avgas. I guess I'll start carrying the extra jet and stove maintenance kit (from REI) just in case (as well as a full bottle of stove fuel).

    I've had the MSR stoves clog and sputter while camping, but they were easy to fix if you had the right parts.
    Mike

  6. #6
    StewartB
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    I had Reiff hotbands on for a couple of years, and never found any sign of warmth around the cylinders, even when the little band was hot. I figure the cooling fins on the cylinder were dissipating the heat pretty effectively. Last year I didn't put them back on after an engine change. I never missed them. I do have a Reiff pad heater, and it works, but whether it works better than the 50 watt pads they sell (a lot cheaper) at Bearing Engineering, I can't tell. I've used both. My favorite is a 700 watt "Little Buddy" fan-forced heater from Napa. It's made for car interiors, but has a metal housing and no tip-over switch. It gets the whole engine warm in reasonably short order. Mount it on the motor mount tubes with adel clamps. I use a generator, and only plug in for two or three hours, so if you intend to stay plugged-in all the time, the Reiff's or Tanis are probably the better way to go.
    SB

  7. #7
    Dave Calkins's Avatar
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    Yeah, an engine cover would make a heck of a difference, Stewart.

    Just joking.

    Stewart, you must have had some kind of problem.

    I've reached through my cover to feel the cylinders and been unable to keep my hand on them, they're so hot.

    I hope you got your money back from Reiff. Mine and others' work incredibly well. Were you powering it with a generator or maybe a looooonnngg extension cord? Something had to be wrong!

    I've done the little buddy thing with a generator also. It works OK. I used that system for about 3 seasons when I had no other power source.

    Dave Calkins.

  8. #8

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    Stewart:
    I have one of those little car heaters, too. FBO s all over Alaska use them. But I have always been scared of them catching on fire. If they did, and you did have insurance, you can forget it. They typically have a thermostat that kicks on and off, and I have always wondered if that would induce spark, which if you had a carb or gas problem, could be a big problem. Positioning them for a clear air draw and discharge also is a challenge with a cub. I have been told the fire problem is highly unlikely and not a rational fear. But with what I have in that cub, I just could not leave the heater on for three or four hours and come back. Without the fire fear, I suspect you are correct that those car heaters are the most thorough and efficient heaters.

  9. #9
    StewartB
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    I've used my Little Buddy since I DID catch my airplane on fire with a Red Dragon. I worried about it the first time I used it, but not since. If you're sticking a Northern Companion under your plane, the Little Buddy should seem safe. But, I also keep a combustion heater similar to the Companion in my plane. It heats engines, fingers, hot dogs. Little Buddy can't do that!
    SB

  10. #10
    StewartB
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    David,
    How long did you plug in before you had warm barrels? I was using a 1000 watt geny with only about 15 feet of heavy extension cord. Maybe something was wrong. I was disappointed, but like I said, I only plugged-in for 2-3 hours, so maybe the bands just need more time. The Buddy/oilpan heater combo do the trick in about an hour, two if it's down around 10 below.
    SB

  11. #11
    Dave Calkins's Avatar
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    I usually feel each band and the pad when I first plug in so I know they're gonna do their job.

    The best I can recall the time I felt the barrels early enough in the pre-heat to be surprised by the barrel temps, it couldn't have been more than an hour. Someone else had plugged the thing in, so I can't be certain of the elapsed time 'til I stuck my hand in the cover, but my guess is that it could not have been more than 2 hours, but was probably less than one.

    Check all the ratings for the elements of the Reiff system, they may pull more power than a 1000 watt gen. can do, on its best days.

    Later, Dave Calkins.

  12. #12
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    I use a Symtec heater and a Cunningham insulated engine cover. I plug in over night and in the morning its around 85 in the engine compartment. If I will be flying everyday for a week or so I leave it plugged in all the time.

  13. #13
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    Tanis

    I like the Reif system for heat but you can plug 3 Tanis equipped Cubs into a 1000W Honda gen. See the new 1000 Honda? Lightweight, plastic shrouded, quiet and able to fit in the baggage of afore-mentioned Cubs. Did this last year at Rainy. We had a couple guys buy them here. Great little unit (even fits into a Husky's rather smallish compartment) Brad

  14. #14
    StewartB
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    Reiff claims the bands at 50W each and the pad can't be more than 250 watts, so a 1000W generator isn't the problem. Maybe I'll call Reiff.
    SB

  15. #15
    Cubus Maximus's Avatar
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    Power

    Hey, Reiff on their website provides a link to the Honda generator site also a Coleman that's light as well.

    http://www.hondapowerequipment.com/genligframe.htm

    http://www.ultimite.com/welcome.htm

  16. #16
    PA12driver's Avatar
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    I would agree with the risk of fire with the "engine mounted" car heaters. I have in the past (as did most of us in the Anchorage area) used them. The problem seems to be the vibration eventually takes the bearings out of the units, especially when they get 'hot' in the cowl area, (when not in use) I never experienced a fire? I did just in time catch it when it whent up in smoke (bolted onto the motor mount) of my 185! I think the brand was (exell) or something like that! After that little episode, I would just take one with me and set it in the cowling on the cub, resting it on the brace off of the exhaust)

    As for gas fired units, I always carried my MSR GX multi fuel, a 6/4 stove adaptor, with holes in the bottom for intake air, and a 1' section of pipe, and some scat hose, It all fit in a 5 gallon bucket and worked good when needed.

    Also we used to make a gas heater out of a modified "gas truck heater" from Military surplus--You guys in Alaska might get a hold of Rod Russell with Precision Welding? and or Bill Bullard? These were great super safe heaters!! ran fine on av gas and 12volts!

    Tim

  17. #17
    S2D's Avatar
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    I've used the indash car heaters for at least 15 years now never had any problems. Just put it in the front of the cub on top of the cyls and plug it in. Did have one model that the overheat protector would burn out and you would have to bypass it. but up on top the cyls seems the safest place to put them, cause it would take an actual fire to cause problems, not just a few sparks, although I've never seen that. course if you have the money, still think tanis is the best way to go.

  18. #18

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    I have also used the under dash type car heaters for many years. Most of them have a temperature controlled thermostat so there isn't much danger of overheating.

  19. #19
    Lawn Dart's Avatar
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    Slowgo
    Just bought a Reiff. I'll let you know.
    I?m considering the Reiff system now that the temps are getting down into the teens. I see that you just got one and I was wondering how you like it?

  20. #20
    Ursa Major's Avatar
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    Cavy,

    I just put on a Reiff last month. The only time I've plugged it in was during the installation to see if it worked. The weather's been too warm to really try it out. It was 55 degrees in Anchorage yesterday, can you believe it?

    Installation was pretty easy. Looks like a good unit.
    Mike

  21. #21
    SJ's Avatar
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    I just installed an EZ-Heat on my 170

    http://www.aircraftspruce.com/catalo...ges/ezheat.php

    I call the line boys and have them plug it in about 4 hours before a flight, it works GREAT so far, but it does not get as cold here as it does up yonder.

    sj

  22. #22
    Stan's Avatar
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    Does the EZ bond to the oil pan like the Reiff ? Is one better than the other ?
    Reiff ad claims the hot strip is better than the silicone pad. Any comments ?

  23. #23

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    Cavy:

    I have not plugged the Reiff in yet other than during the installation. As the other comments noted, it has been in the mid 50s up here with no snow. I did buy the metal bar versus the pad and it was a pain to install. I suspect the pad would be even worse, so I would recommend the bar. I also talked to a Lycoming guy, an AI, and he thought the system was pretty good, but recommended not leaving it on continuously without flying the ship as it can build condensation. When winter gets here, I will let you know how it works.

  24. #24
    cubdrvr's Avatar
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    Silicone pads suck! They can burn out easy if the entire pad is not making contact or separates a bit from the pan and their output is marginal in the ones I have seen.
    I just installed a Symtek in my cub. Aluminum plate that is bonded to the pan with a 2 part epoxy glue that is heat cured. It puts out, I believe, 2.5 amps and is thermostat controlled so you can leave it on indefinetly. I have heard nothing but good things about the Symtek and am anxious to see how it stands up.

  25. #25
    Lawn Dart's Avatar
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    Funny time of the year to bring up this topic again but, now that winter has gone by, what did you guys think of the Reiff system?

    Performance, cost, etc...?

  26. #26

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    well it is realy funny to talk about preheating in the summer. If you have everything at your base available that is nice. But when you stay in the bushes in wintertime for sevaral days you want to have it simple. I prefer
    a little catalytic heater and colemanfuel and the engine will stay warm well below 30. Aditional I use the fuel for lighting and cooking.

  27. #27
    jk's Avatar
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    Yep, those dang heater cords, why just the other day I got mine caught I my back cast, felt a little somtin...no worry, double hauled that sucker out ...way out ...and to my surprise, when it hit the water the electrical short wacked a five foot , 38lb pike. Man that was good eatin. OOPs forgot the camera agian.

  28. #28
    StewartB
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    A couple of years ago I commented that my Reiff Hot Bands didn't do enough to justify putting them on. Dave Caulkins made a comment that something must be wrong. Awhile later, I contacted Mr. Reiff and ended up receiving his newer 100 watt Hot Bands. I just got around to installing them a couple of days ago. My opinion has changed.

    I installed and secured the bands, and plugged them into a 1000 watt generator to test them. Literally 30-45 seconds later, the bands were hot enough to burn my fingers. I don't mean a little warm, either. I mean real face-pinching dance-in-circles cussing burn. These babies put out the heat! What a huge improvement over the old 50 watt bands.
    SB

  29. #29
    Tom's Avatar
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    Engine Heaters at a reasonable cost

    I have used the Reiff cylinder bands and the oil pan system on a Cirrus SR 20. Works great with no problems. However, on the PA 18, although the previous owner installed the pan heater ( and its works, I tried it once), I use a milk house heater from farm and fleet controlled by a HD theromstat laying on the cylinders . A 6" flexible tube fits under the cowling and is held into place by a wire hook. You can buy the thermostats from anyone selling kerosene space heaters. Also, I saw them at Menards, building supplies for $6.95. I have less than $30 in my heating system and it works great for me. I have only tried this system down to about -5F so, I don't really know if it would be adequate below that temp.

    This system is used by about 20 planes that I know of with great success. One PA 28-235 has been doing this for 19 years with no problems whatsoever. I set the thermostat at 75F and leave it for the winter. Today when I started the engine, the oil was already at 90 plus degrees F. I keep an old sleeping bag around the engine cowling since I only use it inside. My wife promised to make me some prop covers for Christmas. She thought Wilbur's coyote covers were a bit uncivilized......

    I'll try to post some pictures in the gallery since I am not to good at doing it here.

    Tom From Iowa

    PS. Additionally, the heater has its own thermostat and the heater automatically shuts off if it tips over for any reason (monster mice or something like that).

  30. #30

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    Just installed a Reif XP system today and went pretty smooth. Suggest using more adel clamps rather than ty-wraps. Letting epoxy cure for next couple of days.......seems like a nice system but still don't like a lot of wires on top of engine case. Catches bugs and moisture!
    If you get lost while flying, don't try hail a cop. Pick up the first railroad you find and hug it until you get somewhere.

  31. #31
    scott c's Avatar
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    I have both Reif and Tanis. Both are great products in Sask.

  32. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by flylowslow View Post
    Just installed a Reif XP system today and went pretty smooth. Suggest using more adel clamps rather than ty-wraps. Letting epoxy cure for next couple of days.......seems like a nice system but still don't like a lot of wires on top of engine case. Catches bugs and moisture!
    Excellent choice and with a 1000w Honda generator your can pre-heat most anywhere.
    "Don't feed the hipsters"

  33. #33
    mvivion's Avatar
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    For years I regularly used the Tanis system on a couple of airplanes. Then I worked a couple planes with the Reiff systems installed. I really liked both systems for reliable, safe pre heat. I installed a Reiff system on my personal plane. these engines were regularly started outside at temps regularly below -20 F, and often as low as -40F after proper pre heat.

    Ive also pre heated with a half dozen other "tools", none of which were as good, safe and reliable as the Reiff or Tanis systems in my opinion.

    A couple of points:

    As Stewart discovered, Reiff and Tanis each sell two different temperature rated systems. In cold temps, I want SERIOUS heat.....be sure to order the "high heat" version, whether dealing with Tanis or Reiff. The lower rated systems aren't worth the trouble.

    If you have or ever plan to install a graphic engine monitor, buy a Reiff system, not a Tanis system. The Tanis probes occupy the cylinder head bayonet receptacles. If you have a multi probe CHT, the CHT probes will have to be exchanged for spark plug gasket sensors, which are NOT accurate, and generally a PITA.

    As Dave posted earlier, the cylinder bands on the Reiff system works better than the Tanis probes, in my opinion.

    If you're thinking about installing just a silicone heat pad, install one that's designed to be installed on an aircraft engine, and that is thermostatically controlled. E Z Heat is a good one. Understand that it'll take a bit longer to heat your engine than a full system but.....

    A good, close fitted engine cover is really helpful in heating. And if you're parked somewhere and want the motor to stay warm. Sleeping bag, moving blankets, etc all help as well, but a good engine cover is the ticket.

    Take your time heating......it's a slow process, and remember, it's the CORE of that engine you want nice and warm, not just the parts you can touch.

    MTV

  34. #34
    cubdriver2's Avatar
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    I use a 100w light bulb in a drop light, 2 if it goes below -10 at night and an engine cover.

    Glenn

  35. #35

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    I haven't seen an incandescent drop light in at least 10 years. I hadn't noticed until now.

  36. #36

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    Glenn - Not sure you can buy the 100w bulbs anymore...

  37. #37
    cubdriver2's Avatar
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    http://www.ebay.com/itm/12-100W-130-...cAAOSwHnFVkiLi



    Quote Originally Posted by DavePA11 View Post
    Glenn - Not sure you can buy the 100w bulbs anymore...

  38. #38
    nanook's Avatar
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    This is an 11 year old thread! The lightbulb in the trouble light reminded me of this green A&P that showed up to work on a job almost 30 years ago. We had 5 single Otters on wheel skis working a seismic survey in Alaska. I was replacing a cracked exhaust pipe on the 1340 and the green guy was doing 100hr stuff. When I glanced underneath the engine the new guy had the fuel strainer just about free with a trouble light hooked below. I yelled don't pull the strainer till you move that light! He did anyway and when the ice cold avgas hit that old style light bulb it exploded. The shocked look on that guys face was something to behold, because the fuel didn't ignite and he realized that he should be dead-cooked-to-well-done...
    The simplest way to preheat without installing a bunch of expensive stuff on your engine is a 900W "Little Buddy" heater. The 1000W Honda runs it just fine out in the field. Just put it low under the cowling and throw the engine blanket on.

  39. #39
    Barnstormer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mvivion View Post
    ...If you have or ever plan to install a graphic engine monitor, buy a Reiff system, not a Tanis system. The Tanis probes occupy the cylinder head bayonet receptacles. If you have a multi probe CHT, the CHT probes will have to be exchanged for spark plug gasket sensors, which are NOT accurate, and generally a PITA.
    The Tanis probes on my 185 replace one of the rocker cover bolts, so they don't interfere with the sensors for my EDM. Looks like their 4-cylinder kits do the same. To quote Tanis "This preheat kit is compatible with all engine monitor systems as the threaded heat elements can replace either a rocker cover screw or intake bolt fasteners."

    Perhaps Tanis made a change to their design some years back.

    Attached Images Attached Images

  40. #40
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mvivion View Post

    If you have or ever plan to install a graphic engine monitor, buy a Reiff system, not a Tanis system. The Tanis probes occupy the cylinder head bayonet receptacles. If you have a multi probe CHT, the CHT probes will have to be exchanged for spark plug gasket sensors, which are NOT accurate, and generally a PITA.


    I have a tanis on my Super Cub and recently broke a probe wire off a heating element while doing maintenance. While talking to Tanis I askd about installing an engine monitor and found out they have heater elements that go in the rocker cover screw holes.
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers

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