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Thread: draining oil out between flights cold weather ops

  1. #1

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    draining oil out between flights cold weather ops

    Last weekend after a skiplane flyout I drained my oil (needed changing). I decided to wait overnight to put the new oil in (so it would be nice and warm) is it a problem to leave no oil even for a few days? I got worried it could lose prime. C-85-8 motor. It's cold here -27F now....was -33F yesterday morn.

  2. #2
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Not a problem, but if you still need a good engine pre-heater, and if you have that, why drain the oil?

    MTV
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  3. #3

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    I have a good heater...I just figuredonce I drained the oil to change it....might as well leave it out until next flight to help pre-heat. No flying until later though for sure...brrrrr still -25.

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    The old days, before electric heaters were commonplace and other forms of pre-heat were available, that is how the pilots were able to fly after a cold night (Alaska cold...-40f or worse). The pilots would carry an empty jerry-can with them and when done for the night would drain the oil. Pilot places all oil on wood stove in cabin where pilot sleeps. Stove keep oil toasty. In morning, pilot put hot oil right into cold oil pan and fire 'er up. It is still a very effective, if not rudimentary way to deal with super cold temps away from power sources or other forms of pre-heat.
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  5. #5

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    Leaving your oil drained overnight won't hurt anything.

    Does anyone really think that adding 12# of room temp oil to a cold-soaked 300# engine is adequate for preheating? It may be better than nothing but not by much.

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    njneer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sierra bravo View Post
    Leaving your oil drained overnight won't hurt anything.

    Does anyone really think that adding 12# of room temp oil to a cold-soaked 300# engine is adequate for preheating? It may be better than nothing but not by much.
    I have always felt that was better than starting the engine with something as thick as Jello filling the oil sump.
    Life in Alaska isn't always easy, but it has its rewards.

  7. #7
    www.SkupTech.com mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sierra bravo View Post
    Leaving your oil drained overnight won't hurt anything.

    Does anyone really think that adding 12# of room temp oil to a cold-soaked 300# engine is adequate for preheating? It may be better than nothing but not by much.
    think it was always done in conjunction with preheating....

    these were pre starter days.. hand propping, or shall I say chin-ups if not drained...

  8. #8
    cubdriver2's Avatar
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    Worked for these guy's



    Glenn

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    Iflylower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cubdriver2 View Post
    Worked for these guy's




    Glenn

    I LOVE HAND-PROPPING ON ICE!!!

    Good technique throwing down sand though........

  10. #10

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    Multi vis oil and modern preheaters have eliminated any need to drain/externally heat oil. Bearing clearances are a bigger concern anyway.

  11. #11
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pacerdrive View Post
    The old days, before electric heaters were commonplace and other forms of pre-heat were available, that is how the pilots were able to fly after a cold night (Alaska cold...-40f or worse). The pilots would carry an empty jerry-can with them and when done for the night would drain the oil. Pilot places all oil on wood stove in cabin where pilot sleeps. Stove keep oil toasty. In morning, pilot put hot oil right into cold oil pan and fire 'er up. It is still a very effective, if not rudimentary way to deal with super cold temps away from power sources or other forms of pre-heat.
    Actually, this is not exactly the whole story. In fact, in the old days, pilots would drain the oil out of their engines, and park it near the wood stoves in the road houses. In the morning, however, they would then apply a large engine cover to the engine that draped all the way to the ground, light a fire pot (like a blow torch) put it under that engine cover. Once the engine was warm, the pilot then placed the warm oil into the oil tank.

    Bear in mind that in the old days, most of these aircraft were equipped with radial engines. In these aircraft the oil resides in a separate oil tank, which is not close to the engine in many cases. So, just dumping warm oil into the oil tank does nothing to preheat the engine. And, since the oil tank is not located near the engine, it's impossible to heat that with an external heat source. Hence the pre heat of the engine AND the necessity to keep the oil warm all night, then dump it into a cold oil tank in the AM, once the engine was warm.

    It was quite a process.

    With opposed cylinder engines, just heating the oil isn't going to pre heat the critical parts of that engine prior to a cold start, unless you dump HOT oil into the engine, replace the engine cover, and let the thing sit for half an hour or so. Much better to simply pre-heat the engine, with the oil in the sump.

    MTV

  12. #12
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    Well for years when we wolf hunted and spent nites out in trapping cabins it was very common flying cubs to simply drain the oil out as soon as you came into an old "blazeo" type metal can and take it up to the cabin with you, in the morning we sat the can on the woodstove.
    And got it hot, if you have never dumped hot oil into an O320 when its 30 below and then seen the hoar frost jump out off the case it would be hard to relate the amount of preheat that has just taken place, we then would pull them thru by hand 8 or so times to get them loosened up a bit,then 4 shots of prime and if you had taken the battery in for the nite as well I used to like to use the old radial engine technique of
    winding the engine thru around 8 blades ,before snaping the mags on, and the he engine would start but you needed to have the primer
    Out as they will often quit and you needed to be right there with shots of prime to keep it alive other wise you ran the risk of "ice bridging"
    The spark plugs........... once you do that ,they will all have to be pulled ,and taken up to the woodstove for thawing before you can try again! (I DONT, recomened the following method but it wasnt uncommon back then)
    A sure way to garantee the engine wouldnt quit (that was probably horrible on the clyinders) was to have someone stand right out in front
    Of the prop with a can of warm ether and shoot it into the airfilter right thru the turning prop, right when it was trying to quit!!
    That would keep em going, but probably explains why we never got to TBO!!!
    Last edited by TurboBeaver; 01-09-2015 at 08:24 PM.

  13. #13

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    My technique also TurboB. Down to around -20 I've done well draining my O-320 oil into two 1gal Coleman fuel cans, which are easy to carry in even a packed 12. Just keep them behind the cabin wood stove for the night and heat them on the stove in the morning to around 200deg, just to the point where I can't really keep my bare hands on the sides of the can for more than a second or two. Dump it into the engine, which is very easy with those small cans, hand prop it 25 times, by which time it is nice and loose. Prime it 2x, hand prop 4x, prime 2x again and turn the mag on and prop it with one hand while holding the door jamb with the other and it will generally fire right off. I generally have to give it a prime when it tries to quit shortly after firing off, which it pretty much always does. This method works very well for me when I'm somewhere remote without my Red Dragon.
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  14. #14
    TurboBeaver's Avatar
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    Ridge,
    Nowadays the way folks operate i expect they would have a cover plane following them around with a portable nose tent to set up over
    The front and run a honda generator all nite to run pad heaters, 24/7.

  15. #15

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    Now days most guys carry little combustion heaters that take up less room than 2 gallon cans, are better for the engine, and double as survival gear. If a gennie is practical I'll take that option every time. If grampa had a 25# generator I bet he would've, too. Along with all the other amazing cold weather gear we have now. In regards to cold weather the good old days were never very good.

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    Would some one please define, "good old days". My Dad use to tell me stories about the good old days back in the late 60's early 70's, when we were coyote, hunting. Oh yes we drained the oil every night. Primed propped, then it would start. Was that the good old days or when we're the good old days.

  17. #17
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    LOL, as the saying goes, " reads better than it lived ".

  18. #18
    TurboBeaver's Avatar
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    Well a lot of guys would tell ya that the good olde days are right now! Of course most folks are always going to refer to the good old days, as anytime when they were young and felt good all the time. Amazing how barely being able to cut enough wood to keep warm, chiseling thru 3 ft of ice to get a pail of water, and midnite trips to an old outhouse, when its was -40 below Zero , can give you a proper perspective, of where ground zero actually is.

  19. #19
    Cubonaut875 SchulerJL's Avatar
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    Darwin had a great theory
    Likes Rick-CAS liked this post

  20. #20
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stewartb View Post
    Now days most guys carry little combustion heaters that take up less room than 2 gallon cans, are better for the engine, and double as survival gear. If a gennie is practical I'll take that option every time. If grampa had a 25# generator I bet he would've, too. Along with all the other amazing cold weather gear we have now. In regards to cold weather the good old days were never very good.
    Ditto....well said.

    MTV

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