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Thread: Backcountry Engine Preheat

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    Cub Special Ed's Avatar
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    Backcountry Engine Preheat

    Its that time of year for engine preheating to begin. I was wondering if you folks could share your ideas on engine preheating in the backcountry. i.e. portable heaters and such.
    "There are 3 kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves." Will Rogers

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    A Honda 1000w generator to run (high output) cylinder bands and oil sump heater works wonders with a cowling cover, even on a 6 cylinder!
    Last edited by OLDCROWE; 10-15-2017 at 04:09 PM.
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    40m's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OLDCROWE View Post
    A Honda 1000w generator to run (high output) cylinder bands and oil sump heater works wonders with a cowling cover, even on a 6 cylinder!
    Reiff and Honda.

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    Then he made the earth round... and He laughed and laughed and laughed!
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    "Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything." Wyatt Earp
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    Coleman, This fits in a small box. I put screws in the cap to hold it up off the burner so air can filter up. Dryer hose. Heats fast and with a cowl cover on does great. May find minor changes as you go along with it.

    Doug

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    Scooter7779h's Avatar
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    Reiff and a Honda 1000
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    WindOnHisNose's Avatar
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    I saw a post on one of many threads which addressed this subject several years ago. I downloaded the photos, but cannot find the thread/author who came up with the idea of modifying an Army surplus ammunition container and employing an MSR Whisperlite campstove, as follows:

    The ammo container was modified by drilling several large holes around the bottom of the box for ventillation. An additional hole was drilled into one end of the box to permit placement of the fuel input tube which runs between the MSR fuel container and the campstove, which is located inside the box.
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    Two large holes are cut into the top of the ammo box, with flanged tubes which are riveted to the top of the box. These flanged tubes are the same diameter as the scat tubes that are attached to the flanged tubes on one end, with the other end directed into the engine compartment.
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    The MSR fuel container and the Whisperlite campstove fit nicely inside the ammo box when not in use. The author also was able to compress the scat tubes and put them inside the ammo box, as well. I was not able to do so and I found another way to store the scat tubes.
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    One of the nice things about this system is that the Whisperlite stove will work nicely on avgas.

    This system has worked really nicely for me when I am not near electrical power. When I am near electricity I find my Tanis system works great, when coupled with a nice engine cover. The ammo box gets really hot, and the heat put out by this is quite substantial. I think it to be safe, but I make sure I remain close by to keep an eye on it.

    I have used the Whisperlite stove, and also the Dragonfly. Both work well!

    My apologies to the person who first posted and described this. Perhaps someone can find the thread and post it here!

    Randy
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    skukum12's Avatar
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    Reiff and Honda 1000 x3. Why play with fire?
    "Always looking up"

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    WindOnHisNose's Avatar
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    $700

    17" x 14.9" x 9.5"

    30 lbs

    Playing with fire? In looking at the other threads on this subject I don't see this system as a big risk.

    I really do like the heating profile of my Tanis system, though.

    Randy
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    Iíve used everything over 45 years. Blow torch, propane torch, Coleman lantern, backpacking stoves, catalytic heaters, light bulbs, heat lamps, hair dryers, Electric car interior heaters to name a few. But playing with fire or heaters not designed for engine preheat has risks. Seen a gaggle of planes burned up. So easy to toss 16lb Honda in Belly Pod and plug in. I carry catalytic heater that fits in cowling for backup but Honda hasnít failed me even at -40.


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    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
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    If the wind's not blowing and cold, external heaters work...I've tried many. Catalytics (internal/external with duct), gas fired cook stoves with hose, Coleman lanterns in a container with hose, Red Dragon 12V forced air/propane, Stove oil fired 120V forced air torpedo heaters with or without duct, Reiff or similar 120V, 120V Silicone pads, and 120V small 850W interior car warmers. I like the last one with a Honda genset the best, but the torpedo heaters also work. The car heater can be used as an emergency heat source in a tent...genset outside.

    In addition to a normal insulated engine and prop cover for windy days, I have a full canvas shroud that covers the engine cowl with prop vertical that goes down to the ground and seals into a cylinder with velcro. Any reasonable heat source can be placed inside and eventually heats the engine but unless staked to the snow holding the cylinder shape in a wind is a problem.

    I stuffed a two burner Coleman cook stove in the cowl of a Beaver on floats one late September at +10F on Galbraith Lake. With sleeping bags over it all it started the beast so we could get back south of the Brooks Range.

    Gary
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    Scooter7779h's Avatar
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    Ya Gary, you do what you got to do. I was on a lake between Becherof and Cinder River in 185 on floats one October and it dropped to single digits and blowing. Lake had 2-3Ē ice in morning. Put single burner camp stove in cowl flap, closed them and all of our sleeping bags on cowl then wrapped tent over it...... And watched like mother hen and hope it didnít catch fire. Got it going and out of there.

    A good well fitted heavy insulated cowl cover and prop blade & spinner insulated covers are key to preheat in wind. If seen so many that donít fit well. Good idea on tarp tent though.


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    My winter flying buddy takes a honda 2000 in his 185, plugging into that is my favorite way to pre heat I have a MSR stove that I carry as survival gear so in the winter I add the pre-heat hood/scat tube. I have also used a propane black cat heater with same hood. I have two red dragons, and a few of the old white gas heaters. Lots of ways to skin the cat. Low output heaters are going to take a long time to do the job when it is real cold. One old pilot said he would put his white gas catalytic heater under the cowl/blanket when he went in for the night and in the morning everything was warm.
    DENNY
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    Scooter7779h's Avatar
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    Backcountry Engine Preheat

    Quote Originally Posted by DENNY View Post
    My winter flying buddy takes a honda 2000 in his 185, plugging into that is my favorite way to pre heat I have a MSR stove that I carry as survival gear so in the winter I add the pre-heat hood/scat tube. I have also used a propane black cat heater with same hood. I have two red dragons, and a few of the old white gas heaters. Lots of ways to skin the cat. Low output heaters are going to take a long time to do the job when it is real cold. One old pilot said he would put his white gas catalytic heater under the cowl/blanket when he went in for the night and in the morning everything was warm.
    DENNY
    We used to light our wamo catalytic heaters when we landed and put them in. If weather was bad for a day or two we would just keep filling them day after day. They would run a good 24 hours but with lower heat after about 18 hours so usual mo was refill every 12 hour. They worked good down to -20F to keep it warm.


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    Scooter7779h's Avatar
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    BTW a wamo white gas catalytic will fit easily in -18 cowl or through oil door on C180/185. They only weigh a pound or two but you need a can of fuel. Thatís why I always have one in plane during winter. I donít always carry Honda if Iím not planning overnight somewhere unplanned. Has saved my rear a few times due to unintended landings away from power.


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    I used to use a dryer vent tube like the one above. When it caught fire I replaced it with scat tubing.
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    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
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    White gas fueled catalytics work but make lots of water...water that turns to frost when it hits cold which can freeze engine controls and fill the cockpit with a winter wonderland if the heater valve isn't closed and any leaks are present.

    Gary
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  18. #18
    Scooter7779h's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BC12D-4-85 View Post
    White gas fueled catalytics work but make lots of water...water that turns to frost when it hits cold which can freeze engine controls and fill the cockpit with a winter wonderland if the heater valve isn't closed and any leaks are present.

    Gary
    Yep, thatís the big downside. But for an emergency preheat, can live with that. I migrated away from them as primary preheat in the late 80s.


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    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
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    Hard to beat a small generator and electric heater like (https://www.amazon.com/Zerostart-Tem.../dp/B000NM73ZA). Instant heat if needed to do repairs or spend the night in the plane. Start the engine once in awhile and keep covered otherwise. Lots of free fuel available too. Also take a small solid state 5-10 amp battery charger to keep it topped off and warmed up a little. I usually take the battery out of the plane and keep them charged and warm until needed.

    Here's another gizmo example for jump starting the battery: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N2HHU2O?psc=1

    Gary

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    Scooter7779h's Avatar
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    Backcountry Engine Preheat

    Quote Originally Posted by BC12D-4-85 View Post
    Hard to beat a small generator and electric heater like (https://www.amazon.com/Zerostart-Tem.../dp/B000NM73ZA). Instant heat if needed to do repairs or spend the night in the plane. Start the engine once in awhile and keep covered otherwise. Lots of free fuel available too. Also take a small solid state 5-10 amp battery charger to keep it topped off and warmed up a little. I usually take the battery out of the plane and keep them charged and warm until needed.

    Gary
    Gary were using the smart logic solidstate lightweight Cteck battery chargers ring connected to Oddessy batteries (that perform real well cold soaked). The Cteck is inline with Reiff and external 115v plug outside cowl cover. Plug in Honda or other AC and Cteck is smart logic on battery while Reiff does engine. I run Magnum XP bands, 2 sump pads and oil cooler pad on my Reiff. Honda 1000 pulls it all fine. Donít forget 0-20w full synthetic oil for Honda if itís cold soaked and your starting it much below -10F. And breather tube heater for Honda so crank seals donít blow.


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    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scooter7779h View Post
    Gary were using the smart logic solidstate lightweight Cteck battery chargers ring connected to Oddessy batteries (that perform real well cold soaked). The Cteck is inline with Reiff and external 115v plug outside cowl cover. Plug in Honda or other AC and Cteck is smart logic on battery while Reiff does engine. I run Magnum XP bands, 2 sump pads and oil cooler pad on my Reiff. Honda 1000 pulls it all fine. Don’t forget 0-20w full synthetic oil for Honda if it’s cold soaked and your starting it much below -10F. And breather tube heater for Honda so crank seals don’t blow.


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    Good info! I have a cold weather CTEK MUS 4.3 (https://smartercharger.com/battery-c...%204.3%20POLAR) I use for about everything summer and winter (got to keep the Harley battery happy too). Sealed AGM batteries need higher voltage at times to take a full charge. The Honda electric breather heater mod does work best but I've gotten by with covering the short rubber breather tube from the engine to intake with foam pipe insulation to hold the heat.

    I think what would eventually be good here would be to list by component all the stuff you folks have invented just like you did above so pilots sourcing parts have an ides what to look for and how to install it. Total electrical demand for the system should also be noted. I use EU2000 gens (1600W rated) but if a EU1000 will drive the heater/charger system then all the better.

    Edit: I have an AGM batt in my Taylorcraft and indeed it does crank well when cold. Another cold weather suggestion are those type of batteries.

    Gary
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    Backcountry Engine Preheat

    Quote Originally Posted by BC12D-4-85 View Post
    Good info! I have a cold weather CTEK MUS 4.3 (https://smartercharger.com/battery-c...%204.3%20POLAR) I use for about everything summer and winter (got to keep the Harley battery happy too). Sealed AGM batteries need higher voltage at times to take a full charge. The Honda electric breather heater mod does work best but I've gotten by with covering the short rubber breather tube from the engine to intake with foam pipe insulation to hold the heat.

    I think what would eventually be good here would be to list by component all the stuff you folks have invented just like you did above so pilots sourcing parts have an ides what to look for and how to install it. Total electrical demand for the system should also be noted. I use EU2000 gens (1600W rated) but if a EU1000 will drive the heater/charger system then all the better.

    Edit: I have an AGM batt in my Taylorcraft and indeed it does crank well when cold. Another cold weather suggestion are those type of batteries.

    Gary
    Good idea on component list Gary. Thatís the CTEK I use. When Iím at my cabin I use my EU2000 as well and also add a Tanis interior cabin heater into the load. The EU1000 will stay in ECO mode with Reiff and CTEK and 2000 stays in ECO mode with Tanis interior heater added in load.

    I bought the best system, a heated hangar. Cut my winter preheat chores way down, hit the door button and roll. I still enjoy being out overnight at cabin or on the trail to Nome but Iíve been winter flying for 44 years and not as spry and hearty as I used to be. My system at cabin is slick and easy, and way I look at it the hangar added years onto my desire to fly all winter in Alaska. Waiting on lengthy pre-flight in low daylight in this fog bucket called Anchorage for a break to get out of bowl is much easier in the man cave hangar rather than kicking snow next to the plane waiting to pull covers and launch when field goes SVFR or VFR.


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    One caution with forced air electric heaters like we're using are the safety thermal-cycling switch and fan blade. The unit isn't designed to run in heat mode over a manufacturer or sometimes user adjustable housing temperature. There's a bimetallic heat sensitive thermostat inside that cycles the heater coils on and off but not the fan. If it sticks closed (always heating) or fails to close (no heat) due to electrical burning or corrosion then the unit can go WFO or stop heating. Best to keep the contacts cleaned with fine emery cloth or an ignition point file. The newer fan elements on some are plastic and can warp when overheated and will stop or slow down when they hit the inside of their housing. The older ones were aluminum. Also put synthetic oil on the motor's felt lube holders and armature so it turns when cold. It'll eventually warm and run but ...

    Gary

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    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
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    Going on toooo much here but I've had luck in real cold putting the generator in an open box or container. Open top or at least vent holes...play with a design either solid or folding. When contained the engine's cooling system doesn't overcool the unit and wind and drifting snow can be somewhat excluded. They are jetted for fuel flow at reasonable temps but in real cold they'll run lean and that's not best for engine life. Blowing snow can eventually frost up the oiled air filter element and carb's internals.

    There's also an extended time run fuel cap adapter available for the 1000/2000 Hondas: https://www.fgtmotorsport.com/produc...ies-generators

    Gary
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    Quote Originally Posted by BC12D-4-85 View Post
    Going on toooo much here but I've had luck in real cold putting the generator in an open box or container. Open top or at least vent holes...play with a design either solid or folding. When contained the engine's cooling system doesn't overcool the unit and wind and drifting snow can be somewhat excluded. They are jetted for fuel flow at reasonable temps but in real cold they'll run lean and that's not best for engine life. Blowing snow can eventually frost up the oiled air filter element and carb's internals.

    There's also an extended time run fuel cap adapter available for the 1000/2000 Hondas: https://www.fgtmotorsport.com/produc...ies-generators

    Gary
    I know Gary, we have been going on here. The old McGrath trick with cardboard box propped up with stick over Honda in heavy cold. Right height stick to let air in, and not too high to keep warm in.

    After -10 or so I leave partial choke on to enrichen. They will flat quit if you donít rejet or choke. Adding some Choke is easy way. Add enough it runs and wonít quit, then add a bit more. Just like knob on dash, making it run rich of peak.

    Goodnight!


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    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
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    One more linky to the Honda generator cold WX heaters then walk the dog before bed: http://www.steadypower.com/categorie...da-Heater-Kits

    Prior knowledge here: http://www.supercub.org/forum/showth...r-for-pre-heat

    Gary

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    Cub Special Ed's Avatar
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    All great ideas. Im definatly liking a couple so far. Keep em coming. Im afraid a generators too big. On a side note, any of you know how to wash those heavy engine blankets? Thanks again.
    "There are 3 kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves." Will Rogers

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cub Special Ed View Post
    All great ideas. Im definatly liking a couple so far. Keep em coming. Im afraid a generators too big. On a side note, any of you know how to wash those heavy engine blankets? Thanks again.
    Take it to your local laundry mat......at night! I used to wash winter horse blankets that way. If they catch you, youíll find a nasty note on the front door the next time you come back prohibiting the washing of horse blankets.
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    Thanks. Wife does that with her saddle blankets. Wasnt sure if that would ruin it. Its one of them heavy insulated alsaka brand engine covers.
    "There are 3 kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves." Will Rogers

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    Quote Originally Posted by BC12D-4-85 View Post
    White gas fueled catalytics work but make lots of water...water that turns to frost when it hits cold which can freeze engine controls and fill the cockpit with a winter wonderland if the heater valve isn't closed and any leaks are present.

    Gary
    Which is why if you’re using ANY form of combustion heat, you need to position the engine controls for start PRIOR to heating......mixture rich, throttle set for start.

    Also, for those using Honda generators, get the cold weather breather kit. It’ll ruin your day, and your generator if the cold causes that breather to freeze up while you’re not paying close attention.

    MTV
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    A generator is my fav when convenient, but a Honda 1000 with a little gas in it weighs 35# and doesn't live in the plane. Sometimes the need to preheat happens when you didn't expect it so the gennie would be in the shed at home. In cold weather I take an MSR stove as survival equipment so the ammo box is an easy carry and it works great. It's a nice heat box for coffee or to warm hands or a sandwich, too. I'd like a lighter weight box but never found the need to make the time.

    Different days favor different solutions. Would I choose my ammo box to preheat in town? No. Would I carry a generator on a fly-out day to snowshoe or ski or ice fish? No.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KevinJ View Post
    Take it to your local laundry mat......at night! I used to wash winter horse blankets that way. If they catch you, youíll find a nasty note on the front door the next time you come back prohibiting the washing of horse blankets.
    In a previous life, I owned a laundromat. I used to wash coyote hides in the big washer after hours. Pissed my employee off. Hair everywhere, but the hides sure came out clean and smelled good. Use the big commercial washer for your blanket, they are designed for a lot of stuff.


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    When I had my PA18 I used this little Coleman Sportcat propane heater. I made the little deflecor shield for it. It fit in there just right with the cowl closed.

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    Last July I picked up a carbon fiber pod from Randy at Carbon Concepts. This thread got me to wondering if the Honda 1000 would fit in it OK. So this morning I checked and it slides in there nicely.

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    Predictions are for another La Nina winter. I'm hoping we get a winter like last year....lots of snow.
    Last edited by spinner2; 10-16-2017 at 11:27 AM.
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    Does it puke oil when stowed on its side?

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    Quote Originally Posted by stewartb View Post
    Does it puke oil when stowed on its side?
    I don't know. I haven't transported it on its side before. Is that a known problem?
    "Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything." Wyatt Earp

  36. #36
    stewartb's Avatar
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    I take my 2000 in my snow machine trailer and if it tips it spills oil. Maybe only on one side? I didn’t pay that much attention. Your pic had me wondering.
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  37. #37
    skukum12's Avatar
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    Like stewart says, different pre heat for different missions. I was sick of babysitting my gas fired unit for up to four hours. Here in Ak we only have a short daylight window to work with even on the best weather days. If I KNOW I am staying the night, the generator is coming. Otherwise the northern companion is in tow.

    As for home base, plug it in the night before and sleep like a baby knowing that she will be heat soaked in the morn. Staying at the cabin, the generator can be fired up while you go pack the gear, eat breakfast, hit the latrine and pre flight without open flame worry.

    Memories of a fire damaged 170 in Soldotna fill my mind.
    "Always looking up"

  38. #38

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    I would think you might run into problems with it on its side. If the oil gets past the rings and into the spark plug, or intake. Lay it on its side at home for a few days and try to start it. I would just carry it behind passenger seat.
    DENNY
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  39. #39
    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
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    Interesting question about side down travel for the gen so maybe experiment at home first. I have no idea what would happen but there are a couple of things to consider. Honda vents the carb out of the gen's case through some plastic tubing that's on the side of the oil fill cover. If the carb's inlet valve is opened due to draining some fuel then more fuel under pressure from a closed-vent tank might work its way through the carb and out the vent lines. Same for the oil breather plumbing that's on the same side on the 2000 models at least. The fuel tank outlet is lower than the carb and is pumped up to the carb.

    So I guess my inclination is to try setting it sideways with the carb/oil breather UP and see what happens. Might have to empty the fuel tank for transport and then refill before running.

    Edit: good point about the oil and rings/valves above.

    Gary

  40. #40
    Scooter7779h's Avatar
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    My plane is 12, pod a bit bigger. I slide it through door on side, then once in pod stand it up, turn it sideways and push it all the way forward. They will leak on side.

    Sent from my XT1650 using Tapatalk
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    PA-12 fan

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