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Freeze plug / block heater

 
Old 06-14-2019, 07:11 PM
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Afternoon folks,

Wifey wants to be able to thrash the car after plugging it in for an hour or so. Miatas are tiny and lightweight, so being able to get out if the way of something is nice without being worried about a cold motor. Plus, it would be nice to not have to warm a car up as much on the track. There are tons of options on the market, just want to hear what y'all like.

For you poor souls who live in an area where you can't run summer tires all year 'round, have a good block heater recommendation?

Thanks,
-Bob
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Old 06-14-2019, 08:12 PM
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weird request. You live in Louisiana.
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Old 06-14-2019, 09:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Mudflap View Post
weird request. You live in Louisiana.
Exactly why I thought I'd ask, I've never fooled with one. She wants warm oil and coolant before the car cranks.

"OK hun, I'll figure it out" is the only answer I can give. It is a reasonable request...I guess. She's bankrolling half most of it.
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Old 06-14-2019, 10:34 PM
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only reference i found said a block heater would get your engine to about 100F. Which is about 2 minutes of engine time. 5 minutes will get my car to about 150F. If she doesn't have 5 minutes to spare, man, abandon all hope.
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Old 06-14-2019, 11:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Mudflap View Post
only reference i found said a block heater would get your engine to about 100F. Which is about 2 minutes of engine time. 5 minutes will get my car to about 150F. If she doesn't have 5 minutes to spare, man, abandon all hope.
Sure that is correct, assuming it is like -10 F outside...you probably can only get it to 100F. That's a 110 F temperature difference between the block and ambient. If it is already 90 F outside you could probably get it to ~200 F before it levels out.

I've seen old dirt track / circle track / etc guys do stuff like this. Plug in a 1000 Watt plug or two in the coolant or oil pan an hour before a race and you can go immediately on hot coolant and/or oil. Well funded teams and formula engines can circulate preheated oil and coolant before you even crank the car. She got this idea when she heard high end Formula teams actually have to preheat the engine to get the proper piston to wall clearances to even crank the thing.

It was a stupid post now that I think about it. :P A heating element...is a heating element, as long as I don't buy it off of ebay it probably should be fine.
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Old 06-15-2019, 02:25 PM
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I went with the adhesive pad style on the bottom of the oil pan. IMO, if the priority is minimizing engine wear during warm up you're more concerned about oil temp than coolant temp. I checked the pan temp with a temp gun and was impressed with how warm it got things. I don't remember the numbers though.

The heaters that replace a freeze plug are more for the people that want warm air from the heater ASAP.
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Old 06-15-2019, 02:30 PM
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Beating on cold engines is never good, but the real question here is: how much do you care about the car and how long do you want to make it last.
Worst example would be something like a BMW S65 / S85 which can nuke its con rod bearings in less than 60k miles if you beat on it cold.
Other engines will probably last a little bit longer when being beaten on when cold and all you are doing is accelerating the wear and reducing its life time.
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Old 06-15-2019, 08:11 PM
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Originally Posted by SpartanSV View Post
I went with the adhesive pad style on the bottom of the oil pan. IMO, if the priority is minimizing engine wear during warm up you're more concerned about oil temp than coolant temp. I checked the pan temp with a temp gun and was impressed with how warm it got things. I don't remember the numbers though.

The heaters that replace a freeze plug are more for the people that want warm air from the heater ASAP.
Hmm. Thanks, this helps alot! I'll probably weld a bung tapped either NPT/AN on the oil pan and throw a 1500 W diesel heating element in there. I'm already going to tap/weld for an oil return and an oil temp gauge.

Originally Posted by DaWaN View Post
Beating on cold engines is never good, but the real question here is: how much do you care about the car and how long do you want to make it last.
Worst example would be something like a BMW S65 / S85 which can nuke its con rod bearings in less than 60k miles if you beat on it cold.
Other engines will probably last a little bit longer when being beaten on when cold and all you are doing is accelerating the wear and reducing its life time.
We don't let the Fiesta get into real boost (more than 7-8 psi) until it has been driven 10 minutes to warm up the oil. It is also a DI 1.6L turbo doing 26 psi...so the OEM headroom to gas it when cold is just gone. I've got info from the ECU about coolant temp, but oil is a calculated number instead of a sensor...so I'm careful and she is careful.

We want to take the same precautions with the Miata...but it is approaching the size where you need to drive with a motorcyclist's mentality. The Fiesta is a few hundred lbs heavier, has like 8 airbags, and modern crash structure. I just don't want to have to give it a little power to get out of the way and spin a rod bearing.
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Old 06-16-2019, 08:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Xaendeau View Post
We want to take the same precautions with the Miata...but it is approaching the size where you need to drive with a motorcyclist's mentality. The Fiesta is a few hundred lbs heavier, has like 8 airbags, and modern crash structure. I just don't want to have to give it a little power to get out of the way and spin a rod bearing.
How long do you want the thing to last then? At least 250.000 miles?
First of all you are in Louisiana, so your cold starts are not nearly as demanding as in other climates. Second thing is, by the time you are in a situation where you want to use the power of the car you are already driving for a few minutes and you already have a little bit of heat in the oil.
I have once heard an OEM engineer say they will put the engines under full load as soon as they hit an oil temp of 50*C / 120*F and I think they do not even care about coolant temp very much.
Just use quality oil and keep the interval short and I am sure your engine will be fine.
Here in Europe we have cold starts well below freezing and people are beating their small turbo charged engines cold all the time. Most of those engines will last during within their warranty period of ~100.000 miles if the oil changes are done correctly.
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Old Yesterday, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by DaWaN View Post
How long do you want the thing to last then? At least 250.000 miles?
First of all you are in Louisiana, so your cold starts are not nearly as demanding as in other climates. Second thing is, by the time you are in a situation where you want to use the power of the car you are already driving for a few minutes and you already have a little bit of heat in the oil.
I have once heard an OEM engineer say they will put the engines under full load as soon as they hit an oil temp of 50*C / 120*F and I think they do not even care about coolant temp very much.
Just use quality oil and keep the interval short and I am sure your engine will be fine.
Here in Europe we have cold starts well below freezing and people are beating their small turbo charged engines cold all the time. Most of those engines will last during within their warranty period of ~100.000 miles if the oil changes are done correctly.
Appreciate it. I'm probably just going to put a third bung in the oil pan and not worry about it too much. I'm sure 170-180 F oil would be good to go even if the coolant temps aren't up yet. I think we are just overthinking a few things. We would be changing the oil extremely frequently. An autocross season or a single track day more or less mandates an oil change anyway.
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