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Thread: Oil Pan or Engine Heater

  1. #1
    Registered User richardak's Avatar
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    Oil Pan or Engine Heater

    This may seem like an odd question but given the breadth of experience in these forums, someone may have run into this before. Is there any sort of oil or engine heater for an airhead? I've started commuting with my '83 R100RT w/ sidecar and this morning it was -11F. I am somewhat concerned whether the engine will start when I get ready to leave. All of the parking spots have outlets to plug in the vehicle engine heater. I don't want to just slap a silicone pad onto the oil pan. I figure that the battery tender may keep the battery charged and a little bit warmer and I already changed to lighter weight oil as recommended in the owners manual.

    Any thoughts?

    IMG_0064.jpg
    1983 R100RT hacked w/Cozy Rocket My blog
    2012 Ural Patrol
    Airhead #10576

  2. #2
    Left Coast Rider
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    Quick and dirty solution....

    Cover the bike (not the sidecar) as best you can from top to bottom. Plug a trouble light into the nearest socket and put it underneath your oil pan making sure you leave a few inches clearance from everything. Works surprisingly well.

    Try this cover..... http://www.jcwhitney.com/nelson-rigg...1109d57972u0j1

    PS Riding in minus 11 degree weather indicates that you are a very sick man. Just kidding!!

  3. #3
    Arctic Art
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    Heat

    I'd pick up a spare oil pan and grind off the the ridges on the bottom so it is a flat surface to attach a silicone heating pad.That and a battery heater blanket or pad,seems about all you can do.Unless you cover the bike with a tarp and put a heating device underneath.Good luck.1983 R100S W/sputnick in Manley AK

  4. #4
    Day Dreaming ... happy wanderer's Avatar
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    That photo reminds me of a local founding member of our BeeCeeBeemers club of some renown. His name is Phil Funnell and he was the first person to ride the Dempster Highway in winter on an R50. His solution to frozen oil was to drain his warm oil each evening into an aluminum pot which he would reheat with a gas stove in the morning and then pour it back in! To say that Phil marches to a different drummer does not begin to describe him and his adventures.
    MJM - BeeCeeBeemers Motorcycle Club Vancouver B.C.
    '81 R80G/S, '82 R100RS, '00 R1100RT

  5. #5
    Registered User lmo1131's Avatar
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    Aircraft engine heater: $120 > http://planegadgets.com/aircraft-engine-heater/



    Pick up one of those "space blankets" and a few Pony clips and you're in business.



    Just curious, is the electricity free?
    "It is what you discover, after you know it all, that counts." _ John Wooden

    Lew Morris
    1973 R75/5 - original owner

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    Quote Originally Posted by richardak View Post
    This may seem like an odd question but given the breadth of experience in these forums, someone may have run into this before. Is there any sort of oil or engine heater for an airhead? I've started commuting with my '83 R100RT w/ sidecar and this morning it was -11F. I am somewhat concerned whether the engine will start when I get ready to leave. All of the parking spots have outlets to plug in the vehicle engine heater. I don't want to just slap a silicone pad onto the oil pan. I figure that the battery tender may keep the battery charged and a little bit warmer and I already changed to lighter weight oil as recommended in the owners manual.

    Any thoughts?

    IMG_0064.jpg

    I would think?..any block heater could be installed in the pan. Particularly in one of the 'deep' pans available.

  7. #7
    Arctic Art
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    Block heater

    A block heater is for the water jacket in an engine not the oil.Never heard of one being put in the oil sump.It would seem to me that a hole in the pan for a block heater would be a lot more ooga booga than just installing a heating pad externally.
    Quote Originally Posted by 71243 View Post
    I would think?..any block heater could be installed in the pan. Particularly in one of the 'deep' pans available.

  8. #8
    Bluenoser
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    Somebody is probably going to raise a few eyebrows, but go to a 5-40 oil or something even lighter and keep the battery on the tender when at work. The lighter the oil that you can get away with will greatly aid startup. I live in a cold climate, so appreciate the lighter oils on startup, especially at -40 C/F.

    The bigger issue is making sure that the engine gets to operating temperature, not so easy to do on an airhead as the heads are exposed to the air. There will be an issue with condensation and fuel dilution of the oil. To my view not worth driving the bike in -11 F conditions.

    If it was me I personal would wait until it warms up slightly. I see snow in your picture and you only have single wheel drive ( not 2 wheel drive like a Ural ) so this will affect acceleration & braking.
    1971 R50/5 SWB with R75/6 drivetrain
    2013 DL650

  9. #9
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    " All of the parking spots have outlets to plug in the vehicle engine heater "

    Before this discussion gets to the point of spending any money you need to find out just how much electricity is available.

    How many amps to trip the breaker? Available Amps X volts(120) = watts maximum for any device you plug in
    Are you sharing your AC outlet with another parking space? or whole row of spaces? - don't answer here but know this
    before you spend your nickel

    Public parking facility may have relatively small breaker per outlet to prevent use of the high watt car interior warmers

    Thin oil 5w30 synthetic and a good battery is probably first line of defense against getting stuck - also make sure you are
    not the last one to leave the lot just in case

    More than a few years ago I remember quite often my R69S with sidecar took me to work in northern wis when my truck
    would not start below -20deg F. I used thin oil 5W 30 or maybe 5W20 dino in about 1986-1996 for a 4 mile commute.
    The old /2 would fire right off without much trouble even in that cold when my Dodge would only groan.

  10. #10
    nc bmw driver
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    Something like this?

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Wolverine-En...8041%26ps%3D54

    If your existing sump has cooling fins you may have to grind them off to attach the heating pad to the sump.

  11. #11
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    Sump Heater

    [I] highly recommend those stick on heaters.Although I have NO experience with them on bikes, I have had several on diesel cars.My current
    VW jetta has 435000 on it.I live in Canada where temps are often very cold. I find they do a good job of warming the oil which is critical to reducing wear and ensuring a quick start.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by 140008 View Post
    A block heater is for the water jacket in an engine not the oil.Never heard of one being put in the oil sump.It would seem to me that a hole in the pan for a block heater would be a lot more ooga booga than just installing a heating pad externally.
    I understand that, but they heat fluid...they don't know it's not water And I was referring to the smaller diameter design, and install it on the side of the pan/sump.

    Although I've never tried one, I'd look into it if I wanted the heat. However i have now reached the age that I wuss out, & do not ride in extreme cold...

    Ron

  13. #13
    Registered User richardak's Avatar
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    Thank you for all the comments and suggestions. I have used a lot of the silicon pad heaters over the years on a variety of vehicles.

    To answer some the the other questions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lmo1131 View Post
    Just curious, is the electricity free?
    "Free" in that there is no additional charge to plug in but there is an annual parking fee and electricity usage is included.

    Quote Originally Posted by cycleman2 View Post
    Somebody is probably going to raise a few eyebrows, but go to a 5-40 oil or something even lighter and keep the battery on the tender when at work. The lighter the oil that you can get away with will greatly aid startup. I live in a cold climate, so appreciate the lighter oils on startup, especially at -40 C/F.

    The bigger issue is making sure that the engine gets to operating temperature, not so easy to do on an airhead as the heads are exposed to the air. There will be an issue with condensation and fuel dilution of the oil. To my view not worth driving the bike in -11 F conditions.

    If it was me I personal would wait until it warms up slightly. I see snow in your picture and you only have single wheel drive ( not 2 wheel drive like a Ural ) so this will affect acceleration & braking.
    I am running 5w40 oil at these temperatures to ensure that there is oil flow even after starting. The engine heads and cylinders are to warm to touch after even a few miles of riding so I suspect that it is getting up to operating temperature even with the cold air temperatures. The efficiency of the heat transfer from engine to air would be a function of the temperature difference and an additional 40 degrees colder isn't that much compared to the temperature of the cylinder and heads.

    Studded tires are legal and with studs in the front and rear bike tires, handling starting and stopping are just fine. 1WD is more than sufficient through several inches of snow. The softer rubber of the trials tire also helps on the slicker roads.

    Quote Originally Posted by 44006 View Post
    " All of the parking spots have outlets to plug in the vehicle engine heater "
    How many amps to trip the breaker?

    Public parking facility may have relatively small breaker per outlet to prevent use of the high watt car interior warmers

    Thin oil 5w30 synthetic and a good battery is probably first line of defense against getting stuck
    Every space at my work has a separate 15 amp breaker but they will ticket you if it looks like you have an interior heater (melted snow on the windows) as it is against the parking regs due to electricity consumption. As noted above I am using light oil and the engine does start almost immediately though the starter gets very sluggish. I'm thinking that 30 years of grime needs to be cleaned out of the starter.

    Quote Originally Posted by 71243 View Post
    However i have now reached the age that I wuss out, & do not ride in extreme cold...

    Ron
    With heated gear and the barn door faring and windshield, I'm warmer upon arrival than if I taken the bus.

    What I'm thinking of doing is getting an aluminum plate and sticking on a ~100 watt silicon heat pad to and mechanically fastening it to the fins of the oil pan. There are only a couple of quarts of oil there so there may be more than enough heat transfer to keep the oil warm. My truck engine holds 12 quarts of oil and uses a 70w silicone pad but has better conductivity between the pad and the pan. Even at -40 the oil in the pan is pretty warm.

    Thank you again for the suggestions!
    1983 R100RT hacked w/Cozy Rocket My blog
    2012 Ural Patrol
    Airhead #10576

  14. #14
    Left Coast Rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by richardak View Post
    ...I am running 5w40 oil at these temperatures to ensure that there is oil flow even after starting. !
    And the question we're all dying to ask is.....Is it synthetic?

    Don't feel the need to answer as it will likely send this thread down the drain faster than your air temps after sunset.

  15. #15
    Registered User richardak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BC1100S View Post
    And the question we're all dying to ask is.....Is it synthetic?

    Don't feel the need to answer as it will likely send this thread down the drain faster than your air temps after sunset.
    Nothing like stirring the pot...

    In that vein, I'm using a synthetic blend....

    (Cheaper, probably good enough)
    1983 R100RT hacked w/Cozy Rocket My blog
    2012 Ural Patrol
    Airhead #10576

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