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Heating Engine in cold temperatures - Printable Version

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Heating Engine in cold temperatures - Floridian - 12-27-2017

Need some help on getting working the engine pre-warmed on cold temperatures, the coach has been sitting for a few days in 20-30s and the lakes around us are frozen already so it is cold I was looking at the pre-heat switch but is not working as a on-off switch it only works as a toggle so not sure if by toggling starts heating the engine and also how do I know that it is working? Does this works by being connected to shoreline power? I should have tested this before but never occurred to me that the switch will be a toggle (it could be broken). I will be a few more days here so if I have to swap the switch is good to know how.

Thanks in advance for any help


RE: Heating Engine in cold temperatures - Tf175 - 12-27-2017

(12-27-2017, 04:12 PM)Floridian Wrote: Need some help on getting working the engine pre-warmed on cold temperatures, the coach has been sitting for a few days in 20-30s and the lakes around us are frozen already so it is cold I was looking at the pre-heat switch but is not working as a on-off switch it only works as a toggle so not sure if by toggling starts heating the engine and also how do I know that it is working? Does this works by being connected to shoreline power? I should have tested this before but never occurred to me that the switch will be a toggle (it could be broken). I will be a few more days here so if I have to swap the switch is good to know how.

Thanks in advance for any help

I'm not sure about your 88 , but on the 86 there is a 110 outlet on the bulkhead , passenger side engine bay . The engine heater plugs into the outlet which is controlled by a regular switch ( as in light switch ) in the bedroom . There is also a thermostat behind the temp/barometer above the door . If your's has the outlet in the engine bay , you can plug a light or tester into it with the switch on to check for voltage . The engine has a lot of mass  and will take some time to warm ( my book says hours) . It's working if the engine block starts to feel warm to the touch after 2 or 3 hours  , it's working . I'm a rank beginner , but that's the way the one here works .
Good luck .


RE: Heating Engine in cold temperatures - HoosierDaddy - 12-27-2017

Floridian, If that preheat is a momentary "on" toggle it may be hooked up to an ether solenoid in the engine room. My '78 had one. There was a bracket that held a standard size can of ether that was plumbed to the air intake tract. It leaked ether so I never used it. If you are near 30 degrees a good shot of ether into the intake while cranking will probably start it. It would be good to have shore power or have the genny already running so you can merge the batts to help spin the starter motor.
My '93 has a receptacle on the bulkhead like Tf is describing. Mine seems to be dead but I never run in freezing weather so I havent checked it out. I didnt think about there being a switch for it.
Some old bus-nuts friends used to line a flat pan with charcoal briquets. After letting them burn until they turned white and smoldered they would slide it under the engine to warm the oil. I am not recommending this and If I tried that I would burn it to the ground although I never heard of anyone having that happen.


RE: Heating Engine in cold temperatures - Floridian - 12-27-2017

(12-27-2017, 04:44 PM)Tf175 Wrote:
(12-27-2017, 04:12 PM)Floridian Wrote: Need some help on getting working the engine pre-warmed on cold temperatures, the coach has been sitting for a few days in 20-30s and the lakes around us are frozen already so it is cold I was looking at the pre-heat switch but is not working as a on-off switch it only works as a toggle so not sure if by toggling starts heating the engine and also how do I know that it is working? Does this works by being connected to shoreline power? I should have tested this before but never occurred to me that the switch will be a toggle (it could be broken). I will be a few more days here so if I have to swap the switch is good to know how.

Thanks in advance for any help

I'm not sure about your 88 , but on the 86 there is a 110 outlet on the bulkhead , passenger side engine bay . The engine heater plugs into the outlet which is controlled by a regular switch ( as in light switch ) in the bedroom . There is also a thermostat behind the temp/barometer above the door . If your's has the outlet in the engine bay , you can plug a light or tester into it with the switch on to check for voltage . The engine has a lot of mass  and will take some time to warm ( my book says hours) . It's working if the engine block starts to feel warm to the touch after 2 or 3 hours  , it's working . I'm a rank beginner , but that's the way the one here works .
Good luck .

That is really helpful, I've seen a power outlet in the engine bay and I was curious about why. I need to find out how to turn it on now because I haven't found a light switch inside the bedroom to turn that on. Thank you so much for that, it'll help me sleep better now that I know how to help start the coach.

By the way tonight temperature is 2 degrees.


RE: Heating Engine in cold temperatures - Floridian - 12-27-2017

(12-27-2017, 04:44 PM)Tf175 Wrote:
(12-27-2017, 04:12 PM)Floridian Wrote: Need some help on getting working the engine pre-warmed on cold temperatures, the coach has been sitting for a few days in 20-30s and the lakes around us are frozen already so it is cold I was looking at the pre-heat switch but is not working as a on-off switch it only works as a toggle so not sure if by toggling starts heating the engine and also how do I know that it is working? Does this works by being connected to shoreline power? I should have tested this before but never occurred to me that the switch will be a toggle (it could be broken). I will be a few more days here so if I have to swap the switch is good to know how.

Thanks in advance for any help

I'm not sure about your 88 , but on the 86 there is a 110 outlet on the bulkhead , passenger side engine bay . The engine heater plugs into the outlet which is controlled by a regular switch ( as in light switch ) in the bedroom . There is also a thermostat behind the temp/barometer above the door . If your's has the outlet in the engine bay , you can plug a light or tester into it with the switch on to check for voltage . The engine has a lot of mass  and will take some time to warm ( my book says hours) . It's working if the engine block starts to feel warm to the touch after 2 or 3 hours  , it's working . I'm a rank beginner , but that's the way the one here works .
Good luck .

I have the power outlet in the engine bay so I don't think I'll find an ether can in there, I need to find out how to turn on the block heater now! Thanks for chiming in.


RE: Heating Engine in cold temperatures - Fulltiming - 12-27-2017

On my 1992, the rocker switch for the engine pre-heat outlet is on the instrument panel (marked pre-heat). I have a momentary contact switch (also marked pre-heat) on the overhead console but that is for the generator glow plugs.


RE: Heating Engine in cold temperatures - folivier - 12-28-2017

On my '93 that switched outlet in the engine bay ran power to what looked like a water heater element mounted inside one of the coolant hoses. When I bought mine it didn't work so after googling about it I figured out that mine had a thermostat so it would keep a set temperature without overheating. That thermostat wasn't working so I bypassed it and hooked it up directly to the outlet. Worked fine after that.


RE: Heating Engine in cold temperatures - whatsnewell - 12-28-2017

I have an '82 Newell, and there is a 'light switch' in the bedroom and a red light that comes on when the block heater is on. There, of course, is an outlet in the right side engine bay the grounded block heater cord plugs into. Takes about an hour to pre-heat in 30 degree temps, and a little longer when colder.


RE: Heating Engine in cold temperatures - Floridian - 12-28-2017

Thank you all guys for the comments. I do have the overhead momentary switch on the AC panel so I thino that one could be for the generator (by the way is not starting either so I'll try to keep that in the on position to start the generator) but for the life of me I can't find any switch anywhere that says block heater, the one in the overhead console says preheat but so dar is the only one I've found.

if all else fails can I just connect that power cord to a regular extension connected to 110v ac? is there a limit for how long can I ran it for?

I haven't found any thermometer or anything that will let me know if the block is heating so I guess that I'll try to connect to to 110v directly and check after a while.

I tried to start the generator and the engine but it will turn an nothing else it won't start. I tried for a little while and then gave up but after I did that there was some white smoke coming out of the exhaust for a few minutes. There is a video and a picture attached of the power outlet in the engine bay.

 (video attachment not allowed)

Starting to think I won't be able to start it but must be my inexperience.

Again, thank you all


RE: Heating Engine in cold temperatures - TGDianics - 12-28-2017

Follow the line cord from the 110v outlet to the block heater, it should be warm, if not hot.