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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Ok first of all don't laugh. For those of us with an intolerance of cold temperatures I’m wondering who here has played around with the idea of an externally powered coolant heater for those bitterly cold mornings (10 C) where it takes forever for the engine to warm up or for those of us who don’t drive our cars and merely turn the engine over once a month or so? Believe me when I tell you that 10 C is very cold by ‘princess comfort standards’ and it’s COVID lockdown here so I’m very bored and my mind turns to mischief in such circumstances.

Aftermarket kits (typically sold in northern hemispheres) allow you to install a circulating heater in the coolant lines between (for example) the water pump and the heater under the dash and are operated with the heater tap open. The heaters are plugged into an external power source several hours before you want to start the car (and turned off when you go driving) and are thermostatically operated within a range of, for example, 135 F - 175 F. This should give you a nice warm cabin as soon as you turn the blower on, but I wonder if these would also improve fuel economy and reduce engine wear.

An important question I’m a little unclear on is whether a 105 GTV 2000 will allow for coolant to flow through the engine when the thermostat in the manifold is closed (this is the thermostat that connects to the top radiator hose). For late model cars with the 3 outlet water pump this should work with the bypass hose that goes from the pump to the manifold as it would free coolant to flow through the engine and the cabin heater.

I’m not sure of the other negatives of this set up – thoughts?
 

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I'd be more worried about oil temperature because lots of damage will be done if the oil can't flow.

Pete
 

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Could you install a "block heater" - as used in the Scandinavian countries, Canada and northern USA. The heater fits in one of the core plug holes and plugs in to the mains. I think that normally they would be set to just above freezing though.
 

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Back in the days of carburetors and 10W30 oil, starting a car at subzero temperatures was a challenge. Block heaters were the norm, and they came in all sorts of shapes. The most common was the one shown on Malcom's post which involved replacing a core plug in the block. Some others were installed on a hose, either a main rad hose or a heater hose. The heat from the engine would radiate to the oil and warm it enough enough so it would flow better and let the engine spin faster. An additional heater was available in the form of a surface element that you just strapped to the pan, and a heated blanket was available for the battery.

Alfa Canada did offer an optional block heater. Alfa blocks do not have core plugs, so the heater was screwed in place of one of the big Allen plugs behind the head. I had a car fitted with it, but the wiring was shot and it didn't work anymore. The bypass circuit would have allowed the warm fluid to propagate to the heater, but as you would drive away, you would observe a big drop in temperature as the thermostat opened up and the cold coolant started to circulate. Using a piece of cardboard in front of the rad helped, and the mechanical fan didn't. Alfa did have a rubber winter front available to block the grill.

The advent of electronic fuel injection and 5W30 oil made engines strart a lot easier and batteries last a lot longer, so block heaters and other paraphernalia have almost disappeared here. We lost the advantage of warming up the cabin faster, but there are electric cabin heaters available. A local association tried to promote the use of block heaters as a greenhouse gas cutting measure, all year round: the faster your engine warms up, the less your engine pollutes. Makes sense and it probably works.
 

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I have 2 Alfa block heaters.
 

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I have seen dipstick heaters that plug into the house AC electric. This approach seems easier (to install, and use), and it make one check the oil level more often. My 2018 Giulia was optioned with a block heater.
 

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Brad: Some of us have gone back to your Apr 5, 2009 sale notice.
If there are any parts left you might want to edit the first
submission to show which items are sold.
Or maybe additions.
 

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samakijoe, I always update the 1st-page parts list.
 

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I'm sure you're right but where I'm unclear is how is this not a problem with a hot engine once turned off - oil can't flow in this circumstance?
Ignore me. After reading other posts in this subject I get now why the water is heated

Pete
 
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Having spent six or seven Alaskan winters (1960-67) running cold-blooded little European cars, and having ascertained (finally!) that running a cord out to a bathroom space heater under the hood was not doing much, I was advised that a dipstick heater beat a recirculating heater by miles. and was cheaper besides. And for once THEY were right! Hot coolant, even if recirculated, does not warm much of anything where it counts – the crankcase – but if THAT is warm then a few turns on the starter gets everything in a good mood.

Now, these may or may not still exist, and given the nanny-state tendencies of many jurisdictions may even have been outlawed. But if your cold-blooded vehicle occupies a sheltered and sheltering garage you ought to be able to devise something both safe and effective. At the very least, adding a circulating heater and further enclosing the underhood area could help a lot.
 

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My experience in little old Tas (where it’s rather cooler than West Oz, but hardly ever sub-zero) is that the heater warms within just a couple of kms, and is pumping warm air before the thermostat opens. Coolant inside the block warms up pretty fast with combustion happening and can flow thru the heater before the thermostat opens: the heater inlet hose is before the thermostat, and the return line goes to the water pump). It’s designed like that. Maybe your heater core isn’t flowing as well as it could. Unless it’s really cold, I usually have to turn mine down by the time the engine is up to full operating temp. Perhaps try a flush. A block-warmer or oil heater looks to be for Improved starting or stopping damage at freezing temperatures. You/we don’t get those.
 

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My experience in little old Tas (where it’s rather cooler than West Oz, but hardly ever sub-zero) is that the heater warms within just a couple of kms, and is pumping warm air before the thermostat opens.
Ranz: My first three Alfas were in Tennessee, which is probably not that different from Tasmania, in terms of seasonal temperatures, and frankly the only problems I had with any cooling system were with the Milano, when the electric fan went on the fritz. The 2-liter Berlina, my first, was a pig to drive on snow and ice but it did start easily … and even on the hottest days it got to 175º and stayed there, whether idling in traffic or cruising a good bit faster than the law allowed. The stubbornly decrepit '64 Giulia Sprint GT never did get made whole, really, but for all its structural faults the cooling system worked perfectly as long as I ran it.
 

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Ok, but unless I have misunderstood, the OP’s question seems to be about wanting his heater to warm up more quickly for cool mornings... hence the ‘princess’ jibe at himself... So its about heater function, not cooling, no?
 

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My 156v6 can take a while. If it was really cold it would be a problem.

I think a heated garage would be a good idea ...
Pete
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Ok, but unless I have misunderstood, the OP’s question seems to be about wanting his heater to warm up more quickly for cool mornings... hence the ‘princess’ jibe at himself... So its about heater function, not cooling, no?
Very true although I am also curious from a hypothetical standpoint on the issue of reduction of engine ware and fuel economy. And for the record Tasmania is really cold - anything below 15C is too cold for my bones.
 

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I believe block heaters improve fuel economy and reduce wear. I have installed (or ordered from the factory on new cars) block heaters in every daily driver I have owned. The startup is better and heat is delivered sooner on below 0 mornings.
 

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When I first bought an aircooled 911 I was not prepared for how instant (and engine scented) the heat would be. I like it, great cold weather cars. Always wondered about block heaters and enjoying this discussion.
 
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