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Coolant circulation heater in a gasoline vehicle

02-08-2020, 11:26 PM
I've had no luck keeping my gasoline engine warm in the winters here in North Dakota. In my research I've come across an industrial application for diesel generators and machinery where they have a "forced flow circulation heater" heating and circulating the coolant/antifreeze while the equipment is not running to keep things from freezing, powered by cord the same way trucks have for their engine block heaters. I have a BMW 535i xdrive and there is not option for a real block heater and these silicone pad heaters tend to not heat keep things from freezing, a few weeks ago I had the antifreeze... Well freeze and cracked my thermostat and reservoir as well as my oil froze and damaged my oil filter cap. I'm getting tired of throwing money at my car like this and am looking to end the cycle of damage.

02-09-2020, 09:02 AM
I cannot imagine a temperature cold enough in the US for the oil to expand so much that it would crack the filter cap. And if the coolant was properly mixed and in decent shape it shouldn't have frozen enough to crack the thermostat housing and reservoir. Hopefully when you fixed the damaged items you also flushed the respective systems of fluids and installed fresh.

The diesel machinery probably used these heaters more to prevent the fuel from gelling in the engines rather than to keep the oil and coolant warm. Since gasoline does not have a gelling issue, that could explain why such a system is less common on gasoline engines. The engine block heaters tend to be installed more for the driver's comfort than to keep the coolant or oil from freezing.

Now with that said, I've never experienced a North Dakota winter and we hire a lot of graduates from there. They often make comments about looking forward to our mild Iowa winters. :)


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