D.I.Y. Engine Preheater





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Published on Dec 28, 2007

This is a preheater I made out of an ammo can, some flexible aluminum dryer hose, a dryer conduit nipple, pig putty, and an MSR XGK camp stove. The video demonstrates setting it up and lighting it.

I got this idea from an Alaskan flyer who posted on a web forum. His design had two hoses, but my aircraft has retractable gear therefore ample room for one big hose through the gear door under the cowling.

I built this primarily because I wanted a "simple" and very portable heating solution since I am based at a tie down with no electricity. Will also come in handy when away from home at a lonely strip ;-)

Basically, I cut large holes around the bottom of the ammo can... over 1 inch diameter on the ends, the long sides I used smaller holes. Jig sawed a large 4 inch hole in the lid for the conduit nipple and used high temp pig putty (plumbers epoxy) to seal it in. I have a peice of safety wire to hold the dryer hose in place on the nipple, and also a loose one to hold it from extending when not in use. The hose is fairly limp when extended, it will extend to 5 feet... I just extend what I need and shove it up in the cowling.

The camp stove will burn any kind of liquid fuel, gasoline (unleaded), white gas, kerosene, Jet-A, diesel etc. The bottle is 20 oz. and should last up to 2+ hours.

Lighting the heater requires it's own prime and preheat. Give the bottle a few pumps. Let some fuel into the heater bowl, light it. Let it heat the jet and bowl up... when it starts "poofing" it's ready to crack the valve a little. Eventually you end up with a nice blue flame, the bowl will glow red.

It cools down fast after shutoff also. When outside in cold temps, the whole thing is cool enough to touch within 2 minutes.

At 16F with calm winds, no cowling plugs or engine blanket, it melted the ice off the cowling and heated the engine to 40F within 35 minutes. The bottom of the crank will be the hottest being nearest the tube. Give it a few minutes after preheating to normalize the temps a little before starting.


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