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Old 02-05-2013, 11:55 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Cold weather warm up procedure

What sort of routines have people tried for their start up and drive off when it gets cold? Certainly cold is relative, but anything in the almost freezing area is cold enough for my interest. Feel free to elaborate for super cold temperatures if they get even more extreme.

My question comes from a random time when I left the car running while I scraped the frost off my windshield, and then drove to work. I had reset the trip meter before starting the car, as always. The process only took a few minutes, but when I got to work, I had seemingly much better mileage than was usual, maybe even better than some warm days. I only have a 5.2 mile commute, and certainly the daily condition can have a huge range of results depending on temperature, traffic, and the traffic signals. I have a mostly suburban street commute with speeds only approaching 50 mph on a mile stretch, the rest is 35 mph zones, with scattered stop lights that many times don't work in my favor. I can see trip mileage anywhere between 35 and 55 mpg, usually averaging 42 or so. Because of the rage, I mainly have difficulty guaranteeing that things aren't trip specific. Somebody with a more predictable commute may be able to learn more.

I have experimented a bit more about just stalling for a few minutes and then driving off, but I was hoping to hear if anybody had done any other comparisons. The auto stop function would certainly engage sooner, but I almost feel is that there is something more to it than that. My idle RPM starts at 1500 RPM cold, and I tried waiting until it had dropped to 1300 and then drive off, and that's about the only other deep testing I have done. Don't know if I should wait less or more? Something about the fact that you aren't trying to accelerate the car for the first few minutes, and are using less fuel just idling for just a little bit longer and then can use less fuel when you finally start off? Using a OBD scanner, it appears that the car goes into closed loop VERY fast. Brief inspection was kind of interesting to see what the spark timing does. It is ALL over the place, nothing like I've seen on much more "traditional" spark curves. The advance may be doing things to warm up the car even faster, but I couldn't log it.

My car is a 2007 Civic Hybrid, CVT (they all are, right?). I certainly understand that the engine control logic could be significantly different from the Insight's, but has anyone found repeatable techniques that work better? On any model? Thoughts, data, or other theories? Try it on your next drive, and help me figure out if it is just a placebo effect.

John
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Old 02-06-2013, 11:29 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Most likely it was just a combination of the car being more warmed up than normal combined with a few variables you didn't even realize. I would strongly recommend you turn the temp dial all the way to cold. It will warm up MUCH faster. The downside is that you may need a supplementary heater to keep your windshield defrosted. If it is that cold consistently, block the air flow to the radiator. It is also a big help. Check tire pressures, too. Leaving it running will help your trip mileage only because you are not counting the fuel you burned leaving it running. In reality, that fuel would be better used propelling you down the road and the engine will reach normal operating temperature sooner under load than idling, saving wear on the engine.
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Old 02-06-2013, 12:51 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Not counting the fuel while not moving, just because I hadn't driven yet, would only happen if the program had a flaw to not calculate it because mileage was already zero. It counts/measures the fuel any other time you stop and the engine still runs, but in those cases you can watch the MPG drop. In this case only, you can't see any MPG listed until you drive away. I did try once to do it without resetting it, and use two trips so you didn't have this zero MPG situation, but I end up with twice the variables of the second trip. This makes it hard to isolate, but I believe that it DOES still account for the fuel used before driving away.

I fully understand all the other ways to heat up faster and improve economy by overinflating tires, etc, but I'm only trying to consider this variable. I normally just drive away as mildly as possible without waiting, and it truly takes restraint or doing something else for a few minutes to wait for the fast idle to slow after a couple minutes.

I tried again this morning since I hadn't done it for a while, and I got over 48 mpg this morning, which is pretty much unattainable normally on my morning commute, when cold (40F or less in CA). I have been leaving the heat off in the mornings lately just because of reading the threads on that subject. It does help, but not to this same extreme. Again, there are always daily variables, but normally I struggle to get 42 or 43 on cold mornings, and getting up to 48 is usually only a warm weather luxury. I'd just like to hear other people try it and see what they think.

John
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Old 02-06-2013, 12:57 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I have always started my cold cars this way (after the era of manual chokes), and in the following order:

If car is outside, clear windows of ice/snow.
Enter car.
Start engine.
Fasten seat belt.
Drive away gently the first few blocks (no jackrabbit starts, etc.) and then normally.

With today's computerized vehicles and fuel injected engines, no need to pre-warm a car for the engine's or drivetrain's sake, and if you're in inclement weather, you should be wearing a coat and gloves anyhow, so your personal discomfort is only temporary.
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Old 02-06-2013, 01:15 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boogetyboogety View Post
..... and if you're in inclement weather, you should be wearing a coat and gloves anyhow, so your personal discomfort is only temporary.
I use this same approach, however when the ambient temp is close to or less than 10F, I put on a pair of snow pants for extra warmth.

My drive is mostly rural country roads, and having the snow pants on gives extra piece of mind if something were to happen.

Jim.
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Old 02-06-2013, 05:25 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Cold weather warm up procedure

I turn the heater off and down to 18C until water hits 90C then quickly go to 22 and back to 18. Temp drops to 85C due to the chill of the heater matrix, then I wait too its back to 90 before going to 22.

Seems to warm up much faster that way.


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Old 02-06-2013, 06:07 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Engine block heater At least one study has shown that using an engine block heater at any temperature below 10C (50F) will save energy (more energy saved from less gasoline burned than electrical energy consumed by the block heater). However, there is an optimal time interval during which to use a block heater which depends on the block heater's wattage, the ambient temperature, and the rate of heat loss from the engine block (the Insight's small aluminum engine block probably loses heat at a higher rate than a larger cast iron engine block). Between 5C (41F) and 10C, I run my block heater for no more than 1 hour.

Besides using less gasoline because the engine's idle speed and enrichment will quickly drop to normal, the heater is functional almost immediately.
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Old 02-06-2013, 07:17 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonnyvtec View Post
I turn the heater off and down to 18C until water hits 90C then quickly go to 22 and back to 18. Temp drops to 85C due to the chill of the heater matrix, then I wait too its back to 90 before going to 22.

Seems to warm up much faster that way.


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Same here, up to temp much quicker with the heater matrix out of the loop, although as soon as it hits 85 I turn temps up. It drops down to 76 which is still in lean burn territory.
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Old 02-06-2013, 11:48 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Sorry, I got the impression that you were resetting the trip meter right before you pulled out, and thus after idling. Isolating it from other variables is pretty hard sometimes. If you hit a few more lights right than usual it will help. If you have a tail wind can be worth a lot more than you think. Less traffic always helps. My commute is 13 miles, but I can always up my FE average unless traffic won't allow, and traffic is usually light.
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Old 02-07-2013, 12:23 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I'd just like to see somebody give a similar test and see what they get. Everybody will have a different commute that might help change the daily variables somewhat, and I'd just be interested in some comparisons. People have such different results with the radiator/grill block, I was curious to hear others try to "wait" a few minutes before doing their regular drive routine and see what happens. My daily traffic can be SO different, but I've had a lot of drives to see the range. Something about the slight wait just seemed to make more difference than most of my other daily variables. There are people that seem to really keep their mileage consistent, so those people would be interesting candidates to just try this pause before take-off technique and see what happens. That was all I'm after for this thread. The other heater use topics and tire pressures, and radiator blocks, all have their own threads, and so I thought this was mildly worthy of a separate topic.

Thanks,
John
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