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michel88

Warming up your engine

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I have always felt it is important to warm up an engine before running at full throttle. I have seen a lot of guys start up cars even in cold weather an immediately take off and red line the engine in each gear. I believe the best method is to start the engine, let it run about 45 seconds to a minute and then drive very gently until it fully warms up. Then it is O.K. to run the car hard.

Jay Leno has a new website that is very intersting. One of the features is called GM minute. One of the topics is "Warming up your engine." It is confirming what I thought and also has good advice for breaking in a new engine. Check it out at www.jaylenosgarage.com

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In warm weather I let my car idle about 2 minutes upon first starting it. In the winter I let it run several more before driving. Once warmed up if I shut it off for any reason I see no need to let it idle after starting. Back in the days when I used to pull a trailer in warm weather I would allow the engine to run for no less than a full 5 minutes before taking off. In cold weather I allowed it to idle 10-15 minutes before driving away.

The way I see it if the engine has been off long enough to cool completely most all the oil has drained off the upper cylinders and heads. The oil being cold it would take a while before it thinned out enough to lubricate freely, as it was designed to do. Allowing the engine to idle a few minutes gives it time to warm and circulate the oil. Driving it while cold will not hasten the process but will instead cause damage, along the lines of adding miles prematurely.

I look at it like basic maintenance, just like keeping your oil changed. It this case it cost only a few minutes of your time and goes a long way in taking care of your engine.

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Bascially, the biggest concern to make sure that lubricating oil is getting to all points before putting heavy load on the engine... this may take as little as 30 seconds in a "modern" full-pressure engine (post-1935 for most makes...)

About 20 years ago, I picked-up a great little book: "Drive It Forever", by Robert Sikorsky, S.A.E.

My edition has a front cover picture of a '57 or '58 Mercury...

The book is a fairly scientific, yet easy to read treatise on what factors destroy a car/ engine, and how to minimize these factors and maixmize the life of most any internal-combustion vehicle.

There is a chapter on "Engine Warm-up"...

Basically, Sikorsky suggests that as soon the oil-pressure has come up to "normal", the vehicle may be put into gear and driven, being gentle on things like acceleration and max RPM until the coolant and oil have reached normal operating temperature.

Full-throttle operation is never encouraged, but especially not with an engine that is not warmed-up: no repeated revving, no full-throttle starts; but "excessive idling" ( more than 30 seconds ) is also discouraged, as this prolongs the warm-up period and contributes to crankcase dilution. Also encouraged are use of a thermostat or at least a "winter-front", to bring the engine up to operating temperature as quickly as possible. And push-in the choke as soon as is feasible.

Sikorsky also stresses the danger of "short-trip operation", where the engine never gets completely warmed-up, and is repeatedly operated with the over-rich start-up mixture... this also contributes to crankcase dilution and acid-build-up in the oil. This is even more likely to happen when non-detergent oils are being used....

A further concept he offers is "cold-start wear"... his research indicates that "90% of all wear in an internal combustion engine occurs during the first 10 seconds of operation. This is equivalent to approximately 500 miles of highway travel on a wamred-up engine." This is the result of moving parts operating with reduced oil film, due to drain-back while the engine has stood idle.

His big-picture point is to "not start the engine at all, unless you're going to go somewhere, and get the use out of the vehicle to justify all the cold-start wear we're imposing on the engine. Once the engine is warmed-up, repeated starts do not cause nearly so much wear, as more oil is left on the friction surfaces."

A further corollary is to try to drive the vehicle enough each trip so that the engine reaches operating temperture AND stays-there for at least 15 minutes; this gets the engine oil hot enough for a long-enough period of time to vaporize and remove the acids and cold-start blow-by from the oil....

And when returning home from that trip, to go ahead and put the vehicle away at that time(if we're done with it for the day), rather than park it in front of the house, letting it get cold, and then going through the whole cold-start start wear cycle again, just to put it the driveway or garage...

For what all of that is worth...

I generally follow Sikorsky's "30-second warm-up rule" in colder weather, the drive 'em gently until they're fully-warmed-up.

The owners manual for my 1954 Chevrolet truck ( full-pressure insert-bearing engine) says something about letting the truck run at fast idle until the oil-pressure needle drops to around the center of the gauge ( back in the days of single-viscosity, non-detergent oil)... this would mean about 10 minutes of idling... seems excessive to me; this truck also did not come with an oil-filter, I might add...

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I like to warm up my cars the way my grandfather taught my grandmother. Start the car, and then immediately and repeatedly rev it up to about 9000 RPM for about 10 minutes. The black and blue smoke coming out the exhaust pipe tells you that it is getting warm, like a fire in a fireplace.

Treating the car like this should help your engine last 5-7,000 miles, <span style="font-style: italic">easy.</span> <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/crazy.gif" alt="" />

No wonder her otherwise flawless "little old lady special" 25,000-mile original 1970 Olds Cutlass ran like it had 225,000 miles on it, belching blue smoke like a steam locomotive...

In reality, I've always waited a few seconds for oil pressure to come up, give it a few extra beats to make sure it has reached the top of the engine, then drive gently until everything is up to temperature. In cold weather, I'll even leave it out of overdrive to help the process without excessive engine speed. It may even help recharge the battery a little faster, who knows? I guess I follow Sikorsky's advice, though I got mine from Click and Clack!

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I had a '61 Plymouth Belvedere that was a 32,000-mile little-old-lady short-trip special...

It was in excellent cosmetic condition when I bought it in 1989, and according to the service station stickers along the door pillar, was driven less than 1,000 miles a year.

At 32,000 miles, the 318 A-motor ran great, but burned oil quite a bit... I also noticed all this brown film along the dipstick above the oil level in the sump. It wouldn't wipe-off, even with solvent. I finally cleaned the dipstick one day with 600-grit paper, which removed the brown film... and revealed fine black pitting... the exposed parts of the dipstick had been etched by acids building up in the crankcase... probably the same had happened to the cylinder walls, and rings...

I forgot to add that in addition to getting the engine warm and keeping it there for a while, for those vehicles that depend on the road-draft tube(if there is one) for crankcase ventilation, a good run on the road at normal operating temps is essential for air exchange to occur with the crankcase: out with the bad air, in with the good... this does not happen when the vehicle is idling/running in place...

So those Knuckle-heads, Click & Clack actually gave somebody some useful advice ? <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" /> It was a nice touch for them to be included in "Cars"... <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />

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I like to warm up my cars the way my grandfather taught my grandmother. Start the car, and then immediately and repeatedly rev it up to about 9000 RPM for about 10 minutes. The black and blue smoke coming out the exhaust pipe tells you that it is getting warm, like a fire in a fireplace.

I once had an 85 year old next door neighbour who rarely drove his old 75 Pontiac but he would wait until the temperature would get down to -30 or -40 ,plug the block heater in for a couple of hours, then crank the engine over until it started , rev it up immediately and hold it at about 5-60000RPM a few times and then shut it off and go back indoors. He "just wanted to know that it would go if he ever needed it." <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

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I still remember my dad hooking up an extension cord to the porch light fixture and leaving a bare lightbulb buring under the hood of our car on cold nights. He was the city editor for the evening paper and had to be at work at something like 6 A.M., since the deadline for production was 10 A.M., so the car had to start very early in the morning.

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It seemed to. He would put the bulb under the hood after he got home while the engine was still warm from the sixteen mile drive home. I guess it kept the engine from going completely cold. He used a 100 watt bulb. If it was going to be very cold and was not going to snow (didn't want the blankets to stick to the hood) he would add a couple old blankets on top of the hood to help hold the heat in. As far as I know he never missed work because the car wouldn't start. It also helped to keep the battery warm so that was part of it also.

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cool.

and that is terrible, that guy that revved the crap out of his 75 buick. <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/crazy.gif" alt="" />

no seriously if i had a neighbor like that and i saw that happening i would be flying out the door to tell him to stop! (politely of course) id tell him why not to and probably offer to do it for him a couple times weekly if he wanted. i love helping out neighbors/friends with car/outdoor power equipment/mechanical stuff related problems/issues.

along these lines theres this kid whos now a senior at my HS (im in my first year in college) and last year i remember him with his early 90's integra rice-mobile, it would be the end of the day, like 0 degrees out, he might as well have been standing on the gas and then cranking it. those little honda motors go to like 7000 rpm or something, well he was using all of em! complete idiot. at the end of the year the car was half champagne/half primer red, with a huge ROUND RED wing on the back like it belonged on a supra or something, not a boxy integra. the things also a heap, fairly rusty and the paint is worn. the guy thinks hes hot stuff.

my friend whos also a senior says he heard the kid replaced the engine once already, LAST YEAR! and hes been through like 3 clutches, cant take off well. revs it WAY up and slowly eases off the clutch, then STILL manages to pop off too soon and the thing practically dies. this process takes like 10 seconds. poor car.

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">...the things also a heap, fairly rusty and the paint is worn. the guy thinks hes hot stuff.</div></div>

But I bet he has a very expensive sound system in it. That seems to be the norm around here for many of the local young guys, and a few of the girls. Drive a POC car but the sound system will rattle the teeth of a dead man in his grave.

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Zonda,

I have an "auto engine heater" from the 1930's that is basically a metal version of a kerosene lamp, without the glass chimey.... instead there is a perforated metal cylinder over the round wick that is supposed to contain the open flame... <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/shocked.gif" alt="" />

I can just imagine the results of parking this puppy under some old updraft-carbureted drippy jalopy and then going to bed...

It is a larger version of the old "smudge-pot" type of road-way safety flares... basically a tikki-torch without the bamboo poles and luau <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />...

It looks un-used, and it will stay that way as long as I own it ! <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />

I've heard of the hundred-watt bulb drop-cord; blankets over the hood; draining the coolant each night and keeping it near the furnace; also have run across the occasional car that had a block-heater or dipstick heater.

Our friend Mr. Sikorski believes that anything along these lines that keeps the engine warm

(without risking tragedy), and therefore shortens the warm-up time when we do go to start, is beneficial.

If I have to start something in the the really cold weather, particularly if it hasn't been run for several days, I will often give it a litte shot of starting fluid... sometimes it makes the difference between "go" and "no-go"...

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I was in graduate school in Iowa with a 1960 Falcon as my only transportation. At one point we had a record cold spell where it didn't break zero degrees F for 8 days (<span style="font-style: italic">high</span> temperature!). I got to be very good at cold starts.

I traded out the original open element air cleaner for a later model closed unit, and covered the grille with cardboard (which didn't work that well until I fashioned it into an ugly, aerodynamic beak flush with the hood--keeping air out of a '60 Falcon grille is tough). Even with a hand choke the car would normally need ether to start below 5. Below minus 10 I'd have to be sure to park the car facing into the sun (at the time I expected to start it) to get it to start. At home I used a "doughnut" type heater on the lower radiator hose, which negated the need for ether or solar power.

I used a 100W light bulb briefly while there. It was better than nothing, but one serious cold spell was enough to send me to Sears for the doughnut heater. It was <span style="font-style: italic">much</span> more effective.

I've <span style="font-style: italic">always</span> followed the advice given my Mr. Banks re. warming the engine on Jay Leno's web site. Although I have been known, especially with the hand-choked Falcon, to allow the car to warm-up in gear--creeping my way out of long driveways or distant student parking lots where practical. At that time I needed to get the most out of my gas money. I'd never touch the gas pedal for the first few minutes, however.

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I lived in Northern Montana in the late 50's, and head bolt heaters were common place. As I recall, you removed a headbolt, and replaced it with a special bolt that had an electrical cord attached. It would keep the water warm. Just about every car you saw, had a plug hanging through the grill, which you attached to an extention cord when you arrive home at night. I was but a whisp of a ladd at the time, so I don't know much about them, but I guess they worked, 'cause everybody had one.

I then moved to sunny So Calif and lived happily ever after. I worked for Oldsmobile in the 80's, and rebuilt/replaced many, many diesels. Everyone of them came from the factory with an electrical heating unit in the right front freeze plug. I suppose they were neccessary if you live in cold climate. We always removed them and replaced it with a standard freeze plug.

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I suppose I've been lucky, even when living in the vast wasteland known as the "Great White North" I didn't have much trouble with cold starts. Sometimes the old 8N was a bit slow cranking, but if I had run the carb dry the last time I used it, it would start every time. My parents used a dipstick heater if it was going to be below 0 for a few days. My Father was tough on cars with the cold starts. He would fire it up, and as soon as it fired he would wind it up for about a second and toss it into gear before the engine even dropped all the way back to high idle. I was amazed that he never puked a rod, broke a transmission or spun a bearing. When he retired in the early 70s he quit buying new cars every 3 years and had to make his cars last. To him that just meant washing it every month and changing the oil 3x a year rather than just 2x. When he got rid of a car, it was usually around 80-100K miles, and junk. (when I get rid of a car, it's always over 200K and still runs and drives well.

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Dave,i had forgot about the cardboard. i had a 1976 duster which at 10 below zero would start blowing the horn.the first time it happened it was 3 am.it was like someone was just beeping the horn every couple seconds.freaked me out thinking someone was in the car.so i would have to unplug the horn relay at night.it was also a car that had no heat so winter was loads of fun <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

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The twin Beech 18 aircraft I used to fly had an oil dilution system for cold weather operation. It diluted the oil with gasoline after shut down so it would be easier to crank once it got cold. The gas would evaporate after the engine warmed up. Some DC-3's had the system also. I've heard that bush pilots in Alaska used to drain the oil at night and keep it by the stove till the next morning......bob

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body"><div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">...the things also a heap, fairly rusty and the paint is worn. the guy thinks hes hot stuff.</div></div>

But I bet he has a very expensive sound system in it. That seems to be the norm around here for many of the local young guys, and a few of the girls. Drive a POC car but the sound system will rattle the teeth of a dead man in his grave. </div></div>

yeah he probably does. i recall seeing a HUGE (12" diameter or so) speaker/subwoofer on the "shelf" behind the back seats so you could see it through the back window. it wasnt hooked up. it was also just sitting there, as in NOT mounted into the shelf. so you could see the back of the speaker, not just the cone. and it was painted these weird colors, looked like a little kid did it. at first the thing actually looked fake to me! but a closer look showed wires, but again hooked to nothing! <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/shocked.gif" alt="" /> <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

my cousin has a 1996 honda del sol, and unfortunately he has a fart-can exhaust on it but hes actually turbocharged it, it has a headers, the exhaust setup does flow well, etc. no body kit at all! so hes mainly put money into actually making it more powerful. i actually respect him for that.

nice stories everyone! i love hearing about how this stuff was dealt with way back when!

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In 1983/4 my brother's 1974 Ford Van had 8 speakers, 4 of them 12", with a 300W amp to drive them all.

This was <span style="text-decoration: underline">not</span> a "sin bin", it was a work van. There was <span style="text-decoration: underline">no</span> upholstery/carpeting/headliner/door or wall panels/etc.

If you heard Alan Parson's Project playing somewhere in town, you knew my brother was less than a mile away. <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/blush.gif" alt="" /> <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

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When I was in college I drove a hand-me-down 66 Ranchero with a 200cid 6 in it. If someone was watering a lawn 3 blocks away the ign system would get wet and the car would misfire. My wintertime starting proceedure was to 1. Remove 100w light sitting next to the dist. 2.Place a gunnysack in front of the radiator to reduce airflow. 3. Start engine 4. Eat breakfast 5. remove blanket from windshield and freeze my a** off driving 45 min to school.

If it was raining I would place a scrap piece of a tarp over my right leg to keep the dripping water off it.

And this was in Calif!!

Bill

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critterpainter ,its amazing we all love old cars still <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> one of the worse winter cars i had was a 64 chevelle ragtop.which was a real ragtop.mostly just the frame of the top was left.it was a $35 special.i used to wear a snowmobile suit to drive it to work.a couple times i had to shovel it out.but it had a rebuilt 6 that started and ran no matter how cold it was <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

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sorry i used the tin cup to patch a hole in an old mopar a while back but thanks for the offer. <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />but to get back on topic how long you warm up the car really depends on the temp at the the time you start it.i always let my older cars warm up a minute or two in the summer.about 5 minutes in the winter.i do believe it helps make the motor last longer.my new cars i let warm up also[old habits]

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Ok, on subject......I own many vehicles. I have started them and immediately started driving them even in below freezing weather, down to at least zero degrees. This includes heavily laden tractor trailers. Other than getting the air pressures up on the trucks, driving off at a normal to slow speed heats up all parts of the drive train at the same time. If I would have let the engine pre-warm itself, there would be undue strain on the transmission, and rear gears as you accelerate a little faster, not thinking about the cold gear oil. I've never had a problem with lubrication using this manner of operation, but driving "slowly" under these conditions is the important part of the equation. My personal opinion and experience, of course! <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

Wayne

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