Engine oil pan heater
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26 Posts
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I have an oil pan heating pad (attached via adhesive applied to bottom of my oil pan).  This device is like "heat tape", and basically heats up the oil indirectly by heating up the pan it sits in.  

Of course, as an aircraft owner, I'm aware of the importance of flying my aircraft regularly, and of course I attempt to do that.  However, as many busy professionals know, life sometimes gets in the way (curiously more often when it's cold ;-) and prevents my flying as much as I would like to.

Are there any concerns about leaving this type of oil pan heater plugged in all the time throughout the winter, or should I plan to go out to the airport a couple hours before flying to plug it in each time?  Any advice on this equipment would be most appreciated.
3 Replies
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Regarding this cellular relay switch, does your cell phone service needs to be provided by a particular carrier(s)? thks. I NEVER keep my engine heater plugged in, if I plan to fly in the morning, I plug it in the night before. If I plan to fly later in the day, I plug it in the morning. In addition, using an Engine Saver ( I purchased mine from aircraftspruce.com) helps greatly keeping moisture out of the cylinders which prevents corrosion build up on the cylinder wall.
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1069 Posts
What he said.  But one thing you can do to save yourself going out a couple of hours before flight is to get a cellular relay switch so you can turn it on remotely with your phone,
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In addition to driving up your electric costs, it's not advised to leave it plugged in due to inducing corrosion in the cylinders.  Basically as it was explained to me, the sump pad heats the oil to near boiling, so it releases the moisture that's in the oil.  That moisture will rise and get up into the cylinder heads and condense, causing corrosion in the cylinder.  We just had our engine torn down and inspected due to a sheared through bolt and they found corrosion on the cylinder wall.  Our first year, we did exactly what you are asking, and left our heater plugged in all winter.  That engine was only 281 hours SMOH.  The advice I was given by the engine rebuild company was to only plug it in a few hours before the flight to warm the oil enough to get good lubrication and flow during start up.  Hope that helps and happy flying!

Blair