Engine oil pan heater
26 Posts
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.
8 Replies
Ron - here is a pic from the Tanis install manual. As you can see there is a heating element placed on the top of the crankcase parallel to the split.

Just took a look at the Tanis website. The 6 cylinder kit includes two pads, one designated as a sump heater the other as a crankcase heater. On my engine it looks like the only area suitable for the crankcase heater is the top of the crankcase. 
The Tanis system had been installed prior to my purchasing the aircraft. It had a sump heating pad, 6 cylinder heaters and a top heating pad. Both sump and top pad are identical. Haven't checked to see if this was oprional or not. The engine is a TSIO360. 
1155 Posts
David Lewis:
My aircraft had a Tanis heater installed, I only run the heating pad on top of the engine continuously while the oil cap is removed for ventilation. 

I was not aware of a "heating pad on top of the engine" being part of a Tanis system.  To my knowledge and according to Tanis's web site, their systems include an oil sump heating pad plus cylinder head probes (legacy systems) or bolts (current production). Can you explain further?

My aircraft had a Tanis heater installed, I only run the heating pad on top of the engine continuously while the oil cap is removed for ventilation. Through conduction this will raise the temperature of the cylinders and other parts slightly above ambient so as to reduce condensation within the engine. The aircraft is kept in a hanger, the engine gets cold during the night then the warmer moist air during the day can cause internal condensation. As Gary Hall correctly pointed out heating the oil pan releases moisture from the oil that can then condense on parts of the engine leading to corrosion.
Just my two cents.
Happy flying! 
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.