Keep oil warmer during winter flight

Discussion in 'Maintenance Bay' started by josephades, Dec 28, 2017.

  1. josephades

    josephades Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2016
    Messages:
    72
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    josephades
    I fly a Piper PA-28-181 and noticed lately in the extreme cold -10c and colder that the oil temperature is only just making it to the green. This is a steam gauge so I can’t give you exact temperatures.

    Someone suggested to me that there’s an item that can be installed where it will trap the heat that the engine generates in order to keep the oil tank even warmer. If anyone is familiar with this item and can make me a recommendation, it would be greatly appreciated. This would put my mind at ease

    Bonus points if you can answer this question out of curiosity since I’m on the topic of oil - should I expect more or less fuel consumption when the oil is colder? What about when it is warmer?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 En-Route

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2015
    Messages:
    3,588
    Location:
    Vail, Arizona
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Timbeck2
    You can buy and install a plate that partially covers your oil cooler, or you can use aluminum tape like some people. This reduces the area where the cold air can get to the cooler and bring your oil temperature up. You should expect less fuel consumption because the air is more dense and you can fly with a leaner setting, it has nothing to do with oil temp.
     
  3. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2008
    Messages:
    11,031
    Location:
    mass fla
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    ron keating
    Piper had oil cooler plates for winter flying, do you need something in addition to the plat?
     
  4. Salty

    Salty Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2016
    Messages:
    1,387
    Location:
    FL
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Salty
    Say what?
    CEA2AB6D-5F29-4505-AB9F-496262903B4D.jpeg
     
  5. Stewartb

    Stewartb En-Route

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2014
    Messages:
    4,183
    Location:
    Anchorage, AK
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    stewartb
    Duct tape on the oil cooler. I use tape pretty much year round. Less in summer, more in winter. Winter fronts limit air to the cylinders and I’ve never had reduced CHTs in cold weather so I won’t use them. As for fuel? Cold air is dense and requires MORE fuel. Hopefully your carb is set up rich enough to maintain 100* plus of leaning authority in cold temps. The reality is that you’ll lean less in cold temps so your overall fuel consumption will be higher than in summer temps.
     
  6. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 En-Route

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2015
    Messages:
    3,588
    Location:
    Vail, Arizona
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Timbeck2
    Hey, I took a shot. :dunno:

    Maybe that's why I've been getting such great gas mileage. I'm a Piper pilot, I lean appropriately.
     
  7. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2014
    Messages:
    14,428
    Location:
    Behind you!
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    James331
    Drain your oil and bring it inside with you, if you're cold your oil is cold, bring em inside ;)
     
    Justin M and denverpilot like this.
  8. GlennAB1

    GlennAB1 Ejection Handle Pulled

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2015
    Messages:
    4,776
    Location:
    Home will always be Vandalia, OH
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    GlennAB1
    Your engine naturally has to work harder with colder (thicker) oil. You should see a slight reduction in fuel economy
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2017
  9. josephades

    josephades Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2016
    Messages:
    72
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    josephades
    Thanks for all your prompt responses

    @frfly172 I didn’t know such a plate existed

    I will order the oil cooler winterization plate and hopefully it will work out well

    @Stewartb definitely going to be trying your suggestion as well
     
    denverpilot likes this.
  10. murphey

    murphey Final Approach PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2008
    Messages:
    7,219
    Location:
    Colorado
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    murphey
    You are allowed to fabricate the oil cooler cover. If there's an EAA chapter locally, join it, and ask someone to help you make one.
     
  11. tawood

    tawood Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2015
    Messages:
    1,055
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Tim
    DON'T BUY A NEW ONE!!! They are ridiculously expensive for what they are (just a piece of sheet metal). Its easy to make your own. I know your oil cooler is in a different place than my 140, but it is still easy. Here is the one I made in about 30 minutes:

    upload_2017-12-28_23-16-9.png
     
    denverpilot likes this.
  12. Stewartb

    Stewartb En-Route

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2014
    Messages:
    4,183
    Location:
    Anchorage, AK
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    stewartb
    Here’s a pic of my cooler on a typical summer day. Notice the red tape is faded? I use two strips in winter and sometimes that isn’t enough. Duct taping the oil cooler is common practice.

    Watch your CHTs if you use restricter plates in the nose bowl openings. Dense air makes more power and that makes more heat. That may be counter intuitive but that’s how it works, and if your carb is borderline lean in cold temps it’ll run hot from that.

    C94BADFB-71F8-4E17-B9ED-867B8A3EBADB.jpeg
     
    Radar Contact and nrpetersen like this.
  13. timwinters

    timwinters Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2008
    Messages:
    11,392
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    X
    Almost matches your paint even! ;)

    The only difference 'twixt yours and mine is that I typically write a smart azzed note to the FAA on mine...

    Like: "FAA STC #itsf***ingcoldoutside"
     
    WannFly and Stewartb like this.
  14. champ driver

    champ driver Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2014
    Messages:
    500
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Champ driver
    Do yourself a favor and spend a little time on Google to find information about winter kits from one of the Piper Cherokee forums.
    The kit blocks air from passing through the oil cooler in temps below 50F. The kits from Piper are somewhat expensive for what they are, they can usually be made much cheaper by someone who has some sheet metal working skills. As shown, duct tape can work too.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2017
  15. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 En-Route

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2015
    Messages:
    3,588
    Location:
    Vail, Arizona
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Timbeck2
    What are those holes in your cowling for?
     
  16. Salty

    Salty Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2016
    Messages:
    1,387
    Location:
    FL
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Salty
    "Lightening" holes. :p
     
  17. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 En-Route

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2015
    Messages:
    3,588
    Location:
    Vail, Arizona
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Timbeck2
    Looks like attachment points for some sort of cover but I don't know.
     
  18. mondtster

    mondtster Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2011
    Messages:
    1,558
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    mondtster
    They're likely for the winter kit that Stewart suggested not using.
     
  19. Stewartb

    Stewartb En-Route

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2014
    Messages:
    4,183
    Location:
    Anchorage, AK
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    stewartb
    Yes, the Cessna winter front attaches to those holes. I bought a kit 20 years ago and have used it once, for about 30 minutes, and had to land to remove it as CHTs got too hot.
     
  20. murphey

    murphey Final Approach PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2008
    Messages:
    7,219
    Location:
    Colorado
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    murphey
    You can pay over $140 for Piper Part (depends on your aircarft), Oil Winterization Plate or.....

    Take the cowl off. In front of the oil cooler (big hole, in front of #3 cylinder, IIRC) there's 4 screw holes around that big hole. That's where you screw in the plate. Measure. Now find one of the EAA people around your airport, ask them nicely (chocolate chip cookies or a beer after flying) to help you fabricate (AC40B?) that plate. Every EAA builder has extra Aluminum scrap hanging around. Now you'll also need the 4 screws and locking nuts for them. I attach using only the top 2 holes.

    You may need to adjust the plate. In my cherokee, I have a 1 in round hole in the middle of the plate because when completely covered, the oil temps were getting too high.

    Like I said - go join the local EAA chapter. Amazing the help you can get.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2017
  21. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2014
    Messages:
    14,428
    Location:
    Behind you!
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    James331
    *aluminum tape

    [​IMG]
     
    Skyrys62 and Radar Contact like this.
  22. NoHeat

    NoHeat En-Route PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2009
    Messages:
    3,274
    Location:
    Iowa City, IA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    17
    Blue masking tape. Covering half of each cowl opening. About five or six pieces, overlapping. Works great. Easy. Cheap.
     
  23. mondtster

    mondtster Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2011
    Messages:
    1,558
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    mondtster
    For what it's worth, not all Cherokees have the same oil cooler configuration nor do all have a simple flat winterization plate. I seem to recall seeing a round one that was stamped aluminum and fit in the scat tube going to the firewall mounted oil cooler, on either an Archer or Arrow. Other Cherokees have a front or rear baffle mounted oil cooler that uses a flat plate like many have mentioned here.

    My suggestion would be to consult the correct Piper parts catalog to determine what oil cooler winterization plate you're supposed to have and either buy or make the correct part. I wouldn't simply guess.
     
  24. GlennAB1

    GlennAB1 Ejection Handle Pulled

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2015
    Messages:
    4,776
    Location:
    Home will always be Vandalia, OH
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    GlennAB1
    Enlightening holes.
     
  25. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2009
    Messages:
    42,662
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    DenverPilot
    Hahaha I can’t tell for sure but it looks like they frosted over the inside of the window sitting there breathing, and now they gotta figure out how to clear it before they can taxi?

    And looking out the side windows to make sure the tires aren’t sliding after startup. ;)
     
    James331 likes this.
  26. MajorTurbulence

    MajorTurbulence Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2013
    Messages:
    66
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    MajorTurbulence
    The round opening in front of the oil cooler in a Pa28-181 has two screw holes on top. The winterization plate has two slits on the bottom edge such that a tongue of aluminum wedges between two layers of the the casing in that area. This allows you to push the plate in place easily and then only have to deal with placing and tightening the two screws with lock nuts on top.

    The whole process is not my favorite chore on an icy cold day, but can be done in about 10-15 minutes in the cold after you remove the cowl.
     
  27. GMascelli

    GMascelli En-Route

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2005
    Messages:
    2,567
    Location:
    Ocean City, MD
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    GaryM
  28. MajorTurbulence

    MajorTurbulence Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2013
    Messages:
    66
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    MajorTurbulence
    Gary's photographs above show why it would be terribly inconvenient, if not impossible, if you had to deal with screws on the bottom of the plate.

    By the way, besides keeping your engine oil in the optimal range in winter, the plate will allow your heater to work very well to keep you and your passengers toasty warm.
     
  29. murphey

    murphey Final Approach PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2008
    Messages:
    7,219
    Location:
    Colorado
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    murphey
    Exactly, which is why I only attach using the top 2 screws.
     
  30. Clark1961

    Clark1961 Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    Messages:
    15,625
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Throttle
    How does your heater work? Mine routes air from behind the landing light, through the heater shroud (surrounds the exhaust pipe), then to either the defrost or floor vents. The heater air doesn’t have anything to do with the oil cooler or airflow from the pressure side of the baffles.
     
  31. MajorTurbulence

    MajorTurbulence Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2013
    Messages:
    66
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    MajorTurbulence
    Mine works exactly as you've described. It has been a while since flying without the plate in winter, but I recall that when the plate was not used in the cold weather, it made a big difference to the heaters efficiency. Maybe someone can give a better explanation, but my guess would be that that increased radiant and conductive heat of the engine decreases the heat lost by the shroud in the cold airflow.
    Anecdotally, I have been around many pilots who have flown pipers, archers and warriors and the like, with their complaints about the heaters. As I have never had this problem, except without the plate as above, it makes me think of how many pilots might have been flying without the plate.
    This is certainly an easy experiment for anyone interested whose heater seems marginal without the plate in the winter.
    The heater works so well I often have to reduce the heat lever so we in the cockpit are not too warm.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2017
  32. NealRomeoGolf

    NealRomeoGolf Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2016
    Messages:
    586
    Location:
    Illinois
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    NRG
  33. coloradobluesky

    coloradobluesky En-Route

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2014
    Messages:
    3,271
    Location:
    Colorado
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    coloradobluesky
    Just dont forget to take it off if you get a warm day in the winter, or when spring comes. It really should be in the checklist. OIL COOLER PLATE--installed (or not installed). Check.
     
  34. josephades

    josephades Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2016
    Messages:
    72
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    josephades
    Did this solution. Worked like an absolute charm today in the -10c weather