Hybrid Car – More Fun with Less Gas

Standby Generator Starting in cold weather - Page 4

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Posted by andre_54005 on November 28, 2005, 8:16 pm

Bruce in Alaska wrote:

And a pan of hot coals from the stove, placed under the oil pan for a
few minutes will do wonders for the cranking speed if you have the
wrong oil or a weak battery.  Toss and old blanket over the entire
engine or at least the frount end of a tractor/truck if it is out in
the wind.  Keep the blanket away from the coals, and beware of oil
dripping off the engine into the pan of coals.:)
Works even when you do not have the 1000 watts for the hair dryer.
Andre' B.

Posted by RF Dude on November 29, 2005, 3:19 am

Thanks for all the reply's.  Lets recap for the diesels:

1)  Turn down or shut off completely the 1500W kettle.  Perhap control it
with an external thermo that turns it on at say 32F/0C or even a few degrees
colder.  Experiment a bit to find the temperature that will still reliably
start the genny.  Increase the engine warm up time before applying a load.
2)  Use synthetic oil, or a 150W oil pan heater to allow the machine to turn
quickly when the starter engages.
3)  Use the engine glow plug.  But I haven't found an engine controller yet
that will automate this process for unattended operation.  Say use the glow
plug under control of a pre-heat timer.  The controller would engage this
pre-heat only under 40F for instance.  I have seen engine controllers that
have a glow plug button, but an operator must be present to engage this
(presumably after a no-start condition).
4)  Sounds like I'll have to monitor the battery very well. Trying to run a
glow plug for 3o seconds AND crank the engine would require a healthy
5)  An insulated engine enclosure with louvres that seal when engine doesn't
run is the best approach, but will add cost.

Would putting 120V trace tape heating on the intake manifold along with some
insulation assist in a hot first gulp of air?

A bus driver told me they used to use Either to start them in the dead of
winter.  But the engines weren't too crazy about it.

Gasoline engines start at very cold temperatures, so I can't imagine why a
NG engine wouldn't do the same.  Looking at the Kohler 40 kW machine, the
V-6 is the same engine as in a GM Astro van.  So one would think that only
the coldest prarie days need the coffee maker, just like a car.

Posted by Ron Rosenfeld on November 29, 2005, 1:17 pm


I have a Kohler 12kW generator set up to run on propane.  It uses a Ford 4
cylinder engine (liquid cooled).  Kohler installs a block heater on the
engine, but gives no recommendation as to what temperature it is required.

For their 20kW+ sets, they recommend that a block heater be installed if
ambient temperature will drop below 60F, but, again, don't have a
recommendation for what temperature to turn it on!

I usually plug it in if the temperature is below 32F but, since I'm
off-grid and everything is controlled by my inverters, I have it plugged
into a voltage controlled outlet which doesn't turn on unless my battery
voltage drops into the range where there's going to be a startup in about
two hours.  This gives it enough time to heat up.  It draws about 750

Obviously, this type of control would not be appropriate for a
grid-connected system where it is being used for standby power.

-- ron  (off the grid in Downeast Maine)

Posted by nospam.clare.nce on November 29, 2005, 7:30 pm


The engine will start cold if you can get the LP flowing. You need
heat for the evaporator.

Posted by Me on November 29, 2005, 8:34 pm

VERY BAD Idea, that.....Ether is a good way to kill te engine ....
especially is you don't understand the reasons that it works and why it
would be a VERY BAD Idea.........


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