Engine heaters have helped before diesel motor start-ups only, there are many other important tasks today. They can be problematic…
Engine heaters appeared more than 100 years ago, and have been used for additional heating in diesel engines since the 1920s. Since then, they have undergone a small metamorphosis - in the past they were thick spirals, made entirely of metal, today the engine heater is thin (the smallest does not exceed 3 mm!), While the core and heating element are made of ceramic. Over the years, his role has also changed.
Engine heaters - new features
In the days of simple diesels equipped with indirect fuel injection (eg atrium or vortex chamber), heaters had only one task - to help start at low temperatures. The diesel engine uses the phenomenon of only ignition of diesel fuel in the heated (compressed - compressed to 30-50 bar) air.
When it is cold outside, the air sucked into the cylinder must first be heated - otherwise the diesel cannot start. And that was the function of the engine heater for a long time, more or less until the introduction of the Euro 4 exhaust gas standard. Then it was necessary to shorten the period after the cold old, because diesel then releases the most toxic substances into the atmosphere.
How to do it? The easiest way - by heating the air in the cylinder (but also without exaggeration, because too high combustion temperature means too high emission of harmful nitrogen oxides). Therefore, in modern cars, the heater works in at least three phases: before, during and after a cold start of the engine, until it reaches a temperature that ensures relatively environmentally friendly conditions for
combustion of the mixture.
Engine heater full of electronics
However, that's not all, because in the most advanced form, the heater can, for example, support the ignition of the particle filter, and in some engines it can work even after switching off (!) - the DPF filter must not cool too much. In turn, Beru and Siemens, among others, offer engine heaters equipped with pressure sensors. Thanks to this patent, the engine control unit knows how to change the pressure in the cylinder, and in that direction optimizes the composition of the mixture. It should be as environmentally friendly as possible. And that in case of a mistake, you will sometimes have to reach deep into your pocket? Well …
Engine heater - how to recognize a fault?
When it comes to damage to any of the heaters, diesel with indirect injection can have problems starting even at a temperature of +10 degrees Celsius, and it is difficult to consider it as Arctic conditions. Just one faulty heater is enough for the engine to start shaking and smoking from the exhaust pipe. In most cases, in such a situation, the heater lights up on the instrument panel (remember that this can indicate another error - many diesel engines do not have a light. "check engine"Has already been replaced by the heater lamp).
In turn, modern common rail diesel engines look much more resistant to breakdowns, as they can start even with defective heaters and in the cold. However, this does not mean that it should be used in this way.
Engine heater - unscrewing problems
In the past, heaters only worked when the engine started, so they decayed more slowly. Driving with a faulty heater for too long leads to the deposition of sediment on the heater, and then you have a problem when trying to unscrew and replace the heater. If you want to replace it yourself, be careful when you feel great resistance when unscrewing, it is better to contact a mechanic
However, if the heater breaks during disassembly, you have two options: you must either remove the head (expensive!), Or find a professional who will remove the heater without dismantling the cylinder head. When choosing a heater, pay attention, among other things, to the rated voltage (4,4 or 11 V), temperature and heating time - no mistake! You can find the necessary information in your car's manual or in the heater manufacturer's catalog.
Modern ceramic heaters use ceramic instead of metal. There are several types, among which are: low-voltage (4,4V), fast start, high-temperature and equipped with a pressure sensor. Simply put, the heater converts electricity into heat and heats the air sucked into the cylinders. The operating temperature range of a typical ceramic heater is 1000-1300 C, it must reach 2-4 seconds!
The use of four-valve heads per cylinder in diesel engines led to the introduction of super-thin heaters. Reason? No space.
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Hi there, I am Mladen and I am an auto enthusiast. I started this blog years ago to help like minded people share information about latest cars, car servicing ideas, used car info, exotic cars, and auto technology. You will find helpful articles and videos on a wide variety of cars - Audi, Mercedes, Toyota, Porsche, Volvo, BMW and much more. Ping us if you have anything cool to share on latest cars or on how to make older cars more efficient, or just want to say hi!