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​Hydraulic Lock In Cold Weather

December, 2017

Most who use vehicles and equipment in cold weather know that diesel engines are harder to start in cold weather (below 40 deg. F). Among several possible causes the most common may be due to the lube oil in the engine crankcase being thicker when cold. The starter cranks slower as a result.

Diesel engines must have a fast spin to create the compression in the cylinders that cause combustion of the fuel. Heating the oil pan lube oil helps the starter and battery achieve the fast spin and easier cold weather starting. With injectors and the injection pump in good shape the engine will be ready to work soon after starting. Preheated engine oil shortens the wait time to achieve operating temperature that leads to profitable operations.

Another factor, hydraulic lock, is often overlooked when starting diesels in cold weather. Equipment designed with the hydraulic pump direct connected/coupled to the engine will turn over less easily because of the increased drag from the hydraulic system cold oil. The result may be that the engine does not spin fast enough to start readily being held back by the hydraulic system. Install a Universal Preheater (sized for the tank capacity) on the hydraulic reservoir as close to the pick-up tube in the tank as possible. This position provides the heated oil as the first oil available to the hydraulic pump. The heated hydraulic oil helps to reduce the drag on the engine at startup and make starting easier.

The water (condensate) in the hydraulic oil shortens the life of the hydraulic pump and other components.

E TIP, Inc. offers a wide range of sizes in the Universal Preheater that are designed to deliver the heat necessary to make winter starting easier and to deliver several other features that help to extend engine and hydraulic system life. Installing the Universal Diesel Fuel Filter Preheater also helps to improve engine/machine performance by preventing gelling of the diesel fuel in the fuel filter.

Engines during cold weather operations achieve operating temperatures after starting and continuous operations until shut down. At shutdown, the hot engine internal components are suddenly exposed to cold temperatures and this creates condensation that drips down inside the engine into the engine oil inside the crankcase. The cycle repeats itself each time the engine runs up to temperature and is shut down. The accumulation of the condensation in the oil pan can even turn the oil a milky color. Install a Universal Engine Oil Preheater on the oil pan and plug it in at shut down heating continuously until start up again. This maintains the oil temperature and avoids the formation of condensation. There is usually a much shorter warm up time for the engine.

Water (condensate) in the engine oil does not lubricate but instead creates excessive wear throughout the engine especially in the crankshaft and bearings.

Mounted on the outside of the housing (no leaks) Universal Preheaters are thin silicone pads designed to deliver heat directly to the engine oil pan or the hydraulic reservoir. These are available in 120v and 240v and should be sized according to the capacity of the engine oil pan or the hydraulic reservoir. Exclusive flexible ceramic insulation pads are added on top of the Preheater to drive more heat into the housing. Universal Preheaters do not burn the oil.

The ‘Peel N Stick’ kits offered by E TIP, Inc. deliver easier, faster starting and warm up to operating temperature quickly. When the Preheater is continuously energized even after engine shut down the formation of condensation inside the engine and the hydraulic reservoir is controlled because the temperatures are maintained until operations are started again. The continuously heated oil in the pan (without burning the oil) and reservoir gives up any moisture that then escapes to atmosphere through the breather. Users have reported icicles forming at the breather in very cold weather as the condensation escapes.

E TIP, Inc. PO Box 83, North Aurora, IL 60542-0083