How does an engine block heater work?

Posted by ZhangEric on

Why You Need To Use An Engine Heater

 

Fuel Issues

 

The #1 reason why you should consider using an engine heater is the natural behavior of fuel. Whether you have a diesel engine, a gasoline engine, or an engine that runs on natural gas, all those face similar issues when temperatures get low - the engine's lubricant will start to solidify. The result is that the starter fails to drive the piston and crankshaft to work, and your vehicle won't be able to start.

 

Vvkb Heater

 

Metal Shrinkage

 

Furthermore, the engine itself is made of metal, no matter which type of fuel it uses. And, as you know, metal shrinks at low temperatures. Depending on the engine size and the amount of metal used, the shrinkage size is different. This is nothing out of the ordinary, and engine designers take it into account when building their products.

Of course, when the engine starts, it expands because of the heat created inside, which is also normal. However, it is challenging to take into account the shrinking size if you have different types of metal involved, with different sizes.

 

Vvkb Engine

 

The effects of cold shrinkage can affect the gap between engine parts so much that they can break the engine block's airtightness, causing the fuel to burn incompletely in the engine cylinder. This is a problem, as burning the fuel incompletely will produce a lot of harmful gases, polluting the environment.

Also, because low temperatures will solidify the oil, it won't flow as fast and won't get between the crankshaft and the cylinder in time, failing to lubricate them. This will result in severe wear on the engine components. And we all know how much it costs to repair an engine, that's something you want to avoid if possible. With an engine heater, it is.

 

How Do Engine Heaters Help?

 

Well, as its name suggests, the engine heater heats up the engine before you start it. When you use an engine heater, your engine's temperature is returned to ideal before it starts, which is 15-20 degrees Celsius (59-68 degrees Fahrenheit). At that temperature, starting your engine during the winter will be exactly the same as starting it during the summer.

 

 

So, in short, having an engine heater will significantly reduce the engine wear and also pollutant emissions.

 

Why Does The Engine Fail To Start When The Weather Is Cold?

 

We hear about global warming all the time, but for people in the northern hemisphere, the winters seem just as cold as they've always been, if not colder. And with that kind of weather, one of the most common issues is vehicles failing to start.

 

 

Vehicles and generators that use an internal combustion engine as a power source will have trouble igniting in the winter. Also, the internal combustion engine equipment faces more failures in the winter than during the summer months. What causes this?

 

Reasons Why The Engine Fails To Start During The Winter

 

There are several reasons why the engine has difficulties to start when the weather is cold: the vehicle battery is low, the ignition system is not working well, there is glue accumulation around the valve, and the exhaust pipe is frozen. Let's explain them in a bit more detail, one by one.

 

The Battery Is Low On Power

 

Even when the vehicle battery is low, the starter will start normally, but the rotation speed won't be fast enough. It will show in characteristic insufficient traction, and you will get the feeling that it lacks strength.

What causes this is, of course, low outside temperature. Every battery produces electricity in the process of chemical reactions happening inside. When the temperature is low, the chemical reaction will not occur the way it is supposed to, and the battery won't have as much power.

 

car battery

 

In addition, during the winter, there may be excessive use of electrical equipment, which results in serious battery overconsumption.

So, when the temperature is too low, the starter cannot drive the engine crankshaft and pistons. What makes things even worse is that when people encounter this type of situation, they will try to start the engine multiple times, usually without much success, fully discharging the battery.

 

The Ignition System Is Not Working Well

 

This problem is more common in diesel engines than in other engine types. When a diesel engine runs, the piston moves to the top of the cylinder, and the air in the cylinder is compressed, which causes the temperature to rise. Then, when diesel is injected into the cylinder, the large pressure will cause the fuel to be atomized into fine particles and ignited inside the cylinder.

However, at low temperatures, diesel molecules are inactive, and they become difficult to get atomized into fine particles that are necessary for the ignition. That is why you often see black smoke coming out of the exhaust pipe when you start a diesel engine in the winter.

 

Car tailpipe pollution

 

The cause of it is that the diesel particles were too large to be burned entirely. Diesel couldn't be atomized and burned well, all due to cold weather. Also, the inadequately burned diesel will accumulate on the cylinder wall, making the engine start even harder.

 

Exhaust Pipe Icing

 

If the winter gets really cold in your area, the exhaust pipe on your vehicle might freeze. So, even though the fuel supply and the battery power are normal, the engine won't be able to start normally. This situation is more common if you don't use your car that often or drive it a short distance each day.

The cause of the freezing is the water vapor that condenses into water droplets on the exhaust pipe muffler, after the combustion of fuel. At low temperatures, these droplets will turn into ice. And if you don't drive your car frequently, these ice beads will accumulate into ice cubes.

 

Car icing

 

When you make short trips, the old ice won't be fully melted, but the new vapor will freeze on top of it, causing even more ice to build up. This builds up over time, affecting the engine exhaust emissions, and eventually, the engine will fail to start.

 

Engine Block Heaters Are Not Only For Extremely Cold Areas

 

If you live in a particularly cold area, you are probably already familiar with and should be using engine block heaters. However, even if the temperature during the winter doesn't get extremely cold, using an engine block heater might be the right decision, and let's explain why.

Even if the temperature during the winter doesn't get super low, you might find that your vehicle is breaking down more often, while operating normally during the summer. Why is that?

 

Vvkb Preheater

 

That happens because the temperature in your area is relatively low, but not too low for the engine to start. You usually don't bother to warm up the engine. Instead, you directly start the vehicle, which we call a "cold start."

 

The Issues With Cold Starting A Vehicle

 

When the outside temperature drops to 5 degrees Celsius (41 degrees Fahrenheit), the ordinary engine oil will start solidifying slightly, and its fluidity will begin to decline. Yet, the outside temperature won't be too low, and you won't notice any ice or snow on the roads.

When this happens, you will still be able to start the engine, but you might notice a slight jitter. Although you are able to start the engine, and everything seems normal, it isn't.

 

Vvkb Heater

 

Because of the reduced fluidity, the engine oil can't flow to the engine parts in time, and won't provide the necessary lubrication, which causees increased engine wear.

Researches show that starting an engine when the temperature is 5 degrees Celsius (41 degrees Fahrenheit), the wear the engine suffers is equivalent to driving the vehicle for 50 kilometers! Furthermore, a cold start will also increase the wear on the starter gear. At this temperature, the vehicle will start to experience failures that are not going to happen during the warm summer months.

 

The Effects Worsen As The Temperature Drops Further

 

When the temperature drops to 0 degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit), the ordinary engine oil will solidify. When you start the engine, it will hardly provide any lubrication protection for the engine parts, leaving them vulnerable. To fix this, you will need to change to antifreeze oil.

But, the oil is not the only concern. Due to different materials and sizes of engine parts, the cold will affect each of them differently, and the shrinkage rate will vary. Cold shrinkage will affect the engine's different parts, and the airtightness will decrease, especially between the air cylinder and the pistons, which can be problematic. And, of course, because there is no lubricating oil, cold starting the engine will increase the wear.

 

Vvkb Heater

 

At this time, you won't be able to start the engine the first time you try, but you are likely to start it on the second/third try. Once it does start, the vehicle will shake greatly. Additionally, cold starting a vehicle will emit more pollutants.

One cold start at 0 degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit) is equivalent to driving it for 80 kilometers in terms of wear.

 

Lower Temperatures Mean Even More Trouble

 

When the outside temperature drops to -5 degrees Celsius (23 degrees Fahrenheit), the ordinary engine oil will completely solidify, and there will be no lubrication. In these conditions, you need to replace it with oil specifically designed for low temperatures.

That type of oil will make it a bit easier to start the vehicle, and it will flow between parts in time to protect them from wear. When the outside temperature drops to -5 degrees Celsius (23 degrees Fahrenheit), the conventional engine oil will completely solidify and will not lubricate the engine.

 

Vvkb Blog

 

Although you can solve the oil issues, you can't prevent one thing - engine part shrinkage due to cold. The problem is that due to the cold shrinkage between the cylinder and the piston, they can't be closely matched. This will prevent the fuel from being entirely burned in the cylinder, emitting more pollutants.r

Also, at this temperature, the chemical reactions inside the battery will be affected and will cause a low battery prompt.

The result of cold starting the engine at -5 degrees Celsius (23 degrees Fahrenheit) is equivalent to driving 160 kilometers, in terms of wear.

 

-10 Degrees Celsius/14 degrees Fahrenheit

 

At this temperature or lower, even the low-viscosity oils will begin to exhibit poor fluidity. Even worse, the engine parts will shrink even more, and that combined with the lack of lubrication of the engine oil, will cause serious wear to the engine.

You will also experience the battery power suffering from regular shortages, and you will find it problematic to start the engine once or twice in a row. If you have a diesel engine, you may find it impossible to start the engine at all.

Also, at temperatures this low, you will notice that the engine's fuel consumption will increase significantly.

 

Vvkb Heater

 

Furthermore, when you can't start the engine normally, once you do start it, a large amount of exhaust gas that wasn't completely burned is discharged into the air, severely polluting the atmosphere.

Also, at normal temperatures, within 2-5 minutes of engine operation, the vehicle's heating system can provide a comfortable temperature inside the cabin. But, at -10 degrees Celsius, this will take up to 10-15 minutes in diesel vehicles. So, you are either supposed to wear heavy clothing, or you need to wait 15 minutes before entering the vehicle.

One cold start of the engine at -10 degrees Celsius (14 degrees Fahrenheit) will cause as much wear as driving it for 220 kilometers.

 

Cold Starting At -20 - Not A Good Idea

 

When the temperature drops to -20 degrees Celsius (-4 degrees Fahrenheit), the engine cold shrinkage is severe. You won't be able to use most diesel engines, and the battery power will be significantly reduced as the chemical reaction will be slowed down, and won't be able to create power. Even gasoline cars will have issues, but some of them will still be able to start.

 

Vvkb

 

 

But, the engine components' extreme shrinkage will cause an enormous amount of wear, and some fragile parts might break. That's the reason why you see more failures the lower the temperature gets.

Cold start the engine once at -20 degrees Celsius (-4 degrees Fahrenheit) is equivalent to 320 kilometers of normal wear on the engine.

 

-30 degrees Celsius (-22 degrees Fahrenheit) - Cold Starting Is A Huge Risk

 

At temperature this low any basic internal combustion engine will not be able to work correctly. If the vehicle is designed to operate at temperatures this low, it is usually equipped with an engine block heater even before it leaves the factory.

But, the plug-in cylinder heater of the original car usually has a very low power rating, and you may need to power the heater all night.

 

What Are The Benefits Of Using An Engine Heater?

 

The engine heater is there to heat up the engine in advance when it is not started yet. Depending on the outside temperature, and the size of the vehicle, the engine will be preheated by the engine heater for 20-60 minutes. The result is raising the temperature fo the engine to 15 degrees Celsius (59 degrees Fahrenheit).

At this temperature, all the engine components will expand back to their normal size. Also, the lubricating oil next to the piston and the cylinder will melt, and you will be able to start the vehicle easily.

 

Vvkb Engine

 

Furthermore, once the vehicle starts, the temperature inside the cabin will reach a comfortable temperature in a few minutes, so there is no need to wait or wear heavy clothes.

 

Different Types Of Engine Block Heaters

 

Next, let's talk about the main types of engine block heaters and the differences between them.

 

Vvkb Coolant

 

As for the engines themselves, we have two cooling methods: water-cooled engines and air-cooled engines. Most cars have water-cooled engines, but some small ATVs, UTVs, and motorcycles use air-cooled engines, so let's talk about them in that order.

 

Air cooled Engine

 

The Working Principle Of The Engine Block Heater

 

  • The engine block heater heats the vehicle's coolant.
  • The heated coolant flows into the engine through a water pump or convection.
  • The coolant will flow in the coolant channel of the engine.
  • The heat is then transferred to the engine, raising its temperature.

 

Types Of Engine Heaters

 

When you look at the type of energy source they use, engine heaters can be divided into electric engine heaters and fuel engine heaters.

 

Fuel engine heaters can be further divided into gasoline and diesel engine heaters.

 

Electric engine block heaters can be divided into tank-type heaters and embedded engine block heaters.

Tank-type heaters can be with or without a built-in water pump. If they have an integrated water pump, it will start working as the engine heats up. The water pump then delivers a heated coolant to the engine. This type of engine heater also has a temperature control system. When the heater reaches the set temperature, thermostat cuts off the power. But, if the temperature drops below the set value, the thermostat will turn the heater on again.

 

Engine block heaters that don't have a built-in water pump allow the heated coolant to flow into the engine by convection. This type of heater also has a built-in thermostat that works on the same principle described above.

 

Coolant Heater

 

 

A built-in cylinder block can be installed on the engine block with heating, which will directly heat the cylinder and the coolant. However, this design is small and has a simple structure, so there is no temperature control system.

Across the USA and Canada, many vehicles come straight from the factory with pre-installed embedded block heaters.

 

Air-Cooled Systems

 

Some ATVs or UTVs use air-cooled engines. These engines have no coolant, so engine block heaters can't be used to heat them.

Instead, you can use a silicone engine heating pad, which you attach to the engine block. After its energized, the silicone heating pad generates heat and warms up the engine.

 

Different Types Of Heaters Explained In-Depth

 

Electric Engine Block Heaters

 

First, let's talk about electric engine block heaters. At Vvkb, we have a total of 7 electric engine heaters: a built-in block heater, a tank engine block heater without a built-in pump, and six tank engine block heaters with a built-in pump.

 

Vvkb block heater Titan-P1

 

Titan-P1 is a block heater. It is one of the smallest engine block heaters you can find on the market today.

 

Vvkb Engine Heater Titan-P1

 

Vvkb Block Heater Titan-P1

 

We designed Titan-P1 back in 2010 to cater to those users that drive small cars. This is a tank heater with a dual temperature control system and has a powerful built-in magnetic water pump. Titan-P1 uses a W-shaped copper heating tube that has the ability to heat up very quickly.

The installation of this engine block heater is super easy, as you don't need to fix it in a single position. Plus, with every Titan-P1, Vvkb provides you with two reliable stainless steel water pipe clamps.

 

VVKB Titan-P1 engine block heater has two rated voltages to choose from - 110V and 220V as well as 120V, 230V and 240V. Furthermore, we can provide you with customized services for some electric vehicles. The rated voltages we can customize are DC 72V and 96V.

The rated power of Titan-P1 is 500W, 1000W, and 1500W. In other words, these three power ranges can meet the requirements of small vehicles at any temperature.

Additionally, if you don't need a pump at all, we can customize the Titan-P1 to be without a built-in pump.

 

This heater is suitable for small cars, ATV, UTV, and similar vehicles. Also, you can use Titan-P1 for maintaining the temperature of racing engines, as well as for heating kart engines.

 

Vvkb Engine Heater Titan-B1

 

Customers often complained about how they can't find a heater that is small in size but still has the needed power to work effectively. To meet those demands, in 2015, we created the Titan-B1 heater.

 

Engine Heater

 

Vvkb Engine Heater Titan-B1

 

The heating element of the Titan-B1 is die-cast inside an aluminum shell. It can effectively prevent the heating element from damaged caused by the lack of antifreeze.

Also, its water pump is magnetic and has a strong centrifugal force, with the flow rate reaching 900L (238 gallons) per hour, which can quickly circulate the coolant.

VVKB Titan-B1 engine heater has a dual thermostat design, which makes the device very safe to use.

Its carefully designed, streamlined shape is very aesthetic and appealing to the eye.

 

To make sure the heater can operate on any continent, we can match it with North American, European, and Australian standard plugs, so you can use the Titan-B1 heater no matter where you live.

Its rated voltage is 500/1000/1500W. The rated power is AC 110V/220V, but we can also customize it for DC 72V/96V if you need that kind of voltage, which makes the heater suitable even for electric vehicles. Titan-B1 has a rated frequency of 50Hz and 60Hz.

 

To make the installation super easy, Titan-B1 comes with a small mounting bracket with two stainless steel clips.

This heater is best suited for small cars, ATVs, UTVs, and similar engines, as well as racing and kart engines.

 

Vvkb Coolant Heater Titan-P2 

 

Vvkb released the Titan-P2 coolant heater at Automechanika Frankfurt in 2014, and the product immediately drew attention, with some strong feedback.

 

Vvkb Coolant Heater

 


Vvkb Coolant Heater Titan-P2 

 

This heater has a very complicated structure, allowing the antifreeze to have a good circulation path inside the device. This design also lets the heat generated by the heating tube to be taken away by the coolant much faster.

 

Unlike other versions of engine heaters, the coolant heater Titan-P2 has its water pump installed in the middle of the heating pipe. This allows the coolant to flow around the heating tube, much improving the heating capacity of the heater.

 

Coolant heater Titan-P2 is equipped with a thermostat. When the temperature reaches 65 degrees Celsius (149 degrees Fahrenheit), the thermostat cuts of the power, stopping the heater. When the temperature gets lower than 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit), the thermostat will turn on the power again ant the heater will start working.

Like with other VVKB heater models, Titan-P2 has a plug version suitable for any standard, as well as a variety of voltage versions and power options to meet your needs.

Coolant heater Titan-P2 is suitable for engines of various small vehicles and small diesel generator sets. You can also use it for ATV and UTV engine heating.

 

Vvkb Cylinder Heater Titan-P3

 

DIY Installation Problem

 

In the seven years we have been producing cylinder heaters, we have set up more than 30 cylinder heater installation shops in Heilongjiang, the coldest region in China, with a 45 to 53 degrees north latitude. In these shops, we continually provide services to customers, and we have noticed that many customers choose to just buy the heater and install the device themselves, as the process is that simple.

 

Cylinder Heater

 

Vvkb Cylinder Heater Titan-P3

 

While that is convenient as they don't have to wait for us to install the cylinder heater for them, it sometimes leads to problems, as customers don't always follow instructions. One of the most common mistakes is not releasing all antifreeze found in the cooling system before starting the heater installation. You also need to clamp the heater hose with a tool to prevent the antifreeze from flowing. Then you need to cut the heater hose directly, connect the cylinder heater, and then release the tool that clamps the heater hose.

 

Although the operation is straightforward, excess air will often remain trapped in the cylinder heater or heater hose. When this happens, you are likely to experience a phenomenon of burning of the heating tube due to the lack of antifreeze.

 

We have noticed this common issue, and in 2002 we started working on a cylinder heater that could prevent the damage caused by the lack of antifreeze. After a lot of thorough research and testing, we found a perfect solution: die-casting the heating element inside the aluminum block.

 

An Elegant Solution

 

To prevent the aluminum block from melting due to the high temperature of the internal heating tube, we have set up two thermostats under it to contact the heater housing. The thermostats can effectively protect the heater's operation and will not cause any failure due to high temperatures.

 

Furthermore, to make the heater more thermally efficient, we have designed heat sinks above and below the aluminum blocks. That allows the aluminum block to have a bigger heat dissipation area and more contact with the antifreeze liquid.

 

After designing the heating element, we started working on a unique housing for it. It has a flat shape, and the electrical parts and the liquid are distributed in two separate spaces, ensuring the safe use of the heater.

 

To make the heater even safer, we installed a copper plate with a thickness of 1mm to connect the thermostat and the heating tube inside the heater. That allows the current of more than 15 amperes to pass safely. Outside the copper sheet, we wrapped an insulating layer. All these design improvements are there to make sure that Vvkb cylinder heaters comply with the highest TUV standards, which they do.

 

Vvkb cylinder heater

 

Vvkb cylinder heater

 

The water outlet design often has an issue of the installation space being relatively small, which often leads to the heater hose bending, preventing a smooth antifreeze flow. But, we have designed a 90-degree angle between the water outlet and the water inlet. This kind of design makes the installation more convenient, so there is no bending of the hose.

 

Trapped Air Problem

 

We noticed that when you install the heater, there is still a possibility that there will be some air in the heater or its hose. That will cause the heater temperature to rise too quickly so that the thermostat will control the operation of the heating element and the water pump. To solve this, we use two sets of independent circuits inside the cylinder heater, the water pump, and the heating element, all working independently of each other.

So, when the heater reaches the set temperature, the thermostat cuts off the power of the heating pipe, and the water pump can work normally. This immensely reduces the failure rate that is often encountered after installing heaters.

 

For the built-in water pump of the cylinder heater, we used a magnetic water pump with a flow rate of 900L per hour. What often happens when the pump works non-stop is that its coil starts generating heat. Because of this, we use pure copper enameled wire with a high temperature resistance of 180 degrees Celsius (356 degrees Fahrenheit), which makes the pump very durable.

 

Safety Is The #1 Concern

 

Also, the shells of the two thermostats are made of ceramic materials and can withstand high temperatures. The thermostat's metal contacts are made of copper-based materials, and the contact parts are made of silver and cadmium oxide alloys. Alloys of these types allow contact to pass currents in excess of 20 amperes safely.

 

The two thermostats control the live and zero lines of the power supply separately, which provides double insurance for the heater. When the temperature is too high, the thermostat will cut off the power supply of the heating tube, and the heating will stop in time.

 

Various Options

 

As with other models, we prepared the plug style suitable for your needs, with American, European, and Australian standard plugs available. Also, you can choose the voltages that suit your country's standards.

The block heater Titan-P3 has several rated powers to choose from. The 500W variant is good for areas where temperatures don't get too low and is suitable for small cars, ATVs, and UTVs.

The 1000W block heater version is excellent for areas where temperatures are relatively low and is suitable for the same types of vehicles.

The 1500W block heater can be installed in racing cars, SUVs, and small trucks and vans.

The 2000 W block heater can operate in various vehicles, and in very cold areas, as it has the needed power.

Lastly, the 2500W version of the block heater is strong enough to heat large trucks and generator sets and can work in the coldest areas.

 

 

Vvkb Circulation Heater Titan-P4

 

When Vvkb started selling the cylinder heater Titan-P3, many customers said that in some vehicles with small space, it is not easy to use it. The main reason for this was that the connection method of the cylinder heater Titan-P3 was not optimal for some vehicles. These vehicles didn't have enough space to use a 90-degree angle inlet and outlet heaters.

 

Circulation Heater

 

Vvkb Circulation Heater Titan-P4

 

Based on customer feedback, we have developed the engine coolant heater Titan-P4. It has all the same functions as the cylinder heater Titan-P3, with one difference being the heater shell. Circulation heater Titan-P4 has a water inlet and outlet in a straight line.

 

When the cylinder heater Titan-P3 went on sale, many customers said that in some vehicles with small space, it is not easy to use Titan-P3.

The reason is that the connection method of the cylinder heater Titan-P3 is not the optimal choice for some vehicles. These vehicles do not have enough space to use 90-degree right angle inlet and outlet heaters.

 

Vvkb Engine preheater Titan-P5

 

Our first engine warmer, Titan-P6, caused a tremendously positive response in the market. However, what followed were various demands made by our customers. The biggest complaint was that the heating time was too long.

 

Engine Preheater

 

Vvkb Engine preheater Titan-P5

 

The engine warmer Titan-P6 relies on convection heating. When the heating pipe is working, the antifreeze is heated to a very high temperature, and based on the principle of convection, the hot fluid will flow out from the water outlet, right on the cold engine. This process will cause the shell of the engine to warm up, and the Titan-P6 will generate very high temperatures. Usually, when people see such a high temperature, they think that the engine preheater has broken down.

 

VVKB Respects Customer Feedback

 

Based on the customer feedback, we estimated that the heated coolant should be allowed to flow directly out of the engine preheater shell, speeding up the preheater process and shortening the total heating time. Using a water pump was the best option, naturally.

 

Choosing The Right Pump Wasn't Easy

 

We can find a variety of water pumps on the market, but because the engine preheater uses 110V or 220V, we eliminated the DC low-pressure water pump. But, the external dimensions of AC electric water pumps found on the market were very large, and there was no extra space in the vehicle to install them. Moreover, the price of these pumps is very high, which didn't meet our requirements, as it would raise the cost of the final product too much.

After considering various models, we have opted to improve the Aquarium Circulation Pump, making it suitable for the engine preheater. However, even after choosing the right pump, we have hit a wall - how to design the correct pump position. After many experiments, we concluded that the best place for the pump was in the middle of the heater.

Many technical improvements later, we successfully designed the Titan-P5 engine preheater that has a small built-in water pump with a powerful circulation function.

 

Multiple Power Options

 

For a broader range of use, we offer a variety of rated power option for the engine preheater Titan-P5: 500W, 1000W, 1500W, 2000W, 2500W, 3000W. That means that you can use this type of heater on all kinds of vehicles, from cars, trucks, RVs, off-road vehicles, tractors, engineering vehicles, even engines of ships. But, the engine preheater Titan-P5 shines if you use it for heating a generator set. Its powerful water pump has a maximum output of 3000W and is very convenient to install.

Immediately after we launched the engine preheater Titan-P5, it was recognized on the market, becoming a major success. Since 1998, the Titan-P5 engine preheater sales exceeded 5 million sets, making it one of our best selling heaters.

 

Engine warmer Titan-P6

 

Engine warmer

 

 

Off To A Good Start

 

Engine warmer Titan-P6 was the first heater we developed after establishing our company. The company's founder, Eric Zhang, noticed that people had a lot of trouble starting their vehicles in cold regions and during the winter. After reading many books and educating himself about the engine structure, Eric realized that the engine coolant can be heated and that the heat can enter the engine through the thermal cycle. The result of this discovery was that Mr. Eric Zhag designed China's first real engine heater back in January 1996.

 

Vvkb Heater

 

 

A Time-tested Design

 

This engine heater consists of an iron shell with an electric heating tube inside and has a water inlet and a water outlet. Their dimensions are compatible with the size of the heater hose: φ16 mm (φ3 / 5 inch).

 

Engine warmer

 

Vvkb Engine Warmer Titan-P6

 

To ensure that the heater won't reach temperatures that are too high, boiling the antifreeze, Mr. Zhang added a thermostat to the heater.

Furthermore, because the heater works in very cold areas, ordinary PVC cables would freeze and crack when exposed to low temperatures. So, VVKB selected low-temperature-resistant rubber wires, which we continued using even today, more than twenty years later.

After many tests, we picked the optimal temperature of the thermostat - 65 degrees Celsius (149 degrees Fahrenheit).

 

Tested In Real-life Conditions

 

A total of 200 sets of this heater model were produced and distributed for free to people living at 40-55 degrees north latitude. During several months of real-use testing, the heater's performance received nothing but praise, giving us a clear signal that the device is ready for commercial production. But, not before we made some tweaks and tackled problems those initial users experienced.

 

More Improvements Followed

 

For example, Mr. Zhang noticed that because the heater relies on the principle of thermal convection to circulate the coolant if the heater is not installed correctly, there is a chance that the heated coolant will not flow out of the heater in time. Also, people usually don't need an iron casing.

So, combining customer feedback, our company immediately improved the heater.

First, we added a check valve to the heater so that the heated antifreeze can only flow out of the heater's water outlet, not back in it. Also, only the coolant can enter the water inlet of the heater.

For the material of the housing, we opted for aluminum and die-casting treatment, reducing the heater's outer size, making the installation and use much more convenient.

 

The First Chapter Of The VVKB Success Story

 

Finally, the improved heater was introduced to the market in August 1996, becoming an instant success.

Over the past 24 years, we haven't modified the engine warmer Titan-P6 as the design proved reliable. This classic heater exceeded 8 million units sold so far, and it is still popular today.

Compared to our other models, the power of the engine warmer Titan-P6 is relatively small, respectively: 600W, 1000W, and 1500 W. You can choose a 110V or 230V voltage. Many generator manufacturers pick Titan-P6 or Titan-P5 as the preferred method of heating the engine.

 

Block heater Titan-P7

 

Since the export of engine heaters to Russia in 2000, the business of VVKB block heaters has gradually expanded to Europe and North America markets. By 2010 several American companies asked us to design the block heater Titan-P7 for them.

 

Block Heater

Vvkb Block Heater Titan-P7

 

This is a very popular heater on the North American market and is installed directly on the engine block itself. Titan-P7 heats the coolant in the engine cylinder. But, because it only has 400W power, it doesn't generate a lot of heat. So, to warm the engine, you need to use the block heater Titan-P7 for a long time. Also, because it has low power, we didn't match it with a thermostat.

The block heater Titan-P7 can be applied to any engine. And because it is designed for the North American market, it used an American standard plug.

 

How To Install An Engine Heater

 

In the section above, you have learned a lot about all the main styles of engine heaters you can find on the market today. In this section, we will explain to you how to install one yourself.

 

Engine Heater Installation Diagram

 

Engine Heater Installation Diagram

 

Step-by-step Block Heater Installation Guide

 

  1. Find a suitable installation location - this is usually 20 cm / 8 inches below the water outlet of the tank.
  2. Find the right heater hose - this is the most difficult place to install the heater.
  3. Get a container - it needs to collect antifreeze. You need to cut off the heater hose to release all the antifreeze fluid that is inside the vehicle.
  4. Put the two heater hose clamps in the two heater hoses, respectively.
  5. Connect the heater water inlet to the hose - make sure the heater water pipe clamp tightly secures it.
  6. Slowly add antifreeze until it starts overflowing from the heater outlet. Once done, you need to shake the engine heater in order to remove the excess air trapped inside of it.
  7. Connect the heater outlet to the other side of the heater hose - make sure to tighten the screw of the clip.
  8. Add more antifreeze - you may find that the water tank is not full after you add the previously released antifreeze. If that's the case, you need to add additional antifreeze until the tank is completely full.
  9. Start the engine and let it run for a few minutes - you might find small bubbles coming out of the water tank. This is the excess air in the heater hose being released.

The whole installation process won't exceed 30 minutes, depending on your technical skill. As you see, the installation is fairly simple, just make sure to follow the steps carefully.

 

Troubleshooting Engine Block Heaters

 

In this section, we will talk about some issues that the engine block heater uses face from time to time.

When you install the heater precisely as required, you may find that the heater and the water pump are working regularly, but the casing of the engine heater only feels slightly warm.

When the heater is working, the heat generated by the heating tube will be taken away directly by the water pump, which shows that there is almost no temperature in the heater shell, which is normal. Only the shell of the engine warmer Titan-P6 will be hot; other heater models will have shells that are just a little warm when they operate normally. If the shell is really hot, that means the heater is malfunctioning.

 

Problem: Performance failure

 

The heater works normally for a few minutes, but then the water pump stops working, and the heater shell becomes very hot. After a few minutes, the pump starts working again. If the power is not cut off, the heater will cycle through this process.

Touch the heater hose with your hand. The hose close to the heater will be slightly warm, while the one that is farther away from the heater will be cold.

 

Cause: during the installation process, the air inside the heater and the hose was not completely released.

Due to this air, the water pump can't deliver the heated antifreeze to the inside of the engine, as magnetic pumps can only perform in a completely sealed environment. When the heater casing reaches 65 degrees Celsius (149 degrees Fahrenheit), the thermostat cuts off the power supply of the heating pipe and the water pump. But, when the temperature drops below 45 degrees Celsius (110 degrees Fahrenheit), the thermostat will switch back on, and the cycle will repeat indefinitely.

 

Solution: You need to remove the heater and installed it as described in the "Step-by-step Block Heater Installation Guide" you read above. Note that the air from the heater hose must be removed. Add back the antifreeze liquid very slow, and shake the heater to release the air. Once you reinstall it, it should work as usual.

 

Problem: When the heater power is connected, the leakage switch is activated.

 

Cause: The electrical part of the heater may be faulty.

 

Solution: Please disassemble the heater, and then turn it on. Check the electrical part, you are likely to find the cause of the failure.

 

Bottom Line: Engine Heaters Are More Than An Accessory

 

If you live in an area where winters are sharp, having an engine heater is an absolute must. This small device will allow you to start the vehicle normally every single time, but will also significantly reduce the wear of the engine. You will experience fewer vehicle malfunctions during the winter, cutting service costs, and expanding the lifetime of your vehicle.

 

We hope that this article helped you a lot and that now you know why engine heaters are so valuable. You can now decide which type of heater will work best for your vehicle and region. You also now know how this device operates and how you can fix some issues that you might encounter when using it.

 

Millions of VVKB customers are satisfied with our heaters, which shows how this device can help a wide variety of needs people have. If you have any question regarding the engine heaters, don't hesitate to contact us, we will be happy to help. Almost twenty-five years of experience producing heaters speak for itself, and we are always glad to share our knowledge and help you any way we can, so don't be reluctant to get in touch.

 


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