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Old 10-02-2008, 11:28 PM   #1
Tea cups
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Default Very cold climate - concerns?

I just moved to a new city that can have some brutally cold winters at least compared to what I'm used to. Knowing I was moving there, I was checking out the temps last winter online and it seems that the low was frequently negative double digits every night (most of the time was about -25).

Question is, is it pretty much a given that I'll need an engine block heater and a battery warmer? Or is it not absolutely necessary? Car is an 02 WRX. I usually run German Castrol 0w-30 full synthetic oil and it is always garaged.
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Old 10-02-2008, 11:51 PM   #2
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looks like a fuel leak may be coming....do a search - you'll see what i'm talking about.
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Old 10-03-2008, 12:28 AM   #3
69subaru360
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You covered the basics. Thin oil and a block heater. Be prepared for the crazy noises cars make at temps that cold. For the most part you can ignore them and try not to think about it to much. It'll probably be very hard to shift until it warms up also. Might want to think about a thin gear oil in the trans. I've had mine in like -20 weather, it's not too bad once you warm it up.
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Old 10-03-2008, 12:31 AM   #4
Jubert69
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How cold r u guys talking about, I live in CT, should I get a battery warmer? Last winter, sometimes my starter was sounding like it was going 10 times slower then it should
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Old 10-03-2008, 12:42 AM   #5
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Yes, a block heater is a MUST and a battery warmer/blanket is a good idea too. And yea you can ignore most of the "different" sounds that come with the cold weather.
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Old 10-03-2008, 01:16 AM   #6
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where are you moving to? North Canada? Alaska? Moscow? Thats some cold weather there.
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Old 10-03-2008, 01:54 AM   #7
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where are you moving to? North Canada? Alaska? Moscow? Thats some cold weather there.

Michigan? lol but its true
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Old 10-03-2008, 07:04 AM   #8
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I guess my question is whether or not it is absolutely necessary. I can't imagine everyone in the town is running a block heater. I haven't yet seen a plug dangling from the front of any car as might be commonplace in Canada or Alaska.
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Old 10-03-2008, 08:09 AM   #9
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I usually use the block heater once the nighttime temp gets around -20C here (~ 0F). I would definitely get one - it's kinder on the motor and kinder on you (without it, temps would be barely off the low mark after 1/2hr, and the cabin air would still blow cold all the way to work).

I used to have a battery warmer but never used it - took it off and put it in my truck because the battery is weaker in that and it takes more juice to start. They *do* make a big difference, but if your battery's in good shape shouldn't be necessary imo.

Gear oil can get VERY thick at those temps too.
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Old 10-03-2008, 09:29 AM   #10
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I upgraded my battery last winter to an Optima Red Top. Definitely much better in terms of cold cranking amps over stock. I think if you went that route you can ditch the battery heater and just go with a block heater.
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Old 10-03-2008, 10:35 AM   #11
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also leave your car in gear and dont use the e-brake. the e-brake can freeze then you are mostly f**ked. or thats what we did in MD and it doesnt get nearly as cold down there.

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Old 10-03-2008, 12:13 PM   #12
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just know that once your warmed up and driving, with the heater blasting, you just might see power increases hahaha.... with cold air like that, i wouldnt be surprised
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Old 10-03-2008, 01:35 PM   #13
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just dont be surprised if your tranny feels really gummy. perhaps look into a fuel stabilizer also, just incase theres any water in your tank and or lines..dont want that freezing and popping a fuel line
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Old 10-03-2008, 01:47 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tea cups View Post
I guess my question is whether or not it is absolutely necessary. I can't imagine everyone in the town is running a block heater. I haven't yet seen a plug dangling from the front of any car as might be commonplace in Canada or Alaska.
Yes. In my opinion it IS, necessary anytime it gets below -20*C. While the car will start even at -40*C (with a real good battery) The wear and tear while it's warming up, the extra gas it's using, combined with the battery not really taking a full charge when it's that cold and one day leaving you with a non starting car... Its worth every penny in my experience. If you garage the car then it's different, the car will start easy and the battery will take a charge better, it will warm up faster...
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Old 10-03-2008, 03:35 PM   #15
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(disclaimer, i've had my suby in -45F weather, got up to -30 or so as a DAYTIME high! Normally it isn't quite that cold here, but -20 to -30 is more the norm)

Anyway, if you have it in an attached garage, you can get by with neither of those. If it sits outside, a block heater is a near absolute requirement if you actually care about your engine. Battery heaters are nice, but I usually go with an onboard battery charger instead, wired into a single plugin with the block heater. The charger will warm the battery and keep it topped of when it is brutally cold.

anyway, welcome to the frigid north! On your first -20F day, here is something to try to see an example of what true cold is... Take a cup of hot water and toss it in the air.
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Old 10-03-2008, 03:42 PM   #16
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Even if the car is garaged, there will still probably be instances when the car will sit at a friends or relatives house later at night or overnight, outside, exposed to the elements.

i would invest in everything possible to help the thing out.
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Old 10-03-2008, 03:43 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arrowscooby View Post
looks like a fuel leak may be coming....do a search - you'll see what i'm talking about.
Hell i live in north florida and those lovely shrinking fuel lines are a BI@#$#
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Old 10-03-2008, 04:35 PM   #18
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Don't forget Coolant.
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Old 10-03-2008, 04:45 PM   #19
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I kept my suby outside in a area with regular -20 days every winter for years and the engine still runs great. Compression is good all around. The engine now has over 220K miles.

I never had a block or battery warmer. They are not necessary.

They are really nice to have on those cold mornings though- the faster the engine is warm the faster you have heat.
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Old 10-04-2008, 08:48 AM   #20
Tea cups
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I was wondering about the coolant concentration as well. I can't really tell from Subaru's graph in the factory manual what 50/50 mix is good for. Looks like down to -30F?
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Old 10-04-2008, 11:03 AM   #21
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did you even look into the dreaded fuel leak? and you're worrying about getting an engine block heater? wow.
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Old 10-04-2008, 11:17 AM   #22
Tea cups
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arrowscooby View Post
did you even look into the dreaded fuel leak? and you're worrying about getting an engine block heater? wow.
Yes, I'm well aware of the fuel leak. In fact, if you look at that thread, I posted a picture of the old fuel rail design and the new one before I installed it.
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