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block heaters, A4

>It only rarely gets that cold.  Today it was back up to 10 deg.
>Also, block heaters are _not_ good for engines.  As any piston engine pilot
>will tell you,recent reports by mechanics and Lycoming(sp?) show that when
>block heaters warm up the engine, the tiniest bit residual moisture in the
>engine/oil causes rust all over the place, accelerated by the heat.  The
>general reccomendation is a warmup of less than half a day, only when
>necessary.  Any longer and the rust starts to build very quickly.

I'm lurking on this list while I contemplate the purchase of an A4Q.
However, I do drive a turbo AWD car :-)

Anyway, I'm also Canadian, and have used "block" heaters. Honda once made
 an actual block heater, a simple stove element that bolted onto the block, but
usually we install immersion coolant heaters into a freeze plug on the block.
Normal winter lows where I lived the last 13 years would be -20C. Coldest I
ever drove in was -50C. Note these are actual thermometer readings, not

I'm no aircraft (or any other) mechanic, but I've never had a car with a
engine, either :-)

I can't see how warming the coolant could be bad for the engine if it is
right after that. Sure, extra warming and cooling cycles (like if your
heater was
on a daily timer, but you only drove once a week) would be wasteful,
stupid, and
probably harmful, but let's talk about cold starts.

Reports I've read indicate up to 90% of engine wear occurs on cold starts,
so this is something we want to avoid, right? If I'm not mistaken, large "horse
 blanket" heaters are used on small aircraft to heat the engines  before
So perhaps we all agree that you _should_ prewarm an engine before starting
in cold weather? So perhaps the Lycoming report could be taken in the context
of "use a better method if available"?

Anyway, I've used block heaters for years, along with oil-pan warmers, and have
squeezed 400,000km out of a GM V6, 250,000 out a second one (different
and 170,000 out of the present turbo alloy 4 cyl. and have never done any
engine work (the only engine work I've ever done involved the timing belt's
vaporization on the present car) and have never had to add (Mobil 1) oil
changes. As far as I know, the first two engines are still running.

Maybe those old V6s are rusty inside, but it must be rust where it doesn't

And if I may add my $0.02 to the A4 info.

I've test driven two A4Qs, both V6 5 speeds. They are lovely cars, solidly
built and
excellent value for the dollar.

The performance of the V6 is adequate (I'm spoiled by my present 195 hp turbo)
and will certainly be a "decision maker" for many not sold on the Quattro
That is, if you don't "have" to have AWD, there is plenty of competition.

The steering is light and accurate, but lacks the "dead-on-center" that US
drivers seem to like for cruising and drinking coffee at the same time (and
those cup
holders! oo-la-la!).

Finally, there are no front "fog" lights. Audi says there are, but there
are no lights
under the bumper, so there are no foglights. Not that I've found that
foglights are any
good in fog anyway, but they're really handy in falling snow - if they're
low. "Foglights
integrated into the headlight assembly" should more accurately be called
low-beams, IMHO.

a CDN hiding in Maine