Warm Start For Cold Engines

"We've started big Caterpillar diesel engines off small 4-cylinder Toyotas," says Bob Edman, manufacturer of a new quick-start system for tractor, truck or car engines that are hard to start in cold weather.

Water from a warmed-up pickup, car or truck is circulated through the cold engine using a special two-way transfer hose. A "master" vehicle, which should be the easiest starting engine on the farm, is fitted with a small 1 to 1 1/2 gal. per minute pump and quick-connect couplers. All "slave" vehicles, those with engines that are most likely to need a wintertime boost, are fitted with quick-connect couplers so that when a hot boost is needed, all you have to do is plug the transfer hose in between the two engines and turn on the pump. In 10 to 15 min., the "slave" engine warms up enough to start.

"It saves on starters, batteries and wear and tear on engines," says Edman who's been field-testing the system for the past two years. One of the biggest problems in putting the system together was finding a dependable low-volume pump. "It warms the cold engine gradually so there's no thermal shock to the engine. It'll raise the temperature of a cold engine 90 degrees in 10 to 15 minutes and lower the temperature of the 'master' engine 10 to 15 degrees."

The 12-volt pump attaches to the engine block and is plumbed into the fluid lines at two points. Fittings on "master" and "slave" engines take only about 1/2 hr. to install, according to Edmond.

"The total cost of the system is less than the cost of a starter on many big diesel engines," says Edmond.