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Winter driving, chains and heaters?

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  • Winter driving, chains and heaters?

    UPDATED - see following posts.

    I am making effort to drive one of my PMs throughout the mild Seattle winter, and looking for input from others to make that easy, effective and fun.

    ❔ I have found the stock heater to likely be sufficient for defrosting, and warmth if I'm bundled-up. However, if we hit the 10-20°F range we occasionally do here, I don't know if it will do the job. I'm looking at one of the eBay Diesel-fueled 24-volt "parking heater" units that appear to be copies of the well-known Eberspacher vehicle fuel heaters. This would be used for pre-heating (engine running or not) and boosting warmth in the leaky and breezy interior. Any opinions, tips or advice would be welcome for that.

    ❔ Traction. I looked into adding studs to the stock Duratrac tires, but the local tire shop said they are worn unevenly and didn't want to install them. I'm not replacing the tires for fresh rubber until next year. As an alternative, I found a good deal on 4 new chain sets, for those days where 4WD and icy snow on hills may require them. Any input on alternatives or use on a tall but short-coupled ITV are appreciated. I've driven ice, snow and chains occasionally, but not on a 2-ton 4WD top-heavy go cart. 🤪

    ❔ When it's not snowing, it's raining here near freezing. I haven't been using the tops in the good summer weather, so I don't know how they do for rain and wind. Suggestions for fit or function, or ways to improve leaks or sealing are appreciated. I can imagine how well the doors and top don't work, and any advice or experience is helpful. — David

    New winter slippers for her. Test fit looks good:
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    Last edited by W427; 11-13-2021, 09:49 AM.

  • #2
    OK, so some early reporting on some findings. The original tops and doors are useful for almost nothing. 😆 They keep direct driving rain from hitting you, and splashes from passing cars, but you'll be soaked from large numbers of drips and streams. At speeds over 50 mph (80 kph), the tops of the doors bend outward 1 to 3 inches and it gets breezy. Due to the design, I don't expect to improve the situation much, without changing the whole design concept as others have done. The hard-shell (HMMWV style) doors I've considered making might help with some of it. Maybe. Wear a raincoat and bring some beach towels.

    The Diesel-fueled heater is a solid WIN! 💯🎊 Rated at "5KW", it blows enough hot air to keep me comfortable with the rear door wide open at highway speed. In-fact, at slower speeds I get too hot, so I am silently hoping the stoplights are short. While only used down to about 40°F so far, I'm betting this thing will do fine sub-freezing. No, it does not respond fast enough to temperature adjustment to turn it down at stoplights and back up for driving, but I might try the remote control for that.

    The remote control works fine, and allows me to pre-heat from inside my home without engine start. Startup takes about 3 minutes, and a toasty interior in less than 10. There are some small wisps of white diesel smoke on startup for about 30 seconds. No problem. It's not a quiet roar at full-blast, but you can talk over it. The power drain once started is small, and fuel consumption is also small, guessing several hours (3?) per gallon on high, maybe 12 hours per-tank on low. It can be fed by the main fuel tanks. The directions are confusing and often flat wrong. You'll figure it out with experiments.

    I bought a portable version for also heating other stuff, like when I work in the shed, but it needs 24V I have a converter for. It can be acquired or converted to 12V if needed with a 12V glow plug, 1-screw fuel pump change and some settings. I strongly recommend adding a tiny 3/16" (4 or 5mm) fuel filter to the tank feed line if not equipped.

    So that's it for this update, and more reporting when the snow comes.

    How I installed it using original bolts to retain it fore and aft. Power wires just passed under the battery cover:

    Click image for larger version

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    At yesterday's Veterans Day Celebration indoors at the County fairgrounds. Almost an hour in 40° heavy rain to get there. The Itvee was a big hit sitting next to the Navy Band, and the Marine Honor Guard Rifle Squad just couldn't get enough of it, and are looking into authorization to "patrol" with USMC vehicles in full combat gear at upcoming parades. This photo of the heater during setup, before the constant flow of appreciating crowds:

    Click image for larger version

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