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ITV cold weather testing ❄

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  • ITV cold weather testing ❄

    Cold weather testing about to commence! Yesterday dropped to -9°C (15°F), which is cold for our area. Tires are over 10 years old, well worn, and the rubber has hardened somewhat, but I do have chains and a 24V diesel-fueled heater inside that is working very well. Tomorrow will tell me a lot!

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  • #2
    1st update: Woohoo! This little rocket goes great in the cold. I'll report different findings separately.

    First was cold-start. Temperature for tests was -8°C (17°F), lightly snowing, batteries fully charged (maintainer). I ran my 24V Diesel-fueled heater for cabin comfort about 1/2 hour so I could feel my fingers after brushing the snow off. Nice and toasty. I tried first engine start with no wait time for the glow plugs, straight from switch OFF through RUN to START in one motion. The engine started on the second compression, but felt to be running on 3 cylinders for a few seconds, with some grey exhaust smoke.

    I assume from this that either it needs a few seconds of glow plug warmup, or a glow plug or two are dead. But it started anyway without sign it would stall. I have already tried starting down to about 4°C (40°F) without waiting for glow plug warmup, and all starts have been instant (first compression).

    Researching the glow plug info M1163 posted, these are BERU/Borg Warner type GN. The plug warmup profile is shown below. From this, I assume in colder weather the glow plugs should have a 2 to 7-second wait before cranking, in order to reach full temperature. I will try a 5-count wait before cranking on the next cold-start. After start, the glow plugs should remain heated while running for a total of about 140 seconds (according to the TM) for clean initial warmup.

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    A different way to look at this, is that it appears cranking/starting should occur after (up to) 7 seconds in switch RUN position, but in any case while the WAIT light is lit—not after it goes out. I'll report the 5-count results soon. More later!

    [EDIT] 🆕 Keeping like-info together in this post; the start test with a 5-second count was completely successful. From dead cold, the switch was moved to RUN, then 5 second wait before START (cranking). The startup was instant (1st compression), with clean run, no missing cylinders and no smoke. Win! 😎

    Test was at -7°C (20°F), and colder temperatures could use up to 7-second wait for full glow plug heating, per the graph. Also note the fuel was treated with anti-gel run through the system before the cold weather arrived. No fuel issues.
    Last edited by W427; 12-29-2021, 07:45 AM. Reason: Updated cold-start test with 5-second glow plug heating


    • #3
      So, how does it drive in snow and ice? Great! It went everywhere I tried to take it and was mostly sure-footed, better than most 4WD I've driven, likely due to the limited-slip differentials both front and rear. Performance was overall on-par with my 2021 "smart" AWD truck set on "snow" setting with all-weather tires. I did not have any need for chains or studs in these relatively mild conditions. This may not be true next year, with more old-tire hardening. I'd say these 10-year-old DuraTrac tires about about as hard as I would want to try. New rubber coming this year, but it was a good test.

      Light snow, deeper drifts (only found drifts up to about .6M/2ft), plowed snow berms, packed snow, icy packed roads, packed and re-frozen snow/ice, etc on hills and flats. Sure, you could have issues if you are a careless driver in any vehicle—and I am NOT saying ITVs are safe in winter weather— but overall it was a relatively good experience. I would have to credit the front and rear LSDs with much of this (they both performed very well will with little tire spin before gripping), and I can only imagine how fresh tires would grip even better!

      I did some panic stops from 25mph, and on sheet ice it did tend to pull consistently to one side, though not unusual with no ABS. But, I will do a full check this Spring to ensure the brakes are applying equally. Quick-steer maneuvers were good, and it didn't spin-out, but stability is still a concern with such a narrow and short wheelbase. Accelerating up steeper hills, it would drive around other vehicles that were stuck or abandoned, without hesitation.

      Conclusion with context—if I had to take someone to the hospital in a winter storm, I would probably default to my AWD pickup truck, mostly for space and comfort, and better stability at higher road speeds. But if the Itvee were the only thing available, I would not hesitate to use it.

      Notes: My CTIS tire pressure was set to MUD/SAND/SNOW (25 psi in the PM) for all tests. • Suspension height was set to 3" above lowest deflated height for stability, and wheel alignment set at that height (my usual driving setting). This position is a bit lower than "normal" ride height (black marks even with tops of tires), and the new height was set into the air-ride system. The front sway bar setting may be increased for cornering stability, but mine was left in stock position for better suspension flex off-road. • My Goodyear tire dealer says they will not stud used tires. Only new, no exceptions. Something to consider if buying new tires in summer, as they said they will not stud them come winter. They claim it is a Goodyear policy.


      • W427
        W427 commented
        Editing a comment
        I will add here that wheel alignment is critical to traction, whether on sand, gravel, or snow and ice. The ITV wheel alignment is horrible, and the tires 'slip' to compensate for the poor alignment. I previously felt this strongly on sand and gravel roads, where the poor alignment gave it a 'squirmy' feel of only partial traction, like driving on marbles. Without a good alignment, on ice it will have a constant loss of traction on at least 2 tires as it slips even easier. Align it at your chosen ride height, as alignment changes with ride height. 👍

    • #4
      How did ITV systems operate during the cold weather tests? By all indications, everything was reasonably "normal", and the following is random.

      On cold startup, oil pressure rose normally, to about 70 PSI (gauge), dropping within seconds to just over 50 psi. Oil pressure continued to drop as the engine warmed, until fully warmed and it idled at 25-30 psi, as-usual. This one is using Mobil 1 #120760 full synthetic 0W40 European Car Formula (diesel-rated) and filter is a Hengst H300W09.

      Engine temperature rose a bit slower, but to full-temp as-usual (one needle above the 175 mark), and sat there steady. However, neither the radiator or transmission cooling fans ever turned on that I could tell. A bit odd, as my radiator fan tends to run just before it hits full temp.

      Other observations were that air pressure seemed to take longer to reach full-pressure. I didn't time it. The compressor changed sound or tone louder and softer a few times, and I have no idea what that was about. Suspension was variable in speed of change when raising height at full pressure, being slower than usual a couple times, randomly. The hood gas-strut (lift) cylinder operated normally.

      Probably unrelated, but I did a signals check of my lights, and at first my hazard flashers did not function, with solid on and no flashing. After tapping the brake pedal, they worked normally. I did note some increased rapid clicking from the trailer relay box when brake pedal was used, and perhaps a couple times on its own. Not sure, but I intend to pull the #4 fuse to kill that box until I tow with it anyway. However, after some driving, both front signals would flash when right-turn signal was applied. Rear was normal. I haven't looked into it yet and any ideas are welcome.

      Clear snow from your top surfaces! While this is a normal job in winter driving for safety (snow can slide off the warm hood or roof onto your windshield 🙈😲), in our case the melting snow will drip heavily into the cabin and on you. I'm not tall, so I used a push broom to clear everything in short order.

      The mirrors are not very useful with the tops and doors on. Be sure your head swivels well as I hardly used the mirrors and looked everywhere, all the time, including behind me. Even a windshield-mounted rear-view would be of limited effectiveness with the tops on, but I may try it. I have one on my (usually) topless PM in Cali that is great, but there's no canvas, zippers and crappy plastic windows the way either. Click image for larger version  Name:	Laughing_smiley.gif Views:	1 Size:	799 Bytes ID:	6713

      The Diesel-fueled heater I installed (info in a different thread) is working great at these temperatures. I haven't used the original heater at all so far. I still leave the back door mostly unzipped, as it can get uncomfortably warm in the cabin if I leave my coat on, and the Itvee is not moving. Yes, I can turn it down, but prefer to leave it set to automatic at around 22°C (72°F), and if driving it will run harder to maintain temperature, and slow-down if sitting—but the changes are slow. One of my best winter investments, and I can now see why the original Eberspacher and Webasto fueled-heater designs are so popular. I may look to install it permanently with plumbing to the main fuel tanks if I can find a way to fit it in somewhere without mods.

      Operating the ITV in winter conditions have been fun! If I think of anything else, I'll add it here. More info, experience, suggestions or questions are welcome! 😎
      Last edited by W427; 12-30-2021, 03:43 PM.