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Old 01-01-2020, 08:49 AM
rleffler's Avatar
rleffler rleffler is offline
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Delaware, OH (KDLZ)
Posts: 4,192

Originally Posted by TShort View Post
Another vote for Reiff; I've had a Reiff system on both the old Skyhawk and now the -10, very happy with them.

Here in IN, I installed the cylinder bands as well. Couple of harbor freight moving blankets over the cowl and things stay nice and warm.
I have the same, both Reiff sump and cylinder bands. Flying for six years without an issue. No issues getting the temps to above 80, even when it?s -5 outside.

I do use cowl plugs and a moving blanket over the cowl as well.
Bob Leffler
N410BL - RV10 Flying
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Old 01-01-2020, 09:24 AM's Avatar is offline
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 144
Default Twin Hornet 22

It's not an oil sump heater that you asked about, but I recommend this engine cowl Pre-heater. I just set it into the bottom of my engine cowling thru my oil door, and plug it in, and put blankets on top of cowling and plug the holes.
If its below 0 then buy two of them.
Specifically designed for the application, very safe and excellent quality. No gluing of heating elements to your engine to haul around all summer.
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Old 01-01-2020, 09:37 AM
Northernliving Northernliving is offline
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 445
Default Avoid Reiff - try E-Z Heat

Originally Posted by Dean Pichon View Post
Hi All,

My engine oil sump heater died the other day. I had originally installed it in 2002. Unfortunately, the manufacturer, Symtec ( no longer makes sump heaters.

A Google search turned up units by E-Z Heat and Reiff for aircraft and a number of systems for ground based applications (e.g., Zerostart, Kat's). Any experiences, good or bad, would be appreciated.


My experience with Reiff heaters and more importantly their service, was poor. Their product burned out after an estimated 20-30 times used over three years. They carry a 5 year warranty, but Reiff wouldn't honor it since I didn't purchase the kit and it's apparently non-transferable. They also felt like these were not installed properly (not enough epoxy used). That could well be, but if they replaced the $20 pad under a courtesy warranty, they would have had a customer for life. I'll try E-Z Heat on my new engine.

Brian J.
Boston, MA
RV8 Based at ORH - Purchased
RV8 - The Project #83313 - Under Construction
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Old 01-01-2020, 11:07 AM
pa38112 pa38112 is offline
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Clarksboro, NJ
Posts: 826

I have put E-Z sump heaters on 5 airplanes over 20 years. Never had an issue, and they do a great job. The expensive Reiff systems that have cylinder bands and more make me laugh. - $500 to add all of that extra stuff? The $40 E-Z system heats the entire engine. The heat from the sump makes it's way up to the cylinders and has them nice a warm after a few hours.
2004 RV6A Flying
2002 RV6A Flying
1978 PA38-112

Last edited by pa38112 : 01-01-2020 at 11:12 AM.
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Old 01-02-2020, 10:32 AM
Canadian_JOY Canadian_JOY is offline
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 2,271

If you need real heat for truly cold weather operations, the Reiff Turbo XP system is hard to beat. It puts a pair of pads on the oil sump, a pad on the oil cooler and bands around the bases of each cylinder.

Our aircraft lives in a hangar that would be better equated with the term "farm implement shed" than "hangar". Temperature indoors is exactly the same as the outdoor temperature. At -20C I turn on the Reiff system before going to bed the night before. With an insulated cowl cover the engine is ready to fly by first light, with oil temperature typically around 100F, "in the green".

The nice thing about the Turbo XP system is that it packs enough watts to heat the whole engine in a relatively short time. When it's really cold, installing a couple of hundred watts doesn't cut it unless one is very patient and an excellent cowl cover is used. A clear indicator that you've not got enough heat in the engine is that oil temperature declines after start-up. This says the warm oil is being pushed through a cold engine. In milder climates this may not be seen very often. In truly cold climates this symptom is often seen, and is a clear indicator of insufficient pre-heating.

With respect to the post above concerning poor service from Reiff, they're a family-owned and operated company so I'm surprised they didn't go the extra mile. Looking at the photos provided it's clear the heat pads have far less than the recommended bonding agent applied to them.

It's pretty obvious the installer didn't even come close to following the installation instructions. That goo under the pads performs two functions... Firstly and obviously it bonds the heating pad to the metal oil sump. What most folks don't clearly understand is that goo also performs the critical function of facilitating heat transfer between the pad and the oil pan. Not enough goo means the heating element can't get rid of the heat it's making, leading to burn-out.

In this instance the burn-out of that heating element has a cause which is pretty obvious. If I were the manufacturer I'd certainly hesitate in providing warranty replacement, and perhaps more so to a person other than the original buyer.

Whatever path you follow moving forward, I hope you have good success. Success is largely dependent on quality of installation, as we've seen from photos above.
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Old 01-02-2020, 12:29 PM
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rv8ch rv8ch is offline
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: LSGY
Posts: 3,131
Default mini heater

Hi Dean, I'm just testing one of these - seems to be a decent solution. Just put it in the bottom of the cowl between the exhaust pipes, and let the heat rise.

It claimed 200 watts, but my testing of the current draw was closer to 120 watts. In any case, with a nice moving blanket covering the cowl, 0c temps in the hangar, the engine was at about 16c this morning.

I've just ordered a second one - I think two running for about 6-10 hours before a flight will be perfect. I'll use a GSM controller to turn them on - just ordered this one:
Mickey Coggins
"Hello, world!"
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Old 01-04-2020, 07:55 PM
Scbado Scbado is offline
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Brookfield, WI
Posts: 81
Default Reiff

Another vote for Reiff. I have the oil pan and cylinder band heaters. My Cessna 150M sits in a unheated hangar in Wisconsin. I also put in cowl plugs & a blanket over the cowl. It has been on my engine for over 5 years with no issues. Engine starts in 0 degree weather just like it does in summer. When my RV engine goes on Reiff will definitely be installed on that engine too.
Jerry Roeder
C150 N222PA at 02C
RV-9A Standard Build Slider
Empennage done
Left Wing built
Right Wing built
Fuselage in process
Finish kit received
Moved Project to 57C
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