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Old 12-09-2020, 08:37 AM
N63WA N63WA is offline
Join Date: Sep 2020
Location: Metter Ga
Posts: 13
Default cold weather flying 0-320

I currently have a 6-A with a 0-320 with carb and live in southeast ga. I recently purchased a puppy from a kennel in Odessa Missouri. I have never flown in really cold weather before and was looking for advice on the temps that i need to be looking for as far as the oil and cht. The pup needs to be picked up after Christmas. Im a low time pilot with less than 200 hrs. Im just worried about the cold weather flying.
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Old 12-09-2020, 09:20 AM
Jvon811's Avatar
Jvon811 Jvon811 is offline
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: KFNT Central Michigan
Posts: 206

If your airplane has a shutter or the ability to close off airflow to the oil cooler, you might want to adjust that as needed to maintain oil temps as close to the magic 180 degree mark as possible. Where I live in Michigan, I just put some Gorilla tape over the oil cooler and it works just fine. Trim the area covered by the tape to regulate oil temperature as needed. Temporary solution for the temporary cold of the the winter flying.

Other than that, I wouldn't worry at all about a weekend trip to MO from GA. CHT's will be a bit cooler than you're used to seeing but there's nothing wrong with them. If you're worried about a cold start in the morning leaving Missouri, try to find a heated hangar at the FBO for the overnight (worth the price) -OR- bring your own extension cord and plug in if you have a pre-heater installed. My personal mins before taking off or running up in the cold bits of winter (or anytime really) is 100*F on the oil and 200*F on the CHT's. Doesn't really take long to get that warm, especially if you've pre-heated. For a cold, un-preheated engine, experts will tell you that's the most damage you can do for an engine. I'm not an engine expert so I believe it. I pre-heat as much as possible. BUT IF YOU CAN'T, just let it idle at 1000 rpm (splash lubrication) or less until the 100*/200* temps are met. Could be upwards of 10-15 minutes depending on OAT. That's a get out of Dodge, worst case scenario. Again, paying an FBO for a heated hangar overnight is worth the price.

Personally, I wouldn't even consider that trip to be "cold weather" yet this year. Just cover the oil cooler and try to pre-heat wherever you stop. Cowl plugs to keep the heat in during a fuel stop or lunch break. The weather moving across the country and clouds this time of year I would anticipate as a bigger challenge. At least in the Midwest areas.

An O-320 operator in Michigan. (Not as cold as it could be, but cold enough for me)

RV-4 N249P
O-320, Dual P-Mags, Warnke Prop, Short legs, Manual Flaps, GRT Sport EX
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Old 12-09-2020, 09:54 AM
N63WA N63WA is offline
Join Date: Sep 2020
Location: Metter Ga
Posts: 13

Thank you so much for you help. i have been looking at anti splat aero oil cooler air shutter for the cold weather trip. i have installed a lot of there products on my plane
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Old 12-09-2020, 10:56 AM
N63WA N63WA is offline
Join Date: Sep 2020
Location: Metter Ga
Posts: 13

Also my friend said that my vernatherm closes oil off from going to the oil cooler if it doesent reach a certian temp. What do you Think?
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Old 12-09-2020, 11:06 AM
iwannarv iwannarv is offline
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Olathe, KS
Posts: 431

Gorilla tape partly blocking the oil cooler helps. It hasn't been wildly cold this winter as of yet in this area. Our friends to the north certainly deal with a lot colder than we do. If your engine is cold soaked in the morning (lows ~20F by that point), try to to find some preheat options if you can. You shouldn't have any issues.
Brad Brensing
RV-10 Emp/Tailcone - Complete, QB Wings - Complete, Fuse - Building, Finish Kit - May '21
Never judge a man by his trim tabs.

Last edited by iwannarv : 12-10-2020 at 08:14 AM.
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Old 12-09-2020, 07:24 PM
Scott Hersha Scott Hersha is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Posts: 1,756

Itís probably not necessary to make a permanent change to your oil cooler if it works most of the time during normal operations at home. Missouri isnít that far north. You may end up with some warm weather a little further north, and not much different from South Georgia. If itís cold and your oil temp makes it up to about 160*, you shouldnít be concerned on a one time, or few times exposure. When you get home, go out and fly a couple times within the next few days, and get your oil temp up to the normal 180*, and any accumulated moisture will boil off before it has a chance to do any harm. If you get to Missouri, and itís freezing cold you could take off your top cowl and tape over part of your oil cooler for the trip home. Bring some aluminum tape with you for this, if thatís a concern. I had the entire back surface of my oil cooler covered with a metal plate to help warm the oil on my RV4. The warmest I could get my oil on a relatively cold day - 25* - was 155-160*. I installed the ASA shutter on the front side of my cooler today. Iíve had one of these on a previous airplane, and it worked very well. Blocking the air at the front of the cooler is way more effective than blocking the exit air. My engine runs cool, like many RV4ís, and I rarely see anything over 185* on a hot day in the summer, so I needed a more aggressive form of temperature control during the cold months. You may not need this, especially if your visits north are infrequent.
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Old 12-09-2020, 08:30 PM
N63WA N63WA is offline
Join Date: Sep 2020
Location: Metter Ga
Posts: 13

Thank you for all your help. I ordered the Oil cooler air shutter today and planning on installing it before the trip. Just in case I may need it. I do plan on traveling on more trips up north in the future. I am very appreciative of all the information I have received.
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Old 12-09-2020, 08:49 PM
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catmandu catmandu is offline
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 933

While it's good to worry about the engine, think about the occupants as well. How's your heat? Search for threads on heat muff improvements, aileron and flap pushrod seals, etc. Do you have an avionics cooling fan / defrost fan on the glare shield? I would expect you'll just grab the puppy and go, but nice to do some research about cold weather mornings just in case.
Mike C.
Sierra Nevada
RV-6A bought flying
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Old 12-09-2020, 09:01 PM
N63WA N63WA is offline
Join Date: Sep 2020
Location: Metter Ga
Posts: 13

I do have defrost, pitot heat, and one heat muff but order another today to install before the trip.
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Old 12-09-2020, 09:22 PM
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MacCool MacCool is offline
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: central Minnesota
Posts: 359

You might be overthinking this. I say that having flown for decades in Minnesota. It's hard for me to conceive of a flight from Metta, GA to Odessa, MO as representing "cold weather flying". Lycoming doesn't even recommend pre-heat until the ambient temp gets to 10 degrees. If you're concerned enough...spend your money on a warm coat and a soft blanket for the pup rather than muffs and shutters for the airplane. I don't know how many muffs I have, but in cold weather up here, the cabin is toasty warm and engine temps are in the green. I don't think I've ever even used pitot heat on any airplane I've flown VFR. We'll see about oil temps as the winter progresses but I don't have shutters and plan on getting some ONLY if it appears to be necessary (hasn't so far...)


Last edited by MacCool : 12-09-2020 at 09:41 PM.
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