4 Mar 2018

And Then, Food For Thought...

  Here’s a post by the good Ripper – actually copied from the comments – relating to an iffy trip to toil he had and thoughts on that common problem of screen washer jets freezing up. My idea was to heat the washer reservoir but it was politely pointed out to me that you can  add anti freeze to the reservoir. Dumb of me eh? Anyhoo, food for fun for all you garden shed and garage folk who enjoy a challenge. Me? I’m thinking of trying a dab of olive oil on the jets of an evening and I’m quietly confident this’ll work now the thaw has set in...

 Like the majority of people I know, I disregarded all those reports as scaremongering rubbish. Okay, so its a bit cold, and there has been a small dusting of dry powdery snow where I live, but nothing to worry about. Until last night, that is.
   I work night shifts and its about a 42 mile round trip to work and back, along an unlit dual carriageway. During the summer all the trees and hedgerows lining the carriageway had been cut down because their overgrowth had been causing problems for a while. My car is currently having problems with one headlamp, no dipped beam on the near side so I'm driving on offside low beam and front driving lights, which does the job. As I get onto the carriageway the   windscreen has collected a fine coating of the dusty stuff being blown by the wind, which triggers the automatic wipers. This produces a wide smear of road salt across the screen, so instantly I hit the washer button. Crap! the washer jets are frozen! So I end up traveling to work at less than 30mph on a 70mph road, can't see a thing. Added to this, the powdery snow has been blown across the road, courtesy of the missing trees and I have no idea, because I can't even see the kerb let alone the road markings, of my position on the road. Its only by vehicles occasionally overtaking me that tells me that I'm in the near side lane. That was the most scary journey I've had in decades and worse than the times I've had to drive in thick fog.
   Then I got to work, and proceeded to freeze to death for the rest of the 12 hour shift. Due to a stuck loading bay door (going up/down all night) which is very near to where I work, I spent the entire night in what was, in effect, a -3 degrees C wind tunnel, which was the temperature on the shop floor. Half the shift hasn't turned in because their route to work is by untreated country lanes which made it too dangerous to try, but those like myself who had made it, were wearing hi viz padded jackets wherever possible. Unfortunately for me it wasn't.
   I will still regard the news reporting as scaremongering, but I intend to be a bit more prepared in the future.

   You have my sympathy. I know exactly what you mean regarding the windscreen problem as, even round here, although we got off relatively lightly snow wise, just moments into a drive and that auto wiper kicks in and visibility is gone and frozen washer.
Here’s something for an engineering fellow such as yourself to spend your shift figuring out. Ready? You may like this.
You know that windscreen de-icing boost button? Works really well and fast and alleviates the need for any scraping.
   Why not, also activated by that de-ice button, have a heating coil round the windscreen wash tank, pump and short run of small bore piping? A coil round the water reservoir? An electric kettle type element in the reservoir?  Would it work? Is it already out there? Yes? Okay, move along. No? How about coming up with a DIY retro fit kit? Patent that thought.

   I drive a Ford so I do have the heated screen, I know what you mean about it being very fast, a god send when I come off work on a frosty morning, while the others are busy scraping I'm off halfway down the road.
   Regarding the washing system, I've thought about this already. The tank, pump and piping are okay, since they get filled with screen wash which I made sure won't freeze above -10. The problem is those little jets on the bonnet. They are exposed to the elements so the water content in the screen wash freezes and forms a plug in the end of the jet nozzle. Sometimes a squirt of de-icer will sort it out but on Thursday the temperature was too low for the de-icer to get into that tiny hole and do its job. Now it would be possible to fit a heater into the jet. I don't know if this has already been done, but if not it needs to be. It would be a nice little winter earner for any manufacturer of aftermarket car parts. I mean, for the bike I can get all manner of replacement parts which not only bling the bike up but function in better ways than the original.
This subject has intrigued me to look online to see if there are any solutions, and from a couple of forums dating back to 2007 I find that some cars have been fitted with heated screen-wash jets for some time. However, there are still problems with those. But I also found that there is a kit which consists of a heater/pump arrangement called Heat Shot. I went to their site to read about it, and treated it with some scepticism, since this uses a LOT of battery power to heat the fluid to 60 deg. before it even reaches the jets. They make a lot of claims as to its efficacy, some clutching at straws regarding security of the vehicle while its defrosting.
   But then
I dropped on a site that had done some rigorous testing of this product, and according to them it does what it says on the tin. Still too pricey for my liking though, but I would pay that if it meant being a bit safer than Thursday night's ordeal.
   But that has also made me think - a length of copper brake line could be coiled and fed into the top radiator hose, The brake pipe would carry hot coolant and be coiled around the feed tubes to the screen jets, close enough to heat the body of the jet enough to defrost it. You would have to wait until the engine began to warm up, but that's better than making a whole 1 hour journey with a filthy screen. I will give more thought to this idea.

Quote;  Whitney Wolfe.

“Have a dream, chase it down, jump over every single hurdle, and run through fire and ice to get there.”

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