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#214697 - 01/10/11 07:18 PM Home Made Car Heater.

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 1852
FIRST OFF..this is a cold winter night,not much else to do project.REAL modern propane heaters that you could use in your car can be found just by a quick web web search.in a minute or two i found several from the local big box store that would be much better and safer than my home made set up.
having said that this is what i came up with.

OH NO--i took my canoe hauling car that i only use in the summer way out into the wilderness out of cell phone range and skidded into the ditch.it will be tomorrow before anyone comes along!!..

the temp is only 9F and i'm just wearing a light jacket and jeans because i thought this could never happen.

lucky for me before i left i had a look thru my stove collection for something i could use as a car heater.on the right is a Coleman 502 with a drum heater over the burner.i used this years ago when i went ice fishing.using gas as a fuel seemed to have a spill and fire danger so over on the left is a propane burner that a spare drum heater fits on.

if i make a couple small cuts so it snugs down over the pot holder.

well here i am back at the stuck car and the propane heater is down on the floor inside a bucket to help keep it up right should i bump into it.

a cooking pot full of snow will provide some hot water to make the cocoa i have along with a cup and spoon.

eleven minutes pass by and the car is above zero!

i was concerned about the heat on the dashboard and it is sort of hot--note to self--add a heat shield of some sort.

twenty minutes into it the inside at the front seat is 50F!!

with the back window cracked a bit and the stove turned way down i can wait it out until morning.

well whats this!!!..minutes later with the car warmed up a winter camper who was frozen out up on Pine Lake is on his way home comes by--i get out and wave him down--adventure over--

Edited by CANOEDOGS (01/10/11 08:48 PM)

#214704 - 01/10/11 08:14 PM Re: Home Made Car Heater. [Re: CANOEDOGS]
GarlyDog Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 04/05/07
Posts: 776
Loc: The People's Republic of IL
Interesting. Next time, bring a Carbon Monoxide alarm with you to see if you have to make any adjustments to stay within tolerance for ventilation.

#214710 - 01/10/11 09:02 PM Re: Home Made Car Heater. [Re: CANOEDOGS]
dweste Offline

Registered: 02/16/08
Posts: 2463
Loc: Central California
Kudos for both the effort and the report!

#214722 - 01/10/11 10:43 PM Re: Home Made Car Heater. [Re: CANOEDOGS]
dougwalkabout Offline
Crazy Canuck
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 3038
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Good post.

I don't think I'd go to sleep with that setup running (actually that applies to anything other than candles).

The beauty of this rig is that you can shut down and relight on demand. Used only when needed, a 1-lb. propane cylinder will last quite a long time.

I was thinking about heat shields too, contemplating a test for my Dietz lantern. The easiest thing to pack would be heavy duty aluminum foil. A couple of layers of that would go a long way in protecting the dash and the seat from heat.

Edited by dougwalkabout (01/10/11 10:43 PM)

#214723 - 01/10/11 11:01 PM Re: Home Made Car Heater. [Re: dougwalkabout]
Teslinhiker Offline

Registered: 12/14/09
Posts: 1415
Loc: Cranbrook BC (Finally)
Originally Posted By: dougwalkabout
Good post.
I was thinking about heat shields too, contemplating a test for my Dietz lantern. The easiest thing to pack would be heavy duty aluminum foil. A couple of layers of that would go a long way in protecting the dash and the seat from heat.

Doug: If you have a RONA or Home Depot in your AO, they both sell rolls of thin aluminum flashing for a very reasonable cost.

Typically the rolls are about 9-15 inches wide and I cannot recall how many feet (lots though). The flashing is very malleable, bendable etc and works perfectly for heat shields etc. I use a small piece of the flashing that wraps around and protects my MSR Pocket Rocket stove from wind.

A foot long section of this flashing kept rolled up or kept flat in a backpack/ PSK would also make an expedient survival cup/bowl/pot etc with minimal work.
Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books.

John Lubbock

#214725 - 01/11/11 01:22 AM Re: Home Made Car Heater. [Re: CANOEDOGS]
Dagny Offline

Registered: 11/25/08
Posts: 1918
Loc: Washington, DC
Kudos on the illustrated scenario and stove demo!

50 degrees sounds a heckuva lot better than 9 degrees.

#214727 - 01/11/11 02:38 AM Re: Home Made Car Heater. [Re: dougwalkabout]

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 1852
Doug..yup,no way i would go to sleep with that going..
i would get into all the winter clothes i had along!!

in the WP bag i keep in the trunk,which i can get to from inside the car by dropping the back seat,i have--
a mummy bag--poly filled booties--heavy wool pants--my old but still in good shape goose down parka--wool lined gauntlet mitts--
poly full face mask and a egg crate style camping mattress that i would put on the car seat...you know in the end you just might want to pack a tent and other winter camping gear along with some good long johns and camp outside the car until help came!

#214729 - 01/11/11 02:51 AM Re: Home Made Car Heater. [Re: CANOEDOGS]
Richlacal Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 02/11/10
Posts: 778
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Awesome Work!2-Thumbs Up on Your Experiment & Conclusion Thereof!Maybe a Jig set-up on a piece of Plywood,to hold the canister& a hinge on 1 side,& another thin piece of plywood the heighth of the heater,To make an L-shape,that is lined on the inside with Thermal ply,facing the interior of the Car.That could keep the Dash plastic safe & Radiate the heat,where it's needed possibly?Darn Good Work,CHEERS!

#214730 - 01/11/11 03:33 AM Re: Home Made Car Heater. [Re: CANOEDOGS]

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 1852
Rich--and others..there is no end to what you could do to a home made set up like this.the big box heaters are a few hundred bucks for a good one and if you don't really expect to be someplace where survival in your ditched car is a real issue i would assume any camp stove,with proper venting--so on-- would work.in this test i did not cut off the back seat area with a blanket and that would have kept the drivers seat warmer faster.what i did notice was that the car had cold spots,the floor was cold and stayed that way while i was out.

this camping fan/light was a secret Santa gift at work many years ago and i never had a use for it but to move the warm air around in the car it would work fine.

#214731 - 01/11/11 04:33 AM Re: Home Made Car Heater. [Re: CANOEDOGS]
bigmbogo Offline

Registered: 02/11/05
Posts: 82
I hate to rain on the parade, but the combination of monoxide poisoning and fire trap this contraption presents is a stunningly bad idea, in my opinion. Cracking the window a bit wouldn't do it. If you were lucky, you'd be unconscious or dead before the flames consumed you.

In my foolish younger years I once slept in a van that had a propane lantern going for a little heat. I'm figuring it burns a lot cleaner and puts of less volume of exhaust than that burner. I cracked the window an inch or two for safety. In the morning I was downright woozy and ill, and it took me a few days before I started feeling somewhat normal again, or perhaps just got used to living with a good percentage of my brain cells missing.

I have a camper with a legitimate propane furnace, with its combustion vented outside the camper. There is still a CO detector, and I'm still slightly nervous with the thing running while I sleep.

Carbon monoxide is scary, dangerous, sneaky stuff. Even if it doesn't kill you, it can permanently disable you. It can sneak up on you, gradually putting you to sleep without you knowing it.

I appreciate your interest in finding a working solution, and am not trying to give you a hard time about it. I would just hate to read about you having a tragic accident.


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