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2012 Subaru Outback 3.6R Limited, with custom-added always-on auxillary power for an inverter, 3x DC jacks, and a radio transciever.
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Discussion Starter #1
I'm trying to think of ways to pre-warm my 2012 Outback (has 121K miles) a bit in the winter time...I don't have a garage (and the new rental I'm moving into 10 min from work still won't for the next 2 years at least).

I'm not sure the cost to have a block heater put in would be worth it at this point - for the past 5 years there was nowhere to plug one in even if I had it and I don't know what will happen in 2 more years after the lease on this new place ends. If everyone says that's the best way to go and its cheap to have installed (I don't feel I'm experienced enough to DIY that) I'm open to that idea but I just don't think it would be cost effective.

I don't have remote-start because when I got my job I was told remote-start fobs aren't allowed due to 2-way wireless communication (it's a secure facility and rules are non-negotiable).

The best idea I can come up with is some sort of programmable controller that would turn on some sort of electrical heater for say 15 minutes before I would be going out to my car to "take the chill off" without running the battery totally flat (or it could connect to a secondary battery).

Since I know the HVAC heat uses the engine coolant to provide warmth obviously that's out but I am wondering if there's a way I can splice a wire in the center console or use a couple Add-A-Fuse things to let the heated seats get power bypassing the "accessory key shut-off" so they will be powered on-demand without the key being left in the ignition to steal?

I do have the wiring diagrams and service manual (which is a PITA to search thru split into a billion PDFs) but I am unclear if the limiting factor of power is "the relay coil is on acc-switched power" or if its also the heater-fuse is on ACC-switched power and it sounds like the relays may be difficult to access (so just replacing the relay with a modified relay + DIY timer circuit would be difficult)

Also open to other suggestions or ideas I may not have thought of...I have a 50A #8AWG feed run from the battery to the driver's seat pan to power an inverter, always-on 12V ports, and some ham radio gear that I can tap into for power from.
 

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Master Caster
2005 XT, Mildly Modified...2006 XT Limited, Highly Modifed
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Too bad you can't harness everyone's overheating issues and store the NRG for later use.

Little heat soak bricks you just toss in the microwave to activate.
 

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On the Super Mod Squad
02 Pair: 3.0 VDC Wag & 2.5 Limited Sedan
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how did people live in northern virginia for all these years without such things?,

...on this board people type of them when they live in Canada, and Alaska.

rare does anyone need or get a block heater or add a external oil pan heater outside those areas.

everyone else:

step 1, start the car,

step 2 let it idle for 30 seconds,

step 3 drop it into gear and drive less then 45mph for 2 miles. then the coolant warms up and you get heat,...and you can drive faster.


the above steps also stop one from wasting gas parked idling getting zero miles per gallon. and the only reason why I leave a car parked idling to warm up anymore is to get the frost off the inside of the windshield. as I can't scrape it to see to drive. (frost from dampness that might come off my boots, or a forgotten jug of water).
 

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2018 Dark Blue Outback 3.6R Touring arrived 8/31/2017
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how did people live in northern virginia for all these years without such things?,

...on this board people type of them when they live in Canada, and Alaska.

rare does anyone need or get a block heater or add a external oil pan heater outside those areas.

everyone else:

step 1, start the car,

step 2 let it idle for 30 seconds,

step 3 drop it into gear and drive less then 45mph for 2 miles. then the coolant warms up and you get heat,...and you can drive faster.


the above steps also stop one from wasting gas parked idling getting zero miles per gallon. and the only reason why I leave a car parked idling to warm up anymore is to get the frost off the inside of the windshield. as I can't scrape it to see to drive. (dampness that might come off my boots, or a forgotten jug of water).
The biggest need is for melting stuff/defrosting, I agree.

I've never had a problem doing what you say with my 2007 Legacy, other than I might not have been able to keep it under 45 mph for 2 miles (I don't live that far from getting out of my city, and the only way into/out of my city is I90) but yes, try to be relatively gentle on it until it warms up.

For the record: with my 93 Saturn SC2 with 1.9 inline 4 aluminum block: I tried a few times letting it warm up a bit when it was cold out, but that small aluminum block was too effective of a radiator when not under load for that to be much use when really cold, and would never get to normal operating temperature idling: I just had to drive it.

That same car had the useful quirk of starting easier when it was -30F below than when it was 80F.

If you have a 2.5 engine with aluminum block, I'd not expect it to get properly warmed up in the real cold from idling, and my experience with my Legacy was it was never a practical issue other than warming up the interior and defrosting windows when it was that cold. It also never had a problem starting, either.
 

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On the Super Mod Squad
02 Pair: 3.0 VDC Wag & 2.5 Limited Sedan
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The biggest need is for melting stuff/defrosting, I agree.

I've never had a problem doing what you say with my 2007 Legacy, other than I might not have been able to keep it under 45 mph for 2 miles (I don't live that far from getting out of my city, and the only way into/out of my city is I90) but yes, try to be relatively gentle on it until it warms up.

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I would think the best thing if you regularly get on the expressways before 2 miles has ellapsed is to try to stay on the surface streets or service roads if they exist for a few more minutes. ...a extra pair stop lights a day on a ice cold engine, would be better then pounding a ice cold engine to near red line 2x a day to get up a short ramp and up to highway speed to meet the speed of regular traffic.

_______

I had to look up that mercer island is apparently in washington state. ...not that much room for choice in routes. (if under your screen name you don't type where it is,...you leave people in the lurch to wonder where or which mercer island in the universe you refer to).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercer_Island,_Washington
 

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Lawn ornament XT
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Volvo and VW have both spent a bunch of money cracking that nut, but I don't think either one has shipped a car (in the USA) with any of the resulting features or parts.

The Volvo system used an oversized battery and alternator in combination with a number of electric heaters to rapidly warm a few key parts. The VW system was a bit more radical; they used a tank of phase-change material to chemically store heat from the previous run.

They both sound neat to me, but I think it might be too much of a challenge to try either as a DIY.

A block heater is cheap to buy, cheap to use, has no espionage concerns and is extremely reliable. I'd think you'd do best in spending your efforts on finding places to plug it in.
 

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2018 Dark Blue Outback 3.6R Touring arrived 8/31/2017
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I would think the best thing if you regularly get on the expressways before 2 miles has ellapsed is to try to stay on the surface streets or service roads if they exist for a few more minutes. ...a extra pair stop lights a day on a ice cold engine, would be better then pounding a ice cold engine to near red line 2x a day to get up a short ramp and up to highway speed to meet the speed of regular traffic.

_______

I had to look up that mercer island is apparently in washington state. ...not that much room for choice in routes. (if under your screen name you don't type where it is,...you leave people in the lurch to wonder where or which mercer island in the universe you refer to).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercer_Island,_Washington
There's only one Mercer Island anywhere, which simplifies it >:)

For the good of the engine, at least my most common direction to leave, I do have at least a couple intersections with potential stoplights to deal with, but even then, it's still under a half mile. The top speed limit on Mercer Island surface streets is 35 mph, and that's on a road I only cross on the way.

The worst thing (other than slow idiots that think getting on at 30mph into 60+ mph traffic with only a solid concretevwall and no shoulder on the right) is the stupid metered traffic light near the bottom of the already-short downhill on-ramp.

This reality factored greatly into upgrading to a 3.6 engine rather than performance-downgrading to a 2.5 (since the Legacy it replaced was a far lighter and more aerodynamic car) so I don't get forced to push it very hard in such situations. I found myself forced to floor the Legacy a number of times to get up to speed in that situation, but as of yet, I've not found this car and the engine needing to floor it: in practice, I think if I floored it, there simply isn't enough space between cars to not rear-end people ahead of me due to traffic volume and how fast (and the distance it eats doing it) it accelerates. I'll definitely spend more gas money, but I love being able to not need to pucker up the backside nearly as much :grin2:
 

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On the Super Mod Squad
02 Pair: 3.0 VDC Wag & 2.5 Limited Sedan
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A block heater is cheap to buy, cheap to use, has no espionage concerns and is extremely reliable. I'd think you'd do best in spending your efforts on finding places to plug it in.
subaru seems to have killed off this handy "recreational" generator size, I wonder if anyone used them on the ice covered alleys of Atlanta to thaw a subaru enough to crank it over.





maybe at one of the upcoming autoshows, subaru will debut a factory option of solar panels/ batteries to release enough of the sun's energy to thaw 5w30 oil in florida.

here as a test mule from the University of Central Florida:

 

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'15 Outback 2.5i Premium
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I'd recommend pricing a block heater and installation before going any further.

Simplest and cheapest may be to plug a drop light ("trouble light") with a 60W or 75W incandescent bulb into your inverter through a table lamp timer. Make sure the light is placed where it won't scorch anything or cause a fire. How big and how old is your battery?

Most practical would be to dress warmer and put up with it until the seat heater warms up.
 

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2012 Subaru Outback 3.6R Limited, with custom-added always-on auxillary power for an inverter, 3x DC jacks, and a radio transciever.
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Discussion Starter #11
I'd recommend pricing a block heater and installation before going any further.

Simplest and cheapest may be to plug a drop light ("trouble light") with a 60W or 75W incandescent bulb into your inverter through a table lamp timer. Make sure the light is placed where it won't scorch anything or cause a fire. How big and how old is your battery?

Most practical would be to dress warmer and put up with it until the seat heater warms up.
Battery is a Group 34 and it's only a year old. The previous group 34 croaked within the 5-year warrenty so I got a free replacement. Maybe I'll try the lightbulb idea, it's cheap/easy enough.

Really wanted a place with a garage (someone asked what everyone else does - most places have a garage but the only rental we found with everything we needed lacks a garage). Garage solves all the problems.

When I got the car I actually asked about a block heater and none of the dealers I talked to had any clue what I was talking about...after explaining what it was they then suggested "why not get remote start" and didn't understand my reasoning for not having it. Then again when buying the salesmen also kept leaving me voicemails on my cellphone when I explicitly told them call my work office number because I can't have my cellphone in there...they couldn't understand that either.

While I'd like something mainly for human-comfort the other advantage of a block heater is it would make the windshield de-ice faster...but that's negotiable if I can be more comfortable while I wait.
 

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2013 Outback, 2.5i Limited w/ Moonroof
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The remote start may still be an option for you. Two ideas that my be compliant with your employer's rules regarding 2-way communication devices.

First, use a remote start to start your car each morning, but leave the remote start in your car during work. Or, don't even take the remote start fob to work. Leave it on the dresser at home.

Second, not all remote starts are 2-way communication. There are many that are only 1-way. The Viper system I have installed on my Outback is 2-way, but one of the two remote start fobs is only 1-way. Put that one on the key ring that you take to work. That way, the fob is only transmitting, not receiving. In that mode, it is really no different than any other key fob that unlocks car doors.

https://www.viper.com/car/remotestart/product/4816v/viper-value-2-way-remote-start-system
 

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... they then suggested "why not get remote start" and didn't understand my reasoning for not having it. Then again when buying the salesmen also kept leaving me voicemails on my cellphone when I explicitly told them call my work office number because I can't have my cellphone in there...they couldn't understand that either.
LOL. I know exactly what you mean; I retired from a job like that. NoVA, huh?

FYI:
https://subaruonlineparts.com/subaru-outback-engine-block-heater-liter-models-2013-2014-p-2175.html

Print out the instructions, take them to a mechanic and ask for a quote to install if you provide the kit (or bottom line if they order the parts).

[I noticed you have a 3.6 - there may be one similar for that]
 

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2012 Subaru Outback 3.6R Limited, with custom-added always-on auxillary power for an inverter, 3x DC jacks, and a radio transciever.
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Discussion Starter #14
LOL. I know exactly what you mean; I retired from a job like that. NoVA, huh?

FYI:
https://subaruonlineparts.com/subaru-outback-engine-block-heater-liter-models-2013-2014-p-2175.html

Print out the instructions, take them to a mechanic and ask for a quote to install if you provide the kit (or bottom line if they order the parts).

[I noticed you have a 3.6 - there may be one similar for that]
Yeah, I know they exist for a 3.6 just higher wattage. And yep...NoVA has lots of places with funny rules it seems, at one point one of the facilities came out with a rule "no transmitters or receivers of any kind" and security was displeased when I asked for clarification citing how car keys are integrated with fobs anymore and new cars only have fobs - apparently nobody thought about that. They also didn't like I pointed out to them its unreasonable to leave the ignition key with integrated fob in an unlocked car all day (which is where we were told to leave our cellphones and anything else not allowed and clearly you can't lock your car with the key in it). But that's for another rant-thread.

Do you think its a job a normal "tire shop" could do the heater? The place I've gone to for my regular service has been good to me and (in my opinion) did a good job with my 120K service and spark plugs tho it took longer than their computer quoted it seems to run fine. Only catch is I know they won't use parts I provide from previous stuff I've had them do, they have to buy it for me...and I know some things they can't do (my service book says 120K needed a fuel filter but apparently they can't do it on my car). I suppose I could ask them.

I was also recently reading thru some other forum pages and it sounds like the 2016-2017 remote start might somehow work with the "normal" keyfob but shorter range, anyone know if I had the dealer install OEM remote start can the 2012 trigger it from the normal keyfob that is built into the ignition key? If so, what button sequence would trip it? In that case maybe a remote start would be worth the cost since it could also be used in the summer and at the end of a workday.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I guess also I may be overthinking this with the easy-lazy way...get some cheap car seat warmer pad things that plug into a "lighter plug" and connect those to a timer control since I've added some always-on aux power sockets in my car. Maybe that's the cheap/simple way to go.
 

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Yeah, I know they exist for a 3.6 just higher wattage. And yep...NoVA has lots of places with funny rules it seems, at one point one of the facilities came out with a rule "no transmitters or receivers of any kind" and security was displeased when I asked for clarification citing how car keys are integrated with fobs anymore and new cars only have fobs - apparently nobody thought about that. They also didn't like I pointed out to them its unreasonable to leave the ignition key with integrated fob in an unlocked car all day (which is where we were told to leave our cellphones and anything else not allowed and clearly you can't lock your car with the key in it). But that's for another rant-thread.
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I am thinking you need a commuter car, this on just needs some upholstery work.

https://richmond.craigslist.org/cto/d/1997-subaru-svx/6338553971.html
 

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While I'd like something mainly for human-comfort the other advantage of a block heater is it would make the windshield de-ice faster...but that's negotiable if I can be more comfortable while I wait.
Don't forget the other other advantage: dramatically improved winter short-trip fuel economy.
 

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2012 Subaru Outback 3.6R Limited, with custom-added always-on auxillary power for an inverter, 3x DC jacks, and a radio transciever.
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Discussion Starter #18
I am thinking you need a commuter car, this on just needs some upholstery work.

https://richmond.craigslist.org/cto/d/1997-subaru-svx/6338553971.html
At this point in time I don't have a place to park another vehicle - Outback is commuter car, cargo-truck, and vacation-van that drives like a sports car (my 3.6R is especially fun when next to over-modded under-powered rice-burners).

Now if I had both space and money I'd get a WRX or WRX-STI...and also get to become proficient on a manual transmission while having some fun (because I've only had 1 friend let me learn on his new-used car for a couple hours one day, nobody else has one and will let me drive it). Someone in my apartment got the royal blue color WRX recently - I think the same one I was window-shopping dreaming about at the local dealer's website. Looks really nice.

When I was in the market for my car I really wanted cloth seats (they feel cooler in summer and warmer in winter, require less maintenance, and don't get damaged as easily if something sharp hits them) but it was impossible to find an Outback Premium in a 3.6R engine with backup-camera. Actually 1 dealership found 1 of them but it had literally every other possible optional feature it could have and cost considerably more than my 3.6R Limited plus wasn't a color I liked (I prefer light colors).
 

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On the Super Mod Squad
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At this point in time I don't have a place to park another vehicle - Outback is commuter car, cargo-truck, and vacation-van that drives like a sports car (my 3.6R is especially fun when next to over-modded under-powered rice-burners).

Now if I had both space and money I'd get a WRX or WRX-STI...and also get to become proficient on a manual transmission while having some fun (because I've only had 1 friend let me learn on his new-used car for a couple hours one day, nobody else has one and will let me drive it). Someone in my apartment got the royal blue color WRX recently - I think the same one I was window-shopping dreaming about at the local dealer's website. Looks really nice.

When I was in the market for my car I really wanted cloth seats (they feel cooler in summer and warmer in winter, require less maintenance, and don't get damaged as easily if something sharp hits them) but it was impossible to find an Outback Premium in a 3.6R engine with backup-camera. Actually 1 dealership found 1 of them but it had literally every other possible optional feature it could have and cost considerably more than my 3.6R Limited plus wasn't a color I liked (I prefer light colors).
the only maint I have ever given a leather seat was wiping off icecream that a dog had vomitted.
and I used windex on a napkin. ...try that with a cloth seat. (I don't know how people with kids live without leather).

and you need one of these:

 

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Astrostart or viper with SmartStart. You start with your phone, not remote. No two way commo. Unless you can't use your phone either.

Sent from my SM-N920P using Tapatalk
 
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