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20 Outback Limited XT 13 Outback 3.6R Limited
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I think he's probably talking about an engine block heater, that runs off of 110v for folks in cold climates. I can't imagine there's any kind of internal heater run off of 12v to warm up the coolant. That would take an enormous amount of power to have any real effect.
No, not a block heater. There is a supplemental electric heater to help the water used for interior heating get warm faster. Not sure if all trim levels have it or not. When it's cold, I noticed my 2020 Outback gets warm inside much faster than the 2007 it replaced or my wife's 2013. As far as battery drain, it only works when the car is running, and auto stop/start is disabled when the car is very cold.

My 2016 Ford F350 diesel has a similar system. Diesels are very efficient engines and don't generate as much excess heat as gasoline engines. My F350 gets warm inside in about 5 minutes. My 2002 F250 diesel without a supplemental heater typically took 15 to 20 minutes to get even moderately warm. The technology works.

It's mentioned in this thread: Heater blowing too hot air
 

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No, not a block heater. There is a supplemental electric heater to help the water used for interior heating get warm faster.

It's mentioned in this thread: Heater blowing too hot air
I just finished reading that thread where it's mentioned, but until I see it on a wiring or parts diagram I remain skeptical. I'll be checking out the technical literature for the next hour or so and will revisit this thread if I can find definitive proof.
 

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I just finished reading that thread where it's mentioned, but until I see it on a wiring or parts diagram I remain skeptical. I'll be checking out the technical literature for the next hour or so and will revisit this thread if I can find definitive proof.
The parts diagram does show a PTC option for the heater core, but there is no corresponding part number listed in the parts list (assuming it’s not something available here, maybe for a diesel option, dunno). I didn’t dig too far past the few heater parts diagrams.

I do remember it in one publication, but haven’t seen it mentioned anywhere else. Not sure where the mentions here on this site got the info (never saw a source).
 

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2020 Outback Limited
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That is pretty cool. It doesn't heat the coolant itself, just an auxiliary heat source. PTC stands for Positive Temperature Coefficient apparently.

Automotive
Established automotive heating methods, which utilize the internal combustion engine’s cooling system, can take significant time to heat an automobile’s interior. PTC auxiliary heaters effectively remedy this problem and are frequently used by leading automotive manufacturers worldwide.

 

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2020 Outback Limited
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20 Outback Limited XT 13 Outback 3.6R Limited
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Now I just need to figure out what relay or fuse to pull for it.
Why? The car is designed to handle the draw, and I assume it's thermo controlled to only come on in cold temps when car is cold. I suspect it's only going to run for about 5 minutes and only when needed. Added load is one of the reasons auto stop/start doesn't operate when the car is cold. My experience on cold days is it helps the car get warmer a lot quicker, which is a plus.
 

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2016 Outback 2.5 Limited, Ice Silver and 2020 Outback Limited XT Cinnamon Brown
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That's a good question. Did know about any auxiliary heater.

Bought it at the beginning of April in Northeast Ohio and we only had a week or so of cold weather afterwards. Interior definitely warmed up quicker. Temperature gauge also moved up faster, I believe, but am not positive. Will have to wait until the fall and winter to find out for sure.

When you say the XT warms up quicker in cold, are you referring to the engine, or the interior heat? The upper end Outback's have a supplemental electric heater to heat the water for the interior heat faster. It makes a big difference in getting the inside warmer quicker.
 

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2020 touring XT
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Thanks! Wouldn't it be wonderful if there were a side-effect of pulling the relays, that start/stop won't work. Have you pulled yours? Not that you have a reason to, but since you knew about them.... Can't pull mine until later today.
I never used the heater. I assume it only turns on when heater is turned on. Then I don't worry about pulling relays. I hardly use A/C either. My window is the climate adjuster. BTW, do you know any good place to drive OB on Oahu? I know there is a beach on Big Island you can drive on but not on Oahu without being ticketed.
 

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I never used the heater. I assume it only turns on when heater is turned on. Then I don't worry about pulling relays. I hardly use A/C either. My window is the climate adjuster. BTW, do you know any good place to drive OB on Oahu? I know there is a beach on Big Island you can drive on but not on Oahu without being ticketed.
Drive through east oahu from hawaii kai through waimanalo (past the blow hole) then take the pali to town is a good loop.
 

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I can do that with any car. I am looking for something my OB enjoys. I did a lot of mountain dirt road driving in Mt. Hood when I lived in Portland. Oahu has many hiking trails but not for cars. I wish we had some unpaved nice roads. Even Makaha, Waianae and those area roads are nicely paved. I wish they bring ferry back so I can go to Big Island and drive. Till then, I pray for snow every night before I go to bed. You never know.....
 

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2008 OB Limited 2.5i, Portland OR USA
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Interesting technology; technical paper here:


I had thought that electric vehicles would have been the first in exclusively using and developing these, and then later the ordinary market picked it up as a mature technology that benefited people living in extreme cold climates. But this paper says that 65% of European diesels have used these, and it's going on up to 90% very soon. Seems like it's been around a while.

I do wonder what demand this puts on batteries and alternators. While it's on a limited time, it is a very heavy draw typically (900 - 2,000 W).

Maybe the 2.5 heats up quicker and doesn't benefit as much from the PTC, who knows?
Chances are they just did it as part of a premium package to go with the more expensive turbo version.
 
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