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Thread: Frozen washers - question for our overseas members

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    Regular Member gtr1000's Avatar
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    Default Frozen washers - question for our overseas members

    Following on from this http://www.vectra-c.com/forum/showthread.php?t=66041, I know we've got a few members on here from very cold countries (Finland?).

    So how do those from colder climes cope with frozen washers? Please don't tell me you've got heated washers as this thread will be in vain. LOL

    As an aside, for those of us in GB that have heated washers, they're not much use first thing as the nozzles are frozen anyway

    Not expecting many replies on this one but hopefully we'll all be educated once and for all.

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    They probably have garages...

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    Regular Member Ste's Avatar
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    If the jets thawed instantly, then the sprayed water would freeze on the window. So the delay in thawing the jets is practical as well as physical, as it gives time for the screen to warm a bit too.

    As to frozen jets in colder climes...... I went to the arctic in winter for work and had a Saab car, never noticed the washers frozen. Not sure if it's because they worked or because I didn't need them, as everything is frozen so no dirty spray from other cars to need them to clean the screen??

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    Regular Member gtr1000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ste View Post
    If the jets thawed instantly, then the sprayed water would freeze on the window. So the delay in thawing the jets is practical as well as physical, as it gives time for the screen to warm a bit too.
    Good point Ste.

    With the VX heated washer system, how much of the total washer system is actually "heated"?

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    Ex-Staff Full Member Taffyopel's Avatar
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    I was thinking about this last night too whilst driving down the M4. Outside temp was -2 and with all the salt and spray, i had to clean the screen. As usual, the drivers side froze instantly but luckily the passenger side one worked and i managed to drag water over to my side.

    Surely, an easier method, if it was possible, would be to install a heating element into the washer bottle that warmed the water. That way, it would be warm all the way through the pipes and out the jets. Heated washer jets are great yes, but they don't stop the fluid from freezing in the pipes.


    Snowman, you got your ears on?

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    Regular Member gtr1000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Taffyopel View Post
    I was thinking about this last night too whilst driving down the M4. Outside temp was -2 and with all the salt and spray, i had to clean the screen. As usual, the drivers side froze instantly but luckily the passenger side one worked and i managed to drag water over to my side.

    Surely, an easier method, if it was possible, would be to install a heating element into the washer bottle that warmed the water. That way, it would be warm all the way through the pipes and out the jets. Heated washer jets are great yes, but they don't stop the fluid from freezing in the pipes.
    Yes, but no, but yes........

    Assuming the bottle warms up at the time you start the engine, how long will it take for that latent heat to travel up the washer lines to the jets? It's a fair old run to the nozzles from the washer pump. The nozzles seem to be the "weak" point of any washer system as they're exposed to the elements and are prone to wind chill.

    If only someone could come up with a system that eliminates frozen washers, they'd be on to a winner.

    One thing I have found is that once the nozzles are working, it's best to use the washers at regular intervals, say every 10 minutes (even if the screen's clear) but this time varies, as flowing water doesn't tend to freeze as easily as stagnant/non-flowing water.
    Last edited by gtr1000; 10th January 2009 at 20:00.

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    Ex-Staff Full Member Taffyopel's Avatar
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    Yep, agree there. Once they are working they are ok.

    Run an additional coolant pipe from the engine up under the bulkhead passed the washer jets and back to the engine, just to keep them warm!!!

    Thinking about it now, i've worked out the problem. Older cars had the washer jets in the bonnet so benefited of the heat from the engine to stop them freezing. With the location of the C's, there's not much hope!


    Snowman, you got your ears on?

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    Regular Member gtr1000's Avatar
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    On an old Citroen BX I had (single wiper), it had a spray bar on the wiper arm in lieu of washer nozzles. For all the years I had it and drove in all weathers, the spray bar/washer holes (six of them) never froze. Don't know why, just never did.

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    Regular Member v6boy's Avatar
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    On my 2004 GSi i have factory xenons which in the spec brochure says;

    Xenon headlights with dynamic beam levelling and heated
    high-pressure headlight washers


    Now would the washer jets just be heated as with the windscreen ones, or could it be there is some sort of heater in the resevoir. I'm positive i've detected warmth coming from the resevoir when i;ve taken the filler cap off in the cold maybe i'm just

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    Regular Member Ste's Avatar
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    Heated tape could be wrapped around the pipes to prevent them freezing. The tank would take a long time to freeze though.

    Just a point - objects don't experience 'wind chill' only animals etc that produce liquid (ie sweat) that evaporates and requires latent heat, so you notice the effect.

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