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Heated Wiper Fluid

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Second Nature, Dec 11, 2011.

  1. Second Nature

    Second Nature Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 67

    I'll apologize in advance if this topic has recently been covered:

    I know that GM used to offer heated wwf as part of an option package on better vehicles. They stopped it and have never resumed up to this time, though it's likely in the works for a future year-class. While researching this topic, I learned of a company in snow country (Michigan) named AlphaTherm which manufactures the newest generation of wwf heaters. I did a bunch of checking over the past few days, and I could find NO negative comments or reviews on their heater...the AT-38OD. The hookup is totally dumb-simple...even I can do it...and the videos I've seen prove this.

    The heater emits heated wwf...on demand... in the range of 150 degrees after 30 seconds of engine operation and electrical voltage reaching at least 12.9v. The benefits as I see them are obvious. I ran down all the possible concerns, and I think the company has addressed them very well. After several emails to the company and very informative responses, I ordered one to try, and I consider the price to be extremely affordable. If I like it, I'm going to outfit every vehicle in the fleet...plus personal vehicles. I'll keep you posted on the install and operation.

    I considered posting a link, prices and pictures, but didn't want to look like a sales rep. Thanks.

    Feedback or additional knowledge out there?
  2. G.Landscape

    G.Landscape Senior Member
    from Ontario
    Messages: 851

    I watch their videos, seems pointless to me. I could have scraped the window with an ice scraper in 30 seconds and been done. Also the test with the heated windshield was bull..... if they had used the wipers like they were in the heated fluid side it would have cleared just as quick.
  3. plowin-fire

    plowin-fire Senior Member
    Messages: 220

    Someone on here mentioned a while back to re-route your washer hose around the heater hose a bunch of times. Obviously wouldnt work until engine is up to temp, but for $5 of extra washer hose it wont hurt.
  4. mnglocker

    mnglocker Senior Member
    Messages: 923

    GM quit offering the option when the option started on fire a few times.
  5. Second Nature

    Second Nature Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 67

    Correct. They ultimately blamed the heating unit at the time ('07.5 - '08) and just disabled/removed the units. No re-engineering happened and the option was dropped.

    The technology never disappeared though, and the "issues" were addressed in time. The GM unit required switch-activation through the harness. The AT-38OD is not switched: it senses fluid temp inside the unit and keeps it warm for immediate use.

    My interest is not for the convenience of never having to scrape a windshield. It's more in line with deicing glass and blades during frozen precip, and eliminating blow-back snow freeze-up on the windshield. The advantages of using a warm fluid for cleaning/debris removal are self-explanatory.
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2011
  6. theholycow

    theholycow PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,180

    Spray 150°F liquid on a 0°F windshield? No thanks.


    I'll just spray some good unheated de-icer fluid when I'm too lazy/busy to stop and scrape.
  7. Second Nature

    Second Nature Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 67

    "Spray 150°F liquid on a 0°F windshield? No thanks."

    I hear you. I thought that too, but windshields are made of thermally stabilized glass. It's a federal mandate. I've driven my cold vehicles into a steaming car wash and no issues. I did the research, and you'll see "I've heard of windshields shattering"...but I couldn't find a single documented case where a warm washer fluid resulted in a cracked windshield. Logic also told me that GM (and others) would never let this go unchecked. A shattered windshield at speed would be catastrophic.

    I guess nothing is perfect however. :)
  8. theholycow

    theholycow PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,180

    GM wasn't willing to warranty my windshield when I cranked the defroster to melt off the ice, came back in a half hour, barely touched it with my scraper, and it cracked. They said thermal shock was to blame. I said pretty much what you said...didn't help.
  9. dlcs

    dlcs 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,160

    My wifes 08 Acadia had the heated washer fluid feature. IMO it was the best feature of the suv. GM had to unhook it due to the car fires it created and gave her a $100 check. It was a 4300+ option. Anyway it was really great for removing bugs and deicing the windshield, seemed to work flawlessly for us. Anyway the company who designed the unit went bankrupt after the car fires and thats why they discontinued the feature.
  10. cubicinches

    cubicinches PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,415

    That's great info. I look forward to some feedback on your experience.

    I had a 2008 Silverado 2500 LTZ. Heated washer fluid was one of the best features of the whole vehicle... hands down. I never had an issue with it, and it worked flawlessly in a variety of situations... from iced wiper blades, to dried bugs in the summer. It was a truly great option. People who think otherwise, have obviously never tried it. I have a 2011 Silverado 2500 now. This will likely be the last winter on it for me before I trade it, but if GM doesn't offer heated fluid on my next truck, I would seriously consider the system you're referring to here.
  11. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    You paid $4300 for heated washer fluid? Then accepted a $100 check in exchange for them disabling it?
  12. jhall22guitar

    jhall22guitar PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,056

    A guy i work with had heated wwf on one of his cars. He said he would never get it again because after using it one day in winter the wwf line melted and leaked causing a small fire or short circuit somehow, Ill see if i can find out which it was.
  13. Dissociative

    Dissociative 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,066

    everyone has had a crack get worse from the hot defogger...i am not buying the no crack claim...to risky
  14. dlcs

    dlcs 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,160

    Oops, that was a typo, suppose to be $300+ , still I was pissed about only the $100 cause we loved the option.
  15. cubicinches

    cubicinches PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,415

    I got the recall notice on my 2008, stating that they would remove the system amd reimburse me in the amount of $100. I said screw that... I kept using it until I traded the truck in. I'm sure the dealer disbled it after I traded it in, as I'm sure they're required to perform any recalls before they put the vehicle back out on their lot.
  16. mnglocker

    mnglocker Senior Member
    Messages: 923

    I just fill the washer fluid tank with a healthy does of isopropyl alcohol.
  17. Leanworks

    Leanworks Member
    Messages: 40

    Me too. Wiper fluid = $4 Methyl = $8 so, mix Thumbs Up50/50 = $6 and a good defroster = no problems.
  18. FourRLawn

    FourRLawn Junior Member
    Messages: 15

    my 2008 gmc sierra 3500 HD had it and I loved it one of the best things they did but the dealership disabled it when we took it in for warranty work. Wish they would come out with it again
  19. theholycow

    theholycow PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,180

    For you guys who want it but can't get it, why not do this?

    Just buy some extra hose, wrap/coil it around the heater hose or one of the radiator hoses, and enjoy. Not perfect but cheap, low-tech, and safe.
  20. Second Nature

    Second Nature Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 67

    Interesting responses, and I appreciate the input. I have sensed 2 schools of thought with regards to heated wwf options: Skepticism/sarcasm....vs those who think it's the berries. I've read a bunch of posts on other forums that go something like this:

    "I had it on my (year) truck, but GM disabled it during a service visit. I loved it and never had a bit of trouble with it".

    For all my efforts (searches) I haven't yet been able to dig up anyone who actually suffered loss or damage from their unit. I do know there were issues with the original GM units, and the mfr didn't solve the issue immediately to GM's liking. The plug got pulled, literally and figuratively on the heater option. I believe I read that about 5 incidences of fire or smoke were reported (out of about 1.5 million units) and NHTSA reacted. The original company stopped production, but now they are back with updated improvements...they claim. If I've got this right, the electronics now operate the heater at a lower temperature, and the voltage pull is more moderate. There are 3 elements inside the unit, and they work independently or in combination to heat the fluid. A fully-heated unit emits about 60cc of warmed wwf, (60cc is two ounces) and the unit recycles in about 30 seconds. The aftermarket units work outside the vehicle wiring harness. Again...I'm in no way endorsing the units. I'm going to install one or two on our fleet vehicles and test them this winter.

    Frankly, if these units could put out large amounts of steaming hot water I'd be concerned. It takes lots of voltage to quickly heat lots of water. Lots of steaming hot water on a zero-degree windshield...I think I'd be anxious. My mind tells me that 60cc/2oz of 150 degree water is not a threat.

    I'll receive a couple units this week and keep you posted on the progress!