Winter Heating Issues - Renault Z.E. Forum
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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-16-2014, 10:26 AM Thread Starter
rob
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Winter Heating Issues

On a post on another thread I suggested starting a new one specifically related to winter heating issues as it's a topic that's been widely discussed elsewhere and I think justifies it's own thread.

The issue I previously posted about was the frustration I've found heating my Fluence satisfactorily over the winter so that my feet aren't constantly cold. As background I don't suffer from any 'circulation' type problems and don't experience cold feet syndrome anywhere other than in my Fluence!

The problem appears to be that I can't find a way of directing warm air down into the footwell. I've tried lots of different control settings and none appear to work. I'd be interested to know whether this is just an issue with my car or a Fluence design fault.

What appears to happen with my car is that despite the control being set to feet only, virtually no warm air gets blown at my feet but lots of warm air still blows over the windscreen and side windows. Even with the temp control set to 'Hi' - all that happens is my body and face get too hot but stubbornly my feet remain cold!

Any suggestions or do I need to take my car to Renault to investigate?
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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-16-2014, 11:43 AM
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RE: Winter Heating Issues

Could be a jammed internal level that directs airflow?

Can you actually feel any air coming out of the lower vents?
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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-16-2014, 11:46 AM Thread Starter
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RE: Winter Heating Issues

No not really - I'll inspect more closely next time I drive it
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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-16-2014, 11:55 AM
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RE: Winter Heating Issues

I don't seem to have that problem. With the setting set to 'down' only, I can feel heat coming into the footwell. Don't use a high fan speed though, else the cooling effect of the fast air outpaces the heating effect!!!

It isn't 'strong', like an ICE after it has warmed up, but it is sufficient. I do tend to get low circulation in my feet but I can't say I have had a problem with it.

I have not sought to find out how much air is put onto the screen when it has footwell-only setting but it clearly puts some there sufficient to keep the car demisted when it is just me. It does struggle a bit with more than one in the car though, so I don't think it puts a large amount of air onto the screen.

It sounds like there is a variable amount of air coming through the steering wheel areas on our cars. I did not notice until one of you other chaps mentioned it. So I presume mine is less than his. Others have said there is nothing. You might have a 'big leaker', then! I rolled up some 1mm packing foam into the right shape and stuffed it into the adjuster aperture. That probably shifts whatever air it is to somewhere else I expect, but it must reduce the total flow rate by some amount.

When I first started experimenting with the heating, I tried all settings from hi to lo. It really does struggle to put lots of heat in, that much is true. You can set it to 28 if you like and it makes no difference if it is 5C out to whether you set it to 23C, it is pretty much running flat out. But that does seem to be enough for me. I drifted towards 19C as this seems to get up to sufficient temp after a while.

Although the heat is fairly instant, unlike an ICE, still the car itself is cold and that can take a while to heat up and make the air coming through that much more effective, though with preheat it should be less of an effect.

My best recommendation is to leave it set to 19C, one fan level and to the feet only, and let it do its thing. It doesn't give you instant heat, but it does warm up to a tolerable level then, if you leave it alone and forget about it to do its own thing.

Fiddling with the heater controls up and down is the worst thing to do because even if the cab is not at, say, your preferred 25C setting and you nudge it down, it appears to be dimwitted enough to cut the heating and start putting cold air in!!! So set it to 19C and leave it there. It is almost undistinguishable from 20 to 23C settings in that at those temps it appears to try to limit the heating power into the 1 to 2 kW range in any case.

You should also try putting something in the footwell behind you. This helps prevent the warm air bleeding off into the back of the cab.
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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-16-2014, 12:03 PM
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RE: Winter Heating Issues

Very useful post for someone who is on the cusp of making a purchase. But without wishing to repeat GrumpyCabbie's argument verbatim, if anyone investigating EV ownership were to happen across these forums they'd run for the hills. I realise we are merely at the dawn of a new age here, and much like anyone in the 70s who went for the diesel Pug 604 rather than the petrol there were things about the weird and wonderful oil-burning powerplant that you simply had to get used to, but in the 21st century a car touted as the future of motoring like a Fluence should not have quite so many fundamental compromises.

Pair of thick woolly socks and a balaclava, anyone?

P.S. Still want one.
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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-16-2014, 01:12 PM
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RE: Winter Heating Issues

Quote:
Originally Posted by rob
No not really - I'll inspect more closely next time I drive it
Rob, here's a test. When stationary, select each vent position in turn. Form each position, pressing the position button rapidly from each setting, select the footwell position quickly, and then wait a moment listening for the sounds it makes before trying it from the next position.

Basically, going from each position to the footwell, do you hear a series of sucking and gear-type noises as the respective HVAC doors open and close?

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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-17-2014, 01:24 PM Thread Starter
rob
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RE: Winter Heating Issues

Thanks for the feedback - I'll give the suggestions a try and let you know what I find
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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-17-2014, 03:07 PM Thread Starter
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RE: Winter Heating Issues

I've tried the heating vent direction in all different settings and found that the outcome doesn't change. On all settings the air is directed to the windscreen only and nothing to the footwell or the dash vents. I can't hear any ducts/flaps moving when changing settings so it looks like its a fault with my car. I'll book it into Renault dealership to see what they can find.
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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old 03-27-2014, 08:43 PM Thread Starter
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RE: Winter Heating Issues

Update on what was found. I tried to get Renault Chelmsford to investigate but they refused as they were not trained to service ZE cars so booked into Renault Colchester. After investigation it turned out to be a defective vent control unit that Renault Colchester had to replace. The vent drive shaft that connected to the vent damper had broken off and could not be repaired. Turned out to be quite a big job - the part had to be ordered from France and took 3 weeks to deliver then 2 days in the workshop to fit as the entire dash had to come out to install. Renault Colchester said it is a rare fault that they only had to do a couple of times before on Meganes. The work was done under warranty.

Pleased to report that since replacing control unit the ventilation now works perfectly and I have no complaints about the Fluence's heating - the pre heat function is brilliant and heats up much quicker than my ICE. Just wish I'd got it sorted before winter rather than in spring!
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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old 03-28-2014, 05:51 AM
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RE: Winter Heating Issues

Rob, whereabouts are you to be using Renault Chelmsford? I'm in Billericay.

Glad you got it sorted. It's still a pretty feeble sort of heat compared to that generated by a warmed ICE, and I've simply had to come to terms with the notion that the car travels far fewer miles with the heater on, but all told I'm still finding it borderline hilarious getting into petrol and diesel cars and marvelling at how agricultural they seem. I also remain satisfied I will not be buying another petrol car to commute in, ever. And as I've said before I speak as someone who has owned many cars - most of them fast, all of them interesting, but none more so than the Fluence!

Saddens me to think EVs are not really selling.
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