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  1. #1
    Super Member 3RRL's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Foothills of the Giant Sequoia's, California
    55HP 4WD KAMA 554 and 4 x 4 Jinma 284

    Default Manifold Heater Kama 554

    This is pretty interesting.
    A while ago there was some discussion about the manifold heater on the Kama 554. It is a feature that works by holding the key in the counter-clockwise position for 20 or 30 seconds. That allows a heating element to heat up and ignite a few droplets of fuel inside the manifold. When it ignites, it warms up the manifold for easier starting in cold weather.

    The first time I tried using the manifold heater was after captainjack posted all that information about it. I remember trying it back then, but I only held the key in the counter clockwise position for maybe 5 seconds or so, even though he advised holding it there for about 20 seconds or more. Well, I was kinda afraid to hold it for that long back then. If you remember, I was suffering some electrical problems and was paranoid to overload the circuits. Anyway, with only 5 seconds in the CCW position, I wasn't sure of the results ... not even sure that it worked.

    During my last week's visit to Huge Kama, I actually remembered to try the manifold heater again. This time I have a good 950cca battery and two solar panels keeping it charged and Larry (last year) had bullet proofed my electrical system for me. So I wasn't afraid of holding it for at least 30 seconds to see if the manifold heater really worked or not.

    Guess what, it does what it's supposed to. That is... the heating element gets hot enough and ignites a small amount of fuel which is dripped out into the manifold. That "fire" then heats the manifold.
    How do I know?
    Well, after holding the key in the CCW position for only 20 seconds I heard a noticeable "poof" coming from the engine compartment. I actually heard the fuel ignite. It was like a mini-explosion sound inside a tube. Then I cranked it over and when it started, there was a pretty big cloud of black smoke that came out the exhaust stack ... way more than normal.
    So with the unmistakable audible ignition sound of the fumes, and then the excessive black smoke, I'm pretty sure it did what it was supposed to. I'm sure of it now.

    Question is, will I use it or not? Just because the fumes caught inside the manifold, I didn't notice any significant ease in starting. My Kama 554 starts really easy as it is...even in cold weather. It usually fires on the 2nd or 3rd crank even after sitting for 2 or 3 weeks or longer. The other thing was the large amount of black smoke that spewed from the exhaust stack when it caught. I wasn't too thrilled about that either.
    So what are your thoughts then?
    ...The Older I get...the Better I Used to be...
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  2. #2
    Super Member greg_g's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Western Kentucky
    JD3720 Cab, 300X loader with 4-in-1 bucket

    Default Re: Manifold Heater Kama 554

    Mine starts great, all the way down to about +15F. At +14F it struggles to start, at +13F it's too cold. Since mine has neither glow plugs nor manifold heater, I installed a pair of 125w Wolverines on the oil pan.

    But if I had a manifold heater, I wouldn't have had to spend so much for the Wolverines. So if your starting experience and working weather is anything like mine, you might want to consider the manifold heater just a cold weather aid. If I had one, I'd use it anytime the overnight temps dipped below +20F

    USN (Ret)
    Former Chinese tractor owner (x4)
    Current John Deere owner

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