I think it's a great idea if your engine will make enough heat in the winter. The Velocity series of aircraft use a second oil cooler that is plumbed to the front of the aircraft to use as a heater. That is partially because it would be difficult to duct warm air up to your feet in the front of the cabin from a pusher type configuration. But, they also have a lot more engine than our little KRs and are typically challenged to keep the engines cool in warm weather even with two oil coolers. The O-200 in my KR doesn't even have, or need an oil cooler. When I flew to the southern part of AR a week ago with the temps aloft around 25°, my oil temp only made it up to 160° even with the cowl flap closed. With an oil cooler, the engine temp would be much cooler (which is not good for the engine) and it's unlikely it would make as much heat as I get from the small exhaust heat exchanger I'm already using.
In my SuperCub clone (O-320), even with a vernatherm I have to tape over 2/3 of the oil cooler this time of year to get a reasonable oil temperature. I used an exhaust from a Grumman Cheetah with a 4 into 1 muffler based heat exchanger that makes a ton of heat. No question the muffler type heat exchanger works better in a drafty plane like the Cub. As part of the annual inspections, I remove the shroud from the heat exchangers to look at the condition of the muffler/heat exchanger. With the straight pipes on the KR, I don't get as much heat, but there is little chance that a pipe will burn through and create a CO poisoning issue. With the muffler type heat exchanger on the SuperCub, when the muffler starts to show bending and disfigurement under the heat exchanger shroud, it's time to consider replacing the muffler as it is getting near end of life where it is likely to crack.
Cherokee Village, AR
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