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Block Heater

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by Hossbaby50, Oct 31, 2005.

  1. Hossbaby50

    Hossbaby50 3/4 ton status

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    At what temperature should you start using a block heater? Is there more then one type? I have only really seen the ones that replaces a freeze plug. What is the best one to use? What is the easiest to install?

    I may need to install one this winter. Thanks

    Harley
     
  2. Tra 23

    Tra 23 Registered Member

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    Heating Elements

    I got one from napa that was really easy to install. It was a flat heating element with an adhesive backing. To install, I just sanded the bottom of the oilpan, cleaned with electrical contact cleaner and stuck it on there. I also used a little silicone around the heating element to keep the water out. Then routed the plug (110v-3 prong) through the grille. Done. I don't remember how much it cost, but knowing me, not too much. I used it every night for about four winters and found that the truck started much easier. The only drawbacks are that you have to plug the truck into your extension cord before you plug the cord into the wall socket (I fried the plug one night because it wasn't clean when I plugged it in) and the heating element seemed to deteriorate after five years under the truck. I am looking at getting another one this year.
     
  3. HarryH3

    HarryH3 1 ton status Author

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    There are several different types available. You can get ones that fit into a freeze plug opening (the most effective), a "tank heater" that mounts in the heater lines and circulates the heated water (pretty effective), and ones that splice into the lower radiator hose (only somewhat effective). There are also heated dipsticks, the adhesive elements referred to above, and even battery heaters.

    For the megabucks, way-too-cool install, you can even buy gas fired heaters that run on their own timers. They require a tap into the fuel line and will burn a quart or so of fuel each night, but things WILL be warm when you start up in the morning. :cool1: But they run around $400-1,500. :eek1: :eek1: :eek1:
     
  4. Hossbaby50

    Hossbaby50 3/4 ton status

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    Well my truck might be spending 3 months in Minot, North Dakota in the middle of winter. It gets pretty cold there I hear and the truck will be sitting outside. How good is the one that splices into the heater hose line? Will it work well for what I need?

    Harley
     
  5. Cornfield creations

    Cornfield creations 1/2 ton status

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    I have the one that goes in place of the freeze plug. works great. My k-5 don't like cold weather and it really helps out in the winter. I would go that route. A little harder to put in, but I have had no problems with it whatsoever, except when I forgot I plugged it in and pulled the extension cord out from under the garage door and buckled the bottom panel :doah:
     
  6. mrk5

    mrk5 The Sticker Guy Moderator Vendor GMOTM Winner Author

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    Man I hope you have doors and a hard top for that K5! :eek1:

    I had the tank style to installs in the heater hoses, and I don't think it worked with a darn.

    I now have the freeze plug style, which I think is much better. Like said earlier, it is a pain to install. I'm ashamed to say it wound up taking me all day to get the damn freeze plug out.
     
  7. diesel4me

    diesel4me 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Mine has two!

    My truck has one in the freeze plug hole(I assume its factory??)--but the cord has been cut off a few inches away from it--probably whover pulled the motor at the salvage yard was in a hurry.. :mad: --I never tried wiring a plug on it too see if it still works..I'm afraid it'll leak,so I havent touched it! :rolleyes: .

    The other one is a tank style spliced into the heater hoses..it works,but I only plugged it in a few times when it was sub-zero out during a blizzard,abd the wind was blowing at 50mph...it got the heater hoses nice and toasty,but I dont think it did much more than that..I used it once with the truck parked in the garage,and it seemed to work much better..but my truck starts with or without it so far,so I don't bother wasting the electricity!..

    I mean,is it really needed??--sure,it helps it start first thing in your yard!---but what about after it sits all day at work(or somewhere else!) in the parking lot,and you HAVE no place to plug it in??..do you walk home??..

    Thats where the propane ones come in handy I guess!..or a can of WD-40! :rolleyes: :crazy:
     
  8. WarPig350

    WarPig350 Newbie

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    It is not factory. You should not need one in North Dakota ecspeccially if you are not going to start the truck. Just make sure that you have the proper mix of antifreez and water. I am living in Fairbanks Alaska it gets down to 50 below 0 here during the winter. Up here we have outlets in the parking lots to plug our vehicles in. It does help trust me. If it has been -50 for 3 or 4 days and you dont have a block heater your battery will be dead oil will be thick and coolant may freeze and Automatic trannies will cease to perform thier assigned duties.
     
  9. driney

    driney 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    I've used the tank type installed between the heater hose and the block drain. They work really well if you get the tank at the right height. They depend on warm water rising to the top to circulate so they have to be pretty low to get good results. I had mine on a timer so it came on a couple of hours before I left and that was plenty of time to have good results. We seldom get to -10 here though. I didn't use it because I needed it to to start my truck, I just liked having the heater work almost instantly.
     
  10. Smitty

    Smitty 1/2 ton status

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    I spent 3 years at Grand Forks. I didn't really need the heaters to start the vehicles I had, but after I shattered the seat upholstery during a real cold spell, I decided to install something. I put in a tank heater, block heater, lower radiator hose heater, and a small electric heater inside the vehicle. All of this was wired to a junction block that went to a timer. I'd plug it into one of the outlets at night and the car would be nice and warm in the morning. The great thing was that I never had to scrap snow or ice in the morning. The down side was that the vehicle froze to the ground a couple of times because of the snow that melted off body.

    Also, make sure you have a multi-weight oil in the engine.
     
  11. HarryH3

    HarryH3 1 ton status Author

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    The best thing is that the heater will come on right away in the morning. :cool1: GM did offer the engine block heater as a factory option some years, but it didn't get ordered very often. The factory service manuals even show which way to orient the element when installing it. The block heaters aren't too expensive. I bought one a couple of years ago at Advanced Auto for around $20. Once you get the old freeze plug removed, they install pretty easily.

    Also, going to a place that gets so cold, Mobil 1, or any synthetic lubricant, will be your friend. Engine oil, diff lube, and even tranny lube (for a manual), will help your rig get going when it's really cold.
     
  12. HarryH3

    HarryH3 1 ton status Author

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    Oh yeah, any of these heaters draw a LOT of current, so you definitely want to put them on a timer. They draw anywhere from 600 to about 1200 watts, depending on the type and model, so leaving one on all night, every night, will get you one hell of an electric bill. :eek1:
     
  13. mikey_d05

    mikey_d05 1 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    I have the freeze plug type on my DD, works pretty well. Harry is right though, if it's on your electrical bill, put it on a timer, my block heater is 750 watts...so it'd pretty much be like leaving your house lights on 24/7.
     
  14. diesel4me

    diesel4me 1 ton status Premium Member

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    I like the ones big rigs use..

    Those propane powered ones are cool the semi's use..one guy I know took one and hooked it to baseboard heating elements,and used it to heat his 20x20 garage!...I think they are probably more economical than electric ones,and can be used anywhere,quite an advantage if your far from a power source!..It bet if they can heat up a huge Detroit deisel or Cummins in a big rig,it would not take long to make my 6.2 nice and toasty.. :thinking:

    I learned quickly to use only a heavy duty extention cord!..if its not rated for the amount of watts the heater draws,you'll have a melted cord,a tripped curciut breaker,and a COLD engine.. :doah: :(

    I'm glad it doesen't get below zero too often here,or for too long..It sucks bad enough being 0-35 degrees for 5-6 months..no way would I want to live in siberea like conditions in ND or WY,MT-etc....BBBBRRR!! :eek1:
     
  15. Hossbaby50

    Hossbaby50 3/4 ton status

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    If my truck does go to North Dakota it will be living with me at a motel. So the electric should be on there bill not mine.

    I am using 15w40 motor oil in the truck now. That is probably to thick for that kind of weather correct? What is best to use? 10w30...? My truck burns 1 quart of 15w40 per oil change.

    I have synthetic in the diffs. How does it have to be for and automatic tranny to stop working?

    Harley
     
  16. k20

    k20 3/4 ton status

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    I dont know how cold it has to be, but something to take into consideration, if you plumbed in a tranny cooler, so it bypasses the stock one in the radiator, you might wanna reverse that lol.
     
  17. DieselDan

    DieselDan 1/2 ton status

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    Simple piece of advise if you're using block heaters and the like: get a cold-weather rated extension cord (usually blue). The normal plastic jobs can get so brittle at cold temps ( like zero F) I've had one snap in my hands (ok, mittens). Make quite an arc in the morning darkness :haha:
     
  18. Pookster

    Pookster 1/2 ton status

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    By far as someone mentioned, the block heater works the best- the one that goes where the freeze plug is. They are also the most efficient- and uses the least amount of electricity- (most are below 350 watts for the freeze plug style, and from 500-1200 for the heater hose type).

    keep in mind, even if its not your buck, the more efficient one will be easier to run an extension to as well, especially if the location of the line isnt so convenient.
     
  19. mikey_d05

    mikey_d05 1 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    I run 10W30 year round and have never had problems.

    As far as the transmission, if you have an aux. cooler, disconnect it. Otherwise you'll be fine. It's gotta be a lot colder than it gets in ND most of the time to really screw 'em up.
     
  20. Can Can

    Can Can Pusher Man Staff Member Super Moderator

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    diesel4me -
    WarPig350-
    WarPig, how do you figure it's not factory? Mine is.......
     

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