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justen 10-26-2005 01:33 AM

Engine block heaters
 
Anyone here getting ready for winter? Below are 5 different types of engine heaters.

The easiest and cheapest to install is probably the Dipstick Heater. You basically pull out your dipstick and put the dipstick heater in the tube. The dipstick heater will heat the oil and the air in the oil pan. Also dipstick heaters were outlawed in canada due to engine fires. But they are still sold in USA. Dipstick heaters are usually 20 inches to 24 inches long and before you drive the car you have to pull the heater out and replace the dipstick. Most dipstick heaters are to long and will hit the crank if the engine is running. Also dipstick heaters can not be use in plastic oil tubes. Plugs into a 110 volt outlet.

Another easy one to install is the Magnetic Heater these heaters have a magnet on the bottom and you crawl under your car and stick it to your oil pan. Some of the newer cars this will not work because the oil pan has design patterns or made of aluminium. Plugs into a 110 volt outlet.

Then next easiest and pretty cheap to buy, would be the Lower Radiator Hose Heater. Basically you drain the radiator and cut a section of the lower radiator hose out and install the heater. The trick to getting one of these to work is, because heat rises you want the heater vertical with the water pump. You want the heat to go up into the engine and not to the radiator, so having it mounted just beneath and going into the water pump is best. These are good heaters if install correctly and they will heat the same areas as a Frost Plug Heater would. Some people are afraid that the engine thermostat will close if they use one of these heaters. Well actually thermostats are closed until it reaches a certain engine running temperature then it opens. Most lower radiator hose heaters have a thermostat. And if the water does actually get hot enough, the engine thermostat will open and let some water out into the radiator. But this is rare. And usually lower hose heaters won't get hot enough for that to even happen. Plugs into a 110 volt outlet.

External Tank Engine Heater little more expensive but well worth the money. Basically one hose connects to a frost plug and another hose connects to a heater hose to the heater core. These heaters are nice. They heat the engine and keep the heater core warm. They also keep the water circulating. And harder to install because you need to get to a engine frost plug. But if you can install one of these do it. These are probably one of the best heaters. Because the engine is warm for starting and you have some instant heat out of the heater core, which will probably be warm enough to defrost your window. Plugs into a 110 volt outlet.

Frost Plug Heater cheap to buy, but hard to install. These are your typical heater that comes as a option on cars you buy from the dealership. Frost plug heaters are effective and keeps the water in the engine warm which the heat soothes down through the metal to the oil. These are tougher to install because you need to find a frost plug on the engine block to install it. (Having it in the center of the engine is best) Sometimes if you install a frost plug heater it will leak. And then you need either a new frost plug heater gasket or frost plug heater and replace it until you find a setup that doesn't leak anti-freeze. But once your past that they are very good heaters. These heat the engine similar to the Lower Radiator Hose Heater. Also if you install a frost plug heater you will need to drain the radiator. Plugs into a 110 volt outlet.

Also I've seen heaters like a heating pad which sticks to the oil pan and I don't know how good they work or if they are worth installing, I've seen them for diesel engine applications.

If anyone else knows of a heater or has tips. Add them to the list. This is the time of year where it's a good time to install a heater if you live in cold climate and you don't have a heated garage to store your vehicle. Also I've searched the internet and they don't have a lot of info on these heaters and how they are installed, So this will give some people a basic idea on what they want, And what to buy. And ease of installation.

Engine cooling system, Press start button and watch the water flow

towtrucks 10-26-2005 12:46 PM

Or you could live in the South and not worry with this foolishness..........

justen 10-26-2005 08:44 PM

You gotta like winter to play in the snow!

Palssonater 11-23-2005 09:29 PM

Finally
 
I finally found a site with a bit of information on engine heating! Great post and information.

I drive a 2002 GMC Sierra 2500HD Duramax. I was wondering if these mods could be used for my truck?

I found a tank heater from Zero Start. Its rated at 850watts. Would this work well for my truck?

Porcupine 11-24-2005 07:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Palssonater
I finally found a site with a bit of information on engine heating! Great post and information.

I drive a 2002 GMC Sierra 2500HD Duramax. I was wondering if these mods could be used for my truck?

I found a tank heater from Zero Start. Its rated at 850watts. Would this work well for my truck?

The only thing about a tank heater, IMO, is the lack of circulation (unless it comes with a small pump) is it not the block that you want warmed up?

Welcome to the forum. One more Canuck to the list :)

Saltmine 11-24-2005 12:25 PM

The best engine heater I ever saw was a small 110v heater element that was inserted into the heater hose of a car or truck. You just plugged it in, and it would warm the water in the heater hose, along with the rest of the coolant.
The next morning, you simply unplugged the power, and started the car. Instant heat in the heater, and a nice warm engine.

There is another one that uses a container about the size of a cooking pot to heat the coolant. This is mounted under the hood and plumbed into the car's heater hoses also.
The pot is heated by a 110v power cord with a quick disconnect.

vetteonr 11-25-2005 08:21 AM

One trick I've used in the past is to just put a light bulb on the end of an extension cord and place it next to the battery. I know this doesn't heat the engine, but it sure will make the battery more cooperative on a cold morning.

vmaxman 11-25-2005 08:24 AM

buy a bigger battery (as in more CCA's). Never had a problem with that before, and i'd bet you don't get -40's too often in Detroit, but I may be wrong.

Porcupine 11-25-2005 08:41 AM

Basically, if you have a decent battery and the proper oil, then all should be relatively ok.
Even in my old Arrow Bucket I used 20W50 in the summer and 10w40 in the winter, and used a Delco battery. Never once did I ever have a starting problem. Even during the severe deep freezes we'd all hear the groan of the engine trying to start. Once you know that the battery is strong enough to 'crank' and the oil is thin enough to allow cranking and the tunes ups are in good order, then all should be fine.
I use 5w20 as recommended by Ford for the Exploder. It starts like it's a summer's day.

Old vehicle or new: decent battery (and starter) correct oil viscosity and decent tune-up. I can't remember if I ever did use a block heater, never needed one.

The main thing for keeping your battery charge up to snuff is to run the engine for a while (15 minutes) after you do your city driving. lights, wipers and heater blower tend to drain the charge, plus short trips do not allow for replenishing.

Even a slight trickle charge at night can restore charge levels if you don't want to run the engine.

Short trips during the cold can have adverse affects on oil not heating up and exhaust systems not heating up to operational temps. Sludge in the oil and premature rust in the exhaust.

Palssonater 11-25-2005 08:51 AM

Good Advice
 
You guys have some good advice there. I think I will be looking at a system from KimHotStart. They seem to be just about the industry leader as far as preheating goes. I am in luck with Batteries, as I have TWO brand name batteries under the hood. Tons of cranking power. However, living in a small town like this will take its toll on them(due to small trips). I will have to put a trickle on at night now and then.

Just to show you guys where I live and what I deal with, I'll post a picture. It is quite normally, below -40 here. :eek: But its a dry cold! :D

I actually bought an oil pan heater off of a guy who doesn't use it anymore. He's got a garage now. Eventually I will have mine as well, but for now, the Duramax is forced to sit outside.

Would there be anything wrong with using this mag oil pan heater? I've heard that the oil in the immediate area will break down differently than the oil further away from the heater? Any truth to this?

Anyways, here is a picture of where I live, in reference to Winnipeg. Small little power town call Gillam. Close to Hudson Bay!

http://www.palssoncalls.com/gillam.gif

Porcupine 11-25-2005 04:53 PM

Gee it looks like you're only a hop, skip and jump away from the Niagara Falls area.
Niagara is only 30 or so miles from me.
BTW welcome to the forum.

I'll let someone else with greater expertise answer your oil pan question.

justen 11-25-2005 09:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Palssonater
I finally found a site with a bit of information on engine heating! Great post and information.

I drive a 2002 GMC Sierra 2500HD Duramax. I was wondering if these mods could be used for my truck?

I found a tank heater from Zero Start. Its rated at 850watts. Would this work well for my truck?

Yes This tank heater will work if you go that route. Being you have a diesel I would make sure you have enough or correct watts. There a few auto parts website that will tell you what heater is the correct watts for your truck.

I think oil pan heaters are ok, I think if you leave it plugged in for 4 hours before starting the oil will be fine, But if you leave it plugged in all night long then I guess I would worry about the oil breaking down. But if plugged in for 4 hours or less I wouldn't worry so much.

Porcupine 11-26-2005 12:36 AM

I know I'm about 1200miles from the Manitoba border (and you thought Texas was big)

I just don't know how far north Palssonater is from the US/ Manitoba border. But I know he's a fairs ways away. If you look south east of his map you'll see Thunderbay
I'm quite a bit further south and east of him near Viagara Falls

vmaxman 11-26-2005 01:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Porcupine
I know I'm about 1200miles from the Manitoba border (and you thought Texas was big)

I just don't know how far north Palssonater is from the US/ Manitoba border. But I know he's a fairs ways away. If you look south east of his map you'll see Thunderbay
I'm quite a bit further south (isn't southern Ontario further south than Northern California? vmax) and east of him near Viagara Falls

porc, for a second there i thought you lost it, your earlier post mentioned Gillam being close to Niagra Fals...uh, hello, do you live in Canada? This post cleared up mu confusion. Winnipeg is almost exactly 100 km or 60 miles from the US border straight down Hwy 75. (I know, i live at the end of the line)
Gillam, well, I'm not sure how far it is, but The Pas is about halfway up the map on the left side and it's a 900 km journey from where I am, maybe a bit further. That's 540 miles give or take. I'm sure Pals can tell us exactly how far it is, but my guess is you can't even drive there from Wpg in summer, probably have towait for winter roads ie. frozen lakes, to do that. I may be wrong. Never been farther north than Thompson, a thousand yrs ago.

I can't believe Porc has never used a block heater! :eek: When we get -40's it stretches from The Hudson's Bay all the way down to the 49th - it's at least 20 degrees warmer on the US side, at least if you ask travellers heading north - they expect polar bears and igloos as soon as they cross the border, even in summer, not all do, but a lot of first timers. You'd have to go to Gillam for that eh Palssonater? There are days when Gillam will have nicer temps in Winter than we do. Not right, but they do. (you realize if more Cdn's join all we're gonna do all winter is talk about the weather)

Young_unn 11-26-2005 11:26 AM

TO keep my engien warm i'd put a box heater in the engine compartment, i'd do that at night when i'd pull in, then pull i out before i start it in the morning,

had a diesel E350 or F350 supercharged powerstoke, box truck, that would'nt start with the stock heater plugged in and another little box heater, twas a opain uin the ***


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