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Block Heater - which way would you go

Discussion in 'Truck & Equipment Repair' started by goel, Jan 4, 2011.

  1. goel

    goel PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,079

    The block heater in our 7.3 psd just quit, and of course it is a neccessity. The current one is (from what the guys describe) attached to the oil pan. Now, the oil pan is not in the greatest shape and will be replaced sometime in the future, but not immediately.

    So, I want to leave the current one alone, so problems are not created.

    We want to do it ourselves, so really not interested in a freeze plug style.

    In-Line, magnetic - any other options?

    Opinions Please.

    Thanks, and have a great day
  2. maverjohn

    maverjohn Senior Member
    Messages: 902

    Try a tank heater, it will pump the heated coolent thoght the block, KAT use to make them and it was almost like starting a warm truck. I'd leave the oil pan and heater till spring then fix them both. JMO
  3. sweetk30

    sweetk30 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,588

    cheet and do it all at 1 time.

    do the cut out of the crossmember trick and do new pan and heater in 1 trip. then weld the crossmember back in.

    i know some guys can do this in around 3-4 hrs.

    search it here its been coverd a lot.
  4. goel

    goel PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,079

    sweetk - main salt truck, and doubles as a plow truck - flurries and storm's forecasted for the next week. As I stated - LATER for oil pan - but need a block heater now.
  5. Rc2505

    Rc2505 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,245

    I had great sucess with a magnetic one for 5 years on my old Ford Dump truck.
  6. goel

    goel PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,079

    Where did you end up mounting it?
  7. goel

    goel PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,079

    Tank - hmmmm.

    And yep, it's much nicer to do the oil pan in the spring.
  8. Rc2505

    Rc2505 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,245

    I put it on the oil pan. Don't mistake it for a freeze plug application, where it heats your antifreeze, all this is going to do it keep the oil warm and help out on the cold starts.
  9. mycirus

    mycirus Senior Member
    from Mass
    Messages: 589

    Just leave the truck running. Problem solved.
  10. Eyesell

    Eyesell 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,101

    What I was thinking..lol My buddy drove up to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan about 5 years ago, left his truck running for 3 dayz straight, 7.3...temps got down to -12 not including wind chill :eek:
  11. sno commander

    sno commander PlowSite.com Addict
    from ct
    Messages: 1,061

    the block heater should be in the oil cooler not the pan. thats how mine is unless they changed them around.
  12. dmontgomery

    dmontgomery PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,238

    I have the adhesive silicone patch type heater.......on the oil pan.....works great
  13. D2 Cat

    D2 Cat Junior Member
    Messages: 24

    I've got a 5000 BTU propane heater that goes inline like the Kats brand tank heaters. I think the brand is Sure Start. I bought it some time back and never installed (it's still in the box) because it's not needed in Kansas. You can use any size propane tank you choose, from the small soldering size, cooker size, to......

    It'll warm things up in a hurry.
  14. timberjack

    timberjack Member
    Messages: 96

    Have you tried simply replacing the cord yet, or testing it? $15-$20, 5 minutes, and you'd be back in business. I'd bet that's all that's wrong, and it's probably even fubar'd very close to the plug in end, as it flops around all the time and takes the abuse. I usually end up changing one every couple years.

    This was the type i used, stock is a straight on plug, but this 90 degree style works fine. You just have to have an idea on how long you need the cord to be. This one is 6' long and $13

    As was said above, the OEM heater is at the rear of the oil cooler, just above the oil filter.

    Cords give up the ghost easy enough, haven't lost the heater itself on any of my trucks over the years. Quick test, if you don't mind laying on the ground, is unplugging the cord at the oil cooler, and using a ohmmeter to do a continuity test across the heater pins. You could also have a new cord ready to go, and just plug it in while you're laying down there and try it that way too.

    If it is a dud heater, it's easy enough to change too, and you shouldn't lose much coolant if you're quick. If you can get some vacuum pressure on the cooling system, you probably won't lose any.

    Around Guelph, i'd say just switch to 5w40 synthetic, or 0w40, and forget about the heater. I generally don't even plug in my truck at all until we get down to -20 C, and it turns over quite fast.
  15. Goofyexponent

    Goofyexponent Member
    Messages: 67

    Does your PSD give you THAT much trouble? I'm not making fun of you, but I am just saying. A powerstroke is a driect injection engine...it should light off fairly easily.

    I am just outside of Halifax NS, and I have the PDS's predecessor...the IDI. My truck is non turbo. I rarely plug it in, and tha tlittle bugger fires off EVERY time....Even in the -30*C weather we had last year...never missed a beat.

    Are your GP's working right, maybe you have a few burnt out ones or the famous wiring harness failure.
  16. goel

    goel PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,079

    Yes, it is the OEM heater - your description matches when the guys told me. I have not climbed underneath myself to have a look.

    Yes we checked the cord, thats how we know it's the block heater.

    Yes, this one is a PIG to start cold - our other one is a completely different beast.

    But, why would we not plug them in? While you are waiting for yours to warm up to operating temperature and waisting fuel - we open the shop doors, turn the heater on and are on the road.

    Thanks to all, except the wise guys that think Canada has 13 months a year of snow and should always leave everything running . BTW - we MIGHT get out for our first plow this week.

    It always amazes me the QUALITY and DETAIL that you guys provide to simple questions. Kudos to everyone that takes the time and intelligently answes questions. Keep it up, it makes up for the weisenheimers that we have to sort thru.
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2011
  17. thesnowman269

    thesnowman269 Senior Member
    Messages: 938

    so the electricity you spend plugging that truck in is just free? hmmmm maybe canada is a better place :rolleyes:
  18. goel

    goel PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,079

    Timer, 4 hours electricity - MUCH cheaper than cold start, and soo much easier on equipment
  19. leolkfrm

    leolkfrm PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,339

    heater hose tank heater, quick easy install,
  20. Goofyexponent

    Goofyexponent Member
    Messages: 67

    That's what I got my truck on for the REAL cold days. I leave for work at 5 am, so 3:30 am the thing pops on. The truck is warmed up enough to fire up and not run on high idle.

    As for cost of running the block heater, I had it on a timer last year and someone got screwing with it an accidently set it to "on" 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Over a two month period, our power bill only went up $30 because of it.