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Block Heater

Discussion in 'Truck & Equipment Repair' started by CityGuy, Dec 29, 2008.

  1. CityGuy

    CityGuy PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 17,220

    I am just curious if I need to put a block heater in my 08 2500 6.0L Silverado. I have one in my 98 and it seems to work good and the truck heats up pretty fast. My 08 seems to heat up decent except in really cold wheather. Also Is there a way to reprogram the factory remote start to run for a longer time than 10 or so minutes?
  2. cretebaby

    cretebaby PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,162

    I doubt if you need one but it cant hurt
  3. Rc2505

    Rc2505 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,245

    For a quick easy fix, I have just thrown on one of the magnetic ones the stick on the oil pan. I know there aren't as good as one in the softplug, but it works, and I don't have the time right now to do the whole soft plug thing.
  4. Spitz

    Spitz Senior Member
    Messages: 192

    I would say an oil pan heater would be better.. Your engine will benefit more from it as cold starts with thick oil are probably the worst thing for it..
  5. turco580superL

    turco580superL Junior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 5

    My '04 warms very fast, 6.0 liter. Especially once it goes down the highway, no matter how long it warms up, within a mile or two its moving off cold, has feature that keeps it in 3rd gear, at about 3k rpm, until it reaches a certain temp......seen -40 here and still starts fine. Ross
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2008
  6. SnowGuy73

    SnowGuy73 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 24,870

    We had -36 here two weeks ago and my 6.0 started fine. It was cold but started fine.
  7. J-Quad

    J-Quad Member
    Messages: 95

    It's my understanding that any of the axillary engine heaters are not specifically intended to shorten the starting effort. Rather, they are to quicken the warm up time. This gets the engine up to its designed operating temperature faster than if not used. This means the coolant and motor oil are brought up to their proper operating temp as well.

    As was said earlier, cold (less than 0*F) motor oil doesn't lubricate nearly as well as motor oil above 0*F. So the block heaters warm the engine block which in turn warms the motor oil and allows it to flow and lubricate much sooner than if everything was COLD. Ok, so it only takes a 'few minutes' to warm up AFTER you start it. But that's the problem - it's running when the motor oil is cold & thick and not flowing thru all the tight bearing clearances, chains, valve lifters (in the case of a gasoline engine) or other close metal-on-metal conditions within your engine. Without proper oiling you'll have accelerated wear. If that doesn't bother you, then no worries. Myself, I'd like to keep the engine wear to a minimum so I can be confident to get another 100+K miles out of my engine; so I use an engine heater prior to startup when temps are less than 5*F.

    The freeze plug-style block heaters are the most popular. Their heating element extend into the coolant cavity on the side of the engine block and will heat the coolant which in turn heats the engine block and internal parts and the motor oil to a lesser degree. There are the lower radiator hose-style heaters which will warm your engine and radiator, if installed correctly. Then there are the heating pads, usually intended to stick to the side/bottom of your oil pan. There are also heating pads intended to warm your battery - it doesn't help your engine one bit, but it will warm your battery allowing it to put more juice to the starter. I've even heard of wired head bolts (usually intended for smaller engines) which replace a std head bolt and when installed extend into the block & coolant jacket and warm them from that location. Wired oil dip sticks have also been available to warm the motor oil. For extreme cold conditions, there are even coolant heaters that have a small reservoir and pump to heat & circulate warmed coolant throughout the engine. Some folks will use both a both a battery warmer and a engine heater. Also be aware that these various heaters also vary in power useage and heating capabilities. I've seen them vary from 400 watts to 1500 watts. Depending on the unit heater current draw, ensure that your extension cord is up to the task of supplying ample current (12/3 cord is a good choice) and that it isn't too long (usually less than 35 ft is no problem). Many folks use a timer at the cord - that way you can have the heater come on at, say, 3AM and then when you are ready to start the vehicle at, say, 6AM, it's warmed & ready to go and yet the heater hasn't been on all night. Although some folks do plug their heaters in as soon as they shut their vehicle off the night before, many manufacturers will suggest that 2-3 hours will likely be enough time to warm your engine - obviously this would be also be dependent on amount of wind, temperature conditions at your location. Hint: I loop my cord over my drivers side mirror as a reminder that it's plugged in - that way I'm less apt to drive off without unplugging my cord! Here are some heater examples: http://www.warehouseautoparts.com/Specials/Kat/Kat_heater_Specials.htm

    Remember: all of these heaters are intended to get the engine to its intended operating temperature quicker than if not used.

    I prefer the lower radiator hose style. I have one installed in my 390 cubic inch powered F250, my 4-cyl powered Ranger and my 4-cyl Jeep. I like the fact that my engine comes up to proper operating temps sooner and that my heater/defroster is "working" sooner than if I hadn't used a heater on those colder starts. On a 0*F morning, I unplugged my heater and checked the temp of my coolant just below the radiator cap before I started the engine - it was at 70*F prior to starting.

    I know that the COLD can do some weird and bad things to metal, equipment and such. When I shut off my warm engine the motor oil drains to the pan. When I restart it, the motor oil needs to be returned to all lubrication points. If the oil is cold, it won't pump or flow easily and will increase the chance of internal wear. If I can lessen these effects by warming my engine some - I'm all for it !

    Good Luck!
    J-Quad :drinkup:
  8. Acmemechanic

    Acmemechanic Senior Member
    Messages: 137


    In My Opinion Heating Any Gasoline Engine Except in Sub Zero Temps Is a Waste Of Money.Yeah, I read the Post about Lubrication and Yes Wear Is a Factor.Heating a Diesel Engine is almost Mandatory In any cold
  9. augerandblade

    augerandblade PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,054

    0w40 synthetic oil is great for colder climates,if your engine isnt rapping its getting lubed
  10. Snowplow71

    Snowplow71 Senior Member
    Messages: 284

    Yes sirussmileyflag
  11. Turbodiesel

    Turbodiesel Senior Member
    Messages: 428

    Unless you like quick heat / defrost in freezing temps .