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Old 11-19-2014, 09:20 AM   #1
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Diesel block heater

Any of you cold weather turbo diesel owners using a block heater/coolant heater/oil pan heater? Been thinking about installing something to help with cold starts. I hate to crank over that old Isuzu when its been sitting out in this cold weather but i need to fuel up and get some propane.
Any recommendations on this? Years ago we used the recirculating inline coolant type heaters around here on our cars.....

Thanks, Mike
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Old 11-19-2014, 09:26 AM   #2
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Old 11-19-2014, 09:52 AM   #3
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My Cummins has a very nice block heater. It takes about an hour to heat it up so it starts right up. The book says to use it if it's colder than 32 degrees. I use it anytime I'm plugged in. It heats up much quicker and cleaner if it's preheated. Saves fuel!

I'm also looking into a recirculating engine coolant heater. Mostly for boon docking high in the mountains. They make propane units for semi tractors and construction equipment that are pretty slick.

A lot less wear and tear on the engine and tranny if they are preheated. If you idle it to the temp recommended in the manual before applying a load, I bet it's at least a gallon or two of diesel.
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Old 11-19-2014, 10:05 AM   #4
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If you are only talking about when you go for propane just put a 175 watt PAR lamp under the oil pan a couple hours before you are going out.
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Old 11-19-2014, 12:57 PM   #5
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If you are only talking about when you go for propane just put a 175 watt PAR lamp under the oil pan a couple hours before you are going out.

Years ago we had a neighbor that put heat lamps under his tractor so he could dig his way out of a big blizzard. The sediment bowl had some water in it that had frozen and cracked the bowl. When it warmed up cold fuel leaked on lamp and cracked it. By the time he noticed it, the barn was engulfed in flame.
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Old 11-19-2014, 01:10 PM   #6
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I replaced the block heater on my '97 chev 6.5 TD. It just wouldnt start below -10C. Now it fires right up. Below -15c it needs to be plugged in for about 2.5 hrs minimum and upto about 4 hrs when we are at -30c or below. I had a choice between a 750w and a 1000w, and went with the bigger.
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Old 11-19-2014, 02:14 PM   #7
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I appreciate the input...the freeze plug heater would probably be the right option. I would definitely have to have my mechanic tackle that one. Getting the oil warm and flowing to the top end is the key. I just dont know if one of those coolant recirc dodads would do the trick.... It warmed up to the 30s here today so i went ahead and warmed her up good and got fueled up. Im wondering about long term though.
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Old 11-19-2014, 02:23 PM   #8
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My GMC Sierra 2500HD diesel came equipped with a block heater. I don't use it often, probably only on the few coldest nights of the year - even then, I don't think I need it as sometimes a forget to use it and the engine fires up immediately anyway.

It does have two 12v batteries in parallel and I suppose that helps. Maybe all modern diesel trucks do.

I am always amazed how quickly the go plug light goes off indicating that it is ready be be started - takes just a few seconds.

In the winter time, I leave an extension cord out on the drive near the truck. If it looks like being a cold night and if I know we want to use the truck early in the am, I plug it in - assuming I remember.

The other end of the extension (in the garage) is hooked up to a 24hr timer so it will switch on at around 5am and off at 930am.

I have never checked but I imagine my block heater is just one of the freeze plug type units.


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Old 11-19-2014, 02:39 PM   #9
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There is this option too. It's magnetic so it sticks to the oil pan if it's steel and not aluminum. The handle can be removed and use some galvanized plumbers tape to attach it to one of the oil pan bolts for a more permanent use.
http://www.amazon.com/Kats-1160-300-.../dp/B000I8YOR4
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Old 11-19-2014, 03:39 PM   #10
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No more than i would be starting the 310 in cold weather that is a pretty neat option.
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Old 11-19-2014, 04:15 PM   #11
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My 7.3 Ford diesel Excursion will start in the cold unheated but hates every minute of it. There are clouds of smoke and lots of noise.
Like all diesels it gobbles up batteries. If the batteries are wearing out, it won't make it on an unheated cold start.
A thermostatically controlled coolant heater is the ticket. After market ones are cheap and easy to install. At home in the Colorado mountains I have the extension cord on a post. When I drive into the parking place, I plug the car in. Even if it is cold enough for number one diesel, it starts right up.
I had an older Cummins powered motorhome that had no glow plugs. If temps were below freezing, it simply wouldn't start without plugging in the block heater.
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Old 11-19-2014, 11:13 PM   #12
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Ditto that.

Even during warm weather the Cummins in my 325 Classic won't start easily without a fully charged battery. With winter temps it won't even think about starting unless its plugged in; and if it does fire up, there is a lot of smoke and rattling to celebrate the event. Is this typical of all Cummins motors? and why would a major manufacturer produce a diesel without glow plugs? I've often wondered if my starter has lost its mojo and that's the cause of the difficulty.
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Old 11-20-2014, 03:09 AM   #13
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Cummins in mine uses a grid heater to warm the intake air. Use of the block heater brings coolant to 115F in 90- minutes.


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Old 11-20-2014, 09:17 AM   #14
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Diesel block heater

Quote:
Originally Posted by streamquest View Post
Ditto that.



Even during warm weather the Cummins in my 325 Classic won't start easily without a fully charged battery. With winter temps it won't even think about starting unless its plugged in; and if it does fire up, there is a lot of smoke and rattling to celebrate the event. Is this typical of all Cummins motors? and why would a major manufacturer produce a diesel without glow plugs? I've often wondered if my starter has lost its mojo and that's the cause of the difficulty.

My 95 5.9L 12 valve starts great down to about freezing. Below that you better have a good battery. They (Spartan and/or AS) chose not to include the intake heater grid. Probably assuming that these rigs were generally used in fair weather. I always plug in my block heater as I'm generally not in a hurry to hit the road. Less wear and less fuel to start a warm engine.

I'm thinking about wiring in an outlet in the engine compartment with a timer switch up on the dash. As long as I have AC in can just turn it on instead of running an extension cord.

If your engine is making good compression and the starter is cranking it over smartly, it should fire right up. Mine seldom makes more than 2 turns before its running.

Battery condition, corroded connections, cable terminals, solenoid, and of course the starter are all suspects if it's not cranking well.

Valve adjustment can also cause issues with starting and is worth checking.

There is a test that will indicate the health of your engine that is pretty simple. It checks the blow by of the rings and valve guides. It involves some plastic tubing to form a u-tube and an orifice. I'll try to find a link.
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