Block Heater

Hi guys, any advice on the best block heater available for my 99 4.3L Blazer 4x4. She sleeps outside and here in Ottawa Ontario, it can get nippy in January. I heard people talk about rad hose heaters, and magnet heaters.
I'd like to have an idea of what I'm talking about before going to the garage and get them to install any old block heater on my baby. Thanks.
Laurie
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"Iceman" wrote

The very best are always the block heaters that are inserted into the "block". Out west here....block heaters are standard equipment on almost all the vehicles.
Ian
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I did not know there was anyother type of heater but a blockheater. From Minnesota
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Easy, in fact if you go to your Chevy dealer they probably can order one for you (UA1 I thing is the production code for GM for the cold climate pkg) but should be available from any large auto parts store. Stay away from the radiator hose type they don't work well, stay away from the magnetic type they also don't work well and stay away from the dip stick type they do work but can burn the oil. The type that mounts in one of the freeze plug holes is the simplest to deal with and does a good job. It is also the most common. It is basically what is in most of the diesel engines around the world. If you are handy and work on your own truck you can install it yourself. All you have to do is get the right size, get access to one of the freeze plugs, pull it out and put the heater in its place. Generally it is installed in the center freeze plug on the drivers side. Refill the coolant and route the electrical wire to the front of the truck such that it will not hit anything that will damage it. Then you are done. It is no more complicated then replacing a thermostat. Should be an hour job for any mechanic, providing they can get to one of the freeze plugs.... I have one in each of my diesels and in 4 or 5 hrs they can warm the engine or if left on (your electric company will love you) will reduce warm up time to a few minutes.
This is the only site I could find that gave instructions to install a block heater. The directions are a little more complicated then your instillation as he is adapting a US made unit to a Mercedes but it will give you an idea of what is involved, skip anything that says adapter... http://www.ki7xh.com/heaterin.htm
good luck, mark
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good post, mark.
I have put block heaters in my last two engines (both gassers). It doesn't get too cold in Ohio, but I like to have more than I need because it always seems that "when you need it, you NEED it."
Snowman

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Forgive my ignorance, but if it takes 4-5 hours to warm up the engine, what use is it? Thought I might like one for my truck, it doesn't like cold start ups.... And I don't like nursing it when it's 10F out....
~KJ~

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"KJ" wrote

Well, lets see.....when it's -25C here in Calgary, it can take 15-20 minutes of driving a car to get it up to operating temp. What do you expect from a small heating element that is about the size of your thumb? 4-5 hrs is pretty good....and that only just takes the chill off...doesn't get it anywhere near operating temp. Which is all you need to have a nice starting car that begins to pour out heat a lot quicker.
If you don't know how a block heater works, how effective it is in "really" cold weather, I suspect you probably don't need one.
Ian
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Hey, Ian;
Do they still have outlets on the parking meters up there ?
G

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"Gary Glaenzer" wrote

I don't recall outlets on the parking meters on the "street"... but there are plenty of parking lots, LRT (light rail transit) lots, business parking lots...etc...that do have electrical outlets.
Even my old sh*tbox K-car starts quite nicely at 20 below C "without" plugging it in. I don't bother plugging in our cars much anymore, unless it's down around the -30C mark.
The only downside to block heaters is that they are one more part on the newer vehicles that dexcool loves to go after.
Ian
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Generally what most people do is plug it into a timer that turns it on 4 or 5 hrs before it is time to leave. Personally I don't plug in my Ford unless it is below 25F then I try to give it at least 3 hrs. I don't plug in the 6.2 dsl or the 5.7 suburban because they are more tolerant to cold temps then the powerstorke. Remember you are heating up 900 to 1200 lbs of iron with 600 or 1500 watts that is a lot of mass. So it is not immediate but it is worth it if you live in an area that has sustained cold temps.
mark
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Go with a frostplug heater for the best bang for the buck. They haet the most efichentley
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How about the tank type heater that goes in the heater hose? I like them best because they circulate the water and you have almost instant heat from the heater on startup, they do burn out pretty often but I like the fact that you start up and have defrosters right away.
Tim

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the main downfall on those, I believe, is the operating expense. I think they're usually around 1500 watts, where your block heaters are around 600, if I remember right. However, a guy may not have to run it as long.

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On Fri, 12 Dec 2003 11:34:34 -0500, "Snowman" <somethingorotherdotcom> wrote:

Up here in the Great White North of Canada the frost plug heater is the very best you can get. We only use it when it is real cold and it stays plugged all night just in case you have to get called in to work or someone is dying or something (two people in poor health in the family). My reaoning is this - IF I saved a few cents on power and missed saying a final goodbye to my Dad then what Have I saved?
The heater hose kind pumps very slowly and by the time the heat gets throught the hose and to the block it has already cooled beyond a point where it might be useful. 10F??? I wouldn't even plug it in at that temp. I don't even consider using the block heater until it is below zeroF. Last night it was -25C or -13F and our 1986 305 GMC truck fired right up like nobodys business. and I forgot to plug it in <oops>
My 1980 350 Chevy plow truck fired up too and it doesn't see a plug all winter as it usually doesn't snow when it is cold. I was just curious so I tried it and Voila.
Anyway, the best is in the block as a frost plug replacement. All the others take more power and do less of a job. -- Regards Gordie
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Great advice guys, thanks.
Laurie

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I disagree that a line heater is less effective, yes, 1500w compared to 600w. But, I currently have both in one of my trucks (gasser), and the circulating type keeps the frost OFF of the windshield. So some of you guys must have gotten poor circulating heaters. And with my other propane truck a circulating type heater is mandatory. As propane doesn't vaporise below -25c and the vaporization process is endothermic. Coolant is routed through the vaporizer unit, if it's even thinking about getting cold and you don't plug it in, it won't start, period.
BTW, Ian/ Shiden I'm in Calgary too. Which dealership do you work at?

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