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