Engine Block Heater

eiagaafDecember 5, 2006

My friend has a 2003 F250 diesel. It has been unhappy about starting now that the temp is getting down around 20 deg. I would like to buy him an engine block heater for Christmas, but I am clueless. Any suggestions would be helpful. I called a couple of auto parts stores, they didn't have anything in stock but NAPA said they could order something. They had magnetically mounted & dip stick types. Do these work well? Can either method be left in/on, or do they need to be removed before drivng? I called the parts dept at the local Ford dealer. They can, of course, install a heater at a much greater cost. Any ideas?

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Don't use the magnetic heater. They are crap. Remove them
before leaving or it could fall off. the dip stick heater is also crap. It heats only the oil. You need a block heater. It also heats the charge air that enters the cylinders. Engines don't like to start on frozen air. Actually they won't. If your friend's truck has a problem
starting at 20 degs. he has a serious problem with that vehicle that a block heater may not fix. Our diesels start at 20 below without being plugged in. A little slow and hard on the motor but they start. Does he have winter fuel ? Are the batteries any good ? 3 years for cheap batteries is about done. What oil is he using ? If we use arctic oil which is zero ten weight or zero-zero our engins start at 40 delow. F. Bottom line. Do the block heater thing if you can afford it. Money well spent. Are you sure the truck doesn't have one already ? If your in Calf. probably not. Anyway have him get the truck looked at. There is no way it should have problems starting at 20 degs. There is something else wrong. you have a wonderfull thought and very nice jesture. Go for it. It does make a world of difference in starting. Have a nice Christmas and good luck. Oh yah. I have a magnetic heater. I use it for a fridge magnet. It's pretty damn strong so don't get your fingers in the way. It'll cut your skin.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 6:11PM
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Ditto kalining's post. The magnetic heater is worthless. I had an F350 shop truck with a diesel. It had a block heater, but the only time I had to use it was when the glow plugs went bad. After they were replaced it started easy again. I'd suggest that be diagnosed as well as the other things the other poster mentioned first. Odds are what ford sells is the best thing you can get. Factory or aftermarket, get one that installs in place of a freeze plug in the block if you get one. jmo

    Bookmark   December 6, 2006 at 11:49PM
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Hold it guys, the magnetic heater isn't all bad, heck I've used one on my little 5hp snow blower and it did help a little but not much.eiagaaf, you need to go north to find a block heater from a parts store like we have here in North Dakota, try:


they are northern tier,
You're looking for something like:

KAT'S by Five Star Frost Plug Heater: KATS®; 1-5/8"/41MM; Butterfly Element

They can be a bear at times to get in.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2006 at 6:57PM
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Hay LAMGUY do you have any more of those neat drugs your
on ? " I've used one on my little 5 H.P. snowblower and it
did help a little but not much. " It didn't do a lot for your blower, do you actually think it will do much for a
3/4 ton diesle ? Your right about the block heater though.
Now, if you want some serious heat go for the circulating
1500 watt tank heater. That thing will defrost your
windshield. We use them on D8 Cats. If the temp. goes above
zero F. overnight the temp gauge on the dash comes off cold.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2006 at 10:35PM
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Stay away from dipstick heaters. Thee are not very effective and when carbon builds up on the heated part, you can't pull these out of the dipstick hole - a real gottcha.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2006 at 6:54PM
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I agree there should not be much problem starting in 20Deg weather. get an ohm meter and measure to ground with the wires removed the GP's should not pull more than 1 ohm of resistance. replace all 8 if it were mine. and the a/c, and champion plugs suck, go with bosch if you can get them for the motor.
also make sure the motor oil in the truck has been replaced lately. with CI or higher oil easiest available oil is the Blue bottle of rotella at walmart for about 15.00/gallon. I think the truck needs two gallons. new oil filter too.
lastly, most autoparts warehouses and JC whitney sell heater hose/radiator hose plugin heaters. you must cut the hose and install it there. not really needed until around 5degrees though.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2006 at 11:34AM
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Just bought a new Buick...2010....noticing a lot of the previous posts are from years past.....so I'm a new kid on the block....heater thing.....pun intended.
My new car came with the block heater...had a time finding it, but its there. I suppose on a morning of -20 I'll think about hooking it up.
I also have a remote starting feature....

I remember years ago, on my '82 Olds, I had a block heater and the hook-up was visible at the front grille...during a drive to Florida and stopping for gas in Tennessee, the attendant asked what that electric was for....I told him it was to heat up the car during cold mornings...and then he noticed my license plate and asked 'where is Ont"...the rest of the province 'ario' must have been hidden as I recall....so I asked him if he knew where the cars were made....sure, in Detroit....well, Ont is across the river...oh, he said, where it snows all year.....

Yeah!.....that's right I countered.....we have to wear snowshoes just to get to our cars so we can drive here.
Well, stay awhile and I'll take you squirrel hunting....them's good eatin.
I wasn't too sure if the 'squirrel' was the same animal that digs up my bulbs but he assured me that's what he was talking about. He just goes up, pointing up to the mountains all round, and and shoots half a dozen and has a feast.
No, I suggested I have to get going to the sun of the sunny south but thanked him anyway.

Tennessee.....I love it...did stay a short visit once to a friend in Knoxville during the time the dogwoods were full out in flower....what a show that was on I-40.
And I did see a squirrel....lucky son-of-a-gun he wasn't born in the mountains.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 1:08PM
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maybe you could've pluged in the squirrel to heat up the block...

    Bookmark   February 17, 2011 at 5:19PM
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