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Old 01-16-2014, 01:14 AM   #1
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Block heater questions

My 1995 International has a DT466 engine with what appears to be a block heater plug in the vehicleís front bumper. (Itís a covered male 120VAC connector that, I assume, accepts a standard 120VAC extension cord.) Living in central Florida, it never gets really cold, but I plan to travel around the country and while I donít plan to be in Minnesota in the dead of winter, I may encounter some sub-freezing temps.

1. What is the maximum temperature I can use the block heater? If I use it above an ambient temperature of X, will it damage the heater, engine, or both?

2. At what temperature should I definitely consider using the block heater?

3. What is the typical electrical draw on a block heater? 60W? 200W? Higher?

4. Is the block heater element similar to a household water heater element that can and does eventually disintegrate over time and need to be replaced?

Thanks!
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Old 01-18-2014, 10:29 PM   #2
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Re: Block heater questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by PDBreske
My 1995 International has a DT466 engine with what appears to be a block heater plug in the vehicleís front bumper. (Itís a covered male 120VAC connector that, I assume, accepts a standard 120VAC extension cord.) Living in central Florida, it never gets really cold, but I plan to travel around the country and while I donít plan to be in Minnesota in the dead of winter, I may encounter some sub-freezing temps.

1. What is the maximum temperature I can use the block heater? If I use it above an ambient temperature of X, will it damage the heater, engine, or both?

Anything below 0 C. Your engine will dissipate the heat enough to prevent burning out the element, without any harm to the engine. If you forget to unplug before starting the engine, you risk burning out the block heater.

2. At what temperature should I definitely consider using the block heater?

Anything below 0, I don't till minus 15C for diesels, minus 20C for gas engines.

3. What is the typical electrical draw on a block heater? 60W? 200W? Higher?

1500 watts. Most house hold outlets can provide a maximum 1800 watts (15 amps)

4. Is the block heater element similar to a household water heater element that can and does eventually disintegrate over time and need to be replaced?

Yes

Thanks!
Depending on how cold it is, most engines only need to be plugged in for 2 hours before starting. Anything more is just wasting electricity.

Nat
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Old 01-18-2014, 10:57 PM   #3
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Re: Block heater questions

Thanks so much! Iím sure these answers will also be helpful to anyone else looking for this information.
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Old 01-18-2014, 11:03 PM   #4
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Re: Block heater questions



Nat
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Old 01-19-2014, 10:41 AM   #5
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Re: Block heater questions

The block heater (if its the same thing as on my 7.3-and VW diesel) replaces a freeze plug and goes into water. As long as its in water it won't burn out. The one in my Vw is 400w- I just looked it up for the 7.3-its 1000w. I've left them on overnight at times-but unless its really cold or you have a tough starting engine, a couple of hours is enough. It will only warm things up-don't expect you temp gauge to hit the normal mark.
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Old 01-20-2014, 03:20 PM   #6
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Re: Block heater questions

I've owned several buses and diesel engines and i live in michigan.

Every diesel engine i've owned with glow plugs that were functioning properly would start in any temperature with enough battery power. My buses never had glow plugs. Some engines start better than others. Most diesel engines without glow plugs will start ok down to around freezing with a good battery. Below zero F without a block heater, glow plugs, or starting fluid it's difficult to get a diesel started.

Note: never use starting fluid on an engine equipped with glow plugs or grid heaters!

At 32 degrees, a diesel may take 30 seconds or more of cranking to actually start. I believe that using a block heater in cold weather will make your engine last longer. However, plenty of engines get started in the extreme cold and last for years.

Here is a recent video of my diesel john deere backhoe starting around 32F without my block heater plugged in:

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Old 01-23-2014, 12:47 AM   #7
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Re: Block heater questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by lapeer20m
I've owned several buses and diesel engines and i live in michigan.

Every diesel engine i've owned with glow plugs that were functioning properly would start in any temperature with enough battery power. My buses never had glow plugs. Some engines start better than others. Most diesel engines without glow plugs will start ok down to around freezing with a good battery. Below zero F without a block heater, glow plugs, or starting fluid it's difficult to get a diesel started.

Note: never use starting fluid on an engine equipped with glow plugs or grid heaters!

At 32 degrees, a diesel may take 30 seconds or more of cranking to actually start. I believe that using a block heater in cold weather will make your engine last longer. However, plenty of engines get started in the extreme cold and last for years.

Here is a recent video of my diesel john deere backhoe starting around 32F without my block heater plugged in:


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Old 01-24-2014, 12:29 PM   #8
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Re: Block heater questions

I don't currently own a bus so i have less motivation to make it over here to skoolie.net.

I've taken a different path in life and bought a place in the middle of nowhere and haven't had internet where we live until recently.

I still sometimes kick around the idea of building another bus (lucky number 7.) I made money on every bus i've built and i can complete the project in 30 days or less. It would be sweet to have a barn big enough for a bus with a built in paint booth.
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Old 01-24-2014, 02:21 PM   #9
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Re: Block heater questions

Quote:
I've taken a different path in life and bought a place in the middle of nowhere
Sounds nice.
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Old 02-11-2014, 11:06 PM   #10
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Re: Block heater questions

having synthetic oil helps a lot in winter starting. My generator on my bus has a wattage gauge on it, shows how much power being drawn, when I plugged my bus block heater in, it showed 955 watt draw, I plug my diesels in around -10c make it so much nicer to start, you can leave it plugged in all the time it wont hurt the heater as long as there is enough anti-freeze (element has to be submerged), ill plug my back hoe in and leave it some times 4-5 weeks before I need it, also if you use your diesel every day, it seems to start better in the cold, but that might be just me.
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