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Old 03-21-2012, 04:52 PM
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Block heater question

As the eastern portion of the country is seeing mild spring like temps, here in the N.W winter has a death grip on our forecast.
I typically dont use my truck during the work week as i have a commuter but, on occasion i like to fire it up and blow out the cob webs...
So my question is how long is too long to leave your truck plugged in?
Would it hurt anything by leaving it plugged in all the time(when not in use)

I really like the way is starts and runs after being plugged in overnight
Input, suggestions and personal experiences appreciated
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Old 03-21-2012, 06:13 PM
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i plug my truck in everyday when the weather is going to get below freezing. ive got it on a timer and it starts at 3 and shuts off at 6 when i leave for work. nothing wrong with a warm truck.

bailey
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Old 03-21-2012, 06:23 PM
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You can leave it plugged-in all the time. However, a few negative side-effects may appear. The heater is 1000 Watts, or 1 kiloWatt. For every hour the truck is plugged in, you consume 1 kW-h. That can add up depending upon your energy rates.

Once the outside temps hit 35 or higher, my truck seems to have a few drips of coolant on the concrete. Always has done it (mine's a 2000 7.3). I've always assumed it's from localized high heat (I can sometimes hear something like coolant boiling when heater is on and it's not too cold out).

To leave it plugged-in all the time, get yourself a timer so that it comes on about 3 hours before you would normally start it and a thermostatically-controlled switch that will come on below some setpoint you choose. I would choose something like 35 degrees, but that is only a personal choice.

I had the truck in Montana since I bought it new. This winter was my first with it in the Southwest where I have only plugged it in maybe 10 days total.

Last edited by rickie; 03-21-2012 at 06:25 PM. Reason: Forgot something
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Old 03-21-2012, 06:57 PM
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Both the 7.3 and 6.0 trucks like me to plug em in 4 hours. Per my edge gauges, around 20* anything over 4 hours doesnt add much heat at all. When I am around zero, I have it plugged in for more like when i go to bed so 6-7 hours. 4 hours in 20* weather will get my coolant to about 115-120 and oil around 100. I stayed at a cabin this winter for a weekend. Left her plugged in for about 20 hours and it hit 120 and 115
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Old 03-21-2012, 07:34 PM
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I plug my truck in quite regularly...but.. i dont use just my block heater. I found as well that the block heater really didn't do much to warm the engine up in a reasonable amount of time. I use a pan heater for my engine oil. Considering that the HEUI system runs off engine oil, and our injectors especially dont like cold thick oil I figured warm oil would be much better for them as well as all the other moving parts, not to mention warm oil in the sump will radiate heat up through the engine.


As a result my cold starts are great. I set my timer to come on 2-3hrs before I'm heading out and both my engine oil and coolent will be up around 120-130degrees. Temperature dipped to about -10, -15C here a couple times this winter and I would see ~110degrees. Ocasionally I travel to colder areas, where we get real winter and for that I have a pan heater on my transmission as well.

IMO warm oil/coolent is the best thing you can do for any moving parts on a cold start be it your engine, transmission, etc, heck i've seen heaters on big differentials before(up north of course). If I ever have the cash kicking around or can come across the parts I'll install a diesel fired heater (pro-heat, esbar, or the likes)
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Old 03-21-2012, 07:46 PM
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We dont see temps below freezing very much here in the PNW. When i say its cold here im referring to 25-35 degree temps.
I dont have a monitor yet to see what kind of temps i have in the AM but am planning to get one soon

Thank's for all the good feedback
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Old 03-21-2012, 07:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roadapple View Post
Would it hurt anything by leaving it plugged in all the time(when not in use)
yes, your wallet ...Like said above they do use a relatively large amount of electricity and only need a few hrs to warm up and won't benefit any more if plugged in for a long time. I've seen around 110 ECT after two hrs in 30F before for a reference point.
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Old 03-21-2012, 08:03 PM
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ah i missed that you are in the PNW, I'm just across the boarder. So typically my temps are the same as yours. I just live in a bit of a bubble tucked up against the mountains and see colder temps on occasion.
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Old 03-21-2012, 08:26 PM
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yep 4 hours is pretty standard, get one of them christmas tree timers. they work well.

P.S. - they make all kinds of heaters, oil pan, tranny pan, battery tray heaters etc.

coolest thing I have seen is a little heater that circulates coolant instead and they make them that run off diesel!

spendy but if you live in the north and leave your truck parked while at camp its the way to go.
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Old 03-24-2012, 09:40 AM
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Yes, block heaters work. However, there are limitations to what a 1000 Watt heater can do, no matter how long you leave it plugged in. It's all based upon the ambient conditions at the time. I've had my heater work well at -15*F, in an area sheltered from the wind and not do so well on a morning with howling winds at 5*F. I have one or two failed Glow Plugs that I will probably never need now that I am in New Mexico.

For all practical purposes, the block heater is there as a starting aid. Any other benefit is a bonus. They can get you started when your Glow Plugs or GPR are shot, but not when temps are really cold (that's meant as a relative term). If the block heater is not enough (like for our neighbors way up North), you may need supplemental heaters. Pick your poison.
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