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Old 07-01-2008, 01:17 PM   #1
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Question --Will A Block Heater Do Anything For 5 Minutes?---

So in the morning (its not that cold like 70f), I can turn it on AS I DRIVE OFF so it will take the car only 1 minute to get up to temp instead of 5...??

Kind of like with a WAI, it helps as you drive.

Would the block really help it warm up or just be a waste of electricity for such a low amount of time?
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Old 07-01-2008, 02:13 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by trautotuning View Post
So in the morning (its not that cold like 70f), I can turn it on AS I DRIVE OFF so it will take the car only 1 minute to get up to temp instead of 5...??

Kind of like with a WAI, it helps as you drive.

Would the block really help it warm up or just be a waste of electricity for such a low amount of time?

#1. How long is your extension cord?

#2. Block heaters are generally low wattage and only intended to keep a warm engine warm. If it was your intention to heat up an engine with a block heater it would need to be plugged in overnight at least.

#3. If you did have a high output voltage inverter installed on the vehicle to power the block heater it still would not make a difference. When I used to run rescue I was the vehicle Lt. I had one unit that was wired up wrong at the factory and if the inverter (3,000 watt) was left on it would power the block heater while you were driving. Of course, with an inverter left on by accident the drivers did not know to put the vehicle in high idle when parking. The inverter and block heater was enough draw that when the ambulance was finally turned off it would not restart.


In other words, I would not recommend it. The amount of heat the heater would contribute is negligable. Its kinda like pushing in your cigar lighter in your car to help heat up the interior when its cold outside. Its not going to make one bit of difference.

-Jay
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Old 07-01-2008, 02:39 PM   #3
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I use block heaters (heavy duty) on my fleet of propane powered Ford 429's (F700's) and they will make coolant roughly 150*F in freezing temps.

I think those are 15,000 Watt though... the kind used for light duty applications are 5,000 watt.

I would still think if you plug it in or set a timer to go on about a hour before your departure, it would be very beneficial. Many people here recommend them, and use them daily, even on warm days. I'd install one on my car if I had electric out in the parking lot, but I don't own a house, so I'm stuck as is.

I say go for it, it'll help a bit. HAI will also help get the car up to temp.
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Old 07-03-2008, 11:40 AM   #4
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Yea Im talking about something that I can drive with that I can plug into the car itself...
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Old 07-03-2008, 12:17 PM   #5
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Any device used to warm the engine faster (which is powered by the engine) will benefit mostly from the extra load on the engine.

If you'd like, you can increase the load on the engine (hence creating more heat) by turning on your lights, rear-window defroster, air conditioning, and so on- these will load up your engine and warm it up faster. However at the end of the day these will cost you more fuel than you save.

Let's talk a bit more hypothetically. There are small coolant pumps/heaters which heat the engine (coolant), that plug into 110V. Instead, let's suppose you get a giant on-board inverter to power that heater, driven by the alternator. You would actually put more heat into the engine because of the extra load on the engine (to drive the alternator) than you would get from the heating element.

-BC
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Old 07-03-2008, 05:37 PM   #6
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The one I've got in Marvin is pathetic, but if I don't plug it in overnight when it dips below -12C he takes a lot of turning over to start and have to run for 2 minutes before the lifters pump up. The heat doesn't come through noticably faster or anything. Think it's only 500W or so.
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Old 07-03-2008, 07:38 PM   #7
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What kind of block heaters are you guys talking about? My block heater uses 400 watts and heats the engine to 100 degrees even when it's 0 degrees F.

15,000 watts??? That would boil the coolant away! And run your electric bill sky high!
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Old 07-03-2008, 07:59 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by theclencher View Post
Jay you are full of it. Block heaters are for warming from cold, and they do 90% of it in the first hour.
I was responsible for the maintenance of a fleet of 3 diesel ambulances with Ford Powerstroke engines, One ambulance with a turbo diesel Caterpillar engine, one ambulance with a gasoline Chevy 454 in it, and a Chevy S-10 Blazer. None of the vehicles block heaters would heat a cold engine in an hour or two. At best it took several hours, preferably overnight to warm the engine. Maybe on other vehicles the block heater works faster, but I have shared my real-world experience with block heaters. We used the block heaters regularly because if the diesel engines got cold in the winter they were a bear to start at times. Also since the block heater keeps the coolant warm the heat starts working almost instantly. I didn't like putting a patient in a cold ambulance. Because of this when I had the opportunity to order a new truck I had the block heater wired into the shore line so when the shore line for the battery charger was plugged in, the block heater was activated as well.


-Jay
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Old 07-03-2008, 08:57 PM   #9
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http://www.metrompg.com/posts/block-...to-plug-in.htm
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Old 07-03-2008, 09:46 PM   #10
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And if you read the article they are warming up a 1 liter engine in a subcompact car. If you looked at the smallest engine was ~4 liters, The Ford Powerstroke is 7.3 liters, and the International DT4700 had a an engine ~8 liters. Since most of these engines are 7 to 8 times larger than the test engine in that article then you can understand why I say you really have to be plugged in overnight. If a 1 liter engine heats up in about an hour, then an 8 liter engine will need ~8 hours. I was up front about the size of the vehicles and engines that I had experience with. Personally I don't think its worth putting a block heater on a 1 liter gasoline engine unless you live in northern Canada or Alaska.

-Jay
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