Block heater " How long" - Dodge Cummins Diesel Forum

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Old 02-02-2011, 02:47 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Block heater " How long"

I have a pig tail plug under the hood that goes to the block so i'm guessing I have a block heater.
Can any one tell me when to plug it in to a power source, "example before going to sleep or several hour before starting up?" Can I leave it pluged in over night? And how can you tell if it's working? By touching the block?

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Old 02-02-2011, 02:49 PM   #2 (permalink)
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If it starts fine without plugging it in now, DO NOT PLUG IT IN. It's like crack, do it once and you have to do it from then on.

But yeah just plug it in at night when you get home and leave it all night, thats what i do to mine. If you don't like to leave it put it on a timer or somethin.
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Old 02-02-2011, 05:01 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Depending on how cold it is it should warm engine to around 90*. It's just a heating element just like the one in a house in a electric water heater. You shouldn't need it unless it's below freezing. My 92 starts good 10-15* weather without it plugged in. You can touch the block around where it is an feel a little heat.
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Old 02-02-2011, 05:27 PM   #4 (permalink)
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You should also be able to hear it (kind of gurgles) when you plug it in.

I agree that how long it should be plugged in varies with temperature. Overnight is the answer for really cold nights. I don't agree that it is best to avoid plugging it in whenever possible...I think plugging it in makes the whole start-up process less damaging for many parts associated with start-up ware.

I would rather have mine plugged in <20*F...even if it is plugged in for only an hour. Of course, that is not what I always do.
'89 D250 CTD AT RCLB, totally stock
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Old 02-02-2011, 06:13 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I need to plug mine in. It's -20 and dropping soon and it won't start and I never plugged it in before so how will I know if it works or not?
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Old 02-02-2011, 07:05 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Well, you will know the heater is working because you can hear it and after a while feel warmth down by the heater.

Cold temps work against any motor from starting. Battery efficiency and friction of all moving parts are working against you. And, that is for a gasser; cold is even more of a problem for diesels. Higher compression and fuel viscosity add to the diesel problem.

For these things to start when it is really cold, everything has to be right. Entire cold-start system working, correct oil viscosity, battery in good shape, anti-gel fuel additive, block heater plugged in. And, even then, there is a lower-temp limit for any specific truck.

I have friends in northern MN and ND and they add plug-in battery heaters and magnetic oil pan heaters.
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Old 02-02-2011, 08:13 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Plug it in at night, I plug diesels in starting at about 40 degrees. At that temp only needs and hour. A timer is best, after three hours you have reached the hottest it is going to get, the rest is just wasting power. Having block and head warm reduces the wear on the engine, the fuel doesn't go diown past the rings giving excess wear. And they don't get addicted to being plugged in, it starting on ether that they get addicted to.
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Old 02-02-2011, 09:03 PM   #8 (permalink)
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When it gets down to 30* or so i plug mine in after i get home from work "while it's still warm" and even when it gets down to 0 the temp gauge goes up alittle when i start it,

if i don't plug in my truck drags the starter, spits, sputers, blows smoke, rattles, when it's pluged in you just reach for the key and it's running, it's soooooooooooo much beter for the engine to start warm.

i agree 3 or 4 hours is all it takes but i just never picked up a timer.

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Old 02-03-2011, 02:51 AM   #9 (permalink)
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40 degrees F!!

Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe the stock block heater to be 750w, with a 1000w HD version optional. Diesels should only be started if they are over 40 degrees F. Most people don't do this, but engine start-up wear goes up exponentially below this temp. Use a heavy-duty timer and set it to two(2) hours or so(depending on temp.) before you want to start it. Also, remember, all other fluids are still very cold, so go easy on her!
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Old 02-03-2011, 09:20 AM   #10 (permalink)
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If I plug mine in over night it doesn't seem to do any good in the morning. Like it wasn't even plugged in. But if I plug it in about an hour or 2 before I start it then it works fine. Dont know why this is but it's how my truck works.
92' ext cab d350 dually
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Old 12-28-2011, 12:43 PM   #11 (permalink)
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take note of how fast your electric meter is spinning, go out and plug in your block heater... then watch how fast it spins now... lol i think two hours is good enough for me
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Old 12-28-2011, 12:50 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Agreed with above^^^, You will pay.
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