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Old 11-05-2011, 09:32 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Grid Heater(s) Purpose ?

Ok i have the oem grid heaters , and imo they are quite anoying with kicking in and out with slight headlite dim/then brighter ect .
Id like to know thier TRUE function.

Are they a truly needed starting and idling aid ?

IF disconnected , what is the lowest temp the engine would start ?

**The reason i question thier true purpose for the Dodge is because on my 2000 F350 ccab with the 7.3 engine it has ( had ) an AIH heater element in the intake tract,,,BUT would only come on via the pcm IF certain peramiters were met , such as you are in park or nutral , emg brake on , and a certain temp. These peramiters were unlikly to be met , unless you work on the Alaska pipeline or something. And its sole pupose was for epa / unburned fuel fog in very cold weather. But one main diff between these 2 engines are the 7.3 had glow plugs as a starting aid.
This subject may have been beaten around quite some bit ,, but id like to know if they are a true starting aid ( in the absence of true glow plugs ) OR something added on to clean the low speed combustion process in cold weather..........
thank you , 24hrsparkey.
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Last edited by 24hrsparkey; 11-05-2011 at 09:37 PM.
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Old 11-05-2011, 10:15 PM   #2 (permalink)
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they only cycle when the engine is cold. if you live in a warm climate year round you could remove them.
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Old 11-05-2011, 10:26 PM   #3 (permalink)
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mine are pissing me off also.. today it it seemed like my batterys were down, check gauges light was on, the amp gauge was going up and down, im assuming from the grids cycling?, coldest it gets here is 28ish. so i think im gonna pull the fuse and or delete them.
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Old 11-05-2011, 10:29 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I pulled this off mopar mans web page. hope it helps/
Mopar1973Man's Dodge Cummins Articles - Grid Heater
Operation

At the time you turn the ignition key to the ON position the PCM/ECM looks at the IAT temperature and determines if the manifold is cold enough to need pre-heating. Typically this occurs when temperatures are below 55-65*F. You'll notice that the battery voltage will fall slightly more than normal during this time that the WAIT TO START light is lit. Once started the grid heater will continue to cycle on and off to maintain proper manifold temperature. There are 2 grid heater elements. The PCM/ECM will determine if one or both elements will be used.
Here are the times and temperatures you should see.

Intake Manifold Temperature Key ON position
Pre-Heat Cycle Time
Ignition ON, Engine NOT Running
Post-Heat Cycle
Ignition ON Engine Running
Above 59F (15C)
0 Seconds
No
15F to 59F (-10C to 15C)
10 Seconds
Yes
0F to 15F (-18C to -10C)
15 Seconds
Yes
Below 0F (-18C)
30 Seconds
Yes
When temperatures are below 0*F itís suggested to cycle the grid heater twice to help aid in starting. Block Heater use can offset intake temperatures, since the block will warm incoming air.

Grid Heater(s) - Power Requirement



1 Element
2 Elements
95 Amps
190 Amps
1140 Watts
2280 Watts
Starter Ė Power Requirement
350-700 Amps
(Depends on temperature and oil viscosity)
Alternator Output
120 Amps

As in anytime you start the vehicle and grid heaters are active it will take longer to recharge the batteries. So be sure to run the engine longer to ensure the batteries are charged back up. Typically about 10-15 miles is a enough distance to re-charge the batteries in arctic cold temperatures.

Both grids on will provide a heating temperature of 500F as proved in the video.


When the grids are running, you can tell when both or just one grid is running. You hook a voltmeter up to any point on the truck and measure exact voltage. In the video, you can see voltage drops to 11.75V, indicating that both grids are running. When the voltage slightly releases to 12.20V, one of the grids has stepped out. That grid then also steps out and regular charging voltage of over 13V is seen. Only one grid heater is needed after the initial dual grip operation to keep intake temperature up, so then you can see only one grid turning on and off with every time it drops to 12.4V.

Driving at low speeds can make the grid heater stay on seemingly endlessly as the cold air is driven into the engine at a high rate with the grids failing to heat it up to the temperature that the grids turn back off. You have to get the RPM and engine load just right, it also has to be during the state that you havenít turned the grid cycling phase off (going over 20mph). Basically, you might be going 15mph up a hill and the grid will cycle on and instead of turning off the next second like normal, the threshold temp is never met and the grid will stay on for a seemingly endless time. Like I said, the conditions have to be perfect in order for it to do it. Just an interesting tidbit.. It is surely hard on the alternator and batteries.


The grid heaters will then shut down when you go over about 20mph, retain sufficient intake temperatures, or shut the engine back off. The grids typically run about 3 minutes while idling, cycling on and off to maintain temperature, and finally canceling the cycles.

Grid Relays



There are 2 grid relays, one for each grid heater. Each are ran by the ECM individually. The green wire on each of them is ground. The yellow and red wires are for each unique relay and serve as the positive lead that goes to the ECM. Upon being sent positive voltage, the relay energizes and the grid heater turns on.
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Old 11-05-2011, 10:34 PM   #5 (permalink)
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There is also a wright up on how to install a switch to turn on and off the grid heaters. Hope this helps. Mark

Mopar1973Man's Dodge Cummins Articles - Switched Grid Heaters

For those wanting a switched grid heater, here is how to do it on a 12V from 1989 on up to 1997. The 1998+ trucks throw a code (P0380 and P0382) so for those with that system, you will have to just disconnect the leads that go to the grid heater itself. When winter comes, just reconnect them.

The reason for doing something like this is because the truck will run the grid cycle if you run into the store or something and this is not necessary and is a load on the batteries and alternator, so why have it when itís not needed during these scenarios.

The controversy begins when you use it as a selector switch as to if you want to use the grids at all at a said temperature. The truck will start fine down to 32F and below that it will still start fine but is much happier with the grids. The problem is, this is very hard on the engine when it has to start with nothing but the heat of combustion. The temperature at which this degradation occurs is unknown but itís a safe bet to say that 50F and below should be using the grid heater. The grids will still cycle up to 60F, but I think that last 10F is a buffer zone that is up to you.

Why use the grids at all?

If you choose to remove the grid heaters or disable them, there are a few consequences of that action. All I will tell you is that starting it cold with no grid heater will make it hate the cold. My truck started up with no smoke, on the first crank, with no grid heater at 0F when I first bought it, this was even at 250k miles. The next year, it was starting the same, but I HAD to use the grid heaters. Donít push your luck with them, use them every chance you get.

What about my batteries?

Driving short distances in the winter is the worst thing ever. Your grids are going full blast on the morning start and your battery is getting killed. It will last a little while, maybe a week doing these cold short driving stunts. After a week, you really need to drive it for a long distance or charge the batteries using a battery charger or even exchange them with another vehicle that drives long distances.

Hooking up the switch

On the driverís side fender well, there are the 2 grid heater relays. They control the 2 grid heaters individually. The positive wires (orange and yellow) are controlled by the ECM and are what turns the grid heaters on and off. There are 2 other wires that are green (one on each relay). Those are the wires you want to tie together and put a switch in between the ground source and the relays, thereby making the relays have no ground when the switch is off and having ground when it is on. This way, the grids will work exactly the same as stock when the switch is on. It is also easier as you only need to run one wire from the 2 relay grounds, to the switch in the cab, and then any good ground inside the cab.



In this video, you can see the grids being switched on and off, the ECM continues to cycle, it doesnít know that they really arenít cycling. This allows you to turn the switch off and if you turn it back on and the ECM is still signaling the relays, they will work when you turn the switch back on without anything knowing the difference. The clicking is the switch being turned on and off, you can see the voltage drop when the grid is on.
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Old 11-05-2011, 10:55 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I dont understand why it would bother you that your lights dim when you start the truck up. I would rather that then own a PSD and have it sound like total dog sh!t for 5-10 mins for it to warm up. If the dimming bothers you so much dont turn the lights on... Or drive it right away after you start it. They will turn off.

Their true purpose is to warm the cold air going into the intake manifold. Alot more effective than glow plugs. Unless it gets below 0* i would think you should be ok to delete the heater. That is if your truck starts real easy normally
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Old 11-05-2011, 11:20 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I'd rather have my pre-heater than have to change glow plugs, and glow plug solinoids all the time.
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Old 11-06-2011, 08:24 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smourj21 View Post
I dont understand why it would bother you that your lights dim when you start the truck up. I would rather that then own a PSD and have it sound like total dog sh!t for 5-10 mins for it to warm up. If the dimming bothers you so much dont turn the lights on... Or drive it right away after you start it. They will turn off.
OK, Im gonna be nice about this.
I really dont care if You do not understand why it bothers me seeing My lights go dim/brite dim/brite. Its my truck and there are opinions on topics which do not match your's exactly ,, hard to imagine i know , i know.
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Old 11-06-2011, 08:37 AM   #9 (permalink)
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My original post intent was to determine if the grids are paramount to cold weather starting OR more allong the lines of cleaner exh at low temps. Not to compair truck brands and wich one is more wonderfull in cold weather !!
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Old 11-06-2011, 10:57 AM   #10 (permalink)
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They are not paramount to cold weather starts but do help. I actually agree the dimming is annoying because they don't shut off until you get above 20mph or 60f IAT. So if your idling down a residential street...
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Old 11-07-2011, 03:50 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I normally always plug mine in if I know I will be using it. Several years ago it was not plugged @ about 20*and it absolutely would not even pop and that was how I discovered mine were not working. Had to fire up the ole gasser Power Wagon. So, yeah, at least mine has to have them working.
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Old 11-07-2011, 06:16 PM   #12 (permalink)
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my complaint about the grid heaters sucking so much juice is that they make my HID fog lights flicker and one will go out.
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