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Author Topic: Block Heater  (Read 13466 times)
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kawazar
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« on: December 11, 2009, 10:22:09 AM »

Does anyone have the engine block heater installed? It takes miles to start getting heat in our car. My wife will warm it up for 10 minutes and the heat is barely warm with temp gauge above the 160 degree mark. She has to drive a couple of miles after a 10 minute warm up to start getting good heat. The temp was 16 degrees this morning with a steady 30+ mph wind, so it was cold. I wonder if its more cost effective to have the block heater plugged in and a 5 min. warm up and get heat faster. I had one in my Suburban and right after I unplugged it the defrost would be a little warm on start up.
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camr
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« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2009, 07:05:38 PM »

The block heater will not begin heating until the outside temp is below 0F or -18C. It is alot colder than that where we live. I am a real believer in using the block heater for about a 3 hour period to reduce engine wear. I wish that the block heater would function when the temp is below 10C.
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red426
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« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2009, 07:23:44 PM »

My understanding is that on cold weathers, when a car is equipped with engine block heater, there is a power cord that needs to be plugged in, either overnight or right before starting the car,  to a power supply, in order to warm the engine or coolant for ease of starting. I had it in my 06 Trailblazer and my 2010 Traverse. However, even being here in Toronto, Canada, where the weather is really cold during winter months and lots of snow, I haven't even used this feature yet. My friend, ont he other hand, told me, that feature was very useful to him when he was in Alaska.
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red426
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« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2009, 07:29:31 PM »

The power cord by the way should be anywhere under the hood near the front or headlights which you can pull out. I haven't seen it in the Traverse yet, coz I haven't pick up yet.
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rbarrios
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« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2009, 10:37:32 PM »

hey red- if you still have your Trailblazer... you may want to check out trailvoy.com
I hang out over there--- all you want to know about Trailblazers, Envoys, and the other GMT-360's.

I remember reading over on the trailblazer forum- that some members who had the block heaters-  Not sure if they had aftermarket or factory....but   they would use those timers that you can plug in-- and set it to come on at x hours before they were to head out.......

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« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2009, 12:46:18 AM »

I have the blockheater with the therom. on it . It has not that cold were I live yet but to test it I placed the plugin end under a bag of ice for a day and coould not hear the blockheater running , has  anyone else tried to check to see if the heater works? I,m thinking of replacing the plug with a stardard one . I understand that the Satun jusst had a ordenary one on it aand suggestions would be help full .  thank you
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copperbeech
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« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2009, 06:20:41 AM »

When making the factory purchase of our Traverse this past spring I had intended to include the option of a block heater in the configuration but to make a long story short it got left off the order.

It is easier to add an oil pan heater rather than a block heater. Depending on the model they secure via magnet or silicone adhesive.

See here:

http://www.warehouseautoparts.com/Specialty_Line/Kat/Kats_1160_Magnetic_Block_heater.htm

OR


http://www.warehouseautoparts.com/Specialty_Line/Kat/Kats_24150_Silicone_hotpad_oilpan_heater.htm
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camr
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« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2009, 10:32:53 PM »

Applying a bag of ice to the plug end will not be cold enough to close the circuit switch in the thermostat plug end. The ice will only get down to 32 F, and the switch closes at 0 F. With regards to replacing the thermostat plug with a regular plug, there have been posts that have explained that allowing the block heater to run at outside temps above 0 F will cause the system to throw error codes. GM designed the system for a reason, and the reason probably was not to save power. I'm thinking that the block heater element is possibly placed in a close proximity to an engine computer temperature sending unit. Maybe one of our tech members can explain.
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medicrxdoc
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« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2009, 08:50:08 AM »

Since the temp sensor is in the plug end, I would also make sure that it is out of the engine compartment to sense the ambient temp outside, as opposed to being left under the hood sensing the engine compartment temp which is probably much warmer than ambient for a little while.
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kawazar
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« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2009, 07:13:51 AM »

I called my dealer yesterday and they said the heater is set to maintain a certain coolant temp. They claim it will run if its 30 or 0 outside. As long as the coolant is colder than the heating element it will warm it to whatever temp its set for. I was reconsidering having it added if it won't work above zero. Does the end of the plug look like a standard plug or does it look like something larger?
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camr
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« Reply #10 on: December 15, 2009, 06:25:53 PM »

The block heater thermostat is in the three prong plug. That is why it is so large. This has nothing to do with the coolant temperature.... just the temperature of the plug. Medicrxdoc has an excellent point in ensuring that the plug is on the outside of the engine compartment to measure the ambient outside air temp. I have checked mine with an ohm meter, and above -18C or 0F the circuit is open, preventing current from flowing to the heating element. The dealer that told you that the block heater will run at any temperature colder than the coolant temperature should not be a dealer!!!!!
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BingoRingo
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« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2011, 08:38:31 AM »

The block heater thermostat is in the three prong plug. That is why it is so large. This has nothing to do with the coolant temperature.... just the temperature of the plug. Medicrxdoc has an excellent point in ensuring that the plug is on the outside of the engine compartment to measure the ambient outside air temp. I have checked mine with an ohm meter, and above -18C or 0F the circuit is open, preventing current from flowing to the heating element. The dealer that told you that the block heater will run at any temperature colder than the coolant temperature should not be a dealer!!!!!


Please provide some technical sources for what you're saying, because this seems like a lot of nonsense to me. I live in Québec and I've used a block heater for many years, it works when you plug it in, and if the coolant is colder, as it has been mentionned above. It is suggested to plug it in when the temperature goes below -10C (which is 14F). At temperatures way above 0F you can see the difference when you crank it up, so I assume it's been working!

If yours doesn't work above 0F I suggest you have your unit replaced.
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jwhjr
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« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2011, 08:55:28 AM »

The factory installed block heater plugs have worked that way since at least 2004 (my truck has one).  If yours is working above 0 F, either it's not a standard factory plug, or it operates differently on Canadian vehicles.
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rbarrios
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« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2011, 11:42:47 AM »

I dont have a plug heater- device- as I live in LA..

But I have head- about the heaters with the switch in the plug- that will only turn on at 0 or so.


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« Reply #14 on: January 25, 2011, 11:45:28 AM »

this answer the question...

Block heater on GM vehicles
GM has installed temperature sensing circuitry into the plug on factory installed block heaters. It prevents the heater from operating unless it is colder than 0°F or -18C. It may seem insane, but it really does make sense if you understand why. If you install an aftermarket block heater without this circuitry, the PCM will see warm coolant, but a cold engine and cold air coming into it. Remember, it's the PCM's job to determine the correct air/fuel mixture. A cold engine block and cylinder head act as a fire extinguisher when you first start up the engine. So the computer commands a very rich mixture. How does it know what temperature the engine is? It used to look at only the coolant temperature. But now it looks at both coolant temp and the temp of the metal itself. If it see a discrepancy between the two numbers, and the outside air temp coming in through the intake is 0° or above, it assumes there's something wrong with the coolant temp sensor and sets a trouble code.

Bottom line, if you add an aftermarket heater, it must have the temperature sensing circuitry in it or you WILL set a trouble code. Also, if you ever have to replace the power cord to the factory block heater, you must use a new GM power cable
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« Reply #15 on: January 25, 2011, 02:11:55 PM »

Good info; thanks rbarrios  thumbs up
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Quantum
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« Reply #16 on: January 25, 2011, 07:27:19 PM »

So can you use and aftermarket block heater, with a GM cord end?  Seems like a round about way to do things.  Up here in Southern Ontario, I didn't opt for the block heater.  If we get 1 or 2 nights where it hits -18*C, that is a COLD winter.  The coldest we've had this winter so far is -17*C, just last week.  By the time my wife has the kids up and ready to go out anywhere, its usually 9:30am at the earliest, so by then its usually warmed up a few degrees.  Today it was -1*C.
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BingoRingo
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« Reply #17 on: January 31, 2011, 10:29:09 AM »

I read the Owner Manual and yes, it does say 0F (-17C). It wasn't like this on my previous cars that's for sure, I find it very strange as even where I live it rarely goes below 0F and we've always been told to plug it in below -10C. Maybe the new engines can handle cold oil better?
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happyfamily
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« Reply #18 on: June 12, 2011, 11:26:51 AM »

hello,
any body has a picture to show the engine block heater? or some other links where I can see it?
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rbarrios
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« Reply #19 on: June 16, 2011, 01:54:01 PM »

you want the Traverse block heater pic? or any to see what is being talked about?
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2010 FWD LT1-Gold Mist Metallic- seats 8.
Build Date- July 31, 2009-2nd day of Spring Hill 2010 production.
2013 Equinox 3.6L -    23,000
2010 Traverse 3.6L-    80,000
2003 Trailblazer 4.2L-173,000
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