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Discussion Starter #1
Does anyone have any experience with engine block heaters?

I am thinking of getting something to keep my engine and my gas tank warm in the winter because lately it has been below zero at night and the Bronco is really hating it.

Are there any down sides to them?

Any info is good info.
Thank you.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Any info is good info.
I have no idea how they work and have never owned one, or had a fiend who owned one.
The only reason I have even heard of them was because i read an article about Alaska truck drivers plugging their trucks in at night.
 

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While I've never had one...I do travel to Alaska often, and they all (well almost all) have them. So it can't have any major downsides (other than a higher electric bill) But I don't know for sure....I'm sure some of our northern brethern will chime in soon enough...HELL its only 8 am out in Alaska right now!
 

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i pretty sure you could get one from the factory to my 94 has one and i'm the second owner it has never been out of california so i can;t see that anybody would have had it put on.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Well then take it off and give it to me. Just kidding.
I didnt know they had a factory option. I may just have to call my dealer.
 

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I have a '95 Bronco with a 351. I rebuilt my engine and put a block heater in it. All you have to do it remove a freeze plug and replace it with the freeze plug. It does make a difference when starting in the cold and it is good for the enviroment (if you care). These last couple of weeks it's been down below 0 with one day being around 25 below. In the mornings I start my Bronco leaving it pluged and it helps warm up the inside faster. :thumbup
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks, I havent tried JC Whitney yet.
I will try them out today.
 

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I had one in the lower radiator hose on my '84 and it worked fine. I was living in Central Oregon at the time and it got pretty cold there. Made it starting in the morning much easier. The only real problem that I had was it leaking where it was connected in the hose. Just keep the clamps tight and it shouldn't be a problem.
Good Luck
 

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I wouldn't get one that sticks to your block or on your radiator hose. If your gonna do it, do it right. Get the type that replaces your soft plug. They carry them at your local parts store (Napa, Carquest), about $35-45. It's real easy to install. The only problem I've had is that when it's real cold it doesn't really seem to work. We have them on all our rigs, diesel's and gas. It won't warm your fuel but it will help your rig start.

I've done plenty of them, so if you need help let me know. After so many years they go bad.
 

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My 95 came from Maine and low and behold it has one from the factory, well worth it
its nice and toasty in the morning
 

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Premium 4 Lyfe - Way Back Staff
'95 XLT: 5.8, MAF, E4OD, 4.56's, 6" on 33's
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I've heard of 3 different kinds... but only used the simplest.

1. SoftPlug replacement - Heard lots of good about these, but seemed like a big deal to install. Don't know much about them myself... never checked becouse the install seemed like such a PITA.

2. Water/Radiator - This one is nice becouse it heats the water in your radiator and is also supposed to circulate that water through the entire engine while it's working. Coming out to immediatly warm air and cozy warm motor is NICE. Install is much easier but hose life can be shorter (big deal).

3. Magnet to Block/Oil Pan - I've used many of these and have never had any problems with them. They work great, super easy install, the motor warms quickly becouse the oil is kept at operating temp. Inside the rig isn't warm immediatly... but takes much less than w/out anything. Also... I never lost one even when snowpile jumpin'.

Anyway... that's just another .02 for you. My Dad and I ALWAYS used these living in N. Idaho. It was the ONLY way to go man!
 

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You want a block heater not an inline heater. The idea of the block heater is to keep the block from freezing. I have had one in mine since I bought it and love it. It does make a difference. All it is is a plug that you put into one of the freeze plug locations. Pop the freeze plug out an put the heater in. It is just a simple U shaped coil with a plug. Then you just run the cable up to the grille for easy access and plug it in at night.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
OK, thank you all for the information.

I think i would like the magnet type for my fuel tank, and for the oil pan.

Then the one that goes into the freeze plug.

One question though,
Where is the freeze plug on our rigs?
I have never seen it.
Is it a PITA to get to?
Do I need a special tool to remove the freeze plug?

OK more than 1 question....
 

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Discussion Starter #14
OH, and i would hardly ever plug all three in. The only time i would plug all three in is if i am not driving the Bronco for like a week and it is expected to be freezing all week.
Something of that nature.
 

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I have one on my psd. works wonders and makes a big differnce in helping it start on a chilly morning.
 

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the freeze plugs are on the side of the block if you got an v8 theres three on each side. easy to remove take hammer and chisel just beat on the inside edge of the plug just not to hardor you might knock it in the block which is not good, with ford the plugs are generally narrow which makes it easier cause the plug should just tilt in the hole, bottom goes in top comes out, pair of channel locks and out it comes. insert block heater and tighten screw, good to go. oh wait don't forget to put some perematex 2 around the edges of the plug before you put it in.
 

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You don't want to use any kind of heater on the fuel tank... gas doesn't freeze, and it'd have to be VERY cold for it to start gelling If anything, use a fuel drier, to remove any condensation that might be in the tank, or fuel lines. If your engine is cold to crank over and start, consider a battery blanket... very simple, it's about 6-7" wide and about 14-15" long, and literally wraps the battery. That would benefit from a heater, since a typical lead-acid battery has as much water in it as it does

An in-line hose heater does work, but IMO isn't worth the money or effort. IIRC, it uses convection to heat the coolant, to keep the engine and coolant from getting too cold. Since a block heater is more ideal, I recommend using one on each side. My 400 had one on each side, tho I never used them
 

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Every big truck (semi tractor) that I've ever had or driven, had a inline tank type coolant heater on it. The motors usually weigh about 2500 lbs (big hunk of iron), and I would plug it in a couple hours before I wanted to leave. By the time I was ready to go, it would fire right up, and blow warm air from the heater. Of course if someone else was paying the electric bill, I'd leave it plugged in all the time :D
So, it should work great on a Bronco, and most (if not all) have thermostats on them.
I'm talking about the kind you plug into the heater hose.
 

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I installed the block heater (freeze plug) in mine before coming to alaska. I dont think that you really need it. Ive never used mine in the year and a half ive been here. But you can buy it for about 25 bucks. Also you need a timer so that you dont run it more than a couple hours at a time. They say it will get really hot and catch your truck on fire if you leave it on overnight. That is the reason Ive never used mine.
 

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have you guys seen those ones that replace your dipstick for the night? I think I saw it @ JCW seems like the simplest option.
 
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