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Block or dipstick heater?


gumby_ct
11-26-2005, 01:00 AM
Anyone use either an oil dipstick or block heater? Or have any recommendations? I am calling the kind that goes into the radiator hose a block heater.

Getting that time here in CT - overnight temps down in the teens. This AM the poor thing was moaning. Yes, using 5-30 oil. Thinking about going to 5-20 at next oil change. Also, I am in the habit of using a piece of cardboard to restrict airflow to the radiator when temps get below freezing. Any thoughts on that?
Thanks,
Gumby_CT

Crvett69
11-26-2005, 03:30 AM
they make a magnetic one that attaches to oil pan, seems to work quite well

gumby_ct
11-26-2005, 09:53 AM
they make a magnetic one that attaches to oil pan, seems to work quite well
I'd be worried it would fall off on the hiway. But willing to check them out. Where are they sold?
Thanks

DieInterim
11-26-2005, 10:52 AM
I'd be worried it would fall off on the hiway. But willing to check them out. Where are they sold?
Thanks

I would prefer a tank type heater. These splice into your heater hoses and heat and circulate the water through your engine. What this means for you is instant heat and a nice warm engine ready to go!

Cheers,
Blake

http://www.jcwhitney.com/autoparts/Product/tf-Browse/s-10101/Pr-p_Product.CATENTRY_ID:2000837/showCustom-0/p-2000837/N-111+10201+600001648/c-10101

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Kats-Circulating-tank-Heater-Block-Heater-2000-Watts_W0QQcmdZViewItemQQcategoryZ6755QQitemZ459212 7846QQrdZ1QQsspagenameZWDVW

metrompg.com
11-26-2005, 11:26 AM
i would like to see someone do a comprehensive test of various block heater styles. it would have helped me make a decision on mine.

i was going to get a magnetic one too, but the parts guy warned about falling off (though you could always wire it to something so it would only "dangle" if it came loose, not fall off).

ended up installing an OEM style heater on my 3-cyl. it's block mounted (back of the engine), but not through a frost plug, so it doesn't directly warm the coolant. it's a shaped heater element (like an electric charcoal bbq starter) that fits snug against the block.

120v, 300w rated. 2 hours of plug in time gives me 24 C / 75 F coolant temperature at -7 C / 20 F ambient (indicated on the ScanGauge last night). from there it takes about a minute of driving before i've got warm air from the heater.

whichever style you choose, come back to this thread and let us know how it goes.

spy1309
11-26-2005, 12:36 PM
In the winter you can replace a quart of oil with one quart of ,,Marvel Mistery oil" to keep the oil flowing at 0 temperatures , works like a charm.

Tominator2000
11-26-2005, 05:33 PM
As far as reliable starting in cold weather goes, it is the battery that cold temps puts the greatest toll on. Keep the battery warm with a plate that goes under it and requires a 120v source.

spy1309
11-26-2005, 06:23 PM
A battery witch looses charge overnight in sub 0 temperature is a bad battery and needs to be replaced , a good condition battery has to supply the cold cranking amps even after 3 days in sub 0 temp, much les in a car witch is started and driven daily at least an hour.

Tominator2000
11-26-2005, 07:27 PM
A battery witch looses charge overnight in sub 0 temperature is a bad battery and needs to be replaced , a good condition battery has to supply the cold cranking amps even after 3 days in sub 0 temp, much les in a car witch is started and driven daily at least an hour.

Do some research and get back to this post please.
:eek7:

Use the proper weight oil. The electrical components are not affected by the cold. You have the proper antifreeze in the cooling system and the fuel is free of moisture. Even the best battery will lose better than 50% of it's rated capacity at sub-zero temps.

Keeping the motor warm will indeed make it easier to start, but the battery is the starting component most affected by the cold.

gumby_ct
11-26-2005, 10:10 PM
Ok, took a trip to the parts store. The guy says the magnetic type has to be removed before you drive. Don't like that idea. He had the oil stick type $14. It is WAY to looong (24") for the Metro and NOT long enuff for F150 - go figure. He also had the lower radiator hose type $20. I bought both, made by KAT'S by Five Star Mfg. Co.

After looking at the Metro, I am wondering if anyone makes one to go in the heater hose. It would likely be much easier to install. If so, can you recommend a source? Is that how the tank heaters install? Inline with the heater hose? Does anyone know?
Thanks,
Gumby_CT

DieInterim
11-26-2005, 10:49 PM
Ok, took a trip to the parts store. The guy says the magnetic type has to be removed before you drive. Don't like that idea. He had the oil stick type $14. It is WAY to looong (24") for the Metro and NOT long enuff for F150 - go figure. He also had the lower radiator hose type $20. I bought both, made by KAT'S by Five Star Mfg. Co.

After looking at the Metro, I am wondering if anyone makes one to go in the heater hose. It would likely be much easier to install. If so, can you recommend a source? Is that how the tank heaters install? Inline with the heater hose? Does anyone know?
Thanks,
Gumby_CT


I gave two links above...

gumby_ct
11-26-2005, 11:07 PM
Saw the links...Thanks.
Does that mean the "Tank Type" are the ones that splice into the heater hose? The one on ebay - gives no clues as to what it will fit. I saw another somewhere which had 5/8" nipples which I think will be a bit big for a Metro hose. What size ID is the Metro hose?

DieInterim
11-27-2005, 11:46 AM
Saw the links...Thanks.
Does that mean the "Tank Type" are the ones that splice into the heater hose? The one on ebay - gives no clues as to what it will fit. I saw another somewhere which had 5/8" nipples which I think will be a bit big for a Metro hose. What size ID is the Metro hose?

You can purchase ruducing barbs at a local hose house.

metrompg.com
12-12-2005, 10:14 AM
I bought both, made by KAT'S by Five Star Mfg. Co.

how did they end up working for you?

since you asked the original question, i did some research online ... in order of effectiveness, here's how i would rank different engine heater styles. (may be kind of late, but it could help someone else)

1 - inline pump recirculating (splices into heater core hose)
2 - frost plug internal (traditional block heater style)
3 - block mounted external element (bolt on)
4 - magnetic block mounted element (if there's some place to attach it)
5 - inline non-circulating (rad hose)
6 - dipstick heater

i put #3 on my car. #2 wasn't available at the parts store i use and i didn't know about #1 until i started looking this stuff up.

i discovered something really cool about the toyota prius: on shutdown it stores hot coolant in a 3-liter "thermos" reservoir that stays hot overnight (and apparently warm for up to 3 days). on "power up", the hot coolant gets pumped back into the engine where it warms things up enough to improve cold-start emissions and fuel consumption.

i made a page with more details about all this if you're interested:
http://metrompg.com/posts/block-heater.htm

gumby_ct
12-13-2005, 11:55 AM
how did they end up working for you?

i made a page with more details about all this if you're interested:
http://metrompg.com/posts/block-heater.htm

Your page was very good - Thanks for posting it.

My quick update...I ended up returning the dipstick heater because it was too long for the Metro and wouldn't reach the oil in the F150. Advance said the only had one length.

The one for the Lower Hose is still sitting on my desk because it's been cold out (waaah) and I didn't want to get in the middle of something. The few warmer days we had I was busy with other things.

For my taste - the frost plug style is way tooo much work & runs the risk of leaks or something else going wrong. Your comparison sure puts it in perspective.

After I made the post - I thought the heater hose style maybe was on the wrong side of the thermostat?? and wouldn't really warm the engine. But still think it is the easiest to install. The one on ebay ( Item number: 4595144813) appeared to be used (tho it was NOT stated) and I really didn't want to pay $41 plus $8 shipping to find out it no longer worked. I was NOT able to find another like it in my search. Has anyone located a source for another inline heater hose type heater?

Thanks again for your page. Looks like lotsa other good info there too. Worth noting is the Prius, hot coolant is pump, now if they could make it get better gas mileage. I saw a news report that says it doesn't live up to the EPA ratings (surprise) ha, wassup wid dat?
Gumby_CT
ps. Still looking for the "local hose house".

metrompg.com
12-13-2005, 12:58 PM
I was NOT able to find another like it in my search. Has anyone located a source for another inline heater hose type heater?

did you click the JC Whitney link at the bottom of my block heater page? i'm pretty sure it shows a heater hose recirculating style as one of their options.

I saw a news report that says it doesn't live up to the EPA ratings (surprise) ha, wassup wid dat?

then again, we know that the majority of cars don't meet their EPA ratings.

i don't own a prius, but i have read that it is particularly sensitive to driving style. if you drive it smart, you will beat the epa ratings by a big margin. and if you drive it hard, you miss the rating by a big margin.

whereas with my firefly/metro, i have to drive it extremely gently just to meet the epa ratings (in warm temperatures).

though for any car, to get really good mileage, you have to drive like you want it.

anyway - good luck with your engine heater install!

gumby_ct
12-13-2005, 07:41 PM
I did check the JC Whitney link- http://www.jcwhitney.com/autoparts/Search?catalogId=10101&storeId=10101&sku=engine+heater&searchbtn.x=0&searchbtn.y=0
that is what gave me the idea about a heater hose but I have NO idea what the heater hose ID is for the Metro.

One thing I learned about JC Whitney years ago (paper catalogs), if it does not say so in the text, do NOT make that assumption.

Maybe someone will stumble across one that fits the Metro.
Thanks,
Gumby_CT

idmetro
12-11-2006, 02:00 PM
While I don't know what the heater hose size is I bet you could go to your local auto parts store and find out. Years ago when i lived in Alaska it was common to use an engine heater like this one http://www.partsamerica.com/ProductDetail.aspx?mfrcode=FIV&mfrpartnumber=12150&parttype=1415&ptset=A
As I recall there was a 1000 watt and a 1500 watt version. If it is cold enough to need one you definitley want the 1500 watt version.

Make sure to mount the heater body securely so it isn't just swinging free on the heater hose.

My experience with this type of heater was good, I'd get up in the morning turn on the switch to the outlet controlling the heater, shower, eat breakfast, read the paper and then head out to a car that always fired right up.

After some contemplation I think these heaters might be sized based on cooling system volume so some further research is probably in order to make sure you don't grossly oversize one against what the cooling system capacity is in your particular vehicle.

razamajazz
11-07-2009, 06:27 PM
I'm told dipstick heaters about $18 only heat the cylinder heads but oil pan pad heaters heat the whole engine. You can buy separate components or kits which include battery pad, oil pan pad, and ambient thermostat for $115. Distributors say they are easy to install but don't say what that means and don't list phone number or e-mail address. Anyone out there have experience with these oil pan heating pads? I have a 47 Dodge with a 6 volt battery & system so you can understand why I'm looking for an engine heater for the winter. Thanks - Kit.

RossT
11-08-2009, 01:13 AM
My 1st metro, a 91, had the dealer installed Geo block heater. It bolts to the back side of the block, under the TB. It has a heating element that rests up to block and a shield
to keep the heat against the bock. It heats by convecton and it works well. Not as good
as a frost plug heater the warms the antifreeze, but it does work.

I liked it so much, that when I got my next metro, a 93, I went to the junk yard and
pulled a heater and cord from a junker.

Since my metro is my daily driver, and the car sits outside overnight, and might just
add the oil pan heater too. Wolverine make a good unit that glues to the bottom of
the pan.

Woodie83
11-08-2009, 06:08 AM
I'm told dipstick heaters about $18 only heat the cylinder heads but oil pan pad heaters heat the whole engine.

That makes no sense, they both heat only the oil. You probably heard that water heaters heat only the head and oil heaters heat the whole engine. There is some truth to that, but for an oil heater to heat the whole engine, it's going to have to be pretty powerful. Plus the coolant water and the head are the most important things to have warm.

Ideally, a small heater hose tank type water heater, an oil heater of any type, and a pad under the battery would cover you in any conditions. The tank type heater hose model would be my first choice.

chuck222
12-15-2009, 08:29 AM
Coolant heater with pics. http://geometroforum.com/topic/779212/1/ I did this. works real well.

Colt1911
12-16-2009, 06:43 PM
Read this whole thread and first I have to say, I have never used anything that heats my engine or car in the cold. It does get down into the teens here, In fact it has been several times here in the last few weeks, but as I have a big mouth, and I have to throw in my 2 cents.

Heating the oil will probably not heat the entire engine. Think about it, if you are heating the oil hot enough to heat the entire engine, you will probably burn/scorch the oil. The advantage I see to heating the oil at all, is you get better viscoscity on a really cold startup. This is not a bad thing, BUT if you are looking to have an 'instantly' warm engine, the coolant heating is the way to go. The oil just sits in the pan when the engine isnt running, so heating the entire block is doubtful at best. Ok, maybe a few degrees. But consider heating the coolant, from convection the coolant will circulate at least on one side of the stat. I guess if it was hot enough it could open the stat, but doubt that would happen. Anyway this circulation would heat most of the block INCLUDING the oil in the pan, at least a little. After reading this thread, I dont think I would even consider one that only heated the oil, unless I was only concerned about engine wear.

If you are not concerned about wear and you want a warm car, you could also get a remote start unit. They are reliable, cheap, and fairly easy to install. Grab your keys and hit the button 5 minutes before you want to leave, and when your walk out you car is warm with the heat running on high!

One last thing, about the battery issue. Lead acid batteries have NTC (negative temperature coefficient) as the temperature goes down conductivity goes down. On the other hand I agree with spy1309 a good battery should last just fine not being started in sub zero weather for a couple of days. I could be slightly weak, but if its dead in couple of days of that weather, its just bad. One last note, some batteries are martketed for weather regions. Sears used to have a 'north' and 'south' designation for its Die Hard brand. Though I cant remember how to tell anymore.....

Maybe its the Old Timers disease, maybe its the beer.... Like a tootsie roll pop 'the world may never know'

Cheers

PS. I would be wary about anything that heated my battery. Overheating the battery could cause vapor expansion, I guess I dont have to say what that could do......

leonbentz
12-17-2009, 09:17 PM
You need a heater to start your Metro with temps in the teens?? Hmmmm I didn't have any problems. Mine must be a really good one, because she's never failed to start, the whole time I've owned it. Then again, I didn't name it the Silver Bullet for nothin':iceslolan

Woodie83
12-18-2009, 06:53 AM
I don't think it's need as much as convenience, comfort, efficiency, and longevity. Throw an hour's electricity at it and it's halfway warmed up before you give it any gas, cold running is the engines worst nightmare.

Need comes into the picture somewhere around -10F.

leonbentz
12-18-2009, 03:15 PM
I don't think it's need as much as convenience, comfort, efficiency, and longevity. Throw an hour's electricity at it and it's halfway warmed up before you give it any gas, cold running is the engines worst nightmare.

Need comes into the picture somewhere around -10F.

Yikes, I don't think it's ever got that cold where I live, but last week, it did get down to the low teens. It was a little slow cranking, but oil got up in it, before it fired.:biggrin:

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