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Block Heater vs. Coolant Heater - Click HERE for Original Thread

hockeybronx
In trying to be proactive before the winter comes, I had a coolant heater installed in my car yesterday. Basically it was installed into one of my coolant hoses.

What would be the advantages/disadvantages between this and a block heater that actually heats up the oil pan?

It seemed to slip my mind when I bought it, so if someone could give me a quick description of how this heater that sits and recirculates the coolant works.

Thanks:D
GTS Jeff
A block heater actually plugs into the engine block through a frost plug and heats the coolant directly. An oil pan heater heats the oil so that your engine receives proper lubrication sooner.
hockeybronx
Yeah this setup seems to be different from both you mentioned. This is installed into a coolant hose right up at the front of my engine bay.
Phy
If it's an inline heater (the element is actually inside the hose), the heating action should slowly circulate the warmed coolant through your system. If it's the kind that wraps around the hose, it'll just heat the coolant in that hose.
Weapon_R
How much did you pay for it and where did you buy it? I don't think my car has a block heater.
hockeybronx
Originally posted by Weapon_R
How much did you pay for it and where did you buy it? I don't think my car has a block heater.



The block heater was $39.99 from Auto Value. I got it installed for $85.00 including a long-life coolant top-up.

turboMiata
i'm not sure how well the coolant heater will work. when the engine is cold, the thermostat is closed therefore there will be no circulation of coolant through the block. it's more important to heat the oil than the water.
Zero102
TurboMiata you wonder about the coolant heater, which I presume is just a lower radiator hose heater, because of the thermostat being closed. But the only way that would matter is if the thermostat is on the lower radiator hose. Otherwise it would be virtually the same as a normal block heater.

I had a lower rad hose heater on my 86 944, as well as an oil pan heater. It was -40, and it started like it was ~0 degrees. It sure didn't start like it was warm outside, but it was MUCH better than without it.

As with any coolant heater (including normal block heaters) you should also have an oil pan heater. It's a good idea.

The one thing to remember, is if the car is a standard, how much fun it is to drive with a frozen-solid transmission when it's that cold outside...

This year I have a different 944, and I'm installing a lower rad hose heater (despite the fact that the thermostat is on the lower rad hose on 944's), an oil pan heater, and I'm installing an oil pan heater on my transmission.
At least your transmission is directly attached to your engine. Mine's 5 feet away in the back of the car :(
hockeybronx
Originally posted by Zero102
This year I have a different 944, and I'm installing a lower rad hose heater (despite the fact that the thermostat is on the lower rad hose on 944's), an oil pan heater, and I'm installing an oil pan heater on my transmission.
At least your transmission is directly attached to your engine. Mine's 5 feet away in the back of the car :(



Man you really go all out... that's using quite a bit of electricity depending on how long you plug it in for.

Zero102
Haha, not really...
It was a 175W oil pan heater, with a 450W lower rad hose heater. I plan to add a 125W oil pan heater to the transmission on my new 944, and the same other 2 heaters.
Most engine block heaters are 800-900W, so I roughly make up 1 block heater :)
It works pretty well, all things considered.
hockeybronx
Originally posted by Zero102
Haha, not really...
It was a 175W oil pan heater, with a 450W lower rad hose heater. I plan to add a 125W oil pan heater to the transmission on my new 944, and the same other 2 heaters.
Most engine block heaters are 800-900W, so I roughly make up 1 block heater :)
It works pretty well, all things considered.



Fair enough... at least you definitely have all your bases covered:D

kryptic
all i can say is this.... on our semis at work we have these things called webastos... to my knowledge they circulate the coolant and warm it up.... all i know is if you set them right it can get really warm really quick in the truck
hockeybronx
Originally posted by kryptic
all i can say is this.... on our semis at work we have these things called webastos... to my knowledge they circulate the coolant and warm it up.... all i know is if you set them right it can get really warm really quick in the truck



Cool hopefully it'll be the same for me as well:thumbsup:

kryptic
i looked up the webasto website heres a little tid bit from it "In addition, larger Btu/h producing heaters have the capability of providing engine-off interior heat."

thats what im talking about :D
Zero102
yep, but they don't make them for cars. They're what's called a circulating heater. IIRC most of them even have a pump in them. Since the heating systems on most semi's fail 'open', meaning that the heater valves are open when the engine is off, this allows for them to be placed in line in one of the heater hoses, providing for a simple installlation. This also has the side effect of providing some interior heat whenever they run. Of course, the larger ones will act rather like an interior heater.

A lower rad hose heater will not give you any noticeable heat inside the car. If you can track down a circulating heater, and your heater valve is open when the car is off, it will defrost your windshield and such when the car is plugged in, it's kind of neat. However nobody has made a circulating heater for ~10 years.
kryptic
go little big heat :) the dragon is so cute on em
hockeybronx
Originally posted by kryptic
go little big heat :) the dragon is so cute on em



:confused:

Zero102
Haha, I was pretty interested in the blue heat thing they make for cars, until I saw it was battery/gas powered, and that it costs $1600US!!!
Yeouch. Going to stick with my lower rad hose heater/oil pan heater/transmission heater plan.
Boostn
So how does this inline coolant heater circulate the coolant through the block? From what I gather, the actual heating element is spliced into the lower rad hose. This element is submerged in coolant, then during the heating process by convection it cycles coolant through the radiator and block? Does that sound right? I've heard of such in-line heaters but would they perform just as well as the conventional "block heaters" (ones that fit in place of frost plugs in the block)? Would it take longer to heat up the engine/coolant this way as compared to a regular "block heater". Seems like a good idea, anything to ease those -30C cold starts.
hockeybronx
Originally posted by Boostn
So how does this inline coolant heater circulate the coolant through the block? From what I gather, the actual heating element is spliced into the lower rad hose. This element is submerged in coolant, then during the heating process by convection it cycles coolant through the radiator and block? Does that sound right? I've heard of such in-line heaters but would they perform just as well as the conventional "block heaters" (ones that fit in place of frost plugs in the block)? Seems like a good idea, anything to ease those -30C cold starts.



Yeah what you described above is my basic understanding on the unit I had installed in my car.

In theory it sounds like a well thought out invention, however we'll see how well convection currents run through coolant in -20 degree weather.

Zero102
It has as much to do with conductivity as convection. Since you most likely won't have a full path for the coolant to flow, you won't see much for convection, but you will see a lot of heat transfer to the block.

On my 86 N/A, the thermostat was on the lower rad hose, so I know I had 0 circulation, however after plugging it in for 3-4 hours, my entire engine was nice and toasty warm. Couple that with an oil pan heater, and when it was -40, it was starting the same as it did on a cool spring morning. It truly was exceptional. Keep in mind, that is with 0 circulation, simply conducting the heat through my thermostat (which I know didn't open, since the heater's thermostat shut it off at 55*C, whereas my thermostat doesn't really start to open until about 75, and isn't fully open until 90.
DJ Lazy
I've had both, on seperate cars, and they both worked about the same... I prefer the block heaters tho, as they heat the oil, which keeps it viscous, and makes it easier on the engine to turn over on cold morning start ups.
hockeybronx
Originally posted by DJ Lazy
as they heat the oil, which keeps it viscous,



Heat would make the oil less viscous, cold makes oil more viscous.

D. Dub
No comparison . A good circulating coolant heater spliced into the heater hoses works twice as good as a block heater.

In my VW TDI my coolant heater has the engine almost to operating temperature when I start it in minus 30 weather.

A block heater doesn't get an engine anywhere near as warm!!
DJ Lazy
Originally posted by hockeybronx


Heat would make the oil less viscous, cold makes oil more viscous.



You know what I meant tho right? :rofl: :nut:

hockeybronx
Originally posted by DJ Lazy


You know what I meant tho right? :rofl: :nut:



Yeah totally, I wasn't being a jerk or anything. The heat makes it less viscous so it flows easier.

keith303
I had the colant line heater in my last talon and it was awsome.

It could be -30 and after plugging it in for 2-3 hrs everything would be warm on the engine, valve cover, lines etc, the car would blow warm air almost instantly.
hockeybronx
Originally posted by keith303
I had the colant line heater in my last talon and it was awsome.

It could be -30 and after plugging it in for 2-3 hrs everything would be warm on the engine, valve cover, lines etc, the car would blow warm air almost instantly.



Excellent!

Boostn
Good info! Just wondering if there was ever a frost plug style block heater for the 4g63 engine? I've heard several dsm owners mention having the in-line style coolant heater installed in their cars.

Also what's a recommended brand if one were to go this route (inline coolant heater)? Which places would stock this stuff? I tried searching online for more info about these products but came up with nothing.
Zero102
Partsource, Auto Value, NAPA, etc all stock them. They will be made by one of 2 companies, Pyroil or Temro.
D. Dub
http://www.zerostart.com/

Go to the publications page and then download their catalogue ;)
hockeybronx
Originally posted by Boostn
Also what's a recommended brand if one were to go this route (inline coolant heater)? Which places would stock this stuff? I tried searching online for more info about these products but came up with nothing.



I bought mine from Auto Value, and had it installed at Mid-Sun Automotive Repair. Both near Macleod Trail south.

BroadcastGuy
I'm getting my Circulating Coolant Heater installed in a couple of weeks. It's going to cost $500 CDN at the dealership so it had better work as well as everyone says it will. It gets to -40 celcius here so I'm looking forward to the "warm" starts.
Zero102
Just don't tell me that you got the Calix heater installed on a new VW by the dealership.... (I don't know what you drive...)
If that's the case then have them take it out and run away.
whiskas
The purpose of the coolant heater isn't really to protect your engine during a cold start, it's more to make the heater inside the car blow hot air the moment you turn it on, rather than having to wait for the engine to warm up the coolant by itself.
Zero102
The purpose of a coolant heater is two-fold. In many cars there is a oil/water heat exchanger. If you have one of these and a coolant heater then it will heat the oil quite well, and do wonders for engine protection on cold starts.
Even without this, all of the oil in contact with the engine block will be warmed up and the heat will transfer down the oil pan to help heat the oil in the pan.
Now it also does help keep the coolant nice and toasty for faster (if not instant) heat which is why people like them so much better than block heaters.

I mean think about it, the frost plug style block heaters in most engines are just a coolant heater as well and the manufacturers feel that they are adequate to help prevent damage/wear from very cold starts.
LilDrunkenSmurf
Anyone know if the Honda engines (b16a) have the oil/water exchange?

I plan on picking up an inline coolant heater today and hopefully putting it in myself.
EK 2.0
Originally posted by LilDrunkenSmurf
Anyone know if the Honda engines (b16a) have the oil/water exchange?



No they don't.

RickDaTuner
I think this would be a good idea on a STi since the oil filter has a coolant heat exchanger, so it would heat bolth up, but i guess with that stated the block heater would do the same thing
LilDrunkenSmurf
Originally posted by EK 2.0


No they don't.



Thanks!

rusich
SO, now we have almost -30C outside. Does it work?
LilDrunkenSmurf
Well I just installed it about 2 hours ago... Plugging it in tonight, I'll tell you the results tomorrow. We'll see what happens
LilDrunkenSmurf
Oh man... so good... In my case it transfers little heat to the oil pan, but it still made it a little easier to use... And it blew hot air almost right away. It was great. (Well, hot for me... need to check t stat and heater cores tonight...)

I'd highly recommend one.
djayz
^
easy to put in?
and whered you get it and how much?

my van overheated today cuz i guess the coolant froze...stupid junk is rated at -37 and it froze!!! couldnt have been that cold. Anyways would like to install one in there since its parked outside and dont want the stupid pos to blow up on me.
vietdood
Originally posted by djayz
^
easy to put in?
and whered you get it and how much?

my van overheated today cuz i guess the coolant froze...stupid junk is rated at -37 and it froze!!! couldnt have been that cold. Anyways would like to install one in there since its parked outside and dont want the stupid pos to blow up on me.



my car overheated as well and wasn't blowing any hot air. make sure you have the reservoir tank filled to max as mine was near empty. might have a possible leak somewhere but i filled it and it was fine again.

LilDrunkenSmurf
39.97 @ autovalue after taxes. That's for the more expensive one (price depends on diameter of hose)

You literally cut 3" out of the hose, put it in place, clampp it and plug it in... took 3 mins, I didn't even bother cutting 3" out, I had enough leeway with the hose to cut it and pop it in, extending the hose. Goes on a straight length of lower rad hose, on a slope, near the highest point of the hose. Instructions come with it.
RWD
on days like these i have found it helpful to put some cradboard in front of the rad
jeddeh
bump from 11 months ago:


LilDrunkenSmurf - do you have a link or any other information on where you got this from?

We don't have autovalue in saskatchewan I don't think.

Thanks in advance.
LilDrunkenSmurf
I bought it myself. Napa, Partsource, or even Can Tire should carry one of these. They are universal, as long as you know the diameter of your radiator hose. Your better off though, getting one of the magnetic block heaters that holds onto your oil pan.
slowep3
the coolent heater your talkin about is mostly used is tractors and at like 25 below after 15 minutes would start a big tractor easy.I would still get a oil pan heater too
Dooms_Bane
wow this inline coolant heater sounds sexy
jeddeh
these oilpan heaters . . . . just a magnet you stick on?

Do you know if they are hot enough to transfer any heat to the transmission?

how many watts would they be?

I doubt I need a 1000W heater for a 2.0l 4 cylinder and transmission.:dunno:
LilDrunkenSmurf
Yes, just a magnet that sticks to the oilpan. I'm not sure about the transmission, but my gut says no.
dazzdillinger
As a mechanic, i can assure you that heating your oil with a block heater is a better and cheaper alternative to heating a coolant. Only exception to this is if you install both systems on the same car.

The reason for this are as follows. A hot oil provides less friction and protects engines much better than cold thick oil.

If you heat the coolant the car ecm thinks that the engine is warm and will derate fuel to a cold combustion chamber; in effect it will create a lean fuel to air mixture that will wear out rings, valve seats, and reduce engine longevity.

i will recommend a block heater with a $25 timer from walmart. This way, you only heat the car oil for an hour or so instead of all night. Also, buy a good quality $80 heating pad/massage thing that plugs into your 12 volt car outlet and gives you instant warmth. That's my cheap but peace of mind setup.
AutoMats
i could be in the market for one in the next few days so bumping this.

Was mentioned to go with an inline heater if i do need to replace my block heater. Was told its much more effective but like dazz said above, how well does it protect engines on cold starts compared to block heaters?

How quick or complex is the install on inline heaters?

Block heaters you have to drain the coolant block and sounds like a major pain in the ass cause then you have to refil and blleed your cooling system of air.
Sentry
All Toyotas now use dry block heaters. Smear some thermal gel on it and plug it into its bore in the block, snug fit. Done. Transfers heat very effectively to the block itself, and then its coolant.

Just thought I'd share since the topic was bumped. :D
CapnCrunch
Originally posted by AutoMats
i could be in the market for one in the next few days so bumping this.

Was mentioned to go with an inline heater if i do need to replace my block heater. Was told its much more effective but like dazz said above, how well does it protect engines on cold starts compared to block heaters?

How quick or complex is the install on inline heaters?

Block heaters you have to drain the coolant block and sounds like a major pain in the ass cause then you have to refil and blleed your cooling system of air.



I'd use an oil pan heater myself. They're very easy to install and warm oil > warm coolant

Supa Dexta
Yeah pan heater here as well from padheaters.com in canada (but i see their online order is down), And its glued on.

Also got the battery pad at the same time, and temp switch, so that it shuts off if the temp rises.
raceman6135
Originally posted by Supa Dexta
Yeah pan heater here as well from padheaters.com in canada (but i see their online order is down), And its glued on.



Moroso also makes pad-style heaters in 3 configurations. Not sure what padheaters.com charges for theirs (their order page is still down), but Moroso ones are between $50 and $75 and are carried by speed shops, Jeg's, Summit, etc.

FYI: Partsource has engine hose heaters, block heaters, magnetic heaters, battery heaters, on sale (20% to 30% off) until Nov 29/2012. Don't think they carry the glue-on heater pads, though.

AutoMats
Originally posted by CapnCrunch


I'd use an oil pan heater myself. They're very easy to install and warm oil > warm coolant



Arent they suppose to be very ineffective compared to block heater? How do they get installed? Have to drop the oil pan?

Like I said if i do have to replace my block heater i really want to try to avoid having to drain the block (which another block heater would need) so thats why im considering inline or otehrs.

CapnCrunch
Originally posted by AutoMats


Arent they suppose to be very ineffective compared to block heater? How do they get installed? Have to drop the oil pan?

Like I said if i do have to replace my block heater i really want to try to avoid having to drain the block (which another block heater would need) so thats why im considering inline or otehrs.



They're easy. Just clean your oil pan and stick it on the bottom. It's basically a flexible heating element thats sticky on one side.

Then you just route the cord into the grill.

I don't know how having warm oil would be ineffective. Cold thick oil is probably the worst thing an engine has to deal with.

AutoMats
Originally posted by CapnCrunch


They're easy. Just clean your oil pan and stick it on the bottom. It's basically a flexible heating element thats sticky on one side.

Then you just route the cord into the grill.

I don't know how having warm oil would be ineffective. Cold thick oil is probably the worst thing an engine has to deal with.



Hmm so sounds like this would be cheaper and just as effective route as an inline heater?

Is the install on an inline hose heater really complex?

I think of all heaters, block heaters are the most and thats why i wanna avoid another if i have to get one.

Zhariak
My Escalade had a coolant heater...

Absolutely loved it... The engine would start flawlessy even in the worst temps, now weird sounds, no grinds, etc.... (this is comparing it to when it sat without being plugged in).
CapnCrunch
Originally posted by AutoMats


Hmm so sounds like this would be cheaper and just as effective route as an inline heater?

Is the install on an inline hose heater really complex?

I think of all heaters, block heaters are the most and thats why i wanna avoid another if i have to get one.



I've never used an inline heater so I can't really comment. I've just used block and oil pan heaters.

AutoMats
Originally posted by CapnCrunch


I've never used an inline heater so I can't really comment. I've just used block and oil pan heaters.



Just calling around for oil pan heaters and theyre $150+! WTF screw that.

:thumbsdow

Called around for inline heaters and you cant get any for Hondas apparently, so its either oil pan or block heaters. If my block heater is the culprit, i might just say screw it and get a battery heater and go back to Mobil 1 sync

Mitsu3000gt
I noticed a significant difference moving to synthetic oil. The Mobil 1 I was using I think had a pour point of -50 degrees C, so it wasn't affected by the cold as much.

Other than that the battery always seemed to be the weakest link in the cold, but it always started just fine in areas where I couldn't plug in.

That was back in the day though. Now my car sits in a balmy 25 degrees C year round haha.
AutoMats



well if i do, id need to buy local so will have to keep calling. $150 at Napa, what a rip off that place is.

Will call Kingsway and MoPac tommorow




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