Engines that run on gasoline or diesel turn fuel into chemical energy, which is then converted into mechanical energy to propel a vehicle. Diesel engines differ from gasoline engines in that they lack spark plugs and operate at a greater compression ratio. Diesel engines are more difficult to start in cold weather because they require higher temperatures to burn fuel. On chilly winter mornings, that’s when a diesel block heater comes in handy.
Countless motorists who drive in locations where temperatures often drop below freezing can benefit from an engine block heater. These heaters warm your engine to improve your chances of starting it in cold weather as well as the simplicity with which you can do so. A block heater is essential not only for starting your vehicle, but also for reducing engine wear and tear, reducing excessive fuel use, and cutting dangerous emissions. It also has the advantage of heating the cabin more quickly! Here are the two most common types of diesel block heaters.
Freeze-Plug Diesel Block Heater
The operation of an engine block warmer differs based on the type. The heating element of a freeze-plug-type block heater replaces the freeze plug on the bottom of the engine block, heating the coolant there. The plug’s highest point
When should you use a block heater on a diesel engine?
Many of us in the Edmonton area rely on driving to get to work, bring our kids to school, and get food for our families during the winter months. While driving in light winter weather isn’t too bad, harsh winter weather puts a strain on engines. Our engines, like the majority of us, dislike the extreme cold. They work best in warmer weather, and while we can’t control the winter temperatures, we can use engine block heaters to keep our engines warm. Many of our Ford automobiles come equipped with engine block heaters to keep your engine warm throughout the chilly winter months. The cord to plug in your engine block heater is normally situated under the hood, as seen in the photographs below, and we’ve even drawn a box around it for your convenience.
What is an Engine Block Heater?
Let’s take a look at what an engine block heater is and what it does before we get into when you should plug it in. When you start your car, oil circulates through the engine block, lubricating all of the working parts. When we have harsh winter temperatures, such as -20° C or below, the oil thickens and becomes sticky. This makes it more difficult for the oil to travel through your engine, causing it to work more, consume more petrol, and emit more pollution. The engine block heater maintains a temperature that allows the oil to remain thin and flow freely through the engine block.
When to Plug in an Engine Block Heater
While the precise temperature at which you should consider plugging in your engine block heater varies, the main thing to know is that if it’s going to be severely cold overnight or early in the morning, you should probably plug in your vehicle. Newer vehicles can usually start at temperatures as low as -30° C, but if the block heater isn’t connected, the engine will be put under more strain. To be safe, plug in your engine block heater when the temperature drops to -15° C or lower. If you drive a diesel car, you may need to use the engine block heater to keep the temperature from falling too low.
How does a block heater work on a diesel engine?
Next, we’ll go through the various types of engine block warmers and their differences.
When it comes to engine cooling, we have two options: water-cooled engines and air-cooled engines. Water-cooled engines are used in most cars, but air-cooled engines are used in some small ATVs, UTVs, and motorbikes, so we’ll discuss them in that order.
Plug in your truck or vehicle
You can use an engine block heater to prevent a diesel vehicle from gelling. These can be installed at your local dealership if your truck doesn’t already have one.
Use winterized diesel.
Some gas stations will have fuel that has been winterized. It may not be available at every pump, so call ahead or inquire at the gasoline counter. They might have a blend that lowers the gelling temperature significantly.
Keep diesel tank as full as possible
Keep more than half a tank of gas in your car. If you’re traveling long distances in places like Wyoming, this could be difficult. With more fuel in the tank, the chance of water/condensation collecting and freezing is reduced. This, in turn, will aid in the prevention of diesel gelling.
Store the vehicle inside
Keep your car in the garage (heated is even better if you have one!) as much as possible. Keeping the vehicle inside, though, may provide just enough of a temperature differential to prevent gelling.
Can I leave my diesel plugged in all night?
Is it okay for me to leave my truck plugged in all night? After three hours, the temperature reaches its highest point ever. Any additional expense is simply a waste of money. If you leave it plugged in all year (winter, summer, or in between), the engine will not be destroyed, but you will have to pay $100 every month to keep it hooked in.
How long should I leave my diesel truck plugged in?
Trying to cold start a 7.3 diesel in sub-zero temperatures is a nightmare, especially if the injectors are worn. It’s a good thing we have block heaters to keep us warm on chilly mornings.
However, how long can you leave the truck plugged in? Will the truck be harmed? Simply said, you can leave your 7.3 diesel plugged in for as long as you want. Days, weeks, or even months could pass. Although there is no reason to do so because you will be wasting power, which means more money out of your wallet, and the heating element’s life will be shortened. I know people who have had to replace their block heater about once a year simply because they leave it plugged in for far longer than is required for the truck to start easily.
So, how long should the block heater be left plugged in? Continue reading to learn more about 7.3 block heaters and other useful information.
To get a clean and easy start, a block heater simply needs to be plugged in for roughly 2-3 hours. This is ample time to warm up the coolant as well as remove the ice frost from the oil and thin it out to a degree, making it easier for the injectors to fire. If it’s really chilly outside, it could require up to 4 hours of plug time, but any longer than that and you’re wasting money. The typical 7.3 block heater consumes 1000 watts of power, which can quickly add up. Getting a plug timer switch and setting it to start pumping electricity around 3 or 4 hours before you want to leave is a cheap but efficient technique to ensure the heater only runs for the required period of time. When compared to having it plugged in all night or for several days at a time, this will save you a significant amount of money on your power bill over time.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the truck should never be started with the block heater hooked in. It has the potential to damage the heating element, and it frequently does. The reason for this is that before you start the truck, the element has heated the coolant surrounding it and stabilized the temperature around it, causing damage or even failure. When you start the engine, the coolant flushes directly onto the element, which is substantially cooler. The quick shift in temperature is what damages the element, and while replacing a block heater isn’t difficult, it isn’t fun because coolant is frequently sprayed all over you and your workspace. So make sure to avoid this by unplugging right before starting the truck. Starting with the block heater plugged in will always result in heating element failure if done repeatedly, I can tell you from personal experience with my 7.3.
If you’re using the block heater and it’s been plugged in for the specified period of time and your truck is still having trouble starting, it’s necessary to double-check that the block heater is truly working. How do you double-check, you inquire? Start with a basic listening test; simply plug it in and place your head beneath the wheel well beside the element. You’re looking for a sizzling type of sound that can usually be heard on the 7.3. If you do not hear this, it is likely that your block heater is broken. The next step would be to buy a multimeter and check the cord and element for continuity. To begin, set the meter to the ohms icon, which looks something like this. After that, place one probe tip on each side of the plug and see if there is resistance; if there is, your block heater is good and your starting problem is unlikely to be caused by the block heater.
If the block heater is working but the vehicle still won’t start, it’s definitely time to look into the glow plug system or injectors. The glow plug relay is the first thing I would look into. Using a screwdriver, jump the two major terminals on the relay for around thirty seconds with the key on is an easy way to achieve this. If the vehicle starts right up after that, you’ve identified the problem. Glow plugs, wiring, harnesses, injectors, and the injector control module are all items to think about. We won’t go into great depth about all of that in this piece because it would lead us down a completely different path.
If your block heater fails the test and is found to be dead, here is a helpful video on how to replace the block heater on a 7.3 Powerstroke. Because of its low cost and high quality, I recommend the ZeroStart Block Heater.
So now you know pretty much everything there is to know about your 7.3 Powerstroke block heater, including how to test it, repair it, and care for it properly. Thank you for taking the time to read, and I hope this was a useful resource for you in your goals, whatever they may be. Best of luck in your endeavors!
Can a block heater catch fire?
Poor electrical connections around block heaters are a common cause of farm fires. Even if block heaters are working properly, plugging them into a broken cord with a bad connection can cause them to catch fire.
What does plugging in a diesel truck do?
Why are diesel trucks equipped with a plug that may be plugged into an outlet? Its purpose is to keep the Engine Block warm so that when you need to start the engine, it will not be too cold to start. Because diesel engines do not have spark plugs, the gasoline is only ignited by the engine’s high compression.
Is block heater necessary?
According to a new research conducted by the Alberta Motor Association, the majority of Albertans avoid plugging in their vehicles even on the coldest days.
Connecting your car’s block heater warms the oil, allowing the engine to start smoothly even on the coldest mornings. Otherwise, your car may stutter or refuse to start.
The Alberta Motor Association (AMA) recommends that all drivers set their automobiles to 15 C, but according to an online study, seven out of ten Albertans do not.
“Extreme cold takes the voltage from a battery, making it difficult for your vehicle to start,” said Brandon Klassen, a roadside assistance field manager. “It doesn’t matter if the vehicle is new or old; once the temperature drops below 15 C, it may not start. Plug in your automobile if you don’t want to be stuck.”