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Author Topic: Block heater or not?  (Read 2696 times)

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Offline Firewoodjoe

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Block heater or not?
« on: January 26, 2019, 07:54:24 AM »
Itís been bitter cold here lately -10 this morning. I will be cutting logs soon. It will most likely not be an issue this year but this cold has me thinking about my forwarder and starting next winter. It has no type of engine heat now. Should I use the quick attach to my pickup, generator and standard block heater, inverter and a torpedo type heater or just get a espar fuel burning heater? I donít think I will need it to run everyday so Iím leaning away from the espar heater. Just thinking thanks.

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2019, 09:03:31 AM »
Your service truck has coolant quick connects and a filtration system?   I would use that just to give the coolant a periodic rinse.  The block and liners will last longer that way.  

Plus thats a much more evenly dispersed and quicker warming via the circulating action of your truck connects than to just have one little electric element sitting in one side of the block and waiting for the temp rise to spead by radiation.  
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Offline Cub

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2019, 09:08:53 AM »
I have the quick connects on mine. Have to start using them around 30 degrees because my mule wonít start on its own after that without the ether bunny. Quick connects work good. 0 degrees 15 minutes hooked to the truck and starts like its July. On a side note I have an old truck with cast iron heads and block not sure if I would be using them if I had a newer truck with aluminum parts. Although my buddy has a newer ford and uses quick connects on his mule and hasnít had an issue yet. I think for another cheaper way to do it would be in line or block heater and generator if you already have a generator. Plug it in go cut for a few hours and she should go. My operation quick connects is the way I go. Faster and easier for me. Just my opinions. 

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2019, 09:39:38 AM »
i snort every time i read the ether bunny.  

The N14 international i troubleshot the other day had 9 empty cans of ether next to it.  "She wont pull fuel from the tank, were trying to get her to siphon."   This guy fogged whole cans at a time into the intake and it drained the fuel filter each time so theyd refill.   When they ran out of diesel it was ATF.  When they ran out that it was a pail of used UTF.  I could see the water droplets floating over into the filter.  

I called the boss and said it wasnt even a good parts truck, do not buy it!
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Offline Firewoodjoe

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2019, 10:00:08 AM »
I donít have quick connects yet. Should be easy to install and itís a 1996 with cast heads. No worries there. And I have a portable welder/generator. That will require no wrenching. Just go use it. The quick connects would be really nice I think.

Offline Cub

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2019, 11:02:23 AM »
1996. Still a simple truck yet!! Mines a 70. Haha!! Yes super simple to plumb in the lines. What engine do you have in your mule? N very simple to plumb your truck n fittings are relatively cheap. 

Offline Firewoodjoe

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2019, 11:41:14 AM »
The 4 cyl ford.

Offline Firewoodjoe

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2019, 12:12:11 PM »
What about using exhaust hose and putting your pickup exhaust into the bottom of engine compartment? Read it on internet claims it works.

Offline Cub

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2019, 01:09:05 PM »
4 cyl ford. Ok. I have same engine in mine. Mines a turbo but will be the same. I can take a few pics of mine if youíd like next time Iím out there by it. Like I said really simple. 
Piping your exhaust in by the engine would probably work. But Iím thinking youíd have to tarp around it to keep the heat in. Plus youíd have lots of condensation going in there which Iím not sure if it would affect anything. Probably not. Iím thinking it would take quite awhile to warm thing up that way at -10 degrees. I think you would get faster results with the quick connects. Just my thoughts though. Most guys around here that log for a living all have newer equipment with espar heaters or pro heats. This is my side gig. So I use quick connects. 

Offline Dave Shepard

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2019, 01:50:24 PM »
Go to the junkyard and buy a 3 cylinder gas engine out of a Geo or something. Bolt it somewhere on the forwarder and plumb the coolant lines into it. Self contained, no electricity needed pre-heater. :D
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Offline Firewoodjoe

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #10 on: January 26, 2019, 02:33:01 PM »
Cub mine is turbo also. It should be basically the same as a 5510 but the next ďbodyĒ style older. And Iím also leaning towards the quick connects. I think your right in all aspects. This will be full time but hand cutting I donít ďhaveĒ to run the mule everyday. And Dave thatís actually not a bad idea lol I am a red neck! 😂

Offline Cub

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #11 on: January 26, 2019, 02:40:16 PM »
Most likely we have the same engine then. I have a 5310. Not much different than a 5510. I might as well say Iím full time also. I work 40 hours a week in town n close to 40 hours a week in the woods. Yes hand cutting a guy donít have run run forwarder every day. I was more speaking of the guys that run harvester and forwarder. I will get a few pics tomorrow if Iím out there. Not doing much due to the cold. 

Offline Firewoodjoe

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #12 on: January 26, 2019, 02:43:24 PM »
Thank u.

Offline Cub

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #13 on: January 26, 2019, 06:22:56 PM »
No problem. 

Offline whatwas

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2019, 05:23:41 PM »
I'm a big fan of the esbar heaters.
I parked my machine last Wed and had to attend some training on Thurs-Fri but I know when I pull up to my machine tomorrow at 5:30 AM(-20 C again tonight) it will start and be blowing warm air within 2 minutes. 
life is good

Offline Firewoodjoe

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #15 on: January 27, 2019, 05:32:15 PM »
What was. That burns fuel? I donít think Iíd want that. Iíd rather use a generator. Iím hand cutting so thereís work to be done if I need to wait.

Offline Cub

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #16 on: January 27, 2019, 07:00:30 PM »
Typically Espars run on diesel fuel. Plumbed into your fuel system. Iím not sure how much they use. But canít be much. I thought about going that route too. But I never really know from 1 day to the next if Iím cutting or forwarding or if Iíll even make it out there after work in the evening on such n such a day like I planed. Sometimes I plan on forwarding and once Iím out there cutting something comes up where I need the machine. Hung up tree I need to pull down or something. Sometimes when Iím out just cutting I get tired sooner than usual so I just in the machine. To many variables for me. So I use quick connects. 15-20 minutes n itís running. 

Offline chevytaHOE5674

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #17 on: January 27, 2019, 07:19:23 PM »
Some of the espar/webasto style heaters have there own built in fuel tanks that aren't much more that a half gallon or so and will run many hours on that. If installed correctly they can heat your hydraulic oil as well. If you need your machine to be warm and almost ready to work every morning so you can produce then they are the only way to go.

Back in the day many guys including myself used "spit swap" hoses when everything ran the same coolant and nothing was aluminum, no computers, etc. Not many doing it anymore as most pickups use different coolant than the equipment, trucks and equip have sensors and what not that don't like the hot/cold cycle, aluminum parts that dont like going from -30 to 180 in a split second. 

I know one guy that keeps a small 3cyl gas engine in his job trailer with quick connects in place of a radiator, he plugs into the skidder coolant then starts the little motor and runs it at high idle. Runs the same coolant and additive that way and if something were to go wrong it's just a $100 junkyard motor not his expensive pickup that he needs to make it home at night.

Offline barbender

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #18 on: January 27, 2019, 07:54:09 PM »
I was just visiting with a guy the other day, who had seen a set up where a guy put a 12 volt circulating pump and a small "heat exchanger" he cobbled together. He would put a hog burner in the heat exchanger, hook up the electrical leads for the pump to his pickup, and it took 20-30 minutes to see the frost disappear off the windshield of the skidder.
Too many irons in the fire

Offline Firewoodjoe

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #19 on: January 27, 2019, 08:01:39 PM »
I think the quick couplers would be good for me. And using hydraulic couplers the flow is already restricted and just open the valve half way come back and open it all the way. If a head crack was a worry. Thatís got to be faster than waiting for something to heat all of it vs have half (the pickup) already at full temp.

Offline chevytaHOE5674

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #20 on: January 27, 2019, 08:08:23 PM »
Just make sure you maintain the coolant. Ford tractor blocks are famous for having major cavitation problems when the coolant isn't taken care of,  and some when it is taken care of. That becomes harder to do when your constantly changing coolant with your truck.

Offline Firewoodjoe

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #21 on: January 27, 2019, 08:09:57 PM »
Maintain the coolant? Well using new coolant with distilled water should be fine right?

Offline chevytaHOE5674

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #22 on: January 27, 2019, 08:13:21 PM »
You should be checking the sca levels in the coolant periodically and adding additive if necessary. A proper coolant filer setup with the additives in it like used on later ford tractors is a major plus.

Offline Firewoodjoe

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #23 on: January 27, 2019, 08:22:29 PM »
Yes Iíve used filters. Most all semis ived serviced have them. Iím going to work on it the coming weekend. The weather is supposed to be a tad warmer😬

Offline Al_Smith

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #24 on: January 27, 2019, 08:39:06 PM »
Go to the junkyard and buy a 3 cylinder gas engine out of a Geo or something. Bolt it somewhere on the forwarder and plumb the coolant lines into it. Self contained, no electricity needed pre-heater. :D
That was kind of like the truck drivers did with a little Simca engine .Kept the battery charged and the water warm just idling on about a gallon of gasoline back in the day .15 below zero those old diesels would start right up in the morning . 

Offline Cub

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #25 on: January 27, 2019, 11:06:40 PM »
Yes Iím thinking a big no no on newer equipment with sensors and computers and newer aluminum heads and other aluminum parts and sensors and computers on newer trucks. But like I said I got a 1970 chev truck. And the mule is old too. All the same antifreeze. But yes ford diesels are prone to cracks and head gaskets n what not. I donít have a ball valve or anything in mine. The couplers restrict the flow enough I figure. Plus hooking them up and putting 180 degree fluid in a -10 degree engine isnít much different than when the thermostat opens n dumps cold antifreeze into the engine. My good friend has a 2014 ford truck with aluminum engine parts and he put quick connects on his and hasnít had a problem. But I wouldnít try it. If I had newer equipment and/or truck Iíd definitely go the espar route or generator block heater route. 

Offline Cub

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #26 on: January 27, 2019, 11:12:34 PM »
Also not sure if it really matters but my lines go to heater core in the truck come out go to the mule (when hooked up) then back to truck. So itís on the return lines. I just added 2 10 foot pieces of line on the return line of the heater core.

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #27 on: January 28, 2019, 09:24:09 AM »
I am skeptical of cracking heads with coolant hookups.  Its not any more abrupt of a temp change than getting the thing started and standing on the throttle while the injection pump is farting all its air out.  Also the nature of fluid flow is to primarily flow down the center of a conduit and not the edges. Basically im saying if you had a 1" pipe and hooked up your coolant hoses, youd measure 180 in the middle and probably closer to 100 at the edges because there is so little fluid movement at the boundary later.  Its a more gradual rise than ya think.  

Sensors on the hot unit not liking the cold stuff i can picture, no experience there.  You can always plumb your equipment with 4 port flat plate heat exchangers to handle coolant mismatch.  There will be no mixing.  
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Offline Dave Shepard

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #28 on: January 28, 2019, 09:35:16 AM »
Heat exchanger would be best. Would need a pump on the skidder side, but that could be mounted and run on the truck,  too.
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #29 on: January 28, 2019, 09:56:54 AM »
You can actually mount the exchanger down below the radiator and get it to thermal siphon, no need for a pump.  Maybe not quite as fast but we cant win em all.   
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Offline Corley5

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #30 on: January 28, 2019, 12:32:37 PM »
  The 5000 Iron Mule I had came with spit swappers.  I never used them and plumbed in one of these https://katsblockheater.com/block-heaters/all/circulating-coolant-heater-2000-watt-120-volt   It would warm up the little Perkins in less than hour.  We ran it with a 2500 watt generator.   I like them better than freeze plug heating elements and have had them on other tractors.  I was going to put one on a 3-53 but would have had to do some extra work to plumb it into the head.  So I put the block heater element in it and ran it with the same generator.  Only issue was getting the generator started when it was cold ;) ;D  The 6068 JD in my harvester has a Pro Heat.  I never used the auto timer.  I'd turn it on when I got there in the morning and in an hour or so after other preparations for the day it would start fine.  It's plumbed into the machine's fuel supply.
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Offline Frozendozer

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #31 on: January 28, 2019, 02:18:24 PM »
I got a circulating block heater in my 440.  at -25 c it needs about 2 hours and then it starts right up.  I start up the gen set, then go do something for a couple of hours and do something, always something to do for a couple hours be for starting it.  I check fluids, grease it, ECT and fall trees.

trouble free system, I wish I could get the rest of the operation to work as flawless.

Offline whatwas

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #32 on: January 28, 2019, 03:33:17 PM »
Firewoodjoe,
The espar I use is a self contained fuel burner system that heats the coolant. It has its own fuel pump, Furnace,stainless 1" exhaust (I aimed this towards the oil pan) and a control panel for inside the cab.
You have 3 different programs you can set when you leave the machine. I set mine to come on the next morning I plan on being back, if I don't show up, no big deal. The espar will come on and run for two hrs than shut itself off. It burns next to no fuel actually you should run it through a cycle every week even in the summer because the supply line is so fine that stale fuel will plug it up.
I removed the heater off my old machine before trade-in and put it in my 580 case backhoe, all I can say is I wish we had them on equipment 30 years ago.
My present machine is a tier 4 JD with all the electronics, alum. parts and add on the junk they could fit under the cowling, doesn't seem to mind.
life is good

Offline Cub

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #33 on: January 28, 2019, 06:59:02 PM »
 

 

 Hereís how mine is plumbed in. Hope the pics are good enough. 

Offline Cub

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #34 on: January 28, 2019, 07:00:19 PM »
 

 

Offline Firewoodjoe

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #35 on: January 28, 2019, 07:21:53 PM »
Thatís basically what mine is now but those are my heater hoses. I was just going to splis into those. Does your mule have cab heat?

Offline Firewoodjoe

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #36 on: January 28, 2019, 07:22:39 PM »
Well mine donít go to the bottom of the block it goes to the front of the engine.

Offline Cub

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #37 on: January 28, 2019, 07:32:12 PM »
Yes it has cab heat. I have quick connects on those lines to. When I hook it up to the truck I unhook the cab heat. Warm things up. Start the mule n hook cab heat back up. I donít want to circulate warm antifreeze through the cab heat. But you can splice into it and just put a couple valves on so it doesnít go to the cab heater. Either way would work Iím thinking. 
Probably goes to the water pump?

Offline Firewoodjoe

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #38 on: January 28, 2019, 07:43:17 PM »
Yes. That may not work as good. It may be better just in the water jacket. Iíll have to look her over.

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #39 on: January 28, 2019, 07:52:17 PM »
Iím not 100% sure on this but I think mine goes into the block where thereís suppose to be a block drain. It was all there like this when I bought the machine. Look like they removed the drain and put a piece of pipe in its place. The hose is just slid over the pipe n hose clamped though not ideal that way it hasnít leaked a drop yet and Iíve had the machine for over a year. 

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #40 on: January 28, 2019, 07:54:23 PM »
I have the lines on the truck so that when it comes from the heater core it goes into the heat. Comes out the block and back to the truck. Not sure if my thinking is correct or not but I want the head warm 1st. 

Offline Plankton

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #41 on: January 28, 2019, 08:19:39 PM »
Seems like a good place to ask this I have a 94 f250 7.3 idi for a truck and was thinking of putting in spit swappers on it and the 353 in my Clark 664. Anyone see a problem with that? dont want to crack any heads or break anything cant afford it. But it sure would be nice to have an easier time starting the old girl in cold weather.

Was thinking of putting on ball valves so I could go half then full with the coolant flow. Truck is due for a coolant change so could change it over to the precharged purple stuff I have in my skidder.

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #42 on: January 28, 2019, 09:18:35 PM »
cant be any worse than ether  
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Offline Oliver05262

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #43 on: January 28, 2019, 09:21:47 PM »
  My only concerns with the coolant swap are with any hoses that reach out from the engine to where you can get your hands on them to connect. Try to route them so they can't chafe on anything and dump your coolant while you're operating. Also pay attention to any oil or fuel leaking onto the hoses; heater hose will get soft and weak if oil soaked. A hose shop will have 5/8" and 3/4" push-on hydraulic hose that will be as flexible as heater hose, and much more resistant to oil. It will stand up to hot water with no problems. Kinda spendy, but worth it for peace of mind.
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Offline Cub

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #44 on: January 28, 2019, 10:12:14 PM »
94 7.3 idi. My favorite truck. Had the same rig years ago. Sadly it went up in flames 1 night when I wasnít home. Long as everything is flushed good and uses the same coolant you should be ok. As far as the truck part I think youíd be ok. Thatís an old cast iron just about bulletproof engine. The 353 Iím not sure of. I know nothing about them. But like mike said cant be any worse than ether. Oliver has a valid point also. I never thought about the oil and fuel softening the hoses. 

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #45 on: January 28, 2019, 11:41:38 PM »
also the type of motor oil makes a big difference on starting in cold weather, my skidder using the normal 15w40 rotella is ok till about 15 below F but the full synthetic 10w40 rotella is good to over 30 below F in the cummins and much colder than that the skidder does not need to worry about starting cause the old owner is still in bed

Offline chevytaHOE5674

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #46 on: January 29, 2019, 08:25:43 AM »
Last winter I went to a 0W oil in my tractor and it makes a huge difference in winter starting.

Offline Firewoodjoe

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #47 on: January 30, 2019, 08:20:35 PM »
Been thinking. 2 thoughts..... wouldnít changing to a thinner oil be bad for the engine after itís at operating temp? To thin? Also Iím leaning away from spit swapping due to I would have to drive that vehicle (I have three) and if I couldnít get close enough for some reason. Snow,mud. I would like to have a burner type heater some day.

Offline Firewoodjoe

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #48 on: January 30, 2019, 08:27:48 PM »
Well I may have answered my own question. Iím guessing as long as the second number is the same it will be fine. 10w-30 vs 5w-30. Hmm.

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #49 on: January 30, 2019, 08:51:59 PM »
Thereís no doubt that having only spit swappers definitely restricts you. Sometimes you canít get close enough. Iíve been lucky and have always been able to park out of sight and still be able to get the truck there. 

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #50 on: January 30, 2019, 09:03:28 PM »
But if your hot truck is down your whole operation parks. The flip side.



In a pinch, sawdust mixed with diesel in a old frying pan with a stirring stick will get you running.  Done this 50+ times without marshmallowing anything yet.  Oilpan sterno. 
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Offline chevytaHOE5674

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #51 on: January 30, 2019, 09:57:15 PM »
Correct the first number is the pour point. Lower the number the better it pours. Changing to 0W-40 made a huge difference in my cold cranking speed which means better starting. Oil still acts like any other 40W at operating temp. It isn't real common thus it isn't cheap so I only run it in the winter but if it saves me from one failed start it's worth it.


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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #52 on: January 31, 2019, 05:48:19 AM »
Ok Iím thinking of changing to oil for cold weather. My 15w40 has been like honey the last week.  I noticed most light weight oil is synthetic or thereís non diesel oil just standard 5w40 oil. Which would be best? Iím a little leery of using full synthetic in my old motor.

Offline Logger RK

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #53 on: January 31, 2019, 07:10:15 AM »
I use a Hot Box brand heater. But they are no longer in bussiness,so parts are hard to find. Was wondering if anyone has tried a liquid cooled snowmobile motor for heating? 

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #54 on: January 31, 2019, 07:52:07 AM »
I think thereís lots of things a guy could use cheap and handy. Even a 5hp air cooled. Run the muffler to water exchange type canister. If the engine is already warm it wouldnít take much to maintain it I wouldnít think.

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #55 on: January 31, 2019, 08:21:04 AM »
Why fool with a getting a 5hp motor running if your truck is already there.  Back up to it and slip a piece of 4" dryer hose over your tailpipe aimed at the block of your machine.
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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #56 on: January 31, 2019, 09:42:27 AM »
Leave the 5hp run all night. It was just a thought

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #57 on: January 31, 2019, 10:22:47 AM »
I used to hear of all sorts of run over night equipment before they invented the pill head thief.  Now you need to chain down your batteries, battery cables, your fuel, your ashtray.  Crazy.
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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #58 on: January 31, 2019, 05:05:42 PM »
Why fool with a getting a 5hp motor running if your truck is already there.  Back up to it and slip a piece of 4" dryer hose over your tailpipe aimed at the block of your machine.
I've tried this at near zero temps and it was not helpful.

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #59 on: January 31, 2019, 06:06:00 PM »
I never have.  Always just lit a fire under the pan if i really had to start something. 
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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #60 on: January 31, 2019, 07:23:33 PM »
with wind chill it was -42 to -44 here this morning , little snort of ether and skidder fired right up , synthetic oil sure helps in the cold weather . Just think about it , my new pickup runs 0 - 20 weight oil

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #61 on: January 31, 2019, 07:51:04 PM »
Would I have to run synthetic year round then? Will it cause any issues with a old motor? Unknown hours?

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #62 on: February 01, 2019, 03:33:18 AM »
I do not run it year round , in the heat I run the normal rotella 15w40  and synthetic 10 - 40  rotella . Cost me about $35 more to change my oil using synthetic compared to normal . I change my oil every 200 hours and have had zero problems and have been doing this for a lot of years . Up north further where I use to live 40 below is a common day and you work in it so you make sure your machines start, Its to rain most of next week now so your machine should start pretty easy :D

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #63 on: February 01, 2019, 04:47:58 AM »
I know this weather is crazy. -10   +44 then -1 again. They claim anyways.

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #64 on: February 01, 2019, 12:22:38 PM »
The price of the 0weight oils has come down quite a bit in recent years.  I work at a Toyota dealer and a good portion of our new(er) vehicles are running 0W-20 full syn oil.  Heck the 2018 Camry 4cyl runs 0W-16 oil!  It sure pours easy!
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Offline krusty

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #65 on: February 01, 2019, 12:59:24 PM »
being somewhat cheap I try and use what I have.....a small salamander heater....15 mins pointed on the TJ block and it is good to go. Hauling it out with a small generator is a pain, but it works!

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #66 on: February 01, 2019, 01:25:32 PM »

Folks

I have been following this thread with great interest you might say over the years (50 +) I have accumulated   the equivalent of a PHD in cold weather operation of logging equipment.

I must first apologize to many on this thread I mean no disrespect starting machines in cold weather is no fun but unless you have been exposed to cold soaked equipment you have no clue as to the problems you will encounter.

 Cold soaked equipment has been exposed to -20 F  and lower  for hours even days The antifreeze is thickened, the engine oil will resemble Crisco Lard at -30 and lower, even low temp synthetics thicken, trans oils, diff lubricants  hydraulic oils they all get sluggish.

Techniques that work at around 32 F down to 20 F are a waste of time and energy at sub 0 temps.

You may ask why we go to work at these cold temps first the rhyme ď I owe I owe off to work I goĒ only so many winter days to put out the wood and pay the bills.  The other especially hand falling, limbing softwood becomes a dream cut them down yard them out a couple of turns in your skid trail and voila limbless trees right down to rat tailed top. The days of hand falling are long gone around here for various reasons that I will not go into in this response.

So now that leaves the big  mechanical operations and they have all gone to Wabaso type system heaters or plugged into generators at bush garage sites. The $250,000 to $500,000 machines have to start and go and in sub 0 weather they run them 24 hrs Monday to Friday sometimes even right through the weekend (spring breakup coming).

I have used many different ways  both external and internal methods of getting the engine and oil warm but i always use tarps to make a dead air pocket  to trap the heat in the engine compartment  Wind will wick away your heat .

My definition of internal is the direct heating of the coolant most efficient way. The external method is heating the engine block by hot air convection from below the stump pan not as efficient but it works but takes longer , definitely not my first choice. .

Reading your posts if I was in an area without continuous sub zero temps I would definitely go with an electric circulating heater an oil pan heater and a trickle charger to perk up the battery powered by one of those Big box store generators 2500 to 3500 watt and 50 to 100  feet of 12 gauge extension cord. I just checked Wallyís World (Wall Mart) has one for around $350 US

 Arrive on site tarp your machine start the generator and plug in your heaters occupy yourself for about an hour or less and start and go. Big advantage very little lying around as to morph legs and disappear

Those of us (I to used this system at one time) so inclined to use ď spit swappers/ quick coupler Ē  set up ,they were all the rage when they first appeared on the scene 40 years ago but slowly fell out of favour for several reasons.

 They are a royal pain in the butt!! First one, has to manage the coils of the two transfusion hoses (10 to 15 ft )under the hood of the service truck .

Then get close enough to make the connection and if you have never played with super cooled antifreeze you are in for a treat it helps to circulate engine coolant though the service truck hoses to warm up half the couplers. A note here couplers need to be polarized male female to get the right circulation pattern established.

Now as to why the ďsystemĒ fell out of favour and was replaced by ďHot PotsĒ and the Wabaso style heaters.

Antifreeze type has to be compatible

The for varying reasons the system required constant monitoring as it was prone to dump antifreeze out the receiving radiator cap and lowering the service truck coolant  level this not thermal shock trashed a few engines.

The head of the receiving engine warmed to operating temperature this quick heating did not warm the oil (0- 40 Arctic did not exist 40 yrs ago)

So those of us who knew supplied supplementary heat to the stump pan and monitored the viscosity of the engine oil before hitting the starter those that did not at their peril learned the hard way about unplanned engine overhaul.

Enter the hot pot (attached picture hooked up to my skidder) they sold like hot cakes hook it up at the end of the day leave it on all night worked on convection conduction through the block kept oil warm (it helped to tarp and park out of wind) They did like their propane though but the machine whether it be skidder, loader, slasher, bull dozer were ready to start work in the morning.

Still a few around not made any more (I still use mine if I need to start up my TJ ) as the Wabaso style has taken over.

By the way my overnight lows for the past 7 nights have been -35 to -40 degrees F and I no longer have to do this for a living.

Cheers

Al

 

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Offline gump

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #67 on: February 02, 2019, 07:38:40 AM »
My machines sit for a length of time as I only am a part time ( week end warrior) woodsman. When I am done for the week end, I hook up my "tickle charger" solar panel to my batteries, place it usually among the tire chains facing south. I do have block heaters on both my tractor & skidder. I use the skidder most. what I do when I land for work I have a little 2000 watt generator, the size of a briefcase and plug in the block heater. Last weekend the skidder sat for a month during some awfully cold temperatures, so I plugged in the block heater for about an hour while I did a few things. Flashed up like it was July.. Extremely happy with this cheap system. except when you forget about the solar panel on the wheel pull away and crush it!! AARRG.. last week end mishap had a spare kicking around).

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #68 on: February 02, 2019, 08:44:05 PM »
Iím thinking a small gen. And I can use it with my camper.

Offline 62oliver

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #69 on: February 03, 2019, 02:37:30 AM »
I'm just playing around too, so the electric block heater and 1-2 hours on the generator works fine for me. Colder than -15C or so and it can wait.
That straight 40w in the 4-53 makes me a bit nervous tho, but I let it run at a low idle for a few minutes on start-up and hope for the best haha.
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Offline Logger RK

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #70 on: February 03, 2019, 05:38:33 AM »
If your using a generator to heat the cooling system you could put a magnetic oil pan heater on also to warm the oil. Or they do make some that glue on the pan I believe. I use the exhaust from my Hot Box heater to warm my oil pans while it heats the cooling system.

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #71 on: February 03, 2019, 07:26:46 AM »
Yeah. Iíll do something. This will be full time week after next but hand cutting thereís work to do while the machine warms up. My mule sat for 2 weeks through all our arctic cold. Ranging down to -14F (where my machine is) and yesterday it got up to 25F so I started it and it fired up. The engine was solid frost 😂

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #72 on: February 03, 2019, 09:08:01 AM »
Went to my mule yesterday for the 1st time since Monday. We had -15 for high temps last week. Was 20 when I got out there. Hooked up the lines and 15 minutes it was running. The more I read these posts the more I want to put in a block heater or an in line tank heater like a Katz. We had those in line heaters like a Katz on a few tractors at the farm n they work really good. I like that idea. Sometimes in my experience block heaters tend to leak after a while and if they die they are a little more of a pain to change. 
Anyways what steers me away from going the heater route is then I got the generator in the back of the truck all the time in the weather. If I leave it in the woods thereís always that chance of it growing legs and again out in the weather. I guess for now Iíll just keep the swappers 

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #73 on: February 03, 2019, 04:39:29 PM »
Moroso racing products used to make a glue on type oil pan heater. You glued it on where ya want it and run some wires.  It'd work great in tandem with a bock or coolant heater.
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Block heater or not?
« Reply #74 on: February 03, 2019, 07:56:26 PM »
If youve got a generator, wrap a 30ft length of icemelt/frostfree cord around your lower radiator hose, oil filter, fuel filter and injection pump.  Just be sure that the thermostat is actually sensing temp so it shuts off properly.  I did this on the wifes southern market jetta years ago and wrapped it in adhesive foam waterpipe foil.  Was the only plug in fuel system ungeller ive ever owned. 
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