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Thread: need help with car

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    Default need help with car

    Im moving to alaska and have been told I need all these heaters for my car which is fine I found them all now I want to know is there a trick or special brand of plug in to use to plug 4 heaters in all in one spot.any advise appreciated

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    where are you moving too that you need 4 different heaters? I live in the valley and rarely need to plug my vehicles in. I assume you are moving to the interior somewhere? I don't know that you need more than a good block heater even in the Fairbanks area. Check with your mechanic and you may be advised to switch oil weight for the winter. Beyond that just poly up the money for a high quality battery with plenty cold cranking amps.

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    As LuJon said, it really depend on where in AK you will be. There are three common heaters that many have. The oilpan, engine block, and battery warmer (either a pad or wrap around). All of these can be routed to a single 3-1 adapter. I have used a good, heavy duty 3-1 adapter that has a short (12" or so) lead on the single plug end. I locate the 3 plug end under the hood and just have the single end sticking out the grill or from under the hood. This was mostly a response to someone who tried to steal the unit and broke the wires to each of the heaters in the -35 degree Fairbanks winter (thanks buddy....). Make sure you have a good winter-grade extension cord for plugging in. A standard cord you find at the local store will often crack and break in the cold due to flexing.

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    for the army moving to the fairbanks area and they said I need a oil heater,transmission heater, block heater, battery heater I guess its just 3 plugs because the oil pan and transmission heater are tied together

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    Member akiceman25's Avatar
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    Instead of a battery heater I prefer a trickle charger. Hasn't failed me yet and engine always cranks nice n fast......

    -akiceman25

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    I usually skip the transmission heater as long as the rig is newer and using synthetic tranny fluid.

    You'll want to use synthetic engine oil as well. My jeep will start to -30F without being plugged in using 0-30W Mobil1.

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    If you run synthetic fluids then pan heaters aren't really needed. Especially if you have a manual transmission. A block heater is a must and keeping the battery warm helps too, but as akiceman said a trickle charger will work. I got by with a block heater and a oil pan heater for one winter but the second winter I put a battery heater and it helped quite a bit. Auto starts are nice too, but I think they should be against the rules until you lived in the interior for at least one winter. Nothing like climbing in a car and firing it up at -40 and hearing all the crazy noises it makes as it slowly warms up. Square tires, doors that wont shut, heater that blows half warm and then you accidentally turn on the AC and you think it feels warm, but because it is compared to everything else. Welcome to paradise.
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    Member Albradley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by byrd_hntr View Post
    If you run synthetic fluids then pan heaters aren't really needed. Especially if you have a manual transmission. A block heater is a must and keeping the battery warm helps too, but as akiceman said a trickle charger will work. I got by with a block heater and a oil pan heater for one winter but the second winter I put a battery heater and it helped quite a bit. Auto starts are nice too, but I think they should be against the rules until you lived in the interior for at least one winter. Nothing like climbing in a car and firing it up at -40 and hearing all the crazy noises it makes as it slowly warms up. Square tires, doors that wont shut, heater that blows half warm and then you accidentally turn on the AC and you think it feels warm, but because it is compared to everything else. Welcome to paradise.
    My personal favorite is when it was 60 below last winter and i plugged in overnight and in the morning came out to find someone had stolen my cold weather extension cord...I could swear my truck was actually saying "F.U." over and over again to me...
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    I agree it's all about the battery. My f350 diesel would start at -20 without the block heater as long as the batteries are good...although I was running an additive. Once you get below that the block heater helps. Synthetics are always a good idea for the cold....including the diffs. Otherwise it's like having the brakes until the gear oil warms up and without the engine to warm them, it takes a while.

    In order of importance, I'd say block heater then battery. Oil warmer and trans warmer are redundant and aren't really necessary IMHO. Plugged in the block heater overnight a couple weeks back and it was -36 in the morning when I started the truck. Drove down the road and the trans temp came up sooner than the coolant temp.

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    There is at least one auto-start that has a temp sensor and will start your truck and run it for a set amount of time. Pretty slick deal and would probably about even out price wise (aside from purchase price) over time. It also has the added benefit of charging the battery and working when you can't plug your rig in like at work or when parked for a along the highway for a week long winter moose hunt!

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    Quote Originally Posted by LuJon View Post
    There is at least one auto-start that has a temp sensor and will start your truck and run it for a set amount of time. Pretty slick deal and would probably about even out price wise (aside from purchase price) over time. It also has the added benefit of charging the battery and working when you can't plug your rig in like at work or when parked for a along the highway for a week long winter moose hunt!
    Althogh it may help out in some specific cases, I am not a big fan of that system. I would rather have one somewhat colder start than 50+ cold starts just to warm it up without needing to go anywhere. Most of the wear on engines in cold climates is when starting, so cycling it through who knows how many extra cold starts when it isn't needed just seems like it would cause far more wear than necessary, plus you have the chance of coming back to an empty gas tank.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NorthCountryWood View Post
    I agree it's all about the battery. My f350 diesel would start at -20 without the block heater as long as the batteries are good...although I was running an additive. Once you get below that the block heater helps. Synthetics are always a good idea for the cold....including the diffs. Otherwise it's like having the brakes until the gear oil warms up and without the engine to warm them, it takes a while.

    In order of importance, I'd say block heater then battery. Oil warmer and trans warmer are redundant and aren't really necessary IMHO. Plugged in the block heater overnight a couple weeks back and it was -36 in the morning when I started the truck. Drove down the road and the trans temp came up sooner than the coolant temp.
    It's one thing to be able to get the engine to turn over to start (battery/block heaters), but if you don't have any lubricating fluid that is warm enough to flow, you are going to cause a lot more wear on the engine parts than is good. Synthetic fluids will help a lot with this, but I wouldn't downplay the oil pan heater if you are going to be in cold climates (Fairbanks kind of place) for any length of time.

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by anchskier View Post
    Althogh it may help out in some specific cases, I am not a big fan of that system. I would rather have one somewhat colder start than 50+ cold starts just to warm it up without needing to go anywhere. Most of the wear on engines in cold climates is when starting, so cycling it through who knows how many extra cold starts when it isn't needed just seems like it would cause far more wear than necessary, plus you have the chance of coming back to an empty gas tank.
    Ultimately I agree with you and I don't know that I would ever go with "only" a autostart system. For those with a recreational cabin though it may well be worth it. With a grill screen and not parking with the front into the wind you would be shocked how long it takes for a motor to fully cold soak! For instance it is amazing how much difference just running a sled before dark then wrapping the cowling in a tarp will do for your morning fire up!

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    Quote Originally Posted by anchskier View Post
    It's one thing to be able to get the engine to turn over to start (battery/block heaters), but if you don't have any lubricating fluid that is warm enough to flow, you are going to cause a lot more wear on the engine parts than is good. Synthetic fluids will help a lot with this, but I wouldn't downplay the oil pan heater if you are going to be in cold climates (Fairbanks kind of place) for any length of time.
    A coolant heater will warm the block and all the channels the oil flows thru, so it will warm the oil quicker. The magnetic oil pan heaters promote rust and the probe type ones tend to burn the oil. More problems than they solve.

    The coolant heater gives you more bang for the buck. Can't find the link, but there is a company in Canada that makes diesel burning block heaters that you can plumb to warm the battery, oil pan, trans pan and even the cab. Not cheap tho.

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    First post, and hoping I'm not making many mistakes! Stuart Warner used to have a diesel fueled block heater ( similar to boat heater) That was plumbed into the engine block. Called "Hot Box". I've heard lower 48 truckers speak of them, and your ice road truckers are probably well aware also.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tjohnson View Post
    Im moving to alaska and have been told I need all these heaters for my car which is fine I found them all now I want to know is there a trick or special brand of plug in to use to plug 4 heaters in all in one spot.any advise appreciated
    Just wait until you get here, take it to the post gas station and has it winterized. They do it all the time and it will be cheaper. The hard cold weather has pretty much passed. If you feel you just have to, change your oil to synthetic and add a block heater and add a battery heater when you get here. Make sure your 5 year battery is not 4 years into that 5. The cold weather here at Fort Wainright eats batteries, most of mine last about 1/2 the stated life. This time of year winter tires is more important as the roads are incredibly slick right now.
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    Default Some ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by tjohnson View Post
    Im moving to alaska and have been told I need all these heaters for my car which is fine I found them all now I want to know is there a trick or special brand of plug in to use to plug 4 heaters in all in one spot.any advise appreciated
    Here are my suggestions. If I'm doing multiple heaters, I will often use a plastic or metal 4" J box ( like from Home Depot) and mount it in the engine compartment or around the radiator core support. I run a pigtail from there to the front. Inside the J-box I will mount a pair of 15 amp duplex receptacles. Now I can plug in 4 things such as a oil pan heater, immersion style block heater and a 1 amp smart charger, and perhaps a transmission heater. My theory on transmission heaters is that while I think they are a good idea, the shape of most car transmissions prohibit the attachment of a silicone pad heater. It's next to impossible to find a flat spot to stick one.

    I'm not a big fan of battery heaters. I prefer to keep a charger on them, instead.

    I also prefer to use the Polar-Wire brand Arctic Flex Blue cable for my extension cords and pigtails from the J-box.

    But, for the average small car, most manufactures offer a OEM style immersion engine heater that works just fine.

    Funny thing, I seen a battery heater installation the other day that a local dealer installed. The mechanic used a 200 watt silicone pad heater under the battery. Consequently, the heat boiled the battery over and melted the bottom of the battery case making a huge mess on this brand new machine. Of course, it was the wrong heater to use, but nonetheless. Under warranty, the dealer installed a new battery and the proper heater, but left the battery acid mess.

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