Creative engine block heater idea (for cold climates)

Discussion in '80-Series Tech' started by cbmontgo, Oct 25, 2009.

  1. cbmontgo

    cbmontgo SILVER Star

    Messages:
    2,859
    Location:
    Colorado
    Has anyone ever used a light bulb to heat their engine block overnight in a cold climate? I am a pilot and have noticed people doing this with piston airplane engines up here in Colorado for years when the hangar has no heat. A light bulb under the engine cowling can provide enough heat the keep the oil at a safe engine starting temp.

    I am thinking about doing this with my cars when/if they sleep outside of the garage on winter nights. Anyone ever tried this before? It sure seems logical, although the neighbors might think E.T. lives under your hood at night...
  2. chtucker

    chtucker

    Messages:
    283
    Location:
    Leadville, Colorado
    Being that a block heater is at least 400 watts... and it is all going towards heat and not any being wasted on light... I doubt it.

    I have seen ice form on 100 watt bulbs as warm as 10 degrees above in Vermont.

    My 80 never had problems down to -30 so far...
  3. cbmontgo

    cbmontgo SILVER Star

    Messages:
    2,859
    Location:
    Colorado
    That does make sense.

    My vehicles have no problems at all starting in cold temps, but I just know that the cylinders are in living hell for about 30 seconds before the oil circulates and lubes 'em up. I would just like to reduce that wear and tear on the engine, and I think most people don't realize the damage done during cold starts.

    I may just give this light bulb heater a try and see what happens.
  4. Kernal

    Kernal

    Messages:
    4,702
    Maybe try one of these heaters (see link). Would 0W-30 Mobil 1 also help?

    Edit: the link goes to the JC Whitney main page; once there search for oil heater, this type sticks to the bottom of the oil pan.

    Products in Engine Heaters - JCWhitney
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2009
  5. Ebag333

    Ebag333

    Messages:
    8,163
    Location:
    Medford, OR
    The light bulb trick can work, but it's not particularly efficient and it won't do a ton.

    Installing a block heater is going to be far more efficient.
  6. firetruck41

    firetruck41

    Messages:
    5,736
    Location:
    Camas, WA USA
    IIRC, block heaters are only about $20. I bought one a couple years ago from ebay, I think. Still sitting on my shelf. But there was a thread in the last month about some on Amazon.com, I even posted some measurements of my Toyota block heater in that thread.
  7. Ebag333

    Ebag333

    Messages:
    8,163
    Location:
    Medford, OR
    I think I'd rather pay a little more and get something like this, after reading what Doug went through with his in block heaters.
  8. mike d

    mike d

    Messages:
    47
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    I got one from Amazon, but unfortunately ordered the wrong heater. Beware when ordering, the pictures don't match the actual unit. I'm in the process of exchanging for the right part. I'll post the correct part number when I get it.


    They are made by Kats Five Star. I think it's the same manufacturer as the dealer sold units. They're stamped "Made in Canada" on the side. Their application guide doesn't list our engines, but I found some info that we may share the same heater with a Previa and 4.7 V8. I'm not sure if this is true. I'll see when the part arrives. Here is the application guide from the Five Star site. These engines do share the same part number. Maybe somebody here can cross reference Toyota part numbers and figure out which one will work for us.

    http://www.fivestarmanufacturing.co...62e1628f6c48/Kats_Catalog___Application_Guide
  9. EricG

    EricG SILVER Star

    Messages:
    1,796
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Creative? Stack cinderblocks under your oil pan and light a can of sterno :D
  10. tblume

    tblume

    Messages:
    1,078
    Location:
    willamette/umpqua divide
    Gabe- your link goes to the JCWhitney main page.

    pre/post-oiler? :hmm:
  11. NLXTACY

    NLXTACY Mud Life Sentence

    Messages:
    11,407
    Location:
    West Hills, CA
    I can attest to a light bulb working. Kinda related but not really.

    I have been gone for work a lot and not able to clean the house so my wife decided to hire a cleaning service to come out every two weeks...because she sure is hell isn't going to clean anything :flipoff2:

    Well I have a really bad ass wine cellar (props to me for building it :flipoff2: ). So when the cleaners were here they left the lights on in the cellar. I have two sets of lights. One set is for effects only, the other is the main light. Well they left the lights on, both of them and when I got home there was a strong wine smell in the house. 16 bottles of wine had popped their corks and dumped their delicious contents on the floor.

    I wound up throwing out another 40 bottles of wine because they were either leaking, the cork was pushing out of the foil seal or the glass bottle was hot, not warm, but hot to the touch.

    I would have no problem adding a light to generate heat.

    And BTW don't you use specially coated bulbs for outdoor use for cold climates? Isnt that why they dont break or get very hot?

    *sitting and crying over spilled wine*

  12. Ebag333

    Ebag333

    Messages:
    8,163
    Location:
    Medford, OR
    Bah, retarded website.


    [​IMG]

    Tank-type Engine Heaters
    Product Number: 10837G
  13. CowboyUp

    CowboyUp

    Messages:
    828
    Location:
    Portland,Oregon
    "E.T. lives under your hood at night....":clap:
  14. CowboyUp

    CowboyUp

    Messages:
    828
    Location:
    Portland,Oregon

    Is looking dramatic, but back home when was -20 to -40 degree Celsius the drivers who had diesel engine on their trucks , buses.... will warm up the engine with a home made torch, made from old cloth cover with diesel or gasoline fuel. Some driver did this to gasoline engine to :D.
  15. cbmontgo

    cbmontgo SILVER Star

    Messages:
    2,859
    Location:
    Colorado
    Thanks for the responses so far. What I am getting at is a block heater that doesn't require surgery on my engine block; something that is cheap and that can be removed easily.

    Who here has installed engine block heaters? What all is involved?
  16. BirfMark

    BirfMark

    Messages:
    454
    Location:
    Ft. Collins, Colorado
    If you're looking for simple, try a magnetic oil pan heater.

    Second, installing a block heater isn't that hard - knock out a freeze plug, and then replace it with the block heater. You'll lose some coolant, and it may have to be installed in an awkward spot, but it shouldn't be too bad.
  17. cbmontgo

    cbmontgo SILVER Star

    Messages:
    2,859
    Location:
    Colorado
    I might look into that. My Land Cruisers stay in the garage, but my GMC 4WD truck is the one I am concerned out. I don't know what kind of setup you need with the 5.3 V8, but it sure would be nice this time of year.
  18. 45Kevin

    45Kevin

    Messages:
    1,750
    Location:
    Calgary, Alberta
    The light bulb works fine. Use a 500 watt one. Even putting a blanket over the top of your engine can really conserve the heat in the engine. If you use a light bulb, supplement with a blanket and put the light right into the engine bay. Watch that it doesn't rest against hoses or wires and don't do it if your engine is covered with oil.

    The magnetic block heater would be my choice, if I didn't want to invest the hour it takes to put in a block heater.
  19. jvazquez53

    jvazquez53

    Messages:
    2,866
    Location:
    San Juan Puerto Rico
    While in Alaska, I had a magnet heater for the crank case, a battery blanket heater, a small space heater for the cab, and the block heater. No matter how cold it was, some might think it was an overkill but my 40 was always toasty. My neighbor used the light bulb contraption and it seemed to work.:cheers:
  20. Pskhaat

    Pskhaat

    Messages:
    2,621
    Location:
    Morrison Formation
    Though I'm now in the desert, I have a block heater, magnetic pan and battery blankets. The block heater works wonders on sub-zero days. I did have a HG problem though, PM'd. I have no indication either way if the block heater and Toyota Red had any contribution.

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