block heater vs. oil pan heater - F150online Forums



block heater vs. oil pan heater

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Old 11-05-2010, 12:33 AM
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block heater vs. oil pan heater

hey guys, been thinking about getting one of these for faster warm up times and better lubrication for the cold start mornings. i see that most block heaters are 600W and oil pan heaters can be around 100W. which do you guys think would be better for my truck? ive read tons of threads, but i was leaning towards the oil pan heater because it would be easier to put on and would actually heat the oil, and the heat could radiate up and also warm the engine, so it would be like a two for one kind of deal.
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Old 11-05-2010, 12:38 AM
glc
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A tank type circulating block heater is the only thing that will warm up the entire engine.

http://www.amazon.com/Kats-13150-Alu.../dp/B000BQUUR6
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Old 11-05-2010, 02:30 AM
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That won't warm up the oil in the pan.

A block heater keeps the coolant from freezing, and makes gas vaporize faster so the engine doesn't run as rich as long before going into closed loop.

A circulating heater does the same, but also gives you cabin heat sooner.

A pan heater keeps the oil from gelling, so you can run thicker oil in a worn-out engine. If the engine is OK, run the correct (thin) oil for your climate, and you won't need a pan heater.
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Old 11-05-2010, 09:41 AM
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Ironically, I just moved to the midwest where I will be dealing with sub-freezing winters, probably down in the teens. Most likely about the same as where you are. I've been researching this very subject. If it were me, (and this is what I've decided to do if I do anything) I'd get a Wolverine pad heater that goes on the oil pan and that's it.
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Old 11-05-2010, 10:53 AM
glc
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If you are running Amsoil (or any 5w or 0w oil), you won't need any kind of oil heat. I never needed it when I lived in Chicago and it used to go below zero there routinely.
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Old 11-05-2010, 11:02 AM
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Here is what I can tell you about oil pan heaters. My first car was a 65 Corvair. For those that don't know they are air cooled so a block heater was not an option. We get winter here. It gets down to -30 degrees C (-22 degrees F) for a few weeks, sometimes colder. That car would not start if someone walked by with an ice cream cone but if I had it plugged in it would start every time. It is not scientific I know but I can tell you it worked well and it did warm the block.
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Old 11-05-2010, 11:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glc View Post
If you are running Amsoil (or any 5w or 0w oil), you won't need any kind of oil heat. I never needed it when I lived in Chicago and it used to go below zero there routinely.

"Need" being the operative word there You're absolutely right George, I'm just **** sometimes. It got down to around 28 last night at my house and the garage was still 58 when I went out this morning. The majority of stupid stuff I do to my vehicles sometimes (buying a heated pad for example) are just lame excuses to buy stuff to work on them.

I probably wont get a pad for the pan, but what Wolverine does have that I found rater cool was they have a smaller pad that velcro's on to wrap around filters! Was thinking about getting that since my filter is huge and hangs out in the wind. 9 mile morning drives won't be enough to get the oil very warm this winter in the mornings...that may add a nice touch...or might not.
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Old 11-05-2010, 11:28 AM
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It may not strictly be required, but it sure won't hurt.

And then, there is this ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Labnerd View Post
Jeez Galaxy, there's books written on this subject but I'll try to explain it in an abbreviated form and since you already have a clue about oils....When you see an oil that is rated as a 5w-20 oil, that's the SAE version of the viscosity. As you know, it covers a fairly wide range of the oils actual viscosity. At temp, this means the oil can be any where from 5.60 to 9.29 on the Kinematic scale. The Kinematic scale is a representation of the fluids actual viscosity declared in centistokes (cSt). The viscosity of water in centistokes is just a hair above 1.0038 as I remember. So the actual viscosity is in centistokes. Because of the add packs we use to formulate a modern oil, you'll have differences in the actual viscosity especially at cold temps. Not all polymers are created equal so they react differently as well as Pour Point Depressants at cold temps. There is a test called a Cold Start Simulator or as you'll see in an oils specs, CSS. That's the actual viscosity represented in centipoise, a fluids resistance to another fluid or itself, at cold start up. The less the centipoise, the better the oil flows at cold temps. So it's feasible and actual to have 5w-20 oil with better cold flow characteristics than a 0w-20 oil due to the formulation and the additives used.

So, did I lose you or did you understand it? Like I said, there are books written about formulations and cold start properties. But the SAE ratings of an oil can be a little misleading. So if you have severe cold start conditions, check out the CSS rating and let that be your guide.

As far as an oil heater, there is no real rule of thumb. Down here it never gets cold. Cold like some of you see. There are years here we never see freezing temps. If you are considering an oil heater and the temps fall below 32F commonly, I'd be looking for one. It one thing that the oil can actually be pumped thru the system. It's another that the oil can be sprayed with any kind of equal pattern at the rings. The warmer the oil at cold startup the better. If you are starting an engine and it sounds like it's laboring at cold startup, the oil is too thick and you need an oil warmer.

I'm not necessarily happy with the above response but I hope you get the idea. I guess it's the day after a Saturday night of celebrating a Rangers win in the World Series. I think I'm gonna check my birth certificate for an expiration date.
MGD
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Old 11-05-2010, 11:49 AM
glc
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A heating pad for the battery would be a better investment than one for the oil pan or filter.
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Old 11-05-2010, 11:52 AM
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glc, ive seen those but they look complicated, i want something simple.

i think im going to go with the wolverine stick on pad, its real simple and it wont blow out like a block heater would.

which one do yall think would be fine for me? they have a 125W 3"round pad and a 250W 4x4" pad. would the 125W be sufficient for michigan winters?

has anyone used a KAT heat pad? how reliable is that product?

Last edited by str8t six; 11-05-2010 at 12:31 PM.
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Old 11-07-2010, 10:40 PM
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Does anyone think it would be ok to leave the 250W plugged in for 6-8 hours without burning the oil over night? or would it be best to get the 125W and leave it on over night?
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Old 11-08-2010, 12:01 AM
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I live in Utah we get down to -0 a few days a year and I have a block heater actually got a new one when i did the engine swap last year because i wanted to keep all the stuff working and all but I almost never use it. Truck starts just fine at -0 and all. I do occasionally plug it in when the old lady is planning on taking it to work so its warmer for her in the morning.
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Old 11-08-2010, 10:20 AM
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Forgot to mention -

If anyone is looking for another way to keep the battery warm, check out Schumacher's 1.5 amp battery maintainers.

They come ot two styles - the portable ones with various connection options (cig lighter, alligator clips, etc), and a sealed permanent-mount version you can bolt into the engine compartment and hard-wire to the battery. Plug it into the same cord as yer block heater or whatever.

This not only keeps the battery warm internally, but ensures it's always fully charged at the same time.

MGD
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Old 11-12-2010, 11:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by str8t six View Post
Does anyone think it would be ok to leave the 250W plugged in for 6-8 hours without burning the oil over night? or would it be best to get the 125W and leave it on over night?
For both my diesels I use a programmable timer for my block heaters. I set it to kick on about 3 hours before I plan to leave and everything is nice and warm by that time. This works even at our place near Chama where it can get 15 or so below 0F, and can never get above freezing for days to weeks at a time. With my 5.4 I've never used a heater under those same conditions and have not had any problems. I let it idle for a couple of minutes and she's good to go. The only issues I've had have been when parking them after a long drive the parking brake has frozen a couple of times. That is a PITA
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Old 12-16-2010, 11:16 AM
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answer for burning quesiton.. info. from 'Wolverine'

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Originally Posted by str8t six View Post
Does anyone think it would be ok to leave the 250W plugged in for 6-8 hours without burning the oil over night? or would it be best to get the 125W and leave it on over night?
I -just- purchased the 'Model 16'(250watt) for my F150.
I asked Kevin @ Wolverine some questions.
This is what he had to say.
To answer your question on 100 deg F (bubbling oil) NO!! That average operating temp of oil in your engine on a hot summer day is maybe
200F. You start to damage oil around 280+F. We did oil testing with from a test stand with our 1000 watt #80 on a Cummins truck pan
after 1000 hours at 200F. No damage, no carbonization, no boiling.


I think it's safe to say your oil won't burn.

Also, Wolverine said the KAT's pads are a thinner material, supposedly a lesser quality product. Wolverine offers CE rated and non-CE rated pads (no stamp) same product.

Also, I plan to run at least 4 hours a shot to warm up the block along with the oil, too.
Just need the timer.

Last edited by nhford; 12-16-2010 at 01:02 PM.
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