How To: Block Heater FAQ - Chevy and GMC Duramax Diesel Forum
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Old 11-24-2010, 10:51 AM   eBay Motors  #1 (permalink)
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Exclamation How To: Block Heater FAQ

I put this together, in hopes it will answer a few questions for some.

Block Heater FAQ

How much power does the heater draw?
About 7-10 amps.

What size extension cord do I need?
A 14 gauge extension cord will work for 25-30' run. If you are going to run 50' or so, its a good idea to step up to a 12 gauge extension cord.

Can I leave my truck plugged in all night?
Yes, many people do, but if it is not super cold in your area, 3-4 hours before start-up works very well.

Can I just use a timer?
Yes, I use a 15 amp timer (10amp should works just fine too) and I set it for 2 hours before I leave.

When do I need to use my block heater?
Anytime really. Here where I live it only gets down to maybe 40F at night. But I like having the truck warm up a lot faster when I start it. Also a warm start-up is better on the engine.

Do I have to use the block heater?
No. The Duramax is capable of starting up even in pretty cold climates without being plugged in. In cold climates, it will take quite some time to warm up however.

I cant hear my block heater, is it working?
The block heater is simply an element (kind of like a probe) in the coolant stream in the block. When plugged in, power flows thru it and causes the element to get hot. This heats (or warms) the coolant in the block. You wont hear anything really, the same as you dont hear power running thru the power cord itself

Does the block heater automatically turn on and off?
Some trucks have a thermo-plug. It only allows current to flow when it is below zero. Look at teh end of the plug on your block heater, does it look like a normal plug, then it probably is. Does it look squarish, and look like there is extra plastic, and bigger than say a normal extension cord plug? If so, it most likely is a thermo-plug. (You can actually cut it off an replace with a normal plug avail at a hardware store) .

Where is my block heater plug?
Its on the passenger side, tapped up or zip tied in some factory loom, running down from the passenger side battery to the frame rail. If you find it, and then cut back some of the tape and loom, you can gain an extra foot of length or so, and it will reach further. If you leave it taped up like factory, you will notice it doesnt reach very far.

Do I have a Block Heater?
Yes, All Duramaxs have one, I if you think you dont, you need to keep looking, its there...

Good Luck!
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Old 11-24-2010, 10:54 AM   eBay Motors  #2 (permalink)
saw what you did there
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Pics! Nice write up Mike.

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Old 11-24-2010, 10:58 AM   eBay Motors  #3 (permalink)
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Thanks for the pic. That will help a bunch.
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Old 11-24-2010, 11:02 AM   eBay Motors  #4 (permalink)
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Thanks for the info I appreciate it.
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Old 11-24-2010, 11:54 AM   eBay Motors  #5 (permalink)
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Nice write up. question though. i had mine plugged in all night at 1*F overnight and started it this morning at 5*F and it still took a very long time to warm up and then turn over. also had a good amount of white smoke from being so cold. but it never went compleatly away. when i would get on it after the truck was up to temp it still blew white. is it just cause it is so cold. hasn't been over 10*F yet.
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Old 11-24-2010, 12:02 PM   eBay Motors  #6 (permalink)
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It's probably steam, just like from a gasser when it's cold only it seems to need to be colder before a diesel's exhaust will steam like that.

Nice write up Mike!! should help a lot of folks :rockin
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Old 11-24-2010, 12:30 PM   eBay Motors  #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoshG View Post
Nice write up. question though. i had mine plugged in all night at 1*F overnight and started it this morning at 5*F and it still took a very long time to warm up and then turn over. also had a good amount of white smoke from being so cold. but it never went compleatly away. when i would get on it after the truck was up to temp it still blew white. is it just cause it is so cold. hasn't been over 10*F yet.
There was a service bulletin that some trucks got a code and the dealer replaced them with a thermostatically type cord. Perhaps you have one of these and it doesnt kick on until outside temp is below zero???

Could you post a picture of the end of your cord (the part you plug in)
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Old 11-24-2010, 12:33 PM   eBay Motors  #8 (permalink)
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good post mike!
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Old 11-24-2010, 12:36 PM   eBay Motors  #9 (permalink)
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Thank you for the FAQ! Helped answered my questions
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Old 11-24-2010, 01:22 PM   eBay Motors  #10 (permalink)
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last year i was running my block heater on a timer and not sure of the gauge of cord but it may have been a smaller one, fairly long aswell, like an electric lawnmower cord. anyways one morning it had melted the plug and the plastic around it. now i am scared to put a new plug on before i find the solution before i have fire. would a cord that is to small and very long cause to much draw and melt at the connection or is there something else going on? thanks for the help
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