PDA

View Full Version : Engine Block Heater



talindsay
01-19-2012, 03:56 PM
So I see the engine block heater is super cheap, anybody know if it takes effort to install it or if it's just a plug-in type of block heater? If it's easy to DIY, I'll buy one and stick it in. My 500 lives in a garage (but unheated) so it's not strictly necessary but I'm thinking it would make those cold starts a little friendlier on the engine.

mneuman916
01-20-2012, 08:07 PM
I'm actually curious about this very same thing.

fredfrey
01-20-2012, 11:32 PM
I used it for the first time the last few days and I would say it's one of the best options you can buy. Heater starts to turn out warm air from the get-go

epb
01-21-2012, 12:34 AM
I used it for the first time the last few days and I would say it's one of the best options you can buy. Heater starts to turn out warm air from the get-go

How do these work? You have to have an outlet to plug in the car?

Prima 109
01-21-2012, 05:40 AM
It is a plug in type with a regular 110 volt outlet. Just raise the hood and plug it in using a proper guage ext cord. It should be installed by the dealer as you need to knock out the freeze plug in the engine block and route the wire up through the engine bay if it wasn't built with it. Hope this info helps.

fredfrey
01-21-2012, 09:47 AM
Yes, the plug is located on the drives side up near the headlight. I have a retractable cord in my garage that I leave sticking out under my garage door. Pull, pop the hood and plug it in. Takes seconds. Engine starts faster and sounds much beter in the AM. Flip on heater and although its not hot it is slightly warm it is warm enough to start to melt ice on the windshield.

talindsay
02-11-2012, 01:12 AM
Thanks both of you for the good feedback. I called the dealer, and they'll be installing the block heater on the 21st. I've never had a block heater on any car, despite living in Minnesota, so I'll have to get into the habit of plugging it in on cold days. Of course, the fact that this car actually displays the outside temp in the gauge cluster means I'm already paying more attention than usual.

They're quoting me ~$300 total for the block heater, parts and labor, which I suppose is pretty fair assuming it's not just a matter of plugging in a coil.

FiatPhil
02-11-2012, 11:38 AM
I kind of wish I had bought the engine block heater; it was much cheaper to order the car built that way than to add it after the fact.

On the other hand, I would have not too many occasions to really make us of it, and I'm saving electricity by not having one.

I guess I'm conflicted. It would be nice to have the heater start out with a warmer air "advantage" since I really don't care for heated seats after having several cars with them.

talindsay
02-11-2012, 02:46 PM
Minneapolis is right on the edge of where block heaters would be necessary, but the combination of urban heat island and lots of covered parking means most people here don't have them (as opposed to fifty miles north of here where they become necessary).

The multiair design makes me nervous though - in most markets it won't even try to start at temperatures below ~-15F, and we do get several days with ambient temps below that most winters. In my garage and in my ramp at work it's not likely to reach it, but it's close enough; and if I'm driving to Duluth I don't want to have to worry about it.

Seems like it wouldn't be worth the trouble in Oklahoma.

Dwaynek
02-11-2012, 07:29 PM
Block heaters standard on all 500's in Canada, although not needed in Victoria!

FiatPhil
02-11-2012, 08:55 PM
Seems like it wouldn't be worth the trouble in Oklahoma.

That's what I finally decided and why I didn't order the block heater. I didn't figure I'd really need it, but I never thought about it giving the heater an advantage.

talindsay
02-21-2012, 09:57 PM
Justin at Brookdale Fiat installed the block heater for me today, looks like he did a really good job. Now to see if we get any days cold enough to make it worth using - it's in the low 30s today so I won't be trying it out today.

buzzny
02-21-2012, 10:09 PM
Justin at Brookdale Fiat installed the block heater for me today, looks like he did a really good job. Now to see if we get any days cold enough to make it worth using - it's in the low 30s today so I won't be trying it out today.
11 degrees F this morning. 500c started better than the Subaru...

talindsay
02-28-2012, 11:40 PM
So it hasn't been cold since I got the block heater - probably 10 F is the coldest it's gotten. But out of curiosity I plugged it in overnight a few days ago and I was surprised at how much better it made the morning start, even on a night that wasn't cold. The block was already at two bars when I started it, the heater was able to blow immediately (the auto climate control waits till the block is warm to start blowing), and the normal winter sluggishness was completely gone. So I've been using it every night for the last few days even though the temp is only dipping down to the teens. Man, if block heaters are always this great I wish I'd gotten them on my other cars.

If I plug it in right when I turn off the car you don't notice anything; but if you plug it in after the engine is cold, you hear a very faint wooshing sound immediately upon plugging it in - which makes me wonder if it's more than just an electric heat probe. Anybody know what it does to warm the block?

UFI
01-22-2013, 02:12 AM
On the other hand, I would have not too many occasions to really make us of it, and I'm saving electricity by not having one.

You save fuel and wear-tear buy warming the block even on 'hot' days. The engine can switch over to closed loop much sooner, which means less polution too.

dude
11-01-2015, 11:26 PM
Talindsay,

I was interested to know if you went ahead and got the engine block heater installed. I'm looking to do it myself but I'm not sure which core plug to use. Maybe you could look at yours and tell me? I'd really appreciate the help. The picture is of the rear side of the engine block. Thanks - dude
1975219755

Tweak
11-02-2015, 12:17 AM
Talindsay,

I was interested to know if you went ahead and got the engine block heater installed. I'm looking to do it myself but I'm not sure which core plug to use. Maybe you could look at yours and tell me? I'd really appreciate the help. The picture is of the rear side of the engine block. Thanks - dude
19752

Welcome to the forum "dude". :D

streetsurfer
11-02-2015, 08:26 PM
Just a hunch here, but I imagine it would go in the spot with what appears to be a gasket-able (for lack of a better word) surface and threaded boss. If you can find a detail image of the heater itself, that might be more telling. I think there are a couple fiat techs on the board so hopefully they will help in time. Maybe try and keep this bumped up, in case talindsy isnt around.
And welcome aboard.

dude
11-03-2015, 12:51 PM
That was my first inclination too, however I'm not sure that a threaded option is available. Here's what the heater plug looks like:19772

dude
11-15-2015, 12:21 AM
So for anyone who's interested in installing a engine block heater on their Fiat 500 Sport; here's how:

1. Once safe to do so, remove your coolant cap.
2. Lift the car
3. You're going to want to remove the plastic skid plate (10mm) from the bottom of your car. There's six of those little bolts.
4. Also remove the three star screws from the bottom of the front bumper. This will make it easier to access the radiator petcock:
19865
5. Drain your coolant. Most of the coolant can be removed with the pet cock valve as shown below:
(To be honest, I should have attached a piece of rubber tubing to the petcock. That would have been far less messy.)
19866
6. Locate the core plug on the aft side of your engine block.
19869
7. Remove the core plug. This is easier said than done. You will need a two foot long pry bar/screw driver and a hammer. You'll want to angle your pry bar/screw driver above the crossmember frame. Once you have a good seating on the core plug give it a good couple whacks. This is where it gets hairy. You can easily punch that core plug straight through your block and then it's in there for good. I took my time and used a couple magnets to help. If you can't get the plug to just turn in place so you can rip it out with a pair of needle nose pliers you can do what I did. I had to crimp a side down with a little screwdriver so I could fit a pair of needle nose pliers in there and rip it out. All said and done, if I have to pull another core plug out in 100 years it will still be too soon. In the pictures below (1) Core Plug (2) Is a neodymium magnet. It's really strong and you can see how it snatched that core plug right out once it was free. The rest of your coolant is going to come out now too. Be ready for that bit of fun.
1987019872

dude
11-15-2015, 01:21 AM
8. Prepare and install your heater plug. I used some RTV to help that gasket seal tight. This part is pretty tricky too. The plug is designed with a winged flange that will expand once you tighten the other end of the bolt. It has a flathead and 5/32 allen key head. I suggest tightening it down with a flat head then checking the torque spec (27inch/lbs). If you use a allen key to install it, you will probably destroy that soft brass. Also, you're going to want to use a pair of channel locks to hold the block heater in place. Otherwise, the entire assembly just turns as you try to tighten it down.
198771987819879
9. Plug in that block heater cord, hero! This part is pretty easy.
19880
10. I also installed some silicone heater pads. One on the oil pan and one on the transmission pan. I attached them with some RTV. The pads have an electrical cord that will ultimately be plugged into a centralized outlet box. That box will have an electrical cord that I will plug in to an outdoor wall outlet on my house. This will provide heat to vital fluids in the car, allowing the vehicle to work properly in very cold environments. You're probably asking, "why the hell would anyone do this?". Because in Alaska, the temperature will drop down to -50. Good luck going anywhere if your transmission fluid is too cold to do transmission stuff.
19881

dude
11-15-2015, 02:23 AM
19886
11. Now just button everything up and refill with coolant. Use an appropriate mix for your environment.

streetsurfer
11-16-2015, 10:33 AM
This is very helpful, thank you. It is something I may add eventually.

Hangman0327
12-29-2015, 12:41 AM
Has anyone in New England / Greater Boston had any problems with starting the Abarth without the block warmer?

Fait Accompli
12-23-2016, 12:23 AM
Hello cold climate Abarth owners in the USA;

When I bought my 2013 Abarth, I found essentially zero cars equipped with the super cheap $ 50 factory installed engine block heater option.

After my first cold winter with the Abarth, I decided to get this underrated option retrofitted by the local Fiat dealer. The cost: $ 105 for the part, $ 226 for the dealer labor, for a total of $ 331.

It is an incredible option. I use a standard AC plug-in timer to energize the heater at 4 AM. When I start the car around 8 AM in low-teens F weather, the car produces heat from the HVAC system , defrosts the windows, and has good power right after starting the engine.

A worthwhile investment in longevity.

Fiat500USA
12-23-2016, 01:19 AM
Hello cold climate Abarth owners in the USA;

When I bought my 2013 Abarth, I found essentially zero cars equipped with the super cheap $ 50 factory installed engine block heater option.

After my first cold winter with the Abarth, I decided to get this underrated option retrofitted by the local Fiat dealer. The cost: $ 105 for the part, $ 226 for the dealer labor, for a total of $ 331.

It is an incredible option. I use a standard AC plug-in timer to energize the heater at 4 AM. When I start the car around 8 AM in low-teens F weather, the car produces heat from the HVAC system , defrosts the windows, and has good power right after starting the engine.

A worthwhile investment in longevity.

This is a good point. Hopefully all dealers located in the upper north would order cars with this item. It's good for anyone where it gets very cold, but for those living where the temperature gets to the minus teens really needs this. According to the manual when it gets to about -22 (ambient and not wind chill) there is the possibility that starting will be inhibited if a block heater isn't used. To remind people a message “plug in engine heater” will be displayed in the instrument cluster when the ambient temperature is below 5 F (–15 C) at the time the engine is shut off.

Fait Accompli
01-11-2017, 09:02 PM
Thanks, Fiat500USA.

When I was shopping for my Abarth in 2013, I found virtually ZERO cars that had this option installed. Apparently, Canadian cars typically get it. So, even in the northeast, you are likely to have to either pay your dealer to install it or DIY.

steve m
12-05-2017, 04:28 PM
I live in eastern Canada, it routinely get below -25C up here. All Fiats get block heaters from the factory up here, but I have never used it in almost 6 years of ownership, I allow the car to warm up a little and use 5W30 full synthetic motor oil. My car has around 230,000 kms on the clock and starts like a champ everyday. At -40C she struggles a bit.

Steve M
2012 Fiat 500 Sport

snakelady
01-04-2018, 01:34 PM
I bought my 2012 500 Sport used. My battery died in this frigid weather and decided I'd better get a new one as think mine was probably the original. The person who installed it noticed a plug below the battery and said he thought it was a heater. Does this sound right and if so, can I just plug into it with an extension cord?

streetsurfer
01-04-2018, 02:41 PM
I bought my 2012 500 Sport used. My battery died in this frigid weather and decided I'd better get a new one as think mine was probably the original. The person who installed it noticed a plug below the battery and said he thought it was a heater. Does this sound right and if so, can I just plug into it with an extension cord?

I’d say that’s correct. You will want a heavy dury rated extension cord though. Contractor grade preferred. That is where the cord has been reported to reside. Plug it in and check the vehicle heat in a few hours before or just when you start the car - you should have some warmth out of the vents.......while not full hot, it will be much warmer than the ambient temperatures.
Other than that you could reach in and check the radiator hoses but things are so tight checking the cabin heater or even the coolant temperature guage will do just as well.
*dont reach into the engine bay with the engine running or after it has run, anywhere near the cooling fan, or around belts and pulleys.

dude
01-04-2018, 08:55 PM
Snakelady,

Can you attach a photo of your setup?

Thanks,
dude

KhalilWilliams
01-09-2018, 03:23 AM
19886
11. Now just button everything up and refill with coolant. Use an appropriate mix for your environment.

dude, thank you for this guide. I'm thinking about getting the block heater for my car, as the last two times starting it in the cold were rough.