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View Poll Results: What temp do you plug in the block heater

Voters
23. You may not vote on this poll
  • -10 C (23F)

    6 26.09%
  • -20 C (-4F)

    3 13.04%
  • -30 C (-22F)

    3 13.04%
  • I do not need a block heater!

    11 47.83%
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
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    Edmonton Alberta
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    Default What temp do you plug in the block heater?

    I only use the block heater in colder than -15C, usually not till -20C... Yes they do use a lot of power, so to solve that problem I have mine set up with a digital timer... It turns on for 20 min then off for 40 min at a time, repeating...

    Today was -39 degrees C (-38 F) when I went to turn my truck on after work, no probem and the block heater was not plugged in.
    __________________________________________________ ________________________________________
    My book called Small Block Buick Performance covering the V6, 215, 300, 340, and Buick 350 engines will be released soon.

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    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ _________________________________
    1970 Buick Skylark 350 street/strip with 6 point cage: Custom tube headers feed Twin T3/T4 Turbochargers, Holley 650, sheet metal single plane intake, heavily ported iron heads with oversized valves, mild Poston 114 camshaft (2800-6000 RPM), Diamond forged pistons on Hershe forged rods, balanced, ARP everywhere, dual 3" exhaust, Paddle shifted 4L80E 4 speed overdrive, Moser 12 bolt with 3.42 gear.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Stroudsburg, PA
    Posts
    482

    Default Re: What temp do you plug in the block heater?

    I was walking around outside today in a t-shirt. Probably right at 60*F this afternoon.
    Big Matt

    '65 Special w/300 V8
    '65 Skylark w/300 V8
    '66 Skylark w/430 big block
    '69 Skylark w/350
    (2) complete 455's waiting to be built

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Grande Prairie Alberta Canada
    Posts
    246

    Default Re: What temp do you plug in the block heater?

    -25
    Tom Hearsey
    71' GS 455

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Manitoba, Canada
    Posts
    5,481

    Default Re: What temp do you plug in the block heater?

    I don't need no stinking block heater!!

    Seriously, I have not plugged in my daily driver during the past 2 winters. Get the biggest, most powerful cranking amp battery you can stuff under the hood, keep it in decent tune, and it should start every time.


    Tom B
    65 Gran Sport 4 speed, dual quad.
    04 Explorer Eddie Bauer.

    There's no such thing as a free lunch. Get used to it.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    1,388

    Default Re: What temp do you plug in the block heater?

    -10 degrees C. I've seen a lot of old Buick Big Blocks ruined when started dead cold. It actually takes a little while for that butter we call oil to move from the sump to the pump, and in the meantime the gears can swell just enough to score the timing cover. (Different coefficients of expansion)

    The Buicks always seemed to start in the cold, but boy would they hammer. And even with the modern cars, I still plug them in at -10. I guess old habits die hard.

    Even modern motor oils, (unless they're synthetic) still get buttery at temps lower than -10. Just try and pour a good standard grade 10W-30 at -15 and see how long it takes to empty the jug, if it completely empties. Then just imagine how that stuff is in the crankcase first thing in the morning.
    Marc,
    66 Electrafied,

    '66 Buick Electra 225 Conv. (will trade for a '59 Invicta or Electra, 2dr. HDTP or Conv)
    '67 Buick Wildcat Custom Conv. (an old friend returned)
    '01 Buick LeSabre Limited
    '08 Buick Allure (Canadian LaCrosse)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Windsor Ontario
    Posts
    7,458

    Default Re: What temp do you plug in the block heater?

    i have a battery wrap-around blanket heater, which i have owned for over almost 30 years, that i used on my previously owned cars and it functioned very well. however, because there is no extra room in my '08 astra, i use the block heater.
    the battery in my gs350 is connect to a battery tender and the battery is housed in my basement until i am ready to take the gs for a drive, during the winter when the roads are sat free, dry and the sun is shining.
    Gerry
    1972 GS 350 ht #s
    2008 Astra XR 3 door
    2011 Chevy Cruze

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Edmonton Alberta
    Posts
    13,592

    Default Re: What temp do you plug in the block heater?

    Quote Originally Posted by 66electrafied View Post
    -10 degrees C. I've seen a lot of old Buick Big Blocks ruined when started dead cold. It actually takes a little while for that butter we call oil to move from the sump to the pump, and in the meantime the gears can swell just enough to score the timing cover. (Different coefficients of expansion)

    The Buicks always seemed to start in the cold, but boy would they hammer. And even with the modern cars, I still plug them in at -10. I guess old habits die hard.

    Even modern motor oils, (unless they're synthetic) still get buttery at temps lower than -10. Just try and pour a good standard grade 10W-30 at -15 and see how long it takes to empty the jug, if it completely empties. Then just imagine how that stuff is in the crankcase first thing in the morning.
    I think -10 is about right, might as well plug in since the engine warms up nice and quick this way too!

    Very good point about the oil! I use synthetic oil inth winter, it is so much easier to crank the engine over...
    __________________________________________________ ________________________________________
    My book called Small Block Buick Performance covering the V6, 215, 300, 340, and Buick 350 engines will be released soon.

    http://www.v8buick.com/forumdisplay....rformance-Book
    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ _________________________________
    1970 Buick Skylark 350 street/strip with 6 point cage: Custom tube headers feed Twin T3/T4 Turbochargers, Holley 650, sheet metal single plane intake, heavily ported iron heads with oversized valves, mild Poston 114 camshaft (2800-6000 RPM), Diamond forged pistons on Hershe forged rods, balanced, ARP everywhere, dual 3" exhaust, Paddle shifted 4L80E 4 speed overdrive, Moser 12 bolt with 3.42 gear.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Saint John, N.B.
    Posts
    4,946

    Default Re: What temp do you plug in the block heater?

    Haven't used one in over 25 years. Haven't had a problem. Trucks have always started well.
    Wife's car in the garage, Buick is storage for the Winter.
    An hour or two is all that is needed to warm up the fluids.
    Put a timer in for the in-laws a few years ago. Timer on about 6:00AM & off at 8:00AM.
    I had an '81 VW Rabbit. Block heater, battery blanket & an in-line coolant heater.
    That thing still didn't want to start in the cold.
    1971 Skylark 350-4V
    Sandalwood/buckets/floorshift
    One of none ever made.
    SOLD.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    onoway,alberta
    Posts
    1,359

    Default Re: What temp do you plug in the block heater?

    Quote Originally Posted by 66electrafied View Post
    -10 degrees C. I've seen a lot of old Buick Big Blocks ruined when started dead cold. It actually takes a little while for that butter we call oil to move from the sump to the pump, and in the meantime the gears can swell just enough to score the timing cover. (Different coefficients of expansion)

    The Buicks always seemed to start in the cold, but boy would they hammer. And even with the modern cars, I still plug them in at -10. I guess old habits die hard.

    Even modern motor oils, (unless they're synthetic) still get buttery at temps lower than -10. Just try and pour a good standard grade 10W-30 at -15 and see how long it takes to empty the jug, if it completely empties. Then just imagine how that stuff is in the crankcase first thing in the morning.

    also see lots of vehicles around here with the glue on type oil pan heaters.
    my friend uses his in the summer time to warm up the oil in his street/race car before he starts it.
    ken mcdonald
    65 skylark,455,work in progress
    1973 buick century luxus,u code 455
    bpg# 1438

    life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body,but rather to skid in sideways,a jug of "crown" in one hand,a case of "24" in the other,body thoroughly used up,totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Posts
    2,834

    Default Re: What temp do you plug in the block heater?

    We don't get the deep freeze cold the way you guys do up in the "Great White North", but I like to plug in my '03 Chevy Duramax whenever it gets below freezing. It starts fine without plugging, but it warms up so much quicker when I plug it in that I just do it. I only live five miles from work and I like to have heat while I'm driving. The diesels just don't heat up quick enough when it's cold out. At home I have mine on a timer for three or four hours before I leave for work in the morning.....while at work it's plugged in all day, every day, all winter long!
    Doug Hecker
    65 Gransport - 8.74@152.61

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    East Central Oregon
    Posts
    137

    Default Re: What temp do you plug in the block heater?

    I think the adhesive oil pan heater is the way to go, they seem to do a good job safely. I have a friend who use's one of those rubber Pet bed heaters on his oil pan that Wal-Mart sells for $10. to $15. and swears by it, I say why not. LOL
    Wil

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Da 'Nawlins Bayous.....
    Posts
    5,064

    Default Re: What temp do you plug in the block heater?

    I wondered what that plug was for on Brandy's Wagoneer.....
    [/SIGPIC]
    Jason -friends call me (J)-POP

    B.P.G. #1500
    R.O.A. # 8427


    MY (nearly) DAILY DRIVER --'71 Rivvy Black and Gold.

    '85 Regal triple gold 40k mi.
    Love your country, fear your government, drink more beer
    I pledge allegiance, not blind obedience!!!!
    You can't trust a man who never curses

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
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    Da 'Nawlins Bayous.....
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    Default Re: What temp do you plug in the block heater?

    I wondered what that plug was for on Brandy's Wagoneer.....

    About 76* here...
    [/SIGPIC]
    Jason -friends call me (J)-POP

    B.P.G. #1500
    R.O.A. # 8427


    MY (nearly) DAILY DRIVER --'71 Rivvy Black and Gold.

    '85 Regal triple gold 40k mi.
    Love your country, fear your government, drink more beer
    I pledge allegiance, not blind obedience!!!!
    You can't trust a man who never curses

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Manitoba, Canada
    Posts
    5,481

    Talking Re: What temp do you plug in the block heater?

    Quote Originally Posted by Poppaluv View Post
    I wondered what that plug was for on Brandy's Wagoneer.....

    About 76* here...
    You better check into this further, since it probably came with the extremely rare 120 volt "factory AC precooling" option. I'll bet some previous owner absconded with it.


    Tom B
    65 Gran Sport 4 speed, dual quad.
    04 Explorer Eddie Bauer.

    There's no such thing as a free lunch. Get used to it.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Alberta, Canada
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    4,066

    Default Re: What temp do you plug in the block heater?

    -20 C (-5 f) Most of the newer vehicles have cords with built in thermostats and won't let power through until -18 anyway (go ahead, change the cord, the vehicle software does sensor checks on startup and anything above -18 C without temp and iat matching within limits will throw codes and put vehicle in safe mode whihc is usually cooling fans full on..LOL).

    Crazy weather. Just over a week ago I had the convertible out, today we are at -30 C (-22 f) with a foot of snow, slippery roads and snowdrifts...
    BPG Member #1023
    71 GS Stage 1 hardtop
    72 GS 350 ragtop
    http://members.shaw.ca/ritc1

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Twin Cities, MN
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    6,432

    Default Re: What temp do you plug in the block heater?

    Fuel injection and computer controls have kind of taken the challenge out of starting a car at those temps.
    I used to just hook up a charger to the battery so I would have a hot batttery in the morning.
    Dale

    Current Buicks...None. :-(
    Past Buicks. '66 Riv / '70 Rivs (2) / '90 Riv / '72 Skylark / '72 LeSabre / '72 Electra / '96 LeSabre / '92 Park Ave. / '96 Riviera.

    "The guy who invented the first wheel was an idiot. The guy who invented the other three, he was a genius.". Sid Caesar

  17. #17
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    Default Re: What temp do you plug in the block heater?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dale View Post
    Fuel injection and computer controls have kind of taken the challenge out of starting a car at those temps.
    I used to just hook up a charger to the battery so I would have a hot batttery in the morning.
    I always thought it was more about protecting the engine, using less fuel to warm it up, and getting the car interior warm faster....
    BPG Member #1023
    71 GS Stage 1 hardtop
    72 GS 350 ragtop
    http://members.shaw.ca/ritc1

  18. #18
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    Mar 2004
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    Edmonton Alberta
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    13,592

    Default Re: What temp do you plug in the block heater?

    Quote Originally Posted by TimR View Post
    I always thought it was more about protecting the engine, using less fuel to warm it up, and getting the car interior warm faster....
    True words from the great white north LOL!
    __________________________________________________ ________________________________________
    My book called Small Block Buick Performance covering the V6, 215, 300, 340, and Buick 350 engines will be released soon.

    http://www.v8buick.com/forumdisplay....rformance-Book
    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ _________________________________
    1970 Buick Skylark 350 street/strip with 6 point cage: Custom tube headers feed Twin T3/T4 Turbochargers, Holley 650, sheet metal single plane intake, heavily ported iron heads with oversized valves, mild Poston 114 camshaft (2800-6000 RPM), Diamond forged pistons on Hershe forged rods, balanced, ARP everywhere, dual 3" exhaust, Paddle shifted 4L80E 4 speed overdrive, Moser 12 bolt with 3.42 gear.

  19. #19
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    Jun 2008
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    Ely, NV
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    3,398

    Default Re: What temp do you plug in the block heater?

    I haven't worried about it. We get weeks on end with the morning temp below 10*F, forecasting -2*F tonight.

    I mostly drive my beater jeep, but haven't noticed any issue starting the Buick's, or oil pressure delay issues using 10w-30 oil.
    The Silver Buick- '77 Skylark coupe w/455, SPX, MegaSquirt 2 & TKO-600 (Drag Week 2011!), '72 Centurion Conv't - 455w/TH400, '67 T-bird 4Dr (suicide) w/428, MegaSquirt 1 & C6. '69 Firebird replaced, now building a Pontiac Turbo L6!

    My Skylark thread
    http://www.v8buick.com/showthread.php?t=208168
    My Pontiac OHC Six thread.
    http://www.v8buick.com/showthread.php?t=219250

    I'm just a regular guy that fuel injected an old Buick and Thunderbird.

  20. #20
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    Twin Cities, MN
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    6,432

    Default Re: What temp do you plug in the block heater?

    Quote Originally Posted by TimR View Post
    I always thought it was more about protecting the engine, using less fuel to warm it up, and getting the car interior warm faster....
    Yeah, that too.
    No, I agree a block heater would make it easier on the wear and tear.

    Back when I was about 20 years old, I once started my '72 LeSabre at around -20*F, and started to smell burning rubber.
    Shut it off and opened the hood to find all my belts melted in 2.
    The water pump had froze solid, and the lower pulley spun the belts in 1/2.
    She fired right off though.

    My Father used to talk about how back in the 30's and 40's they would put a pan of hot charcoal briquettes under the engine, and a blanket over the engine.
    Dale

    Current Buicks...None. :-(
    Past Buicks. '66 Riv / '70 Rivs (2) / '90 Riv / '72 Skylark / '72 LeSabre / '72 Electra / '96 LeSabre / '92 Park Ave. / '96 Riviera.

    "The guy who invented the first wheel was an idiot. The guy who invented the other three, he was a genius.". Sid Caesar

  21. #21
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    Default Re: What temp do you plug in the block heater?

    Quote Originally Posted by TimR View Post
    I always thought it was more about protecting the engine, using less fuel to warm it up, and getting the car interior warm faster....
    Interesting, but here's my take on that (also from the cold white north )

    My first car, 1966 Galaxie with a 289 started almost every time without being plugged in. The coldest overnight temp it ever saw was -43 C, not plugged in, and it started.

    My 73 T-Bird, with a 460 engine would start every time at -35 C up to about -38 C not plugged in. As long as turned over, it would start. I never concerned myself with things like oil circulation, or warming the interior up. Once they started, I'd usually drive slowly away within 30 seconds. i can tell you that leather seats are not comfortable in -35 C temps though.

    I have also had a few duds, 70 Chrysler Newport would start at -28 C, but not at -29 C weird. Also a 71 Ford Galaxie that came without a block heater (it was a Quebec car) that was useless in anything below -20 C, even after I installed a circulation heater, Got rid of that one quick. 65 Valiant, leaning tower of (no)power, similar to the Newport.

    My current truck a 96 Chev Z-71 has not failed to start in winter in more than 8 years!


    Tom B
    65 Gran Sport 4 speed, dual quad.
    04 Explorer Eddie Bauer.

    There's no such thing as a free lunch. Get used to it.

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
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    Alberta, Canada
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    4,066

    Default Re: What temp do you plug in the block heater?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mister T View Post
    I never concerned myself with things like oil circulation, or warming the interior up.
    !
    Are you the guy going down the highway with only a plate sized defrosted section in the windshield?

    I've never had a car that wouldn't start, that's not really the issue. But why hammer the engine for no good reason with a -30 C start if you have a plug in close by? Same reason I switched to synthetic for my daily driver 2007 Sierra, you can HEAR it crank over faster in the cold stuff, and the oil pressure gauge isn't pegged on high for 10 minutes once started.

    Anyway, getting tired of the cold already.
    BPG Member #1023
    71 GS Stage 1 hardtop
    72 GS 350 ragtop
    http://members.shaw.ca/ritc1

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    Ely, NV
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    3,398

    Default Re: What temp do you plug in the block heater?

    Hmm, change that, looking like -10*F to -15*F tonight instead =P
    The Silver Buick- '77 Skylark coupe w/455, SPX, MegaSquirt 2 & TKO-600 (Drag Week 2011!), '72 Centurion Conv't - 455w/TH400, '67 T-bird 4Dr (suicide) w/428, MegaSquirt 1 & C6. '69 Firebird replaced, now building a Pontiac Turbo L6!

    My Skylark thread
    http://www.v8buick.com/showthread.php?t=208168
    My Pontiac OHC Six thread.
    http://www.v8buick.com/showthread.php?t=219250

    I'm just a regular guy that fuel injected an old Buick and Thunderbird.

  24. #24
    Join Date
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    Manitoba, Canada
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    5,481

    Default Re: What temp do you plug in the block heater?

    Quote Originally Posted by TimR View Post
    Are you the guy going down the highway with only a plate sized defrosted section in the windshield?

    Anyway, getting tired of the cold already.
    Who, me?? No, I am not one of those people. Opening the drivers window an inch or two helps keep the windshield clear in most cases. If the windshield does fog up, I will pull over until it clears. Keeping it clean inside also helps.

    I am already tiring of this weather too, and it's another month until Christmas yet.


    Tom B
    65 Gran Sport 4 speed, dual quad.
    04 Explorer Eddie Bauer.

    There's no such thing as a free lunch. Get used to it.

  25. #25
    Join Date
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    Default Re: What temp do you plug in the block heater?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mister T View Post
    If the windshield does fog up, I will pull over until it clears. Keeping it clean inside also helps.
    gee thanks for the tips....

    (people get killed on the side of the road here, its true Alberta drivers are the worst, add in snow, ice and cold and look out)
    BPG Member #1023
    71 GS Stage 1 hardtop
    72 GS 350 ragtop
    http://members.shaw.ca/ritc1

 

 
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