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This may have been covered before, but I couldn't find anything. Tuesday night it was pretty cold (for this area) @ 20*f, and I did not plug in the block heater. I let the truck run for about 10 minutes and drove about 4 miles before I got decent heat coming in to work. Wednesday night it was not as cold(35*f), but I set the timer Wed morning for the heater to run for about 3 hours prior to starting my truck to come in to work. I figured I may as well try it out. I unplugged the heater and started my truck. After starting, the engine idled funny for about 10-15 seconds(normal, slow, normal, etc) and the volt meter was going up and down between approx 11 v and normal causing lights and everything to cycle from normal to dim and so on. Is this normal for first time use of the heater or was it caused by the glow plugs cycling or something else. I did wait until the wait to start light went out as always. I also always shut off the auto headlights as soon as I turn the key on to limit extra draw on the batteries while the glow plugs are cycling. TIA for any help/reassurance.Edited by: flhrciblueice
 

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I usually plug my truck in if it will be below 30f. When I do I use a timer for 4 hours before I will use the truck. I first uplug the truck, the glow plug lights for about 1 second, and the truck starts fine with no rough startup. I drive for about 10 miles before the truck gets up to 190 degrees. When the real cold weather gets here I put on the top grill cover and the truck runs even better. Hope that was of some help.
 

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FLH,


Same here. I use the heater on a 4 hour timer anytime the temp drops below 35*. I live in Evansville, IN, just a tad north of KY and I haven't needed the grill cover yet. I have even been to W.Va. without the cover and no problems. The truck would probably be fine without the heater, but it does save the battery and starter. My 2 penny's worth.


JP
 

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where is the heater plug at? ive looked all over the frontside of the truck and i havent seen anything that could be a plug. i dont have to use it often at all, but it would have gotten its use a couple mornings last winter. thankyee
 

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Prycer,


Look inside the front passenger side fender liner. It is tied back with wire ties inside some plastic flex tubing with a couple of other lines. I just removed the liner to help me get to it. I pulled it out of the tubing about 18"-24" and added some new flex tubing to it, then wire tied it in behind my passenger side tow hook. Whenever I want to use it, I just reach in behind the tow hook and pull it out to hook it up.
 

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flhrciblueice, I to have noticed every now and then that my truck will vary on idle on a cold start. Lights dimming and such. This has happened with and without using the block heater. It doesn't happen every time but it is there on occation. I live in Alaska and it has been -10 degrees the past few days and now we hit a warm spell of 18 degrees, almost our normal winter now.
Anyway, your not alone on this one. I think it is just the computer adjusting to a new startup, ie. cold, block heater or anything else. I have also wondered how the block heater might affect this. My assumption is that the block heater only heats a good portion of the block but you have to think about the coolant in the radiator sitting there at outside temps. When you start the motor all that warm coolant flows right to the radiator and the cold coolant from the radiator rushes into the block. Could this be a cause?



Another question I brought up before on this topic is leaving the block heater plugged in and starting the motor. Wouldn't that sudden gush of cold coolant flowing into the block run past that block heater and give it a sudden change of temperature and crack the heating element? Some said it would be safe, some said they do it all the time. I only asked because I recently installed a remote start and I didn't want to walk outside in -10 degrees to unplug it first, so I just started it. It still works but will it destroy the block heater eventually?


About you shutting off your headlights after you start the motor. I don't think you need to do that for the purpose of limiting draw on the batteries. The alternator you have on that is more then enough to keep both those batteries charged under full load and then some. I always shut mine off because my truck faces my neighbors house when I start up in the morning. I try not to wake them.


Jeff
 

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acehi, I shut the lights as soon as I turn the key on(prior to starting the motor) to lessen current draw while glow plugs are cycling. I know it probably wouldn't hurt anything and I do have the dual alternators. I guess you could blame it on me being an electrician by trade and I'm very particular(or would that be peculiar, lol).
I also turn them off to benefit the neighbors across the road. If you are worried about starting the engine with the block heater plugged in(I don't think I would do it for the same reason--particular), why not plug the heater into a timer and set it to turn off prior to starting your truck. Thanks for your input.
 

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Acehi,


I leave mine plugged in when I start it. That cold rush is going to happen if its plugged in when you start it or if you unplug it before you start it. Did you do your remote start or have it done.
 

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flhrciblueice, I do have it plugged into a timer basically to save on my electric bill. But setting it to shut off before I start the truck is difficult a lot of times. I am in the Air Force and I normally work nights but I am in charge of a few other programs that we do and there are days they will call me in just to do my purchases and other run-arounds they want me to do. But for the most part, my timer is set to turn on at 8:00am and to shut off at 2:00pm. My shift starts at 3:00pm and if I happen to have a good day I can leave the house at 2:15 after the block heater is turned off.


cwolfe, I installed it myself. Took me about 7 hours and a lot of re-reading. I had never installed a remote start before but I do have experience on installing custom stereo equipment and alarms. I figured it can't be to hard. If you don't have any experience with auto electrical systems I would not recommend doing it yourself. It can be confusing when your starring at 200 different wires under your dash.
 

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What brand did you get.
 

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I wouldn't worry too much about that "cold surge" because the thermostats are going to be closed when you start the engine, even with the block heater plugged in. The coolant is just going to run circles in the engine until it gets to normal operating temp, except of course for what goes to the heater core, but that's a small percentage.
 

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acehi, I think the only reason people say to unplug the heater before you start the truck is so you don't forget to unplug before taking off. I, myself, own a 1990 Ford with a 7.3 diesel thats plugged in when temps drop below 20. Anyways, the D-max gets plugged in when temps are at 0 or below. I usually unplug both before starting, but think that it won't hurt your heater.
 
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