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 Ford F250 5.4 block heater?

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willis923
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PostSubject: Ford F250 5.4 block heater?    Sat Dec 10, 2016 1:07 am

5.4 triton? block heater? What?! Why?!
yeah, I know, its a gasser, not NEEDED. The backstory....
Im a vol Firefighter here in Upstate NY. it gets PRETTY cold here in the winter months, so like.. now. (Next week we have a high of 7*, low of -3*F) Getting in a 0* truck, firing it up and immediately hammering down the road for a fire call is not the best thing for an already tired truck (2004 f250, 5.4 170,xxx miles)... I have a remote start that sometimes works, but still, its only running for maybe 90 seconds (just enough time for me to get dressed and boots on) and then im off. not nearly enough warm up time. Today I picked up a Katz 200 watt magnetic heater and fired it on the oil pan. I figure warm oil is better than nothing (BTW, i'm running Mobil1 full synthetic 5W-20 with a Wix filter- usually I run a purolator ONEpure filter, got a box of free filters from a buddy so i'm using them up) .. i just went out and checked on it, and the oil pan is barely warm to the touch (Ambient temp of 13*F) maybe i should get a bigger one? They make a 300 watt one too.
I'd like to get at least a LITTLE heat into the engine on these super cold nights. would it be worthwhile to put a freeze plug style heater in? just stick with the pan heater and send it? Im open to suggestions.
Keep in mind, i've never had issues starting it, always fires right up. sometimes its a bit grumpy but she always fires up. I want to do this strictly for sake of wear and tear and not beating on a stone cold engine.
So whats the best route? Pan heater? Lower rad hose heater? block heater? maybe even a circulation heater? or a combination of any...
Thanks in advance, if you have any questions, drop em below and ill try to answer them in a timely manner

BTW, I know this isnt tractor related, figured its still engine related so you guys might have some insight, i know we're all gearheads.
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Doug
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PostSubject: Re: Ford F250 5.4 block heater?    Sat Dec 10, 2016 2:27 am

I looked at the pad style pan heaters, and from what I read theyre basically useless unless you use it in an insulated garage. A freeze plug heater will work best since it will conduct through the coolant better and heat the upper part of the block where it counts.

I bought a NOCO AC Power Port and a Schumacher onboard battery maintainer so the battery is nice and ready to crank over when the trucks cold. I didnt get to it this year (due to my injuries) but planned a freeze plug style (or 2) heater upgrade. That way the port is always easy to get to, sealed, and no pesky wires to eat slush. Probably be your best combination.

Also got a 50', lighted end, -40* extension cord. Love it.

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mr.modified
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PostSubject: Re: Ford F250 5.4 block heater?    Sat Dec 10, 2016 3:50 pm

Oil pan feeling barely warm when it is 13F out isn't too bad though. I mean what feels warm to touch 80-100 degrees? Pretty decent temperature difference.
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willis923
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PostSubject: Re: Ford F250 5.4 block heater?    Sat Dec 10, 2016 6:59 pm

@mr.modified wrote:
Oil pan feeling barely warm when it is 13F out isn't too bad though. I mean what feels warm to touch 80-100 degrees? Pretty decent temperature difference.

i had checked it this AM before I took off, and it was stone cold. only warm spot was directly above the heater and where it was attached. I think Doug is right, Freeze plug (or 2) is going to suit me the best. hopefully its not too bad to get to on these engines
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PostSubject: Re: Ford F250 5.4 block heater?    Sat Dec 10, 2016 8:42 pm

From what I read its not too bad, just messy and a waste of coolant. Do one at the left front and right rear or something is what I figure.

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prancstaman
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PostSubject: Re: Ford F250 5.4 block heater?    Sun Dec 11, 2016 5:21 pm

I learned this is school working on aircraft. It's all the same though. Best to heat the oil if possible. The most damage done on startup on a cold engine is all the bearing surfaces, chains and camshaft surfaces because the oil is thick and hard to push. Coolant isn't a problem unless you have the wrong mix, otherwise it is flowing just fine at any temp.

You said you was running 5w-20 and starts right up in the coldest of weather. That there seems like a good combo. 5w-20 is pretty thin oil and oil gets thick the colder it gets. Pull the dipstick out on one of those cold days, if it is dripping off the stick then I'd say you are good. Would be circulating fine on a cold start. If it doesn't drip to where it looks like it is too thick and doesn't move then a heater would be ideal for the oil to stay thin. You being a firefighter, might forget to unplug the heater, be worth it to check how thick it gets in the cold. It firing right up means you got a good set of plugs that fire in the cold.

As for those block heaters in the coolant freeze plugs, they do little to no use for the oil because the oil is about a foot away from anything warm. They are only good to ensure the engine fires on a cold start because they warm the cylinders and spark plugs. You still need to warm up the oil by waiting for the engine to warm the oil.

Easiest way to heat the oil if its a problem is buy one of those dipstick heaters. You pull the engine dipstick and replace it with the heater dipstick. Reaches right down into the oil which is what you want.
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willis923
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PostSubject: Re: Ford F250 5.4 block heater?    Sun Dec 11, 2016 10:05 pm

@prancstaman wrote:
You being a firefighter, might forget to unplug the heater  

lol, i thought about that, ive got the cord draped over my mirror, so i cant get in without tripping on it. probably end up with a bigger pan heater, and a freeze plug when i do the manifolds in the spring (if i keep the truck that long)
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TheGreenHornet
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PostSubject: Re: Ford F250 5.4 block heater?    Mon Dec 12, 2016 8:14 pm

Tired? at 170xxx miles? no way. Thats just getting broke in XD lol!
I have a 2006 chevy suburban with the 5.3 V8. it has a block heater in it. i believe it has one like you have, just one on the bottom of the oil pan. ive only used it once lol. the only reason it has one is because it used to be a North Dakota vehicle. it had the same abuse yours does. Starting up when its extremely cold and hammering down the road. the block heater on mine is pretty effective.
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PostSubject: Re: Ford F250 5.4 block heater?    Tue Dec 13, 2016 7:09 pm

We have hade good luck with external tank engine heaters/Circulating Tank Heater.
 We Use them on the trucks and all the diesel tractors. In 40+ years we only had one mishap.

heater
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willis923
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PostSubject: Re: Ford F250 5.4 block heater?    Wed Dec 14, 2016 11:06 pm

ive been conversing on the Ford Truck Enthusiast forum with a few of their guys, i think my best route is going to be a 300w pan heater, AND a freeze plug heater. thanks for the input guys
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PostSubject: Re: Ford F250 5.4 block heater?    Wed Dec 14, 2016 11:28 pm

Best best option would be a garage

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PostSubject: Re: Ford F250 5.4 block heater?    Thu Dec 15, 2016 6:23 am

@Doug wrote:
Best best option would be a garage
LOL 6* outside 6* in the garage 60* in the house
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