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 Block heater...good idea, bad idea, just plum stupid?

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Brianator
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PostSubject: Block heater...good idea, bad idea, just plum stupid?   Block heater...good idea, bad idea, just plum stupid? Icon_minitimeJune 4th 2021, 10:57 pm

Before you start typing, yes I know it’s 80 degrees outside. I am very very (did I say very) slow with projects and I like to be prepared. That and I have nothing better to do, and thoughts of cool weather aren’t the worst right now.

Now, last winter I used my tractor for snowblowing quite regularly. This worked well but it was very very iffy trying to start the old girl in anything less than 20 degrees. For reference I have a 20 horse vanguard horizontal and I run conventional 10w30 year round because Briggs rates it for temperatures down to 0 degrees. By the time it gets below that it’s too Block heater...good idea, bad idea, just plum stupid? 252588580 cold for me to blow snow especially with the bad circulation in my fingers. It’s all fun and games until you can’t clutch the steering wheel tightly anymore. lol!


Point being, I am wondering if a small adhesive silicone block heater mounted to the bottom of the sump would be a good idea. Or should I just switch to 5-30 synthetic since it would flow better? Or both? This is the heater in question I was considering. https://www.amazon.com/Kats-24025-Watt-Universal-Heater/dp/B000I8XDBM/ref=sr_1_5?crid=30K823ED7ENYM&dchild=1&keywords=silicone+block+heater&qid=1622861456&sprefix=Silicone+block+hea%2Caps%2C167&sr=8-5My only concerns are that the gas tank is under the hood, but behind a heat shield. The plug would also be exposed to water and crap year round unless I could put it in a dummy plug or something.

Thoughts?
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PostSubject: Re: Block heater...good idea, bad idea, just plum stupid?   Block heater...good idea, bad idea, just plum stupid? Icon_minitimeJune 5th 2021, 1:41 am

I dunno if it would be beneficial.  Either way in the cold air it would be a hard start. You could always get a small heat blanket and throw it over.  Block heater...good idea, bad idea, just plum stupid? 1f604


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PostSubject: Re: Block heater...good idea, bad idea, just plum stupid?   Block heater...good idea, bad idea, just plum stupid? Icon_minitimeNovember 25th 2021, 4:22 pm

Thought I’d open this back up. Still open to input
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PostSubject: Re: Block heater...good idea, bad idea, just plum stupid?   Block heater...good idea, bad idea, just plum stupid? Icon_minitimeNovember 25th 2021, 9:02 pm

Up here in the Great white north I run 5w30 conventional in the winter. My tractor stays outside under a portable garage year round and I've never had much of an issue starting in even 0 to -5°F. With that being said all tractors are different but I feel that a good healthy battery with high CCA, 5w30 and sufficient warm up time before working it are essential. If I started having issues I suppose I would use a small heater to warm it up for 30 mins before starting or even drill a tiny hole just large enough for a spray straw in the air cleaner cover to spray a touch of brake clean in to get it to fire quick (because who wants to fiddle with removing installing the cover when it's cold out! Lol). I'm running a 10U1 battery with 340CCA in my Bolens, but she also doesn't have a EPA carb so I can enrich the settings for cold weather too.

I say go for it if it's going to make your life easier, I can't see it hurting anything! Lol


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PostSubject: Re: Block heater...good idea, bad idea, just plum stupid?   Block heater...good idea, bad idea, just plum stupid? Icon_minitimeNovember 25th 2021, 10:22 pm

I agree with Brianator, that's what I do and I'm in Western NY where it gets plenty cold. If you prefer a single oil year-round option, synthetic SAE 5W-30 "Best protection at all temperatures as well as improved starting with less oil consumption." -Briggs and Stratton

Of course, it can't hurt to try and that's what this community is all about. You could be the pioneer of the next "hot" mod. Pun intended Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Block heater...good idea, bad idea, just plum stupid?   Block heater...good idea, bad idea, just plum stupid? Icon_minitimeNovember 25th 2021, 11:39 pm

I have a small buddy heater for ice fishing i put under my dirt bikes a hour before i start them in the winter and they fire right up but uf i didnt it would take a long time to crank up
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PostSubject: Re: Block heater...good idea, bad idea, just plum stupid?   Block heater...good idea, bad idea, just plum stupid? Icon_minitimeNovember 25th 2021, 11:50 pm

As long as you don’t burn them down, it can’t hurt. I have a magnetic heater I used to stick on the tractor oil pan when it was real cold, but there’s no electricity in the tractor shed here so I don’t bother with it.
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PostSubject: Re: Block heater...good idea, bad idea, just plum stupid?   Block heater...good idea, bad idea, just plum stupid? Icon_minitimeNovember 27th 2021, 8:17 pm

Block heaters are pretty much just to thin the oil some on very cold days. Depending on how big the heater is will help light the fire easier in a gas engine. The one you noted would be just good enough to thin the oil to have it circulate easier in the cold on startup. After starting, then it is just there for the ride. You can have same results with the thinner oils these days. Better starting in the cold though would be the spark plugs job. Certain name brands don't throw a spark in very cold weather. Change spark plugs to a different brand and see what happens. I know this from experience. I even had to use a propane torch to heat the spark plugs up enough to have them through a spark. Plus, colder weather means the fuel takes longer to vaporize. Which means when first cranking with choke on will pull liquid gas into the cylinders, wait a minute for the fuel to vaporize, then crank the motor over again for the vaporized fuel to light off. Should help alot in the cold and keep the engine from flooding.
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PostSubject: Re: Block heater...good idea, bad idea, just plum stupid?   Block heater...good idea, bad idea, just plum stupid? Icon_minitime

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