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Old 01-28-2006, 00:01   #1 (permalink)
eastwardbound2003@yahoo.com
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Ford Focus Engine Block Heater

Help. I have a cousine who moved to Anchorage Alaska. He and his dad
bought a used 2003 Ford Focus. He does not know where the cord for the
engine block heater is. His new apartment parking lot has a plug on
the wall where he can plug in his car.

Does every new car sold in Alaska come with a block heater?

I did my research on it and found out that it's actually a "freeze plug
heater" that keeps the engine coolant warmed and it takes the place of
the freeze plug on the engine block itself. My cousine isn't good with
cars so he might need a mechanic. What would be a resonable price for
the installation of such an item in the Anchorage metro area?

Should the heater be placed on a timer or should it just be pluged in
so long as it's freezing outside and the car is parked? It's an
apartment so he only "indirectly" pays for electricity which is
included in the rent.

Does this heater really extend engine life? Is it worth the hassle?



TIA!
East-

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Old 01-28-2006, 09:01   #2 (permalink)
Dave Gower
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Re: Ford Focus Engine Block Heater


<eastwardbound2003@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:1138431599.793228.257340@g47g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
> Help. I have a cousine who moved to Anchorage Alaska. He and his dad
> bought a used 2003 Ford Focus. He does not know where the cord for the
> engine block heater is. His new apartment parking lot has a plug on
> the wall where he can plug in his car.

....> Should the heater be placed on a timer or should it just be pluged in
> so long as it's freezing outside and the car is parked? It's an
> apartment so he only "indirectly" pays for electricity which is
> included in the rent.
>
> Does this heater really extend engine life? Is it worth the hassle?


My Focus (Ontario) has it's block heater cord running beside the battery and
out through the grill. He could check down between the battery and the
fender to see if there's a cord there.

Anchorage is a coastal town, so if his car will only needs to be started
there, a block heater may not really be necessary. Quite honestly, I think
the two most important things for cold weather starting are
a) synthetic oil, which does not gel up in the cold like regular oil and
b) a battery warmer. A warm battery will turn over a cold motor, but a
frozen battery won't turn a squirrel wheel. It draws so little current
(maybe 80 watts) that you can leave it in all night. If the car isn't facing
into the wind, it also helps to warm the rest of the engine compartment.


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Old 01-28-2006, 11:01   #3 (permalink)
eastwardbound2003@yahoo.com
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Re: Ford Focus Engine Block Heater

That's funny. I was told the opposite. The block heater is more
important than the battery warmer up to a certain extent until it's
cold enough to need to keep the whole engine bay warm.


East-

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Old 01-28-2006, 16:01   #4 (permalink)
Michael Heiming
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Re: Ford Focus Engine Block Heater

In alt.autos.ford.focus eastwardbound2003@yahoo.com:
> Help. I have a cousine who moved to Anchorage Alaska. He and his dad
> bought a used 2003 Ford Focus. He does not know where the cord for the
> engine block heater is. His new apartment parking lot has a plug on
> the wall where he can plug in his car.


> Does every new car sold in Alaska come with a block heater?


Dunno, but your cousin could just ask the next Ford dealer and
let him check if the car has one at all. The owners manual should
have additional info.

> I did my research on it and found out that it's actually a "freeze plug
> heater" that keeps the engine coolant warmed and it takes the place of
> the freeze plug on the engine block itself. My cousine isn't good with
> cars so he might need a mechanic. What would be a resonable price for
> the installation of such an item in the Anchorage metro area?


> Should the heater be placed on a timer or should it just be pluged in
> so long as it's freezing outside and the car is parked? It's an
> apartment so he only "indirectly" pays for electricity which is
> included in the rent.


A waste of energy, I'd use a timer or some remote control,
perhaps starting with an hour before taking off and checking if
this is enough or even to much. Depends on how much energy the
heater uses and the temperature, so you have to find it out.

> Does this heater really extend engine life? Is it worth the hassle?


Yep, but even more important the heating can be used immediately
and fuel consumption drops down a little bit.

Good luck

BTW
Please try below URL(s) before answering, most people aren't
using a browser here to read/write, this is usenet.

http://www.safalra.com/special/googlegroupsreply
http://cfaj.freeshell.org/google
--
Michael Heiming (X-PGP-Sig > GPG-Key ID: EDD27B94)
mail: echo zvpunry@urvzvat.qr | perl -pe 'y/a-z/n-za-m/'
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Old 01-28-2006, 17:01   #5 (permalink)
Henri
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Re: Ford Focus Engine Block Heater

Have him check the engine below the intake manifold, (firewall side) it
should have a bock heater installed in block, center frost plug.. He will
need the car on a hoist or stands to be able to see if there is one.
Most domestic products for the North have block heaters installed by the
factory. The usual aftermarket cost to install a block heater is around
$80.00.Maybe the cord is missing??


<eastwardbound2003@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:1138431599.793228.257340@g47g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
Help. I have a cousine who moved to Anchorage Alaska. He and his dad
bought a used 2003 Ford Focus. He does not know where the cord for the
engine block heater is. His new apartment parking lot has a plug on
the wall where he can plug in his car.

Does every new car sold in Alaska come with a block heater?

I did my research on it and found out that it's actually a "freeze plug
heater" that keeps the engine coolant warmed and it takes the place of
the freeze plug on the engine block itself. My cousine isn't good with
cars so he might need a mechanic. What would be a resonable price for
the installation of such an item in the Anchorage metro area?

Should the heater be placed on a timer or should it just be pluged in
so long as it's freezing outside and the car is parked? It's an
apartment so he only "indirectly" pays for electricity which is
included in the rent.

Does this heater really extend engine life? Is it worth the hassle?



TIA!
East-


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Old 01-28-2006, 18:01   #6 (permalink)
eastwardbound2003@yahoo.com
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Re: Ford Focus Engine Block Heater

$80 sounds really good. I got the price quote from Ford and they
wanted $250 - $275 for parts and labor! Maybe an independent mechanic
with experience on such an installation is a better choice.


East-

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Old 01-29-2006, 06:01   #7 (permalink)
Dave Gower
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Re: Ford Focus Engine Block Heater


<eastwardbound2003@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:1138471932.286920.95440@g43g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
> That's funny. I was told the opposite. The block heater is more
> important than the battery warmer up to a certain extent until it's
> cold enough to need to keep the whole engine bay warm.


With regular oil that's more true. Probably your alternate source was not
familiar with synthetic.


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Old 01-29-2006, 15:01   #8 (permalink)
eastwardbound2003@yahoo.com
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Re: Ford Focus Engine Block Heater


Dave Gower wrote:
> <eastwardbound2003@yahoo.com> wrote in message
> news:1138471932.286920.95440@g43g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
> > That's funny. I was told the opposite. The block heater is more
> > important than the battery warmer up to a certain extent until it's
> > cold enough to need to keep the whole engine bay warm.

>
> With regular oil that's more true. Probably your alternate source was not
> familiar with synthetic.




I don't believe you. Sure it helps if there is no engine oil jelling.
BUT what about the fact that the whole engine block is basically inside
a freezer icebox at -20 degrees. At that temperature the metal engine
block will contract in size from the cold causing the pistons inside to
scrape against the cylinder walls upon cold start up. It will take a
minute for two until the metal engine block expands in size to where
it's supposed to be at.


East-

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Old 01-29-2006, 18:01   #9 (permalink)
Dave Gower
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Re: Ford Focus Engine Block Heater


<eastwardbound2003@yahoo.com> wrote

> I don't believe you. Sure it helps if there is no engine oil jelling.
> BUT what about the fact that the whole engine block is basically inside
> a freezer icebox at -20 degrees. At that temperature the metal engine
> block will contract in size from the cold causing the pistons inside to
> scrape against the cylinder walls upon cold start up.


Auto mechanics 101. Pistons are never supposed to touch the cylinder walls.
Piston rings do, and they are under spring tension, to keep a reasonable
seal. That's why it's important to have oil that can flow even from cold.


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Old 01-29-2006, 22:01   #10 (permalink)
Tony Wesley
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Re: Ford Focus Engine Block Heater

eastwardbound2003@yahoo.com wrote:

> I don't believe you. Sure it helps if there is no engine oil jelling.
> BUT what about the fact that the whole engine block is basically inside
> a freezer icebox at -20 degrees. At that temperature the metal engine
> block will contract in size from the cold causing the pistons inside to
> scrape against the cylinder walls upon cold start up.


If the pistons are scraping against the cylinder wall, I think you've
ruined an engine.

I think the lowest I've ever had to deal with was -14 F. Overnight, I
put a trouble light under the hood and a blanket or tarp around the
fenders to try and keep as much heat in as possible. Just before going
to bed, I went out and started the car, ran the engine for 10 or 15
minues to warm it up.

But that was Michigan, not Alaska.

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