Installed engine block heater... not bad [Archive] - Chevy TrailBlazer, TrailBlazer SS and GMC Envoy Forum

: Installed engine block heater... not bad


MichEnvoyBoy
09-21-2006, 09:48 PM
http://img216.imageshack.us/img216/1263/blockheaterhn0.jpg

I ordered a GM block heater (what else? lol) for my 2002 Envoy, 4.2L I6. I live in the Detroit area, and I know what you are thinking - it doesnt get "that" cold here. But I do go up to northern Michigan in the winter alot and there have been times where its so cold in January-February (-30F or more) that the truck will barely crank over and doesnt build oil pressure for like 15 seconds, even though I use semi-syn 5w-30

So I found a block heater for around $30 and tackled it tonite. Heres what you will need:

1- 14mm allen socket (Autozone sells for $9.99)
1- very long 1/2" extension (16" or so)
1- 1/2" swivel socket
1- 1/2" breaker bar or ratchet (I used breaker bar)

The plug is on the drivers side of the engine that has to be removed. Its not your typical "freeze plug" its threaded into the block and takes a 14mm allen socket to remove. Its a PITA royally. You have to have arms like an ethiopian to get up through the frame and move around. But once you get the drivers side wheel off and see what you've got to work with, you will figure it out. There is a rubber flap towards the firewall side of the wheelwell - this is the best access spot, IMO. In front of the strut- towards the radiator- you can get your 1/2" extension through. You have to put the 14mm socket into the plug first. You'll see what I mean/ :crazy:

I believe its loc-tited from the factory because a very significant amount of force had to be used - I actually had to get a 2' piece of steel pipe over the breaker bar handle and sweat my nuts off to get it to budge.

After that, I let about 1 gallon of dex-crap drain out and contorted my body to get the block heater itself into the block. BE CAREFUL as to not crossthread!! You will be in a world of ca-ca if you cross thread this job. The new block heater comes with some sealant of some type on the threads from GM. It advises not to use anything on the threads and not to over-tighten.

After you get the actual block heater threaded into the block, you can install the wiring harness, which- Thank You Mr. Goodwrench- was the easiest part. It comes pre-clipped so that it clips right onto the main engine harness coming up towards the battery. Then it clips on with 2 acorn screws onto the back of your battery cover, and the cord itself is tucked within this little plastic "box".

All in all, it took about 1.5 hours from beginning to end. I look forward to using it this winter! :D It seems like a very nicely made (not cheap) part. I recommend this to anybody who lives in the north or midwest, or any part of the Country where it gets really cold.

FYI, I bought it here:
http://gmc.autowebaccessories.com/

The shipping was pretty quick and I believe I paid about $30. I also bought a GM battery warmer :eek: :D I know, I went a little buck-wild with the accessories but what the heck, who doesnt love to add kewl stuff to their 'Voy! :)

-MichEnvoyBoy

Crossroader
09-21-2006, 10:21 PM
So you didn't remove the PCM to access the freezeplug?

I have the instructions for the 02 TB from alldatadiy showing the PCM being removed to access the freezeplug.

I'm going to putting one on later. IMO,an engine heater is essential to living in extremely cold climates. Never had a problem with the battery, but it's nice to have a warm battery too! :D

MichEnvoyBoy
09-21-2006, 10:39 PM
I tried it that way, total waste of time. You cannot see a thing from the top of the engine, irregardless of removing the PCM or not.

From the drivers wheelwell you can see everything head on.

LineNoise
09-21-2006, 10:43 PM
Boy I am glad whoever owned the truck before me ordered this from the factory.

It does make a difference, I only used it on the REALLY cold days and I had near instant heat.

I didn't use it enough and didn't have the truck long enough to notice a difference on starting or anything.

Crossroader
09-21-2006, 10:46 PM
I tried it that way, total waste of time. You cannot see a thing from the top of the engine, irregardless of removing the PCM or not.

From the drivers wheelwell you can see everything head on.

Interesting. Definitely will be keeping this is mind when I tackle it. Thanks for the writeup.

Toyuzu
09-21-2006, 11:53 PM
If you find a vehicle here without one, you can be sure it was shipped or driven here from somewhere further south. All the vehicles sold locally by Alaskan dealers have them already installed. Most of the major businesses have electrical boxes in their parking lots to plug into also.

rbarrios
09-22-2006, 01:27 PM
so when you guys plug these in, you pop the hood? or have it hanging from somewhere?
I guess it keeps the coolant warm? and thus heats the block too?
Sounds like a neat device for you cold weather people...

MichEnvoyBoy
09-22-2006, 01:30 PM
As far as I can see, the AC cord would slide right through the grille slats. Well, that is unless you have the "denali" grille, I could see you would have a hard time squeezing it through those little holes :D

And yes, it will heat the coolant therefore keeping the engine block, and hence the engine warm. It doesnt heat it too much- you arent going to see operating temps of 200F or anything, but it will keep things alittle warmer. It looks just like an electric hot water heater element except its a stubby.

LineNoise
09-22-2006, 01:53 PM
As far as I can see, the AC cord would slide right through the grille slats. Well, that is unless you have the "denali" grille, I could see you would have a hard time squeezing it through those little holes :D

In the winter I pull the grill and feed the cord through and let sit out on the bumper. It's a short cord, that's the only way I could do it.

MichEnvoyBoy
09-22-2006, 02:14 PM
Thanks for the tip!

chunn7
09-22-2006, 02:23 PM
Just reading this thread makes me depressed. I'm sooooooo NOT ready for winter. :no: :cry:

jimmyjam
09-22-2006, 02:26 PM
Really glad I'll never need one of these but great write up none the less!

MichEnvoyBoy
09-22-2006, 02:34 PM
Really glad I'll never need one of these but great write up none the less!

You never know.... with global warming and all :x :D

Toyuzu
09-22-2006, 11:51 PM
so when you guys plug these in, you pop the hood? or have it hanging from somewhere?
I guess it keeps the coolant warm? and thus heats the block too?
Sounds like a neat device for you cold weather people...

Here's a couple pics to show you the normal way here in AK. The first is obviously my Trailblazer, the second is my old Chevy truck. It has two chords because it has separately installed block heater (freeze plug) and a heating element on the bottom of the oil pan.

http://img11.picsplace.to/img10/16/blockheat.jpg

http://img11.picsplace.to/img10/16/blockheat2.jpg

likes2race
09-23-2006, 12:31 AM
Great write up MichEnvoyBoy!!

I have been thinking of doing the same thing to mine. Wouldn't need to use it as much as you would, but in Jan and Feb it has been known to get below zero down here in West Virginia and it would be nice to have....just in case!!

Haven't found a spot to mount it on the Envoy yet, but on my class 7 Freightliner, they have a recepticle; just under the driver's door mounted on the step for us to "plug" our trucks in. It has the male "plug" mounted in it with a spring loaded cover to keep out dirt and moisture; similar to your trailer hitch plug. Any large truck dealer should have one in stock to mount and wire the block heater to; would make a very clean install I believe! You would just need a donor extension cord with the "female" recepticle and the length of wire to run from the block heater cord to where ever you would desire to mount the "plug in". This would keep you from having to pop the hood everytime you needed it or have the plug hanging from somewhere.

MTPockets
09-23-2006, 08:48 AM
Engine heaters are nice to have. When 'factory installed' on TB's, does it just come with the plug-in dangling in the engine compartment? On my windstar (brownstar as I like to call her:o ) It's got a little spring loaded weather tight cap/door under the front bumper to plug in the block heater. Didn't even know it was there 'till after I bought it (used, from Canada). Nice clean OEM setup for once.

Joel

Toyuzu
09-23-2006, 02:45 PM
A setup like that would certainly make more sense from an aesthetic standpoint, but for some reason I haven't seen any like that here. They all just hang out from under the hood, or protrude through the grill.

ScarabEpic22
09-23-2006, 11:58 PM
Engine heaters are nice to have. When 'factory installed' on TB's, does it just come with the plug-in dangling in the engine compartment? On my windstar (brownstar as I like to call her:o ) It's got a little spring loaded weather tight cap/door under the front bumper to plug in the block heater. Didn't even know it was there 'till after I bought it (used, from Canada). Nice clean OEM setup for once.

Joel

They come tucked in a pouch behind the battery (between the connections) that you pull the cord out of and plug in.

Dacomputernerd
09-24-2006, 12:11 AM
+1 for canada :D

We all have em in our trailvoys up here :yes: :D

Toyuzu
09-24-2006, 01:11 PM
They come tucked in a pouch behind the battery (between the connections) that you pull the cord out of and plug in.

That would be a problem here. We plug in all the time - in the parking lot at the store, whenever we park. Noone would want to have to open the hood every time. I could understand if you were only plugging it in at night though.

Dacomputernerd
09-24-2006, 01:21 PM
That would be a problem here. We plug in all the time - in the parking lot at the store, whenever we park. Noone would want to have to open the hood every time. I could understand if you were only plugging it in at night though.

You can just leave the cord hanging out. I think Erik ment to say the pouch is only for long term storage.

I had the cord out last winter, but we ended up not using it, and the orange looks fugly to me :m2: If i paint it blue or somthing that would be cool to leave out :undecided

ScarabEpic22
09-24-2006, 03:48 PM
That would be a problem here. We plug in all the time - in the parking lot at the store, whenever we park. Noone would want to have to open the hood every time. I could understand if you were only plugging it in at night though.

You can just leave the cord hanging out. I think Erik ment to say the pouch is only for long term storage.

I had the cord out last winter, but we ended up not using it, and the orange looks fugly to me :m2: If i paint it blue or somthing that would be cool to leave out :undecided

I was saying thats how it comes from the factory, you can have it hang out or whatever you like. For me, it only gets below freezing for a few months and I have never needed a heater.

arty-bum
09-24-2006, 04:04 PM
ya as ugly as it is i leave it out too. i use it whenever there is a plug in available. it is definetely a must here in sask. just remember to unplug before driving.....:x

MichEnvoyBoy
09-24-2006, 08:36 PM
Well I should add that I also bought a GM Goodwrench battery warmer. I thought "Crap, I'll be the only Envoy owner in Michigan with a block heater AND a battery warmer :D "

And to you peace making (and keeping!) Canadians, both parts - the block heater and the battery warmer were ironically products of "GM Canada" :)

jleblanc2004
11-19-2007, 10:17 PM
so after days of confusion and about 10 trips to the part store and countless times reading the instructions the so called "14MM freeze plug" Is actually 17MM:duh: I just thought id pass this along in case anyone trying to install one :thumbsup:

jaydub09
12-07-2008, 12:48 AM
That's cool and all but has anyone ever had one installed at a dealer? My 2005 came without one and I'm not too ambitious to put it in myself. Mostly because it's 10 degrees out but it's also got two more years left on the powertrain warranty. If anyone has; how much was the install?

McKinley
12-07-2008, 03:54 PM
where you guys getting these at? i live in northern michigan and think it wouldnt be a bad idea...especially with the turbocharger that's going on it...get everything warmed up sooner...

jaydub09
12-07-2008, 04:59 PM
...Turbo? Kit or not?

McKinley
12-07-2008, 11:04 PM
no one makes a turbo kit.... no one has got one to run under boost yet.... its allll custom...

jaydub09
12-08-2008, 12:02 AM
A turbo'd trailblazer would be great. I can only imagine it equaling the 6.0L SS? Maybe a little less. Do you have another thread open with details of this project or just a new idea?

McKinley
12-10-2008, 12:08 PM
yah there is a thread....its not an idea....my trailblazer is hanging up on rack right now getting worked on... its coming...very slowly...but surelly...

hatchet669
12-10-2008, 12:37 PM
no one has got one to run under boost yet.... its allll custom...

no a couple of people have turbos... and when i say a couple i mean like 2-3... i have a list of photos from one persons turbo install... just takes alot of work and the pcm doesnt like it...

ScarabEpic22
12-10-2008, 02:24 PM
no a couple of people have turbos... and when i say a couple i mean like 2-3... i have a list of photos from one persons turbo install... just takes alot of work and the pcm doesnt like it...

He knows that, just means no one has got it to work using ONLY GM electronics on the 02-05 P10 I6s. The 06+s should be a TON easier, but looks like a PCM swap from 02-05 to an 06 isnt possible. Seriously wish I could get an 08+ I6 with the E67 ECM to play with, could probably get that thing turboed pretty dang quickly. But if I were to spend that much $$ Id just get an SS instead.

buggzy14
12-03-2011, 01:51 PM
Where do you find the block heater on a 2005 trailblazer ext. I have the cord but it's not plug into the bolck heater.

the roadie
12-03-2011, 03:24 PM
Where do you find the block heater on a 2005 trailblazer ext. I have the cord but it's not plug into the bolck heater.I think the answer is in post #1. Did you look at that location already and not find it?

ghoster
12-03-2011, 08:27 PM
:cool:

Wex
12-03-2011, 09:18 PM
Coolant heater. I6

EwingJK
01-21-2012, 03:46 PM
I just finished this installation. Thanks for the heads-up about going in from the wheel well. Great information :thumbsup:

For some odd reason, the plug on my TB was 16mm Allen Hex, not 14mm. It only took me about an hour of poking the 14mm in the hole to finally figure that out. I didn't realize the hex was actually going into the hole. I had to go out this morning to buy the right hex. Even the instructions that came with the block heater said the plug was 14mm. Go figure :crazy:.

The concept is pretty simple, but execution is a PITA. All the wire looms and tubing in the way is a real obstacle. I had to cut a couple of wire-ties and move the looms out of the way. It's amazing how much difference 3/8" makes when trying to screw in the block heater. At least it's cone now and hopefully it will work in the -30 deg. C temperatures we've been having the past week. Fortunately, I park in the garage at night. However, during the day the TB is parked outside totally exposed. So far it has started every time, but there is definate whining from the engine and difficulty shifting into reverse & drive until the engine warms up a little. Hopefully the block heater will help with that.