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



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Go Back   Chevy TrailBlazer, TrailBlazer SS and GMC Envoy Forum > 2002 - 2009 TrailBlazer/Envoy Tech > 02-09 Vortec 4.2L I-6 Engine and Drivetrain > Engine Tunes/Mods

Engine Tunes/Mods Performance Engine Tuning/Engine Modifications

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  #1  
Old 09-21-2006, 08:48 PM
MichEnvoyBoy's Avatar
MichEnvoyBoy MichEnvoyBoy is offline
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Installed engine block heater... not bad



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/

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! 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 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
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  #2  
Old 09-21-2006, 09:21 PM
Crossroader Crossroader is offline
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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!
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Old 09-21-2006, 09:39 PM
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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.
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Old 09-21-2006, 09:43 PM
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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.
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Old 09-21-2006, 09:46 PM
Crossroader Crossroader is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichEnvoyBoy View Post
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.
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Old 09-21-2006, 10:53 PM
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Toyuzu Toyuzu is offline
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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.
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Old 09-22-2006, 12:27 PM
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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...
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Old 09-22-2006, 12:30 PM
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MichEnvoyBoy MichEnvoyBoy is offline
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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

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.
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Old 09-22-2006, 12:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichEnvoyBoy View Post
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
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.
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Old 09-22-2006, 01:14 PM
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Thanks for the tip!
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