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Block heaters, battery blankets etc. North Dakota

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Old 12-11-2011, 02:01 AM   #1
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Block heaters, battery blankets etc. North Dakota

New to the forums, hope I got this in the right place. I have a 2011 V6 Tacoma.

I just moved from toasty warm Oklahoma to North Dakota a couple weeks ago. Everyone keeps telling me I should get some combination of a block heater/battery blanket/oil pan warmer. Someone even suggested getting all three items. And someone else told me a new vehicle shouldn't need anything (I doubt this, as my Tacoma was clearly unhappy about starting in -2 degree F a couple days ago). So what is really necessary for handling -20ish degree weather?

My Tacoma will be parked at my work location for up to a week or longer without being started (unless you think I should start it more often than that?), but I will have the option to plug in whatever warming device(s) I choose.

If I can get the appropriate items from the dealership I'd be content to let them install it. The guy at the auto parts store told me they don't even make a block heater that fits a V6 Tacoma, the best I could do is an oil pan warmer that glues on the outside of the pan, but I'm not sure I believe that. Any help and suggestions are appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 12-11-2011, 04:41 AM   #2
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I'm above you in Winnipeg Manitoba one of the coldest cities in the world and yes you need the block heater that directly heats the oil not just the pan. It also helps to use synthetic oil in winter. If it's very cold and windy try to park so the wind isn't directly into the block. Battery warmers and extra oil pan external heaters are overkill to most Canadians so I wouldn't bother. Usually a must to plug in below -17c or 0 Fahrenheit if you want your engine/battery and starter to last.

A lot of people ruin their block heater cord ends over the winter causing a tow job if it freezes so what I do is install a very short extension cord and connect that to the block heater cable. That way when it gets damaged you can easily remove it and repair or replace it in the warm house. The yellow heavy duty ends at home depot are much easier to plug and unplug every day.

By the way the warmed engine oil saves some gas in the winter. If you use an electrical timer at your house make sure it's on a good 2 hours before you go to work. most people don't even bother with the timer but it can save you some cash. Look for the extension cords with lights on them so you know it's working.

$59 http://trdparts4u.com/Scripts/prodVi...dproduct=-5127 (recommended installed by dealership)
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Old 12-11-2011, 04:53 AM   #3
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dam im happy i live in arizona haha
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Old 12-11-2011, 05:05 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bethes View Post
New to the forums, hope I got this in the right place. I have a 2011 V6 Tacoma.

I just moved from toasty warm Oklahoma to North Dakota a couple weeks ago. Everyone keeps telling me I should get some combination of a block heater/battery blanket/oil pan warmer. Someone even suggested getting all three items. And someone else told me a new vehicle shouldn't need anything (I doubt this, as my Tacoma was clearly unhappy about starting in -2 degree F a couple days ago). So what is really necessary for handling -20ish degree weather?

My Tacoma will be parked at my work location for up to a week or longer without being started (unless you think I should start it more often than that?), but I will have the option to plug in whatever warming device(s) I choose.

If I can get the appropriate items from the dealership I'd be content to let them install it. The guy at the auto parts store told me they don't even make a block heater that fits a V6 Tacoma, the best I could do is an oil pan warmer that glues on the outside of the pan, but I'm not sure I believe that. Any help and suggestions are appreciated. Thanks!
First Welcome

I would suggest a block heater and a Battery Maintainer.

The block heater is a cartridge type and is not to big a deal to install compared to a freeze plug type requiring you to drain the coolant.
The battery maintainer will help your battery stay alive in the cold weather. both can be setup to unplug without opening the hood.

Starting a vehicle in cold weather is hardest on the components as I'm sure your awarer of. I would not be trying to start it to often unless your going to actually drive it but a couple of times a week would be ok IMO
Keep the maintainer on all the time and put the block heater on a few hours before your going to start it. Then Drive it.......

Balien has a good suggestion on the power cord for the heater also.

Trial and error on your part to get a combo that will work for you. I wouldn't do a pan heater in my own truck but that's me......
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Old 12-11-2011, 06:17 AM   #5
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Thanks. I'm definitely getting a block heater, and it looks like a battery blanket can't hurt.

I don't have much choice about how/where I park. I'm a geologist working on oil rigs, so parking is pretty specific: there's not much space and you must park so your truck is facing a particular direction (in the event of an emergency you want your truck facing the exit so you don't have to waste time backing out of the parking spot). So, since I don't have control of that, I saw there's a blanket sort of thing you can buy to put across the front of your truck so the block isn't exposed to the wind. I think I'll look into that.

Most of the guys I work with just plug in their trucks and leave them that way until they are ready to leave, they don't worry about plugging it in a few hours before they leave (perhaps they do at home, but we aren't paying the electricity bill at work). Is there a problem with doing that or is it better to leave it unplugged until a few hours before it's time to go? Someone also told me it's possible to crack the engine block if it freezes solid (or at least a tow to warm place to wait for it to thaw). Horror! This is the first new vehicle I've ever owned, I'm so paranoid about taking good care of it. Thanks for your input, everyone!
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Old 12-11-2011, 06:36 AM   #6
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I just moved down here from Alaska where I was stationed for 3 years as a mechanic. I can tell you that plugging in your vehicle is VERY important. What you choose to warm up is all preferance but on my vehicle I have a tranny pan heater, Oil pan heater, block heater, and a 2.5 Amp trickle charger. These are all ran into a 4 outlet junction block with an Arctic grade cord coming out of the grille that lights up so you know when it's got power. All of these are a bit over kill here, but in Alaska it got down to -55 without the wind chill. If you need some part numbers for all of these just let me know, I can get them so you can go to NAPA and put them on order. I also run full synthetic fluids in every part of my vehicles. You only really need to plug in when it is 0 or colder, 10 degrees if you have a diesel. I can help you install all the components if you want to save some money. ( I am usually willing to work for beer, or a new relationship with good friends lol.) But I assure you I will do just as good as a mechanic downtown. ( I got a lot of practice doing fleet maint. up in Fairbanks, Alaska.) Just PM me if you need any help. I am a mechanic on base here at Minot AFB and live out in Surrey. I dont know what part of ND your in but I imagine it is around here or out West by Williston.
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Old 12-11-2011, 06:39 AM   #7
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Another Winterpeger here. Block heater and battery blanket is probably good enough. I don't even have a blanket, I just plug in a few hours before I leave or before I go to bed. If you have an outdoor timer, you can set it to turn on a few hours before you wake up so you can just plug in and forget about it. Also using synthetic oil does wonders. I'll be switching ASAP as I just got my 2nd Tacoma. Also I would recommend switching your tranny and diff oils to a synthetic oil and that will help things move easier when the temps dip to sub zero. With my 1st gen I was actually able to notice a difference from regular oil and synthetic oil in my diff when it got really cold as it felt like the truck moved easier and didn't feel sluggish.
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Old 12-11-2011, 08:16 AM   #8
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saskatoon here, a stones throw from the peg, believe it or not I had a 88 chevy cavalier z24 and when i opned the door and sat down i had to look at my seat cause it felt like i sat on a text book, nope, so cold my seat was frozen stiff, it was about -50 with the windchill and that old b**** still fired up on the first try without plugging in.

a block heater is all you really need
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Old 12-11-2011, 09:40 AM   #9
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If you have a block heater installed , make sure you protect the plug so not to dangle and blow in the wind, mind did on a Cimmins Diesel I had one day hard to start -3 thought I had it pluged in barely started found the plug wires eventually were broken inside, repaired and zip tied it tight.
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Old 12-11-2011, 09:46 AM   #10
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Do you have to live in your Taco in ND? LOL

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spike8844 View Post
I just moved down here from Alaska where I was stationed for 3 years as a mechanic. I can tell you that plugging in your vehicle is VERY important. What you choose to warm up is all preferance but on my vehicle I have a tranny pan heater, Oil pan heater, block heater, and a 2.5 Amp trickle charger. These are all ran into a 4 outlet junction block with an Arctic grade cord coming out of the grille that lights up so you know when it's got power. All of these are a bit over kill here, but in Alaska it got down to -55 without the wind chill. If you need some part numbers for all of these just let me know, I can get them so you can go to NAPA and put them on order. I also run full synthetic fluids in every part of my vehicles. You only really need to plug in when it is 0 or colder, 10 degrees if you have a diesel. I can help you install all the components if you want to save some money. ( I am usually willing to work for beer, or a new relationship with good friends lol.) But I assure you I will do just as good as a mechanic downtown. ( I got a lot of practice doing fleet maint. up in Fairbanks, Alaska.) Just PM me if you need any help. I am a mechanic on base here at Minot AFB and live out in Surrey. I dont know what part of ND your in but I imagine it is around here or out West by Williston.
Make sure you're not using "home-grade" (building) stuff in the vehicle. They did that at work with some vehicles, and burned them to the ground.
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Old 12-11-2011, 12:26 PM   #11
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We don't live in our trucks here but up in AK, I saw many trucks freeze solid in less than 4 hours if they weren't plugged in. The coldest I saw was -59, and on my way to work my power steering pump froze solid and exploded while I was driving down the highway. That was after 4 hours of being plugged in and 20 mins. of warming up in the driveway. That sucked but if given a chance I would go back up there in a heartbeat. There was nothing like wheeling in AK. The pictures me and my friends have out in the middle of NOWHERE 50 miles from the nearest pavement are absolutely breathtaking. If you ever get the chance to go up there in ur taco, take it with you. There are so many cool things to see if you just take a little path buried by brush off the highway, and in the summer there is 24 hours of pure sunlight. Just take a GPS cause it is easy to get backwards when trying to figure out East from West when the sun circles overhead for 3 months lol.
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Old 12-11-2011, 12:37 PM   #12
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Also BETHES I looked at NAPA online and found they had a block heater for your truck for under 30 dollars. The part number was KAT 11481, and it goes in the front left freeze plug of the motor.
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Old 12-11-2011, 01:05 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spike8844 View Post
Also BETHES I looked at NAPA online and found they had a block heater for your truck for under 30 dollars. The part number was KAT 11481, and it goes in the front left freeze plug of the motor.
Sorry to disagree with you per say but a 2011 v6 Tacoma takes a cartridge block heater.
Napa may have a listing for a heater. Are you sure it's for a V6??

Do NOT take out a freeze plug with this motor.
I'll find the Toyota part number for you. It's cheap enough to do it right with no mess. This part was made for the V6 Tacoma.....

Part number #PU140-00900.

They change part numbers often so it might change but they can cross reference.
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Old 12-11-2011, 01:20 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tacoma Mike View Post
Sorry to disagree with you but a 2011 v6 Tacoma takes a cartridge block heater.

Do NOT take out a freeze plug with this motor.
I'll find the Toyota part number for you. It's cheap enough to do it right with no mess. This part was made for the V6 Tacoma.....

Part number #PU140-00900.

They change part numbers often so it might change but they can cross reference.
Agreed, just get the Toyota block heater for $60. There's a hole in the block for it already, no messing with freeze plugs. You can get it at TRDparts4u.com.
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Old 12-11-2011, 01:31 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bethes View Post
I'm so paranoid about taking good care of it.
You don't want to be playing with freeze plugs in a brand new vehicle. I've seen block heaters pop out.
Factory all the way and no worries about creating a problem you don't have to do.

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Old 12-11-2011, 01:53 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tacoma Mike View Post
You don't want to be playing with freeze plugs in a brand new vehicle. I've seen block heaters pop out.
Factory all the way and no worries about creating a problem you don't have to do.

Agreed. I put one in this fall. Local Toy dealer had it in stock, same price $59. Took ten min. to install. Works great for me on a timer for three hours at home. I leave it plugged in for three days at a time at work.
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Old 12-11-2011, 04:06 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spike8844 View Post
We don't live in our trucks here but up in AK, I saw many trucks freeze solid in less than 4 hours if they weren't plugged in. The coldest I saw was -59, and on my way to work my power steering pump froze solid and exploded while I was driving down the highway. That was after 4 hours of being plugged in and 20 mins. of warming up in the driveway. That sucked but if given a chance I would go back up there in a heartbeat. There was nothing like wheeling in AK. The pictures me and my friends have out in the middle of NOWHERE 50 miles from the nearest pavement are absolutely breathtaking. If you ever get the chance to go up there in ur taco, take it with you. There are so many cool things to see if you just take a little path buried by brush off the highway, and in the summer there is 24 hours of pure sunlight. Just take a GPS cause it is easy to get backwards when trying to figure out East from West when the sun circles overhead for 3 months lol.

I've heard a lot of people living in their cars because there's no place to crash due to the oil boom. Crazy stuff.

I've been to AK many times, but usually not places anyone else wants to go. I'd love to go wheeling in the prettier parts.

It's a beautiful state, hopefully someday I can take the Taco. We've talked about driving up on the Al-Can next summer and exploring some new stuff. I've never been to Valdez, and would like to. Maybe even drive the haul road, assuming I'm willing to replace a windshield or headlight LOL.
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Old 12-11-2011, 04:13 PM   #18
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Plug her in at work and leave it. Timer at home, few hours before you need to leave.
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Old 12-11-2011, 06:22 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iroc409 View Post
I've heard a lot of people living in their cars because there's no place to crash due to the oil boom. Crazy stuff.

I've been to AK many times, but usually not places anyone else wants to go. I'd love to go wheeling in the prettier parts.

It's a beautiful state, hopefully someday I can take the Taco. We've talked about driving up on the Al-Can next summer and exploring some new stuff. I've never been to Valdez, and would like to. Maybe even drive the haul road, assuming I'm willing to replace a windshield or headlight LOL.
I was lucky, I drove up from Louisiana to Fairbanks, drove there for three years, then drove south to Minot and never broke a windshield. Don't kid yourself, I have about 7 chips that I fixed before they became a problem. lol But I went all around the state from salmon fishing down on the mouth of the Kasilof to chasing caribou up on the slope. The haul road isnt as bad as they make it out to be on Ice road truckers. The most dangerous part about traveling that road IS the truckers. They drive down the center of the 2 lane gravel road and dont slow down for anyone except other truckers. I'd give my left leg to be back up there, I miss it everyday. After living there, I have found myself hating civilization here in the lower 48. Life is completely different up there. If you ever need any ideas on where to go just ask, I have alot of friends from the area and the base that can point you in the right direction.
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Old 12-11-2011, 09:52 PM   #20
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Thanks.

I found instructions online to install the block heater, and they involved crawling under the truck. It looked like I could handle it, but I have a skid plate. Am I going to have to remove that?

If so... the dealership gets to do the work. Hahaha or I'm driving to Minot and buying some beer for Spike8844 (it's only about 2 hours from New Town where I work, right? )

If I have both a battery warmer and a block heater, ideally I need some way to plug them in without running 2 extension cords to my truck and preferably without having 2 cords coming through the grill (one looks ridiculous enough, but two... yikes!):

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spike8844 View Post
...on my vehicle I have a tranny pan heater, Oil pan heater, block heater, and a 2.5 Amp trickle charger... These are all ran into a 4 outlet junction block with an Arctic grade cord coming out of the grille that lights up so you know when it's got power.
Quote:
Originally Posted by iroc409 View Post
Make sure you're not using "home-grade" (building) stuff in the vehicle. They did that at work with some vehicles, and burned them to the ground.
So... now I'm having this vision of something like this


under the hood, peeking out from my grille. Ummm... maybe not so much? Hahaha

Junction boxes and such... sounds like I need an electrician! How do all these warmers get plugged in? I'm starting to lean more and more toward taking it to a shop and telling them to solve the problem...
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