1. Welcome to Tacoma World!

    You are currently viewing as a guest! To get full-access, you need to register for a FREE account.

    As a registered member, you’ll be able to:
    • Participate in all Tacoma discussion topics
    • Communicate privately with other Tacoma owners from around the world
    • Post your own photos in our Members Gallery
    • Access all special features of the site

Block Heater Install (My Experience, 2012 TRD Sport)

Discussion in '2nd Gen. Tacomas (2005-2015)' started by Colinator4321, Feb 29, 2020.

  1. Feb 29, 2020 at 2:47 AM
    #1
    Colinator4321

    Colinator4321 [OP] Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2019
    Member:
    #300435
    Messages:
    60
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Colin
    Vehicle:
    2012 Toyota Tacoma TRD Sport DBLC 6M
    I am aware that there are already plenty of excellent threads on TW regarding this topic, but I figured I'd add another. This way I post an extended original post, and not leave it as a comment to be buried.

    TOOLS:
    17mm socket
    Ratchet
    Extensions
    Universal / C.V socket joint
    Wrench (for leverage)
    Rotary Tool
    Vice grips or some sort of pliers
    Jack and jack stand
    Way to take wheel off
    Zip-Ties
    Dielectric grease (Optional)
    Thermal paste (Optional, Didn't work for me)

    PARTS:
    Block Heater: Philips@Temro Zero Start 3100129
    Amazon:
    https://www.amazon.ca/ZeroStart-310...rds=toyota+block+heater&qid=1582963937&sr=8-1

    PartsAvatar.com
    https://partsavatar.ca/phillips-temro-engine-block-heater-3100129



    Cord Heat Shield (1" diameter): DEI 010419 1" Aluminized Sleeving Heat Sheath - 36"
    Amazon:
    https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B001HYZYD6/ref=pe_3034960_236394800_TE_dp_1




    Anyways, living in Alberta Canada, I can fully expect anything from -40 to 35 degree temperature swings throughout a given year. When I bought the truck late October, I noticed it didn't have a block heater installed, so that became a priority. Started doing some research, and found that it should be simple enough to install on my own. "Should Be" is key.

    Went ahead, looking for part numbers, but found it hard to get any concrete info. Instead, I resorted to looking up "Tacoma Block Heater" and came across a cartridge style heater that looked like it should work, even if it wasn't OEM. It was also cheaper. While it is available on amazon, I ended up buying it from "PartsAvatar.com" since it allowed me to pick up in store.

    Since the block heater kit did not come with a heat sheath for the cord, I went ahead and bought one off amazon to protect the cord, since it runs right beside the exhaust.


    Once all the parts were in (sheath showed up same day headlights did), I thought I would go out, spend the 15 min, and install the block heater. Tried on two separate occasions but was unsuccessful. Between frozen hands, and the heater not going in, I was almost ready to call it quits. Until I read some other reports on forums about some tab being added in 2012, and some new techniques. So here's how I got it to work.





    Sliding under the drivers side of the truck from the front, you will see where the transmission meets the engine. Look up between the transmission and the exhaust (believe drivers side catalitic converter), and you will see two bolts. Directly behind those bolts is a port where the heater plugs into.




    As you can see, looks simple enough. Take the heater, plug it into the hole, and run a cord to it. Before installing, I made sure to put the heat sheath onto the cord so that I wouldn't have to try fighting with that in the engine bay. It was a tight fit (glad I got 1"), but I managed to get it on by first sliding a the sheath onto a broom pole, and then pulling it off with the heater cord at the top of the broom pole so the sheath slid right on.





    While it may be tempting to plug the block heater and cord together now, I found that the cord didn't provide enough room for the heater to straighten out for the hole. So I plugged the cord in after installation. Tho I did plug it in temporarily in my house just to see if the heater worked. It most certainly did, got real hot real quick, and stayed hot for a long time (plugged in for 60 seconds, minor burn 30 min later). Also, this heater is SILENT.

    If you have a 2012 - 2015, this next step is crucial. Trust me, I spent days figuring this out. And like 5 min of research...:facepalm:

    Anyways, It would appear that in 2012, Toyota decided to add a bracket to hold the electrical connector for the O2 sensor. That's great and all, except the bracket has a tab on it that blocks the port, making it so you cannot get the heater seated. You can see the clip in the above pics that show the port location, and in the following picture that shows the port from the wheel well. The clip on the block heater clips into the recess that's just above and to the right of the number "2". (Based on angle of picture) The problematic bracket is further right, hanging just above the bell housing.



    In order install your heater, that bracket has to be removed, and possibly trimmed. To get the bracket out of the way, you just need to remove the transmission bolt that goes through it (As seen in second picture). Unfortunately, it is incredibly hard to access. There is such little space, that I wasn't even able to use my breaker bar to loosen it since its not a ratcheting bar.

    I have heard that some were able to break it loose by accessing the bolt through the drivers side wheel well, but I was unable to do so. Keep in mind, to access the bolt, you need to remove the drivers side wheel, as well as some flimsy "foam?" splash guard. In the end, I found some old, long ratchet that we had laying around since who knows when, and it just happened to be the perfect size to access the bolt from under the truck. For extra leverage, I grabbed a wrench and stuck the ratchet handle through the round end of the wrench. I then yanked on the wrench, and the bolt broke free.



    From there, I was just a simple matter of loosing the bolt till the ratchet made contact with the transmission, pulling the ratchet out adjusting by one click, replacing the ratchet, and rotating till it hit the transmission again. There wasn't enough room to get the ratchet to click while on the bolt, so I was forced to do it by hand, off the bolt. It took a loooong time.


    Once the bolt is out, you should be able to move the bracket aside. Just remember that it is attached to the electrical connector for your O2 sensor and be careful. Now you should be able to install the block heater. I would advise attempting to clean out the port if you can, but the location makes it near impossible to clean properly. So give it an honest effort and move on.

    The installation process of the heater is basic enough. Apply a little thermal paste (if you wanna), line it up with the hole, and press it in.

    Of course, nothing is that simple, and you may encounter hiccups. For my dad and I, we were able to wiggle it in to about a mm away from the clip clicking in, and then it stopped. I tried removing the paste and tried again to no avail. After some fighting, I found the only way I could get it in was by reaching in through the wheel well and using both hands on the clip itself. One hand was kind of pulling the end of it, the other was pushing from the back. With a little wiggling, it would slot in without too much of a fight. I suspect the clip was sliding back a little on the heater, and the heater was bottoming out. By pulling on the clip, we slid it forward just enough to get it to work.

    With the heater in, now its time to reinstall the bracket and the bolt. Looking at the bolt, I saw the crush washer / lock ring looked flat, so I replaced it with a 12mm split ring. Just be aware, the original split ring was quite tight on the bolt, and I ended up damaging a few threads taking it off. You may wanna just break the ring off instead of pulling it out the top. Would have liked a die to fix threads, but I don't have access to such luxuries. The 12mm split ring is just ever so slightly larger and slides over without issue.

    With the new ring, we went and attempted to reinstall the bracket. However, the block heater didn't provide enough room for the tab on the bracket to fit between the bell housing and the heater. Even when the heater was rotated so the flat side lined up with the tab. Even if we could get to slide in, the bracket was forced too low, and the hole didn't line up with the transmission bolt hole.
    :annoyed:



    A little bit of staring at the issue solved nothing, so the decision was made to remove the bracket all together so it could be trimmed. Once again, the engineers at Toyota left a little gift with the plastic clip they used to hold the electrical connector to the bracket. They used one that was rather difficult to remove without breaking it, tho I suppose that's mostly due to the location. After a while, I was able to find a way to pry the clip off with a flat head, while simultaneously squeezing the pins in the back with some needle nose vise grips. Also important is the orientation of the clip when you wanna remove it.

    This was a very testing part of the install, and I recommend avoiding at all costs if you can. It is almost harder to access than the transmission bolt, and requires both hands working with tools in an area that can barely fit one hand without tools (hence no picture). If you do get it out tho, it should look like this.


    As you can see, the hole on the right is where the electrical connector clips to, and it is rectangular. You have to rotate the clip properly while prying and squeezing, or else it wont come out. I am fairly certain I also damaged the plastic clip a little in the process, but it seems to be holding:notsure:.

    Once it was out, we started by trying a small grind in the bolt hole just to open it up a little without excessive surgery. But in the spirit of working on vehicles, that of course wasn't enough and didn't work. So it was time to get a little creative. Pulling out the Dremel, we cut a small section of the tab off, just where it would interfere with the block heater. From there, it was a process of trial and error, grinding the tab back more and more until we got it to fit.




    Getting the bolt back in was as tedious a process as getting it out. One click at a time. At this point, we had been working on this all day and were getting tired and cold, so our concentration and precision were lacking. So much so, that my dad and I both struggled to keep the ratchet on the bolt. We quickly found that one guy could reach in through the wheel well and hold the ratchet on, while the other was under the truck ratcheting away. It helped, but was still a slow process. Screwing it in, one click at a time (72 tooth ratchet).

    Before the bolt was fully tight, we made sure to test the heater again by using a temp gun and checking the temperature right beside the heater. We then hooked up the heater, using dielectric grease to connect the heater to the cord, quickly routed the cord through the engine bay, and plugged it in. Within seconds we were getting higher temperature readings in the area directly around the heater.


    With the break now over, we went back to work tightening the bolt. Click, rotate, Click, rotate...
    After what felt like an hour, we finally got it tightened to whatever we could manage and more or less called it good. Block heater install complete:yay:



    Replaced the splash guard, and reinstalled the wheel. Slightly tidied up the heater cord wiring and called it a day. Worth noting, the cord that comes with this kit is on the short side. Doesn't appear long enough to be able to run along the side of the engine bay. Looks like it needs to cur straight through, though it should be possible to tidy up with some creativity. In the end, the only easy part of the whole job, was removing and replacing the front wheel. Everything else we fought for every inch.

    I then plugged the truck in for a few hours just to see what my obd2 scanner might say. plugged the scanner in later that night, went to live data (without engine running) and had a coolant reading of 20c and an intake temp of 4. Before I plugged it in, both were reading around 0



    Take these numbers with a grain of salt, but at the end of the day, even if the engine only heats up 10 degrees, that's still massive when its -40. Not to mention, those days it would be plugged in much longer. Probably all the time that its not actively driving.

    In the future I hope to get more measurements on colder days, but I'm an idiot and decided to wait till the end of winter before getting the install done, so it may be a bit.

    After driving around for a week, I decided to make sure the transmission bolt was still tight. This time is used the multiple extension and universal method to tighten the bolt. I was impressed at how much easier it was, and wished I had done this from the get go.

    Had it set up so it went: Socket -> Short extension -> Universal -> Pretty much every other extension I could find -> Non ratcheting ratchet thingy. On the end of the "Not a ratchet" ratchet, I added a wrench for added leverage. Worked surprisingly well. Definitely recommend this method over the one click method.




    If you are able to get a torque wrench in there, believe factory torque is 53 ft/lbs, but good luck with that.



    Couple things to add:
    In the future I'm gonna look into wrapping the cord in the plastic cord protector, and then putting the heat sheath over top. The cord does come in contact with a metal edge the way I've currently routed it, and I'm using an old bike inner tube to protect it.

    While I'm down there, I'm also gonna look into a way to secure the heat sheath to the red base on the heater side of the block heater. Just so it doesn't move around

    Also, should go without saying. KEEP THE CORD OUT OF YOUR STEERING RACK!!
    It's right there and wouldn't be too difficult to let it hit. A well placed zip-tie fixes that problem.



    Hope that's somewhat clear. Rather tired now, very possible I made mistakes
     
  2. Feb 29, 2020 at 4:38 AM
    #2
    G_mtl

    G_mtl Member

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2020
    Member:
    #318584
    Messages:
    10
    Vehicle:
    '09 Taco 2.7L/5M 4x4
    Nice! Being from Québec, I was also thinking of adding a block heater.
     
  3. Feb 29, 2020 at 7:43 AM
    #3
    JC15Taco

    JC15Taco Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2018
    Member:
    #261356
    Messages:
    700
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Jeff
    SK, Canada
    Vehicle:
    '15 TRD DCLB
    An outstanding write-up...am I ever glad my heater was factory installed. And yes...absolutely mandatory in this part of the world.
    Interesting, that this style of block-heater doesn't pierce the water jacket...last one I installed (an older Ford) did, so you had to drain the coolant as well.
     
  4. Feb 29, 2020 at 7:44 AM
    #4
    Crosis

    Crosis Tertiary adjunct to unimatrix 01

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2012
    Member:
    #88629
    Messages:
    2,389
    Gender:
    Male
    Cape Breton Island Nova Scotia
    Vehicle:
    09 Tacoma 4x4 TRD Off Road
    I have to think about this as well. While I don’t drive my truck in the winter because I don’t want to deal with road salt, I leave it in Nova Scotia all winter while I am in the USA. I worry about the block. My lake has been frozen since December.
     
  5. Feb 29, 2020 at 7:48 AM
    #5
    JC15Taco

    JC15Taco Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2018
    Member:
    #261356
    Messages:
    700
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Jeff
    SK, Canada
    Vehicle:
    '15 TRD DCLB
    Cape Breton...you're not too bad. I'm in SK here and I don't use the block heater until ~-25 deg C or below...those temps are pretty rare out there (I lived in NB for 25 years).
     
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2020
    Crosis likes this.
  6. Feb 29, 2020 at 7:53 AM
    #6
    4x4spiegel

    4x4spiegel Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2019
    Member:
    #281807
    Messages:
    2,464
    Gender:
    Male
    excellent write up . glad i live in the south east USA
     
    Colinator4321 [OP] and JC15Taco like this.
  7. Feb 29, 2020 at 8:25 AM
    #7
    G_mtl

    G_mtl Member

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2020
    Member:
    #318584
    Messages:
    10
    Vehicle:
    '09 Taco 2.7L/5M 4x4
    Off topic here but:

    How do you guys handle winter vs summer tires? Do you keep winters on all year. Here in QC it is mandatory to have winter tires (identified with a snowflake) between December 15 and March 15 (I think those are the correct dates.

    On my previous FWD cars I've had two sets that I swap in and out. Obviously having 2 sets is still preferable and I'm leaning towards this option.

    That being said, having a cool looking set of All Terrain tires is appealing. Do 4season snowflake identified tires (as opposed to winter specific tires) wear out fast in the summer heat?
     
  8. Feb 29, 2020 at 8:37 AM
    #8
    JC15Taco

    JC15Taco Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2018
    Member:
    #261356
    Messages:
    700
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Jeff
    SK, Canada
    Vehicle:
    '15 TRD DCLB
    On my truck I run the all-seasons all year (Firestone Destination LE2...stockers)...they're acceptable. Not legal for you in QC though.
    I put Michelin X-Ice on my wife's Rav4 in winter ...make a hell of a difference over her summer Falken street tires.
    And yes, the summer heat will wear out an official winter tire very quickly. I never run the winters in the summer...too expensive for that.
     
  9. Feb 29, 2020 at 10:55 PM
    #9
    Colinator4321

    Colinator4321 [OP] Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2019
    Member:
    #300435
    Messages:
    60
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Colin
    Vehicle:
    2012 Toyota Tacoma TRD Sport DBLC 6M
    Ya, certainly something to look into. when the mercury drops below -20, it sure is nice to be able to plug in. Try reduce some wear and tear on the engine on those frozen mornings for the first minute or so of running.

    Just remember tho, it looks like you have the 4 cylinder option, which has a different location for the block heater. That one plugs directly into the coolant line, making it a bit messier to install
     
  10. Feb 29, 2020 at 11:03 PM
    #10
    Colinator4321

    Colinator4321 [OP] Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2019
    Member:
    #300435
    Messages:
    60
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Colin
    Vehicle:
    2012 Toyota Tacoma TRD Sport DBLC 6M

    It would be nice to be able to hide the truck from the salt and brine the snow crews put on the streets, but right now I can only have one vehicle. Plus, having a 4X4 is nice on snow days and going ice fishing, so I guess its a toss up. Thinking of doing the fluid film undercoating next year.

    As for the block heater, I don't think you would need it if you just park your truck. If its just sitting there, then there is really no issue when it drops below -30. Just remove that battery and you should be good to go. plus, you don't wanna pay the power bill to keep it plugged in all winter.

    If you saw -50 and left it outside, then you may wanna try keep some heat in the block, but even then I don't think it would be much of an issue
     
  11. Feb 29, 2020 at 11:15 PM
    #11
    Colinator4321

    Colinator4321 [OP] Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2019
    Member:
    #300435
    Messages:
    60
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Colin
    Vehicle:
    2012 Toyota Tacoma TRD Sport DBLC 6M

    I most certainly recommend two sets of mounted tires, assuming you can afford and store them. Currently in the winter I'm running Nokian Hakkapellita R3's mounted on some steel rims. A great all round tire. I assume studded would be better on ice, but these are better on pavement. And I see more pavement than icy roads here. With that being said, the rear of the Tacoma is very light, and it does not take much effort to spin the rear out.:burnrubber: Gonna look into sandbags for next year. When traction is required, 4H with a proper set of tires drives like a whole different truck. Solid as can be, feels like it drives more as a single unit.

    Summer tires struggle in the winter mainly due to the compound they use (tread pattern and syping also plays a big role). In the colder temps of winter, the compound on a summer tire hardens up, reducing its ability to grip any road surface in sub zero temps. To combat this, winter tires use a much softer rubber compound so it stays flexible in extreme cold. In the summer heat however, they are far too soft, causing mushy handling, possible mpg reduction, and excessive wear on the tires.
     
  12. Feb 29, 2020 at 11:46 PM
    #12
    Colinator4321

    Colinator4321 [OP] Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2019
    Member:
    #300435
    Messages:
    60
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Colin
    Vehicle:
    2012 Toyota Tacoma TRD Sport DBLC 6M
    Thank you. Living down south sure has a few perks.

    But its not all great is it...
     
    Crosis likes this.

Products Discussed in

To Top