Block heater.

Sat Jan 26, 2013 7:51 pm

Was wondering what kind of engine heater everybody in this cold country use. No place to put in a soft plug heater,bottom heater hose not set up right for one. What works best? Harold

Re: Block heater.

Sat Jan 26, 2013 8:41 pm

I've never needed on on the Cubs or Lo-boy tractors. I have ran 10W-30 in the winter though, instead of straight 30-weight oil. That seems to let them start a bit easier.
I do use a magnetic block heater on my little diesel tractor. It is a magnet that sticks to the oil pan. Typically turn it on about an hour or so before I want to start it, then pull it off just before I start the engine. The diesel will start without it, but this seems to let it start a lot easier. I'm sure the magnetic heater would work on a Cub as well.


Re: Block heater.

Sat Jan 26, 2013 11:11 pm

Right now it is 13 degrees outside. It is warm now compared to the 20 below it was the other day. I would prefer to start a warm tractor. Harold

Re: Block heater.

Sun Jan 27, 2013 8:24 am

I'm not sure this magnetic heater will help much. After leaving it on my tractor for an hour, the oil pan is just warm and only in the spot right around the heater, and I think the max temp on this one is 150-degrees. They make a bigger version that may work better.

I can't imagine that it really "heats" up the engine that much anyway. There's so much cast iron, water, oil, void space, etc. in an engine block, that it must dissipate rather quickly and easily. Although probably not a real safe alternative, I would think a real heavy blanket over the tractor with a space heater running under or a trouble light on under it would heat things up better.

One of the things I've noticed with my diesel tractor is it will start fine, but the hydraulics take FOREVER to stop whining. Cubs are exactly the same way. Hydraulic fluid has to look like molassas at those temps.

Re: Block heater.

Sun Jan 27, 2013 1:21 pm

Ditto on the 10/30wt motor oil for the winter. In some places that are colder you may need to go even lighter. The thicker oil will never lube the engine when the machine is stored outside. The first minutes of warmup will be with no oil. The gage from the oil gallery will show oil but at the farthest end of the oil system will run dry for a while. I start up the tractor and go inside so the hydraulics warms up too. I get my second cup of coffee.

Re: Block heater.

Sun Jan 27, 2013 2:12 pm

Heck I have started cars at -40 -45 without heaters. I worked a winter in Northern and Central Alaska. We were supposed to plug in the block heaters but there were times and places that there were no available outlets and we still had no trouble starting. For a while I was the second on a Duce and a Half up and down the Alaskan Highway delivering parts and mail to various Microwave towers and we had no trouble starting next morning in the cold weather either. The people with problems tended to pump the peddle too much and flood the engine. This was in the winter of 1960 1961. Automobiles were not a lot more sophisticated than our Cubs other than automatic chokes. You were to step on the peddle once and then leave the gas alone. It is true we didn't have to fight hydraulic fluid stiffness.
When I go to the country I walk in the 1200 foot drive way, start the diesel tractor and then go into the house and start the wood stove and after that is roaring use the bucket to clear the drive. The hydraulics get a chance to warm up that way. Next feed the wood stove again and walk out to bring the PU to the house. The diesel requires that you turn the key backwards for at least 20 seconds to warm fuel in the intake manifold when you do a cold start. If I remember correctly +3 F is the coldest I started it. The lowboy had a problem starting one day but it turned out to be frozen water in the carb. That was not really the Lowboys fault but they dummy that let the water accumulate.

Re: Block heater.

Sun Jan 27, 2013 9:01 pm

The coldest temps that I have started Ellie at was somewhere in the -25C to -30C which is about -25F. Ellie lives in the pole barn out of the cold. She has a battery maintainer on her all winter and she has yet failed to start under most conditions. I am still running SAE30wt oil, have for a dozen years all year round. Ellie doesn't seem to mind and she always has good oil pressure. No need for a block heater of any type.

Where I live now is pretty much the warmest place outside of the Vancouver area that I have lived. Most places like back home in Northern Ontario, the temperatures in the winter usually average -20C or below. In Inuvik or Alert, the temps were much colder - similar to Northern Alaska - in Inuvik I had a 64 Merc no battery or block heater, never failed to start. I hardly ever chose to use block heaters/battery blankets or even circulation heaters. Tried em once or twice but found there were more hype than benefit.

For my Cubs, I just keep em out of the cold, in the barn all snuggly and warm. Windows are south facing so they get the benefit of passive solar heating.

Re: Block heater.

Sun Jan 27, 2013 10:19 pm

Own several magnetic block heaters. Haven't used them in perhaps 20 years. Use to use the block heaters and a timer to turn on the heaters several hours before we needed the car. Worked good.

Something to consider. You need to let the engine run for 5 to 10 minutes to get it warmed up and to get the hydraulic fluid warmed up and circulating. So engine warm up is just as important as letting the hydraulics warm up.

Re: Block heater.

Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:56 am

Using HyTran in the transmission as a lubricant will also help. It seems to be a lot thinner than 90wt gear oil.

Re: Block heater.

Wed Mar 06, 2013 9:59 pm

I am really glad to hear all the success stories . But I believe I may build a stainless hoseintake that will take a heater. Thanks for your help.

Re: Block heater.

Tue Jan 06, 2015 12:17 pm

Hello! I live in Michigan. The winter last year,I had to cover my 1948 Cub with multiply heavy tarps,and put a 1500 Watt Electric heater under seat on the concrete floor of pole barn. Tractor would not start if 20degreesF or lower-unless heater left on. That gets expensive. Some days- 3 or 4 days, running less than 10degreesF. I have only plowed once this year ,was 37degrees and started right up. I an looking for a magnetic heater. I dont want to mess with a plug in with adhesives. I thought if I get a magnetic to attach to pan,it would take place of electric heater under seat. I use 10w30. It starts right off anywhere around 35degrees. The magnetic heater sounds more convenient-some people say their great-others,not so. If you have any recommendations on brand or size(wattage),please respond.Thank you!

Re: Block heater.

Tue Jan 06, 2015 12:49 pm

No recommendation. Stop by the auto parts store and see what they have in stock.

I would purchase two block heaters. One on side of block to warm up the coolant and one on oil pan. Also tarp the entire tractor.

Timer. There are a number of timers on the market. Local AG supply should have several on hand. Find one that will handle the amp load and that you can set so that it comes on 2 or 3 hours before the intended use of the tractor.

Re: Block heater.

Tue Jan 06, 2015 3:01 pm

Mine will start down to 20 degrees with no heater. I guess I am getting old and turning into a wimp, because below 20 degrees F I do not care if it starts, I ain't gonna go push snow on an open station tractor below 20. :censored:

Re: Block heater.

Fri Jan 09, 2015 4:55 pm

I am going to buy a magnetic block heater,either the Kats 300w or another if I can find one better. I understand the Kats doesnt have a timer,so I may buy a good timer thats easy to use and works. I like the idea of not plowing below 20degrees:)

Re: Block heater.

Sat Jan 10, 2015 11:08 am

Hello again! I wanted to ask if anyone has used the zerostart mag heater? It has a thermostat phillips-temro says max is set to 250degrees.This might be more than enough to heat Cub,yet safer than Kat 300W that heats to 350-400 degrees. Anyone own a zerostart mag heater? I have read a number of reviews from Amazon saying the Kats plastic cover had a meltdown.