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Old 12-03-2011, 08:06 AM   #21
OldNuc
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Default Re: Thinking about installing a Block Heater

Any 5w-20 oil has way too low of a hot viscosity to provide adequate protection to these engines. You will have engine damages, some sooner than others.

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Old 12-03-2011, 02:51 PM   #22
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Default Re: Thinking about installing a Block Heater

5w20 will be fine for Minnesota winters.

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Old 12-03-2011, 03:42 PM   #23
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Default Re: Thinking about installing a Block Heater

No, it will not as the engine still reaches the exact same operating temperature it does in the summer. If you want easier starting you use an oil with a lower pour point temperature of the Correct weight. The correct weight for these engines is 30 and not whatever the latest buzz on the tube is pushing today.

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Old 12-03-2011, 03:49 PM   #24
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Default Re: Thinking about installing a Block Heater

If you were adverse to investing in an oil with a lower cold pour point you could try a 0w-30 but most, but not all, also suffer from low viscosity when hot. The discount store brands are all highly suspect.

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Old 12-03-2011, 04:02 PM   #25
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Default Re: Thinking about installing a Block Heater

Sure, whatever. You're entitled to your opinion. 5w30 then. Happy?

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Old 12-03-2011, 04:32 PM   #26
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Default Re: Thinking about installing a Block Heater

A "Clash of Titans" ^^^

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Old 12-03-2011, 11:40 PM   #27
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Default Re: Thinking about installing a Block Heater

I put one of these beauties in today, on my grandmother's 2001 SC1. I'll be trying to fit it into my 99 SW2 tomorrow.

They are in fact 800w heaters, or so the engraving on the aluminum says.

Long story short, ran into a few annoyances:

1) The oil dipstick is basically in the way of you doing everything while installing this. Between that and the exhaust manifold, if you have big hands like me, you're gonna be pressed for space.

2) The tab is harder to get into that little recess than you would think... My grandmother's ended up being corroded and I had to clean it out.

3) Also to clean out, is the bolt hole in the block. It was gunked up with years of oil grime and dirt.

My advice is to guide the top portion, ie the tab, into the slot using your right hand. Once it slides into place, you can press the lower portion onto the bolt hole and bolt it down. The element should get flush with the block.

The twin cam engine has a larger exhaust manifold and there is even -less- room to maneuver. A huge pain.

If you're thinking about installing one of these heaters, I would suggest doing this now while it's still warmish out, you will regret it if you wait till it's -30 out. Trust me.

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Old 12-03-2011, 11:59 PM   #28
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Default Re: Thinking about installing a Block Heater

Installation resembles inserting a long wet noodle into a very unhappy wildcat..... But you only have to do it once for each car.

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Old 12-04-2011, 12:54 AM   #29
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Default Re: Thinking about installing a Block Heater

I'd confirm that 800 watts with a meter. Maybe that was a 3 that looked like an 8. They always were 300 watt heaters; an 800-watt heater would be waaay overkill. Shoot, the heaters on my wife's 7.3L diesel trucks are 1000 W.

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Old 12-04-2011, 01:15 AM   #30
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Default Re: Thinking about installing a Block Heater

I thought it was a 400w heater....

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Old 12-04-2011, 02:38 AM   #31
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Default Re: Thinking about installing a Block Heater

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That is a BS story and has no truth at all. Synthetic oil does not change any external leakage rate on any engine built without cotton rope main bearing seals.

And how would it affect cotton rope? Not at all. Also, cars haven't been built with cotton rope seals for almost 60 years now.

As far as I have read, petroleum based oil swells the seals, and so they wear that way, and so when you switch to synthetic, the seals (neoprene, not rope) unswell, and don't seal properly because they were worn in a swollen condition. Personally I did not try synthetic long enough to note this, but did notice that the oil fill cap gasket de-swelled enough that I could remove it much more easily, and many other Saturn owners have noticed the same. As far as neoprene seals go, different owners will have different experiences, based upon miles of use and degrees of seal wear.

Regarding 20 weight oil, it is true that the engine does reach similar operating temperatures at all times of the year (unless you go for short drives). The manufacturer does recommend 30 weight oil (5W30), which is what the bearings are designed to work with when at operating temperature. Strangely my 1951 Chevrolet (which used a rope rear main seal and a leather front seal, incidentally, and this has absolutely no relation to oil viscosity) used 20 or 20W oil. Granted this was a straight weight oil, but the engine still ran on 20 weight oil at operating temperature. I am not sure why this engine was specified to use 20 and more modern engines 30. I do know that the book says that in extremely hot weather 30 or 30W oil should be used. In very cold weather 5W should be used. ...And, of course, today we use 5W30, which solves all problems (sort-of). Bearing clearances in this engine (the 216.5 Six) are similar to those found in a Saturn, with a low limit of .0005, which is not quite the low limit of a Saturn, but pretty close. I adjusted mine to .001 with success.

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Old 12-04-2011, 08:40 AM   #32
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Default Re: Thinking about installing a Block Heater

It is not the cotton, it is the grease and graphite that it is impregnated with. The synthetic dissolves the soap base of the grease and the rope seal then leaks.

Synthetic oil has no effect on elastomeric seals. That is just another old wives tail.

Synthetic does shrink leather seals as it pulls the natural oils out of them but rawhide seals are a 60 year old technology and only available in old NOS parts which are only good for show and tell.

We are discussing a Saturn L-9 engine and not a relic of the distant past. Times change. Do not use any form of 20 weight oil in the engine as you will have internal damage which will become apparent in a relatively short time.

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Old 12-04-2011, 08:41 AM   #33
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Default Re: Thinking about installing a Block Heater

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A "Clash of Titans" ^^^
I usually hide under the desk when that happens

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Old 12-04-2011, 08:57 AM   #34
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Default Re: Thinking about installing a Block Heater

For those playing along at home.

The manufacturers recommendations regarding oil dating from the 50s are useless for anything except historical interest as the entire engine oil viscosity scale regarding grade values was revised in the late 50s. What the manual says does not directly correlate with the grade that is marked on the bottle today.

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Old 12-04-2011, 12:41 PM   #35
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Default Re: Thinking about installing a Block Heater

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Originally Posted by ivkowalenko View Post
I'm considering putting a block heater into my 94 SC1 for a few reasons.
  • When it's cold (40F or below) the engine starts a little harder, but reliably, and the entire car ocilates with it (not violent enough to call it a shake, more like someone's rocking the car forward and back with their foot on the bumper)
  • The engine doesn't reach proper operating temperature until right about the time I get to work (I have a short commute), so I'm not sure I'm doing right by the engine
  • I'm not enjoying running outside, in the bitter cold, before I have to go to turn over the car so the heater can get warm enough to defrost the inside of my windows properly
  • These pre-departure warm-up periods are killing my fuel economy. I'm averaging somewhere around 20-25 MPG, and I drive pretty gently. I typically try start my car three to five minutes before I expect to leave, but sometimes at work I'm detained for a further five to ten minutes beyond what I expect.
To point out what I mean by "bitter cold," I mean we've already had a couple 15F mornings around here. And the previous owner was right: the car is extremely reliable about starting up, and it starts up exactly the same, whether it's 35F or 15F (but it is distinctly different from starting up if it's, say, 50F).

Now, at $45 for the heater, and one is sitting at my local NAPA Auto Parts' warehouse, just waiting to be run down to the correct store, this seems like a good idea. Granted, it's more expensive than a tank of gas, but that's only because my travel mug is larger than my gas tank. Still, it seems like a safe investment, it's easy to install, and Ecomodder estimates it should deliver about 4% improvement in fuel economy. Even more brilliantly: I'm thinking about just slapping a christmas light timer on the line (or some other out-door safe auto on/off timer that can handle the power, don't worry) so I don't even need to worry about plugging it in early enough on awful days (just plug it in at night, when I'm all awake and not despearate for a cup of coffee) So on paper, it sounds like a good idea. But there are a few things making me think twice:
  • I can only really hook it up when I park in our driveway, but I'm the third car, so I'm sometimes parked on the street, where I can't get power
  • I don't think there are any places I can park at work that are near power outlets
  • When I park in the driveway, I'm still going to need to run an extension cord (shortest three-prong one we have is 25ft, but I think I'll have to use the 50ft one) and someone expressed concern to me about losing amperage over the extension cord
So given the limited usage window I have, and the potential problems as far as getting power to the heater, does this still sound like as good an idea? Winter is just starting around here, for the next week it's not expected to get above 37F (for just one day), but the winter is expected to be "very cold" with "average snowfall" (and for us, last winter we had a snowfall rivaling that of the 1991 Halloween Blizzard). Our average winter temperatures are in the region of 10-20F most of the time (favoring the lower part of that spectrum) and we will very often go below 0F.
it's easier to just hook up a small automatic trickle charger like a battery tender to keep the battery warm & fully charged. just let the car idle for a few minutes & then drive it longer to get to work when it's that cold. works for me... also use fully synthetic oil for those cold morning starts. it better lubricates the engine & leaves a better oil coating than regular oil for those few first critical minutes of engine running when the most wear occurs...

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Old 12-04-2011, 12:53 PM   #36
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Default Re: Thinking about installing a Block Heater

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Sure, whatever. You're entitled to your opinion. 5w30 then. Happy?
unless you want engine damage i would stick to 5w-30. i use 5w-30 fully synthetic oil. works for me....

it's the manufacturer's reccomended oil not just someone's opinion..

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Old 12-04-2011, 02:51 PM   #37
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Default Re: Thinking about installing a Block Heater

5w20 for winters in Minnesota..........................you do the math. No oil analysis, pour point bs. If you're not concerned about frozen engine starting in 0F with averages in the teens then so be it. It always a choice in this gray area and no one is an expert, period as some like to expound on technical terms. An engine maintaining operating temps with a heater going in 10 degree weather day in and day out isn't going to explode as some fear monger wants people to imagine.

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Old 12-04-2011, 03:41 PM   #38
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Default Re: Thinking about installing a Block Heater

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(...)How about the temp sensor? Is it new? When they fail, they give erroneous readings, which causes the fuel system to inject the wrong amount of fuel. If rich, the engine will lope and be difficult to start.(...)
Just replaced the ECTS.

Yeah, that might be a problem.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattwithcats View Post
If it's a manual, change the tranny fluid. Easy to do, drain plug under car (left side by tranny) and fill / dipstick is by brake reservoir.
Use Dexron III, not Dex VI fluid. 2.7 quarts needed.
Isn't Dexron III an Automatic Transmission Fluid? My friendly mechanic is telling me I'm supposed to be looking at a gear lube, since that's a little more viscous.
Quote:
Originally Posted by dbsanfte View Post
My vote would be that the upper engine mount is shot.
I didn't check the engine mount, yet. But, while taking care of the ECTS, I noticed one of the mounting bolts was shaking about in its mount. Turns out the bolt is broken, right about where the threads begin! So the rest of the bolt is still in the engine block, and after a little bit of checking, it was clear the other two bolts were totally loose. We tightened them up, and things seem to feel better. I'll see if that oscillation is still around when I start the car up, after it's cooled down a bit. I'll check the rubber when I'm out there next time, too.
Quote:
Originally Posted by dbsanfte View Post
(...)
2) The tab is harder to get into that little recess than you would think... My grandmother's ended up being corroded and I had to clean it out.

3) Also to clean out, is the bolt hole in the block. It was gunked up with years of oil grime and dirt.

(...)

If you're thinking about installing one of these heaters, I would suggest doing this now while it's still warmish out, you will regret it if you wait till it's -30 out. Trust me.
Given the condition of the car, from the previous owner, I'm pretty sure I'll want to take your advice. Right now, the choice is if I want to modify a newer one, or deal with a third party heater.
Quote:
Originally Posted by td1238 View Post
(...)As far as I have read, petroleum based oil swells the seals, and so they wear that way, and so when you switch to synthetic, the seals (neoprene, not rope) unswell, and don't seal properly because they were worn in a swollen condition. Personally I did not try synthetic long enough to note this, but did notice that the oil fill cap gasket de-swelled enough that I could remove it much more easily, and many other Saturn owners have noticed the same. As far as neoprene seals go, different owners will have different experiences, based upon miles of use and degrees of seal wear.(...)
This is part of the logic as given to me by someone who did "try synthetic long enough." The way he put it was "you run synthetic from day one, or you don't run synthetic at all." I'm not so concerned with the oil causing problems in this weather. My parents were running 10+ year old cars in some of the harsher winters we've, reliably starting, but starting a lot rougher than this thing. And they ran their cars with whatever the manufacturer said to use. I've got 10w30 in there now, but I am thinking about switching over to 5w30. I'll probably stick with synthetic for now, just to play it safe. It's my daily driver, and I don't want to take chances in the winter. I'm just trying to get the car to perform a little better, and hopefully reduce/eliminate the amount of time it's idling before I go to work.
Quote:
Originally Posted by saturnsctwo View Post
it's easier to just hook up a small automatic trickle charger like a battery tender to keep the battery warm & fully charged. just let the car idle for a few minutes & then drive it longer to get to work when it's that cold. works for me... also use fully synthetic oil for those cold morning starts. it better lubricates the engine & leaves a better oil coating than regular oil for those few first critical minutes of engine running when the most wear occurs...
I'm not worried about the battery. It's a newer battery, with fresh posts, putting out good voltage. The car cranks just fine, it's what happens after the engine catches that I'm concerned with. I'm also looking forward to the idea of having the engine nice and warm when I start it, so I don't have to wait as long for it to be able to defrost my wind shield. Taking a longer route to work doesn't really reconcile either of those issues.

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Old 12-04-2011, 04:25 PM   #39
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Default Re: Thinking about installing a Block Heater

I read about your coolant sensor post in the other thread. You probably realize now how this small part plays a big role in start up with smoother starting from the correct air/fuel mixtures. The broken one most likely caused all the starting and running problems you're concerned with for winter. If the engine's in good condition and starts up immediately, you should have a good daily driver.

As long as synthetic oil is used, your engine should turn over nicely. Syn sticks to metal better than regular oil, especially for those cold weather starts. 5w30 is fine for Minn winters. I suggested 5w20 as a another alternative for winter use in freezing weather. Run what you have, block heater or not.

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Old 12-04-2011, 04:28 PM   #40
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Default Re: Thinking about installing a Block Heater

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Originally Posted by ivkowalenko View Post
Just replaced the ECTS. ... Yeah, that might be a problem.
That is a problem. The cooling system is full of gunk also. I would think a good flushing and coolant replacement is in order.

Isn't Dexron III an Automatic Transmission Fluid? My friendly mechanic is telling me I'm supposed to be looking at a gear lube, since that's a little more viscous.
Dexron 3 is all that goes in that transmission. Run away from that mechanic. Use the ATF presently marked ans Universal ATF marked Dexron/Mercon. Do not use any Dexron - 6, it is way too thin and shifting will suffer.

I didn't check the engine mount, yet. But, while taking care of the ECTS, I noticed one of the mounting bolts was shaking about in its mount. Turns out the bolt is broken, right about where the threads begin! So the rest of the bolt is still in the engine block, and after a little bit of checking, it was clear the other two bolts were totally loose. We tightened them up, and things seem to feel better. I'll see if that oscillation is still around when I start the car up, after it's cooled down a bit. I'll check the rubber when I'm out there next time, too.
You must have all 3 of those studs!. Your mount is shot. Use a Dremel to cut a screwdriver slot in the broken stud to remove it.
Top Engine Mount 21012185
long studs 11518885 use these if replacing a frowny mount and there are NO threads showing above the nuts.
Top mount nuts (5) 21006320
Transaxle Mount 21012951

The metal part that is bolted to the timing cover is different thickness depending on the mount and is easy to measure.
Frowny Mount 1.275" ~1 9/32"
Solid Mount 1.475" ~1 15/32"
The good mount is ~3/16 thicker than the frowny mount.

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Your local dealers - http://www.partsvoice.com/
http://www.vpartsinc.com/


Given the condition of the car, from the previous owner, I'm pretty sure I'll want to take your advice. Right now, the choice is if I want to modify a newer one, or deal with a third party heater.
There are no decent 3rd party heaters. The modification is simple.

This is part of the logic as given to me by someone who did "try synthetic long enough." The way he put it was "you run synthetic from day one, or you don't run synthetic at all." I'm not so concerned with the oil causing problems in this weather. My parents were running 10+ year old cars in some of the harsher winters we've, reliably starting, but starting a lot rougher than this thing. And they ran their cars with whatever the manufacturer said to use. I've got 10w30 in there now, but I am thinking about switching over to 5w30. I'll probably stick with synthetic for now, just to play it safe. It's my daily driver, and I don't want to take chances in the winter. I'm just trying to get the car to perform a little better, and hopefully reduce/eliminate the amount of time it's idling before I go to work.
The synthetic myths die hard. Use the synthetic 5w-30 and you will have no problems. If the car sits outside the battery maintainer is the way to go as when you reach -21F and below there is minimal battery capacity remaining.

I'm not worried about the battery. It's a newer battery, with fresh posts, putting out good voltage. The car cranks just fine, it's what happens after the engine catches that I'm concerned with. I'm also looking forward to the idea of having the engine nice and warm when I start it, so I don't have to wait as long for it to be able to defrost my wind shield. Taking a longer route to work doesn't really reconcile either of those issues.
Heat from a small engine is always problematical. There are some 120V aux heaters that can be safely placed inside a car and turned on by a timer to have a toasty warm interior waiting for you. Definitely worth the effort.
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