You are watching: How to test a block heater

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I figured out my block heater didn"t work, I don"t think it ever did, considering it had a big cut in along the frame. So, despite my efforts in plugging the good ole 7.3 in, I never gave a second though that the block heater actually worked since I was using a programmable timer cord!I found even after splicing the cord to remove the damaged section, the block heater still didn"t work. Did some reading on FTE and tested the cord and element with a multimeter. Element was good, cord was bad, ended up doing this as a first attempt:
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I hooked that to the element and plugged in the extension cord, and the element immediately started working. Only issue...short cord meant crawling under the truck/fender well to plug in. I decided the truck deserved the proper cord, especially after all the cold starts it gave me without much complaint. I looked on Ebay etc, saw various offerings from $30 USD and up for just a three prong cord, I am in Canada and don"t like messing around crossborder Ebay stuff and the currency exchange, shipping/handling plus the wait didn"t interest me. Got the OEM cord from Ford in my hands in less than 24 hours.
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I wasn"t too happy with the Made in China part. My original plug had "Made in Canada" on it. For the $180!!!!!!!!! price (no shipping, no handling, no duty, no wait + no lube) I was expecting a non-China product. Yes I could have spliced an extension on the "short cord" and been ok, but I didn"t want a jack leg looking cord and plug. Plugged it in to the element and tested it:
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Good to go, had to snake it through the chassis. I couldn"t find a place for two of the built in "Christmas Tree" fasteners behind the shock mount, but I got thinking the same harness would be for a 2wd truck as well, so holes might be different. Working outdoors -15C/5F was fun as well.

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So, test/check your block heater!1) It will sizzle or hiss when plugged it2) The top of the oil filter where the heater cord plugs in the engine will get warm3) The plug will snap/arc slightly if you plug the cord into an outlet slowly4) Multimeter will read around 15 Ohms when you test on the two flat blades of the cord. I will be checking this now every fall BEFORE it gets cold!