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Old September 16th, 2007, 16:01   #1
MandyMandyTastesLikeCandy
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Default Block Heaters

Hello, first time poster/member here at TDIClub.

Can anyone please help with my decision making process about block heaters.

I own a 2002 Jetta TDI 1.9

Last year in Rhode Island we had several days/nights were the temp was below zero. My car would not start, I would have to crank it till the battery ran out, then charge/boost the battery. After 15 mins of cranking, the engine would fire up. It was recommended that I get a block heater for my car.

This is where I am asking for your help. Does anyone know of a good type type of heater to get. Im looking for something inexpensive, but functional.
I plan on using the heater only when I know its going to get cold. and lso that is fairly easy to install. I am however open to any and all suggestions.

What do y'all use for your VW's?
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Old September 16th, 2007, 16:03   #2
doc_m
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curious is everything ok with your car? seems like it could be something else, mind you the coolant heaters are a fantastic thing to have in the cooler climates, still not a needed thing, just nice to have. www.frostheater.com has a full line.
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Old September 16th, 2007, 16:06   #3
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The ones from frostheater are really the best and essentially the only option.

Your car defenitely has a problem though. It never got cold enough last year in RI that you car should have been that hard to start. Come to a GTG or bring your car up to Chris Hill's shop (mrchill) up in Braintree, MA and get to the bottom of the issues. Its probabily something simple like a few dead glowplug or a bad harness.
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Old September 16th, 2007, 16:09   #4
MandyMandyTastesLikeCandy
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Thanks, dually noted
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Old September 16th, 2007, 16:15   #5
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For sure - your car has other problems than not having a block heater. These cars when running correctly should have no issues starting at -30, -40 F (assumes proper 5w40 or 0w30 oil, timing correct, and good glowplugs / harness. Also assumes proper starting technique - turn ignition switch on, WAIT until pigtail light goes off, turn key to starter position). I second taking your car to somone who knows what he's doing to get your car checked out / problems corrected.

Now the frost heaters ARE nice so you will have heat when you turn on the car immediately, but they shouldn't be a requirement for Rhode Island - after, your GAS car doesn't require them ?
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Old September 16th, 2007, 16:27   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MandyMandyTastesLikeCandy
Hello, first time poster/member here at TDIClub.

Can anyone please help with my decision making process about block heaters.

I own a 2002 Jetta TDI 1.9

Last year in Rhode Island we had several days/nights were the temp was below zero. My car would not start, I would have to crank it till the battery ran out, then charge/boost the battery. After 15 mins of cranking, the engine would fire up. It was recommended that I get a block heater for my car.

This is where I am asking for your help. Does anyone know of a good type type of heater to get. Im looking for something inexpensive, but functional.
I plan on using the heater only when I know its going to get cold. and lso that is fairly easy to install. I am however open to any and all suggestions.

What do y'all use for your VW's?
None needed and there's no place in the engine block to install one.

The NE area normally doesn't get cold enough to need a block heater of any kind. A TDI in proper running condition will cold start without a block heater at temps well below zero (F). TDIs are popular in Canada in places that get way colder than it does in the NE area....those of us in the "balmy" Boston area have nothing to worry about.

My 2002 Golf TDI is parked outside year round in NH. The coldest I've ever started it at was -17F without any problem.

From what you described about it not starting in the cold, you've got other problems that need to be taken care of before considering any type of heater. You might need a set of glowplugs or somthing else may be going on.

Has the Check Engine Light (CEL) been on? (The ECU should be scanned for stored code(s)).

What oil are you using? It's supposed to be a 5W-40 diesel-rated synthetic oil.

How long did you wait before cranking it after you turned the key to ON? Wait for the GP light to go out then wait a few more seconds.

Does it still have the original battery? It might be getting time for a new battery if it was cranking too slow to start in the cold.

How does it start when cold in warm weather? It should fire right up on the first or second compression stroke, i.e., "crank-crank-VROOM..." is all it should take. If it takes several seconds to fire up, then something is definitely wrong.

I suggest you find a local TDIclub guru in your area who can take a look at your car figure out what's going on. A TDI in proper running condition will actually start better in subzero temps than most gassers do. I've occasionally had a couple of co-workers try to needle me, poking fun at my TDI, thinking it's not going to start in the bitter cold because it's a diesel. They have all the typical anti-diesel prejudices. I end up having the last laugh though. LOL.

Find a TDIclub guru in your area who can help (there are several). Whatever you do, DON'T take it to a VW dealer. By far the number one problem with VWs in general is incompetent dealer service. Finding a local TDIclub guru is the way to go.

Good luck and Welcome to TDIclub.
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Old September 16th, 2007, 18:47   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by n1das
A TDI in proper running condition will cold start without a block heater at temps well below zero (F). TDIs are popular in Canada in places that get way colder than it does in the NE area....those of us in the "balmy" Boston area have nothing to worry about.
.
Had a couple -40* days out here where the tdi started without being plugged in. Took a bit, but she fired. That was when the timing was so retarded it wasnt even on the chart too!. I cant wait to see how it starts this winter with everything as it should be!
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Old September 16th, 2007, 20:21   #8
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I have started my 01 in -0 % temps WITHOUT using the glow plugs to prove to a friend that these cars when tuned right will start in cold weather. Make sure the Battery is good have it and your charging system tested. Most places will do it free. Have someone with a Vag-com check your timing and make sure it is set above the middle line. Both of these things effect how the car starts along with good Oil.
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Old September 16th, 2007, 20:59   #9
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As above...the most important thing is a good running car prior to the cold weather, and THE most important thing is a good battery with the proper rating. I prefer the OEM one. I've done the last two winters with no block heater and zero issues... but I broke down and ordered a zerostart from frostheater.com for this winter. Can't wait to install and give it a try...weather permitting.
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Old September 17th, 2007, 03:24   #10
Joe_Meehan
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There is no need at all for a block heater there, to start your car. It might be useful for getting heat sooner after you start, but if your TDI is not starting under those conditions, you have other problems.

I have had no problems starting VW diesels to 27F below.
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Old September 17th, 2007, 03:45   #11
JettaTDIMKV
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I had a coolant heater installed simply because I want to have heat as soon as I get in the car. It is a 1000w heater/pump to heat and circulate the coolant to peak operating temp. I don't have heated seats so I really don't care to freeze my *** off, I had to pick one up.

I ran a heavy duty extention outside and used a heavy-duty exterior timer in the house to set it the night before if I know I need to go out.

I just put mine in, so I will see how it works as soon as it starts getting really cold out.
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Old September 17th, 2007, 06:42   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JettaTDIMKV
It is a 1000w heater/pump to heat and circulate the coolant to peak operating temp.
What model is it? The zerostarts dont have a built in pump.
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Old September 17th, 2007, 07:17   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by david_594
What model is it? The zerostarts dont have a built in pump.
true but the coolant still circulates.
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Old September 17th, 2007, 08:49   #14
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Have yet to have a hard start in winter even at 0 degrees. You might want to winterize by changing out your fuel filter in the fall, fuel up only at busy truck stops and add PowerService diesel additive Diesel Kleen at each fill to keep the fuel from gelling. Stay away from mom and pop stops that sell a tankful every week or so. They're probably still selling summer fuel at Christmas. I don't think there's enough appreciation for the fact that diesel fuel starts to precipitate out wax under forty degrees. That can clog the filter in a hurry. It doesn't go back into solution once it's wax (without a heavy dose of solvents) so keeping the fuel from getting in that condition is the key. Biodiesel is even more succeptable. And yes, the fuel can get so thick it doesn't pump properly. Additives keep it from turning into jelly. Pep Boys in my area has started carrying PowerService products and they're available online too.

Cranking and cranking your starter is likely to bring premature death to the starter and battery. Keep the fuel good and it will start.
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Old September 17th, 2007, 13:02   #15
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Oh I have Terry's coolant heater installed in my car and I used it when I lived in MN. I had it on a timer and 3 hours before I would leave for work it turned on the heater. The car starts very merrily and I have cabin heat right away. Of course at -25 F I did have to drive right away as the engine would start to cool off. Nothing quite like having heat right away in the winter.
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