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Old 05-15-2018, 07:32 AM   #1
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Forest River Owners Club
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Block Heater, Where is the switch??

We have a new 2017 Berkshire XL. We've only had it a few months, and here in Florida it has been pretty warm out. On a cool, rainy day yesterday, I noticed heat coming out of the engine compartment when I walked behind the coach. It hasn't been started in several weeks (we are at home...work...), so I'm pretty sure it isn't normal (duh). I placed my hand on the radiator cap, and it was quite warm. I crawled under the coach, and the block was also quite warm. This coach originated in Colorado, and made it here to FL sometime in January where we bought it in March. I ass-ume the dealership in CO installed the block heater, because there is nothing in the cummins/freightliner/forest river manuals concerning the block heat except "in cold weather, turn the block heat on for 2 hours...". I've searched everywhere, and cannot find a switch. When we owned a Dodge Ram Diesel (2006 model), the block heater was just a 110 power cord to plug into a wall. Any ideas? Help!
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Old 05-15-2018, 08:08 AM   #2
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There usually is a breaker in the breaker box for the engine block heater, also where the power cord is stored there will be a outlet with a black cord that is plugged into an outlet, just unplug it. Unless they changed it for 2017 there is no switch. I believe all Berkshire come with engine block heater from FR. Skip
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Old 05-15-2018, 08:15 AM   #3
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Typically installed inside the rear engine doors. You'll likely see a 120vac receptacle, it likely has GFI protection, and the block heater is evidently plugged into it. Mine is above the radiator on the driver side, marginally inconvienent. I leave my block heater unplugged, and use the receptacle for other purposes. You do not want the block heater powered while you're going down the road with the genny on, which I bet it is. Unplug that dude. My AF training has me reluctant to use CBs as switches.
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Old 05-15-2018, 04:11 PM   #4
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Our engine block heater switch is 'anonymously' on the side of the bed platform/box, where it is not only 'hidden', but easily accidentally switched on when brushing past it unknowingly. Does it have a RED light on the switch? Yes, but 'why', I have no idea, as you would never be able to 'see' it where the switch is located, and of course, your bed spread or sheets would easily cover it up.
Does the factory 'tell' you anything about this switch or where it's located? Of course not! The ONLY 'tell' might be the breaker label in the main breaker box, but of course, that doesn't tell you that there's any switch associated with it, or where it would be found.
I'm always amazed at how 'engineers' who design these layouts, especially the electrical, ever have a clue at how these 'machines' are actually used in real life. I don't think any of them have hardly ever stepped into one, much less 'camped' in one for any length of time. : /

I can think of another several 'switches', at least on my coach design, that should have someone scratching their heads> my 'mirror heater' switch is 'conveniently' located right north of the Allison transmission pad, easily 'accidentally' switched on just by brushing by it(I've never used it, intentionally anyway!), and yet my 'Exhaust Brake' switch is 'inconveniently' located past my steering wheel and on the dash, where I have to 'lean forward' to reach it. If the two were switched, it would be perfect... but, alas, that's asking too much.

We have three wall switches, side by side, with not a label on either, in the hallway. The first is for the rear bedroom slide, and easily and accidentally pressed when thinking that you are pressing the hallway LIGHT switch, which is right next to it! If you can't 'see' in the dark, why mount a SLIDE OUT switch right next to the very LIGHT switch that you need to see it!???!? : /

o.k. rant over, let's party.
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Old 05-16-2018, 01:05 PM   #5
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I unplugged this Monday when I posted this thread because it was all I could find. The cord went through the compartment, and appears to loop around to the top of the engine block near the water pump. I checked the engine to see if it was warm yesterday, and it had cooled right off! Thank you all for your help; it sure seems the manufacturer could at least label the outlet and plug for us newbies.
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Old 05-17-2018, 05:31 PM   #6
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Ok, about your outlet. It is exposed to alot of dirt and such back there in the engine bay. Mine has a lid on it to keep crud out -- making it a little tougher to use but...


Anyway, maybe think of a way to protect that outlet.
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Old 05-19-2018, 07:29 AM   #7
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Tony Mac, Thanks! I will put an outdoor protected outlet with cover on there. Be Blessed!
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