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-   -   Engine Block Heater question (https://www.irv2.com/forums/f84/engine-block-heater-question-20515.html)

Tagalong 12-18-2005 09:42 AM

Anyone have any experience with this... I don't think the engine block heater is working. Running the GenSet to charge the batteries, I tried the Eng. Block heater to see what it draws at the EMS. Zip, nadda! I tested the receptical the Eng. Block heater is plugged into and it has power. I flip the Eng. Block heater inside switch on and off and I have no rise in Amp draw on the EMS nor does the GenSet rev up. I've never needed to run the Eng. Block heater from the Genset until now. We just moved and I don't have Elec. where we have to park the MH. I used the Eng. block heater before but have not given it a thought that it might not be warming up. Now, we'll be heading out in a few weeks and plan an early a.m. departure and the temps. are dropping! Anyone have any ideas?
Thanks in advance,
Tagalong

Tagalong 12-18-2005 09:42 AM

Anyone have any experience with this... I don't think the engine block heater is working. Running the GenSet to charge the batteries, I tried the Eng. Block heater to see what it draws at the EMS. Zip, nadda! I tested the receptical the Eng. Block heater is plugged into and it has power. I flip the Eng. Block heater inside switch on and off and I have no rise in Amp draw on the EMS nor does the GenSet rev up. I've never needed to run the Eng. Block heater from the Genset until now. We just moved and I don't have Elec. where we have to park the MH. I used the Eng. block heater before but have not given it a thought that it might not be warming up. Now, we'll be heading out in a few weeks and plan an early a.m. departure and the temps. are dropping! Anyone have any ideas?
Thanks in advance,
Tagalong

Cruzer 12-18-2005 06:17 PM

They can go bad every now and then, especially if they overcook. This can happen if they are plugged in while the coolant is low, as during a coolant flush or change or when running the genset while driving and having the block heater accidentally turned on. I'd check to make sure that the cord goes to the heater, not that it got burned off by an exhaust pipe or something first. Otherwise, if you have a good cord and there's power at the outlet, it's undoubtedly a bad heater element.

RV Wizard 12-19-2005 12:44 AM

You could try ohming it out. I am not sure as to the wattage and therefore would not n=know the amperage either but through ohm's law if you can measure the resistance and devide it intot he voltage (120 volts) that will give you the amperage you should have on a good heater.

Tagalong 12-19-2005 03:48 AM

Thanks Cruzer and Mike,
About the only thing I'll be able to check at this time is the cord to see if there's a break in it. I've always checked the coolant level and it's been OK. In any case I'll have to wait until I get the MH to a warmer local. My main concern now is getting the rig to start when we want to head out, which will be at the coldest time of the morning. At least I'll be able to park the MH next to our house a week before we go for packing, so I'll be able to get the batteries up to full charge.
Thanks for your help,
Tagalong

chasfm11 12-19-2005 06:44 AM

Tagalong, I think what Mike is trying to say is that you can unplug your heater and measure the ohms across the prongs on that plug. It should have some resistance and not read open. There is no way to know if the ohms that you read are correct but normally heating coils don't go partially bad - they either work or they break and show an open condition on the meter. I'm pretty certain that your switch controls the outlet that the plug is in - at least that is the way that it is on my MH. On the plug, you should be metering the combination of the wires to the heater coil and that coil itself. I hope that your heater isn't hardwired into your 120v system.

I hope this helps.

Charlie

Cruzer 12-19-2005 07:07 AM

Charlie's point is good. It'll let you test the circuit without freezing too badly. https://irv2.infopop.cc/groupee_commo.../icon_wink.gif If you have power at the outlet I'm pretty sure you are going to have an open circuit when you test the plug end of the cord. Then it's just a matter of whether it's the cord or the heater element. Some cords unscrew from the block heater element so it can be a field replaceable thing. I'm not sure what type is on your Cummins ISB.

As to startability, I wouldn't be concerned. You'll have good battery capacity with the Aux Start switch if the RV has been plugged in. My coach starts at zero pretty easy without being plugged in. It's not very good for it and it takes a while for the smoke to clear up but it will start. You should be OK in that regard.

charliez 12-19-2005 08:51 AM

My FIL had a rig before that had the switch wired incorrectly, and his block heater never worked because of it. That is, untill it got corrected. You may be able to unplug the block heater, as most are simply run from a switched outlet, and plug it into a cord directly, that you know is good. You should hear it sounding like a coffee perculator moments after plugging in, IF it's working. If not, you've got an obvious issue. You may be able to replace it yourself if need be. The coolant would need to be drained. You could even plug a light in place of the heater and turn the swwitch on to verify the plug is working right.

Tagalong 12-19-2005 12:03 PM

Thanks Charlie, I did check the continuity across the eng. block heater plug and there was none. Thanks Mark, if the temp can get up into the high 30's I'll look at the cord. On this unit the cord is simply run from the electrical compartment to the engine. I'll look to see if the connection is loose or a cut wire. It's comforting to hear your comments about starting. Hopefully, this will be the only time I'll need to do it in these temps.
Charliez, thank you as well, these are all good suggestions. I just set an appointment at FL Gaffney, but for April! I'm counting on staying in warmer locals until then!! https://irv2.infopop.cc/images/nature-smiley-008.gif
Tagalong

Canuck 12-19-2005 05:47 PM

Tagalong,
Here's another possible option for you. If you're plugged in or if you are running on the generator you should have an ammeter reading somewhere inside your coach. Take note of it and then turn on the switch controlling your block heater and you should see an increase in the reading. No increase means the block heater is not working or not plugged in.
Canuck

Tagalong 12-19-2005 06:36 PM

Thanks Chanuck,
I have the EMS panel in the coach and that's what first prompted me to think the block heater wasn't working.
Tagalong

Tagalong 12-20-2005 03:39 AM

Thanks for the link and info, Neil.
Tagalong

GStream40 12-23-2005 07:22 AM

This make me wonder what the block heater drawed since I also have the Progressive EMS.

When I plugged it in yesterday I watched the EMS and the block heater draws 5 amps according to it.

Ron

charliez 12-26-2005 10:45 AM

5 amps X 120 volts = 600 watts, so that may be right. I beleive the one on my PU, (Cummins) draws 800 wats, so that would be about 6.5 amps, so it may be a smaller heater that what
I have.


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