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Old 12-07-2007, 07:56 AM
tbenton tbenton is offline
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Heater For Cigarette Lighter

Does anyone have any experience with those portable interior cab heaters that plug into the lighter? My 1992 F150 work truck has lost its heat and its going to cost $400 to do all thats needed to get it to work again. Its not just the thermostat. I just put a new tranny in it so trying not to spend anymore on this oldie but goodie.

I see many reasonably priced 12V heaters that plug into the lighter and wondered if anyone has ever tried to use them? I just need 'some' warmth on my hands/feet. I am a contractor and the heat has not worked well for two years but usually I work close to home so its not been an issue but its gotten very cold here in Northern Virginia all of a sudden and my work is taking me an hour away and I am freezing!

Help would be appreciated.

Thanks
Norman
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Old 12-07-2007, 08:21 AM
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Check that link I gave that other poster with no heat and make your own. Those
ones from the parts stores don't last very long especially if they get a bit of moisture
or get left on the floor!!
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Old 12-07-2007, 08:34 AM
tbenton tbenton is offline
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Thanks but that solution does not look safe to me but very creative. Those are good tips so I would never leave a portable heater on the floor or let moisture get to it. I saw some reviews that said they did not really work that well but for less than $30 it might be worth a shot. I am not looking for a lot of heat since I am dressed very warmly but my hands and feet are freezing.

Norman
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Old 12-07-2007, 09:06 AM
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I have no input on the newer plug in heaters but, in 94-95 I had a 76 F-100 with no heat. I used one of the plug in type heaters so that I could defrost the windows more than anything. While it certainly didn't make it warm in the truck it did take off the chill of a PA winter. I do remember after awhile I had to smack it to free up the fan as it seemed to warp but it did what I had expected it to.
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Old 12-07-2007, 09:53 AM
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electric heaters plugged in to the lighter plug on a vehicle are as worthless as the super magic pill you drop in water to make your own gasoline.

Fix your heater, at worst its R&R the heater core.
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Old 12-07-2007, 10:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hhott71
electric heaters plugged in to the lighter plug on a vehicle are as worthless as the super magic pill you drop in water to make your own gasoline.

Fix your heater, at worst its R&R the heater core.
I have to agree. You can't pull enough current through the lighter circuit to generate enough heat to make a difference on a cold day. Most vehicle heaters are in the 15,000 BTU range. A 12 volt heater at 20 amps is about 2000 BTU if I did the math right in my head. Kinda like a fart in a windstorm on a cold day.

If you rely on that truck for your living, $400 is short money to keep it and you reliable. Remember, that's just a bit over a single new truck payment.
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Old 12-08-2007, 02:48 PM
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what is wrong with the heater that is in there?? if it is just the heater core is bad, you can replace it yourself in about 20 minutes for under $50.
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Old 12-13-2007, 07:28 AM
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The heater core has to be replaced but things are so bad that there is flushing that has to be done and then there is the labor charge. I work on my truck for many things but I feel this is best left to the dealer. They are very good to me and always give me a break on the labor and parts due to being such a long time customer.

Norman

Last edited by tbenton; 12-13-2007 at 07:31 AM. Reason: forgot to sign it
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Old 12-13-2007, 07:30 AM
tbenton tbenton is offline
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Actually the little ceramic heater I got is enough to warm my hands/feet and take care of the windshield. when I put it on the dash. Its not the hottest in the world but I wear so many layers to work (I do interior trim in new homes) that I just need to take the chill off.

Norman
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Old 12-13-2007, 07:33 AM
tbenton tbenton is offline
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Can you tell me how much wattage you can use in a lighter? This heater I got for him has a switch for 150 or 350 watts but no documentation came with it. Norman says the 350 would be too much 'pull'. I questioned why they would put the 350 watt option on there? The heater is designed for car/truck cabs. Thanks

Terri (Norman's wife)
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Old 12-13-2007, 07:46 AM
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don't waste your money with a dealer for a heater core change.

open and empty the glove box. remove the box door cable, and unscrew the box door. remove the box tray. look in and you will see i think it is 6 screws. remove those screws, and the access panel.
open the hood. loosen the heater hose clamps where the hoses go into the firewall. remove the hoses and hold them up into the spring. .
go back inside the truck and remove the heater core.
put the new core in, screw the panel back on. put the glove box back together.
go outside and put the heater hoses back on, and top off the radiator.

if you do it rite, you will only need to add about 1 quart of coolant. the total time to remove and replace a heater core is no more than 1/2 hour for someone that does not know what they are doing. .
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rarely in life do you meet a person that will drop everything to help a stranger,
and give the shirt off his back to a friend.
Steve Price was that kind of person.
Godspeed "window licker", the short bus will never be the same with you gone.
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Old 12-13-2007, 08:01 AM
tbenton tbenton is offline
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Thanks so much. I will sure think about doing this. I have replaced altenator, shocks, brakes, fuel pump,etc so I should be able to handle this...lol.

Norman
1992 F150

Last edited by tbenton; 12-13-2007 at 08:03 AM. Reason: forgot something
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Old 11-02-2009, 09:36 AM
tbenton tbenton is offline
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How to get some of those 6 screws out!!!!

Tom,

Finally get around to replacing the core with good salvaged one with the instructions my wife got from you. Did you use something special to get some of those octagon head screws out of there. Can't reach them. Thanks

Norman
--------------------
Quote:
Originally Posted by tjc transport View Post
don't waste your money with a dealer for a heater core change.

open and empty the glove box. remove the box door cable, and unscrew the box door. remove the box tray. look in and you will see i think it is 6 screws. remove those screws, and the access panel.
open the hood. loosen the heater hose clamps where the hoses go into the firewall. remove the hoses and hold them up into the spring. .
go back inside the truck and remove the heater core.
put the new core in, screw the panel back on. put the glove box back together.
go outside and put the heater hoses back on, and top off the radiator.

if you do it rite, you will only need to add about 1 quart of coolant. the total time to remove and replace a heater core is no more than 1/2 hour for someone that does not know what they are doing. .
':-
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Old 11-02-2009, 10:53 AM
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if memory serves correct, i just used a 1/4 inch socket set.
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Tom

rarely in life do you meet a person that will drop everything to help a stranger,
and give the shirt off his back to a friend.
Steve Price was that kind of person.
Godspeed "window licker", the short bus will never be the same with you gone.
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Old 11-02-2009, 11:23 AM
tbenton tbenton is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tjc transport View Post
if memory serves correct, i just used a 1/4 inch socket set.
It was very hard to get those last two screws out due to where they were but I got them after about an hour of cussing. Then there was that white wiring harness plug on the right side that was in the way of getting the core out but finally got it removed but it was a beast.Got the heater core out but had to really tug at it. It had some antifreeze in it. Now I am a bit cautious as to how to get the replacement in there w/o hurting it. Its tight in there. Don't know how to tell if the old core was bad as it looks fine but we shall see. I am so mad at myself ...the salvaged core I got cost me $40 and I should have checked a new one first......$23 at Auto Zone or Advanced Auto. I had to laugh at your original instructions saying this...."the total time to remove and replace a heater core is no more than 1/2 hour for someone that does not know what they are doing." I must really know what I am doing because its taken hours so far....lol. Now to see what will happen with the installation and testing it. I sure hope it works.
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Old 11-02-2009, 11:23 AM
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