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I'm an idiot and burnt up my block heater element

  #1  
Old 11-12-2018, 12:50 PM
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I'm an idiot and burnt up my block heater element

Due to my complete lack of understanding of the block heater, I plugged my truck in without coolant in it and burned up the element. I just flushed the coolant too! Is there a way to minimize coolant loss, I've read on a cold engine its doable without losing too much coolant. Is there a trick here, or is the coolant bath inevitable? Emphasis on me being an idiot.
 
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Old 11-12-2018, 01:01 PM
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There have been rumors of using a shop vac on the degas bottle to hold the coolant bath down a bit.

Me? I'd swap it fast and consider the bath a teachable moment.
 
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Old 11-12-2018, 01:04 PM
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You could drain the coolant into a new pan, change the element, refill system with coolant you drained into new pan, then top off with what you may have wasted.

No, there is not a way to change the element without losing coolant if the system is full.

I use a pan like this one for coolant only.


 
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Old 11-12-2018, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Sous View Post
You could drain the coolant into a new pan, change the element, refill system with coolant you drained into new pan, then top off with what you may have wasted.

No, there is not a way to change the element without losing coolant if the system is full.

I use a pan like this one for coolant only.

Drape or stretch an old tee shirt over the drain pan to catch loose falling debris. Have done it as well to save new coolant with no issues.
 
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Old 11-12-2018, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Dan V View Post
There have been rumors of using a shop vac on the degas bottle to hold the coolant bath down a bit.

Me? I'd swap it fast and consider the bath a teachable moment.

Think I'll just take a bath and do it as fast as I can. The shop vac trick sounds to good to be true. I hate doing these cold starts with the new injectors and I hate not having adequate time to warm the truck up and driving like a geezer
as a result. I need a poncho and a full face haha.

I need to get this done, and then put my diesel-site actuator on the 38R (why didn't I take it off the old one and put it on before installing/// )!!. Again, my lack knowledge bites me. I did not realize the 38r actuator rod needed adjusting. No wonder I'm making **** for boost.
 
  #6  
Old 11-12-2018, 02:19 PM
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Double post, don't know how to delete it.
 
  #7  
Old 11-12-2018, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Sous View Post
You could drain the coolant into a new pan, change the element, refill system with coolant you drained into new pan, then top off with what you may have wasted.

No, there is not a way to change the element without losing coolant if the system is full.

I use a pan like this one for coolant only.

I use that one also for oil changes, works great. Recycle the oil back into the containers then off to the curb where garbage city picks then up.

Originally Posted by Dude-Ford View Post
Think I'll just take a bath and do it as fast as I can. The shop vac trick sounds to good to be true. I hate doing these cold starts with the new injectors and I hate not having adequate time to warm the truck up and driving like a geezer as a result. I need a poncho and a full face haha.
Old school, just get a cork like from a wine bottle, take out the element and slam the cork in a bit. Drink half the bottle of wine then go for it, lol. This will give you some time to regroup and if the old element threads are OK you are good to go.
 
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Old 11-12-2018, 03:37 PM
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Have a friend help you with the shop vac, duct taped in place, They run the switch for the shop vac. A large funnel over a 5 gallon bucket under the element then go to town changing everything out. Googles not glasses. Buy the whole thing new not just the element. Don’t forget the permatex on the threads before installing it!
 
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Old 11-12-2018, 04:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Colorado350 View Post
Have a friend help you with the shop vac, duct taped in place, They run the switch for the shop vac. A large funnel over a 5 gallon bucket under the element then go to town changing everything out. Googles not glasses. Buy the whole thing new not just the element. Donít forget the permatex on the threads before installing it!
That was my next question, If my plug still looks perfectly fine will it fit onto a new Zerostart element until I have time to change the plug? I noticed they don't come with the thread sealer. You got a particular flavor of thread sealant you like ?
 
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Old 11-12-2018, 04:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Dude-Ford View Post
That was my next question, If my plug still looks perfectly fine will it fit onto a new Zerostart element until I have time to change the plug? I noticed they don't come with the thread sealer. You got a particular flavor of thread sealant you like ?
‘I used this:https://www.permatex.com/products/th...hread-sealant/

This would also work: https://www.alliedelectronics.com/ss...hoCwKgQAvD_BwE
 
  #11  
Old 11-12-2018, 09:51 PM
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The shop vac will keep it from leaking, but will likely suck up a lot of coolant. I'd either drain the rad into a clean pan, or at least syphon the degas tank down before the vacuum. To reduce the bath without draining or vacuum; replace the cap with a plug, or put a thin plastic over the cap valves/threads and reinstall it to vacuum lock the system, at least it'll only glug coolant at you rather than pour. Go to the goodwill store and buy a suit and have someone video the repair, good youtube material. Maybe have a rubber fish you come out from under the truck with. Make it fun at least.

Curious why you plugged it in empty?
 
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Old 11-12-2018, 10:10 PM
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Originally Posted by '88 E-350 View Post
The shop vac will keep it from leaking, but will likely suck up a lot of coolant. I'd either drain the rad into a clean pan, or at least syphon the degas tank down before the vacuum. To reduce the bath without draining or vacuum; replace the cap with a plug, or put a thin plastic over the cap valves/threads and reinstall it to vacuum lock the system, at least it'll only glug coolant at you rather than pour. Go to the goodwill store and buy a suit and have someone video the repair, good youtube material. Maybe have a rubber fish you come out from under the truck with. Make it fun at least.

Curious why you plugged it in empty?
I donít know what I was thinking
 
  #13  
Old 11-15-2018, 09:33 AM
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I heard a bizarre sound this morning after the engine fired up. Sounded like water going through a water hose at a high pressure right when you turn a hose on. I'm worried that maybe the block heater burnt up and a small chunk of it found its way into my oil cooler or soem of the cooling passages because the sound was driver side. My house fuse kept blowing when trying to plug in early this week which told me the heating element has no continuity (plug and wires are mint). Ya'll think its possible or am I just being paranoid? Maybe its my water pump, who knows, I'm hearing also hearing a little belt/pulley chirp now. the fun never ends.
 
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Old 11-15-2018, 09:51 AM
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No continuity would have 0 power draw, open circuit. The element probably short circuited.

How do you know you "burned up the element"?-quoted from your original post. If it's because it blew the house fuse, the element probably melted and became a short circuit.

The water flowing sound could be from air trapped in the system after the flush. Or air created by the shorted heater boiling the coolant before the fuse blew.
 
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Old 11-15-2018, 09:59 AM
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Originally Posted by '88 E-350 View Post
No continuity would have 0 power draw, open circuit. The element probably short circuited.

How do you know you "burned up the element"?-quoted from your original post. If it's because it blew the house fuse, the element probably melted and became a short circuit.

The water flowing sound could be from air trapped in the system after the flush. Or air created by the shorted heater boiling the coolant before the fuse blew.
I've been driving her for a week now. Could air still be trapped? You don't think any pieces of the element could find there way in an unwanted place do you? I'm replacing it this weekend, been stuck working and have had zero time to work on it. Thanks for clarifying open vs. short, I'm not very knowledgeable in those areas. I've got post project paranoia and this ain't helping. I'm still kicking myself for plugging it in empty, like wtf was i thinking.

If the element melted i'm in for a rude surprise aren't I? What if the sob doesn't come out when I try to change it?
 

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