Replacing Block Heater Element - Diesel Forum - TheDieselStop.com
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6.0L Power Stroke Engine and Drivetrain Discussion of the 6.0L Power Stroke diesel engine and drivetrain in the 2003-Up Super Duties and Excursions. No gas engine discussion allowed except on transmissions and drivetrain that pertain to all models. Please confine discussion of topics in this forum to those items that are specific to the 6.0L Power Stroke engine.

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Old 07-17-2009, 12:35 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Replacing Block Heater Element

Anyone ever replaced the element and what is involved? Mine quit working last winter, kept tripping the GFI. Show a dead short at the connector end. After disconnecting the chord from the element no issues with the GFI and no longer a short at the connector, figure the element is bad.
Truck is an 06 and still under warranty, unless it's a major deal I choose to do this job myself.
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Old 07-17-2009, 03:38 PM   #2 (permalink)
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If it's covered under warranty have the dealer fix it. I'm not sure how much the element costs but I'm going to guess that replacing it is a pain. I haven't actually heard of one going bad before.
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Old 07-17-2009, 05:45 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I'm tending to think they will say it is a 3/36 item and not covered under the engine warranty. I would check before you take it in. The block heater is a very common one. It is used in a ton of engines. If you have a heavy truck shop in your area they probably will have another one. The only real problem is getting to it and be aware the coolant system will drain itself on your head if you don't drain it first. Otherwise it should be an easy job. Just spend the money to get a socket that will fit it and make you life easier. I would also run the new wire. It will be a pain but the male plug end is notorious for corroding and catching fire.
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Old 02-07-2010, 03:43 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Hey guys new to the forum........any thoughts on how to test the block heater element??.........my block heater is tripping my garage outlet GFCI outlet.the truck is an '06 6.0 with 92k. the plug looks good, mainly just wondering how to test to see if its a cord or the element??.........
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Old 02-07-2010, 05:23 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I had the same issue I just pulled the cord off the heating element, cleaned both parts with some de-greaser. I made sure to wipe both areas off and reconnected the plug to the heating element. Works great no more GFI tripping.
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Old 02-07-2010, 06:11 AM   #6 (permalink)
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There are three places to check for moisture:
1) Connector at the cord/block heater
2) Connector at left front bumper (3 pin amphenol to standard 120 V male connector)
3) 120 V male connector to extension cord

I found moisture on #2 above. I found it when I was tracing the wire from the block to the end of the cord looking for nicks in the insulation. I checked continuity to ground at the heater and that was fine(a megger would be best for that job but I do not own one of those).

Once I found where the ground was I used WD-40 to displace the water, then some brake cleaner to completely dry it out. I bought some dielectric grease(Permatex) and applied some to each of the above connectors. That cleared up my block heater issues.

It is possible that you have a problem with the heater itself but I do no think it is likely. I would seriously check each of the connectors I listed above.
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Old 02-07-2010, 08:33 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks a ton guys will give it a go to see what happens.
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Old 02-10-2010, 09:10 AM   #8 (permalink)
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This is what solved my problem and what I posted last year under the thread: "Block heater question for '05 6.0". The solution was free and worked for me all winter (2009 - 2010) here in lots of wet weather so far without even one GFI trip.

I was prepared to replace the cord on my truck to fix a troublesome short that tripped the GFI in my garage last winter, but was able to fix the problem with the original cord and save some $$$. The dealer had wanted about $145 just for a cord, ouch. I asked at the International dealer and NAPA store, but could not get help there without a part number.

The factory cord is really two sections connected in the middle with a flat blade type plug. The end nearest the bumper with the male 115 VAC plug is approximately 18" long. The portion of the power cord containing the flat blade plug was secured with some plastic push pins and electrical tape to the front of the frame rail in front of the passenger wheel well. Unfortunately, the way it was hung there, that portion of the power cord was vertical with the female end of the blade plug facing up. In that position, it acted as a cup to collect whatever moisture intruded into the blade plug. I could not detect a short with my Ohm meter, but the small amount of moisture in there was enough to trip the GFI. The resistance between the hot and neutral plugs was in the range of 16 ohms, once the meter settled down. The resistance between the hot and ground and the neutral and ground plugs was either an “OL” (open line) or in the mega ohm range. The values seemed normal to me. I should recheck them now that the problem is fixed to see if they have changed and will edit my post with any change to the numbers.

I detached the 18 inch "pigtail" end of the power cord from the frame rail, dried out both ends of the blade plug with compressed air, used a toothpick to insert some dielectric grease into the female pins of the blade plug (not enough to cause oozing of the dielectric grease and more electrical shorting once the male pins were inserted), reconnected the blade plug and then wrapped the plug tightly with electrical tape to prevent moisture intrusion. I then used zip ties to rehang that portion of the power cord so that the female end pointed down. Because of the fixed length of the cord, I had to route it towards the center of the truck near the passenger side fog light before draping the end near the tow hook so that the blade plug could be hung female end down. There are probably several solutions to rehanging the cord. A loop could be one alternative, or the entire 18” could be left loose. I just wanted to ensure the blade plug hung female end down even though I had wrapped it well with tape.

The cord had tripped the GFI routinely before the fix, but has now been tested successfully several times, even as I wiggle the male 115 VAC plug to induce any hidden shorts in there caused by the corrosion that others have described.

It was a relief to go into the project confident with the help of some very informative posts and to find a cheap solution! Thank you.
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Old 02-10-2010, 09:55 AM   #9 (permalink)
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try a different out let in your house that doesnt have the gfi/trip in it i had a simular problem with my gfi but no prob with regular outlet make sure you dont use a super long extension cord ether
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Old 02-10-2010, 01:17 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnny87 View Post
There are three places to check for moisture:
1) Connector at the cord/block heater
2) Connector at left front bumper (3 pin amphenol to standard 120 V male connector)
3) 120 V male connector to extension cord

I found moisture on #2 above. I found it when I was tracing the wire from the block to the end of the cord looking for nicks in the insulation. I checked continuity to ground at the heater and that was fine(a megger would be best for that job but I do not own one of those).

Once I found where the ground was I used WD-40 to displace the water, then some brake cleaner to completely dry it out. I bought some dielectric grease(Permatex) and applied some to each of the above connectors. That cleared up my block heater issues.

It is possible that you have a problem with the heater itself but I do no think it is likely. I would seriously check each of the connectors I listed above.
#2 was my problem 2 days ago and dealer said it was a bad element. It is a dumb location for the connector. Water gets in it. Clean it, dry it with HAIR DRYER and put a little Dielectric grease on plastic part of connector but NOT ON contacts. 110/120 transfers through the grease
Ford says not to use GFI. Good Luck, it's code in newer homes!
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