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  #1  
Old 01-24-2013, 08:56 PM
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Block Heater Fire

I was doing a Google search on Block Heaters and came across this picture of an engine fire from using a bad cord to the Block Heater.

Engine Fire from Block Heater - Diesel Forum - TheDieselStop.com








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  #2  
Old 01-24-2013, 09:02 PM
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Yikes!
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  #3  
Old 01-24-2013, 09:03 PM
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Exclamation Lets be careful out there

It is 120 V ac.

It is enough to kill you or start a fire.

Be sure your heater cord is solid and your extension cord is 12 gauge minimum.

Be sure you are plugged into a GFCI protected outlet.

Be sure the outlet is equipped with a weather proof while in use cover if it is exposed to weather.

Be sure to properly stow your cord so it is not damaged while driving.
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  #4  
Old 01-24-2013, 11:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jay_bob View Post
It is 120 V ac.

It is enough to kill you or start a fire.

Be sure your heater cord is solid and your extension cord is 12 gauge minimum.

Be sure you are plugged into a GFCI protected outlet.

Be sure the outlet is equipped with a weather proof while in use cover if it is exposed to weather.

Be sure to properly stow your cord so it is not damaged while driving.
You forgot one thing: Don't drive away with the cord still plugged in.
(BTDT)
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  #5  
Old 01-24-2013, 11:27 PM
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I wonder if it's really because of the block heater and associated power cords? Pretty good picture for a spur-of-the-moment photo op. A '99 F250 with 308K miles? Might've been time for a new truck. Just sayin'.
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Old 01-25-2013, 01:29 AM
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The block heater that was included with my 300D when I got it in 2004 had the black rubber insulation material already peeling between the halves. The green wire insulation inside was already showing, but not the copper innards. So I simply took it off, cleaned it up and wrapped in electric tape, but I did not reinstall (lowest we have is around 34F here).
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Old 01-25-2013, 01:58 AM
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On the Volkswagen block heaters the cord just plugs into the heater, and is available as a separate piece. Anyone know if that's true of these? The insulation on mine is looking pretty rough, too.
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Old 01-25-2013, 03:14 AM
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Look Here

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  #9  
Old 01-25-2013, 07:47 AM
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On my F350 I removed the plug and wired it to a Marinco power inlet in the bumper. I put another one on the passenger side for my battery tender.

TheDieselStop.Com - www.thedieselstop.com
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  #10  
Old 01-25-2013, 08:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skid Row Joe View Post
I wonder if it's really because of the block heater and associated power cords? Pretty good picture for a spur-of-the-moment photo op. A '99 F250 with 308K miles? Might've been time for a new truck. Just sayin'.
Block heater fires are not that uncommon, we have had probably half a dozen threads on them over at the Powerstroke forum in the past year. The PSD heater is 1,000 watts, which makes for more current than on the Benz heaters.
Also 7.3 Superduty trucks (99-03) are in such demand that resale value is higher than Blue Book value most eveywhere, and they are easy to sell on top of it, no reason to torch one.

Add to that, if someone wants to get rid of one just park it on the street for a few nights, it'll disappear.

I'd say it's a pretty big stretch to say it was arson.
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  #11  
Old 01-25-2013, 08:42 AM
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My theory as a trade electrician is what I call "strand reduction". When a cord is improperly removed by pulling on the cord instead of the cap repeatedly (like what happens when you drive off with it plugged in) you begin to break or pull wire strands out where they are connected to the blades on the plug cap. Eventually when enough strands are no longer in contact with the blade you have a reduced area for current to flow (just like if you were using a tiny extension cord), which generates the heat which will melt the plug cap and eventually start burning, catching all the plastic around it, like the grill for example.

A very loose plug connection can build heat the same way when using a high amp draw device, so make sure those extension cords are good quality and tight fitting.

It is not the exposed copper on a worn cord that starts a fire so much as a loss of contact during current flow.
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  #12  
Old 01-25-2013, 09:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dieselmania View Post
Block heater fires are not that uncommon, we have had probably half a dozen threads on them over at the Powerstroke forum in the past year. The PSD heater is 1,000 watts, which makes for more current than on the Benz heaters.
Also 7.3 Superduty trucks (99-03) are in such demand that resale value is higher than Blue Book value most eveywhere, and they are easy to sell on top of it, no reason to torch one.

Add to that, if someone wants to get rid of one just park it on the street for a few nights, it'll disappear.

I'd say it's a pretty big stretch to say it was arson.
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  #13  
Old 01-25-2013, 10:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dieselmania View Post
Block heater fires are not that uncommon, we have had probably half a dozen threads on them over at the Powerstroke forum in the past year. The PSD heater is 1,000 watts, which makes for more current than on the Benz heaters.
Also 7.3 Superduty trucks (99-03) are in such demand that resale value is higher than Blue Book value most eveywhere, and they are easy to sell on top of it, no reason to torch one.

Add to that, if someone wants to get rid of one just park it on the street for a few nights, it'll disappear.

I'd say it's a pretty big stretch to say it was arson.
What happens when they're parked "on the street," as opposed to a driveway?
Read the guy's previous posts on the dieselstop. The pic and fuel line splicing problems he's posted scream POS/ill-cared for truck. Next, notice the studio-quality of the photo, (all @ 4:00 a.m. - yeah......riiiiight) as well as how the truck is outfitted/jacked-up to wear the chassis/suspension parts with oversized tires screams dogged out. Insurance would pay more (likely A LOT MORE) than that old POS truck would fetch, just as insurance pays astronomically more for old MB diesels than casual sales/trading them in.

My 7.3 hasn't burnt my Ford down in 8 years of use. If it did, I wouldn't have a studio set for pics. Blaming the block heater offhandedly may be bogus, regardless what the guy posted.
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  #14  
Old 01-25-2013, 10:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skid Row Joe View Post
What happens when they're parked "on the street," as opposed to a driveway?
Read the guy's previous posts on the dieselstop. The pic and fuel line splicing problems he's posted scream POS/ill-cared for truck. Next, notice the studio-quality of the photo, (all @ 4:00 a.m. - yeah......riiiiight) as well as how the truck is outfitted/jacked-up to wear the chassis/suspension parts with oversized tires screams dogged out. Insurance would pay more (likely A LOT MORE) than that old POS truck would fetch, just as insurance pays astronomically more for old MB diesels than casual sales/trading them in.

My 7.3 hasn't burnt my Ford down in 8 years of use. If it did, I wouldn't have a studio set for pics. Blaming the block heater offhandedly may be bogus, regardless what the guy posted.
Reading that thread, your theory seems a big leap to me. People are offering him 1500 bucks for the burned up truck to rebuild it, plus, he discussed a wrapped up possibly damaged block heater cord

What you are calling a studio set looks like a flash picture from a pretty standard camera at night. I think you are jumping to a pretty out there conclusion.

If you read any of the collected threads from dozens of posted on these forums, a cursory glance will show you they are mostly about problems with the vehicle. If I apply the same logic you are applying, I could call most of the cars discussed on this forum POS vehicles, and worth burning for an insurance payout.
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  #15  
Old 01-25-2013, 06:07 PM
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Originally Posted by dieselmania View Post
On my F350 I removed the plug and wired it to a Marinco power inlet in the bumper. I put another one on the passenger side for my battery tender.

TheDieselStop.Com - www.thedieselstop.com
That's a good idea.

The PO of my car put a power splitter under the hood and connected both the block heater and a battery tender to it, so plugging the car in would both preheat the engine and top off the battery. I thought that was pretty clever.
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