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Chris W. 10-05-2003 06:18 PM

Let's Wire Up the Block Heater!
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It’s getting cold. If you have a diesel, that means that you might want to fire up the block heater. My ’95 E300D is new to me. I did not know if it even had a block heater. A bit of research determined that it does, and I believe that all diesels from at least 1995 onward have block heaters. BUT…they are not wired, unless you or the previous owner took the car back to the dealer for the free heater cord install. (Canadians and the rest of the world – it may be different in colder climates.) Look behind the small removable rectangular section of your plastic front grill on the passenger side to see if the cord is there.

So, I looked, and my cord was not present. So I ordered one – it’s cheap, as it should be. Here’s how to install it. An easy one-beer job.

First jack up the front of the car, place your jack stands, and remove the plastic belly pan, if you still have one. This photo shows what you see when looking down from the top side. The heater is located on the passenger side of the engine block, below the exhaust manifold. It has a black plastic cap on it, assuming it is still there.

Because you are working next to the exhaust manifold, wait until your car is cold to do this job.

The cap was tight on my car so I used some slip joint pliers to grab it and loosen it enough to remove it by hand. It’s a tight fit, but you can reach it from above without much difficulty.

Chris W. 10-05-2003 06:19 PM

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This close-up photo was taken from below and shows the heater with the cap. Nice to have the close-up feature on the digital cam – and long arms to hold the camera where my eyes couldn’t see!

Chris W. 10-05-2003 06:22 PM

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This photo shows the view from the top with the black plastic cap removed – you can see the brass threads on the heater itself.

Chris W. 10-05-2003 06:23 PM

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This photo is a close-up of the heater with the cap removed.

Chris W. 10-05-2003 06:24 PM

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This photo shows the heater cord. 3 prong plug on one end, and two holes on the other to fit the prongs on the heater.

Chris W. 10-05-2003 06:27 PM

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Now you have to get under the car, and plug the heater cord into the heater itself. A bit of feeling and dexterity required, but it is not too difficult. You have to do it pretty much by feel, because you can’t see too well up there. Actually if you are adventurous, you could probably remove the second plastic belly pan and gain more access and visibility under the car, but I did not feel like doing that, and the job is not too hard with it still in place.

Chris W. 10-05-2003 06:28 PM

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So now you have plugged in the heater, you have to route the cord out the front of the car. I have not seen how the dealer techs do it, but I chose to run mine along the transmission oil cooler line. I just zip tied it along that tranny cooler line about every 6 inches or so, no big deal. Then you snake it out of the front of the car, out the trap door in the front fascia.

Chris W. 10-05-2003 06:30 PM

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Here is the last photo with the cord hanging out the front of my bug splattered fascia. Don’t make the same mistake I did at this point. You have to secure the cord firmly in place so it can not drop down and drag on the pavement. Another zip tie or two should do it. I did not do that and managed to drive about 80 miles with the cord dragging! Chewed up the plug quite nicely, but it still works. Now go have another beer and change the oil while your car is nicely up on the jack stands!

Chris W.

ForcedInduction 10-05-2003 11:46 PM

It brings a tear to my eye when I see work this well documented...

bmwtaylor 12-05-2004 09:47 PM

Picture worth a thousand words
thanks a million for posting block heater pics--just what the doctor ordered. You said cord was not expensive-where can you get a cheap one. One dealer quoted me 60$ for just the cord. That sounds like robbery.

Chris W. 12-05-2004 10:19 PM

Phil at Fast Lane for parts
When in doubt, just call or email to Phil. He's superbly responsive, and the price is always competitive, IMHO.

Chris W.

braverichard 12-05-2004 10:37 PM

Excellent Documentation Chris!!

I was going to purchase my replacement cord from Phil (for $16.xx) when I called the local M-B shop and they had one for $15.xx. So I just purchased it from there and installed it the same day. :)

Brandon314159 12-09-2004 09:55 PM

Anyone care to share the dealers routing on their stock cord setup?
I am curious to see where they stuff it and make it look presentable to the "finely tuned eye" of mercedes owners :D

Very nice documentation.

Rick Miley 12-10-2004 10:22 AM

Pictures of my W210 as done by the dealer are here.

Brandon314159 01-03-2005 08:36 AM

I just installed my block heater (not just the cord...but the element too!)
I had to break out the oxy-acetele torch, BFH, and a home made tool to get that damn plug out of the whole.
I will post pictures later...I document like this post...:)

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