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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My wife has to load three kids in the van every morning to drive my son about 5 minutes to his school. Every winter we've let the van warm up for about 10-15 minutes before her trip so the kiddies won't be cold.

Anyway, I finally decided to buy and install an engine heater, and the best style seemed to be the tank style heaters. The only thing is I'm a little unsure how to hook this up to the 3.8l engine in the van.

The instructions say to remove a drain plug from the bottom of the block and attach a hose fitting (included in the kit), then run the hose to the input side of the heater. The output of the heater is supposed to go to the heater core return line. The heater is supposed to work by convection, with the hot coolant rising and flowing into the top of the engine while pulling cold coolant from the bottom of the engine. The problem is that in this van, the heater core return line actually goes along the bottom front of the block and back to the pump (which is near the bottom of the engine, so the convection thing wouldn't work).

I'm wondering if this will work if I attach the heater output to the heater core output hose at the thermostat housing. While heating, the coolant would have to flow backwards through the system, but it seems like it would work in theory. Also, I was wondering if I need to be concerned about the coolant just bypassing the engine block through the heater when the van is running, causing the block to overheat.

I know, maybe I should just put a block heater in one of the freeze plugs and call it a day, but I'm hoping someone here will know enough about these to give some help.
 

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acton mike said:
a block heater will give you a somewhat shorter warm-up time
I've heard that the tank type will give shorter warm up time than the block heater-- not "proven" or anything, just people's impressions. It is a 1500 watt Zerostart unit that heats coolant in its own separate "tank" and circulates it through the engine. I believe it's significantly more powerful than the block heater because of the size constraints of a block heater. I bought it NOS off of eBay and the instructions are from the early 90's, so they're dealing with a different kind of engine configuration.

Is there anyone that has installed these, or has one on their vehicle?
 
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