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I recently installed the Honda Engine Block Heater in my ’01 EX. I doubt that it will really be required in order to start my Ody on very cold winter mornings, but it will reduce engine wear and provide inside heat sooner thus making ME more comfortable.

Without a doubt, this qualifies as the “messiest mod.” If I had known before I started what I know now, it wouldn’t have been quite so bad.

Here are my notes on the installation:

0. Get some Honda Coolant. You probably won’t need very much, but you’re sure to lose some, maybe even a lot, during this operation. Besides, it’s a good idea to have some on hand anyway. I paid about $9.50 for a gallon.

1. I put the vehicle up on ramps; jack stands would have worked just as well. I don’t recommend trying this on the ground.

2. Drain the radiator. Nothing difficult here, just be sure you don’t completely unscrew the petcock; it makes a big mess (guess how I know). Be patient and loosen the radiator cap. Close the petcock.

3. Drain the engine block using the REAR drain. Honda’s instructions don’t call for this step; I followed their instructions
. Use a drain hose, about 2 feet long, I’m not sure about the ID, 5/16 is a little big but might work if you hold it in place. Crack the drain loose using a socket, then use a box or open-end wrench when draining. You should be able to catch virtually all of the coolant using this technique. Close and tighten the drain.

4. Remove the front drain bolt. I don’t know how much coolant will drain IF you performed step 3 above. It’s a big mess if you didn’t. I know! BTW: This drain bolt has a 18mm head, by my calculations ¾” is only 0.002” larger. A ¾” 6-point socket works fine. Loosening this bolt is easiest “from the top.” You may find actually removing the bolt easier from underneath. Make sure you remove the washer, too. The key to this step, and the next, is having just the right combination of socket (regular or deep) and extension(s).

5. Install the heater and the new washer. I used some anti-seize compound but this is probably unnecessary. Don’t use anything like thread sealer, pipe dope, or Teflon tape. I found it easiest to install the heater from underneath and tighten it from above. The head of the heater is 24mm; I used a 15/16” 6-point socket. Use a torque wrench! The torque specification is 44 ft-lb, which isn’t very much. You definitely don’t want to strip these threads; it’d really ruin your whole day.

6. Mark the cord according to the instructions. The mark at 250mm (~9 7/8”) is the most useful; you could easily do without the one at 400mm (~15 ¾”). I didn’t have a white marker so I used a couple of pieces of adhesive tape (from the medicine cabinet).

Follow the rest of Honda’s instructions.

I hope this helps someone. Let me know.

Mel
 

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Good job Mel. I was looking at my block heater the other day and thought how the heck someone would be able to get that thing in there. Luckily for us Canadians the dealers always install a block heater. I feel for you guys living in the northern states as you have the same weather as we do but you don't get the heaters installed or heated mirrors. Perhaps they should have an optional cold weather package.
 

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Luckily for us Canadians the dealers always install a block heater
In southern Ontario block heaters are not mandatory. I believe GM, Ford and Chrysler all include block heater in the base purchase price, but it is a for $ add-on if you buy a Honda or Toyota. I paid about $150 each, installed. I am a strong believer in block heater, for the same reasons as Mel.
 

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Canadian dealers always install a block heater??!! :rolleyes:

The salesman at Ottawa Honda scoffed when I asked him if this $35,000CDN van came with a block heater. "This baby will start with no problem no matter how low the temperature goes!" Actually, he was probably right about that, but like Mel I was thinking of saving wear and tear on the engine, battery, starter, etc. Our winter temp can go to -40C.

I bought mine from Handa and had them deliver it to a friend who lives near Annapolis, MD. Good excuse to go for a ride in the Odyssey! It was reasonably easy to install myself although I never did get a good look at the former drain plug site. Mel's idea of doing some work from the bottom sounds helpful in retrospect.

I forgot to pick up spare coolant. When I went to the dealer to get a jug of the real stuff, the parts guy said they don't use it. He suggested I go to Canadian Tire instead! As far as I know, their best lasts for only 2 years, nowhere near the 10 that Honda's does. Luckily, I caught every drop and so had to add none at all, Canadian Tire or otherwise.
 

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Quick install?

I know it might be a little messy but would it be possible to
just remove the front drain plug and then quickly screw in the
block heater replacement without going to the trouble of
draining the rad and block etc? As long as the rad cap was still
on it would be a closed system so it shouldn't just pour out....

On my domestic Auto's the t you had to drain the coolant. Since this one screws in I should be able to pull the drain bolt and
get this one in its place in about 1 second....

Whats the wattage on the block heater?
 

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The block heater has fine threads. Installing it quickly could easily cross-thread it. Like Mel said, that would definitely ruin your day! Be patient, take the time to drain the engine block and install the block heater carefully. Good luck!
 

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Still seems a lot simpler...

Heck, I figured I would use my Impact wrench set at
600 Ft/Lbs to put the sucker in :)


But seriously, why not just put down a catch pan ,unscrew the front drain plug, catch whatever coolant spills out and install the block heater at the same time the coolant is pouring out? Its not like the coolant is going to harm the block heater.....
Even if you take your time and get a little coolant on your arm
in the process it seems much simpler...
 

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Yeah, I agre with babylon 5 that you can just remove the front plug. Our block heater was seeping a bit of coolant past the washer so I just removed it from above, let the coolant pour out into a catch pan, cleaned up the sealing washer, and screwed it back in. I made the mistake of adding teflon tape to the threads, which made it a little harder to screw back into the block. If the washer is not damaged, it should seal without the teflon tape.
 

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When I asked for a block heater to be installed in my 03 Ody the salesman looked at me oddly. The mechanic, who has been a Honda mechanic for a long time said it was the first one he's installed in an Ody. Of course it helps that I live in Vancouver and usually the only ice we see is in our drinks and it might snow once a year. Although, it is a pain in the butt having to mow the lawn in January!

Oh, I need the block heater because I drive into the central part of B.C. in the winter and it gets REALLY COLD! -- kinda like the rest of Canada in the winter.
 

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Mowing the lawn! Man that's only a long awaited dream for us here on the prairies! We actually had bare grass up until last Saturday, when we got our first snow to cover up our lawn. Farewell grass until at least April.
 

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I'm here in New England, and found the same rection from the dealer when I requested a block heater. I don't regret the purchase, as the vehicle starts beautifully in sub-zero weather. You can absolutely tell the difference on the mornings when you forget to plug 'er in, it seems to struggle a bit and turns slower.
But I am always amazed that the interior air doesn't seem to warm up much faster. Anyone else notice this? I have an old MB diesel, and that block heater will yield warm toasty air as soon as it fires up, and I was expecting the same on the Ody. No idea what the difference in wattage is between the two.
 

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Block heater

interior air doesn't seem to warm up much faster
Zoot1, it depends on the outside air temperature and the length of time you run it. On a very cold day, I give it three hours. (Oh yes, and the van is garaged so wind chill is eliminated.) I would guess the block has warmed to maybe 80ºF - easy starting but still a long way from toasty warm heater output at 195º. After that, the temperature indicator rises to near normal after just a few blocks of driving.

Having said that, it's a lonnnggg time before the steering wheel is warm to the touch, let alone the interior of the van. That's a lot of air and steel to heat, and the heat is sucked out almost as fast as the heater can pour it in. Guess that's why they put seat heaters in the leather models!

How I yearn for the return of warm weather!!! :Yum:
- Dave
 

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Be happy you were not in western Canada. Yesterday here in Regina it was -38C and -50C with the wind chill. Now that's cold. Thank goodness for block heaters, interior car warmers, battery blankets and toques.
 

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in Regina it was -38C and -50C with the wind chill
Yes, but it's a DRY cold!
 

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Ah yes...the age old "It's a dry cold" come back. Good one Dave.
 

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Oh look, my left ear just fell off...

More like "Freeze Dried" at that temperature.
My mother keeps reminding me of the day up north in Timmins
Ontario when it was -46F and we still went to school.
The only day we stayed home was when the wind chill hit -60...
 

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I am still amazed that anything still works at -40C. Garage doors, garbage trucks, cars, people etc. It is just too damn cold to get out of bed. I think they should call them freeze days and you don't have to go to work, but still get paid. Perhaps the Canadian Government will pass a bill.....yeah right. What a dreamer.

:alky:
 

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I understand that the whole interior will get not get warmer any faster than normal, I am talking about the fact that I know at what point on my commute the heater starts to blow warm air out, compared to when I run the block heater (usually when the temp is expected to be under 15F or so). Usually not much of a difference. And it was suggested to me that I plug it in ALL night, as it doesn't have to work so hard warming up the coolant. The difference between that and setting the timer for 3 hours is also nil.

Still worth it.

And as for the seat heaters? Never use them. By the time the seat is starting to warm, I am already comfortable. A piece of sheepskin, or even a towel, is much better in my opinion.
 

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Dry cold

For the benefit of those members in warmer climes, it's a standing joke that when the Prairie folks claim they get cold weather that makes the East seem like Florida, we retort with the dry cold thing. In theory, dry cold does not feel as cold as...what, damp cold I guess.

However, when I visited Edmonton last February (not too far from Regina), it was so cold my hotel room windows were frosted on the inside. The exhaust from the buses created low cumulus clouds of their own. And while walking the few blocks to my office I nearly froze to death in the process, despite the DRY cold. My take is that cold is cold, dry or otherwise, and those Prairie folks get cold that would freeze a witch's brea**!
 

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Thanks for expaining the difference, Dave. I am sure that people in the southern climes have no idea what cold is...dry or damp. Lucky them.

I spent a Christmas out on Vancouver Island about fifteen years ago. It was only about -3...but was foggy and wet. I have never been as cold. The cold just seem to go right through me. At least in Saskatchewan, when it is killer cold (-25C or colder) it is usually sunny and looks warmer than it really is. Can't fool me though, especially when I stick my nose out and it freezes instantly in the 30kph wind.

Ahhhh, spring and the mosquitos are only a few short months away. At least when it is below zero, there are no damn bugs. Too bad the golf courses are not open:cool:
 
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