View Full Version : Cold weather starting - best practices

white whale
02-25-2014, 07:26 PM
Engine light / glow plug issue has taught me about cold weather start up and effect on the GP's.
At what temps do you plug in before starting. Idle time or no? Espar heater just as good as block heater? Love the espar!

02-25-2014, 09:01 PM
Plug in block heater any time temp is to be below +10 Degress over night. Gives very quick starts and warm up on the road. Also transmission engages quickly and shifts smooth.

10-31-2014, 06:24 AM
Hi, I'm new to this site, and new to Sprinters. I have a 2006 118 Cargo, and wondering if there is a block heater. Where would I find the cord?

10-31-2014, 06:49 AM
If your van has a block heater you will find it at the back of the block above the exhaust support bracket; last of the three freeze plugs.
Big brass unit with a wire.

11-01-2014, 05:21 AM
Thanks Dennis, I'll take a look and see if there is one.

11-01-2014, 05:35 AM
If you have the espar, there is a mod to make it run on it's own BEFORE attempting to start the engine. I haven't done it yet, but it does sound like a good idea.

11-01-2014, 11:30 PM
The Espar mod to run from a switch is a must do if you are in a cold weather region. It is not that hard or expensive. Going on my 5th winter with the mod. It is literally the difference between my wife loving and hating the van (she loves it, won't let me drive it).


11-20-2014, 05:40 PM
is this the plug you mentioned in your post of 10/30/14? Can a block heater be installed here?
Thank you,

11-20-2014, 05:53 PM
This is it-and only here. Had it installed years ago.

11-20-2014, 05:56 PM
How easy/hard is it to install one?
Thank you,

11-20-2014, 06:02 PM
It was installed in a shop, mechanic had problem to remove it. I would not recommend for DIY.

11-20-2014, 06:54 PM
Thank you, Oilburner, I am not planning on doing myself. Who makes the heater you got installed?

11-20-2014, 07:48 PM
Zero Start on ebay.. you can also check Amazon


Also Europarts sells:

11-21-2014, 12:03 AM
I have a 250 watt Kats oil pan heater that works well. I also put a 75 watt Kats blanket around the battery and a trickle charger.

Aqua Puttana
11-21-2014, 01:14 AM
I have a 250 watt Kats oil pan heater that works well. I also put a 75 watt Kats blanket around the battery and a trickle charger.
That's similar to what I have for pre-heat except no battery blanket.

If you have 120 VAC available then the oil pan heater is non-invasive, relatively inexpensive, easy DIY installation, no wear parts, and effective. It worked great for me. Even with my modified Espar Booster pre-heater I still plug in the pad heater when our temps get to around 0F.

There has been some comment about the NCV3 ECM noticing warm oil vs other temperatures and throwing a code. I haven't had any problem with my T1N nor do I recall any T1N pad heater code comments being mentioned here.

:2cents: vic

11-21-2014, 03:14 AM
Will a mechanic have to drain oil to install this ZeroStart?

11-21-2014, 03:44 AM
Will drain some coolant only ( for block heater). Oil pan heater is stick on on the oil pan at the bottom, outside. I have it also, but I use block heater- 2 hours of 500 watts and is very warm whole engine.

12-05-2014, 01:09 AM
has anyone try a Lower Radiator Hose Heater?

ktm 300
12-05-2014, 04:15 AM
has anyone try a Lower Radiator Hose Heater?

I am also interested in a lower hose htr due to the difficulty of installing the block htr. Do they work well?

Aqua Puttana
12-05-2014, 12:27 PM
I am also interested in a lower hose htr due to the difficulty of installing the block htr. Do they work well?
I can't answer your question.

I noticed this as another choice. It connects into the heater hose system rather than the main radiator hose. In about 1/2 hour my modified Espar Booster Heater pre-heats my 2004 engine just fine using the Electric Coolant Circulation Pump. It appears that the OEM pump is not much different than this aftermarket unit. That said, the Espar is about 5000 W output. This add-on heater is much less than that. Still, other circulation heaters are 600 watt or so. Longer circulation time should produce good results.



I have no experience with either style aftermarket hose connected coolant heater,

:2cents: vic

12-06-2014, 03:23 AM
My 2005 always starts here in Minnesota. I have a good set of glow plugs, the espar mod (with key fob!), and a battery warmer. My practice has always been to plug the battery warmer in if it gets below zero and use the espar for pre-heat before I attempt to fire it up in the morning if it's really cold. I do not have an electric block heater on my van, and see no reason to install one as the espar is safe and effective. I have on occasion jumped in the van when it's been below zero, to move it, and gotten it running with a couple glow plug (key) cycles.

Also, The coldest I have started the van is -32F below zero (actual air temp) after it sat overnight.... aaaaand it started without too much drama. :bow:Espar mod:bow:

12-10-2014, 01:39 AM
how difficult it is to install an ESPAR system? Is there a list of parts?

03-25-2015, 09:11 PM
Popular Mechanics magazine did starting tests on a wide variety of devices about twenty years ago. The final conclusion was the most effective item was a battery blanket because a your battery at -40 F only had about 5-10% of its maximum power. They could start any of the test vehicles with the least problems with a warm battery but not necessarily with any of the other heaters.