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Old 12-27-2008, 02:21 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Acura Integra block heater installation

Finally got around to installing a block heater in my '90 Teg with 1.8 litre 4-cylinder engine. It gets pretty damn cold here in Minnesota. I have a condo but have to park outside (low-budget place) but each parking space has an electrical outlet on a wooden post. Why not plug the car in and enjoy a semi-warm engine?

The unit--an eBay purchase. Cost $17 plus $8 shipping. 400W made in Canada.

My ride:

Drain plug is on front of motor, near exhaust manifold.

Draining some of the anti-freeze:

Loosening drain plug with 19mm socket:

The plug. When it finally came out, a few cups of coolant spilled out and I was surprised to find some white-coloured sludge behind it with the consistency of toothpaste. I removed this sludge as best I could and cleaned up the threads of the hole before installing the heater.

Installing the heater:



Putting the anti-freeze back in (strained through a rag to filtre out dirt chunks that fell into it):

All finished up with cooling system refilled and bled:


Now I just need to test this thing out. But now it's freakishly warm out (was 45F today and is still 37F as I write this). Will have to wait until it gets cold out again.

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Old 12-27-2008, 12:59 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Congrats and welcome to EM Peter. Whereabouts in MN do you live? I'm in champlin. It's cool to see more Acura owners on here too.
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Old 12-27-2008, 01:26 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Looks good! Wish I had done it before the stupid cold set in,
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Old 12-27-2008, 02:27 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TomO View Post
Congrats and welcome to EM Peter. Whereabouts in MN do you live? I'm in champlin. It's cool to see more Acura owners on here too.
TomO, I'm in St. Louis Park. A while back I found the thread you started in January '08 about installing the block heater in your Civic and that is what clued me into the fact that I could put this type of heater in my own car (which is essentially a Honda Prelude with more valves even though it's called an Acura Integra). Previous to that, I thought it would involve removing one of the frost plugs, which are probably completely inaccessible on this car. And like you, I considered installing one of those external tank heaters, but the hoses on this car are simply not arranged in such a way as to make that heater easy to install, and it probably wouldn't work that well anyway.
-Peter
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Old 12-28-2008, 02:11 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Alright, decided to try this thing out. It's been about 18F outside tonight, and plugged the car in for a little over 2.5 hours. Went out and started it up. Not quite the spectacular result I had in mind. The car did fire up *immediately* instead of cranking for a few seconds like it usually does in cold weather. But the temp gauge was still pegged at COLD. For some reason, I was expecting it to maybe be somewhere east of COLD.

However, the rpms did start dropping within maybe 1.5 minutes of start-up. Normally, this car seems to take forever for the the rpms to start dropping after cold-weather start-ups. With a manual tranny, this is annoying because it makes it hard to get going without jerking the car.
Also, the air blowing from the heater vents was already luke-warm.

So, I think it's safe to say that this heater is working. But from this simple experiment, I can see that in really cold weather I am going to try to have this thing plugged in for as many hours as possible before I need to use the car for maximum benefit.
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Old 12-28-2008, 11:08 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Thats why the circulating tank heaters are generally more effective. More wattage, more heat, and circulation.
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Old 12-28-2008, 06:24 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Cool, you don't live that far from me at all.

As far as the heater, the readings I get with my IR gun indicates that the heater itself runs around 120F and the surrounding block will reach nearly 80F. The instrument cluster temp gauge reads on the cold mark once the coolant reaches 140F. Overall the heater does help you save gas and some wear and tear on the motor for cold starts. Not to mention that it will warm up faster having the block preheated.
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Old 01-02-2009, 02:05 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Belated welcome, fellow Teg owner!

The EBH is a great addition in any climate. It's a real buster to get the coolant plug off, but the install is well worth it -- from increase coolant temps and IATs, to improved startup (automatic) transmission temps.

Even garaged, it helps. Never forget, the grid is more efficient.

Best FE...

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Old 01-04-2009, 10:40 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I think it was well worth the trouble of installing. Definitely much, much better than no heater at all. I've found that combining the block heater with my 200-watt magnet heater on the oil sump works well.



At 0 degrees fahrenheit, with both devices having been plugged in for a couple hours, the car will start *instantly*, and the idle rpms will begin to drop within just a few moments after start-up. The engine is nowhere near operating temperature, of course, but the car is ready to drive much, much sooner than it would be otherwise. Best part is, the power usage isn't going on to my own hydro bill.

The real test will come when we get a wicked 30-40 below zero fahrenheit cold snap.

I decided to hang on to the Kats external tank heater I bought. Check out the vintage 1970's-looking packaging:



This thing wasn't very expensive, and maybe I'll be able to install it in my next car.

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