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 Bad batch of block heaters?
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1983ChevroletWayne
Senior Member

Canada
165 Posts

Posted - 02/19/2014 :  12:59:21 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hey guys,

Anybody out there experiencing a "higher than normal" block heater failure?

In the past couple of weeks we've had 2 FS-65's & my Maxx force DT IC burn up their block heater. These buses are all parked at various locations. Last year we had mine again, and a couple other DT Ic's.

My '13 IC has had 3 block heater elements put into it since it was new. Without that block heater this bus will not start for me even when temps are around -8 C.

When the continuity is checked the element shows an open circuit, and when the element is removed from the block they are all corroded and burned up.

One thing another mechanic from a neighboring bus garage noted was that we use straight (not 50/50) long life anti-freeze, and they always mix their's 50/50 with water. Could this be a cause?

Someone(not really sure who) had told our mechanics to use straight coolant a while back, and we have ever since.


Just your thoughts...

Edited by - 1983ChevroletWayne on 02/19/2014 1:01:21 PM

second.flood
Advanced Member

USA
364 Posts

Posted - 02/19/2014 :  2:10:14 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Never heard of anyone using 100% coolant. Coolant actually loses antifreeze protection at higher concentrations. I use 50/50 premix.
I've had 3 block heaters fail this year, all open. Fleet of 34.

Make sure the drivers are unplugging before starting the bus too.
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Mechan1c
Top Member

USA
695 Posts

Posted - 02/19/2014 :  3:25:39 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
FYI;
Some coolant comes ready to use(RTU) and if it does, may not need dilution. If you buy RTU and mix it 50/50, that would not be good either.

Edited by - Mechan1c on 02/19/2014 3:26:13 PM
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bwest
Administrator

United States
2319 Posts

Posted - 02/20/2014 :  05:31:17 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
One failure in a fleet of 17 this year. Antifreeze should be mixed 50/50 if you want full benefit of protection. I use pre-mix in my cats and use other mixed full strength in all others. I only use distilled water when mixing myself. I get a lot of weird looks when I walk out of the little grocery store with a case of distilled water. Even the book keeper here wanted to know why I was buying so much drinking water. lol

Bryan
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second.flood
Advanced Member

USA
364 Posts

Posted - 02/20/2014 :  07:16:31 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'll bet that is what the mechanics are using. Premix, the OP may be unaware of this.
I buy premix (RTU) so I don't have to buy distilled water.

Block heater failures seem to run in cycles here, like many repairs :)


quote:
Originally posted by Mechan1c

FYI;
Some coolant comes ready to use(RTU) and if it does, may not need dilution. If you buy RTU and mix it 50/50, that would not be good either.

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1983ChevroletWayne
Senior Member

Canada
165 Posts

Posted - 02/20/2014 :  12:49:26 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Has anyone ever heard that coolant with water added (50/50) would screw up the newer EGR systems and cause premature failure? Apparently that's what our mechanics were told.

Formerly "83ChevroletWayne"



Pic courtesy of: "schoolbusdriver.org"
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second.flood
Advanced Member

USA
364 Posts

Posted - 02/20/2014 :  1:19:11 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I think bwest referenced that with his comment about distilled water.
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bluebirdvision
Top Member

USA
995 Posts

Posted - 02/20/2014 :  4:08:28 PM  Show Profile  Click to see bluebirdvision's MSN Messenger address  Reply with Quote
quote:
Has anyone ever heard that coolant with water added (50/50) would screw up the newer EGR systems and cause premature failure? Apparently that's what our mechanics were told.


I got tired of mixing coolant at work, because i had some lazy drivers dump straight water in the overflow.... which caked the bottom of the overflow with green gunk, so I buy pre-mix. Less headaches.

Shane Kirley
New York Bus Sales Delivery Driver. (I know its not much, but its a start)


Facebook Page: Blue Bird Corporation Fans
https://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_212311114614&ap=1



Edited by - bluebirdvision on 02/20/2014 4:57:37 PM
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Cal Mc
Advanced Member

248 Posts

Posted - 02/20/2014 :  8:22:10 PM  Show Profile  Visit Cal Mc's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I have changed 5 block heaters in the 12 IC /MaxforceDT buses in the last three months. At one point IC had no block heaters in their system in Canada! I had one bus sitting for three weeks waiting for a block heater. All of our busses are parked out.
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Fastback
Top Member

985 Posts

Posted - 02/21/2014 :  04:25:09 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by 1983ChevroletWayne

Has anyone ever heard that coolant with water added (50/50) would screw up the newer EGR systems and cause premature failure? Apparently that's what our mechanics were told.



Depends on the water. Best practice is to use the premix coolant.

Why yes, the ORIGinal CHARGER is a Fastback
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1983ChevroletWayne
Senior Member

Canada
165 Posts

Posted - 03/11/2014 :  08:17:43 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Just burned my block heater out again. Only 3 weeks old. It sat for 3 days plugged in, so i'm wondering if it's something to do with sitting too long plugged in. I'm going to try a timer on my next block heater.

Formerly "83ChevroletWayne"



Pic courtesy of: "schoolbusdriver.org"
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aaronwilmoth80911
Senior Member

125 Posts

Posted - 03/14/2014 :  9:13:01 PM  Show Profile  Visit aaronwilmoth80911's Homepage  Reply with Quote
We use the pink extended life coolant in our entire fleet and don't have many issues with block heaters. We have changed more CAT block heaters than Internationals (444 and MaxxForceDT). I'm in Colorado and typically ours stay plugged in for long periods of time if they aren't being driven, and we haven't had many issues. I would say less than 10 all year with a fleet of 70. Maybe have an electrician check the electrical outside.
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Thomasbus24
Administrator

USA
3336 Posts

Posted - 03/15/2014 :  08:52:19 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'd definitely be looking at your power source. I regularly have spare buses plugged in 24/7 in winter and don't see that many failures. But let's not forget that this could be a case of "Made in China syndrome".
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Schoolbus56
Senior Member

United States
128 Posts

Posted - 03/16/2014 :  03:26:07 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I have had problems with the block heaters in the Maxxforce DT engines the post 10 emission models I had to replace some twice this year... During the Feb Cold snap at one time International had 0 in the warehouse. and they were on national Back Order.... But at any rate I have all new outlets and cords for the buses this year.. The Rep at IC said they have been failing quite a bit. I had found some at the IC dealer they had 10 in stock I took 8 even though I needed 2 at the time. And Patrick they are made in the USA well atleast what is stamped on them.

wow.
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Thomasbus24
Administrator

USA
3336 Posts

Posted - 03/16/2014 :  5:40:42 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Still made here? That's a miracle!
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Schoolbus56
Senior Member

United States
128 Posts

Posted - 03/16/2014 :  5:57:53 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Yes they are! I just changed another one yesterday. The rep from IC said I'm not using the correct oil for cold climate. He said 15 40 is too thick.

wow.
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Thomasbus24
Administrator

USA
3336 Posts

Posted - 03/17/2014 :  04:18:32 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
So.......you are using the wrong oil and that is making the block heaters go bad? That sounds like an IC answer!
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Schoolbus56
Senior Member

United States
128 Posts

Posted - 03/17/2014 :  07:57:14 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thats IC's answer for the buses not startinmg when its in the teens and below. Im glad they didn't say I was the only one with this problem...

wow.
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Fastback
Top Member

985 Posts

Posted - 03/17/2014 :  08:17:13 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
15W-40 is only approved down to +20 F

Why yes, the ORIGinal CHARGER is a Fastback
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slippert
Advanced Member

USA
383 Posts

Posted - 03/17/2014 :  11:15:05 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
For some reason on my fleet of 34 the newer IH block heaters seem to fail more frequently also...... I have worked here for 10 yrs and hardly ever had a block heater fail before unless it was 10 yrs old or more.. pre 2007 engines with the clamp in style heaters, I don't remember changing half a dozen of them..... I still have 14 busses 02-06 that have original heaters in them...plugged in 24/7 when temps are below 10 degrees..just the same as newer busses are...

I have at least 3-5 of the bolt in style heaters fail every year sine they started using them in the 07 emission engines and newer.. The oil viscosity does make a difference at sub-zero temps... but personally know if the block fails even with lighter weight oil in engine these I/C's( mainly the 2012's) don't like to fire up on cold mornings!! Mine are all the I-6 engines and I use the premixed RTU antifreeze purchased in a 55 gallon barrel

Edited by - slippert on 03/17/2014 11:23:11 AM
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Brad Barker
Administrator

USA
838 Posts

Posted - 04/06/2014 :  3:19:57 PM  Show Profile  Visit Brad Barker's Homepage  Click to see Brad Barker's MSN Messenger address  Reply with Quote
Yes the block heaters are failing more frequently. The quality just isnt the same as they used to be. Make sure you dont have power surges in your systems too. Just a thought. And I am presently an IC dealer tech. I recommend stocking up on seasonal items before the season hits. I could talk for an hour on coolant issues. The best advise I can offer is to learn about the differences of coolant and water. Make sure your drivers understand the importance of proper maintenance. New cooling systems need special attention. You can't maintain a cooling system today like you used to twenty years ago. Summer is about here. Now is the time to prepare for next winter with proper maintenance and training.

Brad A. Barker
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