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  1. #1
    Silver Member jedjoe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    102
    Location
    Warren, Connecticut
    Tractor
    new holland TC 35A 2004

    Default installing block heater, advice appreciated

    I plan on helping kjacob install a block heater unit on his 2003 TC 30. We want to do this right the first time, so if someone has already done this work on a 30, we would appreciate any friendly advice.

    It looks like he's got a nice clear shot at a soft plug on the left side of the engine (viewed from the seat).

    1. It is essential to drain the coolant first?
    2. Okay to pry the soft plug out, or will that damage the threads?
    3. What do we use around the block heater to seal it properly to the block?
    4. Any special tools required that we should make sure we have on hand?

    The plan is to do this job sometime between now and turkey day.

    Thanks all.
    "Do the best you can with what you have and where you find yourself" - Teddy Roosevelt

  2. #2
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Posts
    5,244
    Location
    North of Mtl,Que,Can (Ste Adele)
    Tractor
    MT180D

    Default Re: installing block heater, advice appreciated

    By 'soft plug' I guess you refer to what I know as a frost plug.
    Yes, simply pry it out.
    You will need the ID of the hole to order a suitable block heater which are available in many sizes.
    Suggest 400 watts as a minimum.
    The plugs are equipped with O-ring to make a good seal.
    Instructions generally read; clean well, add a bit of oil/grease to O-ring, insert and tighten in place.
    The tightening squishes the O-ring to make a perfect seal.
    Takes about all of 10 mins to install.

    Draining is kinda optional as you can usually catch and save most of the coolant as generally the frost plug is high up enough on the block.
    On the other hand most tractors have a valve for draining at the lowest point so that is not all that hard to do.

    Note that most manuals call for coolant replacement at or about 1000 hrs so depending on usage that is an option to consider.

    Personally I flushed my system and replaced my coolant as I was in the 1000 hr zone when I replaced my heater, (It died after 1100 hrs on a 1988 tractor)

    Good luck, have fun.

  3. #3
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Posts
    832
    Location
    Tidewater VA.
    Tractor
    Ford '92 2120

    Default Re: installing block heater, advice appreciated

    Did it on a 2120 4 cyl a couple of years ago.
    Mine replaced a freeze plug in the block.
    You have to drain most of the coolant.
    The plug should be the pressed in cup type with no threads.
    The heater has a O-ring and a T-bolt to seal it to the block.
    Steve...

    "My biggest fear is that when I'm gone my wife will sell all my tractor gear for what I said I paid for it. "

  4. #4
    Veteran Member Jerry/MT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    2,389
    Location
    Western Montana
    Tractor
    New Holland TD95D, Ford 4610 & Ferguson TO-30

    Default Re: installing block heater, advice appreciated

    Quote Originally Posted by jedjoe View Post
    I plan on helping kjacob install a block heater unit on his 2003 TC 30. We want to do this right the first time, so if someone has already done this work on a 30, we would appreciate any friendly advice.

    It looks like he's got a nice clear shot at a soft plug on the left side of the engine (viewed from the seat).

    1. It is essential to drain the coolant first?
    2. Okay to pry the soft plug out, or will that damage the threads?
    3. What do we use around the block heater to seal it properly to the block?
    4. Any special tools required that we should make sure we have on hand?

    The plan is to do this job sometime between now and turkey day.

    Thanks all.
    The soft plugs are generally pressed in and to remove, I hit them off center with a punch and hammer and that generally rotates them so you can grab them with pliers and pull them out. If you hit them too hard, they can fall into the water jacket and you'll have to fish them out with a magnet. (Don't ask how I know this.) I also drained the coolant when I did mine on my Ford 4610.

    You them clean the edges of the hole and put some oil on the o ring if that what it has, insert it with the element pointed in the correct direction and tighten the bolt head. It's really easy if you have easy acess to the frost plug. You'll spend more time draining the coolant.

  5. #5
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Posts
    832
    Location
    Tidewater VA.
    Tractor
    Ford '92 2120

    Default Re: installing block heater, advice appreciated

    Here's a good picture of what they look like.
    Kat's 11411 Frost Plug Engine Block Heater
    Steve...

    "My biggest fear is that when I'm gone my wife will sell all my tractor gear for what I said I paid for it. "

  6. #6
    Platinum Member SARG's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    620
    Location
    Upstate New York
    Tractor
    NH T1030- NH T1530 - 49G Brockway

    Default Re: installing block heater, advice appreciated

    Last fall I tried to install a New Holland OEM heater into a T1030 without any luck. The toggle ears on the New Holland brand was just too flimsy to seal and hold.

    After two attempts I put a frost plug back in .... threw the heater into the garbage and vowed not to buy any more New Holland parts unless it was an absolute necessity.

    (One of the reasons I wished I'd bought a Massey.... their heater bolts onto the block)
    Last edited by SARG; 11-01-2010 at 03:56 PM.

  7. #7
    Veteran Member jimmysisson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    2,089
    Location
    W.Mass
    Tractor
    1993 NH 2120 (the best), 1974 MF 135 (sold, but solid), 1947 Farmall A (bought, sold, bought back, sold again), 1956 MH50 lbt (sold, in 1980, darn it)

    Default Re: installing block heater, advice appreciated

    I had same results as SARG, except I was able to keep the ears off the old unit and install the new one. Not before dumping some coolant and some selections from our shorter vocabulary list. Agree the ears aren't the best, but you can likely fab something. Maybe the Kat heater is better than NH's.
    Jim
    "Anything worth doing is worth doing slowly" Mae West

  8. #8
    Silver Member jedjoe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    102
    Location
    Warren, Connecticut
    Tractor
    new holland TC 35A 2004

    Default Re: installing block heater, advice appreciated

    Thanks one and all. We plan to install this sucker on sunday. I'll let you all know how it goes. The "technical consulting" is always helpful!
    "Do the best you can with what you have and where you find yourself" - Teddy Roosevelt

  9. #9
    Silver Member jedjoe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    102
    Location
    Warren, Connecticut
    Tractor
    new holland TC 35A 2004

    Default Re: installing block heater, advice appreciated

    Well, we installed the block heater easily today, thanks to all the advice above. Despite using great care, I did manage to knock the soft plug into the block when tapping it with a metal punch and hammer. It didn't rotate as I expected it might when tapping on the edge gently. Fortunately, it only fell partly down into the block and I was able to get it out easily with one of those "part fishing" magnets. I checked the plug carefully to make sure I hadn't chipped any metal off of it and into the block.

    On the TC 30, the block heater is placed into the hole in the block and rotated so that the heating element is the the "7 o'clock position". You are first supposed to lubricate the O ring with some antifreeze or liquid soap; they tell you to NOT use oil as it will apparently degrade the O ring over time. Slid the heater in and then secured it by turning the bolt on the front of the heater to the appropriate torque.

    Ran the tractor for a bit to insure there were no leaks. Then attached the electrical cord and zip tied the cord to a secure part of the frame where it could be easily accessed and yet be out of the way.

    I once started my TC 35 on a cold day after having run the block heater. Forgot to unplug the sucker from the extension cord and drove off! Fortunately since these heater's plug wires are detachable, no harm done, just felt like an ***!

    Thanks to all for the guidance.
    "Do the best you can with what you have and where you find yourself" - Teddy Roosevelt

  10. #10
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    216
    Location
    Northcoast, CA
    Tractor
    New Holland TC29D

    Default Re: installing block heater, advice appreciated

    Just run the extension cord through the steering wheel.

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