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2009 Forester 2.5X
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286 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I now live in southeast Iowa and the Forester has been earning his keep lately.

Has anyone installed the factory engine block heater? Where does the hot part mount?

Thanks very much.
 

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Premium Member
2008 XS 4EAT
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9,878 Posts
The block heater screws into one of the frost plugs of the engine block on the drivers side. I highly recomend a block heater, it's amazing how quick you have heat in the morning :icon_biggrin: and Subaru's are somewhat coldblooded to begin with. I plug mine into a timer and it comes on approximately 3 hours before I leave in the morning.
I'd suggest having it installed at the dealer as the frost plug can be a pain to remove even on a newer engine. Did I tell you about how quick it is to get heat!:biggrin:
 

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2008 XS 4EAT
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9,878 Posts
Another thing that was done on my install, at the suggestion of my mechanic was rather than having the plug exposed at the front of the car, the plug is zip-tied inside the engine compartment. Not only does it protect the plug from corrosion, but it encourages checking the basic fluids more often in the winter when you have to pop the hood to disconnect.
The block heater gets warm enough in approximately 3 hours that the thermostat must be partially open, the top of the rad and upper rad hose are warm to the touch and if a lite dusting of snow is on the hood, there is signs of melt from convection.
It's also been a reminder and makes cleaning the windshield easier is to lift the wipers so they don't freeze to the windshield, and to unplug at the same time as putting the wipers down.
 

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2009 Forester 2.5x
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706 Posts
SageG: Have the block heater installed while your vehicle is young. Corrosion makes removing that frost plug harder, and eventually makes removing it impossible. I've got the OEM block heater on my Forester, and it is great.
Steve
09 2.5X AT
 

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2009 Forester 2.5X
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286 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Thanks to everyone

The block heater could have been installed today IF the exhaust system wasn't in the way. There's no Subaru store in the great city of Fairfield, Iowa, so exhaust system gaskets are coming along with genuine Subaru coolant. Next Thursday may be the day. There's plenty of Old Man Winter left in Iowa skies...
 

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2009 Forester 2.5x
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Your engine will be thanking you for years to come. Those wicked cold starts are hard on an internal combustion engine. On a thread called "warming up the engine", member fujisan provides a link to a study/brochure of block heater benefits done by the Canadian Auto Assoc. It's great reading. Oh yeah, the instant heat is great, too!:biggrin:
Steve
09 2.5X AT
 

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The one thing I regret is not getting the block heater, the car is in the garage 99% of the time but I like the idea of having it just in case, I have plugged my old car in a few times this year since it got kicked out of the garage and I think I will be adding the block heater to the Subie my first trip back to the dealership
 

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2009 Forester 2.5x
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The one thing I regret is not getting the block heater, the car is in the garage 99% of the time but I like the idea of having it just in case, I have plugged my old car in a few times this year since it got kicked out of the garage and I think I will be adding the block heater to the Subie my first trip back to the dealership
Good choice. The more Blockheads around here, the better!:biggrin: When I was finalizing the purchase of my Forester, I was stuck on what to buy w/ the last couple hundred dollars in my budget. Salesguy suggested mudguards, around $180 installed. I asked how much for the block heater, it worked out to about the same....so it was a no-brainer for me. Someday I will get those mudguards, tho...
Steve
09 2.5X AT
 

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2018 2.5i Premium CVT
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Do it sooner rather than later. I never quite got around to installing mine. Asked the shop to put it in when they had the system drained for the timing belt / water pump job at 105k miles, but by then corrosion had set in, they couldn't get the plug out, and they didn't dare try any harder.
 

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2017 Limited
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Looks a lot easier than an install in say my old Jeep, in which case a freeze plug had to be knocked out without knocking it INTO the engine collant jacket. And I also like the screw-in method for the installation of the heater. In my Jeep, it was an under-engineered crossbar retainer with an o-ring. It blew out on me twice, after that I gave up. And it was a difficult job to re-install a new freeze plug as well.

I did learn the hard way to not start the engine with the heater plugged in, as it could/did burn out my heater. I did not see that mentioned anywhere so far.
 

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IF I'm ever able to install a heater it's my plan to install a relay powered by the same 120 volts AC that would break the starter interlock circuit at the clutch pedal. Plugged in = no start!
 

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2009 Forester 2.5x
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I did learn the hard way to not start the engine with the heater plugged in, as it could/did burn out my heater. I did not see that mentioned anywhere so far.
I'm glad you mention that. I'm not sure if that would fry the Subaru heater or not, but I never take the chance...better safe than sorry.
Steve
09 2.5X AT
 

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2009 Forester 2.5X
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Discussion Starter #16
Power/effectiveness of block heater

It's been very cold here, dropping to 6 or so in the mornings.

I have the heater on a timer, set to start at 6AM and stop at 10AM. The blue cold engine light still comes on when I start the car around 10AM. But it doesn't stay on quite so long. The heater is rated at 400 watts.

I can't imagine that starting the car with the heater plugged in would damage the heater. It has to withstand at least normal engine operating temperatures.

Fortunately my house is very well insulated, so I guess the few bucks to use the block heater are well spent.

My first trip of the day is on foot or by bicycle, unless the conditions are blizzard...
 

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2015 Highlander AWD XLE 6AT
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...so I guess the few bucks to use the block heater are well spent.
A 400 W heater x 4 hours = 1.6 kWh. At $0.12/kWh, the energy cost will be ~19 cents per morning warm up.

Not bad!

HTH,
Jim / crewzer
 

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2018 2.5i Premium CVT
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I have a hard time understanding how simply starting the Forester with the heater on would cause any harm. If anything, I think the temperature in the vicinity of the heater would tend to go down due to the movement of coolant that would take place.

Actually driving the Forester with it still plugged in is a different story. I know people who have done such.
 
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