Oil dipstick heater vs. coolant heater

Discussion in 'Heavy Duty Diesel Truck Mechanics Forum' started by mile marker 27, Jan 28, 2023.

  1. mile marker 27

    mile marker 27 Heavy Load Member

    Dec 4, 2019
    I’ve done some reading and asking around about, coolant vs. dipstick heaters? Most(me) use coolant heaters but some swear by the dipstick heater. It was pointed out to me and makes sense, that coolant heating is best because it warms the combustion area. On the other hand, warming the oil is said to be better for the mains and keeping debris from being pushed to them.
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  3. Dave1837

    Dave1837 Road Train Member

    Nov 16, 2019
    I'd rather get the oil warm so it makes its way through the engine as fast as possible
  4. RockinChair

    RockinChair Road Train Member

    Feb 19, 2012
    CC, TX
    If I owned a truck I would be using both, so that both fluids and the metal would all be up to operating temperature at the same time.
    Bean Jr. Thanks this.
  5. Rideandrepair

    Rideandrepair Road Train Member

    Aug 8, 2015
    The factory style coolant heater is located in the oil cooler housing. That’s going to warm the oil in the oil cooler. I’d have to guess an oil dipstick type warmer would be a universal type thing. Correct length wound be what’s important. I’ve also wondered if one of the extra drain plugs, especially the one on the side of the oil pan, was for installation of an oil heater. Looks to be the same size as a coolant block heater. Could probably use the same heater element. I wondered if it might melt the oil pan, being it’s some type of plastic/fiberglass mix. Must be some type of factory style heater. Even my old Jeep has it as an option, with a gasoline engine. Popular up in Canada.
    Bean Jr., mile marker 27 and DUNE-T Thank this.
  6. seagreg

    seagreg Light Load Member

    Oct 3, 2019
    Dipstick heaters are typically far lower wattage, most being below 100w while the immersion heaters are typically the 12 A 120 V circuit continuous max load of 1500 W.

    They really can't kick it much higher because the watts per square inch is limited without destroying the oil.

    If you live in some warm place without much wind they may help, but I would be in trouble where I live.
  7. Ridgeline

    Ridgeline Road Train Member

    Dec 18, 2011
    I have trucks with coolant heaters and pad oil heaters. They are small, 1100 watts total and most of them run off the APU.
  8. North Pole Nightmare

    North Pole Nightmare Medium Load Member

    Dec 15, 2021
    The oil pan pad heaters are probably better than the dipstick type if you want to warm the oil.Generally the block heater does the best,heating coolant.
    lester and Bean Jr. Thank this.
  9. xsetra

    xsetra Road Train Member

    Aug 21, 2011
    My previous 99 fld120 had a block heater and an oil pan heater in the N14.
  10. W923

    W923 Heavy Load Member

    Feb 28, 2022
    They make thread in oil heaters that are similar to a block heater but much more surface area to wattage so the oil doesn’t boil on the element. They work well to heat the oil but don’t do much for the rest of the engine…we had one on a farm tractor years ago. Seems that most stuff around here just has a water jacket heater but I have seen a couple trucks with oil heaters too. If I did more cold weather work I would put both in. Maybe a 3-400 watt oil heater and a 1000-1200 watt block heater. That way they can be wired together and still plug into a regular outlet.
  11. Cat sdp

    Cat sdp . .

    Apr 8, 2012
    Orion's Belt
    Coolant heater with T6 full synthetic oil has me covered……
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