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Useing an alternate power source to plug into the engine heater

I own a 2006 Ford E450 V8 6.0L Diesel box truck. I cannot plug in the engine heater at the place in witch I store the truck. Can I use an alternate power source like a RV portable backup power kit?

You mean a portable generator?

I will let others chime in case there is something unusual with this heater, but for the most part a heater is a resistor and does not care where the power comes from.

The RV backup I am looking at is a 800 watt rechargeable battery. I don’t know how long this will keep the engine warm. I need something that will work over night, about 8 to 10 hours.

Watts are the wrong thing to consider. You need the watt-hour capacity.

Sounds like you are trying to use a 12 volt battery with a built in invertor to power the block heater. Given the block heaters I see need 400 to 1500 watts so you’d need 3200 to 12,000 watt-hours to power it for 8 hours.

So, No, that won’t work.


Nope, like @Mustangman said, no reasonable battery would work. Generator maybe, but that’d be a pain.

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The block heaters run off of regular 120V household current. I used to just use a timer to run it for about 2-3 hours before start-up, but still that’s not gonna work.

You can use any alternate electrical power source you like, so long as it has the capacity to handle the wattage and time needed. In your instance I’m almost certain that the answer would be No however… But if it were a battery bank, then…just do the calculations required.

Block heaters arent the kind of devices they post efficiency ratings on because they arent exactly electrically frugal. Resistance is real and sometimes futile… lol


congrats on having an 2006 6.0L that still runs. Those engines are known for lots of problems.

If it really needs to be heated up, one way is a charcoal fire in a low-lying grill - when the flames have died down and it’s only glowing coals!

Oh, that’s helpful…:crazy_face:

If it were a battery bank, part of the calculation would have to be transporting the battery bank to where you can charge it, and since the thing would probably weigh hundreds of pounds, and be fairly large, that wouldn’t be all that practical. Might as well park the truck where you would have charged the battery bank.

A battery pack to power a low-current piece of electronics? Yep
To power a current hog like a heater? Nope!

Would it work to heat it up an hour (or half-hour or however long the battery would last) before you want to drive it? Warming it all the time mostly heats the atmosphere.

A charcoal fire is not as versatile or expensive as a portable generator, but gets this job done. At the same time you can heat up some stones, in case the heater is not working.

This cold spell has a lot of us thinking about how things got done in the old days. Many of those techniques can do the same job today. They’re just not at the top of our list.

IMHO, the only viable solution is a portable generator.

@shanonia idea on charcoal and heated rocks was really entertaining :slight_smile:

I probably read about it years ago in Popular Science. I had hundreds of issues, 1920s to 1970s, from my dad and his dad. Anyone else remember Gus, and Hints from the Model Garage?

I actually DID something similar, back in 80s, on car dated 1966 :slight_smile:

That was the tool of the trade:

Read it every issue.
But in either PS or Pm there was a helpful ideas section. One was a method to dispose of used engine oil. Dig a pit, fill with gravel. Then pour your used oil in and let it seep into the ground.
Read a lot of Tom McCalls articles and books. Many of his recommendations are out of date too. Like change out the “ break-in oil after 500 miles, go up one viscosity over recommended (single weight) oil.