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Brainstorming ideas for 120v cab heat

SheepnJeep

Active member
Hey folks,

Winter has arrived in southwest Montana and I have been thinking on an idea that’s been percolating for a while. I have a Katts tank style engine block heater installed in my pickup. For those not familiar, unlike a freeze plug block heater the tank style is a separate unit that is plumbed from the block drain and up to the heater core. Warm water rises up and flows up to the core and back down the heater lines to the block and radiator.

While this works well for me, I have been wondering how to also warm the cab while plugged in. Maybe a small 120v fan installed in the heater core box to circulate air over the core and maybe up the defrost vents etc? It would be great if I could plug the truck in and let the heater melt the windows off too.

We don’t drive the truck all the time in the winter, but it has been a great backup when needed and also of course to move things too big for a jeep.
 

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buellconvert

Active member
You could possibly source a small fan like what's in a computer tower or cabinet and position that in there to get a little airflow into the cab...I doubt it would melt any snow, but it can never hurt to get a little heart in there

Sent from my moto e6 using Tapatalk
 
The ultimate answer is a Webasto or Espar or Planar hydronic heater that’s wired to run heater fan while on. It has a relatively small dc current draw, the heat source is fuel.
Alternative is AC aircraft heater, I have two 700w units keeping my camper interior above freezing. Aircraft Spruce sells Hornet heaters. They are fairly failsafe and much less likely to combust your vehicle when left unattended for months than an average home electric space heater.
Truly a case of “you get what you pay for”.
 

javajoe79

Fabricator
Just use the 12v fan that the truck already has. Maybe use an on board charger or inverter for 12v power.

Are you sure the block heater makes enough heat to also heat the entire cab?
 

SheepnJeep

Active member
You could possibly source a small fan like what's in a computer tower or cabinet and position that in there to get a little airflow into the cab...I doubt it would melt any snow, but it can never hurt to get a little heart in there

Sent from my moto e6 using Tapatalk
The ultimate answer is a Webasto or Espar or Planar hydronic heater that’s wired to run heater fan while on. It has a relatively small dc current draw, the heat source is fuel.
Alternative is AC aircraft heater, I have two 700w units keeping my camper interior above freezing. Aircraft Spruce sells Hornet heaters. They are fairly failsafe and much less likely to combust your vehicle when left unattended for months than an average home electric space heater.
Truly a case of “you get what you pay for”.
Just use the 12v fan that the truck already has. Maybe use an on board charger or inverter for 12v power.

Are you sure the block heater makes enough heat to also heat the entire cab?
I was also thinking about computer tower fans. Probably not enough airflow to blow air up the defrost vent however. I was also thinking about a bilge fan that is meant to be added inline to a 2” hose, but can’t seem to find a 120v version.
I will look at aircraft heaters. This would be something that gets plugged in for a couple hours before starting and not left on forever, but I agree that the average home heater seems sketchy at best.
The block heater can warm the coolant up enough that after a couple of hours the thermostat opens and the radiator starts to warm as well. I can check but I think the heater core was about 150 degrees. Doesn’t have to heat the cab up to 75 degrees, just at least 32 on a cold day.

Thanks guys!
 

sturgillk

Observer
The first bit of winter is settling in over central Montana this weekend. I know the struggle. I've taken a page out of the Scandinavian's book, they put a small ceramic space heater in the cab. Connect it to a short little multi plug in extension cord with the block heater and battery tender alongside it.

I made it through an entire winter with no heater in an old Subaru one time, just had to be careful not to breath on the windshield.
 

SheepnJeep

Active member
I do like the idea of adding a seperate cab heater, and the aircraft ones are definitely the coolest choice. I will persue the idea of hooking up the normal heater fan to a 12v power supply. I’m assuming the heater would simply run at full blast?
 

Verkstad

Raggarkung
I’m assuming the heater would simply run at full blast
Depends where in the fan circuit connection to aux power takes place.
Something else to consider.
Many vehicles use vacuum actuators to position the ventilation dampers.
They will have to be in the position you want before shutting off the car.
 
The aircraft heaters will be reliable, safe and last several orders of magnitude more hours than the cheap space heaters. One order of magnitude more expensive.
 

EcoBoosted

Director of Adventure Management Operations
Years ago I use to put a space heater in my truck. I would wake up and plug it in, by the time I was ready to leave the house (about an hour) the cab was warm and the windows were defrosted.
 

broncobowsher

Adventurer
Why is everyone trying so hard to over complicate things?
You have a plug in heater. There is no reason to add a diesel heater. Why is this even being suggested? It is an old truck parked outside overnight.
Adding any fans will likely hurt the factory fan performance by blocking airflow. You already have a fan, designed to move air right where you want it. Just use it. A power supply, probably 6V since you don't need the blower running on high all night long. You just need a little airflow. You are spending a lot of time heating, you don't need a sudden blast of high fan. Low simmer, not full heat. High fan would likely overcool the little bit of heat the heater is putting out.

Old Ford truck is cable operated heater controls, maybe vacuum. Defaults to defrost if vacuum doesn't hold, if it is a vacuum system. Temp control is still cable. You just need to remember to set the temp lever to hot when you park the truck
 

1stDeuce

Explorer
When I worked in Sweden, our company cars were often diesel, and of course we plugged them in. (Idling vehicles is illegal in most if not all of Sweden) They were wired with a flip cap plug "inlet" in the front bumper (fascia). From there, the power split to a block heater, and a small space heater mounted inside the car, either simply on the pass floor, or sometimes screwed under the dash. With the car plugged in, the engine stayed warm, as did the interior of the car. I have a little cube heater that I'll be using for this when I start plowing again this winter, now that we're not "off grid" anymore... It has tipover protection in case I forget to make sure it's standing upright, and it'll be nice to get into a warm(er) vehicle at 5AM when it's cold out. :)
 
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