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Discussion Starter #1
My coolant heater has failed. I checked it with an ohmmeter and it is open circuit. It used to make a whooshing sound when I plugged it in, but it is quiet now. I use it only about 10 minutes at a time to eliminate smoking upon startup. My tractor is stored in an insulated garage attached to the house. It rarely gets below 50 degrees in there. So the heater never gets left on for long periods.

The coolant heater was installed prior to delivery of the tractor when new, so it should be covered under warranty. I'm just under 2 years since delivery.

I'm going to replace it myself to save the dealer transport costs. I"m also due to replace the coolant, so at least I'll get that done at the same time.

The 1025R Operator's Manual says to remove the radiator plug to drain it. If this is a plug, it looks like it drains into the battery well. The technical manual says this is a valve. With a mirror, I can see a hose coming out beneath it, so I'm guessing it's a valve. There's also an installation post for putting in a coolant heater that says this is a petcock. So I'm hoping for valve/petcock. I don't like surprises with large amounts of fluid.

Also, I think I've found the engine block drain plug for the coolant. The Op Manual shows a 1023E, which has a different engine. (See photo.) If this isn't it, somebody please let me know.

The various manuals all talk about using "a sealant" on the heater element when screwing it in. Anybody have a more specific suggestion? Bathtub caulk is a sealant, but probably not appropriate here.

Thanks,

Keane
 

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In the drawing key one is the block drain, looks like what you have picture. In the radiator drawing, key 27 is the radiator drain. I would ask the dealer to recommend a sealant.
 

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Have a look at this thread. Engine Block Heater Install - 1025R. It might help you prepare for the job and there is a side discussion on sealant. General consensus: Use a good quality pipe dope and don't be stingy. I use Oatey. It's inexpensive and easily obtained. I can't tell you if its good quality, but it hasn't ever failed in the applications in which I've used it, including on the block heater.
 
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Discussion Starter #4
Job Completed. New knowledge.

I finally replaced my coolant heater element (and the coolant at the same time).

I had to buy a 35mm socket for the job. I had adjustable wrenches that would get the element out, but there was a torque spec for putting it back in.

Turning the heating element out took my longest 1/2 inch drive bar and a lot of oomph. Either the heating element was tightened in way beyond spec (27 N-m) or the sealant was really strong. I put it back in to spec and 27 N-m is not very tight. I found both of the bolts on the adapter flange not tightened to spec, also 27 N-m. They may have loosened up as I was turning out the element. So I tightened them.

I found Loctite PST 592 thread sealant at my JD dealer. Says it's for high temp radiator applications. I asked the parts guy if this was the right stuff for my job. He said he was unaware that they carried it and didn't know. I read the package and concluded it was. The tip on this tube of sealant was really well-designed. It provided very thorough coverage of the threads with no overage. I also used this sealant on the coolant drain port on the engine. No leaks. I would buy this stuff again.

I measured the resistance of the new element at 35 ohms. This seemed low to me. It's pretty hard to see with the element installed, but the wattage is stamped on the edge of the head (where the socket contacts it). I was surprised that it is 400 watts. I only use this for about 10 minutes at a time, but I've heard of some people who leave it plugged in much longer. This is a lot of juice. I did the math to confirm that my measurement was consistent with the markings:

R = V^2/P = 120 X 120 / 400 = 36.

I won't leave this heater plugged in any longer than I have to. I've found that 5 minutes is enough to pretty much eliminate the smoking at startup.


Keane
 

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I finally replaced my coolant heater element (and the coolant at the same time).

I had to buy a 35mm socket for the job. I had adjustable wrenches that would get the element out, but there was a torque spec for putting it back in.

Turning the heating element out took my longest 1/2 inch drive bar and a lot of oomph. Either the heating element was tightened in way beyond spec (27 N-m) or the sealant was really strong. I put it back in to spec and 27 N-m is not very tight. I found both of the bolts on the adapter flange not tightened to spec, also 27 N-m. They may have loosened up as I was turning out the element. So I tightened them.

I found Loctite PST 592 thread sealant at my JD dealer. Says it's for high temp radiator applications. I asked the parts guy if this was the right stuff for my job. He said he was unaware that they carried it and didn't know. I read the package and concluded it was. The tip on this tube of sealant was really well-designed. It provided very thorough coverage of the threads with no overage. I also used this sealant on the coolant drain port on the engine. No leaks. I would buy this stuff again.

I measured the resistance of the new element at 35 ohms. This seemed low to me. It's pretty hard to see with the element installed, but the wattage is stamped on the edge of the head (where the socket contacts it). I was surprised that it is 400 watts. I only use this for about 10 minutes at a time, but I've heard of some people who leave it plugged in much longer. This is a lot of juice. I did the math to confirm that my measurement was consistent with the markings:

R = V^2/P = 120 X 120 / 400 = 36.

I won't leave this heater plugged in any longer than I have to. I've found that 5 minutes is enough to pretty much eliminate the smoking at startup.


Keane
You used the right stuff. lol
 
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Discussion Starter #6
Coolant Heater has failed again

I installed the replacement heater on August 10. It has failed again, open circuit like last time. It hasn't been very cold, so I've probably used it less than 5 times since installation. No more than 10 minutes per time, if that. I picked it up a few days before I installed it, so it will be close if JD will cover it under parts warranty. I'll be talking to them tomorrow.

I've tried to consider all the possibilities that might have caused this second failure:

1) Manufacturing defect in heater element.
2) Improper installation.
3) Excessive voltage applied.
4) Power applied to heating element when it's not submerged in liquid.

I'm not high on #2 as a possibility; the installation was very straightforward, and I didn't install the first one that failed.
I checked the power outlet used and the line voltage is normal. It is rural power and we get spikes sometimes, but those are momentary and should have not much effect on a heater.
I ran the engine the prescribed amount of time and re-checked the coolant reservoir after putting the coolant back in and before testing the heater. I don't know how the element could not be submerged in coolant. The heater did work about a total of 30 minutes. I don't think it would last that long if for some reason it were not submerged.

I'm back to #1. Please add to my list if you have any ideas. Thanks.

Keane
 
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I don't have any clue why. But I recall reading on one of the threads here that either Autozone or O'Riellys had the same heater just a longer cord about 1/3 the Deere price. If you have to pay I hope this helps.
 
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All I can think of, have you ever started the engine while it was plugged in?

My understanding is that the vibration will destroy the element when it is hot... Otherwise I have no idea

I've used my JD block heater probably 10 times, at about 30 minutes each time, as far as I know it still works
 

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Kind of related but something to think about - are you starting the tractor with the heater plugged in?

We had an episode at work with our Mack Trucks. Guys were starting the trucks and then unplugging them. With these certain Macks, the coolant heater was up high on the block. What it turned out to be that when you started the engine, it was just a moment of lack of coolant at the heater - as the coolant started to flow there was a second or two when there was no coolant submerging the heater.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
No Starting with Heater Plugged in

I haven't started the tractor with the heater plugged in. Somebody suggested in another thread to loop the extension cord for the heater through the steering wheel to prevent driving out with the heater still plugged in. I've used this practice and it also keeps you from starting up with it plugged in. Thanks for suggesting this as a possibility, though. I can see where this could be a problem.

I have started the tractor right after unplugging the heater, and the element could still be pretty hot for a bit. I think I'll wait a minute or so in the future. I don't want to wait too long or the engine will cool off and defeat the whole reason behind having a heater.
 
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I can tell you that I've always been paranoid about the element being hot, and would let it sit for at least 30 seconds to a minute unplugged before starting so that it cool to the same temp as the surrounding metal. may be overthinking it... but I'd imagine that element inside that small metal tube must get hotter than the sun when it's plugged in. I will say however, these heaters seem way more delicate than they should be. There is a company called Zero-start I think, that makes block heaters and look virtually identical to the JD item, might be worth trying if all else fails. good luck!
 
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Guys, I've used many many block heaters for years. I've never seen, heard, or experienced a heater element failure due to starting the engine while it was still plugged in. This was the way of life in Alaska. Just sayin'. :good2:
 

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There is a company called Zero-start I think, that makes block heaters and look virtually identical to the JD item, might be worth trying if all else fails. good luck!
I believe the JD units are actually OEM Zero-Start.
 
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Antifreeze mix

I see Zero Start says that using more than a 50/50 antifreeze/water mix can cause premature failure. I never thought about that but it makes sense as a higher percentage mix is less effective at heat conduction.

Treefarmer
 
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Guys, I've used many many block heaters for years. I've never seen, heard, or experienced a heater element failure due to starting the engine while it was still plugged in. This was the way of life in Alaska. Just sayin'. :good2:
I'm not saying it's impossible Stan. All I'm saying is I lived in the heart of Alaska for many years and used block heaters on everything from aircraft to bulldozers. Never saw an engine heater element fail with it plugged in. :unknown: It certainly won't hurt to follow the manufacturers recommendations. :good2:
 

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This is an interesting discussion. The number one reason for the failure of a coolant heater is, no coolant around the heating element. The heater should never be plugged in without coolant in the engine or prior to installing the heater in the engine.
This is the reason that the engine should not be started with the heating element plugged in. Starting the engine obviously causes the coolant to circulate which could cause air pockets around the element.

Why the second element burnt out, I have no idea. :dunno:
 

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Guys, I've used many many block heaters for years. I've never seen, heard, or experienced a heater element failure due to starting the engine while it was still plugged in. This was the way of life in Alaska. Just sayin'.
<edited out misinformation>

how's about this for a theory...because I think about these things way too much....so suppose your heater is plugged in, it's HOT, the coolant immediately next to the element is pretty hot (they DO apparently have a thermostat), the second it's started the colder coolant in other areas of the engine circulates and hits the element, rapid temp change and it breaks...
 
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you guys have scared me- should one leave the heater unplugged for a few minutes before engine startup?
 
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how's about this for a theory...because I think about these things way too much....so suppose your heater is plugged in, it's HOT, the coolant immediately near it is pretty warm...these tractors have no thermostat of any kind, the second it's started the COLD coolant in the radiator circulates and hits the element, rapid temp change and it breaks...
But they DO have a thermostat..... :dunno:
 
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