RV Repair: How to Repair an Engine Block Heater

  • 2-4 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 125-200
What You'll Need
Voltage meter
Replacement power cord
Heater unit
Heater Block
Oil pan

When your engine block heater fails in cold weather, you will probably need to do some quick rv repair to get your vehicle up and running properly. A block heater is designed to keep the engine warm on cold days so that when you turn the engine on, it will fire up without issue from a cold start. This mechanism applies to most diesel engines, and on other makes of vehicle that tend to have congealing issues with the oil, or other liquids in the motor. Finding the source of the problem on these units, would include checking your electrical outlet to your home or garage to ensure that it is not just a blown circuit, or a bad wired connection.

Step 1 - Check the Power Cable

The first step in this type of rv repair in relation to your block heater, is to check the power cable to ensure that it is working properly. To do this, simply plug in the power cord to a good outlet, and see if the heater unit and coil are getting warm. If it does not get warm to the touch, it could be a break in your power cable. This can be caused by it getting pinched or caught in something, or driving away with it plugged in. This is the first thing to check, and be sure to look and make sure it is attached to your heating unit properly. A bad connection to the heater, could also cause a problem with transferring the proper voltage.

Step 2 - Replace the heating Unit

The next common issue in an rv repair, involving the engine block heater, would be the heating unit, or what some call the heater coil unit. This device is the electrical attachment to the heater block, and can easily be replaced by removing a few screws. Simply take the old unit out, and then attach your cord to the new one before reinstallation. When you remove the wiring and so forth on the power unit, be sure to mark the wires, to prevent confusion once you go to reinstall it. Be sure that when you are messing with the electrical parts on your vehicle, that you disconnect the negative pole of your battery, to avoid electrical shock.

Step 3 - Replace the Heater Block

If during your heater block rv repair, you don't find any electrical issues, and the unit is still not doing the job properly, it is likely the heater block causing the problems. This part can be easily removed from the engine, the method for doing this is pretty standard and can be done without much difficulty. You will want to drain all your coolant and excess liquids from the engine before removing the part to avoid making a large mess of things going forward. Keep track of all your electrical connections as you disconnect the old unit, to avoid electrical cross wiring. These replacement parts run in the $100 range, and generally come with instructions on how to properly assemble them, as some of the process can vary by the make and model of your rv camper.