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I just moved to North Dakota and I've noticed a lot of people have them. How neccessary are they? I think pontiac offered them as an option. How would I get my hand on one that was specfic for this engine? it's the 3.5 liter.
 

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if you live in north dakota then you ought to have one weather below 0 tends to be very bad for engines, especially seeing how it can get to -40 in ND in a lot of places, when it gets down that cold and your car is outside your engine block can crack meaning you will need the engine replaced..... radiator and hoses can burst etc......like pipes freezing in ur house, also the oil can get so thick that the engine will barely turn over and oil that is that cold has little to no lubrication properties until it is warmed up.......

so a block heater will keep your engine from freezing, will make it start easier and will save a LOT on the wear and tear on your engine internals at startup the one for the 3.5 and 3.9 VVT was only like $30 at the autoparts store when i got one for my GT when i worked in WY, MT and ND
 

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Most domestic vehicles depending on trim and geographical area come with a block heater from the factory. When I go to northern Ontario hotels don't offer me the option to get a smoking/non smoking room, they ask if I want a cord to plug in my cars block heater.

If you park in an area that is COLD, as mentioned above, it's best to plug the vehicle in right away. Most block heaters are around 400watts and they keep the engine oil from congealing.

Engine blocks have freeze plugs. Once the coolant freezes these plugs will expand when the coolant freezes and push out of the block, in which case the block is saved, but you cannot drive it. Earlier block heaters meant lighting a fire under the oil pan.

You can also check a local salvage yard. Someone I know bought one there for $5 brand new for his truck. My GT came with a block heater from the factory. I normally take my Durango up north on trips and its block heater is used nearly each night I park.
 

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Engine blocks have freeze plugs. Once the coolant freezes these plugs will expand when the coolant freezes and push out of the block, in which case the block is saved, but you cannot drive it. Earlier block heaters meant lighting a fire under the oil pan.
GM has NOT be using freeze plugs in its newer vehicles, the 3.6 in my GXP does not have any, and neither did my 08 GT so the 3.5/3.9 do not have them either, now to cap off the bored for the oil and coolant channels they use big threaded plugs instead of freeze plugs so once the coolant freezes it can crack the block, this happend to a GXP i was looking at buying in MT when my GT got wreck from the best i could gather, as there was coolant in the oil, looked around and the block was cracked, and the block heater was still tucked away as if itd never been used and it regularly gets -40F there in the winter.....

when i put on in my GT i had to have a HUGE allen head socket and breaker bar to get the plug out and the new heater threaded into the block it cost about $30, when i put one in my GXP it just slides into a hole in the block and clips in with no coolant contact, the one for my GXP comes with a built in thermostat in the cord and the whole thing for it cost $280 from GM parts direct as its a dealer only item at the time i got mine....

im not sure how they install into the old 3.5 or 4cyl
 

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GM has NOT be using freeze plugs in its newer vehicles, the 3.6 in my GXP does not have any, and neither did my 08 GT so the 3.5/3.9 do not have them either, now to cap off the bored for the oil and coolant channels they use big threaded plugs instead of freeze plugs so once the coolant freezes it can crack the block, this happend to a GXP i was looking at buying in MT when my GT got wreck from the best i could gather, as there was coolant in the oil, looked around and the block was cracked, and the block heater was still tucked away as if itd never been used and it regularly gets -40F there in the winter.....

when i put on in my GT i had to have a HUGE allen head socket and breaker bar to get the plug out and the new heater threaded into the block it cost about $30, when i put one in my GXP it just slides into a hole in the block and clips in with no coolant contact, the one for my GXP comes with a built in thermostat in the cord and the whole thing for it cost $280 from GM parts direct as its a dealer only item at the time i got mine....

im not sure how they install into the old 3.5 or 4cyl
That's good to know as it gives me another reason not to buy another GM vehicle. My '99 Taurus will outlive my GT... dealer service during the warranty period was horrid. I generally take my Durango up to northern Ontario where -40C is easily attainable overnight.
 
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