Intro: 2012 Kia Rondo Block Heater Installation
Buy the parts. 3100111 is a common part number. Worked at NAPA canada. Had to pay $92 after tax. Ouch. This is a glorified tea kettle element with an aluminum jacket. Crazy. Ok, got that over with. Hopefully you found a better price than me. (EDIT: I'm told dealer price is $55. I've seen it for $45 online. Skip NAPA on this one. Also FYI: Canadian Tire had no listing for a block heater for this vehicle. 2ND EDIT: dealer finally got back to me with a price of $250. Apparently it's key to shop around on these.)
Note that this is a dry-fit cartridge type of block heater (as opposed to a wet-fit freeze-plug type, which would require you to drain your coolant). Installation is easy. Here are mfg's instructions. Pro-tip: cheap red wine in a thermos. Because wine.
Step 1: Finding the Hole
If you found your way here, you've already put in more effort than it takes to find the hole. Open the hood and look where I'm shining the laser pointer in the first picture. Very obvious.
You may want to take off your air box. I didn't. I just reached down beside the hoses and held the element between my fingers and was able to slip it into the hole. I didn't drop it or anything.
- mechanics gloves
Note the built in cup holder. Thanks, Kia!
Step 2: Clipping the Clip
Once the element is in the hole, wiggle it such that the clip slips over the block casting. I was able to do this without using a poking device. I thought about getting a chopstick to guide things, but it wasn't necessary.
We're literally 5 minutes into the job at this point. Routing the cable is by far the most challenging aspect of this job (after the $$$).
Step 3: Routing the Cord
At this point I dropped the cable down in front of the battery. I did not connect it to the element yet.
Get out your screw driver, kneel down at the front left corner, and look under the bumper. Find these two screws.
They are plastic. The screw part needs to be removed. The collar part will probably spin with the screw. It will probably come out with the screw once you have things loosened up. Anyhow, these things are annoying. You can try to hold the collar from turning, or put a bit of pressure on the plastic panel. I hate these plastic screw things, but they are effective.
Once you've got them out you can pull down gently on the panel and locate this vaguely triangular hole, which is bounded by plastic on the left and the metal rad cradle on the right. You're going to run the heater cord through here.
NOTE: This part of the job sucks. It takes by far the longest. Keep a cool head and try not to break stuff.
- stubby Phillips screwdriver
- leopard print mittens (thanks mom!)
- aforementioned wine.
- om mani padme hum
Step 4: Go Fish
I stuck a different piece of cable through the triangle hole, and was able to push it through so I could grab it and pull it through the lower grill. Then I taped the block heater cord to the second cable and pulled both through. You could use a fish tape or a coat hanger or whatever you have around. I had this, and some electrical tape. It worked well enough.
Pro tip: don't use metal stuff that will scratch your paint.
Step 5: Secure the Block Heater Cable
Now that you've got the cable out the lower grill, attach it to the heater element. It's a bit of a reach. Everything about this job is suited to long fingers and slender hands. Hire a kid if you need to.
When you Zip tie to stuff, think about anchoring to stuff that isn't metal so that it won't rub a hole in your cable and short out. Here's what I did. No guarantees.
- zip ties
- side cutter for removing zip ties you put in the wrong spot
Step 6: Finished
(The next morning, after being plugged in for 2 hours. -30*c under the hood, +7*c on the block, near the heater. Engine cranked over much more easily with heat.)
Pro Tip: put the heater on a timer to save energy.