Your chassis maker designs and installs your cooling system. Most have an overflow reservoir that is accessible from the back of the coach.
Wix and others make a "dip and read" test strip that checks freeze point, pH and SCA concentration. These strips are for "regular low silicate coolant for diesel with added SCA" which is likely what you have.
But, if that is what you have and it is over 3 years old (starting with the day the chassis was built), save yourself a lot of expense, and change it. Many of us have changed to one of the long-life coolants that do not require that SCA's be tested and added and have 2X the life expectancy. Caterpillar has ELC, Cummins has a comparable Fleetguard product. I would spec what ever long-life coolant your particular engine manufacturer makes, just to simplify servicing.
Check your antifreeze through the radiator cap. The block heater in most cases will warm your engine oil and in turn warm the block. Most block heaters are a probe inserted into the oil pan. My block heater stays on all the time, it will automatically shut off when oil temperature is above 90 degree. The block heater will help to keep the moisture level down in the engine do to condensation.
This is not quite a true statement! I haven't seen a "dipstick heater" in many years.
Nearly ALL of the block heaters I have seen in the last 15 or 20 years have been heating elements installed in a "freeze plug" hole in the block, to heat the coolant. I have installed many of them in various engines, most recently in an AMC 258 CID engine in a CJ7.
Yes, they do still make the "tank heater" which is a little tank with hose barbs on it, that can be connected between the block drain plug port and a heater hose. They work well, too.
However, it is true that your anti-freeze should protect your engine down to abut 40 below, IF the concentration is correct.
CM1, USN (RET)
2002 Fleetwood Southwind 32V, Ford V10
Toad: 2006 Jeep Rubicon LJ
Other toad: '06 PT Cruiser, Kar Kaddy dolly
Toy: 1977 Dodge W100 CC SWB, 3/4 ton axles & springs
"When seconds count, help is only minutes away!"
As others have said you should have anti freeze protection to 30 or 40 below 0 A block heater can be left on 24-7 but it's very costly most of these heaters are at least 400 W. I use them on farm equipment on a as needed basis only.
As just stated, I would be most concerned about the state of your batteries. You will need strong chassis batteries as well as adding aux start from house batteries to start engine as you get below 20 degrees. This is more important than using a block heater overnight prior to start.
If your diesel ran well and did not overheat last time you used it, I would not worry about it not having antifreeze protection. Easily tested.
Joan and Bruce
05 Excursion 39L
powered by 350 KittyCATS on a Spartan
2010 Traverse LT toad (Blue Ox & Breakbuddy)
...and a "road dog" named Max and his gabby sister, Abby.
"May the wind be always at your back and your destination the one you chose"
We have a 2006 Fleetwood Revolution DP. My question is about the block warmer and if we can leave it plugged in all night? Due to medical problems, we have not been able to use the MH for over a year. The tempt is supposed to get down to near 20 degrees tomorrow night and I am wondering if I can turn on the block heater and leave it on for the duration. I am antsy about the water in the radiator and block freezing. Thanks for any input.
go to the back of your motorhome and open the hatch, there are two locking latches that get pressed in on the center at the locks and each latch will pop out (unlatched) now raise the hood (Hatch) and you will be looking directly at the coolant overflow reservoir, it has the green filled glass bubble with a radiator cap on it. You can take off the cap, make sure it is cool, and check the coolant for freeze level and SCA concentration. SCA content is critical because if it is low you can form small bubbles due to cavitation which will over time eat through the cylinder walls. You can leave the block heater on all night just make sure the heater is plugged in at the outlet in the bay with your power cord and the lighted switch for the outlet is at the foot of your bed pedestal. The switch will light up even if the heater is not plugged in, the switch just turns the outlet on or off so make sure the heater cord is plugged into the outlet.