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Old 01-07-2013, 11:17 AM   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2011
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Location: Appleton, WI
What I Drive: 2008 Saab 9-3 Aero SportCombi XWD

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How-To: Custom block heater plug mount through Euro grille

Have a Euro grille with the flip out badge?

Like to use your engine block heater, but hate opening and closing that darn hood every time?

Have I got the solution for you!

Inspiration credit for this project goes to OrangeSVTguy and this thread.

Feature/Parts/Tools needed:
1. Winter package, with engine block heater
2. Euro grille, with flip-over badge
(Aside: I realize that there are probably very few cars with this combination, but oh well!)
3. Dremel with cutting wheel, or similar tool
4. Small saw or sharp kitchen knife (optional)
5. Zip-ties
6. Epoxy, super-glue, etc. to secure plug.
7. 10mm socket, probably a 6" extension.

Step 1:

Remove radiator cover thing (snap clips, may need screwdriver). Remove grille, two 10mm bolts.

Step 2:
Check out the hood latch area, and notice how there's the part sticking out that would normally be used for the key lock mechanism. It sticks out too far for our purposes, so start sawing/Dremeling this away. I found that a sharp kitchen knife actually worked better than the Dremel for whatever reason. I think I removed about 3/4 inch of material.

Step 3:
Keep removing material until you can do this with your plug. As you can see, the support structure inside all this plastic seems to hold the plug in perfectly. It's like it was meant to be.

Step 4:
Modify the grille. You'll have to widen the dime-sized keyhole to fit a rectangular 3-prong extension cord. Exactly how wide to make this hole will depend on the cord you want to use. Just keep removing material until it fits. The extension cord plug will actually go through the grille and meet up with the plug.

Step 5:
Reattach grille, test fit, modify if need be.

Step 6 (optional):
If you haven't done so already, cut the grille to create recessed area for the hood latch release. Mine looks like this.

Step 7 (optional):
Secure the plug. Use epoxy, glue, whatever you like, just make it work. Consider using zip-ties to secure the block heater cord to things in the engine bay to keep it from moving around.

Step 8:
Put it all back together. I suggest routing the plug cord under the radiator cover and securing it with zipties.

Disclaimer: I actually have not yet secured the plug in any way, and I don't think I will. The plug just sits in the latch area, and stays there from friction. What this means is that I have to open the hood to plug in the extension cord (it takes some force), but I can then close the hood and forget about it. I plug in at night, and the outlet is on a timer that comes on a few hours before I go to work. In the morning I just unplug, flip the badge, and off I go. I don't want to secure it because I may want/need to remove the grille and separate the plug from the grille without ruining either. If that doesn't concern you, go ahead and permanently attach them for easier plug-in.

That's it, hopefully someone else finds this useful, I sure love it! Now I can make "Look at my silly electric car!" jokes too!

Mine: 2008 Saab 9-3 Aero SportCombi XWD: 92k, Black, Manual, JZW Stage 1. 320hp/400tq.
Gone: 2002 SVT, #1654

Hers: 2010 Focus SES: 84k, Ebony, Auto, Moon and Tune

Last edited by swansong; 01-07-2013 at 09:54 PM.
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