Well, I installed the block heater today so I wanted to get back to you guys with the lessons learned and feedback for if and when you might want to install one for yourself.
Others I had talked with about the install were indeed correct with respect to the tightness of the engine block drain plug. It was torqued down to about 1.5 zillion ft./lbs. torque and loctite'd in place. I could not budge it with a 2 ft. breaker bar so I used a 5 ft. long piece of pipe and it broke after about 30 degree of wrench arc flexing the breaker bar. Had to take a break to pickup my daughter from the bus stop so I had to take a break.
After getting back from the bus stop, I got right back to work and after a bit of a pain in the ass struggle , the block heater is in! A couple of things I would mention as an After Action Report (AAR as it was called in the Army).
You definitely need a LONG piece of pipe to put on the breaker bar to loosen the block drain plug. As mentioned before have the thread sealer already on the block heater and have it ready to do in when you take out the drain plug. (a note of advice: tightening down the block heater is a ROYAL PAIN IN THE ARSE so test the block heater BEFORE you install it......just a few seconds plugged in to see if it gets warm.....NO MORE than a few second or you can burn it up)
Another thing to do BEFORE you remove the drain plug is to loosen and remove the raditior cap and then reinstall it. If you don't like I did.........you get anti-freeze coming out of the block under pressure. Be REAL FAST with installing the block heater so minimize loosing anti-freeze. It is a little difficult to do this as there is very little room due to hyd. lines, the starter, and the hyd. pump.
Make sure you have a 1 5/16 or metric equivalent wrench to tighten down the block heater; preferable an offset open end head type. My biggest wrench was 1 1/4 so I had to fanaegle (more like half ass it) with a pair of water pump pliers. (I was commited at this point and had no choice. (did not want to leave the hyd. system open like that until I got a special wrench) You may end up removing the starter (which is another PITA) to get a better shot at the block heater to tighten it up.
Removing the clamps from the rubber hyd. pump manifold was not hard but reinstalling them was a bear. Not much room to work with.
I saved the anti-freeze and ran it through a coffee filter and re-used it. (about 2 quarts leaked out when I removed the drain plug. I lost may a 4 - 6 ounces of hyd. oil. The hyd. pump growled a little until it purged itself of air.
My best advice would be.........if you have not purchased the tractor yet........negotitate the block heater in with the purchase price. Otherwise, it is not that bad of a job PROVIDED you have the correct tools.
Transmission oil heater and under belly guard shield kit installation is next!