I was able to buy some stuff from a VW dealer that had shut down (I understand he originally had a buyer for his dealership but that VW didn't approve of the new owner so he had so close the dealership). Anyway, I bought this vw block heater from him. It consists of a plate, identical to an oil sump plate (is that what that thing is called?) that we take off with we change the oil except it never had a centre hole where an oil drain plug went, there is that metal tube about 6" long that passes through this plate it is sort of bent such that it is in the same plane as the plate itself, except for where it passes through the plate, where it is brazed or bronzed or something. A cord and plug is on the outside part of the metal tube. The metal tube is a heating element. It's very cool but I'm not using it because these Ontario winters are too salty. I'm sure it would be incredibly simple to make one of these. And I'm sure it would work very well.
jdd 60 std