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Old 10-21-2016, 09:31 AM   #1
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Diesel appliances in a gas SMB/van

I was talking with a friend about this possibility. Has anyone done this or has it been posted about before? The idea is, instead of adding propane to a home build or SMB without, what about the possibility of adding a small diesel tank to fire diesel appliances?

I'm curious, for anyone who has thought of this, what the price benefits or lack thereof would be? I like the idea and efficiency of some of the diesel marine stuff like cooktops and furnaces but the price might kill it.

Also, there's the problem of safely mounting a diesel tank. Could an approved diesel tank from a small car/tractor/whatever be added underneath that would be safer than a complete homebrewed setup?

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Old 10-21-2016, 10:00 AM   #2
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Home brew setup would be fine as diesel is extremely hard to burn compared to gasoline. I bet the price of diesel appliances will shock you compared to propane units. The propane install should be inspected as per local regs. So as usual it's a trade off.


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Old 10-21-2016, 10:03 AM   #3
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I am rolling around with this idea for an espar D2 vs B1LC, about an 800 dollar difference.

There are more than a few fuel tank makers out there and Espar makes it's own 10L fuel tank but it's too deep. I looked at several small go-cart tanks as well as as racing fuel cells that are about 5 gallon.

What I keep coming back to is that now I need diesel as well as gas. I guess if you look at it, that's just as easy as getting propane really.

Adding a small fuel tank is not a huge deal, but then you need another filler neck and have to cut into the van some place for it or you have to do some janky setup where you drop the fuel tank out and fill it and stick it back in. I was only looking at fueling the Espar D2, so 4 or 5 gallons would last me a long time at a low setting.

But again, 800 dollar difference in price and there seems to be something weird where people hesitate with the gas driven B1LC, it seems more obscure but it's available.

BUT, if you don't mind putting a small diesel fuel tank on the outside of the frame where most people put their propane, then it's an even easier deal.

I think this is where I left off with fuel tanks:

Cross Linked High Density Polyethylene Fuel Tanks | U.S. Plastic Corp.

Not real big at all and could be tucked between the frame and shell. Mount a filler cap on the outside of the van and hose it down to the neck. They have a bunch of configurations:

Multi Purpose Low Profile Tanks | U.S. Plastic Corp.

This is a good one:

Multi Purpose Low Profile Tanks | U.S. Plastic Corp.

Then here's some parts:

Filler Neck Supply: Gas Filler Hose | Fuel Filler Necks


yeah, I have thought about it.......still not done thinking about it.
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Old 10-21-2016, 10:12 AM   #4
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Thanks Flux, good stuff.

Keep it coming.

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Old 10-21-2016, 10:30 AM   #5
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I, too, have been thinking about it. Your post is extremely timely, as I was contemplating options yesterday and called Espar and Webasto installers for pricing. I inquired about the gas version for Espar and pricing for a B4 unit (their gas version of the D4) was over $2k for the unit and approx $6-700 for install. I think I can get an Espar D2 for about $800, so I'm considering going that route now.

My rig is not diesel but thinking a 2-3 gallon tank should suffice since all I'd use it for is the D2. This site looks promising as custom tanks can be made: Universal Aluminum Tanks - Universal Tanks

I will be going over some thoughts with my brother-in-law tomorrow, as he is a mechanic and good fabricator.
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Old 10-21-2016, 11:06 AM   #6
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I don't remember how much room the battery takes under the hood, but I would look to moving the starter battery to the frame and put a small aluminum fuel cell in its place. Then you don't have to crawl under your van at a dirty gas station to refuel.

A friend of mine installed a small fuel cell in a similar location in a 90's suburban for a nitrous system. Worked out really well.
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Old 10-21-2016, 11:41 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wish41 View Post
I, too, have been thinking about it. Your post is extremely timely, as I was contemplating options yesterday and called Espar and Webasto installers for pricing. I inquired about the gas version for Espar and pricing for a B4 unit (their gas version of the D4) was over $2k for the unit and approx $6-700 for install. I think I can get an Espar D2 for about $800, so I'm considering going that route now.

My rig is not diesel but thinking a 2-3 gallon tank should suffice since all I'd use it for is the D2. This site looks promising as custom tanks can be made: Universal Aluminum Tanks - Universal Tanks

I will be going over some thoughts with my brother-in-law tomorrow, as he is a mechanic and good fabricator.

I think the harderst part about the B4 or B1LC install is tapping the fuel tank. My level of comfort with this is not where it should be with this.

esparparts.com has the fuel versions for under 2000k for the complete install kits.

Meant to give this link:

http://www.usplastic.com/catalog/ite...4163&catid=578
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Old 10-21-2016, 12:24 PM   #8
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Howbout putting one of these small tanks under the side door with a cap on the step? It could go exactly where many of us put frame mounted batteries?

I like the underhood idea except a fuel tank mounted right beside an engine bothers me. This is probably because I'm an idiot on diesel and it's flammable properties, or lack thereof. That might be the best solution, actually.

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Old 10-21-2016, 12:53 PM   #9
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I thought about putting a filler inside my underfloor storage. Then it occurred to me that I don't want any vented filler caps anywhere near the interior of the van and certainly don't want to stick a pump down in there and spill diesel all over.

If I go the diesel route, I would mount a recessed filler somewhere on the body and preferably near the gas fuel fill. Then you pull up to one pump, 2 transactions, done. a 5 Gallon tank would last a while I think if I am only running a D2, like three days straight on high power.
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Old 10-21-2016, 01:00 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 86Scotty View Post
Howbout putting one of these small tanks under the side door with a cap on the step? It could go exactly where many of us put frame mounted batteries?

I like the underhood idea except a fuel tank mounted right beside an engine bothers me. This is probably because I'm an idiot on diesel and it's flammable properties, or lack thereof. That might be the best solution, actually.

Put a match to some diesel sometime. It will not light even in direct contact with open flame.
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