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Old 02-01-2018, 08:13 PM   #1
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Heater Dilema

So I really want to add some heat to my van (RB 2000 5.4 conversion van with a CCV arctic top and a minimal (very) build).

I read every heating thread with great interest, but as someone in another recent thread suggested, I have so much information rattling around my brain, I feel like I know less than I should.

What I think know is...

-Espar or Webasto Diesel (D2, D4, etc) $900 or more. Would require a separate diesel tank, in or out of the van.

-Planar Diesel $500+ for a Russian one (if I can find a seller I trust) or $800-900 for a Canadian one.

-Espar gas (B2, B4) $1200+ but no extra tank to deal with.

I don't have much disposable cash or much mechanical ability, but I do have a willingness to muddle along.

In an ideal world simpler is also cheaper, but the diesel options seem way cheaper than gas. And even though one tank is "simpler" and "cleaner", Diesel seems to maybe be a much simpler install (if I go with an on-board diesel tank, like Scotty and Glider)

Unless I'm missing a cheaper option/source for a gas heater, I guess I'm leaning towards diesel with an onboard tank, and I just need to decide between the "name brand" and the Planar. Going Russian looks like it will save me at least $300, but I'd still like to buy from a reputable source...
Or maybe I should just stick with the name brand for piece of mind...

Ah hell.

What am I missing?
Best/cheapest sources for heaters?
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Old 02-01-2018, 08:19 PM   #2
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It ain't easy, is it? With everything I do to my rig, I spend way more time figuring out which way I want to go than I spend doing the installation. Fortunately, dreaming and planning is part of the fun...but there are times when I just wanna know the answer!

Best wishes for finding the solution that is right for you!
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Old 02-01-2018, 11:18 PM   #3
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My opinion would be to get a gas/petrol espar heater. If it’s a little more than diesel, I would say it’s worth it to pull from the single main fuel tank and have one fuel source. They are quiet, efficient, programmable etc.

Propane heaters are cheap but the cost of a propane install far outweighs and savings. Plus they are mostly loud, blast the heat on one setting, filling can be a pain etc. the espar heaters have a nice quiet fan with a variable speed and they are much more pleasant than an oversized propane heater. I think if you’re planning to camp in cold weather it is definitely worth the investment.
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Old 02-02-2018, 12:01 AM   #4
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Also note: the Gas Espar B4 is 13k btu vs the Espar D2 or Webasto equivalent which are 6.5k btu.

CCV top up in winter zero degrees is what we do. Espar D4 13k btus is what we have and it works well all night. My recommendation for your rig is the Espar B4. It is what I would do without hesitation, if we had a gas rig.
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Old 02-02-2018, 08:17 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MorieSugg View Post
I just need to decide between the "name brand" and the Planar. Going Russian looks like it will save me at least $300, but I'd still like to buy from a reputable source...
Or maybe I should just stick with the name brand for piece of mind...

Ah hell.

What am I missing?
Best/cheapest sources for heaters?
Planar is a name brand. They've been around for a long time, just in the marine and big truck world and in Canada.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1der View Post
Also note: the Gas Espar B4 is 13k btu vs the Espar D2 or Webasto equivalent which are 6.5k btu.

CCV top up in winter zero degrees is what we do. Espar D4 13k btus is what we have and it works well all night.
The Planar I got is a model 44d and is also 13,500 btu.

I just woke up to a toasty 70 degree van as I do about 5 mornings a week lately. Absolutely no regrets.

The build quality of the Planars is amazing and the one I have is simply one that was exported to Russia and then sold online by a savvy comrade as they are obviously really cheap there. If price is a concern as you stated (it certainly is for me) but you're worried about the warranty etc. I would get the middle priced Planar available in the U.S. or Canada. I'm a lover of quality things that are reliable and I'll buy these as long as I can get them for any van project I need a heater for. I see no reason to pay more for the same thing.

Also, you noted that you may or may not be up to the task of installing it. Glad to help further. It basically consists of drilling a couple of holes in your floor and running some wires to the battery and hoses (intake, exhaust and interior vent) to where you want them. The install will be the same on any of these models unless you're tapping in to the tank for a gas model. Dropping tanks is no fun.

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Old 02-02-2018, 08:19 AM   #6
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I've got the espar D4 and wouldn't change a thing.
Go big or go home (for heating).
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Old 02-02-2018, 02:58 PM   #7
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Glider, you're right- I want someone to tell me the answer. And I want it to be the least expensive and the easiest install and the most reliable. Wouldn't hurt if it also spit out a batch of fresh baked cookies on demand.

I hear you guys on size. I was thinking I'd be okay with the lower btus because I primarily want it (at this point) to extend the comfort zone in the shoulder season in CO and UT, so we don't worry about the kids (2 & 4) getting too cold if the lows dip below freezing at night. But down the road, I might want serious heat for a ski trip.

I also hear you guys that the B4 is awesome and probably the "best," but realistically, the extra $800+ probably puts it out of reach.

Scotty, I may very well take you up on the technical advice offer. I'm having a hard time finding a good deal on the Planars though. There's one on Amazon for $850 (russian.) At that point, why not buy a canadian one, or a diesel espar?
Ebay seems full of sketch, but maybe I just need to dive in. I see one from a seller with good reviews for $580 and $60 shipping.
Do these need a high altitude kit?
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Old 02-03-2018, 12:53 AM   #8
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I have no idea what size heater you need, but remember that if it's too big for most nights you will run it on a lower setting that can cause carbon build up. Running it on high for a few minutes before shutdown will help. A gas fired one shouldn't have that problem.
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Old 02-03-2018, 09:00 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by arctictraveller View Post
I have no idea what size heater you need, but remember that if it's too big for most nights you will run it on a lower setting that can cause carbon build up. Running it on high for a few minutes before shutdown will help. A gas fired one shouldn't have that problem.
That's precisely what I do because mine is probably oversized for my use. I'm also hoping doing this FREQUENTLY will help. I crank mine up to max for 5 minutes just before shutdown every other day or so.

Here is the seller and exact model I got. I think I previously said I bought it on Amazon but apparently I did get it on Ebay. I think the same dude sells them both places. It has gone up since I bought mine but he has great feedback and has sold 40 or more of them looks like.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Air-Heater-...0AAOSwAuNW4R3f

Screenshot of purchase date and price on mine, so they've gone up $65:

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Old 02-03-2018, 12:12 PM   #10
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Thanks Scotty. That's the guy I found- it helps to know you had a good experience with him.

As for over-sizing the heater- I haven't added any insulation. I was planning to add some, but maybe I'll go easy on it until I see how a heater performs.

I'm close to pulling the trigger, but worried about the Planar at altitude. Doesn't look like they offer a kit like Espar does. Anyone have experience or thoughts about the Planar above 6000ft?

Looking for altitude info, I came across this:
Webasto / Espar: High Altitudes Usage | FarOutRide

Which says...
It is interesting to note that the Gasoline models are more prone to carbon accumulation than the Diesel models! This is counter intuitive because gasoline is more refined than diesel, but TechWebasto said it’s because “gasoline is less energy-dense than diesel“. We believe it’s true, because we have the Gasoline model and we had carbon issues quite fast…

...which is counter to the general wisdom here.

Hmmmm....
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