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Old 10-16-2018, 10:14 AM   #1
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Furnace options for 92 SMB

I have an EB50 SMB built in 1992 with the Suburban propane hot water heater. I almost never use it.

I'm living in the van full time and it would be nice to have a furnace in the colder climates. I've tried electric heaters but they use way too much power (1500W) to keep warm (23c in ambient temps of 5c) so they only make sense when plugged in. I was using the stove for a while but quickly learned that creates a lot of water when I found my front carpet soaked. The cold metal right underneath the carpet condensed the water out of the humid air.

I've heard of Propex heaters. What were the SMB factory options?

I've read the factory furnace was installed under the couch but I don't have any room left there as it's where the converter, inverter, water pump, water tank, and my tools are stored. Is there a unit that can maybe do both furnace and water heater in the same space as the old water heater? Even though I don't use the water heater it would be a shame to take out that functionality.
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Old 10-16-2018, 03:31 PM   #2
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This post might help:
http://www.sportsmobileforum.com/for...ght-22566.html
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Old 10-16-2018, 07:33 PM   #3
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Lots of options here but none are cheap or simple. Since you have propane I would lean towards Propex. The SMB factory options back then were Suburban or Atwood gigantic furnaces which required holes in the van wall, albeit small ones. These were the same furnaces in every RV throughout history pretty much.

Nowadays who knows what they use, probably Espar/Webasto in the newer diesel Sprinters. I have never heard of them using a Propex but they should if they don't.
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Old 10-19-2018, 06:54 PM   #4
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Well I have an update, although off topic. I was wrong. The carpet in the driver's footwell and in between the seats got wet again!

It wasn't the propane burning that did it, though I'm sure it made it more humid overall.

I have a water system leak! I really should have checked first because I knew this was a possibility (one I was really not hoping for). It turns out my water pump is misting out a light jetstream of water from its plastic cap when it's pressurized! The leak is so small it must have taken a week or more for the water to slowly make its way to the front and pool in the driver's footwell for me to notice.

It's been a couple days of pulling everything out from under my couch and doing my best to dry everything out.

Is the plastic top of the water pump replaceable or should I just get a new pump?
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Old 10-19-2018, 11:20 PM   #5
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Picture of the plastic part on top of the pump would help to identify, and see weather itís repairable. Most likely needs to be replaced though
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Old 11-01-2018, 10:20 AM   #6
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Heater

Not sure of the space that you have available (or the cost factor) but can comment on full time usage.

I had my sportsmobile built for the purpose of living full time. I have been on the road for three years now.

I have the espar diesel heater with Jim Rixon's electric heater attachment. Since I am in RV parks I mostly use the electric. However nice having both options.

I had a lot of problems at the beginning but found that was due to crossed wires on altimeter. Once corrected system has been running perfect.

I am in temps 30-60 most days so use the heater all the time.
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Old 11-01-2018, 11:01 AM   #7
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What about a little buddy heater?

https://www.amazon.com/Mr-Heater-MH1...e+buddy+heater
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Old 11-01-2018, 11:27 AM   #8
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I've been using the espar diesel heater in -50 degree winter weather for the past five years in an older Sprinter hightop and found it to be an excellent furnace. It doesn't use that much fuel even at very low temp extremes and makes instant hot water too.
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Old 11-01-2018, 01:20 PM   #9
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"Espar diesel heater" is way to go. Serious consideration of it should be your priority.
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Old 11-01-2018, 05:09 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grampswrx View Post
We use one of these in our Vanagon Westy and it heats the space well enough but for long-term use, such as living in the van or a very long trip in cold weather, I'd want something installed with a larger fuel supply. With a Buddy Heater those 1 lb. propane bottles go fast and at the very least I'd get an adapter hose so I could use a larger propane tank.


Since we already have it we plan to keep the Buddy for use in the new-to-us big Dodge van but will probably go with a Propex or the like eventually.
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