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Old 03-19-2016, 04:36 PM   #1
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Propex Heater Placement

Anyone have thoughts on placing a propex heater under the passenger seat? It is mostly dead space, it seems as though the heat might rise and get to the penthouse quicker - and it wont take up any storage space in one of my cabinets or dinette. Whatcha think?
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Old 03-19-2016, 06:41 PM   #2
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That's an interesting idea but I think it might be too long and stick out in the front or the back too much. Another consideration it the intake and exhaust tubes which stick out of the bottom. You'll have to cut holes for them through the floor and I can't remember right off what's just under the passenger seat. You would also have a propane line very close to your headers and exhaust (and hot engine in general) unless you were really creative with the routing of the lines.

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Old 03-19-2016, 06:58 PM   #3
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Measurements...

Hmmmm. Measurements forthcoming. Thanks.
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Old 03-19-2016, 11:09 PM   #4
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What???? No swivel seat base in the passenger seat?????
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Old 03-20-2016, 06:48 AM   #5
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No. Swivel was the intent - then I missed out on the last group buy, then decided it was more of a want than need - Heat seems more important, and now I'm not sure where to put it. I'm not confident my interior layout won't change. So... Where to put it.
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Old 03-20-2016, 10:54 AM   #6
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2horsegarage - Do you have diesel or gas engine?

We installed an Epar D4 in Beastie3 just before our 5 week ski trip we started in Feb. It worked flawlessly and made the interior very comfortable while camping.

I had soul searched on what to do for heating, Propex or Espar. We do not have any propane interior appliances and the van is diesel. I could have installed a frame mounted propane tank, but that seemed inefficient since the propane we do use is for our camping stove which we like the flexibility to use on a picnic table with a small portable tank. This pushed the decision to diesel. (btw - An Iwatani butane stove takes care of any interior cooking we might need. Another awesome unit)

Then it was Espar Airtronic D2 or D4. We decided on the D4 since we do want to be able to camp "top up" at zero degrees F. The D2 would be very sufficient for most situations down to around 20 to 25 deg F with the top up, and probably below that with a well insulated top down or fixed top van. Greg at Lubrication Specialists was very helpful and has great pricing. We bought the D4, muffler and high altitude kit. I installed it myself.

For us, the D4 plugged along quietly all night and kept the interior really comfortable - lowest exterior temps we hit were 4 deg F without windchill. I just made sure to run it at high temp for a bit when we turned it on and before we turned it off. Because it was the heater's maiden voyage and we know we would be staying in some places with hook ups, we brought along a 1500w electric oscillating tower heater. We used that a few times by itself. But guess what - we decided that from now on the diesel heater will be our sole camping source of heat inside the van. This is because the "heat" from the D4 is soooo much nicer than the electric heater that we will just fire up the D4 even if we were on hook ups.

The heating unit itself is pretty darn small and takes up very little space. It mounted on the floor just behind the driver seat angled along the base of the B pillar. (I will get some pics posted when I (re)start our build thread.) The heat comes out in the middle of the van from the driver's side.

It wasn't cheap, but it wasn't much more than if we went with a propane tank and propex.

Lastly, if I were building a gas powered van, I would go with the gas version of the Espar (B designation) without hesitation, even if I were installing propane stove and water heater. It is just too easy and, in that case, helps conserve the propane for other uses while sipping from a large easily refilled fuel source for the space heating.

re: swivel base - once you have experienced it it will not be a "want". Even if I am camping alone, it is one of the first things I do to prepare the cabin. It changes the interior feeling instantly to one of a nice living space. I would strongly suggest not compromising the ability to install a passenger swivel base (we have both seats on swivels) at some point.
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Old 03-20-2016, 11:46 PM   #7
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I would second the swivel passenger seat. Bite the bullet and do it, or at least plan to do it. Like others have expressed, it makes a world of difference.

On the heater, your plan to get it closer to the front to better heat the penthouse certainly has merit. Our Propex is under the rear bench/bed and blows towards the front of the van, and while the lower van gets toasty the penthouse is probably 10 degrees cooler. I've considered putting in a vent or computer fan in the penthouse bed (towards the rear) to allow the collected air to rise into the penthouse a little better.

Lastly, which Propex are you using? I have an HS2000 in the current build and came from an Espar D2 in our last van. While similar in performance on paper, I'll tell you that the D2 put out noticeably more heat. Not only heat, but the fan had a greater output as well which helped heat the entire van better. I'm sure the D4 1der has must absolutely rock! If I had it to do over, I probably would have gotten the larger Propex.
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Old 03-21-2016, 07:55 AM   #8
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For the second time lately I typed out a response yesterday and somehow it didn't get here. Howbout under the driver's seat?
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Old 03-21-2016, 01:14 PM   #9
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That might work - looking into it, although new cabinetry behind the drivers seat might interfere. I think the passenger side cabinet might be the ticket if it will fit. Really, I need to just reconfigure the whole thing, but I am not doing that - again.
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Old 03-23-2016, 05:22 PM   #10
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As for the placement of my Espar D4, I built a cabinet that houses two 155ah AGM batteries, the EsparD4 and Engel MT45. It's on the driver's side starting at the van's fuel intake hump and going towards the rear.
The hot air outlet faces the side doors. Its keeps outdoor showers comfortable when temps drop by blowing hot air directly at the shower space, second its keeps the air both front and rear equally even. The intake of the espar is on the rear facing end of the cabinet to prevent additional noise- but it was a non-issue.
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