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Old 02-13-2008, 06:59 AM   #1
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Sportsmobile Service Bulletins - Flat Plate heat exchanger

http://www.sportsmobile.com/6_bulletins.html

Flat Plate heat exchanger — Bulletin S-07-01 (4/07)

This is one of my biggest concern with using the heat exchanger to heat hot water tank.
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Old 02-13-2008, 10:20 PM   #2
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yikes. and here I was jealous of all the newer models with the flat plate heat exchangers. I am all of a sudden very comfortable with my old propane unit which has never failed me.
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Old 02-14-2008, 07:56 AM   #3
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I am in the process of building out my smb...gone thru multiple revisions already.
I have planned and wanted one of these heat exchanger to heat/assist in heating the HW tank, but was always concern about the coolant leaking into the HW tank b/c of corrision, etc.
I will now have to revisist this. Even the newer model will not have insurance against a future seepage.
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Old 02-14-2008, 10:37 AM   #4
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That bulletin is at least 8 months old. All issues have been resolved. Flat plates are now reliable and safe. Mine works great!
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Old 02-14-2008, 11:41 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smb4me
Even the newer model will not have insurance against a future seepage.
Correct, mostly. The double wall will HELP in case one of the walls cracks/fractures, but over time if you continually let water freeze and thaw in there it will probably break.

This is possibly my biggest gripe with the SMB I bought. While they didn't know at the time, they specifically told me I could use it skiing in sub-zero temps, turn on the engine, and have hot water. Flat plate leaking aside, this statement was patently not true: if you freeze water in your lines, it takes a LONG time to unfreeze them. Luckily (?), my van was only two weeks old before the freezing broke my flat plate inlet pipe.

If I had know the *&(&*($&(* pain in the ass the flat plate was going to be, I would have gotten a used one that I had been asking about. Thus, I paid, I am embarrassed to say, an additional $22,000 for a new van mainly to avoid the propane system (extra weight, lost storage, and at the time I thought more of a pain).

Now mine is mounted inside, and that's the way I'll mount my new one. SMB will not put it inside due to potential safety issues (hot fluid spraying on someone), but since mine's under a cabinet, I'm OK. I am much MORE worried about forgetting to drain it every frickin time it's below freezing outside. What if you forget, or the drain valve freezes before you can drain the hot water line? The first time that double wall one freezes.... is it safe? How bout the second time? Third time? At what point are you slowly poisoning yourself? Thus, mine is inside, and never freezes.

If a person were almost never to be below freezing, I think the flatplate is awesome. Otherwise, I'd pass if I were you.
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Old 02-24-2008, 01:34 AM   #6
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Not sure what all the fuss is about here. I had the "older" model flat plate and recently swapped out for the new version. I was afraid that the new version would be less efficient and the water wouldn't be hot anymore. Nope, it still comes out like molten lava from the earth's core and wants to burn your face off.

I've also spent numerous nights since getting it swapped in near and below ZERO temps. Not freezing, ZERO deg. The reality was that at that temp we had things INSIDE the van freezing (didn't run the heater, have good bags) and had fuel freezing in the lines. However I drained the lines outside and when we got up in the morning as soon as the cabin temp got up to say, above freezing, everything worked fine. I also made sure that I used the additive for the fuel and the fuel freezing disappeared as well.

I wouldn't be too quick to discount the diesel appliances. The ability to forgo propane in my opinion is worth numerous cold nights or waterless mornings. But that's just me.

I wish they would hurry up and add a diesel cooktop to the list of available upgrades. A friend of mine has an Earth Roamer and that seemed like a nice litte feature.
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Old 02-24-2008, 08:31 AM   #7
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I wish they would hurry up and add a diesel cooktop to the list of available upgrades.
Supposedly they can't install a diesel cooktop easily in an SMB, because the cooktop generates so much heat that they would have to drop the countertop very low (knee high?) to avoid burning the roof rails. It's a safety issue.

How the Badgers installed theirs and avoided this problem is something I would like to understand better.
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Old 02-24-2008, 06:32 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed in Montana
Quote:
I wish they would hurry up and add a diesel cooktop to the list of available upgrades.
Supposedly they can't install a diesel cooktop easily in an SMB, because the cooktop generates so much heat that they would have to drop the countertop very low (knee high?) to avoid burning the roof rails. It's a safety issue.

How the Badgers installed theirs and avoided this problem is something I would like to understand better.
That's what I heard from SMB as well. The Badgers installed theirs themselves.

I've thought about it, but really, that butane stove I like better. Even though we have the freedom to put it on the main countertop, we never do. Thus, that proves that the main countertop isn't the location that we want a stove!
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Old 02-24-2008, 06:42 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bryanlaws
Not sure what all the fuss is about here. I had the "older" model flat plate and recently swapped out for the new version. I've also spent numerous nights since getting it swapped in near and below ZERO temps. Not freezing, ZERO deg.

Well, the fuss is that you can get a hairline crack between the coolant and the water and not know it, ever. My flatplate (see pic) looked like this after owning it for two weeks, about four freeze/thaw cycles. The problem is... I couldn't see this bulge until I unmounted it from the van; the bulge area isn't visible. They (SMB) had one owner who did get a crack between the two: he found out because he left his water pump on, and slowly, over time, his engine coolant tank under the hood kept increasing in level... his pump was slowly pushing water through the crack in the flatplate into his coolant lines.



Your double wall will do this too over time if you don't drain it prior to freezing. Call the people who make the thing; they'll confirm it. So if you really want to get a hairline, not know it, and slowly ingest ethylene glycol over the years, knock yourself out.
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Old 03-10-2008, 08:37 PM   #10
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I guess the key phrase here is "if you don't drain it prior to freezing"? Did yours crack like after having drained it in freezing temps or is that while "full"?
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