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Old 12-15-2019, 09:45 AM   #1
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Winter Use Experience

Finally got my SMB into some real winter conditions and Iím impressed. Each of the options specifically for cold weather use did their job. I have the extra insulation, Arctic shades, heated windows, heated seats, and the espar. I was amazed how fast the heated windows cleared ice and the seats are pretty nice on an 8 degree morning. I set the espar at 60 for the night and it worked perfectly. I was on shore power so I do wonder about power usage if only in the battery. Finally, I drove to the lifts on snowy roads and 4x4 traction was solid. Really no negatives at all to report.
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Old 12-15-2019, 09:17 PM   #2
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Good to know all works as it should. Just curious, were you on 30 amp service and using the 110 heating element on the espar or did you fire up the diesel furnace? I have mine hooked up to the house 20 amp circuit at the moment and the espar’s 110 heating element has been kicking off when the outside temps dip into the 20s. Too much of a draw for that circuit I guess.
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Old 12-16-2019, 11:07 AM   #3
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D vs 110v

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Originally Posted by eradikate View Post
Good to know all works as it should. Just curious, were you on 30 amp service and using the 110 heating element on the espar or did you fire up the diesel furnace? I have mine hooked up to the house 20 amp circuit at the moment and the esparís 110 heating element has been kicking off when the outside temps dip into the 20s. Too much of a draw for that circuit I guess.
Based on the SMB directions, I believe I used diesel and not the 110V. From what I can tell, the fuel consumption was relatively minimal despite it being a cold night. I've used the espar with diesel off the house battery but in warmer temps. This was the first night on shore power and really cold temps. Next, I'm curious to see what the battery drain is when using diesel and no shore power.
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Old 12-19-2019, 08:54 PM   #4
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Not sure which Espar unit you have but my Espar D2 doesn't draw much from the batteries. When I am on shore power I just use a small electric space heater in the van which works well. When not on shore power I crank up the Espar to 68-70 degrees and stay warm and I don't even have extra insulation. It works great.

It would be good to learn how to do yearly maintenance on the Espar unit. Diesel doesn't burn as clean as propane but I have had great luck with my diesel heater as long as I do the yearly maintenance. It takes me about 15 minutes with a new fuel filter and atomizer screen from Amazon. They do look kind of gummed up with carbon buildup when I do this in the fall. Here is a great video tutorial.

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Old 12-20-2019, 11:04 AM   #5
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Super helpful video - Thank you
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Old 12-20-2019, 05:34 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by barrel47 View Post
I was on shore power so I do wonder about power usage if only in the battery.
My setup is based off the Espar D5 and we use it all the time off the grid in the snow. Power has never been a problem. When the system turns on initially it draws a good amount of power which worried us at first when saw the voltage drop, but once everything is going it sips fuels and electricity throughout the night. The only issue we ever had was a user error. This is our first diesel vehicle and we had the diesel gel on a -15F night. We now use an additive and it's been all good.
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Old 12-20-2019, 07:01 PM   #7
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It is amazing how little diesel fuel these things use. The northern truckers love these Espar heaters.

In the Midwest, they supposedly change to winter diesel in December which has the antigel additives. I always make sure I refill my Sprinter tank in December.
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Old 12-20-2019, 08:57 PM   #8
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It is amazing how little diesel fuel these things use. The northern truckers love these Espar heaters.

In the Midwest, they supposedly change to winter diesel in December which has the antigel additives. I always make sure I refill my Sprinter tank in December.
Yes, crazy efficient! Here in CA, I donít think they ever add the additives. Had no problems east of Utah.
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Old 12-25-2019, 11:28 AM   #9
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My Winter experience in my 2018 Sprinter 4x4 Sportsmobile mirrors yours. We've used in in some extreme Winter conditions and it has been great.

I too have the heated windshield and heated seats which are invaluable in the New England Winter. That windshield is quite large and rather hard to reach, so I am thankful the heated windshield works so well and I don't have to scrape ice from it. Odd that Mercedes didn't see fit to also include a heated steering wheel as an option in 2018. Perhaps it is available in their newest models.

We've added snow tires to the van to augment the traction from the 4x4. We also added insulated window covers from Quest Overland which help a lot to minimize heat loss through the glass.

Our build has the extra insulation package and the D5 hydronic Rixens Comfort Hot system for heat and hot water. We have a shower enclosure inside and the hydronic system provides for plenty of hot water. My Sprinter also has the added 17,000 BTU pre-heater/booster, under the hood, which has worked well to warm the engine coolant on cold days before I need to start up the van. It also helps to get the cockpit of the van warm before the diesel engine can heat things up.

My only Winter issue was that I had noticed one of my water lines, which traverses the van under the finished floor below the dinette seats, could get frozen in extreme cold conditions, even with the D5 hydronic heater system running. The problem was that the heat wasn't getting into the enclosures under the rear dinette and the temps in those enclosures would often be closer to freezing, even when the van interior was at 70F. I remedied that by installing a small USB powered vent fan to draw heat into the enclosure; I haven't had any freezing issues since that modification.
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