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Old 03-16-2023, 07:07 AM   #11
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Vehicle heater question:
I have a leak(water) on the passenger side of my van. I suspect it's the heater core. After viewing several You Tube DIY I decided to uncover the heater core....of course my van heater is not like the easy access showed on YT. Then investigating I learned I could pinch off the in and out hose to the heater core and see if that eliminated the leak. I was able to pinch off the 2 hoses.
MY QUESTION: can I run the engine with these 2 hosed pinched off eliminating the water circulating thru thru the heater. I need to use my van until I can locate a heater repair shop.
Another issue is that the heater is not blowing any warm air into the cab. I have tried all positions on the control. I assume that this is a control problem aside from the heater core leaking. I can get heat by selecting "VENT" and that blows hot air into the cab.
2003 FORD E350 SMB 7.3
HIGHCOUNTRYMIKE 2003 FORD E350 SMB 7.3 4X4 308,000
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Old 03-16-2023, 08:28 AM   #12
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I THINK you need to bypass the heater, so the hoses that have pinched off need to be connected so that the coolant can flow. They donít need to run through the heater core, but it does need to be able to flow because of the pressure that will build up in the lines.
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Old 03-16-2023, 10:01 AM   #13
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Some thoughts from my experience:
The CDH glow-plug draws 10 amps on startup for about 1 minute and ~8 amps on shutdown for 1 minute. Many people have trouble getting enough current to the unit using the small gauge power wires provided with the kit, which can cause an error code.

As you have mentioned and built, the workaround is to shorten the stock wires as much as possible for your connection and replace with a length 10 awg wire straight to the battery.

10 AWG wire should be sufficient on the hot wire side. Also, check your ground and make it as short as possible, using 10 awg. Additionally, check your ground straps on the engine, frame, and body. There are a couple of frame-to-body straps that are often overlooked and can get corroded or frayed.

On my van, when starting up my CDH (during the one minute glow-plug draw):

With the van running, the voltage drops from ~14v to 13.5.
With the van plugged in to shore power, the voltage drops from 13.5v to 12.5.
With the van turned off, using my house battery (Duracell AGM 90AH), the voltage drops from ~12.7v to 10v.
I have 10 AWG wire on the hot side of the battery. I need to improve the wiring on the ground side to remedy startup and shutdown voltage drop. That’s where I think I can improve my CDH house battery performance.

*I do not have a refrigerator competing with my CDH.

My battery has never failed to start my CDH in the morning. But I watch the voltage drop sometimes and wonder each time if it will make it past the glow plug portion of the start-up without throwing an error and aborting.

I have an AfterBurner controller that allows me to watch the readings real time on an app on my phone from the comfort of a sleeping bag.
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Old 03-16-2023, 02:47 PM   #14
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A link to your Afterburner would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks!
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Old 03-16-2023, 07:56 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vanlife leprechaun View Post
A link to your Afterburner would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks!
The Afterburner controller is well worth the price, makes the CDH sooo much better.

Here you go:
Afterburner
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Old 03-16-2023, 10:42 PM   #16
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To Impetersen, what size heater did you get for your pop-top, ext window van? and are you happy with the size of the CDH you bought?

To youngster and in general, what brand of CDH did you buy? Nobody seems to ever say, they just say "CDH". I like your afterburner controller and be interested in compatible unit.

Living in Colorado @ 6'000' to start with a CDH that works at higher elevations is of importance to us, any recommendations for those?
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Old 03-17-2023, 12:12 AM   #17
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I bought a 5kw unit, and yes it’s perfect imho. It heats the van up quickly, which is helpful, but on its lowest setting it just keeps things warm. My friend had an 8kw in his camper and it was way too much heat on the lowest setting. As for elevation, I live at 4000 feet and typically camp at 3000-7000ft. This particular heater does have a high elevation setting, although I haven’t needed to try it yet as it’s been running just fine.
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Old 03-17-2023, 08:36 PM   #18
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@Lilnuts2
I'll only venture to recommend one brand/supplier:
https://lavaner.com/
Everything I've heard about these CDHs has been good.
They are twice as much as the ebay offerings. However, Lavaner seems to do some QA/QC and uses quality parts in their kit. Everything else is a crapshoot in CDH land.

Best practice with the CDH is to run it full power as much as you can. Running them half or low power tends to allow sooting in the unit. Running them full power for 10 minutes after camping helps but even so, over time idling them at lower power allows soot build up. Long term, the higher the combustion chamber temps (full power) the better off your CDH is.

I have a 2kw in my EB with penthouse. In SoCal a 2kw is plenty.

One time camping in Bridgeport CA (6500ft) it got down to 15*f outside. My 2kw CDH was working full blast all night with the top popped. The thermometer never got lower than 55*in the van.

All that said, if I lived in Colorado I'd get a 5kw unit.

Most CDHs with digital controllers are programable for a specific elevation (the Afterburner is too). You just have to go on the Facebook CDH groups to learn the settings to adjust. Not hard to do but takes some time reading up on it.
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