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Old 03-02-2023, 12:47 AM   #1
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Diesel heater installation

I finally decided to ditch propane heat and install a permanent solution. I went with a Chinese diesel heater because…well it was inexpensive, and from everything that I read and watched, reliable. After I bought it, it sat in the box in my garage for a long time while I tried to decide how I wanted it to be installed. After planning a desert camping trip where temps will be in the low teens at night, I decided to spend a snowy weekend installing it. I am sharing my video here because it specifically show a gasoline E series SMB install, something that I could not find anywhere. So, hopefully this video is helpful and it’s my first YouTube video, so it isn’t perfect haha. Happy to answer any questions, but it works GREAT, and I am really excited to have dry heat for this upcoming trip!

Installation video:

https://youtu.be/rcHG890gbHI

Video of the heater running:

https://youtu.be/Usy65oU8XcA

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Old 03-02-2023, 11:37 AM   #2
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Yes, my inexpensive Chinese diesel parking heater is one of the best improvements I’ve made in the van. I’m currently at 5000ft and it’s 11degrees outside, but 70 inside. And it only cost $120.00
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Old 03-02-2023, 09:46 PM   #3
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Very timely write up & video. I have a propane suburban heater in my GTRV which is located under the downstairs bed & sounds like a jet engine taking off 😂

Can you please share a link to the flange you bought to save having to drill multiple holes in the floor. Did you make any other upgrades to components before installation. Iíve read some people upgraded the fuel hose, exhaust & clamps (stainless)

Thanks
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Old 03-03-2023, 01:57 AM   #4
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Here is the link to a similar turret, the one I bought is actually no longer available for some reason but it was about the same price: https://www.amazon.com/Butler-Techni...18268971&psc=1

I also bought one that had the “upgraded” white fuel hose so I didn’t need to change that but make sure you also use the white non-flexible kind as it makes priming the unit easier. I would upgrade the clamps. I ended up using spring hose clamps but they were even a little tricky. I will likely switch to these:

https://a.co/d/02lyfvv

I also got an additional length of exhaust pipe to run the pipe out further beyond the silencer so it isn’t dumping out right by the van exhaust. Youll see that the fuel pump is mounted on the frame, and that was the part I was worried about making noise, because I can sleep fine with the fan running but not the ticking pump sound and that should be fine because I couldn’t hear the ticking at all.
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Old 03-03-2023, 11:41 AM   #5
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Many thanks for the prompt reply. Super helpful info.
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Old 03-04-2023, 09:03 AM   #6
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Just curious on your decision to go diesel instead of gasoline and plumb into the tank?
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Old 03-09-2023, 08:02 PM   #7
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Thanks for the good videos.
Exactly what I needed.
Thanks for sharing.
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Old 03-10-2023, 09:00 AM   #8
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To extend the exhaust, I used a piece of 3/4 emt (electrical conduit) it’s cheap and available everywhere. I also didn’t use a turret, rather I just used a holesaw through the floor that was about the same size as the turret, but I don’t have a wooden floor. I’m going on three years and zero issues.
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Old 03-13-2023, 12:33 PM   #9
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Update to heater install

I spent the weekend camping and it was extremely cold so I was intentionally able to really test the install and I wanted to share my finding as it may assist in your install:

First of all, if you are thinking about installing one, just do it. It is so incredibly nice and comforting to know that you can turn on dry heat anywhere. You can quickly dry wet clothing, pre-warm the vehicle before and after bed, leave it running while you are out doing things, etc.

You can leave these running while you sleep, unlike other fuel powered heaters where carbon monoxide poisoning is a concern. Some may experience adverse affects from the dry air itself, so be aware if you are sensitive to that and add a portable humidifier to the equation if needed. Obviously you want to have a low mounted (carbon monoxide is heavier than ambient air) carbon monoxide detector. Before we left on this trip, my wife fully tested the cabin air with a meter and there was no leaking present or ingress from windows, doors, etc so I felt safe leaving it running all night if needed. I sealed the turret using fire block caulking so it should hold for a long time.

During our trip, we left the heater running on a low setting throughout the day as the outside temp was around 25-30*f. On the first night, I cranked it up as we got into bed and it was very warm so I went ahead and turned the unit off with the expectation I could turn it back on if it got too cold. 4 hours later, it was indeed very cold inside so I reached up and turned the unit on. The fan came on but as the glowplug turned on, the voltage dropped from 13 volts, to 8.5 volts and I got a voltage error code and voltage would increase to 12 volts. Frustrated, I tried again a few times and kept getting the error and shutdown. So....it was a cold first night.

The next morning, I started the vehicle and with the truck running the voltage was enough to power the unit on and once running the voltage is around 2volts or less.

My system consists of a starting battery, isolator to a lead acid deep cycle house battery, and then 10AWG wire to a fuse panel at the rear of the vehicle where the heater is connected. 10awg was what I used because I had it and it is sufficient, but the combination of the voltage drop in that length and the fact that the fridge also draws from that same house battery is causing just enough to prompt a low voltage shut down at 8volts. I have a hood mounted solar panel, which provides enough starting power to run the heater in the day time, so when I was testing it after install in the daytime I didn't experience this error.

Summary of findings:

- I will upgrade to 6-4awg running to the rear panel (and possibly another house battery, not necessary but just a preference)
- Starting the vehicle at night to allow heater to begin combustion is not a huge hassle, but isnt ideal if the goal is efficiency.
- I run the heater on it's highest setting at startup, and shutdown to burn as much carbon build up as possible and hopefully lengthen service. I also run it on full while unloading after a trip, again just to get that soot out.
- The heater will run all night, if the startup procedure is followed and is safe and comfortable.
- Ensure that interior ducting exhaust isn't blowing on anything that is sensitive to heat. In my case, the duct blows directly onto my fridge which is not ideal so I placed some Reflectix bubble insulation there and it kept the fridge body cool. I will also be placing a T fitting in the ducting to run another vent on the other side and distribute the heat a little better.

Anyhow, hopefully this is helpful and you can learn from my mistakes!

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Old 03-13-2023, 12:47 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oogs View Post
Just curious on your decision to go diesel instead of gasoline and plumb into the tank?
The main reason is that I wanted an inexpensive heater, and in my searches the Chinese heaters are diesel powered. A gasoline powered heater would have added $1200 to the unit, plus dropping the tank, tapping, etc...so I just opted for the less expensive and easier choice.

The other factor was that I was reading a lot about the length of service being longer with diesel as the fuel itself provides lubrication. Not sure if that has been proven, but is seems reasonable to consider.
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