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Old 04-12-2019, 09:37 AM   #1
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Location: dixon, new mexico
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Espar heater drama

Sportsmobile West

Dear Sir,
Greetings, my name is Salim Bohsali and I purchased a new2017 Mercedes Sprinter Sportsmobile from you last March. It was a dream of manyyears and will take many more to pay it off. I want to let you know about sometrouble we have been having.
When we went to your facility to fill out the loan papersand get introduced to the van I pointed out that the Espar D4 heater readouthad error and fault codes showing. The technician and Nick Gennock both assuredus that that was normal and all was ok. The heater worked at the facility andthere was nothing wrong. We left and two days later we were at home in NewMexico, 7500ft. The following fall we took a trip and found that the heater notonly still showed the fault codes, it would not work. We froze. Bad trip in anew van. I called Sportsmobile and was referred to Peter Del Toro x7006. Mr.Del Toro has never actually answered my calls. I leave messages and it usuallytakes a day or two before he responds. He advised me to pull the heaters fuseand once that did not work he advised me to call Rixen Enterprises. Jim andMichael at Rixen Enterprises have been amazing. I had to remove the heater andsend it in for service. That took about half a day. Michael looked it over andfound that the heater had no issues, it did however have no recordedacknowledgement of the altimeter. Michael sent the heater back and Ireinstalled it. Then I had to remove the rear couch seat and dismantle thewiring to find why the altimeter was not working. It turned out that it’syellow power wire was cut and never connected. I connected it and the heaterran perfect with no fault code.
This past month I took the van to Colorado to ski. We wereat 10,000ft and -5f. The heater did not work. We froze. I called Michael andwas told to send the heater back in. It only took a few hours this time toremove it. Michael called and said he was surprised how much carbon buildup theheater had with so little use time. He cleaned it and sent it back with areplacement muffler. He asked me to send him photos of the exhaust for theheater. Once he got the photos he told me that the original muffler had beeninstalled upsidedown and was accumulating debris and condensate. Upon removingit the pre and post exhaust tube and the muffler itself released a pile ofcarbon exhaust particulate. It turns out that the altimeter not working had theheater burning too rich and the exhaust was full of the resulting particulate.We had fixed the altimeter but never cleared the exhaust. The muffler beingupsidedown just accelerated the exhaust blockage. I have reinstalled andstraightened out all I was advised to. At this point the heater is working. Iam happy with the van and look forward to using it more. I am frustrated at theerrors Sportsmobile had with our heater installation. I would appreciate anythoughts you might have about this. I wish you peace and further success withyour company.

Salim Bohsali


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Old 04-12-2019, 11:02 AM   #2
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Wow. Glad you found a solution.

2014 Ford RB-50
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Old 04-12-2019, 02:21 PM   #3
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Yep, another Sportsmobile West story. Also glad Rixens squared it away.
2008 GMC 3500 Quigley Weldtec 4x4 Savana SMB
2006 BMW HP2 Enduro
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Old 04-13-2019, 11:33 PM   #4
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Salim, glad you got your issues with the heater worked out....finally.
Just a little background on this here forum, as it sounds like you may think it is in some way affiliated with the Sportsmobile company.
While it is called “Sportsmobile forum”, it is in no way affiliated with the conversion company.
The forum was started by a Sportsmobile owner, “Jage” years ago as a way to connect Sportsmobile owners with one another, it has since been handed off to a new managing group and has grown to welcome and include members with various home builds and many of the other van up fitters out there.....welcome
'03 Ford E350 7.3L Diesel
(de)SMB'd Custom RB-50
Quigley 4X4 w/Deavers & Agile Offroad's R.I.P. package
CCV High Profile Pop Top
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Old 04-17-2019, 11:57 AM   #5
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Espar heater issues

Got it and thanks. It was a copy and paste of a letter I sent to SMBW and wanted to share with the greater SMB world. Sorry for all the run on sentences. It didn't look like that when I sent it to SMBW. I did get a reply. I am hopeful that it is resolved. I am also hopeful that not many vans left the shop with the same trouble. Jim and Michael at Rixen's are the bomb and so grateful for their help.

Hello Salim,

Thank you very much for the kindwords and the feedback. I really appreciate you taking the time to fill me inon the problem. I am extremely sorry for the bad experience on your camptrip. I have spoken with Peter and our production staff so we can get thisresolved immediately. Peter has assured me he will take great care of you.

Please don’t hesitate to reachout to me if there is anything else I can help with. I hope the future trips inyour Sportsmobile are memorable for all of the right reasons!

Peace and kind regards,

President |Sportsmobile West, Inc. | 800.827.3071

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Old 04-21-2019, 02:52 PM   #6
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Hi Salim,
This thread found its way to me via Sportsmobile Forum’s email. I am in Santa Fe and have a 2016 Sprinter 4x4 with a SMB poptop and a modest independent buildout. It would be fun to get together for coffee and chat and compare notes. .
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Old 10-22-2019, 03:20 PM   #7
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Espar again

Just back from Moab, great trip and cold nights. My Espar D2 worked great the first night and failed for the rest of the trip. Came back and called Mike at Rixens. Had to take the heater out for the third time and clean it. He also had me take a picture of the fuel pump for the heater.. It turns out the van was installed with a hydronic fuel pump 3.1- 5kw, instead of the 1-4kw for a airtronic. It has been getting flooded each time it ran and carboned up each time. So to summarize my 2017 Sprinter Sportsmobile was equipped with an oversized fuel pump and no wiring to the altimeter. No wonder the poor heater never worked. I am trusting that once these bugs are resolved my family might be willing to go camping with me in the fall. Too many mistakes on Sportsmobile's side. Frustrating.
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Old 10-22-2019, 03:54 PM   #8
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The fact the pump was finally diagnosed as the issue is remarkable... Wonder how many people would have even considered looking at it - Rixen certainly came through for you!
Have to say it just seems so odd that the wrong pump was installed, thought the system came as a kit (in a box all packed together). If that's the case, curious if somehow it was sent to SM incorrectly??? guess its really not important at this stage, as long as it works.
Either way, good to hear your able to use it now.
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Old 10-22-2019, 08:09 PM   #9
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Salim, I would encourage you to find a local Thermo-King dealer. Espar furnaces are in a majority of commercial trucks on the road today and Thermo King dealers who can repair and maintain them are more prevalent than many realize.

Currently vanless. Weird.
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Old 10-23-2019, 10:18 AM   #10
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Are you running a diesel?

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