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Old 10-27-2014, 10:53 PM   #1
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Heaters and Inverters

I am about to do a full overhaul on my sportie (91 E350) by completely ripping out the interior, painting it and then putting everything back in. Planned is of course the typical reupholstery of the seats, cushions, new paint on the exterior including the top, and more. I recently just finished rebuilding the transmission and am in the process of restoring the suspension. One of the things I am looking at doing is adding a diesel heater as well as some power options. I would like to be able to run heat or AC without having to run the engine.

For the AC obviously I will need a shorepower outlet, an inverter, and a house battery system. But what exactly do I need here? What kind of inverter? 12, 24 or 48 volt system? Periodically I plan to also use it to power DJ equipment, led lights, laptop, etc.

On the heat I am considering something like a Webasto but in looking it seems that these are typically installed as part of an OEM install. Has anybody installed one aftermarket?

My van is 20 years old and I want to set it it up to be running for another 20 years.
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Old 10-27-2014, 11:40 PM   #2
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Re: Heaters and Inverters

I bought my Webasto Dual Top furnace from Marc Wassmann at XP Campers in 2010 and am happy with it. May want to give him a call:

XPCamper, LLC
124 Clydesdale Ct. Suite D
Grass Valley, CA 95945
530-274-1957

http://xpcamper.com/contact/
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2002 E350 ext.; 160K; 7.3L; 4R100 (w/4x4 deep pan & filter); 4x4 conv. w/2007 F250/F350 coil frnt axle (oppos. dual Bilstein press. shocks cured DW) diff chg from 3.55 to 3.73 (bad!); BW1356 t.c. (bad!); LT265/70R17/E Michelin LTX M/S2; Engel MT60 Combi Fridge-Freezer; 4 BP 380J pv panels; Auragen 5kw AC gen. in top alt. position; Webasto Dual-Top; Voyager top. 1995 5.8L EB Bronco, bone stock.
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Old 10-28-2014, 09:36 AM   #3
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Re: Heaters and Inverters

I installed the Espar D2 in my old van. That little heater was one of our favorite things! You can plumb them right in to your fuel tank (assuming you have a diesel) and never have to worry about filling up extra tanks for your heat.

The AC running off of battery power via an inverter is going to be a big power draw. You won't be able to run it very long unless you have a huge battery bank. This has been discussed before - hopefully someone can help point you to those threads. If you have the means of hooking up to shore power, then you just need a charging unit (an inverter-charger unit would be the cleanest option here) that switches your power inside the van to shore power when it is available.
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Old 10-29-2014, 09:02 PM   #4
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Re: Heaters and Inverters

For the AC I am looking at putting in a shorepower jack out the side of my van and either connecting to actual shorepower in a campground or just running a cable out to a generator which is great when partying in the desert. I saw a picture of a tiny windowshaker AC permanently installed in a door which sort of inspired me on this. When I went to Burningman in 2010 I ended up taking the window out and found an AC unit that fit perfectly inside the window and just sat on top of my spare tire. I want to have something more securely mounted and permanently wired. ANy shorepower connected would potentially be powering the AC, recharging the house batteries, and ideally also be recharging the starting batteries as well. Is that doable? Would it be better to seperate charging of the house and starting batteries?


For the heater, yes, my van is diesel. Not sure on Webasto vs Espar so definitely have some research to do.
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Old 10-30-2014, 12:01 AM   #5
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Re: Heaters and Inverters

Quote:
Originally Posted by bburrito
For the AC I am looking at putting in a shorepower jack out the side of my van and either connecting to actual shorepower in a campground or just running a cable out to a generator which is great when partying in the desert. I saw a picture of a tiny windowshaker AC permanently installed in a door which sort of inspired me on this. When I went to Burningman in 2010 I ended up taking the window out and found an AC unit that fit perfectly inside the window and just sat on top of my spare tire. I want to have something more securely mounted and permanently wired. ANy shorepower connected would potentially be powering the AC, recharging the house batteries, and ideally also be recharging the starting batteries as well. Is that doable? Would it be better to seperate charging of the house and starting batteries?


For the heater, yes, my van is diesel. Not sure on Webasto vs Espar so definitely have some research to do.
I have a similar setup as to what you are asking about. My aftermarket AC/Heater combo "underbunk" unit was originally meant for an 18 wheeler but I decided to take a chance and see if I could get it working in my build since I got a great deal on it as I think they were going to a newer model. Derek from Colorado Camper Van was able to get it installed in my van on my original interior build after we discussed different location options. It resides under my main sofa/bed and is fairly large so it wouldn't work with some builds. Is it perfect, no, but it does cool the van down and is positioned near where I lay my head so that area is cool enough for sleeping. Usually I also use a 12 fan to help circulate the air. I want to eventually fabricate some kind of removable vent setup so I when at camp I can route the cold air up and have it drop down like it should.

In addition to the AC/Espar D2 heater combo I have wired my van myself so that I can charge both the house and starting battery banks independently from each other from 110 shore or generator power using a Xantrex 3 bank charger. I also wired the inverter I have so that I can run my rear AC with only the house batteries. Obviously, it will drain the batteries quickly but using the Aux idle control I can set it to keep 14+ volts charging while idling, plus the solar helps when the van isn't running. Overall my setup does what I designed it to do but I would like to work the vent routing a little better for the AC. The heater rocks.

Might be easier though if you could just use a house window AC. The GTRV conversions sometimes cut out part of a rear door and install them there. There are other options posted on the forum as well.
Eric
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