I live in SoCal as well and didn't like using the Mr Buddy either. As little as we need heat it seemed silly to buy an expensive heater though. I joined the Chinese Diesel Heater Group on Facebook and followed them for a while, then bought a 2KW Diesel Heater for my E350. Mounted the heater under the bed.
Mounted the diesel tank on the rear bumper swing arm.
Controller is by side doors
As I only finished installing it this spring, I don't have much feedback yet. It did warm the van up nicely a few times sitting in the driveway. At less than $150 for the complete kit, I am very happy so far. Next winter will be the real test.