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View Poll Results: How do you use your Espar
Do you have the 7 Day Timer Option. 17 14.29%
Do you have the High Altitude Kit. 21 17.65%
I use my heater very little. 2 1.68%
I use my heater some. 17 14.29%
I use my heater a lot. 8 6.72%
I use my heater all the time. 1 0.84%
I've had no trouble. 17 14.29%
I've had some trouble. 11 9.24%
I've had nothing but trouble. 1 0.84%
I like my heater. 22 18.49%
I don't like my heater. 2 1.68%
Voters: 119. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 01-21-2009, 10:37 AM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 77
Espar Survey

Trying get a feel for how most of you operate your Espar Airtronic heater, and what options or trouble you are having. I'm wanting to help get your system running like it should.

We sell many of these a year and have a very small amount of trouble. SMB owners are a very small percentage of the total number of heaters we do sell a year but they are the ones with 90% of the problems.

If this survey does not cover your issues or your issues are with the Hydronic unit, please post them here.


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Old 01-21-2009, 01:45 PM   #2
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Re: Espar Survey

I am not sure if we have the timer option, but I think we may; we certainly have a little clock and a timer runs when it is fired up.

We do have the high altitude option, and have used it right at 10k feet with no problems.

We do not use it a lot, and the SMB was just purchased in May 2008. The furnace was on the original build sheet but was not actually installed until September. (it probably would not have been used between May and September)

It is installed under our gaucho and has a return air register on the end of the gaucho.

We have had no problems so far.

Greg in Austin
2008 Ford 6.0PSD EB/E-PH SMB 4X4 Aluminess f/r bumpers (13.5mpg avg, 15mpg hwy) 52k miles [Texas McBeast]
2006 Toyota Prius (48 to 68 mpg) 120k miles [Penelope]
2013 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon (15 to 18 mpg) [Johnnie]
2012 Mitsubishi MiEV (no gas required) ($.50/day in electricity) [Evie]
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Old 01-21-2009, 10:22 PM   #3
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Re: Espar Survey

Do you have the 7 Day Timer Option.
Yes. The old setup (2005) was only a thermostat type.

Do you have the High Altitude Kit.
Yes, the one with the switch. As far as I know itís not automatic but when SMB recently installed the timer and said they thought they upgraded the kit. I donít think they did.

I use my heater a lot.
I use it on average of 4 times a month during summer and more during the winter. If itís 50 degrees or colder itís on at bed time. I adjust the heat to keep the cab cool not hot.

I've had some trouble.
After the new timer was installed I had problems. SMB said the high/low altitude switch was wired backwards. They re-wired it and all seems to be good now.

I like my heater.
Definitely! So far Iím happy but if maintenance becomes an issue the great factor might dwindle.

The problem Iíve had was with the Hydronic and SMB claims Iím the winner in that category. After 2 years of off roading I got all kinds of codes. If you are the Greg that worked on it Iím the guy with all the dust in the unit that Espar rebuilt. It now works like new. I have uncertainties about how dust will affect both the Hydronic and Airtronic. They are exposed to a lot of dirt, dust and mud.

2006 Ford 6.0PSD EB-50/E-PH SMB 4X4 Rock Crawler Trailer

Sportsmobile 4X4 Adventures..........On and off road adventures
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Old 06-18-2010, 10:51 PM   #4
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Re: Espar Survey

Hi Greg,

Thanks for providing help on the forum.

I have a 2008/9 Dodge Sprinter SMB with a Espar Airtronic D4 with Altitude Kit, and 7 Day Timer. I have the RB50 layout, so the unit is located in an accessible compartment with flip up door under a closet on the driver's side. This unit was installed by SMB. The first day I got it I went up to Yosemite, and got nothing but cold air. SMB took a day to find out that the wiring harness had to be replaced.

Since then, I am having problems with the unit running consistently at altitudes above 4900 feet. They have added additional ducting to the rear, but the problem persists.

I have a couple of questions for you:

1. I have discovered the altitude kit is missing part number 41-8396. On page 5 of the Altitude Kit Installation Instructions, this is item no. 5: "Cap with lever for bush housing, 12 pin". It's possible the connection comes loose when I store things in that compartment. I have contacted Thermal King and my SMB dealer and have yet to get a replacement part. Is this something I can get from you.

2. Below is a picture of my 7 Day Timer installation. There is also a black rocker switch below it. Reading threads on the forum some people discuss an altitude switch. When I picked up the SMB I was told this switch was an override for the timer allowing the Airtronic Heater to run until flipped off. Do you agree, or is it an altitude switch? I looked in the manuals and couldn't find anything about it.

3. The Multifunction (7 Day Timer) Manual list "Timer Only", and "Timers with adapter but no relay". What is this all about and how do I figure out which one I have?

I really like the Espar Airtronic. It's diesel fuel setup is really a convenience I love.

Thanks for any help you may be able to provide.
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Old 06-19-2010, 12:40 PM   #5
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Re: Espar Survey


I have the same 7 day timer installation as in your photo. The rocker switch supplies 12vdc to pin 10 of the Espar 7 Day Timer and is to put it in the "ignition on" mode. When reading the timer manual substitute "rocker switch on" for "ignition on" and I think it will make sense. My altitude compensating device is fully automatic. No manual intervention necessary or possible.

Hope that helps. Good luck.
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Old 06-19-2010, 12:48 PM   #6
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Re: Espar Survey

I am getting the airtronic B5 heater installed as it runs off regular gas. Any problems with this version as I know the majority you sell is for the diesel application.
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Old 06-19-2010, 02:29 PM   #7
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Re: Espar Survey

Originally Posted by Roonie
I am getting the airtronic B5 heater installed as it runs off regular gas. Any problems with this version as I know the majority you sell is for the diesel application.
In my experience with these heaters, the diesels can carbon up sometimes (especially if run at altitude w/o the altitude kit) making them inoperative and requiring service.

The gas versions, on the other hand, don't like sitting with old fuel in them. Might be a good idea to run the furnace through a complete heat cycle once a month to avoid the fuel failing.
'06 RB50 SMB Diesel
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Old 06-24-2010, 12:28 PM   #8
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Re: Espar Survey

We have the diesel heater and use it all the time. We have traveled plenty of dusty roads and only had a problem with it not starting once and running it on high for 30 minutes took care of it and we haven't had any problems since. When we had the problem we were on a 3 week trip through the Colorado rockies and Utah and most days we would turn the heater on after we stopped when the van was still pretty warm and leave it on all night. It never really ran on high for any period of time and my guess is it built up deposits from not getting hot enough.

'08 SMB 4X4 6.0PSD EB 50 (96K)
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Old 10-23-2010, 09:33 AM   #9
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Re: Espar Survey

I just purchased a 2004 gas van and want to put the gas version of the D4 in it. I searched and found some people here that had the intention to install one, but I couldn't find if anyone followed through. Anyone out there with a gas version that can share their experience??
No comment.
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Old 10-24-2010, 09:49 PM   #10
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Re: Espar Survey

I have a gas version in a 2008 V10. It was installed by GTRV in Canada (my understanding is that SMB won't install them). As I didn't install it myself, I can't offer any more info. It does kick out a bunch of heat. No complaints so far after one winter at the ski hill.


2008 E350 EB, V10, GTRV Conversion
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