RV News RVBusiness 2021 Top 10 RVs of the Year, plus 56 additional debuts and must-see units → ×

Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 10-16-2018, 11:14 AM   #1
Senior Member
Flyview's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Southern California
Posts: 105
Furnace options for 92 SMB

I have an EB50 SMB built in 1992 with the Suburban propane hot water heater. I almost never use it.

I'm living in the van full time and it would be nice to have a furnace in the colder climates. I've tried electric heaters but they use way too much power (1500W) to keep warm (23c in ambient temps of 5c) so they only make sense when plugged in. I was using the stove for a while but quickly learned that creates a lot of water when I found my front carpet soaked. The cold metal right underneath the carpet condensed the water out of the humid air.

I've heard of Propex heaters. What were the SMB factory options?

I've read the factory furnace was installed under the couch but I don't have any room left there as it's where the converter, inverter, water pump, water tank, and my tools are stored. Is there a unit that can maybe do both furnace and water heater in the same space as the old water heater? Even though I don't use the water heater it would be a shame to take out that functionality.

Flyview is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-16-2018, 04:31 PM   #2
Site Team
daveb's Avatar
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Turlock Ca
Posts: 9,995
This post might help:

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

Sportsmobile 4X4 Adventures..........On and off road adventures
daveb is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-16-2018, 08:33 PM   #3
Senior Member
86Scotty's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: TN
Posts: 8,737
Lots of options here but none are cheap or simple. Since you have propane I would lean towards Propex. The SMB factory options back then were Suburban or Atwood gigantic furnaces which required holes in the van wall, albeit small ones. These were the same furnaces in every RV throughout history pretty much.

Nowadays who knows what they use, probably Espar/Webasto in the newer diesel Sprinters. I have never heard of them using a Propex but they should if they don't.
Currently vanless. Weird.

Real name Eric
Finally found a pic of my first camper,
a 1986 Serro Scotty
86Scotty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-19-2018, 07:54 PM   #4
Senior Member
Flyview's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Southern California
Posts: 105
Well I have an update, although off topic. I was wrong. The carpet in the driver's footwell and in between the seats got wet again!

It wasn't the propane burning that did it, though I'm sure it made it more humid overall.

I have a water system leak! I really should have checked first because I knew this was a possibility (one I was really not hoping for). It turns out my water pump is misting out a light jetstream of water from its plastic cap when it's pressurized! The leak is so small it must have taken a week or more for the water to slowly make its way to the front and pool in the driver's footwell for me to notice.

It's been a couple days of pulling everything out from under my couch and doing my best to dry everything out.

Is the plastic top of the water pump replaceable or should I just get a new pump?
Flyview is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-20-2018, 12:20 AM   #5
Senior Member
REF's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Boulder, CO.
Posts: 2,060
Send a message via MSN to REF
Picture of the plastic part on top of the pump would help to identify, and see weather itís repairable. Most likely needs to be replaced though
'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
REF is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-01-2018, 11:20 AM   #6
Fremebe's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 33

Not sure of the space that you have available (or the cost factor) but can comment on full time usage.

I had my sportsmobile built for the purpose of living full time. I have been on the road for three years now.

I have the espar diesel heater with Jim Rixon's electric heater attachment. Since I am in RV parks I mostly use the electric. However nice having both options.

I had a lot of problems at the beginning but found that was due to crossed wires on altimeter. Once corrected system has been running perfect.

I am in temps 30-60 most days so use the heater all the time.
Fremebe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-01-2018, 12:01 PM   #7
Senior Member
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: San Clemente, CA
Posts: 1,262
What about a little buddy heater?

Grampswrx is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-01-2018, 12:27 PM   #8
Junior Member
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 5
I've been using the espar diesel heater in -50 degree winter weather for the past five years in an older Sprinter hightop and found it to be an excellent furnace. It doesn't use that much fuel even at very low temp extremes and makes instant hot water too.
Anchorage, Alaska
charris is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-01-2018, 02:20 PM   #9
Junior Member
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: N.C.
Posts: 15
"Espar diesel heater" is way to go. Serious consideration of it should be your priority.
Quigley-76 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-01-2018, 06:09 PM   #10
Senior Member
campism's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: Richmond VA
Posts: 194
Originally Posted by Grampswrx View Post
We use one of these in our Vanagon Westy and it heats the space well enough but for long-term use, such as living in the van or a very long trip in cold weather, I'd want something installed with a larger fuel supply. With a Buddy Heater those 1 lb. propane bottles go fast and at the very least I'd get an adapter hose so I could use a larger propane tank.

Since we already have it we plan to keep the Buddy for use in the new-to-us big Dodge van but will probably go with a Propex or the like eventually.

campism is offline   Reply With Quote

furnace, heater, propane

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by Sportsmobile SIP or any of its affiliates. This is an independent, unofficial site.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:56 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.