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Old 07-30-2011, 10:33 AM   #1
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 12
Year: 92
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International
Engine: DT 466
Radiant heated floors.

My friend brought to my attention, heated floors, as I was scraping off the rust from the metal plate inside my bus. He suggested running copper tubes straight out from where the tubes for my radiator heaters come out from the behind the drivers heaters, (eliminating both inside heaters) and coiling it back and forth all the way down, back around and securing that back to output hose next to where the intake copper pipe connected. The next step would be to fill the space up with something, dont remember what he suggested, letting it dry, then putting "notched" wood panels in over the top. My question for you guys, are:

[*]Has anyone tried this, this way?[*]Do you think the engine will be able to move the coolant/water all the way through the convoluted copper tubes, back to the radiator efficiently/adequately?[*]Once this is done, I'll need some kind of switch to let the fluid fill up the floor, but in the summer I wont need this, so either need a shutoff valve or a bypass. An ideas on how to accomplish this?

thanks for your help guys, making this bus what I want is a great task indeed.
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Old 07-30-2011, 11:41 AM   #2
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 800
Re: Radiant heated floors.

Floor heat sure sounds like a good idea........
However comma,
There are a couple of things you need to look at.

1. Defrosting the windows? How is a floor heater going to do this?

2. Heat for the front of the bus, ie driver compartment.

I would not remove both heaters, front one will be needed for winter driving, rear one sure would come in handy if needed....

Radiant heated floors sure would be great on those cold mornings.......
Roll - On...
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Old 07-30-2011, 01:58 PM   #3
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 12
Year: 92
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International
Engine: DT 466
Re: Radiant heated floors.

thanks for the reply. I took the two heaters that were on the ground out, the one or two that are by the driver's seat are still connected, the hoses come out from behind that,( which is where I had planned to put copper piping next. This way, I will have a heater for the driver (me), and the defroster still works, I didn't think about a method to defrost the windows on the sides now that I think about it. I wonder if I can get those defrosting wires that go into windows, like some cars come equipped with. Either way, I wont be driving my bus around much, its more, park it and adventure from there. Good question though.
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Old 07-30-2011, 02:29 PM   #4
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Join Date: May 2010
Location: Farmington Hills, Mi (Detroit area)
Posts: 1,341
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Eldorado Aerotech 24'
Chassis: Ford E-450 Cutaway Bus
Engine: 7.3L Powerstroke
Rated Cap: 19
Re: Radiant heated floors.

The hydronic heated floor subject has come up a time or two and if memory serves, the concensus was that it was too much trouble. One problem with your proposed setup is that a big, expensive-to-run motor has to be running before you get any heat. A more efficient way would be to use an RV propane water heater and some sort of circulator pump to move the water around. It gets complicated and expensive pretty quickly.

Most heat their rigs with propane using a catilycic (sp?) heater or built-in RV hot air furnace. Many use a wood stove. My guess is that any of those choices would be easier and cheaper than the hydronic setup.
The Roach Motel
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Old 07-30-2011, 06:37 PM   #5
Bus Nut
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Virginia
Posts: 446
Re: Radiant heated floors.

I had the same question about the use of floor heat instead of the rear heaters. My thoughts are:
- It would only be used when traveling (i.e. driving the bus) and should circulate through the tubing if set up properly, maybe adding a booster pump if needed to help circulate through the extra length of tubing.
- I would mount a ball valve in the dash panel to route the water flow through for the ability to turn the flow of water on/off depending on the time of year. Mounting it to the dash panel just makes it more convenient and a "cleaner" install.
- If the temp of the water is like house systems, you could use the plastic tubing used in home systems and save allot of money since copper tubing costs so much. The plastic is easier to work with too.
- How to cover the tubing and protect it is the biggest hurdle. In a house they tubing is held down to the subfloor using clamps to hold it in the pattern laid. it is then covered with a concrete mixture to encase/protect the tubing. Then the flooring is laid (wood, tile, etc). To do this type of setup in a bus would add allot of weight, but off hand I haven't determined an alternate method that would work for the bus to protect the tubing and still save weight.
- When not moving (driving) an alternate method would be needed to heat the rig. One possibility would be to have a tie-in to the same underfloor tubing loop from a water heater or wood stove and circulate this heated water.

I like the concept of "clean" heat but there are several design hurdles to work out.
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