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Old 10-04-2015, 05:24 PM   #1
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Staying Warm with a Webasto?

The cold weather is setting in here in CO and I got to thinking about my heating needs. A wood stove is still in the plan, but I got to thinking about something for when I need heat faster or dont want to build a fire if im only going to be in the bus for a couple hours.

We have about 6 webasto thermo top c's ive been taking off buses that we sell, scrap, etc. and I got the idea to put one on my bus and plumb it in on a closed loop to heat coolant and run it through a pair of the underseat heaters i took out of this and another bus.
I would also pump the coolant through a flat plate heat exchanger to use for heating the tap water in my hot water tank if i needed/wanted hot water.

The unit puts out something like 17,000 btu and by circulating the coolant through the pair of heaters and running the fans, I hope to be able to keep the bus warm in almost any weather in this method so that I dont have to rely exclusively on building fires to stay warm. Also, the webasto can be controlled by a timer and I have an extra, 60 gallon diesel tank I can install under my bus just to supply the heater.

I am wondering if anyone has done something like this. It seems very promising and since I have them in abundance for free, it seems like an attractive option. I am wondering if I should add a tank in my coolant loop to store the heated coolant, but I think it would have to be quite large if I wanted to be able to cycle the webasto instead of running it whenver i needed heat.

Any thoughts or ideas? Anyone tried staying warm using a webasto?
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Old 10-04-2015, 06:19 PM   #2
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If you have any spares I'm all in for getting one!!!!!
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Old 10-04-2015, 06:29 PM   #3
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We use a Webasto all the time. Not the unit you are talking about, the DBW2010 is what I have. 45,000 BTU.

I left all my heaters in the bus, added a couple thermostats and a power supply to power it. All is right....
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Old 10-04-2015, 06:34 PM   #4
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The units I have are all Thermo Top C's and have only 17k btus

Opus--Do you still circulate the coolant through the engine or have you looped it off? Is it your primary heat source? Any guess on fuel consumption in real life? Im really getting into this idea.
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Old 10-04-2015, 06:37 PM   #5
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I circulate it through the engine. The engine is a huge heat sink, I dont know why people loop it off, that just makes the Webasto run more.

Primary heat source, yes. 0.35gph. Been overnight in -16 and survived nice and toasty.
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Old 10-04-2015, 06:45 PM   #6
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I figured I'd rather loop it off and not try to heat a ton of steel that's not in my living space. I was toying with the idea of a tank of some kind to buffer the cycling of the webasto. my only worry at this point is the cost of heating using this unit. granted, i can use the off-road diesel for this tank, which is nice.
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Old 10-04-2015, 06:48 PM   #7
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My fuel comes out of my main tank. You already have a tank, the engine. Its thick, heavy and will hold hot water for a long time.
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Old 10-04-2015, 06:52 PM   #8
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In about January 2014 I did an experiment in my bus. I laid two electric baseboard heaters on the floor (4.5 kW total), wired them up to 240 through an electric meter, and let it run for the night with a few temperature loggers. The low that night was 16 F outdoors and the bus dropped to 58 F. That was measured in the center of the bus; the two ends probably were cooler because there was no forced circulation of the heat. This was bone stock; no windows deleted nor insulation added, though I note mine does have a layer of globbed-on foam insulation hanging like stalactites below the floor.. anyway, if you have added insulation and it doesn't get too much colder than this where you are, just the one 17 kBTU (about 5 kW) may get you through fine.

opus is right, the engine adds a huge amount of thermal mass and limits short-cycling of the coolant heater. But it's a huge radiator too, dissipating your heat to the outdoors.

It's in my plans to do something like what you describe. Since it (mine) will be gated off from the engine, it'll probably need its own coolant reservoir and expansion system. Nat described in The Four Season Prime, I think, an idea to have a stainless steel tank built with a regular radiator cap and expansion tank and other features too. My thoughts are headed in that direction as well.
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Old 10-04-2015, 06:56 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by family wagon View Post

opus is right, the engine adds a huge amount of thermal mass and limits short-cycling of the coolant heater. But it's a huge radiator too, dissipating your heat to the outdoors.
What I did to help [havent used them yet] was make a couple insulated panels to cover the perforated doors on the back of both sides of my bus. That surely should do something.

We needed the Webasto last weekend but we had shore power so I ran an oil filled radiator instead.
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Old 10-04-2015, 07:00 PM   #10
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Yeah, at this point I'm kicking myself for not taking the time to figure this out and run some lines in the floor for heating the bus that way.

When I raised my roof, I removed all the bus windows and use only double-pane insulated rv windows. There's probably 1/3 of my wall area that is window now. The bus is insulated by an average of 2.75" of spray foam, and 3" of rigid foam (poly-iso) in the floor. Im at close to r-20 all around when you factor in the reflectix I put over the spray foam so hopefully, this should keep me toasty in the cold.

I just cant justify using the engine to store thermal energy. One idea I had was to use an old water heater tank and put it sideways under the bus. Not sure how many gallons I should do yet for that, but it seems like it would work. That would be a lot of coolant though...
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