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Old 12-29-2021, 06:51 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2021
Location: Montreal, Canada
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Chassis: Blue Bird
Engine: 6.7 Cummins
Diesel Heater

We live in Canada and am looking for a reliable heater(s) for a 40 foot raised roof bus conversion that we will live in full time. I have read a lot of people recommend a webasto, but was wondering if 1 alone would be enough for the whole bus and if anyone knows any more reliable or cheaper alternative solutions? Thanks

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Old 12-29-2021, 09:33 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CompLexxx View Post
We live in Canada and am looking for a reliable heater(s) for a 40 foot raised roof bus conversion that we will live in full time. I have read a lot of people recommend a webasto, but was wondering if 1 alone would be enough for the whole bus and if anyone knows any more reliable or cheaper alternative solutions? Thanks
Currently, I have a 5 kW and a 2kW, CDH, installed in my 40' non-raised bus while I'm building it. I have a second 5 kW that I'll be putting in shortly. Personally, I don't think a single 5 kW is enough for a bus of that size. I put the 2kW in the rear for the bedroom area and will have two 5kW for the main cabin, kitchen, living area.
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Old 12-29-2021, 10:25 PM   #3
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We have a Dickinson Diesel heater in the center of our 35 footer and it can run you out.
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Old 12-29-2021, 10:28 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CompLexxx View Post
We live in Canada and am looking for a reliable heater(s) for a 40 foot raised roof bus conversion that we will live in full time. I have read a lot of people recommend a webasto, but was wondering if 1 alone would be enough for the whole bus and if anyone knows any more reliable or cheaper alternative solutions? Thanks
Are you think of using an air or hydronic system? I have a Webasto Thermo Top C heating my radiant floor loop. I have been disappointed that it only provides about 30 deg F of heat (relative to outside ambient temp). I think a better solution incorporates radiant and blowers like this one: https://www.skoolie.net/forums/f51/h...eat-19412.html.
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Old 12-29-2021, 11:40 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by DrDanger View Post
Are you think of using an air or hydronic system? I have a Webasto Thermo Top C heating my radiant floor loop. I have been disappointed that it only provides about 30 deg F of heat (relative to outside ambient temp). I think a better solution incorporates radiant and blowers like this one: https://www.skoolie.net/forums/f51/h...eat-19412.html.
Would anyone happen to know what the fuel efficiency of that kind of unit is since the post states he does not know? And how reliable is a system like that, if there are leaks that seems like it could be troublesome?
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Old 12-29-2021, 11:46 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by mhaisten View Post
We have a Dickinson Diesel heater in the center of our 35 footer and it can run you out.
I looked it up and the Lofoten model seems great and can even double as a water heater and cooking top, perfect for us!
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Old 12-30-2021, 09:46 AM   #7
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Coincidentally, I just ran a test of my Chinese diesel air heater yesterday. It sounds like you're leaning toward other options, but here are the results anyway in case it helps somebody make a decision:

Diesel heater test 20211229.JPG

Keep in mind that there are way too many variables to be able to get the same results on any two buses. For context here are some of the details from this test:

Outside air temp was fairly constant at 12-15F throughout the test. There was very little or no wind throughout the test, which makes a HUGE difference. The bus was in 90-100% shade the whole time. For the first 3.5 hours, the bus was empty and closed up while I monitored the temp from inside the cozy house. After that, I went out to do some painting and the door was opened several times. I'm assuming that my body heat made up for those small temperature losses, but I have no way of truly knowing.

The bus is 40', with an internal height of 75" (no roof raise). It's a work in progress, but most of the primary insulation is in. It has 1.5" spray foam in the ceiling, 1.5" EPS foam boad along the lower walls, and half of the windows are insulated over with 1" XPS. The remaining windows are stock single pane and were not covered for this test. The floor is approximately 1.8" of wood at this point (not much insulation value). The entire front/dash/entry door are uninsulated.

The heater is a knockoff of the Espar D5. It is a MaXpeedingrods brand 5KW (~17k BTU) model from Amazon. It is mounted about mid-way down the bus and shoots hot air fore and aft.

In temps down to about 25-30F, I turn on the heater about 45 minutes before I head out to the bus and it's already up to my set point of 68F by the time I get out there. As you can see from the graph, it took much longer to heat up this time.
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Old 12-30-2021, 10:22 AM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2021
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tejon7 View Post
Coincidentally, I just ran a test of my Chinese diesel air heater yesterday. It sounds like you're leaning toward other options, but here are the results anyway in case it helps somebody make a decision:

Attachment 63074

Keep in mind that there are way too many variables to be able to get the same results on any two buses. For context here are some of the details from this test:

Outside air temp was fairly constant at 12-15F throughout the test. There was very little or no wind throughout the test, which makes a HUGE difference. The bus was in 90-100% shade the whole time. For the first 3.5 hours, the bus was empty and closed up while I monitored the temp from inside the cozy house. After that, I went out to do some painting and the door was opened several times. I'm assuming that my body heat made up for those small temperature losses, but I have no way of truly knowing.

The bus is 40', with an internal height of 75" (no roof raise). It's a work in progress, but most of the primary insulation is in. It has 1.5" spray foam in the ceiling, 1.5" EPS foam boad along the lower walls, and half of the windows are insulated over with 1" XPS. The remaining windows are stock single pane and were not covered for this test. The floor is approximately 1.8" of wood at this point (not much insulation value). The entire front/dash/entry door are uninsulated.

The heater is a knockoff of the Espar D5. It is a MaXpeedingrods brand 5KW (~17k BTU) model from Amazon. It is mounted about mid-way down the bus and shoots hot air fore and aft.

In temps down to about 25-30F, I turn on the heater about 45 minutes before I head out to the bus and it's already up to my set point of 68F by the time I get out there. As you can see from the graph, it took much longer to heat up this time.
Thanks, we had already bought a chinese diesel heater but have decided it's best to buy something stronger and more reliable since we don't want it to let go on us and have pipes freeze and burst on us in winter.
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Old 12-30-2021, 10:55 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CompLexxx View Post
Thanks, we had already bought a chinese diesel heater but have decided it's best to buy something stronger and more reliable since we don't want it to let go on us and have pipes freeze and burst on us in winter.
Yeah, I hear you. The low price of the Chinese diesel heaters doesn't inspire confidence. From what I've read, the name brand diesel air heaters have identical performance to the knock-offs, they just have better quality control and are more reliable. If you are still considering an Espar/Eberspracher air heater, my test results may still be a data point worth considering.

My plan is to install a second cheapo Amazon 5KW heater (similar to Rwnielsen) for redundancy and so that it doesn't take FIVE HOURS to bring the bus up to a comfortable temp next time
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Old 12-30-2021, 11:03 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CompLexxx View Post
Thanks, we had already bought a chinese diesel heater but have decided it's best to buy something stronger and more reliable since we don't want it to let go on us and have pipes freeze and burst on us in winter.
What did you go with that's more reliable? Granted, I have usually installed 2 of these in full-sized buses...so there's some built-in redundancy...but I've not had any issues with reliability. I'm always anxious to learn from others, though, so I'd love to hear what you went with.
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Old 12-30-2021, 11:04 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Tejon7 View Post
Yeah, I hear you. The low price of the Chinese diesel heaters doesn't inspire confidence. From what I've read, the name brand diesel air heaters have identical performance to the knock-offs, they just have better quality control and are more reliable. If you are still considering an Espar/Eberspracher air heater, my test results may still be a data point worth considering.

My plan is to install a second cheapo Amazon 5KW heater (similar to Rwnielsen) for redundancy and so that it doesn't take FIVE HOURS to bring the bus up to a comfortable temp next time
Yeah I think we will keep our chinese as well as a back up just in case, can't hurt.
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Old 12-30-2021, 03:48 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CompLexxx View Post
I looked it up and the Lofoten model seems great and can even double as a water heater and cooking top, perfect for us!
I haven't installed mine yet, but I bought a used Dickinson Bristol to install in my bus. Some things I've learned from my research are that the diesel stoves aren't the easiest solution for a quick meal. From other bus/boat owners who have them installed they take time to heat up, so it might be worth it to have a second option for cooking a quick lunch or pot of coffee. Especially during warm weather when the stove can put out so much heat that it cooks you out. The natural draft diesel stoves like to be lit and left running. As they are designed for cold weather boats, most boat owners light them and run them the entire season, just adjusting the output as needed.

I bought mine used for $500 from Seattle. I had to spend another $400 in freight to get it to me, but for a single fuel camper as I'm building it was either this or a forced air diesel cooktop like the webasto x100 or Wallas stoves.

FWIW I also have a Webasto Scholastic 45k hydronic heater that I'll install into the coolant loop to run the standard bus heaters or a Jegs heater, and my marine water heater which also has a coolant loop.
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Old 12-30-2021, 07:32 PM   #13
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I have two "Warmtoo" 5kW CDHs (made by XMZ), one of which is installed for the bedroom: it heats it very quickly, but that's in SoCal "cold" temperatures! I'm impressed with them so far, and see no reason they shouldn't work as well as the big-name brands. After all, where are Eberspaecher/Espar/Webasto/etc heaters now made? (Hint, the correct answer isn't Germany!) Just set them up correctly, adjust the fuel/fan settings for a clean burn at whatever altitude they'll be used, then they should be good for a very long time. And if a CDH goes tits-up on you, big deal, just buy another, or keep one as a spare; they're cheap enough to keep a backup on hand.

John
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Old 12-30-2021, 08:19 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djdalfaro View Post
I haven't installed mine yet, but I bought a used Dickinson Bristol to install in my bus. Some things I've learned from my research are that the diesel stoves aren't the easiest solution for a quick meal. From other bus/boat owners who have them installed they take time to heat up, so it might be worth it to have a second option for cooking a quick lunch or pot of coffee. Especially during warm weather when the stove can put out so much heat that it cooks you out. The natural draft diesel stoves like to be lit and left running. As they are designed for cold weather boats, most boat owners light them and run them the entire season, just adjusting the output as needed.

I bought mine used for $500 from Seattle. I had to spend another $400 in freight to get it to me, but for a single fuel camper as I'm building it was either this or a forced air diesel cooktop like the webasto x100 or Wallas stoves.

FWIW I also have a Webasto Scholastic 45k hydronic heater that I'll install into the coolant loop to run the standard bus heaters or a Jegs heater, and my marine water heater which also has a coolant loop.
Oh yeah definitely gonna have a gas stove oven as main source but also being able to use the heat when it's running all winter to save energy is a great addition. We will also have a wood stove for heat and cooking. I also will be doing alot of cooking out of my homemade smoker. We are foodies so yeah, the more options the better!
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Old 12-30-2021, 08:21 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Iceni John View Post
I have two "Warmtoo" 5kW CDHs (made by XMZ), one of which is installed for the bedroom: it heats it very quickly, but that's in SoCal "cold" temperatures! I'm impressed with them so far, and see no reason they shouldn't work as well as the big-name brands. After all, where are Eberspaecher/Espar/Webasto/etc heaters now made? (Hint, the correct answer isn't Germany!) Just set them up correctly, adjust the fuel/fan settings for a clean burn at whatever altitude they'll be used, then they should be good for a very long time. And if a CDH goes tits-up on you, big deal, just buy another, or keep one as a spare; they're cheap enough to keep a backup on hand.

John
I saw a video of a guy who opened up and compared the internals of a webasto compared to a chinese and they are definitely not the same. All the parts of the chinese are clearly made much cheaper and with less precision with more places for things to go wrong. Now that doesn't mean they always will but I wouldn't feel comfortable relying only on that for full-time living.
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Old 12-30-2021, 08:43 PM   #16
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Buying a heater from a reputable company is a good idea. It's not the way I'm going, but I understand and appreciate where you're coming from. But... if you plan to ever be in sub-freezing temps, relying on any single heat source is asking for trouble. Make sure you have a backup plan, even if that means plugging in and having some electric space heaters on hand. I'm sure you already thought this through, but it's worth saying just in case.
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Old 12-31-2021, 08:53 AM   #17
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im running a D&E 16kw diesel Coolant heater.. the first one I got failed after 9 months so longevity is an unknown.. their customer service is excvellent and they sent me parts and a new heater and instructions on how to repair my other one.. the Fan bound up and burned out the controller board.



the heater im using has a Data-Connected digital controller , you can set the Max temperature up to 75 degrees C.. it will turn off.. then turns back on at 15 degrees below setpoint. the data link protocil thus far ive done well at hacking it so I can control the heater with my own remote systems if I choose..



it has 3/4 inlet and outlet.. I use my bus heaters to heat the bus inside ..


I somehow ended up in Minnesota when a Major cold snap is coming so i will know for sure if they thing will work as planned.. it is going to -10 tonight and minus 20 tomorrow night (degrees F).


the beauty of the coolant heaters is you can use them to pre-heat the engine. my ending has no glow plugs and no intake heater so below 0f she gets tough to start.. we will find out soon enough if the coolant heater will make the engine easy to start by pre-warming it.
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Old 12-31-2021, 02:13 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
im running a D&E 16kw diesel Coolant heater.. the first one I got failed after 9 months so longevity is an unknown.. their customer service is excvellent and they sent me parts and a new heater and instructions on how to repair my other one.. the Fan bound up and burned out the controller board.



the heater im using has a Data-Connected digital controller , you can set the Max temperature up to 75 degrees C.. it will turn off.. then turns back on at 15 degrees below setpoint. the data link protocil thus far ive done well at hacking it so I can control the heater with my own remote systems if I choose..



it has 3/4 inlet and outlet.. I use my bus heaters to heat the bus inside ..


I somehow ended up in Minnesota when a Major cold snap is coming so i will know for sure if they thing will work as planned.. it is going to -10 tonight and minus 20 tomorrow night (degrees F).


the beauty of the coolant heaters is you can use them to pre-heat the engine. my ending has no glow plugs and no intake heater so below 0f she gets tough to start.. we will find out soon enough if the coolant heater will make the engine easy to start by pre-warming it.
Does this coolant heater heat both the engine and the interior? If so is there a diy somewhere of how to set it up? Thanks
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Old 01-01-2022, 09:59 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CompLexxx View Post
Does this coolant heater heat both the engine and the interior? If so is there a diy somewhere of how to set it up? Thanks

its how you valve it up.. i have mine set up where I close ONE of the two engine valves and the coolant heater will heat just the bus interior.. when both valves are open then coolant circukates through the engine and the bus interior..



you alwaysd leave one valve open for expansion / contraction of the coolant using the bus's own coolant expansion tanlk..



my heating system is a Parallel flow so the coolant can be pumped withinb the heaters and not the engine.. but i can also use it as an engine heating aid.. for times like now where its minus 12f (I BARELY got the engine started on its own this morning).. its going to be minus 22f tomorrow morning so ill use the coolant heater to preheat the engine for an hour before starting
-CHristopher
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Old 01-01-2022, 09:14 PM   #20
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2021
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
its how you valve it up.. i have mine set up where I close ONE of the two engine valves and the coolant heater will heat just the bus interior.. when both valves are open then coolant circukates through the engine and the bus interior..



you alwaysd leave one valve open for expansion / contraction of the coolant using the bus's own coolant expansion tanlk..



my heating system is a Parallel flow so the coolant can be pumped withinb the heaters and not the engine.. but i can also use it as an engine heating aid.. for times like now where its minus 12f (I BARELY got the engine started on its own this morning).. its going to be minus 22f tomorrow morning so ill use the coolant heater to preheat the engine for an hour before starting
-CHristopher
Cool I'll look into a parallel flow as well, thanks!
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