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Old 02-04-2009, 12:03 AM   #1
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Location: Kansas
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Diesel water heater

Does anyone know of a diesel-fired water heater? I would really like to keep my bus to one fuel. I have only found one that is meant for use in RVs and Boats, but it runs three grand!!!

The spec's do seem impressive though, it can heat 1.5 gallons per minute up 52 degrees. It also has another heat exchanger inside for circulating coolant to a radiator to help with heating. The little thing is really cool but I don't want to shell out 3000 dollars for the thing and I'm not able to find any used.

I was hoping to drill the bus fuel tank to supply it so I only have to worry about diesel, not a bunch of stupid propane tanks and whether or not they are full.

Anyone know of similar products that are more affordable?
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Old 02-04-2009, 01:15 AM   #2
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Re: Diesel water heater

You can get the Toyomoti OM-148 for about $1500. This is a tankless water heater. This site lists it as a diesel water heater and says it's approved for RV use, though it is a bit large for that application.

One thing to keep in mind is that diesel is pretty much the same thing as No. 2 fuel oil (reference), so water heaters designed to run off of home heating oil should work fine on diesel. From what I've read, there are some differences like sulfur content and maybe additives, but any device designed to burn home heating oil should be perfectly fine burning heating oil, off road diesel, or on road diesel. You should probably verify this for yourself, since I'm not an expert.

Apparently, a lot of water heaters/furnaces/boilers will also happily burn No. 1 fuel oil and kerosene, though that's not really relevant if you're planning to run them on diesel. It just demonstrates that they're pretty flexible as to the fuel source.
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Old 02-04-2009, 01:01 PM   #3
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Re: Diesel water heater

Hey thanks for the replies, im at school now and the Toyomi site is blocked. The doctor diesel looks promising though!

And no I haven't made any vents yet, I don't even have a bus yet!
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Old 02-04-2009, 07:45 PM   #4
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Re: Diesel water heater

One thing to keep in mind is that diesel is pretty much the same thing as No. 2 fuel oil
My home heating oil delivery slips say I've received dyed (no highway tax paid) #2 diesel fuel. (Don't let the tax man catch you with dye in the engine tank.)

When it's -10F and my automatic home delivery is mis-timed, I've been known to take a couple of gas cans down to the local truck stop and get 10 gallons of diesel truck fuel to dump into the furnace tank to get me through the night.

I would have no hesitation about using any kind of heating oil device plumbed to the engine tank and protected from vibration, except I would be careful about the electrical draw. I have no experience with the oil stoves for heat that work on gravity flow and convection, but a DC water pump adapted to refill a gravity tank for the burner might be a solution to provide low maintenance heat.

The device in the original post provided hot water plus heat. The fact that the device was marine grade device probably explains the price. Marine grade generally uses better materials and better sealing in order to survive longer in a high humidity/salt air environment. I'm sure there are lots of other types of equipment out there to choose from, but the yacht crowd probably has the biggest demand, and therefore a wider selection.
Someone said "Making good decisions comes from experience, experience comes from bad decisions." I say there are three kinds of people: those who learn from their mistakes, those who learn from the mistakes of others, and those who never learn.
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Old 02-07-2009, 09:15 AM   #5
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Re: Diesel water heater

Look into an Espar diesel fired hydronic heater. A new one cost about 1500. Three years ago I bought 3 of them on Ebay . They were Mid '80 models but they were still brand new. I put one in my Mack semi, one in my bus, and the third I stuck in my home fireplace. They work great provided you burn some kero thru them when and if the exhaust gets a bit smokie. My house is 1400 sf and at 0* I can close off one bedroom and one bath and the remainder of the house will stay at a nice 73*, and only burn 3 and 3/4 gallons each 24 hours. When the temp is 32*, it burns 1 and 1/2 gallons for each 24 hours of steady running for the house. My house is all electric, which has cold floors when using the electric central heater. The Espar hydronic heater is much more even, comfortable, and my floors are warm. Even with using offroad diesel, it cost me less then half of what electric heat would cost per month. Well worth the price in the long run, just keep a spare glow plug handy.
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Old 02-07-2009, 10:52 PM   #6
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Re: Diesel water heater

if big and heavy isn't a problem for you, a small used fuel oil boiler for a house is an option. I used on in a bus to heat jacuzzi water. It'll heat water from a garden hose to far above shower temperature endlessly using about 1/gallon per hour of diesel (or no 2 fuel oil....same stuff) you can run it on keorsene too, but diesel is cheaper, and you can plumb it right into your buses fuel tank. It'll make crazy amounts of hot water. I would love to someday have heated floors in a bus, done with pex or similiar tubing under the flooring. I got my boiler for nominally free....actually i took a few of them and pieced them together to get one that worked. Stop by your local heating cooling place and ask them about scrap boilers. Some are crazy huge, but i've seen plenty that are pretty able to be carried by 2 people. I needed an inverter to run the boiler though....
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