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Old 12-24-2021, 10:26 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2021
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Remove All Bus Heaters?

Hey everyone.

I have a 2004 International CE200 64 passenger bus. It has a dog nose with the engine in the front and is equipped with 3 heaters.

A rear heater that was at the back of the bus under a passenger seat.
A driver's floor heater on the bottom left side of the driver's seat underneath the panel with all of the switches for lights and various things.
A stairwell heater which I believe was to attempt to keep the stairwell area warm and dry during winter months with kids bringing snow up into the stairs.

I have disconnected and removed the wiring going to the rear heater, removed and drained the coolant lines, and terminated the coolant lines where they originate behind the driver's heater by essentially adding in an elbow fitting to loop the lines back into the system so the rear heater can be removed. I had planned to remove all of the heaters but I'm seeing mixed posts here and online of people saying not to do so. At a minimum I would like to remove the stairwell heater as that will be valuable buildable space I could put a litter box for example. I would just terminate the coolant lines there and loop it back into the system. Is it necessary to keep the driver's side heater? Is that the heater that provides defrosting capabilities? We will not be traveling in this bus frequently. Our plan is to move from place to place every few months or maybe even once or twice a year at most. A lot of people were saying to keep the heaters in place for staying warm on the road but we just won't be traveling very often. Any recommendations? If I were to eliminate all of the heaters and remove the majority of the coolant lines will that cause an unrelated issue? My brother thought the flow of the coolant with how it was engineered passing through the heaters may play a critical role in the functionality of the bus while it's running. I'm not so sure about that.

Thank you,
Chris

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Old 12-24-2021, 10:57 AM   #2
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remove the rear heaters yes.. remove the driver heater NO!!


if it doesnt work, replace it.. but dont take it out.. unless you like to bundle up and i mean BUNDLE UP in cold weather.. you say you wont drive in cold weatgher but life changes.. or you may want to sell the bus.. and you must have a defroster in many states to pass a full inspection.. (only a few states require full inspection).
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Old 12-24-2021, 11:02 AM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
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A working defroster is a legal requirement for most vehicles.
At some point in the future you will want heat in your bus while driving.
Drive your bus for a couple of hours in 20 degree weather with the heater turned off and see how you like it. Then you will know if you want to remove the heaters.
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Old 12-24-2021, 11:26 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmythomas View Post
A working defroster is a legal requirement for most vehicles.
At some point in the future you will want heat in your bus while driving.
Drive your bus for a couple of hours in 20 degree weather with the heater turned off and see how you like it. Then you will know if you want to remove the heaters.

the same thing I tell people to do before they yank out the factory A/C (if they have a bus lucky enough to contain A/C).. more than one person has decided against pulling out their A/C once they drove 100 miles in 90+ heat with it shut off..
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Old 12-24-2021, 11:50 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
the same thing I tell people to do before they yank out the factory A/C
Oh come on! How would driving around in 20 degree weather make me want to keep my A/C?

HAHA!

Thanks, sir, and a Merry Christmas to you and so many helpful people here on Skoolie.net.
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Old 12-24-2021, 12:45 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by rossvtaylor View Post
Oh come on! How would driving around in 20 degree weather make me want to keep my A/C?

HAHA!

Thanks, sir, and a Merry Christmas to you and so many helpful people here on Skoolie.net.

hey at least it will blow cold when its 20 out :P
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Old 12-24-2021, 03:20 PM   #7
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We will have a wood stove for heat in the winter months and a mini-split A/C unit for cool air in the summer months. I obviously wouldn't use the wood stove while driving. I could keep the driver's heater in place. But removing the stairwell heater would provide a lot of buildable space. I just want to make sure that when eliminating these heaters I'm effectively reducing the amount of distance the coolant in the lines is traveling. I don't want to create some sort of instability in the mechanical functions of the bus.
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Old 12-24-2021, 03:27 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by ChrisLifts View Post
We will have a wood stove for heat in the winter months and a mini-split A/C unit for cool air in the summer months. I obviously wouldn't use the wood stove while driving. I could keep the driver's heater in place. But removing the stairwell heater would provide a lot of buildable space. I just want to make sure that when eliminating these heaters I'm effectively reducing the amount of distance the coolant in the lines is traveling. I don't want to create some sort of instability in the mechanical functions of the bus.
Besides the loss of heating capacity within the bus, removing those heaters won't have any impact on the bus. Most buses (and other large vehicles) have heater loop shut-off valves inside the engine compartment or down near the driver's left foot. Those valves can be turned off in the warm summer months, to prevent coolant from flowing through those lines and the heater units. Removing and looping...or capping...those coolant lines would have the same effect as the manufacturer's valves being in the off position.
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Old 12-24-2021, 06:28 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisLifts View Post
We will have a wood stove for heat in the winter months and a mini-split A/C unit for cool air in the summer months. I obviously wouldn't use the wood stove while driving. I could keep the driver's heater in place. But removing the stairwell heater would provide a lot of buildable space. I just want to make sure that when eliminating these heaters I'm effectively reducing the amount of distance the coolant in the lines is traveling. I don't want to create some sort of instability in the mechanical functions of the bus.
We kept the driver heater and defrost and I am extremely grateful we did. We use both the whole time we are driving: Reno to SLC to Iowa and then south to Texas.

We originally wanted wood stove but switched to diesel heater - really happy about that also. I can't imagine the PITA a wood stove would be in practice. 19įF in a Walmart parking lot is way easier with clean heat IMO. We planned for warm weather, but here we are in Iowa in Dec

Same setup: removed stair and rear heater, kept driver/defrost.

Keep the driver heater + defrost.
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Old 12-25-2021, 08:17 AM   #10
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in a lot of busses the stair heater is also the 'right wndshield defrost'. the newer (95+) bluebirds thats niot the case.. however in carpenter, wayne, Ward / amtran and Thomas conventionals it is the case.. you want that unit for windshield defrosting..


in the thomas flat nose busses the defrost is all in the driver console, bluebird 95+ the defrois is in the driver console. bluebird flat nose have the defrost in a couple places of the front header depending on the model you have..



the later Amtran IC conventionals put the defrost all i nthe driver console.. the later flat nose the right side heater is the main defrost..
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Old 12-25-2021, 08:52 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rossvtaylor View Post
Oh come on! How would driving around in 20 degree weather make me want to keep my A/C
actually you want your ac to run when its cold. the systems used since the 80s (of the last century) turn the ac on whenever we use the defrost setting so it will dehumidify the air making the defrost work so much better.
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Old 12-25-2021, 08:54 AM   #12
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our 98 bluebird uses the stair heater for defrost also
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Old 12-25-2021, 10:17 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmoore6856 View Post
our 98 bluebird uses the stair heater for defrost also
The T style dash bluebirds donít use the stair heater for WS defrost. The 2 motors in that unit are piped up it the side vents for door defrost. The upper vent is fed by the double blower in the driver cabinet. Itís dumb .. my 99 doesnít defrost for crap unless I have the driver heat door closed. But my door is never fogged.


The A/C for Defog concept is what I added to my carpenter bus.. when I rebuilt the driver heat console I put in a dual coil unit so I can dehumidify with my dashboard AC compressor and still have warm air for defrost.

Cold rain is no match for that bus..

Superior experimented with an option that never made it to market where an AC coil was fitted to the driver heater box for the left WS defroster.. we had one of the test busses at our school.

Our driver used to shut the valves in warm weather and then turn on the blowers in that unit, rotate the round defroster to blow on her face.. if you sat first seat you were nice and cool.
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Old 12-26-2021, 07:02 AM   #14
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[QUOTE=cadillackid;461243]The T style dash bluebirds donít use the stair heater for WS defrost. The 2 motors in that unit are piped up it the side vents for door defrost. The upper vent is fed by the double blower in the driver cabinet. Itís dumb .. my 99 doesnít defrost for crap unless I have the driver heat door closed. But my door is never fogged.


i had mine apart to paint and replace the ducts. it has a straight shot up to the defroster on both ends from the stairwell and from the driver side. i wondered why it would have 2 supplys but if one failed it would have some redundancy
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Old 01-03-2022, 09:27 AM   #15
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Would those heater boxes be engineered as part of the cooling system?
.
Could the length of the hoses increase the efficiency of the cooling system?
On a long slow incline, could the cooling system benefit from more radiator surface?
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Old 01-03-2022, 12:28 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by mmoore6856 View Post
actually you want your ac to run when its cold. the systems used since the 80s (of the last century) turn the ac on whenever we use the defrost setting so it will dehumidify the air making the defrost work so much better.
That's only applicable to vehicles with in dash evaporators. If you're driving a van style "bus" you'll likely have such a system. Many buses however DO NOT have in dash air and so they don't turn on the A/C when the defroster is on.
Out rear engine AmTran had three massive evaporators. One in the rear overhead and one on each side at the roof curve. We removed them, along with 200 feet of refrigerant line, three condensors, and two compressors (when we get a bracket and pulley), along with hundreds of feet of cables and electronics.
We removed over 450 pounds and will replace it with about 200 pounds to install two mini splits that will run independent of the engine while reducing weight, freeing up 50+ cubic feet of interior and under body storage, and be more efficient.
All stock heaters except the dash are also removed. We may install one small coolant type heater in the living space to take advantage of the waste heat while driving. Normal heat will be two diesel parking heaters, a wood stove, and both propane (Mr Buddy) and plug in 110VAC as backups.
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Old 01-08-2022, 03:09 PM   #17
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After further inspection, the stairwell heater was connected to the passenger side defroster BUT the driver's side heater also extends over to the passenger side. I guess the stairwell heater just makes defrosting the passenger side of the windshield more efficient. Nonetheless, I removed the rear heater and reconnected the heater hose using two elbow fittings and hose clamps where the hoses come out of the driver heater. I removed the stairwell heater and rather than do the same operation there, I eliminated completely the hose coming from the radiator (I think) to the stairwell heater and just reconnected the portion going from the stairwell heater to the driver heater back down to the radiator instead. That probably makes no sense without a simple diagram but it effectively reduced the amount of distance the coolant needs to circulate and saved some money on additional fittings to repair the loop.
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Old 01-08-2022, 03:34 PM   #18
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Removing rear heater good idea . Removing stairwell heater , big FAIL!

I’d have froze to death on my latest trip without that heater.. and when I was driving into the snow both WS defrosters had all they could handle to keep the glass and wipers clear
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Old 01-08-2022, 10:29 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LargeMargeInBaja View Post
Would those heater boxes be engineered as part of the cooling system?
.
Could the length of the hoses increase the efficiency of the cooling system?
On a long slow incline, could the cooling system benefit from more radiator surface?
Yes, turning on the heaters will help cool the engine on hot days. My two heaters produce 150,000 BTU/hr between them, and that lowers my engine's coolant temperature by a few degrees when climbing long 6% grades on 90-plus degree days (or nights!). Any extra coolant capacity from having longer hoses is negligeable - with my bus's 30-odd gallons of coolant a few more pints are inconsequential.

John
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Old 01-08-2022, 11:19 PM   #20
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I took my rear heaters out.
Now I am putting rear heat back in.
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