Diesel heater for your caravan.

Nightjar

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Have heard many positive reports about the advantages of diesel heaters in you caravan, especially when you are away from the grid.
Remote control so you can warm your van before kicking the doona off and springing out of bed for another day bliss on the the goldfields.
Thinking seriously about fitting one to our van in preparation for the 2022 season.
Would welcome the do's and don'ts and any help selecting the ideal make and model.
 
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I got mine from Maryborough from Aussie outback store

https://aussieoutbackstore.com.au

Also watch this guys YouTube channel, theres about 18 videos on the Chinese diesel heaters, once you watch all these youll know the ins and outs of them and be confident in it.

https://youtube.com/user/johnmck1147

Only issue Ive had with mine was it started blowing black smoke, I just had to clean the air filter and spot on
 
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Nightjar said:
Have heard many positive reports about the advantages of diesel heaters in you caravan, especially when you are away from the grid.
Remote control so you can warm your van before kicking the doona off and springing out of bed for another day bliss on the the goldfields.
Thinking seriously about fitting one to our van in preparation for the 2022 season.
Would welcome the do's and don'ts and any help selecting the ideal make and model.

You can buy an Exhaust extension so the Co2 does not stay under the Van so try and get one if you can, If not go to a Plumbing supplies and buy one of their Flexi Pipes that will do the job just as good, Ok. :Y:
 

Simmo

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Put a CO2 sensor in the space..
Try to exhaust the fumes further than designed...

I love mine, but loath to actually mount it IN the trailer...
I sit mine outside and duct the heat in....
 

condor22

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I have one in my van. Been using one for about 9 years, but I went with the Dometic Erberspacher D2. More expensive, but as I've said before, you get what you pay for, lol.

Never had an issue with mine, but here are a few tips re install and use.

1. Exhaust and heat exchanger air intake - Wasps and other nest building insects love to get in there. The easy one is the exhaust - if you use it daily not an issue, but when you store the van or during summer, cut a small piece off a SS scourer (no soaped) and poke it in to the end of the exhaust outlet to stop the peskies getting in. Air intake under the van - get a small filter or gauze type barrel filter and fit it to the end of the air intake as a permanent fit, why? When you bush camp on rough ground, spinifex or dry grass, you don't want it sucked into the heater.

2. My van is a Queen bed at the front, ensuite at the back. I fitted the heater under the foot of the bed so the outlet goes down the guts of the van and with the ensuite door and shower door open, can preheat those area before shoring, I get no condensation at all and there is a large mirror over the sink and the entire shower door is a mirror.
The air inlet is at the side of the bed base, so the heater doesn't immediately recirculate its own output.

3. Put the control near your bedside robe/shelf, that way no need to get out of bed to operate.

4. What causes them to go like a jet turbine? Temperature differential is the short answer. if you set it to 20C and it's only 10-12 in the van it goes like the clappers till you get to 20C then slows down to hold that temp. What I do; I get in from prospecting, if the van temp is 18 and I know it's gonna be cold, I put the heater on. That way it only needs to raise temp by 2C not 10C, uses less battery and diesel in the long run.

5. If you store the van or don't use it for a while run the heater anyway 10-15 minutes once a month. Helps stop things clogging. Also give the internal warm air ducts a vacuum once a year. More.....
 

condor22

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The digital display/controller I have has 4 buttons - 1-fan only (I don't use this), 2-on/off, 3 & 4- temp up and down. My methodology is to turn on at 4-5pm at 20-22C depending on how I feel. leave the ensuite open while cooking and doing the dishes, so the shower area warms up. Once showered (and perhaps not every day depending on water supply) I close the ensuite door.

When I go to bed, I lower the set temp to around 13C and let the Doona do the rest. This causes the heater to "go to sleep" or if easier to explain, turn off. When the temp in the van goes below 13 the heater comes back to life until it gets warmer outside. This can happen at 1 am on a really cold night or 4-5am when milder, in other words variable.

I turn it off once I'm out of bed and dressed. This usage in hours is around14-16 hours, the heater averages 1AH when it's ticking over and my average use is around 12-13 AH. Diesel usage is variable also depending on set temps and ambient outside but my average is 1.5 lt a day, sometimes 2 lt again when colder.

I can not speak to the Chinese or Russian knock offs re control, but have met several people that have had non start issues among other problems.

Re size, my van is a single axle ensuite at 18'3" a 2kW is ample for that and up to 20-22 footers. My van is also very well insulated and this also makes a difference. I know some that have put a 5kW into a smaller van than mine, their diesel use is higher and re battery use, I have 3 mates that have had flat batteries next day or heater cutout due to low volts. To be fair that was because their battery system was less than good to start with and the heater is the thing that pooped the "Camel"

Let me know if you want more info.... :)
 

Jin

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Chinese 5kw one installed in my van. Cost $175 off eBay a few years ago.

Works brilliantly. Takes 5 - 10 min to heat my 20-foot van.

I felt like a cheapskate buying a cheap one off eBay but thought id only use it once or twice a year. However, the wife feels the cold and it gets used far more than I envisioned. There's nothing better than free camping during winter and flicking the switch on 5-10 minutes before exiting the bed in the early mornings before heading out for a swing. (We have our control mounted beside the bed.)

If it were to break I would probably replace it with a better unit but for now, it looks like the cheap one works well enough.
 
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Nightjar said:
Missing something here?
How does a diesel heater flatten your batteries?
Does the heater draw air externally or recycle or both?

Like a diesel vehicle, it uses a glow-plug to start the diesel burning and uses a fan to circulate the air.

Rob P.
 

markgoldhunter

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g'day nightjar, I have installed a cheap knockoff a few years ago, had 1 small electrical issue, fixed easy, I've gone with the 5kw unit and mounted the control next to the bed, so 15 mins before we go to bed and 15 before we get up is all it takes, no overnight running at all. They flatten batteries because they run a fan and small electronic control panel. The combustion intake and exhaust are both external and the heating intake is internal flows around the sealed combustion chamber then distributed throughout the van. Certainly easy to fit and the cheapies seem to work very well.
 
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I installed truma gas unit $1800 dollars but compared to the diesel one prob alot cheaper than mine, mine uses stuff all power from battery i went for gas because of room for tank and the mucking around with diesel (typical truck'e hate diesel on hands) :p :p i put mine on night function and u can't even here it i lived out of the swag for years doing this hobby(addiction) dust storms, bull ants , mob kangaroos come flying through camp one night trash every think u won't regret it but just inquire about the noise of them and mtn of the injection system (talk to prospector that had one under his bed he had problem with it and bit of diesel leaked and could get rid of the smell) FLATLANDER
 

condor22

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A diesel heater has 2 airflows and is a heat exchange system;

1. There is a combustion chamber that draws air in from outside via a small duct around 25mm dia and an exhaust for that combustion of around 22mm dia. (I can't remember which way round the sizes are, lol.) Most systems also have a muffler in the exhaust side.

2. Inside the van the heater unit has a fan on the air intake, this is the internal air of the van. The air blows across the heated combustion chamber an out the other end. There is no direct connection of combustion air and heated air, so the fumes are external.

3. The internal air in/out is directed by a flexible ducting around 65mm dia and often use a small round diffuser to direct the air on each end.

4. The electrical loads are - a small impulse pump for the diesel, the fan that blows across the heat exchanger and the glo pin. The glo pin draws around 10 amps for a couple of minutes to start the unit, after that it turns off and the diesel is from then on self igniting once at temperature. The pump uses "bugger all" DC volts in the milli amp scale.
The fan draws around 0.8A to 1.0A when ticking over, but 2-3 amps when faster. These figures are for the Dometic D2, 2kW and I've seen a cheap 5 kW use more battery and diesel when first fired up.

Once ticking over the D2 uses around 0.1 lt of diesel/hour and approx 1.0 amps per hour. This power, in a caravan, comes from your house battery. Truckies, particularly in Europe, tap fuel from the vehicle and power from the main battery as the load for a stopover is not enough to flatten the start battery.

Hope this helps NJ
 

Tathradj

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I have a cheap 2 - 5 kw one installed in our
18 ft Dual axle van and it is brilliant.

Yes, It draws 10 amps when starting and sounds
like a jet turbine when starting.

I have had no problems at all with it.

10 Liters of diesel last's nearly 2 weeks if used for
an hour at night and Morning With temp set at
16 degree's.

Grab yourself enough fuel injection hose from an
auto parts store and run it from your fuel tank to pump.
But not from the fuel pump to heater.

Through Winter about once every 2 months, Let the fuel
run low but not out, Put a litre of Kero in and let it run
full throttle. After about 1/2 an hour, Refill with diesel.
This will de coke it. Be prepared, The inside of the van
will go to 35 degree's.

Mount the controller where it will not annoy you at night
and also not in a draughty area.

They mostly come with a fob remote. Hang it some where close
to your bed.

All in all, You will not look back again if you get one.
 

Nightjar

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Tathradj said:
I have a cheap 2 - 5 kw one installed in our
18 ft Dual axle van and it is brilliant.

Yes, It draws 10 amps when starting and sounds
like a jet turbine when starting.

I have had no problems at all with it.

10 Liters of diesel last's nearly 2 weeks if used for
an hour at night and Morning With temp set at
16 degree's.

Grab yourself enough fuel injection hose from an
auto parts store and run it from your fuel tank to pump.
But not from the fuel pump to heater.

Can you explain a little more? You run a hose from your tugs fuel tank to the caravan?

Through Winter about once every 2 months, Let the fuel
run low but not out, Put a litre of Kero in and let it run
full throttle. After about 1/2 an hour, Refill with diesel.
This will de coke it. Be prepared, The inside of the van
will go to 35 degree's.
This would be if you used the supplied tank?

Mount the controller where it will not annoy you at night
and also not in a draughty area.

They mostly come with a fob remote. Hang it some where close
to your bed.

All in all, You will not look back again if you get one.
 
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Tathradj said:
I have a cheap 2 - 5 kw one installed in our
18 ft Dual axle van and it is brilliant.

Yes, It draws 10 amps when starting and sounds
like a jet turbine when starting.

I have had no problems at all with it.

10 Liters of diesel last's nearly 2 weeks if used for
an hour at night and Morning With temp set at
16 degree's.

Grab yourself enough fuel injection hose from an
auto parts store and run it from your fuel tank to pump.
But not from the fuel pump to heater.

Through Winter about once every 2 months, Let the fuel
run low but not out, Put a litre of Kero in and let it run
full throttle. After about 1/2 an hour, Refill with diesel.
This will de coke it. Be prepared, The inside of the van
will go to 35 degree's.

Mount the controller where it will not annoy you at night
and also not in a draughty area.

They mostly come with a fob remote. Hang it some where close
to your bed.

All in all, You will not look back again if you get one.

Thats spot on nice write up and thanks for the tip on the kero run to give it a clean hot burn to clean out the carbon :Y:
 

Gpx5000

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I got a cheap chinese one off fleabay, $170 delivered, comes with an lcd remote head controller which has a time setting, so you can set it to come on 10mins before you get out of bed, and also has a fob controller, which is kept in the pocket next to the bed.........not had any problems with it, never had to maintain it, it just runs when its told to, best thing since sliced bread. :perfect:
 

Tathradj

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Both on the fuel line.
I was not happy with the hard line fuel hose on the suction side.
If you use fuel hose on the suction side, It quietens it down a bit.
Don't use it on the delivery side. The fuel is sprayed into a chamber
through a type of jet and the hose will expand minutely lessening the effect.

I have 220 va of battery available and it does not even take the top of them.

See if you can get the 2 air outlet ducts. Having 2 disperse's the warm (Hot) air a lot more.

Nightjar said:
Tathradj said:
I have a cheap 2 - 5 kw one installed in our
18 ft Dual axle van and it is brilliant.

Yes, It draws 10 amps when starting and sounds
like a jet turbine when starting.

I have had no problems at all with it.

10 Liters of diesel last's nearly 2 weeks if used for
an hour at night and Morning With temp set at
16 degree's.

Grab yourself enough fuel injection hose from an
auto parts store and run it from your fuel tank to pump.
But not from the fuel pump to heater.

Can you explain a little more? You run a hose from your tugs fuel tank to the caravan?

Through Winter about once every 2 months, Let the fuel
run low but not out, Put a litre of Kero in and let it run
full throttle. After about 1/2 an hour, Refill with diesel.
This will de coke it. Be prepared, The inside of the van
will go to 35 degree's.
This would be if you used the supplied tank?

Mount the controller where it will not annoy you at night
and also not in a draughty area.

They mostly come with a fob remote. Hang it some where close
to your bed.

All in all, You will not look back again if you get one.
 
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