View Full Version : Espar heater question

05-01-2015, 01:54 AM

I'm checking out an '06 van that looks to have an espar heater under the hood. however, it has no controller on the dash. Is that common?

the van is in original shape so I'm not expecting anyone to have pulled out the controller.

05-01-2015, 02:47 AM
The bowtie center button below the AC switch is the ESPAR. The bottom button is labeled REST, an ESPAR auto shutdown timer. There was an optional timer that goes in the place on the dash by the shifter that is a small pocket on mine.

05-01-2015, 03:34 AM
Ah. Ok it has those buttons filling one of the two round cutouts in the dash.
Is it hard to retrofit a timer unit?

05-01-2015, 04:26 AM
Probably not. There is a write-up about how to add a switch to turn on the ESPAR without the engine running, to pre-heat it for easier starts in sub-zero weather, or to just have heat without engine running (but fan will wear down the battery in an hour or so)

I don't see a need for the optional timer if you have the switch mod, the REST button keeps it on for a while when you shut off the engine.

05-01-2015, 02:19 PM
It is not that hard to retrofit the unit so that it can run from a switch or timer. There are two methods, neither is costly, but will take a few hours of your time and some reading. If you operate the van in a cold climate or need to preheat the van, the mod is fantastic.


05-01-2015, 07:04 PM
Firstly, to the best of my knowledge the REST feature only runs the circulation motor to cycle hot engine coolant to the core and the fan to keep the cabin space warm after engine shutoff for a duration of 30 min.

The switches being discussed to run the ESPAR heater without the motor running are, as quoted, FANTASTIC modifications. There is one thread widely used for this but be 100% to read it entirely before doing the mod. It clears some questions up on the following pages by users other than the original poster. The guy I believe was from Quebec who made note of some simple corrections.

I use my switch controlled heater to pre-heat coolant. The coolant is also valved and plumbed in so it can be directed to a heat exchanger for camping showers and hot water pressure washing my dirt bikes. Works very well. It ended up costing me more than I wanted but it's overbuilt and works. There is satisfaction in doing it yourself.

05-01-2015, 11:04 PM
wow, great info!

I passed on that van but I realize now that every van I've looked at had an Espar heater in it.
Seems like a real bummer that they put a $1500 heater into the system and stop short of giving you the options that the 7-day timer has.


05-01-2015, 11:23 PM
You can look in the driver side front wheel fender and see the little exhaust pipe if it has ESPAR.

05-02-2015, 04:02 AM
You can look in the driver side front wheel fender and see the little exhaust pipe if it has ESPAR.


They are often equipped with the cold weather package which included the heater. That being said even up here I've seen vans that don't have them. These are likely imported in previous years when the CDN dollar was higher.

The quick check is the muffler under passenger side wheel.

I love getting asked "why does your van sound like that". They are often intrigued to hear about the set-up.

I may eventually plum in a fan coil for camping on cool nights. Ideally, I'd add a LOGO8 to control my ever more complicated electronics. For the heater Id program space temperature monitoring.

Good luck with the search! After owning mine for a short time I know I will be upgrading to a newer one in the future.

05-09-2015, 03:43 AM
^presume you mean driver's side front wheel well for left hand drive vehicles.

05-15-2015, 04:32 PM
^presume you mean driver's side front wheel well for left hand drive vehicles.

You are correct. My mistake.