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Old 09-25-2018, 03:01 PM   #1
billhpeloton
 
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Default Espar Replacement

Hi,

I know this has been a recurring discussion but I don’t see anything recent. My Espar coach heater does not fire. I took it to the local Thermo King facility; they looked at it and expressed puzzlement. They couldn’t do anything with it and, as we know, their diagnostic tool is useless in this proprietary application. My first impulse is to replace it with a new Espar and a separate thermostat; that looks to be about $2,000. Ouch! This may push me over the edge to get a more easily serviced RV but I can’t sell it with a non-functioning heater. We’re also planning an October trip to the Southwest, where it’s cold at night.

I know Dennis, at Linden Engineering, was evaluating Webasto heaters to replace these; I’ll call him but he’s 1500 miles away. Does anyone have other suggestions?

Bill
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Old 09-25-2018, 03:10 PM   #2
avanti
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Default Re: Espar Replacement

Are we talking about a coach heater or a MB chassis heater?
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Old 09-25-2018, 04:24 PM   #3
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Default Re: Espar Replacement

The forced air coach heater, not the engine compartment hydronic heater, although that one doesn’t work either.
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Old 09-25-2018, 04:28 PM   #4
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Default Re: Espar Replacement

My understanding is that the majority of Espar problems are usually minimal in nature. If you are able to remove it (not hard) then you can try to power it up by jumping power to it. Search forums for info on that. Once apart, there are some very basic maintenance procedures that can be done that usually fix the issue. Particularly because Westy users just don’t put much “mileage” on these Espars, unlike truckers. It seems the issue with mine - fried controller - was the worst of the various stories here. But the replacement controller fixed the issue and allowed me to add the altitude module. Also, once you replace the board and add a separate thermostat, the Espar becomes a standard (non-Westy) unit that any Espar dealer can fix. My point is, all the parts are replaceable, and going that route is probably your easiest and cheapest bet.

The guy in Indiana that used to fix these for $100 flat fee apparently no longer does, although maybe it’s worth checking with him. If not there must be someone else out there that can do it if you’d rather not mess with it.
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Old 09-25-2018, 09:02 PM   #5
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Default Re: Espar Replacement

Well my brain to my espar heater went out last year. Now the brain which is attached to the heater is proprietary to Westfalia. The heater did not work at all. I got a new brain from a place in the Portland Or. area. The new brain will not work with the proprietary Westfalia temp controller however. I bought for 100 bucks a Espar D1000 thermostat. I had to change the wiring harness to match the wires. Not hard, there all color coded. Now it works and the new controller has a diagnostic function and the ability to reset the heater if it has a fault. This may work for you if your heater is essentially good but the brain is not. Total project cost about 500 dollars. The brain is not that cheap. An Espar service place could easily do this. hope this helps.
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Old 09-25-2018, 09:22 PM   #6
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Default Re: Espar Replacement

Thanks. That’s very helpful. The question I’m wrestling with is whether to try the control board/temp controller replacement or just install a new Espar D2 heater; that’s roughly $1,800 installed. I’m guessing that the new control board and temp controller would be about $800 installed, with labor taken into account, if the local guys will even do that. The downside is, obviously, cost; the upside is that the new heater could be serviced anywhere. If I have to set up a separate thermostat anyway is it false economy to keep trying to get an already fifteen-year-old heater to work?
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Old 09-25-2018, 09:25 PM   #7
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Default Re: Espar Replacement

I talked to Dennis, at Linden Engineering. He said $1,800 is a fair price and recommended I do that.
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Old 09-25-2018, 10:35 PM   #8
OldWest
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Default Re: Espar Replacement

A. What Espar Models--CAUTION:

Whatever replacement Espar model you're getting, look for one which is for more air pressure and/or volume.

Our model is a D4S (NOT the smaller and popular D2 used by many DIYers, and NOT a regular D4). The "S" stands for "Suoercharged"???

Our Westies have three vent outlets, over a 10 foot length or so.

Presumably, the D4S has some special characteristics to handle our setup. The D4S may no longer be available but there are some other sub-models which may work. In the following older post, I found a D4S, a D4 Plus, a D4 Camper, a D4 Camper Plus.

https://sprinter-source.com/forum/sh...t=Espar&page=2

Search for OneManVan's postings. He did quite a bit of research.

Compatiblity:

https://sprinter-source.com/forum/sh...ighlight=Espar

B. Espar versis Webasto

Dennis at LindenEngineering had put in a Webasto heater replacement for a Westy owner but there were no follow-up posts. Dennis liked the Webasto more than the Espar for reliability although the Internet camps seem evenly split.

On the James Cook Friends Forum, Westy folks have replaced with a Webasto (but be careful of the year when replacement was done as later years had a newer Webasto model replacement).

https://sprinter-source.com/forum/sh...eering+Webasto

C. Better Installation

Both OneManVan and Dennis/LindenEngineering found issues with the thin gauge wires and voltage drops. I believe OneManVan posted on which wires he doubled.

D. Ideas?

If you are handy and/or have the time, you could buy a complete Espar D4? replacement. Then:

Take the old Westy computer board and put it on the new Espar replacement. If it works, then you won't have to change central computer console.

But, the old Westy computer board does NOT have one or more of the high altitude retrofit abilities AND it may NOT be compatible with the replacement Espar.

Here's where one control was installed:

https://sprinter-source.com/forum/sh...ighlight=Espar

Another Westy owner had the control installed above the kitchen drainpan.

I think a location accessible from the upper bunk would be handy.


Please post whatever you find and do. Thanks.

Last edited by OldWest; 09-25-2018 at 10:51 PM. Reason: Add links, addtl comments.
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Old 09-25-2018, 11:02 PM   #9
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Default Re: Espar Replacement

Thanks for your thorough and informative reply. I’ll take all that into account.
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Old 09-25-2018, 11:14 PM   #10
OldWest
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Default Re: Espar Replacement

Some other ideas.

An extra D2 Heater:

https://sprinter-source.com/forum/sh...ight=Mod+espar

Westy owner PNWSquid made a portable D2 heater setup:

https://sprinter-source.com/forum/sh...ight=Mod+espar
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