Espar Installation

Diamondsea

New member
As a result of my posting “Cheap Conversion” a day or two ago under “Sprinter Based RVs and Conversions” there seems to be some interest in the Espar installation. I ordered part number 20-2820-69-02-95 Truck Kit, 12 volt, with thermostat, without fuel pick up. This is an Airtronic D2 with all the parts and little pieces designed for the sleeper cab of a big rig. This version without the fuel tube is a tad cheaper as the Sprinter already has the fuel pickup. This kit assumes mounting on a flat floor with burner connections under the floor. As the floor is not flat under the passenger seat and as the seat has a bigger dimension several inches above the floor I also ordered Angle Mounting Bracket 20-2900-40-00-23.

The first photo looking from the center towards the passenger door tells most of the story. Only about 4 inches of duct was used to shoot the heat towards the back of the van. As I left the foam cover off of the seat base no duct was needed on the cold air return, just the supplied safety screen. The black combustion air inlet goes only about 4 inches below the floor where its end is protected from road dirt by the plastic underfloor storage bin to which the hose is secured by a clamp. The silver colored exhaust hose runs towards the rear of the vehicle about 2 or 3 feet continually downhill (for condensation to drain) secured by a clamp or two and ends secured to the low outside body sheet metal flange with the end pointing down and out to the side. Only about 3 inches is visible from the street. The multi-colored wire bundle has nothing to do with the heater. The heater’s connectors and wire harness are out of view towards the camera. The white fuel capillary tube and fuel pump wire go through the floor. The red stuff is high temp Permatex sealer.

The second photo shows that I used the supplied straight-out outlet fitting in lieu of the rotatable angled one to shoot the heat back along the (cold) floor. The two wires are the power leads to my house electrical system and the thermostat cable. I mounted the thermostat on the van side wall near the ceiling several inches back of the sliding door. As heat shooting out under it and rising might give it false sensing I selected the option to not connect the gray wire which defaults the thermostat to a rheostat controlling the heater’s built-in thermostat in its cold air return.

Sorry, the last photo is out of focus. The hard work was underneath. Note the fat fuel fill enters the tank neat the bottom! As the tank top is up against the floor of the van and as the supplied capillary fuel tube and fuel pump power wire were a tad shorter than I would have liked routing was difficult. The left side of the photo is towards the front of the van. I was able to avoid hot exhaust components by going above their heat shields. I mounted the fuel metering pulse pump on the back side of the cross member to have it shielded from most road dirt. The supplied rubber hose to fit the fuel pump did not fit the MB tube from the fuel tank. I had to buy a few inches of another size hose and have a machine shop make a brass adapter to mate the two rubber hoses as I did not trust the off the shelf plastic one I found.

I used a turkey baster to suck fuel to the fuel pump. At turn-on the heater mostly filled the capillary on its first attempt to start and timed out. I waited and after its built in delay it automatically tried to start again with complete success. Its built in computer does wonders! Sorry, Photos 2 and 3 got reversed.
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ehallspqr

New member
Thanks for the post. Install looks pretty straight forward. I'm still on the fence about getting one of these Espar heaters. Their kind of expensive. The kit I was looking at on ebay has the long fuel pickup tube but from the sound of it you don't need it at all. Also does the little D2 produce enough heat or should I go for the D4?
 

d_bertko

New member
I mounted my d2 near the driver side wall just behind the fuel tank. That put it just about midship on my 02 long tall Sprinter. That location works great for a rear bed layout like mine. No problem with the d2 capacity for New England winter but I am well insulated.
 

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OrioN

2008 2500 170" EXT
Thanks for the post. Install looks pretty straight forward. I'm still on the fence about getting one of these Espar heaters. Their kind of expensive. The kit I was looking at on ebay has the long fuel pickup tube but from the sound of it you don't need it at all. Also does the little D2 produce enough heat or should I go for the D4?
If you're insulated and 144", a D2 is sufficient even in sub zero temperatures. I've got a D4 in my 170EXT and it's HOT! They are not expensive when you factor in the cost of running it on deisel and their high-efficiency compared to propane heaters plus the amount of current they consume...
 
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mean_in_green

>2,000,000m in MB vans
Nice one. Maybe run a short length of high temp insulated sleeving on the exposed internal exhaust run?
 

Diamondsea

New member
I am not worried about the exposed hot exhaust tube just below the heater as the compartment is well ventilated and nothing is stored in there. I am, however, a little apprehensive about the hot exhaust under the van up against the gooy "undercoating" stuff sprayed on the underside to, I guess, prevent rust. The exhaust actually touches where it is clamped. Does this stuff catch on fire?
 

ehallspqr

New member
De Bertko, OrioN. Thanks I will be going with the smaller D2 if I go the diesel heater route. I have the smaller Sprinter and it will be moderately insulated when I'm done. Plus the Pacific northwest is pretty moderate temperature-wise. What do those people heating with a Espar diesel Airtronic heaters think of the Hydronic units? Right now I am also trying to figure out how I can do my hot water. I understand the Hydronic can be used to provide both cabin heat and as a source for hot water via a heat exchanger.
 

OrioN

2008 2500 170" EXT
I am not worried about the exposed hot exhaust tube just below the heater as the compartment is well ventilated and nothing is stored in there. I am, however, a little apprehensive about the hot exhaust under the van up against the gooy "undercoating" stuff sprayed on the underside to, I guess, prevent rust. The exhaust actually touches where it is clamped. Does this stuff catch on fire?
Hang the tube from brackets, about 4" down from the floor.... I made mine from left over aluminum angles... this should be ok...
 
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d_bertko

New member
De Bertko, OrioN. Thanks I will be going with the smaller D2 if I go the diesel heater route. I have the smaller Sprinter and it will be moderately insulated when I'm done. Plus the Pacific northwest is pretty moderate temperature-wise. What do those people heating with a Espar diesel Airtronic heaters think of the Hydronic units? Right now I am also trying to figure out how I can do my hot water. I understand the Hydronic can be used to provide both cabin heat and as a source for hot water via a heat exchanger.
We drycamp year round and I preferred not to deal with winterizing any plumbing. Many folks don't drink the water from their installed tanks and a good number have never used their cramped showers. My hot water needs are met by using my tea kettle/camp stove/micro. Since I have enough batteries for a 2000w inverter, i also have enough for an electric fridge.

So for me the chance to skip propane and water plumbing had the advantage of both KISS and economy.

Others can report about the hydronic approach but heating water wasn't too useful for me. I do have a bbq tank that I keep in the blue locker in my pic; that reflects our tendency to cook, clean and shower outside as feasible. We can do all those things inside but it's less messy outdoors!

Dan
 

Douglas Hicks

New member
My 2003 144 SHC is insulated and the D2 does not put out enough heat for my cargo van. But then, when the back doors get opened, you will loose alot of hot air.
 

rlent

New member
'06 2500 SHC 158, very well insulated ...... it seems like my D2 can pretty much run you out of the van nearly anytime, unless it gets really cold out (below 20 F) .... and even then, it will keep me quite comfy. Wind may play a role in how well it can keep up (cold air infiltration)
 
3

312 diesel (closed)

Guest
I am not worried about the exposed hot exhaust tube just below the heater as the compartment is well ventilated and nothing is stored in there. I am, however, a little apprehensive about the hot exhaust under the van up against the gooy "undercoating" stuff sprayed on the underside to, I guess, prevent rust. The exhaust actually touches where it is clamped. Does this stuff catch on fire?
They do a sock for the exhaust. I put one over mine to keep the heat away from the body. The last bit I left uninsulated.
 

Diamondsea

New member
Thanks 312 diesel re the sock idea. I should have thought of it myself as I have used such on two boats where the exhaust ran through wood structure.
 

ehallspqr

New member
I think the D2 would produce plenty of heat for our needs when dry camping. The rest of the time we use an electric space heater when staying at campgrounds with utilities. My main problem is finding a way to provide tap, heated water without using propane? I am also trying to avoid having a permenant propane bottle with gaslines running all over the place. I will probably carry a small bottle for cooking outside like D Bertko but other than that I will be staying away from a full-on propane system. Right now an D2 Airtronic along with a Marine dual (AC electric/engine heat exchanger) type water heater would fill the bill. The Espar D5 Hydronic sounds like it would provide both heat and hot water but I have yet to find anything about this application in my searches on the web.
 

Neil2

Neil
We drycamp year round and I preferred not to deal with winterizing any plumbing. Many folks don't drink the water from their installed tanks and a good number have never used their cramped showers. My hot water needs are met by using my tea kettle/camp stove/micro. Since I have enough batteries for a 2000w inverter, i also have enough for an electric fridge.

So for me the chance to skip propane and water plumbing had the advantage of both KISS and economy.

Others can report about the hydronic approach but heating water wasn't too useful for me. I do have a bbq tank that I keep in the blue locker in my pic; that reflects our tendency to cook, clean and shower outside as feasible. We can do all those things inside but it's less messy outdoors!

Dan
When you say 'cramped showers' what dimensions are you referring to? I'm thinking of having a custom made full shower with integrated toilet because I have the mega roof.

Also, how many batteries do you have for your inverter?

Please/Thanks!
 

Neil2

Neil
I think the D2 would produce plenty of heat for our needs when dry camping. The rest of the time we use an electric space heater when staying at campgrounds with utilities. My main problem is finding a way to provide tap, heated water without using propane? I am also trying to avoid having a permenant propane bottle with gaslines running all over the place. I will probably carry a small bottle for cooking outside like D Bertko but other than that I will be staying away from a full-on propane system. Right now an D2 Airtronic along with a Marine dual (AC electric/engine heat exchanger) type water heater would fill the bill. The Espar D5 Hydronic sounds like it would provide both heat and hot water but I have yet to find anything about this application in my searches on the web.
What did you end up with?

Please/Thanks!
 

d_bertko

New member
When you say 'cramped showers' what dimensions are you referring to? I'm thinking of having a custom made full shower with integrated toilet because I have the mega roof.

Also, how many batteries do you have for your inverter?

Please/Thanks!
I'm 6'4" and my 02 has 6'1" inside clearance. (It's ok with a bit of slouch) The megaroof appeals to me except for my propensity to put 3 canoes on the roof rack.

It's been raining here for a week. Here's pix of the original "back porch shower sock" design and the slide out poles from the redesign. Sorry to not have a pix handy of the redesigned sock slipping tighter over the poles instead of the saggier original shown that hung from the doors. The pole-based redesign allows the rear doors to open or close with the porch deployed. Nice for temp control or to lock up the van. The "sock" slips over the poles and magnetically seals to the van. There is also a skirt-floor that makes it all bugproof. Deploys in around two minutes! Works great for ventilation with a 48"x96" screen door. Room for a couple of folding chairs if desired.

Shower curtains, a $4 mortar tub and the PowerShower transform the "back porch" into a proper shower. Dimensions of the shower are the open door size of around 28"x58". Height is 96".

Since the shower setup is portable we can use it in cold weather as an aisle shower in the van.

We also own a TeePee, a dedicated shower-portapotti room. It works well but we don't use it unless we wanted guest facilities away from the van.

The shower wand is quite useful for our outdoor kitchen. It comes with a small 12v battery or we can just plug in to one of the four van 12v outlets. A no-scrimping shower and shampoo uses about a gallon and a half of water. Easy to conserve when the wand cuts off the water if the trigger isnt squeezed.

I do own a pair of fancy Nike shower flipflops and using a campground shower conserves even more of my own water.:smirk:

I've got four 4C size agms (maximum UPS shipping weight) for 420 ah. Prosine recommends 400 ah for a 2000w inverter. Smaller banks should work but some high-draw devices might give a little voltage drop. We get about 4 days of use to the half-power point with the dc fridge being the major ah draw.
 

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Neil2

Neil
Hmmm. With your solar power system, if you were to use a 180w electric blanket, about how many hours could you use it before needing to recharge the cells?:hmmm:
 

ehallspqr

New member
What did you end up with?

Please/Thanks!
Haven't decided. I know a Espar D2 Airtronic with a Marine heater will work but the costs is pushing $1500 for just the appliances. The D5 with the radiator and heat exchanger would probably be less. A horizontal permanent mounted propane tank + furnace and water heater would be around $1100 but installation is very expensive. I'm beginning to think D Bertko has the right idea. A kettle of hot water mixed in a bucket of cold water and then pour it over myself for a shower.

By the way, that's quite a rear porch/bug screen designed by D Bertko. I got to looking at it closer and it is quite a nifty mod. I have commercial bug screen system I bought for the rear doors when they are open, but this expands the living area quite a bit and doubles as a shower/bathroom area. Cool!
 
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Farm Bus

New member
Do you have thermostats for these things? IN other words, can you set it to be 70 degrees in the "cabin"?

Also, have any of you used remote starters or timer set-ups? How did they works?

The Airtronic is in competition with upgrading my OEM D5 Hydronic to modify it to preheat the cabin.

I keep getting the "cold shoulder" from my wife about the heat in this thing!:smirk:
 

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