I Installed a chinese parking heater under my T1N Passenger Seat

nevanco

New member
Hi everyone, I've done a bit of research about installing a parking heater under the pass seat like everyone's doing with our NCV3 sister ships, but I haven't seen any dedicated write-ups about doing it. Some people argue that it's not possible because of the frame bar that passes under that area, or because of exhaust clearance restrictions.

I thought I would share my experience with this so far. I have managed to mount a parking heater under my passenger seat, and will keep updating this thread as my experience continues.

If you take off the passenger seat, and remove the rubberized mat that may be in place, you'll see a drainage depression in place under your seat. In this depression is a plugged drain hole. I opened this hole and shined a light through it. I measured a couple inches forward and to the right of this hole as my approximate location for the penetrations for my heater. I climbed under with a light shining through the hole to look for the light.

What I found was that there is a heat shield in place which makes accessing this area difficult, but with the removal of one torx screw, it can be bent out of the way. The area above the shield is directly inboard of one of the frame supports and directly aft of another. I measured out where my clearance was from the drain hole with light coming through it, and applied my template from above.

https://i.postimg.cc/gkMP4BDt/Template.jpg
Capture.JPG

Then I drilled some pilot holes with a stepper bit, and used a metal cutting tip on a dremel to widen the holes, making sure that I wasn't about to grind or drill through the frame members. It ended up being close, but I had some space.

https://i.postimg.cc/15RQGZpN/Holes.jpg

The heater went in to place with a little wiggling and convincing.

https://i.postimg.cc/J0xCfTWn/Heater-in-Place.jpg
Capture1.JPG

Then I crawled under again, and sealed and secured the intake hose, bolts, and exhaust. The fuel line is currently capped, and will be routed to a new standpipe in the fuel tank, once I've run my fuel low enough to safely lower the tank. I then bent the heat shield back and bolted it down.

https://i.postimg.cc/qBxr67CT/Underneath.jpg

What I will say, is while all of this is possible with that heat shield bent out of the way, it is really tight in there. Working with larger hands will make it tough, and you'll want lots of extensions for your ratchet. The fuel and combustion air intake lines in my installation run over the heat shield and exhaust, and i'm wrapping them in reflective coating just to be sure they wont melt on me.

I'll keep this thread updated as I continue work. Next to come will be the installation of a fuel pickup in the main tank, wiring, and testing everything over the course of its use.
 
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Midwestdrifter

Engineer In Residence
You may regret not using the mounting plate. By using the mounting plate you can cut a single large hole in the floor. Then use screws from above to secure the plate (and heater) together. That way you can remove the heater from above much more easily for service.
 

nevanco

New member
Hmm, you may be right. Though envisioning it in my mind, You still have to be able to access the underneath area to turn nuts/bolts regardless of whether or not you're remove the heater from the floor, or from a mounting plate which has now "become" the floor, or when removing the mounting plate from the floor. The exception being if you welded studs in place and then slid the mounting plate down on them and bolted, which would be fantastic actually.

I opted out of the mounting plate because of how tight it is down there. I couldn't find a nice way to fit the 6 bolts and access them easily. If anyone else has done so differently I'd love to see some pictures!

I've had one of these china deals running for two winters in my current adventure build (converted ambulance) without having to access the bottom end. So far so good. I just make sure to run them on high enough that the don't much up and most of the service can be done from up top. Of course I've jinx'd myself just by saying that.

I also keep my intake and exhaust lines sloped downward on that one. To clean I take off the muffler, dump some autoRX, seafoam, or even break cleaner in the glow plug hole, and all the gunk comes flowing out of the exhaust. let it dry, and fire it up. Definitely not what would be recommended by Espar lol, but when you're dealing with these $200 wack off deals, you feel a lot more willing to mess around with alternative techniques.
 

mrkbrnblm

New member
I just installed a similar 2KW heater in my 2003 last weekend, also under the passenger's seat. The heater is positioned as far outboard and back in the seat base as possible. Looking at the OPs photos, mine is about 1" further back, and the metal plate is up against the inner wall of seat base on the outboard side. It's far enough back that the output nozzle is no more than 3/4" an inch from the back wall of the seat base, and I had to modify the tubing and vent to fit the tight clearances. I mounted it far enough outboard that I also had to grind the bent edge of the side-access panel a bit to get the heater to fit. By mounting it there, you stay on the outboard side of the frame rail (all holes between the frame and the door step). My concern with going on the other side of the frame (the position shown by the OP) was how close the plastic fuel line and paper air intake tubes would be to the van's exhaust. The outboard position also meant I didn't have to touch the heat shield (unfortunately, only figured that out after I'd dismantled the whole thing).
 
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nevanco

New member
I just installed a similar 2KW heater in my 2003 last weekend, also under the passenger's seat. The heater is positioned as far outboard and back in the seat base as possible. Looking at the OPs photos, mine is about 1" further back, and the metal plate is up against the inner wall of seat base on the outboard side. It's far enough back that the output nozzle is no more than 3/4" an inch from the back wall of the seat base, and I had to modify the tubing and vent to fit the tight clearances. I mounted it far enough outboard that I also had to grind the bent edge of the side-access panel a bit to get the heater to fit. By mounting it there, you stay on the outboard side of the frame rail (all holes between the frame and the door step). My concern with going on the other side of the frame (the position shown by the OP) was how close the plastic fuel line and paper air intake tubes would be to the van's exhaust. The outboard position also meant I didn't have to touch the heat shield (unfortunately, only figured that out after I'd dismantled the whole thing).
Awesome that you managed to get it on that side of the frame rail, when I was planning mine out I didn't think it would be feasible. Could you show some pictures of where everything came out underneath? I agree that routing the fuel line over the exhaust, as is done in my installation is a little spooky.

I didn't take enough pictures but I currently have everything mounted and have test fired mine successfully. I installed a standpipe in the fuel pickup cartridge and sealed with 3M 5200. The fuel line is held as close to the floor paneling as possible going over the heatshield and exhaust with zip ties. I wrapped the line in that area in some heavy duty snakeskin, puttied it in place with muffler cement, and then sprayed great stuff along it to really secure it in place, and provide some insulation. I've driven about 40 miles on it since and the heater still runs, which would suggest the line has not melted yet!

I plan to lower a portion of the heat shield this weekend and see how the line looks now. I figured great stuff would provide a buffer, and also an indicator as to the temperature down there during driving. If the great stuff is burnt up, I might need to rethink my strategy.

Also, where do you have your exhaust routed? I routed mine all of the way forward in to the front bumper to the right, and hooked it around so that it doesn't forcibly inject air while driving. I wanted to keep the fumes as far away from the sliding door and living area as possible. Added benefit is when i fire it up on a really cold night it looks like my engine is on fire for a few minutes...:tongue:
 

sassmatt72

2006 high top long, Fully converted by me
I just did this, only change, re-drilled inboard holes in mounting plate in to center (on both) 1", I also used riv-nuts inserts into floor and sealant, so removal for service is easy...

now to just to finish by ting into my existing secondary diesel standpipe.....(coolant heater/booster up front).
I wonder if I need to adda anything but a T?
 

sassmatt72

2006 high top long, Fully converted by me
Also added a metal divider to maintain some (1/2) of the storage.

adding more exhaust pipe to extend to better location...
 
How is the noise factor, is this unit noisy inside the cab?

Has anyone investigated mounting this under the frame and venting the tubes inside the cabin. Noise is my main concern.
 

sipma02

Member
I did some investigation tonight actually, and I do think it is possible to mount one of these (roughly) under the sliding door. I would route the output (heat) up from the floor, or on the step as you step into the side of the van. The measurements from a random amazon link are 39x14x15cm.
 

JoeyB

Member
I did some investigation tonight actually, and I do think it is possible to mount one of these (roughly) under the sliding door. I would route the output (heat) up from the floor, or on the step as you step into the side of the van. The measurements from a random amazon link are 39x14x15cm.
I recall seeing someone mount theirs sideways off the wall between the step and the van floor. You can mount them on their side as long as the glow plug is facing up (facing it down will cause it to leak diesel)
 

sethlp

2006 2500 140 HT 263k
I put one in last year under passenger seat but oriented a bit different than op. .
Noise: the pump is fairly annoying, clicking, speeding up and slowing down. I’m thinking how to decouple it to quiet it.
You can defiantly hear the exhaust if you were to walk near the van in a quiet campground 10’ or so if it’s quiet outside. It can also smell.
But it’s better than freezing.
 

teammontana

New member
I found a used Espar at a Truck salvage outfit and mounted it under the back seat with ducting to the front and through the cargo wall into the back. Instead of running fuel lines to the tank, I T'd into the fuel line of my 2003 with a one way valve between it and the fuel filter to keep the heater from draining the filter. Worked well for several years. The noise sounds like a jet engine taking off and would certainly be annoying in a camp ground. May not work in the 2004 and newer with the fuel pump in the tank. May not want to pump fuel through the pump.
 

Lojack72

Member
Went closer to the door to get outside the frame rail on my '02 installation.


I also shimmed the base plate that came with the kit go get it closer to level. Teed into fuel line as well, with a one-way valve after the T and before the filter. Pump was mounted to the footwell using a through bolt after step removed, exhaust muffler behind front tire.
 

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