Diesel heaters in campgrounds

DesertRat

Member
It seems I have had a few comments lately about the sound from my diesel heater while camping in campgrounds. It isn't very loud, and has all proper mufflers and insulation, yet the heater does make some noise that can be heard from a few feet away. When there are no other noises in camp it is noticable. Does anyone else get complaints, or do you just not use your heaters when in campgrounds?
 

ENMeyer

Active member
I could see that it might be an issue if there are tenters around, but if it's cold enough to run your heater, I assume that everyone else is in a motorhome? If so, I can't imagine hearing it inside their camper.
 

rollerbearing

Well-known member
Even conventional propane RV heaters, propane water heaters, and propane fridges will make a noticeable rumble.

When my Espar D2 is running on high (with a muffler) I would say it is a bit louder than the above propane devices but not by a lot. When the Espar throttles down (which the above propane devices do NOT do) then it's quieter than the propane heat sources.

I did find that putting two mufflers in series cut the noise even further but I have not felt the need to do so permanently. I did this experiment with a short straight through marine muffler and a regular "sandwich" rectangular Espar muffler. Results may vary with other mufflers.
 
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Kajtek1

2015 long/tall limo RV 2.1l
I still did not install my Webasto clone, but I have the C5 (?) - hydronic booster and I noticed that factory pointed the exhaust pipe toward center of the van.
That definitely directs the noise away from you neighbors, when I assume that the fumes are so low, that no risk of them entering the interior space.
Than I have seen design with 3 ft long exhaust pipe, that sure can quiet the thing down.
Now for current users- how much smell those things exhaust? Do you have to worry about it?
I know that the only good way to avoid fumes is build Venturi chimney, but such thing will look strange on Sprinter.
 

RVBarry

Well-known member
Hi, you can get an intake silencer/muffler as well as the exhaust ones.
 

Pnwsquid

Active member
Both my factory D5 and my D2 have the combustion intake routed into the frame rail for added noise suppression. Both exhausts are also pointed downward torward the center of the van. I typically leave both heaters off overnight unless it is below 20F.
Why wouldn't you use your heater in 30* weather, out of curiosity?
 

Pnwsquid

Active member
It seems I have had a few comments lately about the sound from my diesel heater while camping in campgrounds. It isn't very loud, and has all proper mufflers and insulation, yet the heater does make some noise that can be heard from a few feet away. When there are no other noises in camp it is noticable. Does anyone else get complaints, or do you just not use your heaters when in campgrounds?
Were the comments obviously negative? I can't imagine, even a tent camper, having issues with a properly muffled heater. Assuming the exhaust isn't exiting 10 feet from the tent...
 

Mr. Bills

2016 170 HR 4x4 Class B Conversion
My practice thus far has been to heat up the interior, turn the heater off when I go to bed, bundle up if necessary, and fire the heater up again when I awake. I don't want to think about any appliance that burns combustible fuel while I am sleeping just a few feet away and I don't want the sound to wake me up any more than a nearby tenter might. So far the insulation installed by the previous owner has done its job keeping the outside temperature out.

In many ways, I consider the sound from a diesel furnace to be of the same nature as the sound from a genset. Both should be silenced in campgrounds during quiet hours. When engaged in dispersed camping the noises and sounds emanating from one's rig that are bothersome to others cease to be such an issue.
 

Pnwsquid

Active member
My practice thus far has been to heat up the interior, turn the heater off when I go to bed, bundle up if necessary, and fire the heater up again when I awake. I don't want to think about any appliance that burns combustible fuel while I am sleeping just a few feet away and I don't want the sound to wake me up any more than a nearby tenter might. So far the insulation installed by the previous owner has done its job keeping the outside temperature out.

In many ways, I consider the sound from a diesel furnace to be of the same nature as the sound from a genset. Both should be silenced in campgrounds during quiet hours. When engaged in dispersed camping the noises and sounds emanating from one's rig that are bothersome to others cease to be such an issue.
If you sleep better...

Just know that tens of millions of boats, trucks and vans have been safely using diesel furnaces overnight (many live-aboard full time) for decades without issue. Statistically, your drive to the campsite was much more dangerous than a self contained heater with several failsafe sensors running on a quite stable fuel source (not gas).

If I am in a somewhat crowded camp area I always walk from the vehicle and see how far the sound carries with the heater on high, knowing it will be on a lower setting most of the night. It's really not comparable to a generator.
 
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borabora

Well-known member
I prefer to camp in places where I can't see or hear anyone else. Of course that's not always possible, especially lately in covid times.
Most or at least many people have no clue how to be considerate when people are nearby and might want to sleep. They slam car doors and trunks, play music, yell and speak loudly etc. Compared to that I find the hum of a heater or even a genset (I don't own one) to be pretty much a non-issue. Nonetheless, I'd probably not run my diesel heater at night if someone were sleeping in a tent within 30 yards of my van.
 

DesertRat

Member
I prefer to camp in places where I can't see or hear anyone else. Of course that's not always possible, especially lately in covid times.
Most or at least many people have no clue how to be considerate when people are nearby and might want to sleep. They slam car doors and trunks, play music, yell and speak loudly etc. Compared to that I find the hum of a heater or even a genset (I don't own one) to be pretty much a non-issue. Nonetheless, I'd probably not run my diesel heater at night if someone were sleeping in a tent within 30 yards of my van.
I think the issue is that any sound takes away from the experience of camping, even if it is barely noticeable. The campers were 75yrds away. I hadn't even noticed the sound when they came and asked that it be turned off. Combustion air is routed into frame, and exhaust is muffled. The heater is quiet, but does still make some sound.
 

Graphite Dave

Dave Orton
Another solution is to use a silent 12 volt DC rear seat heating pad under the sleeping bag. Let the van interior get cold at night but I stay warm with the heating pad. Refrigerator cycles less in a cold van so that is also quieter. Power used for the pad is partially offset by the refrigerator running less often.

In the morning I use the Transit remote start to start the gas engine to warm up the van before getting out of bed. Transit dash vents set for max. heat and the 120 volt AC vehicle powered inverter is set to run the 750 watt electric baseboard heater. 15 minutes required to heat the van interior.
 
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OffroadHamster

Active member
My D2 is loud when it fires up cold, and at altitude even with the altitude sensor can puke smoke for a minute while it gets going, but once the van is warm is settles into running on low in all but the coldest temps (below 20 degF). Standing 15 feet from the van you would be hard pressed to hear it on any but the stillest and quietest nights. The camp fire is usually enough to drown it out, and typically if I am close enough to someone for them to hear my heater its because they are camping with me.

With how much even polite, considerate people play music, run generators, talk, and otherwise make noise , I am amazed that your heater is the loudest thing for anyone to complain about.....
 

Pnwsquid

Active member
I think the issue is that any sound takes away from the experience of camping, even if it is barely noticeable. The campers were 75yrds away. I hadn't even noticed the sound when they came and asked that it be turned off. Combustion air is routed into frame, and exhaust is muffled. The heater is quiet, but does still make some sound.
They were almost a football field away and could hear the quiet hum of your heater!?!

I don't know, it just seems like an unreasonable request to me.

I would have politely told them to F off...
 
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OffroadHamster

Active member
Yeah, I think they were looking for a 'wilderness' experience, in the campground.
And I get that....kind of?? I mean yes, we mostly all go out for peace and quiet, but a campground is a compromise between "wilderness" and the amenities that those people have to have to survive a night in a tent (bathrooms, running water, cell service) and that comes with some compromises. Compromises like, other people...

If I have hiked 2 days and 30-40 miles and someone shows up and camps on top of me, or I can hear them from my camp spot, then yea, they better be prepared to get an earful and STFU. But at a campground? Eat me.
 

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