Chinese Diesel Heater - Smoky Exhaust

mslada

Member
So I recently installed a chinese diesel heater for my van. I'm running it off of my Sprinter's Aux Line from the diesel tank. Today, I noticed a large amount of white exhaust coming out of the heater's exhaust pipe. Is my heater defective or is it a simple switch out of a part like the filter?

Also on a related note with heaters, mine keeps shutting off on its own. Is this normal or what is the way to fix this?

Thanks!
 

OrioN

2008 2500 170" EXT
So I recently installed a chinese diesel heater for my van. I'm running it off of my Sprinter's Aux Line from the diesel tank. Today, I noticed a large amount of white exhaust coming out of the heater's exhaust pipe. Is my heater defective or is it a simple switch out of a part like the filter?

Also on a related note with heaters, mine keeps shutting off on its own. Is this normal or what is the way to fix this?

Thanks!
How many hours to you estimate it has been used?
Where is its power coming from?
 

mslada

Member
I haven't used it a lot. I just installed it a month ago while doing the build and have just been turning it on while working out in the cold. So it's been less than 2 hours a day if even. I have the unit wired to my fuse box.
 

OrioN

2008 2500 170" EXT
What is powering this fuse box? Starter battery, auxiliary battery, house bank?

Chinese heaters are know to be defective out of the box, or breakdown quickly, that is why they cost so little. That said, it is also possible that it isn't install correctly, you are running it on a low tank of fuel and it is misfiring, or low voltage..........
 

mslada

Member
What is powering this fuse box? Starter battery, auxiliary battery, house bank?

Chinese heaters are know to be defective out of the box, or breakdown quickly, that is why they cost so little. That said, it is also possible that it isn't install correctly, you are running it on a low tank of fuel and it is misfiring, or low voltage..........
It's been working in the past. I have it being charged off my lithium ion batteries. Currently I'm at 3/4 a tank, so I think fuel is good. It just happened today...
 

sprint2freedom

2008 NCV3 170ext
These aren't very complicated machines, but they are a bit sensitive to (for example) intake and exhaust restriction, and need proper fueling (not too much or too little). Improper installation can result in smoke. That includes loose connections on fuel lines that allow air bubbles into the lines.

How long are your intake and exhaust lines, do they have any bends in them and are you using a muffler or intake silencer?

The glow pin and glow pin screen need to be in proper working order (operational and unobstructed), and the air hole near the glow pin screen needs to be open not restricted or blocked by carbon buildup.

If the heater is almost brand new, the burner tube is unlikely at fault, but does contain a stainless steel gauze that can get sooted up (usually after hundreds of hours of use) and impair operation.

We're unlikely to get very far helping you unless you post some photos of your setup and perhaps do a little exploratory work.

The heater should not be turning off on its own. In combination with smoke this sounds like it's most likely a flame-out. When that happens you should hear an audible change in the sound as the burning stops, followed by the appearance of smoke that continues until the heater detects that it's no longer making heat and shuts off.
 

mslada

Member
I took a video, but unfortunately it's too large of a file for me to share on here, so here are some photos. This is the LCD display and one of the smoke. The fan runs really loud and there is a heavy exhaust smell as well as the white smoke. I've contacted the company for a replacement since I'm reading that these things are cheaply made and things sometimes fail.
 

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sparkplug

Well-known member
My D2 is always a little bit smoky on start up - does the smoke on yours clear after a couple of minutes running or does it just stay smoky even after - say 10 minutes?
 

mslada

Member
So I turn it off when that happens. My heater also turns off on me. Doing more research and seeing the codes on my screen, I think my oil pump has failed and that's causing my heater to overheat.
 

sethlp

2006 2500 140 HT 263k
What elevation are you at? Do you run it at low speeds with out running it hot for a few min before turning off? Lots of info on the FB group. What codes are you getting?
https://www.facebook.com/search/top?q=chinese diesel heaters though it's a mess to get through.

I've been using mine for over a year and it pretty much sucks. left me cold a few nights randomly. If I didn't mind trouble shooting it and adjusting the altitude I'd spend on a decent unit. They are just so sensitive to operating well, plus they smell and are loud.

Changing the settings that are accessed through entering passcode helps.
 

mslada

Member
What elevation are you at? Do you run it at low speeds with out running it hot for a few min before turning off? Lots of info on the FB group. What codes are you getting?
https://www.facebook.com/search/top?q=chinese diesel heaters though it's a mess to get through.

I've been using mine for over a year and it pretty much sucks. left me cold a few nights randomly. If I didn't mind trouble shooting it and adjusting the altitude I'd spend on a decent unit. They are just so sensitive to operating well, plus they smell and are loud.

Changing the settings that are accessed through entering passcode helps.
I'm at sea level (in Seattle). I really haven't taken it out yet, as I'm still in the process of building. No error codes but symbols (as the image I posted shows). It looks like the oil pump is broken. Kind of sucks after not even using it for a month....
 

Mcurry86

Member
Hmm..I also have a chinese diesel heater in my T1N conversion.

The image you posted above looks normal to me. What you're pointing to is the symbol for the fuel pump operating as normal. It should be on if the heater is on. Not sure about that bright red light though..I'll have to look at mine to see if/when it comes on. You say there are no error codes but symbols. The symbols on your picture all look fine.

White smoke happens to mostly all of the diesel heaters at least the first time you use it. If you're comfortable trying, i would say turn it on and run it on high for a good awhile. Let it burn off any sootiness. Then see what happens..the white smoke should subside after awhile.

If you're worried about the pump..hop under the van(or wherever you have the pump installed) and watch it while the heater is operating. Is there fuel ticking along/flowing through the line? Does the fuel pump have an audible clunking/clicking sound to it? It should. These things are quirky but they usually work out okay.

Feel free to message me any questions.
 

Mcurry86

Member
I'm at sea level (in Seattle). I really haven't taken it out yet, as I'm still in the process of building. No error codes but symbols (as the image I posted shows). It looks like the oil pump is broken. Kind of sucks after not even using it for a month....
 

JoeyB

Active member
Your fuel:air ratios are probably off and getting an unclean burn. This could be due to the settings in your heater or due to a restricted air flow in your intake/exhaust. Do you have any hard bends in the intake/exhaust? It's best to have gradual bends. I'd double check that first. Then look and check your fuel pump/fan (fuel:air) ratios. You should be able to find the password and steps for changing it in the Facebook group "chinese diesel air heaters". This the #1 cause of smoke. It's normal to smoke for a bit at start up.

I wouldn't say the Chinese units are "known to be broken" but I would say a few parts are known to be shit. The black fuel hose is not UV resistant. Neither is the fuel pump sling. The hose clamps are usually crap. The included diesel filter is cheap and may break/leak. I ordered a pack of 5 on Amazon. If you get the neon green fuel line it's known to be too soft and easily kink. Mine was clear and sturdier.

I'd say spend the extra $20-50 on these components, $125-200 is still a lot cheaper than $1200.


The issues I've had:

1) I used the black fuel hose so it is dry rotting, but surprisingly still holding a seal 1.5 year after installing

2) my heater kept turning off randomly, I found one of those cheap hose clamps had came loose and every so often would let enough air into the fuel line that the flame would extinguish.

3) I had to replace my glow plug after 2 months of consistent use 8-10 hr per day. My replacement was a Chinese knockoff of the espar plug found on Amazon for $35, so I had to rewire it to my Chinese connector. The soldering was much better and it had thicker wire. It's the only issue I've had that really required any kind of wrenching (besides tightening hose clamps but I consider that pretty low effort)



I have been running the heater regularly the past month and a half with absolutely no issues. I actually had it running for 72 hours straight at camp a couple weeks ago. I recommend them, if you're open to working on your own stuff especially 👍

At least with an issue like this you can just adjust the tune. Instructions on the FB chinese diesel heater group. It will eventually soot up and need to be broken down and cleaned if it's ran with a bad tune.
 
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sipma02

Currently full time in the van
3) I had to replace my glow plug after 2 months of consistent use 8-10 hr per day. My replacement was a Chinese knockoff of the espar plug found on Amazon for $35, so I had to rewire it to my Chinese connector. The soldering was much better and it had thicker wire. It's the only issue I've had that really required any kind of wrenching.
Good advice. Why did you have to replace the glow plug?
 

OrioN

2008 2500 170" EXT
Your fuel:air ratios are probably off and getting an unclean burn. That's the #1 cause of smoke. I wouldn't say the Chinese units are "known to be broken" but I would say a few parts are known to be shit. The black fuel hose is not UV resistant. Neither is the fuel pump sling. The hose clamps are usually crap. The included diesel filter is cheap and may break/leak. I ordered a pack of 5 on Amazon. If you get the neon green fuel line it's known to be too soft and easily kink. Mine was clear and sturdier.

I'd say spend the extra $20-50 on these components, $125-200 is still a lot cheaper than $1200.


The issues I've had:

1) I used the black fuel hose so it is dry rotting, but surprisingly still holding a seal 1.5 year after installing

2) my heater kept turning off randomly, I found one of those cheap hose clamps had came loose and every so often would let enough air into the fuel line that the flame would extinguish.

3) I had to replace my glow plug after 2 months of consistent use 8-10 hr per day. My replacement was a Chinese knockoff of the espar plug found on Amazon for $35, so I had to rewire it to my Chinese connector. The soldering was much better and it had thicker wire. It's the only issue I've had that really required any kind of wrenching.



I have been running the heater regularly the past month and a half with absolutely no issues. I actually had it running for 72 hours straight at camp a couple weeks ago. I recommend them, if you're open to working on your own stuff especially 👍

At least with an issue like this you can just adjust the tune. Instructions on the FB chinese diesel heater group. It will eventually soot up and need to be broken down and cleaned if it's ran with a bad tune.
Did you have to replace the glowpin because of broken wires or burning out?
 

JoeyB

Active member
Did you have to replace the glowpin because of broken wires or burning out?
I believe it burned out (more info below on how I think I fried it), but the solder connections did look awfully tiny on the yellow wire. It could have been this throwing the resistance off, but I didn't actually check as I figured the replacement was better than the original anyways from reviews.

Here is the original Chinese one: https://photos.app.goo.gl/yo48nLo2MUCpuozDA
The replacement had 1 awg thicker wire and the soldering was better, thicker connections, and a slightly thicker coils.

I unfortunately don't have a picture of the replacement glow plug.

Good advice. Why did you have to replace the glow plug?
I think I may have fried it myself. I was frustrated with my heater not starting (ended up being due to a small air leak in the fuel line, so it wasn't getting enough fuel, but I had thought it was just being finicky). I kept trying to start it up thinking it'd start since it had been somewhat finicky (turning off in the middle of the night due to flame going out, but always firing back up without issue).

I believe it repeatedly fired the glow plug with each attempt but not getting enough fuel to it, and then after a few tries it just kept throwing error 3 on the screen, meaning the glow plug is shot (or your voltage is so low it can't power the glow plug).

When I changed the plug, I checked all my hose clamps. A couple were loose enough that I could slide the hose around, so I just tightened em as tight as I could, and have had no issues AT ALL since. Like I said in my other post I ran the heater continuously for 72 hours since.
 

synergy_58

2009 Navion and 2015 Crew
I love my D2 with remote! I love my Webasto too! I’ve had the Webasto 15 years, and the D2 for 6.5 years, both with nary an issue. Yay!
What’s so good about buying these Chinese made units, especially if their always having to be repaired? Just curious.
 

JoeyB

Active member
I love my D2 with remote! I love my Webasto too! I’ve had the Webasto 15 years, and the D2 for 6.5 years, both with nary an issue. Yay!
What’s so good about buying these Chinese made units, especially if their always having to be repaired? Just curious.
No constant need to be repaired, just some of the included accessories are junk. Some are okay. It's all about if you do your research before installing.

I think the main attraction is: on par performance of the $1200 heater for $120. It includes a lot of accessories too. You can adjust fuel/air ratio in settings for high altitude use without buying an overpriced add-on.
 

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