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Espar B4 Gas Auxiliary Heater Install for Syncro Weekender
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BCgee
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2019 10:12 pm    Post subject: Re: Espar B4 Gas Auxiliary Heater Install for Syncro Weekender Reply with quote

I mounted the B4 under the bench seat drivers side. A 125ah aux battery is under the passenger side and Iíve kept my stock rear heater as it works well and itís cold, ahem, six months of the year in Montana.

The power supply was fairly straightforward. The B4 requires a 5 amp and 20 amp fuse (5 amp for the controller and 20 amp for the heater). My power harness had 4 wires of which the B4 uses two.

Espar includes a fuse block with their kit. The Espar power wire is also quite long. I was able to run the Espar power wires directly to my house battery fuse block (Blue Sea Systems 6 position fuse holder) and use my own fuse block.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Either way works. It was easier and cleaner in my installation to keep all the van fuses in a single location, and cut a few steps from the install.

The fuel supply, fuel pump, and fuel pump power supply may be the most complicated aspect of the passenger seat installation simply because Iím a desk jockey by day and rarely cut holes in my van nor splice fuel lines.

That said once youíve marked your mount, drilled your holes, and tightened fasteners, you need to Tee into the unpressurized side of your fuel line. Eg, the side between your fuel pump and gas tank. My Syncro line is readily available with the rear wheels on ramps but there isnít much length for the Tee. I ended up building my Tee and splice in the heated garage, then laying in snow for the install.

Also, perhaps a basic reminder: run your gas tank down to empty and prepare some way to catch the last dregs of your tank...itíll come right out onto your hands as soon as you release the gas tank latch Smile

My parts list for the fuel Tee splice was brass fittings and NAPA hoses and clamps:
- 1/2 x 5/16 x 1/2 barbed Tee
- 5/16 x 5/32 barbed reducer
- 12mm, 5/16, 5/32 fuel hose, lots of small good clamps

I also fabricated a rock/ mud shield because of the fuel pumpís exposed location. During winter driving and gravel road summer driving thereís a LOT of debris flying at the rear frame crossbeam. My shield is a salvaged heat shield from a Chevy pickup solenoid with a bit of rubber up top. On a half dozen muddy camping missions itís worked great so far.

My exhaust is less than the recommended max 6í and less than the max turn angles; just one U turn and bolted at a downward, rear facing angle. Being on the drivers side I have the added bonus of not having exhaust fumes upon opening the sliding door. From everything Iíve read, installing the muffler immediately is the right way to do this installation. The noise of the heater outside the van is a low whoosh with the muffler.

Wiring the controller is one of the sources of frustration with installing the heater. Esparís documentation isÖlacking. Those used to reading technical wiring diagrams may have an easier time with the thermostat installation. I used the EasyStart Select controller which can double as the thermostat.

There are at least six different Espar controllers with slightly different wiring (part of the frustration since there isnít one straightforward answer to hooking up your controller). The other frustration is that the B4 wiring harness contained ten wires, of which youíll need three for the Easy Start Select. The EasyStart Select is nearly plug and play into the High Altitude Kit for running the heater above 4,600′ with a catch. It also only requires three wires for installation. It works fine, but doesnít include diagnostic functions.

The harness for the Easy Start plugs right into the High Altitude controller harness but youíd have to locate the altitude sensor within about 18″ of the Easy Start, so itís plug and play function may not work if you need to put your altitude sensor elsewhere. I installed it in a custom wood tray I fabricated as part of the NAHT install, accessible from the bench seat or when laying in bed.

A quick word on the High Altitude Sensor. Newer Espar heaters have a high altitude accessory. The High Altitude Kit (HAK) is basically a barometric pressure sensor that leans out delivery of the fuel at altitudes above 4,600′. The HAK may not be necessary for you if you are only driving through the mountains. However, the heater combustion chamber may soot up and stop working for prolonged use at altitude due to incomplete combustion. I paid up front for an HAK from Heatso and donít think twice now.

The altitude sensor needs to be installed in an open location where it can sense changes in barometric pressure and change fuel delivery to compensate for reduced oxygen. Donít bury it inside a wall or cabinet. The HAK is straightforward to install with the Easy Start Select controller using the diagrams attached above.

The last part of the installation is to insert fuses and power up the heater. You may need to run a few cycles with the heater for it to pump fuel from the tank all the way to the heater. During my initial startup I turned the heater on, then slid under the van to watch the fuel line. Click, click, click, click goes the fuel pump. Within a few seconds I began to see a mix of fuel and air bubbles moving through the fuel line.

The B4 heater has been in for a few weeks now, and I still grin every time I turn it on. Really looking forward to expanding the trip season with the family. The vent is so hot on even medium setting that I can dry ski boot liners, gloves, what have you in pretty short time!

On the whole the B4 heater is a game changer for my van and family. It makes the van a legitimately comfortable winter sports and hobby commuter with the added benefit of making trips far more comfortable during the other 6 months of ďcoldĒ in Montana. I very much appreciate dealing with only one primary fuel source: two, three gallon rotopax on the rear ladder provide plenty of security on trips.

Good luck on your install🤘
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BCgee
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2019 10:20 pm    Post subject: Re: Espar B4 Gas Auxiliary Heater Install for Syncro Weekender Reply with quote

shagginwagon83 wrote:
Wait is that a 90 degree heat output adapter?!

Sweeeet install! Is that a custom made shield for your combustion air intake?

Thanks for the pics/post!


Yes sir! 90 deg adapter made it possible for me to plumb directly to - and through - the stock bench faceplate to the grill. Pretty slick.

The heater pump shield is a DIY fabrication that serves its purpose - deflected crap - pretty damn well. I recommend making one for peace of mind.

Cheers!
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Last edited by BCgee on Sun Nov 17, 2019 10:26 pm; edited 1 time in total
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BCgee
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2019 10:25 pm    Post subject: Re: Espar B4 Gas Auxiliary Heater Install for Syncro Weekender Reply with quote

TopBud wrote:
Great info thanks. Any reason you choose Espar over webasto? I live at 7000' and often sleep at higher altitudes. I have a tintop with an open floor plan, no cabinets. We live out of the dry box also, most cooking done outside. Was hoping to mount heater underneath the van on the drivers side for maximum space inside. I access under the rear bench from a panel I pull off, not a westy bed, so not tons of room under the seat. I have the rear stock heater that I will be keeping in there (best way to warm boots on the way to the hill. Thanks


I choose the Espar B4 because of the company track record, the BTU output potential ( its COLD in Montana), and lots of feedback about gas burning clean (with an altitude sensor) at elevation/ ease of one primary fuel source to manage.

As to mounting a unit under your vehicle, I wouldnít do it. All the manufacturer material Iíve read speak to these units being inside a vehicle; I donít think the B4 is designed for external elements and mounting outside would create more headache than itís worth. Iíd imagine that even with your open floor plan you could design a bench or the like along the driver side wall, or maybe even plumb a unit under the drivers seat?

Anyhow, I really like the B4 as it meets all my needs and is wicked powerful for the cold. Good luck!
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dobryan
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2019 11:15 pm    Post subject: Re: Espar B4 Gas Auxiliary Heater Install for Syncro Weekender Reply with quote

I am a little confused about the placement of the altitude sensor. How can it make any difference where it is placed?
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TopBud
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2019 11:26 pm    Post subject: Re: Espar B4 Gas Auxiliary Heater Install for Syncro Weekender Reply with quote

Thanks. I just need to start saving.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2019 3:27 am    Post subject: Re: Espar B4 Gas Auxiliary Heater Install for Syncro Weekender Reply with quote

Nice install! Do you have pics of your heat outlet duct? I installed my B1LC in the same location but havenít yet cut the hole for the vent outlet.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2019 4:54 am    Post subject: Re: Espar B4 Gas Auxiliary Heater Install for Syncro Weekender Reply with quote

I agree with the wiring! I cannot figure out why they didn't design it such that the various controllers could all use the same plug, just possibly ignoring the unnecessary ones. Would make things much easier.

Where did you mount your controller?

If it is in the back, and you want the ability to turn it on while driving, I used a wire tapped into the yellow wire to do so. I ran it up to my currently unused defroster switch. Now I just turn that stiwch on, and it commands the heater to come on. It even maintains whatever temp the Easy Start is set on, even though the Easy Start button says "Heater off". You can even adjust the set temp with the thermostat on back, when the heater is on via the front switch.

It's nice to be able to turn it on while driving, and also quicker to pop open the passenger door if I want to preheat the Bus, rather than to open the slider and crawl back to the cabinet.

Mine is a diesel Espar, so I guess you might want to verify the wire color is the same on your gas version, but I'd bet it is.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2019 7:31 am    Post subject: Re: Espar B4 Gas Auxiliary Heater Install for Syncro Weekender Reply with quote

dobryan wrote:
I am a little confused about the placement of the altitude sensor. How can it make any difference where it is placed?


My understanding is that folks with super modular cabinetry could potentially affect functionality of the HAK if mounted inside a sealed cabinet or in a vacuum area near a vapor barrier and pretty air tight cabinet. Not an expert here and, regardless, I have a Weekender interior sans cabinets so a non issue for me. It was convenient to use the full controller wire length and run wires behind my DIY wood tray and NAHT bunk woodwork for a clean mount.

Iím road tripping through the Utah desert next week (multiple elevation gain-losses) and can report back on any issues.
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BCgee
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2019 7:35 am    Post subject: Re: Espar B4 Gas Auxiliary Heater Install for Syncro Weekender Reply with quote

vwwestyman wrote:
I agree with the wiring! I cannot figure out why they didn't design it such that the various controllers could all use the same plug, just possibly ignoring the unnecessary ones. Would make things much easier.

Where did you mount your controller?

If it is in the back, and you want the ability to turn it on while driving, I used a wire tapped into the yellow wire to do so. I ran it up to my currently unused defroster switch. Now I just turn that stiwch on, and it commands the heater to come on. It even maintains whatever temp the Easy Start is set on, even though the Easy Start button says "Heater off". You can even adjust the set temp with the thermostat on back, when the heater is on via the front switch.

It's nice to be able to turn it on while driving, and also quicker to pop open the passenger door if I want to preheat the Bus, rather than to open the slider and crawl back to the cabinet.

Mine is a diesel Espar, so I guess you might want to verify the wire color is the same on your gas version, but I'd bet it is.


Appreciate the tips! My controller and HAK is mounted at original tintop ceiling height into a custom wood trim tray at the transition into the hightop interior. My original thinking was keeping the unit off the floor and at a good height for sensing temperature, not necessarily ease of use when driving. That said your approach offers real potential; will investigate the yellow wire and toggle switch mod later this season before finishing interior trim and permanently hiding wires.

Cheers!
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2019 7:59 am    Post subject: Re: Espar B4 Gas Auxiliary Heater Install for Syncro Weekender Reply with quote

BCgee wrote:

Appreciate the tips! My controller and HAK is mounted at original tintop ceiling height into a custom wood trim tray at the transition into the hightop interior. My original thinking was keeping the unit off the floor and at a good height for sensing temperature, not necessarily ease of use when driving. That said your approach offers real potential; will investigate the yellow wire and toggle switch mod later this season before finishing interior trim and permanently hiding wires.

Cheers!


Yeah, you bet. It's pretty neat how it all works. And real nice ti be able to switch on if I want a little extra heating while driving.

Since mine is installed in an old Bus, at some point when I have the time for a quick, fairly small project, I'm going to swap in a switch from an old BN4 to have the yellow wire be controlled by the old-school style.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2019 10:41 am    Post subject: Re: Espar B4 Gas Auxiliary Heater Install for Syncro Weekender Reply with quote

CessnaJon wrote:
Nice install! Do you have pics of your heat outlet duct? I installed my B1LC in the same location but havenít yet cut the hole for the vent outlet.


Hereís my outlet, cut directly into the bench seat panel.

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I trimmed the heat outlet outer ring because of the very tight dimensions, cut a few inches wide strip of Espar exhaust pipe to cover the small inch gap between 90 deg angle and heat outlet, then taped it in place with HVAC tape. Scribe the heat outlet circle, measure twice, cut once.

Good luck!
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2019 5:06 pm    Post subject: Re: Espar B4 Gas Auxiliary Heater Install for Syncro Weekender Reply with quote

does that rear seat fold up for you to access the heater or do you have to go through the front panel?
Thanks
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2019 10:09 am    Post subject: Re: Espar B4 Gas Auxiliary Heater Install for Syncro Weekender Reply with quote

TopBud wrote:
does that rear seat fold up for you to access the heater or do you have to go through the front panel?
Thanks


You're looking at a Weekender fold-out bench seat. If I remove the kid seat it folds up perhaps 45 degrees and allows access to my aux battery, rear heater, and aux Espar heater. No need to remove the front panel; in fact, removing the front panel now is somewhat tedious and a pain because I've mounted a battery meter and shunt and the Espar heater outlet.

Anyhow, for me the bench seat now only moves when the bed is in use as most space below is filled with set-and-forget upgrades.

Good luck on your project.
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