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Propane Thing Heater
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lorencherylp
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Joined: July 16, 2008
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2008 8:14 am    Post subject: Propane Thing Heater Reply with quote

Hey folks,
Thought I would share my CHEAP heat solution with you. Living in
the north with sand and salt, the Thing does not get out much. I will
take her out if the roads are free from salt. I was going to install a
regulation vw gas heater but decided against it. Instead, for an infrequent
winter drive, I purchased a propane heater, available at walmart and
many places. I believe they are mainly for tents and such. I had
already installed an ammo box in the rear for storage behind the rear seat. I painted it camo, since the rest of the vw is in desert camo.
I put a piece of rubber mat under the heater so it wouldnt vibrate and scratch the paint. I attached clips on the ammo box and the heater
sets securely. I have driven it a number of times and I barely have to
crack the heater on. It will drive you out of there. The Thing provides
many air leaks, so there is no oxygen issue Smile Maybe some will think there is a safety issue? So far I feel okay with the setup. It is a cheap
way to heat. You can even buy an adapter at harbor freight that allows you to refill the disposable propane bottles from you bbq grill tank.
I use a 12v fan on the windshield for a defroster, and it also helps move the air around the cabin.
Let me know what you think. Happy motoring with your Thing and Happy Holidays to all.
Loren
IA
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bmwloco
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2008 10:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pretty doggone cool.

Good show!

I'm still trying to get my gas heater up and running. Should I fail, or it gets too bloody expensive, I'll probably go with a "Mr. Heater"

http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_6970_211577_211577

I can use it in my Thing and then move it to my Westfalia for parking lot warming at ski areas.
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lorencherylp
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2008 11:35 am    Post subject: mr. heater Reply with quote

I dont suggest you use a buddy or big buddy in the vw Thing, because that is the route I went first. There are so many failsafes built in that it will shut itself off almost immediately after you start driving.
Best wishes,
Loren
IA
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bmwloco
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2008 4:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the insight. I may get one just to warm the Westy when I'm skiing, battery and engine off.
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lorencherylp
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2008 4:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good idea for the Westy. On the lowest setting, It should be more than sufficient.
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74 Thing
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 08, 2008 12:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anyone try any of the Coleman units-wonder if they have fail safes like the Buddy heaters.

http://www.coleman.com/coleman/ColemanCom/subcategory.asp?CategoryID=3000
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lorencherylp
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 08, 2008 4:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is where I bought the Heater I am using (Amazon). It will work as a stove if you get hungry Very Happy
http://www.amazon.com/Mr-Heater-MH12C-000-Cooker/d...mp;sr=1-19
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saddlesore1
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2008 9:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't want to rain on all of your parades but... This is no different than putting a weber grill in your home for heat. With all the doors and windows closed the heater will use up all of the available O2 in the car and you will get carbon monoxide poisoning or O2 asphyxiation. Not a good idea because you will die. It is very serious.

Regards,

Saddlesore
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uberautowerks
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2008 10:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A couple of my bus customers use the Coleman catalyst heaters with great success, while driving even. Also, for what it's worth, the catalyst style are approved for indoor use.
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--- The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at and repair.
- Douglas Adams -
---
'74 Thing (White)
'71 Single cab (White too)
'70 Weekender (White three)
'05 Evolution VIII (White also!!!)
'68 F-250 (White over black)
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lorencherylp
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2008 11:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is everyones choice. As far as oxygen I am not concerned because of the numerous air leaks associated with my Thing.
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DMC-12
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2008 1:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

saddlesore1 wrote:
I don't want to rain on all of your parades but... This is no different than putting a weber grill in your home for heat. With all the doors and windows closed the heater will use up all of the available O2 in the car and you will get carbon monoxide poisoning or O2 asphyxiation. Not a good idea because you will die. It is very serious.

Regards,

Saddlesore


I suppose what you say is possible, but then why was my camper built with a propane fired lantern mounted on the wall? Why is the 2 burner stove propane powered? The camper can be sealed up tight.
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uberautowerks
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2008 2:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Keep in mind that the operating instructions for camper most likely tell you to open a window and a vent before operating the stove. I know the VW campers do.
That said a little more CO2 in a moving vehicle shouldn't be a problem, hell it's coming from the cars all around you. However I would not recommend an open flame in a moving vehicle. That's why I recommend the catalyst style, very little CO2 and no open flame.
That's just my 2 cents.
_________________
--- The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at and repair.
- Douglas Adams -
---
'74 Thing (White)
'71 Single cab (White too)
'70 Weekender (White three)
'05 Evolution VIII (White also!!!)
'68 F-250 (White over black)
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stevehenderson
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2008 3:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use one of these in back off my 80 Vanagon sometimes--seems to keep running on the go.
Uses one of those little green bottles.
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but
With one of these you can hook up a big camper / grill bottle:
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check out the defroster or is it a hair drier Laughing
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http://www.heatershop.com/mr_heater_little_buddy_base_camp_heater_mh4b.html
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bmwloco
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2008 7:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sweeeet.

I was looking at the "golf cart heater".

Huh. Bet that would fit in my cup holder.

Almost drove my Thing into work today, but whinged and drove the Westy. I have the weekend off, though, and I plan on getting the Thing heater working.
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74 Thing
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2008 9:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What does your cup holder look like?

That looks like a nice little heater-I wonder what the btu's are?
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74 Thing
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2008 10:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Went to the Mr Heater website and that small round one has a btu rating of 3800 which is better then the Coleman 3000 btu rating.

That one that is in Lorens Thing has a rating of 14k which is on par with the gas heater in the 73.

Loren, I saw you mention that you had trouble with the Heater Buddy. I see those rated at 9k btu's-what problems did you encounter?

Thanks
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lorencherylp
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2008 8:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I put my big buddy in the rear seat (folded down) and used bungie cords to hold it down. Almost immediately upon driving it would shut itself off. I think maybe it was from the vibration or a bump? At any rate, I tried it on numerous occassions and finally gave up and went with the heater shown above in the photos. I am quite please with this application. If there is no snow, I may take it on a Sunday drive in a couple days.
Loren
IA
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kme_eone
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 14, 2008 3:27 am    Post subject: Heater BTUs Reply with quote

I am sticking with the tried and true Stewart Warner South Wind Auxilary gas heater for my 74 THING. The heater has been properly maintained and inspected every year by mysef, just repair two small cracks in the heat exchanger and serviced the burner assembly, and it puts out about 12,000 BTUs. I also purchased a new flexible exhaust pipe to run into the fender well and under the THING. It is just like having a car needs regular maintenance, and NO CUTING CORNERS!
It has been in the low single digits here in Anchorage, AK, and this morning it was about -10. I had to decide to take the Boxster or the THING. Boxster has heated leather seats, and water cooled and takes a bit to heat up. So we decided to take the 74 THING (we have two 74 THINGs with South Wind heaters), and man the heat is great!
Now I will have to service a couple of the 12V and 24V eberspachers and install one in the 78 Micros Bus.
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74 Thing
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 14, 2008 1:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Where did you install the Stewart Warner in the 74-did you put it in the engine compartment like the buses?
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kme_eone
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 14, 2008 9:53 pm    Post subject: 74 heater Reply with quote

I have installed the South Wind heater in the front trunk area on the drivers side with the heat entering the passenger compartment on the drivers side footwell.
Also I have installed insulation into the door pockets and covered with plastic sheeting. This helps to keep the interior warm.
One other thing I have done is to cover the three or four holes on the "fire wall" in the passenger compartment on the passenger side, not the larger holes down by the bottom of the wall, but three or four that are above them. I just put a piece of tape over these holes.
What also works is attaching a small fan that plugs into the cigarette light and attaches with a hose clamp to the "oh shit" grab handle on the passenger side.
One thing I have done last year was to zip tie to small computer fans to the footwell outlets behind the front seat and wired them into the fan that I have attached to the "oh shit" garb bar.
It is only cold for a couples minutes, then after that you can drive your THING with a short or long sleeve shirt on.
This all comes from a 74 THING (x2) owner living in Anchorage, Alaska.
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Chris Blankenship
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