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Espar B4 Gas Auxiliary Heater Install for Syncro Weekender
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BCgee
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 28, 2019 9:42 am    Post subject: Espar B4 Gas Auxiliary Heater Install for Syncro Weekender Reply with quote

Received my Espar B4 gas heater in the mail this morning just as us Northern Rockies folks are expecting our first snowstorm of the Fall! Luckily I just finished building out an auxiliary battery system and now have a power source ready.

(see this thread at the end for the final aux battery system: https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=...;start=60)

Living in SW Montana and being a winter outdoors nut with a growing family means comfortable and reliable heat is a priority. Itís hard to entice the wife and 1 year old to spend time skiing or belaying ice climbs if there isnt a cozy base of operations... For this reason we did the high top conversion last spring and several insulation, soundproofing, and mechanical upgrades this summer.

I decided on the Espar B4 gas heater because I have a Weekender without a propane tank and typically use my rafting kitchen kit to cook outside 99% of the time itís needed. The turn-key nature of only using one primary fuel source for both travel and comfort was very appealing; throw on two rotopax for peace of mind and off we go, you get the idea. The B4 can also be adapted to elevation with an sensor, which is important for us living at 5k and traveling to 10k regularly. The economical dimensions of the B4 was the last key factor: the auxiliary battery takes up space under the passenger bench and Iíve kept and use the stock rear heater, luckily the B4 fits comfortably under the bench seat, drivers side.

Iíve done a poor job of contributing to The Samba braintrust even though itís been a critical resource for me since purchasing our Syncro. The hope is to share my work on the B4 install to help others contemplating the project.

With that said Iíve never installed an auxiliary heater nor an Espar unit, so if anyone has advice on the install or has experience with the B4 install in particular, please share here!


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 28, 2019 9:54 am    Post subject: Re: Espar B4 Gas Auxiliary Heater Install for Syncro Weekender Reply with quote

Hello, search my gallery for some pictures of my Espar install in the same location. I spent a weekend deciding where to cut the floor for the intake and exhaust.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Perhaps the above will save you some time. Sorry did not record the measurements. I also bent up an insulated cover to protect it.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 28, 2019 10:07 am    Post subject: Re: Espar B4 Gas Auxiliary Heater Install for Syncro Weekender Reply with quote

I thought that the latest models of the B4 have the altitude sensor built into it?

Or maybe I'm thinking of the Webasto petrol heaters?
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BCgee
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 28, 2019 10:10 am    Post subject: Re: Espar B4 Gas Auxiliary Heater Install for Syncro Weekender Reply with quote

MarkWard wrote:
Hello, search my gallery for some pictures of my Espar install in the same location. I spent a weekend deciding where to cut the floor for the intake and exhaust.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Perhaps the above will save you some time. Sorry did not record the measurements. I also bent up an insulated cover to protect it.


Appreciate the tip! Just took screenshots of your D2 build in the gallery. Helpful guidelines for sure, cheers!
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BCgee
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 28, 2019 10:14 am    Post subject: Re: Espar B4 Gas Auxiliary Heater Install for Syncro Weekender Reply with quote

Steve M. wrote:
I thought that the latest models of the B4 have the altitude sensor built into it?

Or maybe I'm thinking of the Webasto petrol heaters?


Hmmm this model was NOS sent from Russia, although the boxes were intact with factory seals and parts appear brand new and unmolested. Iím presuming this B4 is at least a year old if not more. It came with CD instructions which Iíve not yet had a chance to review. My understanding was that the B4 has an accessory altitude sensor but you need to purchase separately, but Iím not an authority... 🤔 Guess Iíll be searching the online forums for practical experience this afternoon 👍

EDIT: According to several folks on the Ford Transit forums and Lubrication Specialists (leading US Espar importer) you need a high altitude sensor kit to effectively run a B4/D2 and other similar pre-2019 models above 5k feet. So, at least for me this means ponying up another $250 and staring at more intimidating wiring.

Onward!
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owokie
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 28, 2019 11:29 am    Post subject: Re: Espar B4 Gas Auxiliary Heater Install for Syncro Weekender Reply with quote

The altitude sensor wiring is a non-issue. That said, you could also run the high altitude pump instead, which I would do if starting from scratch. All you'll lose is a small amount of BTU which is not a bad thing as the B4 is oversized for the Vanagon task. The smaller pump means you're less likely to go into idle mode if you run it overnight, and the mandatory run-up to boost after being at idle is one of the few flaws of this unit. This opinion comes from ~300 nights camping in a B4-equipped full Westy with the top always popped at night.

You are correct that the new B4L does have integrated altitude compensation, the B4 does not.

You're gonna love it.
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BCgee
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 28, 2019 12:41 pm    Post subject: Re: Espar B4 Gas Auxiliary Heater Install for Syncro Weekender Reply with quote

owokie wrote:
The altitude sensor wiring is a non-issue. That said, you could also run the high altitude pump instead, which I would do if starting from scratch. All you'll lose is a small amount of BTU which is not a bad thing as the B4 is oversized for the Vanagon task. The smaller pump means you're less likely to go into idle mode if you run it overnight, and the mandatory run-up to boost after being at idle is one of the few flaws of this unit. This opinion comes from ~300 nights camping in a B4-equipped full Westy with the top always popped at night.

You are correct that the new B4L does have integrated altitude compensation, the B4 does not.

You're gonna love it.


Appreciate the beta! I have the Espar High altitude kit in the mail; are you suggesting that I could potentially only install the fuel pump from the kit in lieu of the standard B4 fuel pump and ditch the wiring harness? I am starting from scratch and want to do this install right the first time. Thanks in advance for any feedback!
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 28, 2019 1:42 pm    Post subject: Re: Espar B4 Gas Auxiliary Heater Install for Syncro Weekender Reply with quote

Espar sells a different high altitude fuel pump, but I searched and don't see one that works with the B4.

This is the one for the D2/D4 however:
https://esparparts.com/fuel-metering-pump-high-p-25174.html

The high altitude kit doesn't include a fuel pump.

I have a D2 with the high altitude kit. I'm using this intake silencer for a Webasto but will work on the espar intake too. I also have the external temp sensor though it's not really needed.

My install:
https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=666522&start=52

I really like having a vent at bed height. I have the same controller as you, and it will display fault codes. Took me a while to figure that out. Only thing I want now is a second controller up front so I can turn the heater on while driving and also see what the temp is in the van.

I didn't want to spend $250 on the high alt. kit either, but in the end I'm glad I did. At altitude in the cold is where you're going to need the heater to work.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 28, 2019 2:33 pm    Post subject: Re: Espar B4 Gas Auxiliary Heater Install for Syncro Weekender Reply with quote

erste wrote:
Espar sells a different high altitude fuel pump, but I searched and don't see one that works with the B4.

This is the one for the D2/D4 however:
https://esparparts.com/fuel-metering-pump-high-p-25174.html

The high altitude kit doesn't include a fuel pump.

I have a D2 with the high altitude kit. I'm using this intake silencer for a Webasto but will work on the espar intake too. I also have the external temp sensor though it's not really needed.

My install:
https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=666522&start=52

I really like having a vent at bed height. I have the same controller as you, and it will display fault codes. Took me a while to figure that out. Only thing I want now is a second controller up front so I can turn the heater on while driving and also see what the temp is in the van.

I didn't want to spend $250 on the high alt. kit either, but in the end I'm glad I did. At altitude in the cold is where you're going to need the heater to work.


Appreciate the feedback and link to your install; will definitely take a look!

Hereís a link for the high altitude kit compatible with the B4: https://www.heatso.com/espar-eberspacher-high-altitude-kit-22-1000-33-2200-h-kit-hak/

As for functionality when you need it, weíre on the same page. When itís cold and youíre up high no one regrets an extra $250 on the front end 🤙
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 28, 2019 3:14 pm    Post subject: Re: Espar B4 Gas Auxiliary Heater Install for Syncro Weekender Reply with quote

From what I read when I was installing my D2 in my '78 Westy, the high altitude sensor changes the fueling rate of the stock pump (I believe by slightly fewer pump strokes) when at high altitude.

The high altitude pump, on the other hand, pushes slightly less fuel per stroke, but with the same frequency of strokes.

So if you live at lower elevations and go up high only on occasion, you can maximize heat at all elevations with the altitude sensor.

If you spend the majority of your time at higher elevations, and are OK with a little less heat if you happen to drive to a low elevation, you can install the cheaper high altitude pump and not have to buy the sensing kit.

(Because, as was said, heat output using the high altitude pump at lower elevations is somewhat less than the regular pump at lower elevations due to slightly less fuel being delivered.)

Also, in my limited experience, the heater will run at higher altitudes with no compensation. But you risk sooting it up if you do it too much because it is running a little rich. At, say, mid elevations (~5,000-7,000ish feet) I didn't notice any issues. At closer to 9,500 feet, it struggled to fire up initially (ran through two or three startup cycles before it finally lit up) and it smoked ever so slightly even after it was going.

I live in Kansas at around 1,100 feet, and don't have any compensation for elevation. I just run it on full blast for a while after the trips I've taken to the mountains, and have not had any issues with this practice. Your mileage may vary.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 28, 2019 6:10 pm    Post subject: Re: Espar B4 Gas Auxiliary Heater Install for Syncro Weekender Reply with quote

The fuel pump is the same for the B4/D2/D4

https://esparparts.com/fuel-metering-pump-p-25159.html

You'd have less risk than a diesel heater not using anything for elevation adjustment, the gasoline units do not tend to coke up as quickly as diesel when run rich. But like you mentioned, you're already dropping serious bank.

Either way you go, if the overnight temp is marginal for the B4 on low, you can simply intentionally drop your efficiency by cracking a window to prevent it from idling down.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 29, 2019 6:36 pm    Post subject: Re: Espar B4 Gas Auxiliary Heater Install for Syncro Weekender Reply with quote

Steve M. wrote:
I thought that the latest models of the B4 have the altitude sensor built into it?

Or maybe I'm thinking of the Webasto petrol heaters?


https://www.eberspaecher.com/fileadmin/data/corpor...-m2-en.pdf

The latest version of the Eberspacher does have an "integrated altitude sensor".
It is the "Airtronic S2/M2" model and also has an improved motor supposed to be good for a 5000 hr, service life. (1 year = 8000 hr. if running 24hrs. a day).
The "L" in the version denotes the integrated altitude sensor. This sensor is good up to 3000m / 9,850 feet.

AIRTRONIC Version
S2 Commercial - D2L p/n: 25.2721.05.0000
M2 Commercial - D4L Diesel p/n: 25.2720.05.0000
M2 Commercial - B4L Gasoline p/n: 20.1987.05.0000
M2 Recreational - D4R Diesel p/n: 25.2746.05.0000

It looks like it is selling for around $2000.00 ouch! Sad
https://www.comfortso.com/espar-airtronic-b4l-air-...ation-kit/
____________________________________________

Planar also has a new High Altitude version out, but it is only available in diesel fuel.

"Planar Marine and Truck Air Heaters is proud to announce new modifications of the forced air diesel heaters Planar 2D-12-HA and Planar 44D-12-HA designed for High Altitude operation. These heaters can operate flawlessly at altitudes as high as 8,500 ft. "
https://planarheaters.com/diesel-air-heaters-high-altitude/

Mule Expedition Outfitter in Issaquah, WA is a U.S. source for Planar.
Phone(425) 394-1111
https://www.dasmule.com/

There are a lot of dealers in Canada for Planar
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 29, 2019 7:29 pm    Post subject: Re: Espar B4 Gas Auxiliary Heater Install for Syncro Weekender Reply with quote

https://www.heatso.com/espar-eberspacher-airtronic-b4l-m2-petrol-12v-4kw-heater-kit/

Heatso is usually the cheapest for full kits, in this case by a long shot from the link just mentioned.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 29, 2019 8:01 pm    Post subject: Re: Espar B4 Gas Auxiliary Heater Install for Syncro Weekender Reply with quote

owokie wrote:
https://www.heatso.com/espar-eberspacher-airtronic-b4l-m2-petrol-12v-4kw-heater-kit/

Heatso is usually the cheapest for full kits, in this case by a long shot from the link just mentioned.


Yes, $1400.00 is better then $2000!
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 04, 2019 9:01 am    Post subject: Re: Espar B4 Gas Auxiliary Heater Install for Syncro Weekender Reply with quote

A quick update from MT on this project.

First, if you buy the "complete" Espar B4 kit off the eBay seller from Russia know that the kit is 99% complete. The notable piece missing from my kit is the floor base plate, which may or may not be a fluke. In any case I used a scrap piece of aluminum plate, traced the outlet holes and dimensions, and drilled accordingly. You might be able to get away with installing sans baseplate, but I do enough dirt and fire road driving that I didn't want to take chances with vibrations and random stuff shaking loose under the kid seat.

Because I'm installing the B4 under the bench seat in a Weekender interior, but keeping the stock rear heater, I needed to order additional parts from Heatso to accommodate the tight fit. Specifically a 90deg elbow for the intake, a 90deg outlet, one additional outlet, and additional vent tubing. As previously mentioned I already bit the bullet and ordered the high altitude kit from Heatso, which is presently taking its sweet time getting to my front door.

All together the likely cost for this install will be around $1500 +/- Not ideal, but then again so too is a cold wife and kids. We did last winter with only a weak front heater and I swore all the heat upgrades would get done before November, so here we are.

Looks like I'm on firewood missions this weekend with the N Rockies experiencing an early cold snap, then sadly I'm out of state for the following week, meaning likely won't get back to this project til mid October.

Onward!
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 04, 2019 10:12 am    Post subject: Re: Espar B4 Gas Auxiliary Heater Install for Syncro Weekender Reply with quote

BCgee wrote:
In any case I used a scrap piece of aluminum plate

Just want to mention that there's a gasket underneath the perimeter of the plate to help seal it to the floor.

I also have a short 4' length of leftover tubing if you need it, or anyone else. PM me.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2019 3:50 pm    Post subject: Re: Espar B4 Gas Auxiliary Heater Install for Syncro Weekender Reply with quote

How did your install go?
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2019 9:32 pm    Post subject: Re: Espar B4 Gas Auxiliary Heater Install for Syncro Weekender Reply with quote

It took far longer than expected, but Iím happy to report the B4 is up and running like a champ.

So, How Difficult is it to Install?

The million dollar question! The Espar B4 installation is not very difficult for a moderately skilled DIYer. 95% of the frustration comes from Esparís technical manuals, and the way they sell their kits. The Airtronics heater install kit comes with a ton of miscellaneous parts to adapt the heater to many different installations. I ended up with a box of unused parts.

The other source of frustration is that the wiring harness supplied by Espar is used for many of their products (and various combinations of their products with a half dozen or so different controllers). There is little clarity in Esparís instructions for those unfamiliar with reading technical wiring diagrams. Youíll end up with a bunch of unused wires depending on your choice of controller. The whole installation process could be made hours shorter with simplified instructions written for dense people like me.

At the most basic level the Espar installation consists of:

Mounting the heater to your van (drilling a few holes and bolting it to the floor)
Running the wiring harness to where your thermostat/controller will be mounted
Hooking up air intake and exhaust outside van
Hooking up the hot air duct inside van
Connecting your fuel line and pump wiring to the gas line
Hooking up your thermostat/controller
Connecting to power

Espar desperately needs a new technical writer.

As the saying goes pictures speak a thousand words, so here are a few shots of my install plus the all important wiring diagrams that proved invaluable.

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

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

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

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2019 9:47 pm    Post subject: Re: Espar B4 Gas Auxiliary Heater Install for Syncro Weekender Reply with quote

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!
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2019 10:07 pm    Post subject: Re: Espar B4 Gas Auxiliary Heater Install for Syncro Weekender Reply with quote

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
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