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Heater Showdown - Propex, Chinese diesel heater, Espar, Buddy
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candyman
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 12, 2019 9:06 am    Post subject: Re: Heater Showdown - Propex, Chinese diesel heater, Espar, Buddy Reply with quote

I want to chime in about the sooting on the chinese diesel heaters running on low. This myth has been debunked countless times on the FB group as well as my first hand experience. If the heater is properly set up with the right settings for your altitude etc... and exhaust and intake are properly routed and not obstructed, there should not be any sooting, period, no matter what power level. I run mine only on low and have done so since last feb, and I have zero sooting. Well over 200 hours and counting. You can run your finger inside the exhaust (when off of course) and it will come out clean. I do run it on straight kerosene as I dont like the smell of diesel. Whether or not this helps with the sooting I dont know. I have another diesel heater in my garage, 5kw also, and only run that on red diesel and so far no sooting issues. To clarify, if you follow the research that is well documented on the very active facebook group, a perfectly set up heater with proper settings should not soot up even on low. If it soots, the settings are wrong or the install is not correct

Regarding the remote, its a nice feature! Yes, Sodo I use it while hanging around the fire to turn on the heater an hour or so before I head to bed, or if the kids are in there, to monitor the temp etc...
Also handy to heat the van in the morning from the house if I plan on driving it that day


Last edited by candyman on Sat Oct 12, 2019 6:24 pm; edited 1 time in total
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vwhammer
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 12, 2019 9:37 am    Post subject: Re: Heater Showdown - Propex, Chinese diesel heater, Espar, Buddy Reply with quote

For what it's worth, with a little work you can remote control your heater with a text message as long as you have a little cell phone service.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1t0prN6gF64&t=92s
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westyventures
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 12, 2019 10:16 am    Post subject: Re: Heater Showdown - Propex, Chinese diesel heater, Espar, Buddy Reply with quote

Sodo wrote:

What regulator should I get?
Do you have them?


Marshall MEGR-295 or Fairview brand. I don't currently sell them.
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jimf909 Premium Member
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 12, 2019 10:17 am    Post subject: Re: Heater Showdown - Propex, Chinese diesel heater, Espar, Buddy Reply with quote

Sodo wrote:

----------Nice.
jimf909 your selfless, frequent Vanagon accessories testing, and photo-documentation (in the wild) is appreciated by all. Wink Wink
That awning would be no fun to roll up if the snow stuck to it.

jimf909 wrote:
My propane just ran out today....while I was testing my Propex 2211


Did you actually run out of propane?


Thanks. Very Happy

Edit: It turns out it actually was out of propane. The first propane fill guy who tried to fill it got it wrong (not too uncommon with ACME fill valves according to RV forums. The next guy put the max 2.6 gallons in it.

In this case I actually hadnt run out of propane. I was running the Propex while at work and it stopped after about 4 hours. I ASSUMED it was out of propane so I didnt even note the error code on the Propex.

Ill learn more later 5is morning when I setup the Manometer.
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Last edited by jimf909 on Wed Oct 23, 2019 3:49 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 12, 2019 10:19 am    Post subject: Re: Heater Showdown - Propex, Chinese diesel heater, Espar, Buddy Reply with quote

Posting this link here for reference. Karl provides helpful trouble-shooting in here (hoping its not too far off topic:

https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=715748
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Syncro Jael
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 12, 2019 5:50 pm    Post subject: Re: Heater Showdown - Propex, Chinese diesel heater, Espar, Buddy Reply with quote

So last night I took the van up to Cat Peak in Utah, 9,750ft, for a high altitude test with the Diesel Heater.

It only got down to 28f. I was hoping for colder. But the heater ran most of the night on it's low setting P-1.3 1450 RPM. This kept the interior temp at 23c or 73f. So this morning I set the interior thermostat temp to 26c or 79f to see how often it would cycle. About every half hour it would cycle on high for around 10 min then go back to it's low setting. I was sleeping with only a sheet. The high setting is P-4.8 4500 RPM. At this altitude I dialed the fuel back to P-4.6, this is a setting I use at 10k ft.

For those who are interested, I have purchased an Afterburner from Ray in Australia. It is a very nice controller for these heaters. Lots of good information can be utilized.

http://www.mrjones.id.au/afterburner/

Mine should arrive this week. Very Happy

Pic for Interest, I live on the other side of those high peaks in the distance.

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

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RoryGirl
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 12, 2019 6:08 pm    Post subject: Re: Heater Showdown - Propex, Chinese diesel heater, Espar, Buddy Reply with quote

Can I ask what they cost? I guess you contact him directly to buy.
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fxr
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 12, 2019 6:31 pm    Post subject: Re: Heater Showdown - Propex, Chinese diesel heater, Espar, Buddy Reply with quote

RoryGirl wrote:
Can I ask what they cost? I guess you contact him directly to buy.

From https://www.facebook.com/groups/388958075385659/le...cation=ufi


Ray wrote:


There are 2 options for the assembled Afterburner.
All prices are in AUD (subject to change):

Basic unit in a case, no GPIO (General Purpose I/O) : $70
Unit in a case with Full GPIO (single analogue input + 2 Digital inputs and outputs): $90.

Tracked P&H varies according to destination
(common destinations below):
Within Australia $13.50
US/Canada $30
UK $35
Finland/Norway/Denmark $36
Any other destination please contact me.

The GPIO extension allows you to attach external switches, or indicators/relays.
A momentary switch input can be used to start or stop the heater or even use an external thermostat.
The outputs can be set as user controlled, so you could turn on a light for instance.
I know of one person using the analogue input to read a fuel sender in his diesel tank.

Other than the ability to use the GPIO functions, the ability to remotely control, timers, special features etc remains consistent across both variants.

MQTT functionality is a recent addition which makes it a real IoT device where you can control and monitor your unit over the Internet.

Temperature sensing is via a 1m leaded sensor.

I provide a cable to adapt the Afterburner to your existing loom, is yours triangular or round?

The injection molded case is black or white.
Buttons can be black, grey, blue, red or white - your choice!

If you are interested, please also confirm your heater is compatible.
If in doubt send me a photo of your current controller.

More details can be found at http://www.mrjones.id.au/afterburner
Note that Bluetooth mode is not supported on iOS devices.

Please contact me for payment details and to ensure I can supply a unit for you as demand can be high at times and my time is limited.

Thanks and cheers,
Ray

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RoryGirl
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 12, 2019 6:33 pm    Post subject: Re: Heater Showdown - Propex, Chinese diesel heater, Espar, Buddy Reply with quote

Thanks!
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 12, 2019 8:09 pm    Post subject: Re: Heater Showdown - Propex, Chinese diesel heater, Espar, Buddy Reply with quote

Syncro Jael wrote:
I have used a Mr. Buddy. My wife said it still made exhaust fumes and didn't like it in the van. I also did not like the moisture that it put off.

So we spent some bucks on the Propex HS2800. I went with the largest model because we winter camp a lot. High elevation camping in the Rockies usually get us in the below -0 range often. The Propex has been flawless running at altitudes up above 10,000 ft. The heat was sufficient until we got around 20f. Then we would have to pop the top down for it to keep from running constant. I also purchased twin GoWesty over-sized saddle tanks to feed the heater. Never knowing how much propane you have left always was a concern. I also purchased the Fanchers tent insulation kit. It helped but sleeping on the upper berth in the winter was still cold, especially at the rear of the pop-top. The only complaints we had with the Propex was the constant cycling on and off, and the huge temperature swing between cycling. It would get really cold before it would kick on again. The thermostat was mounted at the top of the hanging locker.

I heard the buzz about the Chinese Diesel Heaters. So I spent $165 and got one. I ran it for days in my shop on high. Then pulled the Propex, saddle tanks, and mounted in the exact footprint of the Propex. It has been flawless for all of last winter and again this year. I have the 8kw model. All they did was turn the air-fuel up to make more heat. I have since adjusted the air-fuel to burn clean. I have only had it smoke a couple times. Driving with the heater on the wind blew the flame out. I have since adjusted the exhaust and have not had any further issues. It sips fuel and instead of cycling on and off. It runs full bore until the thermostat set temp is reached, then ramps down to it's low setting. It is very quiet on low. When the van gets cold again it will ramp up to high and repeat this cycle if it is really cold. Anything above 35f ambient and it is too much heat for the van. We just open a window. Below 35 and it will just run on low unless it gets much colder. At around 15f you can hear it cycle. This really depends on your insulation. But with the pop-top up and Fanchers insulation. It would easily keep the upper bunk warm. Complaints about the diesel heater are the pump ticks. I spent a lot of effort to mount it forward and under the van so not to hear it. Other than that I have had no issues with this heater, and it really does get hot.

I never did go the Webasto, or Espar route. To much money for what they are and a few people I know had trouble with them at altitude. I am sure it is just a setting.


I'm pretty sold at this point. I dig your setup. What size is your tank?

My dad made his own aux diesel fuel tank for his F350. I'll have to hit him up.

I'd love for my fuel tank to be outside. Not sure if I want to cut into my van. I saw where someone put a tank in his engine bay. I worry about plastic holding up to heat.
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Sodo
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 12, 2019 9:02 pm    Post subject: Re: Heater Showdown - Propex, Chinese diesel heater, Espar, Buddy Reply with quote

westyventures wrote:
Sodo wrote:

What regulator should I get?
Do you have them?


Marshall MEGR-295 or Fairview brand. I don't currently sell them.


The Marshall MEGR-295 & Fairview brand units seem to be "changeover regulators" for attaching two propane tanks.
For when one tank runs low, the regulator automatically switches to the other tank.

I was curious if you could recommend a replacement regulator capable of suppling the Propex and Westy stove simultaneously.
So as to not disturb my coffee ritual. Wink

I like those $160 heaters, but not sure I'd want to add a third tank to my van. (Gasoline+propane+diesel). Doing the 1-lb on propane for the stove looks like a good method.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 12, 2019 9:14 pm    Post subject: Re: Heater Showdown - Propex, Chinese diesel heater, Espar, Buddy Reply with quote

I like erste's solution

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 12, 2019 9:34 pm    Post subject: Re: Heater Showdown - Propex, Chinese diesel heater, Espar, Buddy Reply with quote

Sodo wrote:

The Marshall MEGR-295 & Fairview brand units seem to be "changeover regulators" for attaching two propane tanks.
For when one tank runs low, the regulator automatically switches to the other tank.

I was curious if you could recommend a replacement regulator capable of suppling the Propex and Westy stove simultaneously.
So as to not disturb my coffee ritual. Wink


The 295 I quoted is a std 2-stage regulator, NOT a changeover.
https://www.rvupgradestore.com/Two-Stage-Side-Vent-Propane-Regulator-p/06-0447.htm
Fairview: https://www.ebay.com/itm/Fairview-RV-Camper-LP-Pro...2598949103
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 12, 2019 10:01 pm    Post subject: Re: Heater Showdown - Propex, Chinese diesel heater, Espar, Buddy Reply with quote

FWIW, K1 (kerosene) is very different from 1-D or 2-D, producing a hotter, cleaner burn. There is no way to 'adjust away' carbon buildup in diesel furnaces running solely on diesel. It becomes a maintenance chore every few years - unless you run the heaters on high often and/or on K1 a few times a year.
As well, you can't produce 60% more output with the same heater merely by turning up the fuel. You may get 10% by overfueling - if you manage to keep the air-fuel ratios close to right for a clean burn - but risk carbon buildup. BTU isn't directly produced by output temperature, it also requires more heat exchanger surface area for the air to flow over.
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2019 9:03 am    Post subject: Re: Heater Showdown - Propex, Chinese diesel heater, Espar, Buddy Reply with quote

RoryGirl wrote:
I like erste's solution

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Is that in a rear wheel well, exposed to debris thrown up from the tire? Confused
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2019 9:12 pm    Post subject: Re: Heater Showdown - Propex, Chinese diesel heater, Espar, Buddy Reply with quote

I was at Webasto Air Top Petrol/gas for ease of tapping into the fuel tank.

However, after looking into Syncro Joel's afterburner controller, I'm pretty sold. The guy who makes it has a Gitlab account with the code for that controller. I want to control my heater by bluetooth, thermostat, and maybe WiFi/3g. I just want the challenge ya feel?

So, I bought a $210 amazon prime shipped 5k diesel heater. It is Tuesday night and I'll have it in time for the weekend. For now I'll put the fuel tank where the stock westy fridge went. I'm hoping to talk my dad into making me an aluminum box for my heater. I was thinking about putting the alum box where the westy propane tank went and hope to route the heat inside and out where the circuit breaker is (I need to convert to GFCI also).
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erste
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2019 9:44 pm    Post subject: Re: Heater Showdown - Propex, Chinese diesel heater, Espar, Buddy Reply with quote

syncrodoka wrote:
Is that in a rear wheel well, exposed to debris thrown up from the tire? Confused

Yes. I was going to bend up a shield for it but am planning to just T back into the fuel line and get rid of this tank instead.

With mudflaps installed, I don't really think rocks are a huge problem, but agree that the location isn't ideal. It was one spot I found that I could fill the tank without opening the engine cover or laying on the ground. As I said in another thread, that tank can be filled with a nozzle at the pump very easily. Otherwise this location is a hassle to fill unless you have a pump for your container, or your container is small.

In other heater related news, the fuel pump on my D2 stopped making noise/working this past weekend. Brick wall

shagginwagon83 wrote:
For now I'll put the fuel tank where the stock westy fridge went.

Nice choice taking the plunge with that heater! The upgradability / tinkering of the china units could be a fun advantage over the others. I'd suggest a location outside the van for the tank though. YMMV but I had a gallon of kerosene bounce around, split the plastic, and very slowly leak out. That was to refill my aux tank. Spills are inevitable and any leak is going to be more of an issue inside the van than out.

Where are you planning to mount the heater?
One thing I'd suggest is to make sure to route the exhaust opposite the sliding door.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2019 10:39 pm    Post subject: Re: Heater Showdown - Propex, Chinese diesel heater, Espar, Buddy Reply with quote

erste wrote:

Yes. I was going to bend up a shield for it...

Drop the tank down and inspect the wheel well behind it for rock dents. You could look at the driver side but I think the passenger side would have more thrown rocks.

Number of dents will tell you if rocks are a concern.
30 years of evidence is long enough to conclude if that area is safe for a plastic tank.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2019 6:44 am    Post subject: Re: Heater Showdown - Propex, Chinese diesel heater, Espar, Buddy Reply with quote

Sodo wrote:
erste wrote:

Yes. I was going to bend up a shield for it...

Drop the tank down and inspect the wheel well behind it for rock dents. You could look at the driver side but I think the passenger side would have more thrown rocks.

Number of dents will tell you if rocks are a concern.
30 years of evidence is long enough to conclude if that area is safe for a plastic tank.


Is the front wheel well gasoline vent tanks any indication of being a damage area. I imagine they see the same rocks the rear wheels do.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2019 7:14 am    Post subject: Re: Heater Showdown - Propex, Chinese diesel heater, Espar, Buddy Reply with quote

The issue with that location for a fuel tank isn't really rock strikes, but rather the accumulation of sandy grit around the cap. Every time it's opened and filled, there's a good chance that stuff will fall inside.
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