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Diesel Heater
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Picture of Nick&Emily
posted
Hi all,

In the next few weeks I'll be working on a couple updates to our '93 Breakaway. The first of which is installing a diesel heater.

We had a similar smaller unit in our truck camper and loved it. It sips fuel and power in comparison to a propane furnace but produces a consistent dry heat. We're hoping it will help us out with our cold weather traveling.

The original diesel heaters are Webasto and Eberspatcher and are German made. They are somewhere in the $1500 range for the kit and quite reliable. Cheap Chinese copies have flooded the market in recent years but many say the Lavanar brand has excellent quality for a more affordable price than the German brands. I prefer quality and I'm a fan of "buy once cry once" but I found a Lavanar Pro 5kw for $250 so I couldn't pass it up.

Ideally the diesel heater can run continuously in colder weather as it's speed is variable. The furnace could still be usable if needed.

I'll be installing it in the next couple of days if things go according to plan. I have found space in the same general area as the propane heater and I am planning to run my ductwork parallel to the original propane furnace.

I had considered venting it into the propane furnace's airbox and sharing the same duct work. My concern is if I do use them both at the same time the pressure from the furnace fan might be too strong for the small diesel heaters fan.

Thoughts?
 
Posts: 9 | Location: Athens, Georgia | Member Since: 09-10-2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Supporting Member of Barthmobile.com 3/22
Picture of Dana
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Being from Minnesnowta and freezing at 50 personally I am very interested in you project. I like the possibility of using the same ductwork. I have no suggestions because I have never talked to anyone who has used.

My only concern would be a leak. Sniffer turns off propane. The stink of diesel doesn’t go away.


Dana & Lynn
1997 38ft Monarch front entry
Spartan Mountain Master Chassis
Cummins 8.3 325hp
Allison MD-3060 6 speed
22.5 11R
Cummins Factory Exhaust Brake
8000 watt Quiet Diesel Generator
9608-M0022-38MI-4C
Christened Midnight

1972 22ft
Christened Camp Barth
 
Posts: 1233 | Location: Waseca, Minnesota | Member Since: 12-09-2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Official Barth Junkie
Supporting Member of Barthmobile.com 2/22
Picture of Steve VW
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I think the diesel heater makes a lot of sense. The Btu content of diesel is much higher than propane. Considering the cost of propane, the cost to heat with it is much higher.

Those quality diesel heaters are very nice. Tom and Nancy have a Foretravel with the Aqua Hot system. It has a circulating hot water system with a small diesel boiler. Nice even heat, quiet, and heats the storage bays too.

I would also want to check the back pressure on the flue to be sure both heaters can share it.

This sounds like a great project. Keep us posted on your progress! Thumbs Up


9708-M0037-37MM-01
"98" Monarch 37
Spartan MM, 6 spd Allison
Cummins 8.3 300 hp
 
Posts: 4781 | Location: Kalkaska, MI | Member Since: 02-04-2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Supporting Member of Barthmobile.com 6/19
Picture of Harold,Cat&Sam
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I have considered these myself . Gary Carter has them in his Breakaway .
Will be interesting to see your installation . Mechanic


Harold
Cat
Sam Miniature Schnauzer
3.8.2009 - 9.24.2021

93 30ft Breakaway
9209-3823-30BS-11B

KE5WCW
 
Posts: 465 | Location: Mooringsport,LA | Member Since: 05-30-2019Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Supporting Member of Barthmobile.com 1/21
Picture of Pirate19
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Both the 2K and 5K Lavaner heaters apparently will not be avail in the US until Fall'22 (assuming LA port shipping containers...,CCP doesn't invade ..., Hell freezes over).

Very interesting project Nick. Please document with pic's.. If you wish PM me for my email address, email/attach pic's to me and I will get them posted. I have contacts.
Tin Foil Hat Club


'92 Breakaway
Cummins 190hp, No Modifications
Allison AT542
Floor Plan 30-BS-11B
9205-3798-30BS11B
 
Posts: 346 | Location: USA | Member Since: 11-07-2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of Nick&Emily
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Well, the heater is installed and working like a champ.

I ended up keeping the diesel heater ducting parallel to the original propane furnace ducting and replacing all the ducting on the furnace while I was in there. I had lots of help from my father-in-law.

The original propane furnace lines were (1) 4” line to the bedroom (2) 4” lines to the front (couch), and (1) to the bathroom that was stepped down from 4” to 2” then back to 4” for the vent itself. The lines to the front appear to be installed before the cabinets and were very difficult to remove due to the tight space. There was no possible way to get (2) 4” lines back in there without removing the couch and the toilet so I put back (2) 3” lines and even that was a tight squeeze. One of these went to the propane and one to the diesel heater. This reduced the ducting below the minimum flow for the furnace according to the manual so I opened the bathroom vent to a 4” all the way through which puts it right at the limit.





The diesel heater got (1) 3” vent to the bedroom and took (1) of the front 3” vents from the propane furnace to the very front of the coach under the couch.



Now they can run separately or parallel. We’ve seen a couple nights on our current trip down to 18-20F and the 5k diesel heater has kept the coach around 65F in the back and 55F in the front at the coldest. We turn on the furnace to warm up everything in the mornings and it does that very quickly. Especially the bathroom with its new 4” duct.



The diesel heater is drawing from the 80gal diesel tank and I think is using less than 2 gal over a day of running. The draw tube is set about 3” from the bottom of the tank so it can’t run us much below ¼ of a tank at the lowest and will never leave us stranded. The battery life is much better than running the big ol furnace all the time too.











The diesel heater is pretty well sealed against diesel fumes getting inside. The intake and exhaust for the combustion chamber are outside near the rear axle. The heater is mounted on a metal plate with a rubber gasket and sealed to the floor with a window type sealant. Internally it’s just an aluminum heat exchanger that’s quite durable. The only real common issue is soot buildup in the combustion chamber. But we do have a CO detector just incase!

We are loving it.



If I was going to spend a lot of time in cold weather, I would probably install two of these heaters. One in the back and one in the front under the couch. That would mean running the ducting shorter distances and give a little more adjustability for keeping the front warmer when needed.
 
Posts: 9 | Location: Athens, Georgia | Member Since: 09-10-2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Official Barth Junkie
Supporting Member of Barthmobile.com 2/22
Picture of Steve VW
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Sweet! That looks like a very nice installation. We will look forward to your reports as you enjoy your work.

Bravo for the big duct to the bathroom. (Who can complain about a warm bathroom!) Thumbs Up ROTFLMAO


9708-M0037-37MM-01
"98" Monarch 37
Spartan MM, 6 spd Allison
Cummins 8.3 300 hp
 
Posts: 4781 | Location: Kalkaska, MI | Member Since: 02-04-2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Supporting Member of Barthmobile.com 6/19
Picture of Harold,Cat&Sam
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Looks great Smiler . Excellent documentation and review. Computer , thanks Tooling Along


Harold
Cat
Sam Miniature Schnauzer
3.8.2009 - 9.24.2021

93 30ft Breakaway
9209-3823-30BS-11B

KE5WCW
 
Posts: 465 | Location: Mooringsport,LA | Member Since: 05-30-2019Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Supporting Member of Barthmobile.com 3/22
Picture of Dana
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Very nice. Looks like a great strategically placed installation. Glad it is working well.

We’re you able to use a preexisting fitting to run your line in the tank?


Dana & Lynn
1997 38ft Monarch front entry
Spartan Mountain Master Chassis
Cummins 8.3 325hp
Allison MD-3060 6 speed
22.5 11R
Cummins Factory Exhaust Brake
8000 watt Quiet Diesel Generator
9608-M0022-38MI-4C
Christened Midnight

1972 22ft
Christened Camp Barth
 
Posts: 1233 | Location: Waseca, Minnesota | Member Since: 12-09-2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of Nick&Emily
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Thanks, we sure like the warm bathroom!



Dana, I used a part of the heater kit that was a "draw straw" and drilled and tapped threads for it into a large 2.5" steel plug that was in the back side of the fuel tank.

With the fuel down just below half I was going to remove the plug to drill and tap but I couldn't get it to budge even with an over night soaking in rust penetrant. So it was done in place. There is a chance I got a steel shaving or two in the tank with that method but I greased the drill bit and took it slow to minimize that. I'm betting there's a lot more trash in the tank than that after 29 years.
 
Posts: 9 | Location: Athens, Georgia | Member Since: 09-10-2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Supporting Member of Barthmobile.com 1/21
Picture of Duane88
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Wow; I would have been afraid of creating a spark or a hot chip.


25 Ft Glassnose, 2792, 1982
454 Engine
Plain Jane Interior
Original Paint
 
Posts: 1777 | Location: Clinton Iowa | Member Since: 04-02-2017Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Official Barth Junkie
Supporting Member of Barthmobile.com 2/22
Picture of Steve VW
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That's why we diesel guys are scared of gasoline...

#1 cause of fires in RVs and boats. Propane is a big culprit also. If I had a gasoline engine I would have an engine fire suppression system as well as portable units. Diesel fuel is pretty hard to ignite actually.

If you throw a match into a bucket of gas, run away! If you try it with diesel the match will go out.


9708-M0037-37MM-01
"98" Monarch 37
Spartan MM, 6 spd Allison
Cummins 8.3 300 hp
 
Posts: 4781 | Location: Kalkaska, MI | Member Since: 02-04-2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Supporting Member of Barthmobile.com 1/21
Picture of ccctimtation
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Steve, you have to wait until the fumes fill the bucket then shove the match into the vapor quickly so it is extinguished. I think this was part of the fireman's demo when we were getting the merit badge confusion


It's amazing what you find when you go look.
 
Posts: 1011 | Location: St. Charles, MO, USA | Member Since: 10-09-2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Supporting Member of Barthmobile.com 1/21
Picture of ccctimtation
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Interesting time stamps, 505,606, this will destroy the sequence. If a post is made at 707 I will delete this to preserve the sequence.


It's amazing what you find when you go look.
 
Posts: 1011 | Location: St. Charles, MO, USA | Member Since: 10-09-2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Official Barth Junkie
Supporting Member of Barthmobile.com 2/22
Picture of Steve VW
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Fuel blends vary (ie gasoline, gasohol, diesel 1 and 2) but the flash point for gasoline is about -45C (-10F) and diesel is about 55C (130F).

This is the minimum temperature where a spark can ignite the vapors in air at normal pressure. Gasoline will flash at any normal environmental temperature, but the diesel must be warmed above 130 to flash. At room temperature then, diesel is much safer than gasoline. At engine operating temperatures, though, both can flash.

Gasoline is also less dense than fuel oil. (Gasoline about 6 lbs/gal and diesel about 7 lbs/gal.) In bulk it will heat up more quicky than diesel.


9708-M0037-37MM-01
"98" Monarch 37
Spartan MM, 6 spd Allison
Cummins 8.3 300 hp
 
Posts: 4781 | Location: Kalkaska, MI | Member Since: 02-04-2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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