Gas or Diesel Heater

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Gas or Diesel Heater

Postby 22y » Thu Apr 09, 2015 4:16 pm

Hi .. We are needing to update the heater on the bus from a Dickinson P12000 gas to an LPG or Diesel blower. . Not sure which is the better bet. The one we have is 4000 btu on low or 5000 on high .. and does not have the fan attached which causes it to be much less effective in heating the 7.7 m bus. Have read thru the forum of peoples experiences with Suburban and Proplex.. and there seems to have been a starting problem that was fixed in more recent models? . Can a diesel be operated while travelling? and are the blower heaters noisy from outside when operating with the thermostat? would a 2kw be sufficient ? or would the 2.4 be better? Thank you .

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Re: Gas or Diesel Heater

Postby Neddy » Thu Apr 09, 2015 4:54 pm

We have got a 1.9kW Propex LPG heater which works quite well, but there are three issues :-
(1) It is only just powerful enough for our 7 meter bus.
(2) It is quite noisy.
(3) In very cold weather, the LPG has trouble vaporising fast enough to adequately supply the heater. This, of course, is when you most need the heater!
Since we don't use it all that much we will not be replacing this heater, but with hindsight I wish I had installed a Diesel heater such as a Webasto or Eberspacher. With your 7.7 meter bus, I would go for the 4kW D4 model, rather than the smaller 2.2kW D2 model. Faster heatup. Equal low power fuel economy. Lower airflow for the same heat. (So, at the same heat output, the bigger model is actually quieter than the smaller model.)
Look carefully at the specifications of any heater you consider buying. The minimum airflow rate will give you some idea as to how quiet the unit can be. (D4 19cfm, D2 30cfm, Propex 60cfm) Get the comparative noise figures if you can. Diesel heaters usually range from 41dB to 48db. (Propex 65dB)

Then there are the Chinese copies which are considerably cheaper. I don't know how good they are.

Last edited by Neddy on Thu Apr 09, 2015 5:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Gas or Diesel Heater

Postby Nut17 » Thu Apr 09, 2015 5:12 pm

We have had a succession of new vans since 2004 and the first three have all been fitted with blown gas heaters. The Atwood and Propex models performed reasonably well but both had quite crude controls and were fairly noisy. Our last van was fitted with a Truma E2400 which proved to be relatively quiet and has a much more sophisticated control system and a superior unit to the other two. All three gas heaters suffered from the same issues in sub zero temperatures when the liquid gas would not turn to vapour and as Neddy commented"just when you need the heating the most." In our new van we have only just had our 2kw Webasto diesel heater installed. Only had it running on two nights, but when it warmed up (about 10 minutes) it idled right down and could barely be heard running. We have it ducted to the bathroom and lounge and first impressions are that it more than lives up to the reputation these heaters have established. Our van is 7.8m long, but has sandwich panel wall and roof construction and double glazing so is relatively easy to heat.
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Re: Gas or Diesel Heater

Postby 96coaster » Thu Apr 09, 2015 6:49 pm

We have a 1.9kw Propex and tend to agree that output is marginal for 7m bus when its below zero outside (we have left all windows in which probably doesn't help - roof and walls are insulated)). It's ok, but..... Very simple to install, but thermostat tends to be "coarse" i.e. difference between on/off temperature can be quite large (you watch finger tips going white while waiting for unit to fire up again).

The earlier (from what I found on internet) thermostats had an adjustable hysteresis ( difference between on / off point) but as usual the "new improved" version is not adjustable.

Probably in hindsight, installing heater in front of bus so warm air is blown towards rear (where we sit) would have been better than air blowing towards front. However rear boot locker had plenty of space hence this location. Also in hindsight should have spent extra 400-500 bucks and got a 2.8 kw (green one). Guess the unit could be replaced with larger unit.

Noise is not too bad (heard some really noisy diesel ones) just sounds like a jet engine rumbling away.
Last edited by 96coaster on Thu Apr 09, 2015 6:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Gas or Diesel Heater

Postby DerekB » Thu Apr 09, 2015 6:53 pm

I can't recommend my D4 enough. While only a 7.5m caravan, it heats quickly and stays warm, for minimal fuel usage. I haven't ducted it to the bathroom yet, but that's going to happen. Was really easy to install and even easier to use.
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Re: Gas or Diesel Heater

Postby Anasazi » Thu Apr 09, 2015 8:11 pm

I have today just finished installing and testing a Snugger 2.3kW diesel heater in our 6.5mtr Traillite.
Due to location problems in the vehicle, the ducts are quite short which perhaps is why the noise level is a bit higher than expected. Its fan noise mainly. Also, can hear the pump doing its thing so will have to look at better mounting. Otherwise, so far so good, will see how it goes in a couple of months.
A little bit of noise is better than freezing.

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Re: Gas or Diesel Heater

Postby mobilehouseoffun » Thu Apr 09, 2015 10:00 pm

We have the Webesco D4 and been using it since 2009, has not missed a beat and warms our 9 mtr bus up quickly, we live in our bus and find we seldom run it above the lowest setting, it is quiet and super cheap to run.
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Re: Gas or Diesel Heater

Postby Licorice Allsorts » Sat Apr 11, 2015 12:57 pm

For what my opinion is worth... Could I suggest you look at a Little Cracker fire - if you have room.
I had a Eberspacher which packed a sad. Too expensive to fix and the start up fan was noisy, so made the change and don't ever regret it.
Personally I would not want LPG heating or fridge, too many stories of bad stories or explosions etc.

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