Auxiliary (non-factory) heat and heaters


detter

New member
Just a suggestion for diesel owners. Check out a big-rig wrecking yard. They often use 'Espar' D4 forced air heaters for the attached cab and you might pick one up as I did for $600.00. Works great and parts are available in the yellow pages. Multi speed fan drawing as little as 0.8 amp on low with an unlimited fuel supply about 1 liter per night. I placed the heater starboard under the rear seat and boxed it in; just remember to separate the interior air intake/exhaust ports as far as possible. Also, (exteriorly) buy 5 feet of the steel flex exhaust pipe and 4 feet of air intake. Draw intake air right side up near engine and place exhaust left side in front of rear wheel. Good Luck
Any questions? >>detterATauracom.com<<
 

powderhippie

New member
I do a lot of camping in extreme cold and found out long ago that the catalytic heaters mentioned in this forum couldn't meet my needs. I installed a vented heater two winters ago with an auxiliary fan and unfortunately when the temps dropped below 20F I was pulling out my smelly Winter down sleeping bag again. I researched heaters and finally decided on a thermastatically controlled direct vented with internal blower 12,000 BTU Atwood Everest Star II model. This heater has the lowest Amp draw of any other comparable heater on the market - 1.8A - and has even been used at Everest Base Camp for expedition support! It took me over two weeks to install because I had to redesign my entire LP gas and auxilliary electrical system. End result is it runs like a Rolex and works like a dream! Thanks Icarus for the extenda-stay adapter idea - In Winter I can now simply attach my external tank to my existing LP system. I installed a modern two-stage regulator and all new rubber hoses to range, fridge, and heater. Cabinet modifications were required and I could only find 3/4" particle board melamine to match existing gray theme. I will soon post pictures for those interested.
 

westyman

New member
In case anyone has questions, needs service, or is interested in installing a Propex heater: I'm the US importer and service rep for Propex (and also the supplier to Van-Cafe and Condelli in Canada), so feel free to check out the site at www.propexusa.com.
Karl
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
Transferred to consolidate same topic.

azlab Junior Member Posted January 21, 2007 01:23 AM

Hi,
I just joined this group, so I hope I do this right.

I have a '90 Westy, owned since new, with 178K miles. Two years ago I picked up a '88 Westy with 54K miles. The '88 had a Trumatic E1800 heater and a second propane tank underneath, both of which I transferred to the '90. The heater (an older, no longer made model from 1989) worked fine for a year and half, then became intermittent and now works not at all. Well, the igniter works and the flame starts, but after few seconds the unit shuts down, with the red LED on. I have been unable to get any support from Truma in Germany or the UK (this heater was never sold in NA).

I have tried almost everything. It is getting gas, I have tried it on both tanks, on a just-filled tank, different temperatures and altitudes. Tried connecting it directly to the regulator, by-passing the copper lines. It has the correct voltage, I have two batteries.

I have disassembled it many times, cleaned & oiled the motor, cleaned the fans (there are two running off the same motor, one for combustion air, one for warm air). I have cleaned the spark electrodes and the flame rectification electrode. They are in good condition.

I have checked all other electrical connections and the two fuses, even changing them. So, it seems to come down to some thing on the controller board not getting the msg "everything OK down here, keep running". I have visually checked the board for bad joints, obvious burned components and checked & cleaned the edge connectors.

I live in a small town in AZ. There is a small RV repair place but I am not sure he would be able to test the board, and anyway, Truma did say parts are no longer available. So, any help would be appreciated. I saw the earlier posts from member Windchill, that he got a new E2400 from the UK, but saw no follow-ups. Anyone else able to buy a new Trumatic directly from Europe?

Thanks,
Jerry
 

icarus

Moderator
Just a guess,,,,

Since it fires fine and then runs for a bit it sounds like a over heat limit device failure. Most gas heaters have a overheat limit switch of some sort to shut them down in case of over heat. Sometimes this is a thermocouple, or thermodisc type device. It is ususaly located on the outside of the heat exchanger or the flue vent.

You may be able to bypass this device on the bench to see if it indeed is bad. Perhaps then you can replace it with some generic device that serves the purpose.

I'm not familiar with Truma, but I suspect that it works the same way as residential Rinnai type heaters or Propex's. It would help if you could get a wiring diagram.

Good luck.
Icarus
 

brecka99

New member
Thanks for keeping me in the right forum, and thanks for the suggestion about the overheat limit device.
Yes, it does have one, right at the end of the warm air discharge tube. It has two components, their tech names I don't know, but one is a silver colored tube about 1/2" long, with what looks like a ceramic cap on one end. The other is smaller, less than 1/4" long, with red tips.
There is no "sail-switch" type device like I see described on U.S. heaters.
So, it is worth a try bypassing the overheat device.
I have a parts diagram and list, but Truma (when they did answer) said the wiring schematics and troubleshooting info was no longer available.
Jerry
 

icarus

Moderator
I may be way out to lunch here, and if so Capt. Mike should delete,,,

Does one of the devices you describe have a wireing component to it? It sounds like the device that looks like a tube is a thermocouple, If so it should thread into the gas valve assy, either as a hold OFF or Hood ON device, possibly suspect.

If the second component has wiring it should (probably) wire to the control board, acting as a high limit switch. Logic tells me that it should be normaly open and close on over heat. This assumes that in a defect situation it would be open and then not be dangerous. If it were normaly closed, if it were defective it could stay open and present a danger. I would test the leads with a meter, and then see what happens in a safe bench test with the device bypassed.

I suspect that the control board allows the unit to fire for a short period of time, overriding the limit until it gets warm.

As I say, I amy be way out to lunch on this, but barring any other ways to test, I am famous for going forward until I a have unequivably wrecked it,,,then I know it's broken. In for a dime in for a dollar,

Good luck,

Icarus
 

brecka99

New member
A little more info about my Trumatic e1800.
I do have a parts diagram, but not an electrical schematic.
About the two components I mentioned that are located in the warm air exit,
they are mounted on what I would call stand-offs, the larger one is described as a fuse, 184ºC, and there is continuity through it. The other, very small one is described as temperature sensor, and there is no continuity.
I will attempt another bench test tomorrow.
 

icarus

Moderator
Try heating the "temp sensor" with a flame (torch) gently and see if it goes from "open" to "closed"

Icarus
 

brecka99

New member
Continuing saga of Trumatic E1800.
Well, discovered the temp. sensor is what tells the fan to keep running to exhaust residual heat, and I had experienced this when the unit worked. After it had run for a while and I shut it down, the fan would come back on for a few minutes. Heating it or jumpering it turns the fan on, whether the unit is on or not, and locks out normal operation. Otherwise the unit is working (not) as before. Fan on for several seconds, solenoid valve opens, gas flows, spark, flame and shut down after a few seconds.
I don't know if I mentioned, these are two speed units (which is why I like it over the Propex). Nevertheless, it doesn't work properly on either speed .
The last thing I did today was check continuity from the flame rectification electrode to the terminal strip in the housing and from there on to the multi-pin connector at the controller board.
More suggestions welcome, but I think I may take it over to the local RV place and let him look at it to see if he even wants to try.
Jerry
 
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brecka99

New member
Trumatic e1800, the final chapter, for now.
I took it to the local RV place and it turned out he has seen a few, but not for a long time. At one point he thought it might be the igniter, because it continued to spark even after the flame started, until I pointed out that the wire from the spark rectification electrode does not go to the igniter, but to the controller board. So, we agree it is most likely one of the chip sets on the board and his test equipment is not up to testing the German board.
German E-Bay has used E1800's and at least one board, but they are for 50 mbar gas pressure or the seller won't ship out of Europe.
Thanks, Icarus, for your help.
Jerry
 

icarus

Moderator
Jerry,

Sorry to hear you are at the end of your rope. It sounds like the same trouble I had chasing some webasto coolant heater problems. I did buy a new control unit via German e-bay with mixed results. In the end, I finaly bailed a good nickel after bad and bought a propex. Never was happier.

Icarus
 

brecka99

New member
A new chapter, for me, has opened in regards to heating my '90 Westy.
And there are some questions at the end.
Unable to fix the Trumatic (German) heater, I bought the Propex HS2000. It was kind of a difficult install, because I put it where the old one had been, the little compartment to the left of the fridge (or where my fridge would be if I still used it). The partition next to the water tank had already been removed and I already had gas and electrical connections.
The opening where the circuit breaker had been was enlarged for the hot air outlet. The CB was piggy-backed onto the back of the 110 Volt outlet box.
Finally got it in and working and decided to bump up the gas pressure to the recommended 13" W.C. I had to turn the reg. around so I could get at the adjusting knob, so while I was at it, I decided to make all new propane lines going into the interior to replace the ones previously badly bent when I replaced the old regulator with the newer, longer one.
So, off to the South Rim of The Grand Canyon for a shake-down cruise. Day-time temps in the 50's and 60's, nights 20's and 30's, elevation just under 7,000', and one really miserable windy day!
All is working well for 3 days & nights, lots of heat, but with the cold and wind, some nights I dropped the top.
Fourth morning I woke up to see the LED flashing the code for "no gas". The stove still worked, but I switched to the #2 tank anyway, which I know is full. Still says "no gas". Tried several times over the next 2 hours, switching on and off, switching tanks, etc. No luck. So I left for home and at a lunch stop, tried it again and it works and still works.
A call to PropexUSA didn't provide any real
answers, except maybe it is altitude related and he has ordered some larger gas jets.
I expect to be camping later at 9,000 and 10,000'.
Okay, here are questions:
Has anyone else experienced similar problems where it works fine and then doesn't?
Could it be related to elevation, ambient temps or amount of propane remaining in the tank?
Page 6 of the manual states that when the set temp is reached, the motor switches off and the red LED will dim indicating 'standby'. Mine doesn't, does yours?
I find the heater pretty noisy with the burner making kind of a burbling or growling noise, which is somewhat masked when the blower kicks up to the higher speed. What does yours sound like?
Any comments or info will be appreciated.

Jerry
 
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icarus

Moderator
Two notes about propane,,,maybe not related but,,

Tank pressure drops with temp, but it has to get real cold before it will not flow to regulated pressure. Second, pressure also decreases with altitude. I suppose it is possible that the combination of the two is causing your problems.

My propex has always worked great at all temps/alts. I'd be a bit leery of changing the orifices without propex advice however. You might check the gas pressure with a manometer at the regulator.

Good luck

Icarus
 

brecka99

New member
Thanks for the reply.
I also suspected the problem might be a combination of temperature, altitude and amount of gas left in the tank.
Any change out of the gas jet would have to be done by the distributor, and I am not ready to remove the unit and go through that.
I made a U-tube manometer and I consider it to be pretty accurate. It started off with 11" W.C., which is what I understand the regulators are factory set at. I increased it to 13".
Jerry
 

cwphoto

New member
looks like most of these posts are quite old by now, but did want to make one comment about the Atwoods.
Atwood has released a model 8012, that draws 1.8 amps. It will fit in the cabinet next to the fridge if one adds a 3/4" frame to the front. Go Westy has installed these in a number of vans, including a $68,000 syncro. If installed properly, the finished product can look quite eloquent. The furnace is rated at 12,000 BTU and is thermostatically controlled. It vents through the side wall, so it is safe for overnight use. You can find these on eBay for about $270, which makes them much more economical than the Propex. They are not as efficient as the Propex, (76% vs. 93%) but it would take many, many years to realize or recoup the savings of the more efficient Propex. They are much more labor-intensive to install, so if you do not have carpentry and electrical skills, I would not advise it.


Troy
89 Westy
 

johnaogren

New member
Troy,

Can you post photos of the Atwood 8012 installation next to the fridge? This looks to me like the best trade-off between functionality and space utilization of all the space heating solutions that I've seen discussed here.

Thanks,
John

[Moderator: cwphoto(Troy) has his email blocked. If you read this, contact Capt. Mike for assistance in posting on the Tech Drawings page.]
 

skeye

New member
Atwood 8012 mounting options

In a previously owned 82 Westy, I installed the Atwood 8012 furnace in the bottom cabinet, left of fridge. Actually an ideal position...but since it slightly deeper than the cabinet, it requires some custom cutting.

In my "new" 91 Westy, I had first installed a Propex 1800, but soon realized that in our well-below freezing winter temps, the little thing just plain could not bring up the inside of the van to anywhere near the cozy comfort zone of the Atwood. AND, the Atwood is quieter...the Propex has a rather annoying high pitched fan noise. If it weren't for the noise and lower heat, it truly is a easy-to-install, perfectly running unit.

With new Atwood just delivered today, contemplating if other Westy owners have installed their Atwood in different locations....like in the fridge hole, minus the fridge, or in the cabinet to the right of the fridge....I don't think there is any possible way it could fit under the rear seat.

Curious & Cold,
Gary
 

lizrsteinke

New member
1977 Westfalia auxillary heat questions

Greetings!

We are the proud owners of a 1977 Volkswagen Westfalia.There is what looks like an auxillary heater in the rear left by the control panel next to the thermostat for the fridge and we cant figure out how it works :( It looks like it is stock and almost resembles a heating element or something.

We were thinking a Propex HS2000 might be the way to go if we cant get working/figure out the heater inside the bus. Can anyone provide some guidance on where we can find documentation or how to get it working before we make the investment on the new heater. Any experiences/tips on installing this particular heater in a 1977 westfalia?

Thanks for all the help!!
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
What you have is definately aftermarket. The '77 VW factory auxiliary heater controls are a green knob on the dash that uses the standard heater vents. Diagrams, wiring, etc. for it are in the Tech Drawings.
 

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