$200 Portable Diesel Air Heater - 17,500 BTU

Discussion in 'My Favorite Mods, Tips, Tricks (and Blunders!)' started by hour, Mar 11, 2018.

  1. hour

    hour New Member

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    I had been interested in diesel air heaters that people are installing in Sprinter vans and that truck drivers use to stay warm. The last time I had really looked in to them the cheapest offerings to be had new were in the $500 range for the Planar brand, and double that for Espar/Webastos.

    Fast forward 1.5 years and I find that a bunch of clones are being produced and sold on eBay for $200. I have a 2017 pop up with a brand new Suburban furnace that works fine, sweats me out in 10 degree weather even, but I figured this would be cool to have and I could heat tent(s) with it too.

    heater.png

    Parts
    $200 eBay 5kw diesel air heater
    $38 Dewalt DS300 tool box
    $7 Spectre 8148 3" duct mounting plate (for the cool side)
    $15 Spectre 81413 3" maf sensor plate (metal, for the hot side)
    $0 Metal plate found in garage for exhaust and inlet holes
    $0 Exhaust header wrap scraps (not necessary)
    $260

    Stats

    17,500 BTU
    200+ degree output
    20lbs assembled weight including tool box
    9 hours per gallon on HIGH non-stop, consuming 2 amps 12v dc

    First, these are safe to have mounted inside and countless vans, RVs, and trucks have these setups. The exhaust and combustion intake don't contact the air being circulated through the unit. A large aluminum heat sink is inside, which heats up and air is blown over that.

    These are also camp site friendly, the exhaust does sound a bit like a jet engine on my 2 foot pipe but you could buy a longer 26mm flexible exhaust pipe or even a small engine muffler. Espar and Planar both have 24-26mm mufflers for sale, too. There's 30 seconds of diesel smell out of the exhaust until it gets running, and then its hardly noticeable.

    No need for elaborate steps. I used a 3 1/8" hole saw and drilled two holes on either end of the Dewalt box. I used some aluminum bar and scrap to mount the unit and ensure it wasn't capable of moving. I cut out a section of the front of the tool box and mounted a metal plate with two holes drilled in it for intake/exhaust. This ensures that nothing starts to melt.

    The cloud is e-cigarette in first pic, not smoke :)

    inside.JPG inlet.JPG outlet_hot.JPG exhaust_plate.JPG

    And outlet temp -> exhaust temp (extremely hot!)

    temp_outlet.JPG temp_exhaust.JPG
     
  2. jnc

    jnc Welcome from New Hampshire

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    Thanks for the Post.
     
  3. Wrenchgear

    Wrenchgear Near Elmira, Southern Ontario

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    Thats a lot of heat coming out of a small package, no doubt. So where will the tool box sit while running? Will you have it out on the tongue area and then duct the hot air inside, or will it be under a dinette seat, and vent the exhaust outside through a hole in the Pup body?
     
  4. mpking

    mpking Well-Known Member

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    Where do you store the Diesel? Tank in a truck bed?

    Also, is that 2 amps per hour (when running continuously)?
     
  5. hour

    hour New Member

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    Not sure, it's safe to run inside and if I created some wedge shaped baffle (with double walled insulated exhaust pass through) I could set it by the sink or on the dinette in the pup and partially unzip one of the walls to reveal a similar wedge shaped void.

    If I felt like drilling through the floor I could put two three inch marine deck plates in, screwed up tight when not in use.

    Alternately I could create two wedge baffle things and run the cool and hot side in and out, requiring me to support the tool box at sink height, outside the camper.

    I'll post up pics when I figure out the best way to go about this.

    I'm just going to go with a 10L / 2.68gal jerry can for diesel and strap it to the truck's roof rack when I set off. Will definitely be enough for weekend / extended weekend trips in any weather conditions.

    It's 2 amps continuous load on the battery to run at high. Looks like my 19,000 BTU Suburban furnace consumes 2.7 - 3.1 amps so that works for me.
     
  6. inthedirt

    inthedirt Active Member

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    Any updates on this?
     
  7. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

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    He was last on the site 4 months after he made that. Hope he didnt blow himself up!
     

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