The Bastard Diesel Heater

In our old van I fitted a chinese diesel heater, it was a proper pain and I picked a stupid day to do it, I swore blind I would never do it again.

Fast forward 12 months or so and I was the proud owner of an used Eberspacher D2 diesel heater.

I bought it after looking up a few sprinter D2 or Espar installs as our friends in the US call them on the internet and was pleasantly suprised at how easy it all seemed, especially as the sprinter has an auxillary fuel tap you connect the diesel pump to, no dropping of fuel tanks and getting covered in diesel for me.

It turns out that the additional fuel tap is an optional extra and guess what, mine doesn’t have one and the only way to get to the fuel send where the tap is would be to drop the whole fuel tank.

I saved this job till I was in France as I figured I could do with some help, as with the last time around the weather was pants, plenty of rain but no snow which felt like a slight win, first things first, jack up the van and use some blocks to ensure it doesn’t drop on you resulting in death.

Next job, get under the van and undo all the bolts various youtube videos tell you to undo to the the thing out.

Once it’s out, locate the auxillary fuel tap point, it’s at the bottom of the yellow fuel sender cap without a pipe on it.

This is where the real fun begins, the fuel tap is blanked off by a solid lump of plastic, you have to get a 4mm drill bit and drill it out without going all the way through the back of the tap, I managed this without any issues by drilling very very carefully.

From here you have two options, you can either add your own fuel lines and pipes to the sender unit or you can use a kit, I used a kit from Butler Technik

You can easily source one of these kits in the UK, the advantage of using this kit is it has all the correct gauge pipes, connectors and clamps but most importantly printed instructions.

Once this was all fitted the tank was put back on which took about an hour as the bolts didn’t want to go back in to where they came out of, it continued to rain, heavily.

I then made a start on the install location for the heater unit which would be under the passenger seat, again it was a bit of a faff but eventually it went in.

I mounted the fuel pump under the van suspended on heavy duty tie wraps, this more or less eliminates the ticking noise the pump makes.

The intake and exhaust are also underneath the van, take care to route the exhaust away from the intake and also away from anywhere the exhaust gasses could get in to your van, carbon monoxide is a silent and odourless killer, it should not be underestimated and if you have one of these heaters do buy and maintain a carbon monoxide alarm as we do.

I should mention that this particular heater is from an HGV and is the 24volt model, it comes with a 12v to 24v step up transform, it’s that silver thing to the left with the yellow cable coming off it. I cabled everything as per the instructions and fired up the heater, nothing.

Double checked everything and tried again, still nothing. It took me a while to figure it out but it came down to voltage drop. My leisure battery is at the back of the van and the heater is at the front of the van. I emailed the chap I bought the heater from and asked if there was anything he could think of that might help. He advised to put the 12v to 24v transformer closer to the leisure battery, by doubling the voltage coming from the back of the van to the unit at the front you are also halving the resistance so unlikely to suffer the same level of voltage drop and he was absolutely right. As soon as I made that change the heater fired up with no problems at all.

If you are in the market for a second hand Eberspacher do look Peter up here, he recons and sells these as a hobby and is very knowledgeable.