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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When I finally get my Transit, some day, I plan to install a 12,000 btu Dickinson hot water forced air heater using the factory auxiliary heater plumbing option. I will mount the heater as close as possible to the termination of the factory plumbing. I'm thinking that no additional pump will be required, but I would like to hear from someone who has done this, or something similar, to confirm the necessity/non-necessity of an additional coolant pump.
 

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When I finally get my Transit, some day, I plan to install a 12,000 btu Dickinson hot water forced air heater using the factory auxiliary heater plumbing option. I will mount the heater as close as possible to the termination of the factory plumbing. I'm thinking that no additional pump will be required, but I would like to hear from someone who has done this, or something similar, to confirm the necessity/non-necessity of an additional coolant pump.
If your only using the system when the engine is running, you shouldn't need another pump. there are a few threads on hydronic heat with additional heaters like the espar that can provide heat with the engine off. these systems require their own pump.
 

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Look up the espar d5, it will sip a lot less fuel than idling the engine. but depending it might be a better solution. (I might be wrong about the model number)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
This is only for when the engine is running and I am driving (not idling).
 

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I have had the Dickinson propane fireplace heater in my Transit for five years now. Well built, No problems. Cold weather camping while parked.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I have had the Dickinson propane fireplace heater in my Transit for five years now. Well built, No problems. Cold weather camping while parked.
I have one of those in my current camper. I agree that it is well built, and I have not had any problems either (9 years now). However, two things I don't like about it: the fan is too loud and it doesn't put out enough heat (for my conditions). I do like it, but for my conditions it is inadequate. I will be putting a Propex in my Transit conversion. It is possible I might also install the Dickinson propane as well, as a backup / mild weather unit. It is very reliable, little to go wrong. But the hydronic Dickinson is for when I am driving, particularly down the Alaska Highway in the winter. I want to be able to keep the space warm without burning propane while underway (free heat). This will allow me to carry less propane, probably a single 20 pound tank.
 

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Somebody posted here a while back that they added a hydronic heater like that one using the OEM auxiliary heater hookup and it didn't really work till he added a coolant pump. I'll see if I can dig up the post.

EDIT: found it, @Mobileempire says he needed the pump:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Somebody posted here a while back that they added a hydronic heater like that one using the OEM auxiliary heater hookup and it didn't really work till he added a coolant pump. I'll see if I can dig up the post.

EDIT: found it, @Mobileempire says he needed the pump:
Thanks @Pajarojo I saw that thread. He also says "Without the pump the van wouldn't blow hot air during low rpms or at idle" so I was confused by that. I'm hoping to hear from some others for additional feedback. Like I said, I don't care if it doesn't work at idle. My only concern is that it works while underway.
 

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Thanks @Pajarojo I saw that thread. He also says "Without the pump the van wouldn't blow hot air during low rpms or at idle" so I was confused by that. I'm hoping to hear from some others for additional feedback. Like I said, I don't care if it doesn't work at idle. My only concern is that it works while underway.
I'm going to be plumbing a hot water heater off of the Auxiliary Heater Prep Package takeoff so I'm hoping he'll weigh in as well. I'd like to keep the amount of componentry I plumb into the van's coolant system to a minimum to avoid failure points but I think I probably will end up needing a pump.
 

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I'm going to be plumbing a hot water heater off of the Auxiliary Heater Prep Package takeoff so I'm hoping he'll weigh in as well. I'd like to keep the amount of componentry I plumb into the van's coolant system to a minimum to avoid failure points but I think I probably will end up needing a pump.
From my research on this topic, the best way that I think making minimum impact to the Van coolant system is to add a heat exchanger next to the engine as shown below. This way, if the RED pipe is leaked or Pump fail, it make no impact to the engine at all. Blue pipe is shorted and is outside of the element, protected by the engine department. This option also works in Idle as the Val coolant system does not need to be pumped to the back of the Van

Font Rectangle Screenshot Parallel Logo
 

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Coolant flow for the Ecoboost, The Aux heater is #33.
Unless I'm missing it somewhere, Ford doesn't appear to supply an additional pump to supply the aux heater, so that's promising - unless the Aux heater, #33 contains a pump.
With it just Tee'd off of the coolant line like that, I don't see a reason why the coolant would really flow through the aux heater unless there is a check valve between the supply and return Tee though.
 

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Unless I'm missing it somewhere, Ford doesn't appear to supply an additional pump to supply the aux heater, so that's promising - unless the Aux heater, #33 contains a pump.
With it just Tee'd off of the coolant line like that, I don't see a reason why the coolant would really flow through the aux heater unless there is a check valve between the supply and return Tee though.
From what I have read on this forum is that you only get into trouble and need a pump when your heater is mounted near the back of the van.
The Ford rear heater core mounts under the passenger seat close to the engine.
 

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The Heater Prep Package, Just remove the U-shaped rubber tube and hook your choice of heater up.

Motor vehicle Hood Car Vehicle Automotive design
 

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Another choice that is faster to heat and easier to install is to use a house 1500 watt electric baseboard heater.

I have a 1000 watt vehicle powered inverter and a selector switch to power the charger or a shower water heater or to run the electric air heater.

The Broan model 124 electric air heater has two 750 watt heating elements. I disconnected one to make it a 750 watt heater. A Broan model 86W thermostat is also installed. I let van get cold at night and use the remote start to start the engine for 15 minutes before getting out of bed to warm the van using the dash vents and the Broan heater. I use a 12 volt DC heating pad under the sleeping bag to stay warm at night. Have not used the electric heater while driving extended time so thermostat has not been needed.

A 14/3 electric cord is much easier to run than water pipes. No chance of water leaks. Heat is immediate without a wait for engine water to heat up. My electric heater is located next to the passenger side rear wheel housing under the bed platform.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Good point Orton. In my current camper I run an electric heater off the inverter while underway. It does work good. I don't use a baseboard heater though. I use a small air heater with a coil element and a fan that blows over it. My inverter is powerful enough that I can run it at 1500 watts and the alternator has not complained.
 

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Good point Orton. In my current camper I run an electric heater off the inverter while underway. It does work good. I don't use a baseboard heater though. I use a small air heater with a coil element and a fan that blows over it. My inverter is powerful enough that I can run it at 1500 watts and the alternator has not complained.
Baseboard heater is the same Fan blows air over the heated element. Baseboard heater is permanently installed so I do not need to store it or plug it in.

Both my house and vehicle powered inverters are 1000 watt units so I had to limit the wattage to 750 watts. With both the dash vents set to max. heat and the electric air heater the interior does get warm in 15 minutes in my climate. The standard run time for the Ford remote start is 10 minutes but I had it reprogramed to 15 minutes. 10 minutes was not a long enough run time.

Is the 1500 watt inverter powered from the Transit 12 volt system? If so does it work with engine idling? I know 1000 watt works at idle but would like to know if 1500 watts also works at idle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
No this camper is built on a F250 flatbed diesel. I don't know the rating of the alternator, but it was the biggest available at the time. The batteries are 2 X 6 volt Trojans each weighs about 110 pounds (forget the AH number). I don't regularly run it at 1500 watts, but I have more than a few times. Normally I run it at 1000 watts and normally only when underway.
 

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Another choice that is faster to heat and easier to install is to use a house 1500 watt electric baseboard heater.

I have a 1000 watt vehicle powered inverter and a selector switch to power the charger or a shower water heater or to run the electric air heater.

The Broan model 124 electric air heater has two 750 watt heating elements. I disconnected one to make it a 750 watt heater. A Broan model 86W thermostat is also installed. I let van get cold at night and use the remote start to start the engine for 15 minutes before getting out of bed to warm the van using the dash vents and the Broan heater. I use a 12 volt DC heating pad under the sleeping bag to stay warm at night. Have not used the electric heater while driving extended time so thermostat has not been needed.

A 14/3 electric cord is much easier to run than water pipes. No chance of water leaks. Heat is immediate without a wait for engine water to heat up. My electric heater is located next to the passenger side rear wheel housing under the bed platform.

The inverter to electric heater while driving is an interesting approach, and certainly easier to install if you don't need heat while not driving, or don't have other large electrical needs. however the tradeoff of having to choose between charging batteries or heat or hot water does not seem worth it to me. if you already have the rear heater prep package, adding a hydronic shouldn't be that challenging.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
The inverter to electric heater while driving is an interesting approach, and certainly easier to install if you don't need heat while not driving, or don't have other large electrical needs. however the tradeoff of having to choose between charging batteries or heat or hot water does not seem worth it to me. if you already have the rear heater prep package, adding a hydronic shouldn't be that challenging.
That's what I'm thinking. I already have the Dickinson hydronic heater from a previous project into which it never got installed. And, installing it does not preclude me from also using an electric heater. I also think the risk of water leaks is low. But it is an added complication, so that is always a consideration. I regularly travel the Alaska Highway in the winter, and so reliable heat (and plenty of it) is a high priority, right alongside a high level of insulation.
 
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