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2018 Transit 150, low roof / short WB / passenger version:

I did my first winter overnight sleep in the van last weekend. I’m using a Mr. Buddy heater, hooked up to a 20 lb propane tank borrowed from the home BBQ. My plan was to run the heater for about half an hour before bed, leave it off overnight, and light it again in the morning to take the chill off before getting up.

Unfortunately I couldn’t get to sleep, and after midnight, I was so cold that I lit it again and put it on high to warm things up a bit, then turned it off. I still couldn’t get to sleep, and things got cold again. At about 3:00am I lit it again and after about 30 minutes it started to flutter and it went out, so I figured that there wasn’t as much fuel in the tank as I had thought and it had run out.

After I got home, I took the tank to get refilled, and was told that it was 1/3 full, so that told me that it was the heater’s built-in “low-oxygen” safety feature that turned the heater off, not lack of fuel.

I had the two front windows open about ½” (with rain-guards installed), so that wasn’t providing enough air, which is understandable given that the heater was located at the far rear of the van.

So my question is: Given that none of the rear windows open, how can I get some outside air to the rear of the van (without cutting holes) to keep the heater happy?
 

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It's a conundrum; getting more air into the van in cold weather cools it down, requiring more heat, which might require even more air so you don't die.

But, there are built-in holes in the very rear quarter panels that have one-way flaps to allow air out when doors are being closed. The vent out underneath, near the rear wheels. You can remove the flaps and just have screen (to keep bugs and rodents out). I don't know if that would be enough air volume, but it's something.

I'd look into some sort of Webasto or something if this is going to be a regular thing. Another work-around would be a remote starter, and the heat set on high. get cold, hit the button. But it would be nice if this were on a timer or thermostat!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
...there are built-in holes in the very rear quarter panels that have one-way flaps to allow air out when doors are being closed. The vent out underneath, near the rear wheels. You can remove the flaps and just have screen (to keep bugs and rodents out). I don't know if that would be enough air volume, but it's something.
Are these holes/flaps accessible in a factory-finished passenger van? If so, exactly where are they located?
 

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2016 148MR Cargo
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Are these holes/flaps accessible in a factory-finished passenger van? If so, exactly where are they located?
Search is your friend:
 

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It's a conundrum; getting more air into the van in cold weather cools it down, requiring more heat, which might require even more air so you don't die.

But, there are built-in holes in the very rear quarter panels that have one-way flaps to allow air out when doors are being closed. The vent out underneath, near the rear wheels. You can remove the flaps and just have screen (to keep bugs and rodents out). I don't know if that would be enough air volume, but it's something.

I'd look into some sort of Webasto or something if this is going to be a regular thing. Another work-around would be a remote starter, and the heat set on high. get cold, hit the button. But it would be nice if this were on a timer or thermostat!
The Transit remote start stops the engine after 10 minutes. It can be reprogramed to run for 15 minutes. I reprogramed mine because 10 minutes was not enough time to warm the van interior. The night before I set the dash controls for max. heat and set the vehicle powered inverter to run the 750 watt electric heater in back of van. Electric heat is instantaneous and dash heat occurs when engine water temperature warms up. Combination of both heat sources takes 15 minutes to warm van.

Original poster might consider a 12 volt DC rear seat heating pad to stay warm at night. Just found out that the brand I use has a new controller that shuts off after 45 minutes so I believe a recycle timer that is on for 1 hour and off for 1 hour could defeat the timer. Heating pad does keep you warm and is quiet.
 

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2020 T250 AWD Crew LWB HR (hopefully I'll get it by...)
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The Transit remote start stops the engine after 10 minutes. It can be reprogramed to run for 15 minutes. I reprogramed mine because 10 minutes was not enough time to warm the van interior. The night before I set the dash controls for max. heat and set the vehicle powered inverter to run the 750 watt electric heater in back of van. Electric heat is instantaneous and dash heat occurs when engine water temperature warms up. Combination of both heat sources takes 15 minutes to warm van.

Original poster might consider a 12 volt DC rear seat heating pad to stay warm at night. Just found out that the brand I use has a new controller that shuts off after 45 minutes so I believe a recycle timer that is on for 1 hour and off for 1 hour could defeat the timer. Heating pad does keep you warm and is quiet.
Orton, just to be clear. I bought a 2020 with remote start option so I could run the van for an extended time. So because of the darn start stop feature it shuts down after 10 minutes, is that right? If so, would the dealer be able to do the same reprogramming as you did?

Thanks
 

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Are these holes/flaps accessible in a factory-finished passenger van? If so, exactly where are they located?
Two photo's of the Flapper Valves in Post #64 of this linked thread.
There is one on each side of the Transit in the rear quarter panels.

 

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2018 Transit 150, low roof / short WB / passenger version:

I did my first winter overnight sleep in the van last weekend. I’m using a Mr. Buddy heater, hooked up to a 20 lb propane tank borrowed from the home BBQ. My plan was to run the heater for about half an hour before bed, leave it off overnight, and light it again in the morning to take the chill off before getting up.

Unfortunately I couldn’t get to sleep, and after midnight, I was so cold that I lit it again and put it on high to warm things up a bit, then turned it off. I still couldn’t get to sleep, and things got cold again. At about 3:00am I lit it again and after about 30 minutes it started to flutter and it went out, so I figured that there wasn’t as much fuel in the tank as I had thought and it had run out.

After I got home, I took the tank to get refilled, and was told that it was 1/3 full, so that told me that it was the heater’s built-in “low-oxygen” safety feature that turned the heater off, not lack of fuel.

I had the two front windows open about ½” (with rain-guards installed), so that wasn’t providing enough air, which is understandable given that the heater was located at the far rear of the van.

So my question is: Given that none of the rear windows open, how can I get some outside air to the rear of the van (without cutting holes) to keep the heater happy?
I went through this same issue during my first winter using my van with a buddy heater in combination with a 12 volt heating pad. Before my second winter I picked up a diesel heater on Amazon for just under $100. I thought for sure I'd be returning the heater but it's worked great for over a year now. In hindsight, I wish I'd skipped the buddy heater and went to the diesel heater as my first option.
 

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Some people have made some window vents but I think your challenge is trying to get some circulations in the van.

Please make sure you have the appropriate detector in your vehicle, I bought a natural gas/propane/c02 detector that was 9v battery powered that I keep in my van. I've run a buddy heater all night in my van for multiple nights but had one of my side pop out windows open and my maxx van open on vent mode.

I went through this same issue during my first winter using my van with a buddy heater in combination with a 12 volt heating pad. Before my second winter I picked up a diesel heater on Amazon for just under $100. I thought for sure I'd be returning the heater but it's worked great for over a year now. In hindsight, I wish I'd skipped the buddy heater and went to the diesel heater as my first option.
This was my experience as well.

It was a good temporary solution that was wallet friendly, for my first winter but I ended up buying one of the cheap chinese diesel furnaces for $200 and set it up on the exterior of my van. It worked great and having a dry heat was really nice vs finding a bunch of moisture from the propane when I woke up. I have since had it reconfigured into a portable suitcase unit, similar to this:


You could probably make your own which would be significantly cheaper vs buying the above. I still bring my buddy heater with me as my backup, and its nice to pull out if I need heat while doing something outside of the van, like changing a spare tire.

If I spent more time in colder climates I will likely opt for a propane heat system and install a frame rail tank, there is nothing quite like having heat on demand at a push of a button.
 

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Orton, just to be clear. I bought a 2020 with remote start option so I could run the van for an extended time. So because of the darn start stop feature it shuts down after 10 minutes, is that right? If so, would the dealer be able to do the same reprogramming as you did?

Thanks
The dealer did my 2015. I think the maximum run time is 15 minutes after starting with the remote start. Was 10 minutes and now is 15 minutes.
 

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. . .
But, there are built-in holes in the very rear quarter panels that have one-way flaps to allow air out when doors are being closed. The vent out underneath, near the rear wheels. You can remove the flaps and just have screen (to keep bugs and rodents out). I don't know if that would be enough air volume, but it's something.
. . .
I'd strongly recommend NOT just removing the flaps if you will ever drive on a dusty road. There's a reason the flaps allow air only to go out.

That said, there may be a way to use a rod or something to temporarily hold the flappers open when parked. I think I'll look into this at some point.
 
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