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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey all,
I wanted to share my experience with the gasoline webasto. I purchased the STC 2000 heater from heatso.com. I bought it with both the rheostat as well as the multicontroller as I was under the impression the rheostat was required for altitude adjustment.

I've had it since Nov of last year, and I've never been able to get it to work consistently. It never works more than 3-4 hours at a time. We keep getting HO2/HO3 error.

The first time I called Webasto, the tech support guy was somewhat flippant--said that by buying the euro version (I wasn't aware of this when I bought from heatso.com) that I could get no service in the US.

I troubleshooted extensively: we made sure the lines weren't getting air in them by connecting all fittings extra tight, fully pressed together, and even placing the fuel line directly submerged into a tank of gas under suspicion the Ford auxiliary fuel pickup might be letting in air.

We disconnected exhaust pipe and air intake with the concern that one of those ends of the combustion were the issue. No go. We tried doing a altitude adjustment with the rheostat. (we're at 4500 feet). We suspect the change "took" because it seemed there was less soot coming out of the exhaust with this change. Still, it failed to run for more than an hour.

I called back Webasto, the second time I called I got someone on the phone who was fairly nice actually. He recommended that I drain the motor itself because "Webasto motors can't clear themselves if they are flooded". This seemed odd to me, as the engine ran for an hour or two... it didn't seem flooded. But regardless, I did try this, and probably got it to run as long as any other time... 4-5 hours uninterrupted. Still failed, giving HO3 error eventually.

Today I called again. Webasto tech is now saying that "this heater was never designed to work above 5000 feet" and I probed him further on this, he basically stated that despite altitude adjustments, the heater will not work above 5000 feet. He also stated that the only way to adjust the altitude is to have the CO2 sensor. He said that the units could develop carbon buildup with as little as 10 hours of use.

I brought the heater to the largest local webasto dealership. They had no experience with the gas units, didn't have the euro version diagnostics cable, and didn't have the CO2 sensor for altitude adjustment. They told us they intended to make sure all connections were tight and appropriate to start. They called me to tell me that they had spend 2.5 hours on the unit, all only to tell me that they couldn't do diagnostics. They charged me $280 or so to do this. I asked them if they could charge me a flat rate to get it to work, or some sort of guess on how much it would cost to get it to work... and they couldn't tell me. So I could easily spend >$1000 for them to "work on" my heater but could make no promises that this brand new heater would ever work. They couldn't tell me if the unit was warranty-able.

When I talked to Webasto about a possible warranty, they said they couldn't warranty it "under any particular timeline" because the units get looked at "once every couple of weeks" because "no one goes into the office because of COVID" and on top of this, they couldn't promise a warranty replacement because they'd "have to get Webasto Europe" to bless it.

Basically, I bought a brand new product, drilled holes into my van, spent outrageous amounts of time troubleshooting, and Webasto tech support can't help, and local Webasto dealer can't promise any ability to actually fix this product.

To summarize, TLDR, etc. Don't buy Webasto products. You think you're buying a "name brand" product that might have some backing, tech support, spare parts, whatever, and what you get, is rude tech support people on the phone who are quick to try and make you feel stupid, and are in fact completely unable to help you in any way. Find a different product, a different company. Webasto, I hope your European and American subgroups can find a way to work together better, because it's still a WEBASTO product at the end of the day.

Does anyone have a recommendation for a product that will (hopefully?!) fit into the holes I already drilled, and will work without tremendous issue? I'm willing to go diesel and install an additional tank. I'm willing to go propane if needed. I want something that won't waste my time.


After further searching today it seems there are threads about Webasto being terrible all over the place. See here: Webasto Altitude Adjustment Question
 

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I'd also recommend avoiding Heatso.com ... as stated above ... they sell "euro" versions of the products with approximately the right parts and kit.

The Espar I ordered from them got caught in customs because of a super lazy effort by Heatso on the manifest (which I had to redo and submit to customs) and then I got a bill to pay the customs charges.

Buy from a reputable US dealer. The cost might be a little higher at first but probably same in the end.
 

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Good morning

I too have Just installed the gasoline version of the webasto this summer.
It’s been used for 1 month and luckily I can say it is working, however instal time was best part of a week with a lot of cursing.
my biggest issues were getting all the fuel lines perfectly sealed and clearing air locks.

For me I am most disappointed by how noisy it is, inside the van is not too bad because it’s underneath the bed and ducted forward which absorbs a lot of the noise.
outside the van, holy **** this thing is not subtle !
fuel pump noise I resolved by fabricating a special mounting bracket using 4 rubber mounts from an electric motor.

In my previous rig I had a Propex which was fantastic, i believe it was quieter from outside and the air that was pumped out was very hot.
Clearing air locks in a propex took all of 2 mins instead of the 1 hour on a webasto.

So far the only thing the Webasto has in its favor is it runs of the main fuel tank, but I am not confident of its long term reliability.

Depending on how much space you have available, the Propex unit is about double the size but has a similar set up regarding exhaust / intake holes so a retro fit could be feasible.

Good luck.
 

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Bummer man. Sorry to hear that's happening, and sounds foreboding for me. A lot of people use these units long-term, so I wonder if you got a bad one, or if the euro knock-offs are junk? I bought a $600 unit recently from heaters4u.com and got the holes drilled no problem but haven't had time to hook up the fuel yet. I guess I may have just generously donated to the Russian economy. Lol.

Webasto sells a ton of these, and has for many years, so I would think the genuine units are at least somewhat reliable. They also want you to buy the higher-end units, so of course they're going to state the lower-end ones don't work above 5k feet. It's a "lifehack" to adjust with the rheostat, not a webasto-approved change. I think Antoine over at faroutride uses his above 5k for weeks on end year in year out. He may have bought a genuine unit though.

What's your flow through cold air in-take situation like, the part in the van, not the combustion intake? Is the intake totally clear with at least a few inches of free space and no tubing on it or obstructions near it? That could impact the temperature the unit is operating at. How about the van's overall air situation. Are you actively venting in cool air, or is it sealed up tight and recirculating the heated air? I know those shouldn't impact the combustion circuit but I'm just curious.

Fortunately I try to avoid being near people to begin with, so outside van noise isn't an issue for me, but if it's that bad maybe the muffler is the way to go.

With propex units you need a propane tank mounted underneath, which is a no-go for me.

Cheers.
 

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Sorry to hear about your troubles. I have quite a bit of experience with liquid fuel heaters, although from 20+ years ago. I hated every one of the little [email protected]#$^*. They always gave me much grief, especially in a marine environment. Temperamental and hateful. Ditch it and go propane. I don't like liquid fuel in the cabin either. If you get a diesel the inside of your van will inevitably wind up smelling like fuel.

With propex units you need a propane tank mounted underneath, which is a no-go for me.
Cheers.
Why is that? I don't see why the propane tank would have to be underbody.
 

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I dunno.......... I am still lean toward buying a cheap Chinese diesel heat. If it does not work, I just throw it away. This type of heater is realtively low tech what is so difficult to manufacture a decent one.
 

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I've been running propane heaters in campers for 40+ years (in Alaska). Only one time did the heat not come on when I wanted it. The problem was in the wall thermostat, so I just jumped the wires together for heat and replaced the faulty thermostat first opportunity. I have never had to perform any maintenance on any of the heaters. I will stick with propane.
 

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Why is that? I don't see why the propane tank would have to be underbody.
For me it's a combination of space for the tank inside and safety. I would only mount it below if I went that route, but there's no space left on mine for a reasonable sized tank, and the risk of rocks/puncture would be a concern. But I suppose you could put it in the cabin. Maybe it's not as bad as I thought. Hope it doesn't leak.

Cheers.
 

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I have a Espar d4 for sale , pretty much brand new in the box except was taken out and used in my
van for 2 weeks.
It has the easy start select controller
I have a video I made about it , shows the details

$850 shipped
 

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Good information that came as a surprise to me: Thermo King, known much more for doing semi-truck refrigeration, cabin heating / cooling also does Espar Gas / Diesel heater installs. They have locations just about everywhere across the country so you are probably close to one. As noted, they re-sell Espar, a brand which sounds like (but I have yet to confirm) it can function up to around 10,000 ft in elevation. Important for us winter ski rig users.

I'm having them do my Espar gas heater install. I purchased it from heatso.com (based solely on price, bad move), and they are going to install it for what I consider a very fair price (approx $800). I should have just purchased it through them from the start but didn't know that was a thing. They definitely do not advertise this product / service effectively (which they should). They have locations all around the country.

If you are like me and can do a bunch of your van build DIY ... but don't want to mess with crawling under your van, dropping gas tank, etc ... check them out.
 

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I think this thread is going to get a lot of very strong opinions.

for my build I put a lot of thought and consideration into the heating choices as ours is designed for full time living in Quebec (-20c winters) plus other travels in the summers and winters when the borders reopen, so the biggest attraction to the webasto gasoline unit was that it would draw off of my 119 liter fuel tank.

Whilst my unit is currently working, I’m not overly thrilled as per my earlier post.
if I was to redo the design and build I have been giving thought to what I would do, currently I’m thinking:
- a Propex heater as I already have a 20lb propane bottle nicely installed for the oven. It is installed similar to Antoines at far out ride, sealed box with a drain and 12v solenoid etc and i am comfortable with its level of safety.

- as a back up unit in case I run out of propane (current estimate based on our oven usage and usage of our old Propex unit, would be to refill propane once a week by which time I would be ready for a beer run anyway!) I would be tempted to instal a cheap Chinese diesel heater, webasto knock off with a 10 or 20 liter diesel tank underneath the vehicle.
For the price point of these units I would accept the noise levels and possibility of reliability that is similar to a full price gasoline webasto according to all the reviews I read.



downside of the plan would be that, it is two units and two different fuel sources so more space and more time to install.

upside of the plan would be again, it’s two units with two different fuel sources. when the heat goes out in winter, redundancy is a wonderful thing.

anyway just my opinion, and johnmeyers best of luck with finding a solution.
 

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For me it's a combination of space for the tank inside and safety. Maybe it's not as bad as I thought.
Mount and store it inside. That way it will still work when the temperature outside drops to 30 below (the temperature at which propane will no longer gass off enough to work reliably). Put the tank in an airtight box, and put a vent to the outside in the bottom of the box. Propane is heavier than air, so if a leak develops inside the box, the propane will harmlessly fall out through the vent. Install everything properly, so that you never have a leak. Pay special attention to securing everything so that vibration from driving does not lead to any failures. Install and maintain a proper propane detector in the living quarters, so if a leak does somehow develop (Murphy's Law) you are aware of it immediately. Insulate your van properly, so that you don't need a large tank.
 

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Sorry man ! I really feel for you. We live in Denver metro area -- 5280 -- and frequently camp at 9,000 -- so altitude played a huge roll in our decisions. We did a Chinese Diesel heater and have had no problems at all but I did use a quality Carbon Monoxide monitor with a sampling pump to tune for altitude. The settings from the factory would have sooted up in hours and were potentially quite dangerous (1,000+ppm CO from the raw exhaust). I dialed ours in enough to get just 40ppm and haven't looked back....and it was cheap -- like 140 bucks all in (the heater). Also -- I burn Kerosene exclusively instead of diesel.

The facebook group can really be useful if you go that route or don't hesitate to drop a line -- I'd answer any questions if it helps you out of a jam.
 

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Sorry man ! I really feel for you. We live in Denver metro area -- 5280 -- and frequently camp at 9,000 -- so altitude played a huge roll in our decisions. We did a Chinese Diesel heater and have had no problems at all but I did use a quality Carbon Monoxide monitor with a sampling pump to tune for altitude. The settings from the factory would have sooted up in hours and were potentially quite dangerous (1,000+ppm CO from the raw exhaust). I dialed ours in enough to get just 40ppm and haven't looked back....and it was cheap -- like 140 bucks all in (the heater). Also -- I burn Kerosene exclusively instead of diesel.

The facebook group can really be useful if you go that route or don't hesitate to drop a line -- I'd answer any questions if it helps you out of a jam.
Hey Jeff - what do you mean by burning kerosene exclusively instead of diesel? Kerosene in the tank for the diesel heater?
 

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Hey Jeff - what do you mean by burning kerosene exclusively instead of diesel? Kerosene in the tank for the diesel heater?
Yep -- Kero is essentially just higher refined diesel -- so it won't have gel issues at really cold temps and I get ZERO diesel smell (these diesel heaters can smell a bit like diesel when they first fire up and get up to temperature -- once they're hot -- there is not much of a smell). Kerosene is more expensive but cost doesn't matter much to me when a gallon will last days...and the kerosene should result in much less carbon deposits.


Be aware that there are people that claim the pulse pumps need the lubrication of diesel -- but I and lots of others burn pure kerosene. I think it's urban legend :)

In fact, I installed one of these also in my parents house/cabin in Clark Colorado (9,000 feet) and they're burning 100% pure jet fuel -- which is higher refined kero...their tank and pump sat outside (in a protected enclosure) in minus 20 F most of last winter happy as clams.

If you can't tell -- I'm pretty stoked with the two I've installed :) to each their own though -- I know some are just as passionate about their propex's and other options.
 

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Good stuff, I didn’t know that! I’m still in the researching phase right now because we have yet to purchase a van, but my mind goes a mile a minute with wanting to figure out my heating/hot water/cooking fuel source.
So where do you have your kerosene tank installed? Right now I’m leaning toward propane for the heat, but debating an interior sealed locker with 20lb tank vs external under mount tank.
 

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Good stuff, I didn’t know that! I’m still in the researching phase right now because we have yet to purchase a van, but my mind goes a mile a minute with wanting to figure out my heating/hot water/cooking fuel source.
So where do you have your kerosene tank installed? Right now I’m leaning toward propane for the heat, but debating an interior sealed locker with 20lb tank vs external under mount tank.
The planning stage all the way to build is so fun! We spent months planning -- just as you're obviously doing!!

We have both our diesel heater tank and our very small 5 lb propane tank underneath. We only use propane for our stove and our instant hot water heater -- so it'll last months as is. I built a weather tight but still vented box on the driver's side rear for the propane (sort of an undermount way to have a vented box with a small tank). Our fuel tank for the diesel heater (5.5 Liters -- lasts days at 100%) is tucked right behind our grey water tank -- on the drivers side near the gas tank and is protected from road debris and has a very short fuel run to our heater.

Both our water heater (ventless -- little to no Carbon monoxide -- approved for indoor use) and our diesel heater share a very narrow cabinet in our kitchen with our water filtration setup. With all the tanks under our van -- we have tons of room saved inside and never risk a fuel spill inside.

That's our setup anyway :) Happy planning!
 

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Can I be so bold to ask what instant water heater you’re using? Do you use it for both a sink and indoor shower?
 
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