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Old 19-06-2015, 04:32   #1
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Field Repairs/Maintenance -- Eberspacher/Espar/Webasto

Most cruising boats in Northern latitudes have some kind of truck-type heating from Eberspacher/Espar or Webasto, either air type or hydronic.

A well known drawback of this kind of heating is that it is not readily user-serviceable, and it automatically shuts down in case of any kind of fault.

The standard procedure is professional service every year or every couple of years. But you're in trouble if you need heat, and you have a fault during a cruise away from your support infrastructure. These units are generally pretty reliable IF they get regular service.

Now I have just gotten stuck myself . I just didn't have time to have my Eber D10 serviced before leaving for this summer's cruise, and it's been more than two years. And naturally, on the first leg of the cruise, the unit shut down . I haven't really been anywhere long enough to find a tech who can do this. I tried in Karlskrona, where I spent more than a week, but incredibly, there is no company in Karlskrona which services Eber heaters. I have been getting by with shore power and electric heat, but now I'm in a commercial port with no power, which means I'm heating with my generator -- which is incredibly inefficient.

So isn't there a better way, besides just hoping that the unit doesn't go down between regular service interval? Does anyone here service their own? Any tips?

I'm not sure it would be all that hard to keep parts on board:

Flame sensor
Glow plug
Electronic control unit
Fuel pump


is there anything else?


But how do you read and reset the codes, so that you can unlock the unit to start again?


I suppose that it would be possible to keep a whole spare furnace on board --it's not that bulky. But much better to have parts and tools and know-how, I would think.

Grateful as always for any tips.
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Old 19-06-2015, 05:12   #2
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Re: Field Repairs/Maintenance -- Eberspacher/Espar/Webasto

Here is some interesting information:

Eberspacher D1LCC
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Old 19-06-2015, 06:58   #3
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Re: Field Repairs/Maintenance -- Eberspacher/Espar/Webasto

You raise some interesting points regarding field maintenance; I for one, believe the boat owner should be capable of keeping all on board systems operational and I wasn't aware of the difficulties associated with these units.

Especially timely for me personally as I'm thinking of installing one of these.

So while I can't help you in your quest, I remain very interested in the thread; thanks for starting it.
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Old 19-06-2015, 07:07   #4
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Re: Field Repairs/Maintenance -- Eberspacher/Espar/Webasto

Majority of the guys in the Patagonia charter fleet use refleks, but those who use "eber types " pretty much all have two installed, both installed in the engine room where they are typically most dry and warm.

You could, with a bunch of work, plumb your gen cooling loop thru a couple/series of radiators (essentially multiple bus heaters). That would make your gen a much more efficient heater.
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Old 19-06-2015, 07:57   #5
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Re: Field Repairs/Maintenance -- Eberspacher/Espar/Webasto

Quote:
Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
Majority of the guys in the Patagonia charter fleet use refleks, but those who use "eber types " pretty much all have two installed, both installed in the engine room where they are typically most dry and warm.

You could, with a bunch of work, plumb your gen cooling loop thru a couple/series of radiators (essentially multiple bus heaters). That would make your gen a much more efficient heater.
Very interesting validation -- I also thought about having a backup. Interesting to see that others do this as well.

Mine is in a good spot in the lazarette which is dry and fed with nice cool air and very short exhaust run -- pretty ideal. A purpose-built space for it with a cover. I'll have a look and see if there's room for a second furnace. Thanks for that. At worst, a backup furnace could be kept as a spare -- it's not ridiculously expensive.


I can plumb my generator and main engine into my existing hydronic central heat system. There is a whole thread on it. It's realistic -- needing a pump and a couple of plate-type heat exchangers. I guess I need to bump that up the "to do" list.

Adding a Refleks would be best of all, but there's simply no space for it, plus I have teak decks (soot). All the bulkhead space has furniture under it, and the edge of the salon roof is all windows (deck salon), so there's just no plausible way to install such a device.

Anyway, thanks very much as always for the tips.
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Old 19-06-2015, 08:00   #6
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Re: Field Repairs/Maintenance -- Eberspacher/Espar/Webasto

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wotname View Post
You raise some interesting points regarding field maintenance; I for one, believe the boat owner should be capable of keeping all on board systems operational and I wasn't aware of the difficulties associated with these units.

Especially timely for me personally as I'm thinking of installing one of these.

So while I can't help you in your quest, I remain very interested in the thread; thanks for starting it.
I just found some great information about do it yourself maintenance, diagnosis, repair. Eberspacher D2

I absolutely agree with you that being dependent on professional service is a huge drawback of any boat system.

From reading these materials, it looks realistic to keep spares and do it yourself. Plus maybe backup furnace in spares.

If you have space for a Refleks type pot heater, don't mind the stack, soot on deck, and lack of distribution of heat, this is far more simple and far more practical for long-distance cruising.

But if you can't answer yes to any of the above, then you will have to go with a more complicated heater which does have these disadvantages. On the plus side, they work fantastically well, heat the entire boat, and are generally pretty reliable if you maintain them. They need electrical power, is the other drawback they have, but not a problem on my boat which is well supplied with electrical power.

Here's a good article on it by the way: https://www.morganscloud.com/2009/12...ating-systems/
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Old 19-06-2015, 09:21   #7
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Re: Field Repairs/Maintenance -- Eberspacher/Espar/Webasto

Hi Dockhead,

My boat came with an Espar DL5 installed, and the spare parts you listed.

Last summer I ordered more spares for the precise reasons you site. In the States I received excellent advice and support from Ray at Espar Bunk Heaters and Parts Espar Heaters and Parts [great info on the site as well...]

They sell and service, and he guided me though what to keep on hand and what to not bother with.

He also mentioned that the most important preventative maintenance item is to make sure to run the heater at least 20 minutes every 30 days in the off-season. I've been doing this [wishing our off-season was a bit longer at latitude 56N...] since last summer and the unit thus far has been flawless.

Another change I made upon his strong recommendation was to dedicate one of my fuel tanks to #1 heating oil [#1 diesel] with no additives and only use that tank for the heater. That seems to have prolonged the intervals between cleaning and maintenance of the unit as well.

Caveat: Since I can transfer fuel between tanks, if I find myself needing more engine fuel I can transfer some #1 to the engine tank [which is typically straight #2, or a winterized blend of #2] and add the appropriate amount of Marvel Mystery Oil to it to bring the lubricity up to #2 levels for the engine.

Another hint was to not let the heater run for extended periods of time in low heat mode. High heat is best for preventing carbon build-up. Turn up the thermostat [or turn it off] if the heater wants to run on low for long periods of time to maintain the set temperature.

I hope this helps, and that you don't go too long without heat.

Cheers!
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Old 19-06-2015, 10:05   #8
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Re: Field Repairs/Maintenance -- Eberspacher/Espar/Webasto

DH,

We have the exact same set up hydronic heating system as you with the unit in a specially made cover in the laz. However, ours is Webasto and the night before we were to leave Seattle for the South Pacific, it died. This being April 1st, heat is still a dire necessity in the North Pacific so long story short, I had to remove the cylinder head and walk it into the shop (having already sold our cars).

Our controller was bad. This despite only being two years old.... $600 later we had a new controller and snapped it on. The unit then worked fine.

It seems more and more boat stuff is coming with fancy and expensive controllers. It may be a good idea to carry a replacement on board.

To wit, we just ripped out all our old Glacier Bay eutectic plate lousy refrigeration and replaced it with two tiny - and silent - BD50 compressors. They both have controllers attached to them. Guess what I did? As soon as I saw that I bought a spare.

Good luck.

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Old 19-06-2015, 11:54   #9
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Re: Field Repairs/Maintenance -- Eberspacher/Espar/Webasto

I have a Hurricane hydronic (Vancouver company). It is easily field serviceable and they have really good phone support and documentation. They even have online videos on how to do some of the more common items. I had to change the fuel pump and it was a snap (other than wedging myself that deep behind the engine, of course).
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Old 19-06-2015, 12:32   #10
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Re: Field Repairs/Maintenance -- Eberspacher/Espar/Webasto

Quote:
Originally Posted by wrwakefield View Post
. . .

Another hint was to not let the heater run for extended periods of time in low heat mode. High heat is best for preventing carbon build-up. Turn up the thermostat [or turn it off] if the heater wants to run on low for long periods of time to maintain the set temperature.. . .
Indeed.

Mine died on my first passage of the cruise, a rollicking beam reach across the Channel to Guernsey with my new blade with average speed over 9 knots.

Someone walking around below accidentally hit the heater switch, but the fan coils were switched off. So unbeknownst to me, the heater was idling for 12 hours heating nothing. Carboned up for sure
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Old 19-06-2015, 12:40   #11
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Re: Field Repairs/Maintenance -- Eberspacher/Espar/Webasto

We have never needed to use our Webasto heating system during the summer.
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Old 19-06-2015, 13:52   #12
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Re: Field Repairs/Maintenance -- Eberspacher/Espar/Webasto

I plan to instal one of these, but it won't be till later in the fall. I've got 2 complete systems and some spares. Basically I'm posting so I get on the list for updates. I also agree, one should be able to fix anything on the boat and anytime. Many would say, I carry that idea to an extreme.
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Old 19-06-2015, 14:52   #13
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Re: Field Repairs/Maintenance -- Eberspacher/Espar/Webasto

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We have never needed to use our Webasto heating system during the summer.
That's cause you're not at 60N like we are Enjoy the Mediterranean sun We've got, at least, the Midnight Sun, which is pretty cool.

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Old 19-06-2015, 15:50   #14
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Re: Field Repairs/Maintenance -- Eberspacher/Espar/Webasto

I plan to spend plenty of time up north, where you can't find fire wood for the woodstove that I have in my boat. Might even try the northwest passage to the pacific, but that'll be a long time in the future, got lots of the north Atlantic and Europe and the Med to explore first. I thought about making a diesel drip type pot burner for the woodstove but found one of these on ebay, researched, then bought a rebuilt main unit, did more research and found out the controls and fuel pump are a major portion of these, so I decided to buy a couple complete systems when the price was right. I plan to be an expert on these next winter.
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Old 19-06-2015, 16:54   #15
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Re: Field Repairs/Maintenance -- Eberspacher/Espar/Webasto

I have the same D10 heater. The only failure we have had was the controller box on top. It just died suddenly.

Spares I recommend:

Controller
Glow plug
Combustion fan
Water pump

For the cost to buy these items you can almost justify carrying a spare heater. They are not huge and are easy to swap out. Mine takes about 20 minutes to remove/replace. 10 of that is crawling into the engine space.
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