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Old 18-12-2021, 14:37   #106
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Re: Thinking to buy a Chinese forced air diesel heater

I have a friend who is a professional marine engineer and he was just hired to install one of those chinese heaters in a catamaran. He said that actually, they work pretty well and are fairly simple, no fancy electronic system to get screwed up. BUT, the muffler that comes with it is garbage- do not install that in your boat. As somebody else said, they were designed for trucks and RVs- under the hood, not in the cabin. Just plug up one end and blow into in and you will see all the leaks.
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Old 18-12-2021, 17:00   #107
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Re: Thinking to buy a Chinese forced air diesel heater

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I have a friend who is a professional marine engineer and he was just hired to install one of those chinese heaters in a catamaran. He said that actually, they work pretty well and are fairly simple, no fancy electronic system to get screwed up. BUT, the muffler that comes with it is garbage- do not install that in your boat. As somebody else said, they were designed for trucks and RVs- under the hood, not in the cabin. Just plug up one end and blow into in and you will see all the leaks.


Plus, these heaters are quite quiet anyway so no need for a muffler.
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Old 22-12-2021, 06:13   #108
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Re: Thinking to buy a Chinese forced air diesel heater

@Oeanda, that's a beautiful stern on your boat. I love big, round cruiser sterns and they are much more practical than skinny canoe sterns.
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Old 06-01-2022, 20:13   #109
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Re: Thinking to buy a Chinese forced air diesel heater

Apologies for the extreme time warp reply -it’s quite rude really but life just gets in the way! Happy New Year.

The pic is from the near the east side of the Charlotte Harbour but is doing quite a good Sandspit imitation in the photo.
The pilings in Sandspit are newer and had fancy coloured caps on them last I saw a year ago though maybe all grown over in moss and rust by now


So a few days after my last post I tweaked the heater setup a little bit better. We vacuumed the rats out of the old line, replaced some ducting and insulated most of the run with some Reflectix type stuff. The wrap made a nice difference and the warm air blowing out in the salon and aft cabin was heavenly.


I then left the ship in the hands of the first mate just as the weather turned extra cold. She ran the heater out of fuel overnight. During the ensuing refill and bubble purge episode, the fuel pump overworked itself and henceforth was found to be no longer virile enough. To be fair I had previously given that pump a bit of a workout during my own adventures in the air bubbles field.

The first mate was sad about the disappearance of the nice warm air, and abandoned ship.

No fuel pumps in country but a new heater would ship from a warehouse within Canada so for the price and speed we just bought another one. Should be here tomorrow

No the irony is not lost on us lol.

* edit- I should mention. The eBay supplier seems keen to refund or replace my purchase, but I told them I would get back to them later if I feel like it’s justified. Which it probably isn’t.


Re the muffler and exhaust system. The Webasto heater I took out had this drain installed at the low point. Click image for larger version

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From what I read at a glance it sounds like it should not have been installed on a boat. Anyway the PO lived fine with it that way apparently.


Hopefully the new heater is here tomorrow! Brrrr....

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Old 07-01-2022, 15:50   #110
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Re: Thinking to buy a Chinese forced air diesel heater

Oeanda, I think itís a good idea to leave that drain in your exhaust line. Condensation and any water that splashes into your exhaust line will drain through it rather than into your heater. Since thereís usually some water in those loops, it provides enough resistance compared with your much larger exhaust line that has no water in it so exhaust gases will not enter your boat through it unless your exhaust line becomes plugged and if that happens your heater will quickly shut down anyway. I have one of those installed with my Webasto and Iíve never caught even a hint of exhaust smell inside my boat, and neither has my nearby CO detector.

Brrrrr, looks cold!!!
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Old 07-01-2022, 19:05   #111
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Re: Thinking to buy a Chinese forced air diesel heater

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Hopefully the new heater is here tomorrow! Brrrr....

Here are a few manuals for the Chinese heater if that is what you are installing.


PM me for the full manual as it is too big to attach here. Page 23 of the manual show how to bleed the fuel system. Just put the hose in a bottle and run it until there is no air.


Heater LCD Instructions.pdf

Heater Fault Codes.pdf
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Old 08-01-2022, 01:47   #112
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Re: Thinking to buy a Chinese forced air diesel heater

Thanks. You guys actually bring up the two questions I considered asking, and thanks for those links, Opie.

1 - So- yeah- is there a place for this drain in the exhaust system?

Like I mentioned, when I skimmed the forum debate on the subject the vote was mainly ‘nay’.
People figured that any water trapped in that drain coil would evaporate pretty fast during use of the heater. I’m really inclined to agree since the exhaust pipe gets plenty hot.


On the other side- it’s really hard to imagine much CO flowing downhill through that little tube during use, when there is such a large blast of hot gases rising up the pipe.

What about condensation and drainage? The exhaust pipe is stainless obviously, so corrosion is not really an issue. I’m not sure if water could pool enough in it to cause a blockage, but as mentioned, if it did I’m sure the heater would find a way to let me know about it.

The PO apparently managed fine for a couple decades with that drain in place. I guess he may have suffered CO induced brain damage, but- that actually does have certain nautical advantages...
If I’m tempted to try the drain I’ll obviously see what our CO monitors think about it.


2 - Any crafty tricks out there for refilling and purging the line? We used the heater’s manual override function to run the fuel pump until the line was full. I don’t know for sure, but speculate that running it dry like this a few times is what eventually caused it to crap out.
I also tried refilling the line with a syringe but this was not as pleasant or effective an experience as I’d hoped...

I had some thought of putting a squeezy bulb in the fuel line, as for an outboard engine. When the new heater gets here I’ll put a little more thought into this.


I was interested to dissect and try to repair the old Webasto, but the control unit seems to be missing (where could it have gone?) and while new ones are available out there, they’re predictably expensive, so not worth buying just to test a dead heater.
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Old 08-01-2022, 03:52   #113
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Re: Thinking to buy a Chinese forced air diesel heater

You definitely donít want a squeeze bulb downstream of the pump because itís made of rubber and would soak up the pulses of fuel the heater needs. Thatís also why these type heaters donít use rubber fuel hose even though it would be a lot easier to install.

When I need to fill the line with fuel I disconnect fuel line where it connects to the heater and put it over an empty coffee can to catch drips and then I disconnect the electrical leads to the fuel pump. I run a pair of wires from a 12 volt source that have a small alligator clip on one of the wires which I attach to one of the spade terminals on the pump. Then I take the other wire in my hand and repeatedly touch it to the other spade terminal on the pump. Each time you do that the pump pulses and fuel moves through the line. I keep doing it until fuel comes out the heater end of the line You have to be careful to not accidentally touch the 2 wires together because the 2 terminals on the pump are quite close to each other.
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Old 08-01-2022, 06:10   #114
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Re: Thinking to buy a Chinese forced air diesel heater

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Originally Posted by jtsailjt View Post
Oeanda, I think itís a good idea to leave that drain in your exhaust line. Condensation and any water that splashes into your exhaust line will drain through it rather than into your heater. Since thereís usually some water in those loops, it provides enough resistance compared with your much larger exhaust line that has no water in it so exhaust gases will not enter your boat through it unless your exhaust line becomes plugged and if that happens your heater will quickly shut down anyway. I have one of those installed with my Webasto and Iíve never caught even a hint of exhaust smell inside my boat, and neither has my nearby CO detector.

Brrrrr, looks cold!!!
Also of note, it should be at the lowest point.

To install properly, you are expected to prime the coil with water yourself.

My lowest point is my SS muffler. Some day I'll install a drain on the muffler....

- AT
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Old 08-01-2022, 06:17   #115
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Re: Thinking to buy a Chinese forced air diesel heater

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Our Webasto died its final death around the time we got the boat, but was nice by all accounts. Since then weíve tried various other heat sources, with mixed results. The dead Webasco heater and its system are all in place still. So in our never-ending quest to get warm, the (presumed) ease of sticking a cheap knockoff heater in there is too tempting to resist. Even if it fails we wonít have invested much. Or if it fails but we liked the general concept we could try again with a classier version.


Iíd like to buy one to try. Read plenty of threads but found few actual specific references or links.

Can anyone recommend any particular Chinese heater or brand?

Or is this a stupid question because itís just a s***show out there like the LED market, with interchangeable Ďbrandsí popping in and out of existence faster than nanoparticles, and I could just pick one at random and hope for the best...?

Thanks in advance!

PS. Itís a 39í sailboat, in cold rain and wind.
Like most things from China, it's a price driven decision. If you're ok with supporting a regime like China, buy two for spare parts. Just keep in mind that poisonous gases kill and fiberglass boats burn really really fast.
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Old 08-01-2022, 07:53   #116
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Re: Thinking to buy a Chinese forced air diesel heater

I have 2 boats and 2 Espars. I have run the lines dry a number of times and had problems reestablishing the fuel flow. The Espar fuel pumps have been ZERO problem.

I talked to an established parts supplier about recommended spares for remote cruising and specifically asked about the fuel pump. He sold me a blower motor and glow plugs but said to not worry about the pump, it is exceedingly rare for them to fail.

If I were to do anything it would be to replace the Southern boats Espar with a Planar, then use the removed D4 as a spare for the Northern boat. Or nust buy a spare D4 for the North boat.
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Old 08-01-2022, 13:37   #117
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Re: Thinking to buy a Chinese forced air diesel heater

In our case we have the option on the control pane to force power to the fuel pump for line-filling purposes, so no need for alligator clips.

It’s not 100% certain that the fuel pump is to blame. This is just speculation based on info from the first mate. It was another factor in the decision to simply buy a spare heater and sort out the details at a later time. Added to this the freezing weather and awkward location of the heater setup which makes it very uncomfortable to work on.


As I may have said earlier, the Chinese heater purchase is a bit of an experiment to see whether we like the general concept of a forced air diesel. Previously to this the old busted Webasto and ducting system was an unexplored entity gathering cobwebs and we actually didn’t know anything about this type of heating system at all. If we did we’d probably have installed one sooner.

So far it all looks really promising despite the hiccup. If we like the concept, and paying for a version from Russia or a German company with factories in China seems warranted based on quality, we can do that later.

The eBay supplier has offered several times to refund the price I paid for the first heater. In fact they’ve even offered to refund the price of the second heater we ordered as well, since it’s a few days late now past it’s promised delivery date.

I’m now in a position to not only deprive this person of their income, but to get two free heaters out of the deal to boot. Hurray!

This would strike a strong blow against the ‘regime’ and its evil puppets. On top of that I’d be warm and have spare parts, and extra money to give to some of the other good guys, like Russia for example. Clearly making the world a better place, right?
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Old 08-01-2022, 19:45   #118
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Re: Thinking to buy a Chinese forced air diesel heater

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Clearly making the world a better place, right?
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Old 17-01-2022, 03:30   #119
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Re: Thinking to buy a Chinese forced air diesel heater

Got the second heater and installed it tonight. Hot air blowing on the feet is goddamn blissful. Long may it last!

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Old 17-01-2022, 04:05   #120
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Re: Thinking to buy a Chinese forced air diesel heater

I notice the clicking sound that the fuel pump makes, normally inaudible, is picked up a bit by my guitar amp. Probably speaks to my grounding more than anything though.

First world problems are so hard… I’ll take the clicking if I have to

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