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Old 19-10-2021, 01:11   #1
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Thinking to buy a Chinese forced air diesel heater

Our Webasto died its final death around the time we got the boat, but was nice by all accounts. Since then we’ve 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 won’t have invested much. Or if it fails but we liked the general concept we could try again with a classier version.


I’d 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 it’s just a s***show out there like the LED market, with interchangeable ‘brands’ 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. It’s a 39’ sailboat, in cold rain and wind.
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Old 19-10-2021, 06:05   #2
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Re: Thinking to buy a Chinese forced air diesel heater

For the money, you can buy two, or three, and have your own supply of spares.

From what I've seen, the parts are pretty much interchangeable anyway. They're probably all either made in the same factory, or from the same parts, or at least to the same specs. None of this is high tech.

I have the Russian-made version, and it's worked well so far. I'm seriously thinking of buying another Chinese-made one for the other cabin, so I'd also be interested to hear others' thoughts.
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Old 19-10-2021, 06:17   #3
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Re: Thinking to buy a Chinese forced air diesel heater

Going on year 3 with my Chinese knockoff, I have no complaints at all. Yes, the paperwork for it was a bit funny to read but made sense. Couldn't tell you the brand though, they might actually all come from the same place is what I think.
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Old 19-10-2021, 06:48   #4
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Re: Thinking to buy a Chinese forced air diesel heater

I had one on my previous boat. Don't know the brand if that matters but it was the orange and blue one. Ran it three years before I sold the boat and it worked well. Only problem was the back light in the control panel failed and you couldn't see the numbers. Still worked through and I just left it set at 20C (68F). Got it on eBay and a replacement panel was only $12, just never got around to replacing it. This one had the little key fob remote to turn on and off, I hung it on a hook in the forward cabin where we slept and would turn it on before getting out of bed. Kind of leary of leaving it on all night, and it wasn't all that cold where we were, probably mid 40's F at worst.
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Old 19-10-2021, 07:12   #5
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Re: Thinking to buy a Chinese forced air diesel heater

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oeanda View Post
...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...?
Pretty sure this is the case. I think this is the one we actually have:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...KIKX0DER&psc=1

Been running for three years now. A couple of key points:
  • It cokes up pretty heavily when run on #2 diesel at low speeds (which is all we need after we take the chill off). The first season I had to completely disassemble to clean it out. Switched to #1 diesel/heating oil and haven't had any issues since.
  • The LCDs are cr*p. They will dim over the course of 3-6 months. If you turn off the power to them when not in use they last a lot longer. In your neck of the woods that may be close to never, so either get a spare so that when you can't see it you can swap in the new one, or get the version that just has pushbuttons and rotary dial.
  • The exhaust connections are not the best. You may be able to swap in and use your existing Webasto exhaust, in which case all probably good. Otherwise, be prepared to spend a little extra $ on making a leak-tight exhaust system.

I know I put some caveats in there, but we do love ours and the price was right.
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Old 19-10-2021, 07:31   #6
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Re: Thinking to buy a Chinese forced air diesel heater

I was on a short spring cruise with a friend who had installed a Chinese diesel heater in his 36' boat... and it worked quite well. I haven't been in touch recently so I don't know how it's fared since.

Some folks are down on Chinese-made anything, but these heaters are used in 100s of thousands of trucks in Asia and elsewhere, which suggests they've probably figured how to make them.
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Old 19-10-2021, 07:36   #7
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Re: Thinking to buy a Chinese forced air diesel heater

My buddy has a Planar. He is happy with it. It’s been going strong for a couple of years.

Planar is in the middle regarding price.

Good luck with you choice.

Sam
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Old 19-10-2021, 07:39   #8
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Re: Thinking to buy a Chinese forced air diesel heater

Agree with above.
The supplied exhaust muffler is not good.
I spent equal amount of money on a ss tube exhaust muffler and sealed all connections with additional muffler fiberglass tape which melts around the seals. Also needed a skin fitting exhaust.
I ordered mine with the pushbutton rotary dial for simplicity.
I very rarely run at slow speed, have not had any buildup, plumbed into main diesel tank.
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Old 19-10-2021, 09:45   #9
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Re: Thinking to buy a Chinese forced air diesel heater

I have installed the $125 ebay heater on 2 of my boats. Both working great after over a year. Do not use the supplied muffler as it has a drain hole and is meant to be mounted under a vehicle, not in a boat. I probably spent around $300 more on marine grade exhaust, exhaust wrap, SS thru hull fitting, and combustion air intake hose with a plastic thru hull. I also upgraded the control unit to the Afterburner system made by Ray Jones in Australia.
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Old 19-10-2021, 09:51   #10
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Re: Thinking to buy a Chinese forced air diesel heater

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oeanda View Post
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.
I recently purchased one through Amazon and it sent it back the next week.
The manual was virtually indecipherable, The temperature readout was in centigrade only, I readout was in Chinese - though I found a YouTube video which explained how to convert it to English.
The code for the readout it was only about 8 inches long. The heater would live in the engine compartment and I would have had to open the floor to see if the readout, though it came with a key fob to change the temperature.
No it was cheap at only $200 they build look good and it probably would have worked fine, but I decided to buy an Esar at a considerably higher price.
The Espar is working great..


Al, S/V Finlandia
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Old 19-10-2021, 09:54   #11
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Re: Thinking to buy a Chinese forced air diesel heater

Quote:
Originally Posted by svfinlandia View Post
I recently purchased one through Amazon and it sent it back the next week.
The manual was virtually indecipherable, The temperature readout was in centigrade only, I readout was in Chinese - though I found a YouTube video which explained how to convert it to English.
The code for the readout it was only about 8 inches long. The heater would live in the engine compartment and I would have had to open the floor to see if the readout, though it came with a key fob to change the temperature.
No it was cheap at only $200 they build look good and it probably would have worked fine, but I decided to buy an Esar at a considerably higher price.
The Espar is working great..


Al, S/V Finlandia
Please pardon the misspellings above. Thatís what happens when you use voice recognition and do not go back and edit.

Al
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Old 19-10-2021, 10:48   #12
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Re: Thinking to buy a Chinese forced air diesel heater

I bought one last year. A bit of a learning curve but it works very well. Heats my 35' catamaran just fine.

They are all made somewhere in China, probably 1 factory but who knows. I bought the cheapest one off ebay. $106 USD.

Yes, the temp is either in Centigrade or in Pulses per second. No big deal.

The manual is useless. To learn just about everything you need to about the heaters, install, maintenance go here:
https://www.youtube.com/user/johnmck1147

To learn how to use the digital controller go here


Both of these guys have many videos covering these units.

My suggestion is to buy the cheapest one with the least number of extras. You will throw most of their stuff out anyway.

You MUST use the supplies plastic fuel line. Normal line will not work.

You will need a double walled SS throughull for the exhaust. Go to Sure Marine for that.

They run so quiet I wish I'd have tested mine first before buying a $150 muffler. probably wouldn't have bought it.

You will spend more money than the cost of the heater. Clamps, maybe more/better exhaust hose, muffler, SS fasteners etc. Because of where I mounted it etc I spent another $400 on parts. I also bought special insulated ducting to run for my Catamaran so both sides have heat, special vents that are heat rated and wont distort etc.

Living on board on the Columbia River in the PNW we see ice on the river sometimes. This thing keeps me warm and toasty.
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Old 19-10-2021, 11:08   #13
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Re: Thinking to buy a Chinese forced air diesel heater

If your old Webasto is an Air Top then the Chinese versions should be a drop-in replacement. Bolt patterns, fuel/air/exhaust should all fit to the new unit. Many of the parts are even interchangeable. I don't know if the Webasto control will work with knock-off, but the hardware should, making your installation easier than many of us describe. YMMV, there's a chance it won't be as easy as I make it sound.
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Old 19-10-2021, 11:19   #14
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Re: Thinking to buy a Chinese forced air diesel heater

Buy it and let us know how it works, that is if we don't read about you in an incident report first!
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Old 19-10-2021, 11:24   #15
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Re: Thinking to buy a Chinese forced air diesel heater

I don't understand how people are considering buying Chinese products like nothing is wrong with the world. China is threatening world peace and spending our money on weapons, potentially to use against us.

I know it's not always possible (although that's a sad statement on its own) but try to buy from other country of origin. Maybe someone on our side.
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