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Thread: Espar D4 or D5

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    Default Espar D4 or D5

    Those of you with uninsulated aluminum boats have you found the D4 to put out enough heat for winter use? Looking to change out my current heat source for an espar and want to make sure I get enough heater this time. I have a 24' Boulton explorer, standard aluminum hardtop with vberth. By the sound of it the d4 should be plenty for my boat, but price is only $100 deference between the d4 and d5 kit. My salt boat is used 90% for winter use and my current heater puts out 7500btu's and 37 cfm's of heat and does little more than serve as a hand warmer. The downside of the d5 is obviously size and the battery drain is substantially greater than the 4, but for the minimal cost difference I'd hate to get the d4 and wish I'd have gone with the D5.

    I've been on a few boats with Espars and they all put out plenty of heat even with the cabin door open, however they have also been insulated boats so its not an even comparison. I'd appreciate any feedback you guys can give before I make the order. Thank you

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    The solution to all your problems is to insulate the boat. You save money, fuel, battery power and it make sense to do it or am I missing something?

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    Quote Originally Posted by MacGyver View Post
    The solution to all your problems is to insulate the boat. You save money, fuel, battery power and it make sense to do it or am I missing something?
    The interior structure of the cabin is not set up to insulate it easily. I would have to swap out windows as well as add crosspieces or ribs to attach paneling too. Much easier to throw a bigger heater at it if it'll do the job.

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    I have a D4 in my 27 footer and it puts out plenty of heat, though fiberglass and the cabin is insulated. I have plenty of heat even in winter heating everything up under the tarp to work on the engine. I can't imagine a 24 footer needing a D5, even uninsulated aluminum. I used the same thought process btw when I installed my red dot heater. The 40,000 btuh unit was only $20 more than the 20,000 buth unit so went with it. Big mistake! I've been trying to limit output on that heater ever since, pulled one squirrel cage off, blanked off part of the coils, put in a throttling valve on the hot water, etc. Over sized heat is not always good.

  5. #5

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    My boat is about the same size as yours, I went with the D-4 and it will cook you out for sure. I was told the same thing that to big of a heater is not a good thing.

  6. #6

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    I have a D4 in my 24' Almar, and I never wished I had more. It is an older model Alloy with a fiberglass cabin top, but it has an uninsulated V berth and aft bulkhead, and plenty of window glass. I have an IB/OB, and running the heater off that when transiting, but at anchor just the D4. Your decision might also depend where you boat from (didn't notice if you mentioned that)- I was out normally several times a week last winter, with a few overnight trips, but I was in the vicinity of Ketchikan, so never lower then maybe 20. She sweats a bit, so I picked up some rubber backed carpet for the V berth, but that's to keep my sleeping bag dry at night.
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    * 1991 24' Almar Jetline Cabin-cruiser * 2004 16' Lund * 1955 17' Grumman Canoe
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    Quote Originally Posted by MUTTLEY View Post
    I have a D4 in my 24' Almar, and I never wished I had more. It is an older model Alloy with a fiberglass cabin top, but it has an uninsulated V berth and aft bulkhead, and plenty of window glass. I have an IB/OB, and running the heater off that when transiting, but at anchor just the D4. Your decision might also depend where you boat from (didn't notice if you mentioned that)- I was out normally several times a week last winter, with a few overnight trips, but I was in the vicinity of Ketchikan, so never lower then maybe 20. She sweats a bit, so I picked up some rubber backed carpet for the V berth, but that's to keep my sleeping bag dry at night.
    Thanks. Most my winter charters are out of Homer and even if the temp is 0 at the house the air temp on the water is rarely below 20. Hoping the espar will get rid of any condensation problems as well. Its no problem on day trips, but you spend a couple rainy nights on the boat and it turns into a rain forest in there., anything not carpeted is dripping.

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    I have the D4 and love it in my 26' hewes. I guess you could always want more heat but I've never needed it.


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  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by fishwheat View Post
    Those of you with uninsulated aluminum boats have you found the D4 to put out enough heat for winter use? Looking to change out my current heat source for an espar and want to make sure I get enough heater this time. I have a 24' Boulton explorer, standard aluminum hardtop with vberth. By the sound of it the d4 should be plenty for my boat, but price is only $100 deference between the d4 and d5 kit. My salt boat is used 90% for winter use and my current heater puts out 7500btu's and 37 cfm's of heat and does little more than serve as a hand warmer. The downside of the d5 is obviously size and the battery drain is substantially greater than the 4, but for the minimal cost difference I'd hate to get the d4 and wish I'd have gone with the D5.

    I've been on a few boats with Espars and they all put out plenty of heat even with the cabin door open, however they have also been insulated boats so its not an even comparison. I'd appreciate any feedback you guys can give before I make the order. Thank you
    i have the Wallas DT40 which is comparable to the D4. it cooks us at its 1/2 way setting at 25 degrees in our 28' Armstrong.

    We also have the cooktop. You could walk around in a t shirt and shorts. Only issue is some condensation on some bare metal portions

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    Quote Originally Posted by chtucker View Post
    i have the Wallas DT40 which is comparable to the D4. it cooks us at its 1/2 way setting at 25 degrees in our 28' Armstrong.

    We also have the cooktop. You could walk around in a t shirt and shorts. Only issue is some condensation on some bare metal portions
    Thanks for the input guys. I'll be ordering the D4.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by fishwheat View Post
    Thanks for the input guys. I'll be ordering the D4.
    Another option is the Planar heater. It's almost identical to the d4 and half the price! Have one installed in our Phantom landing craft and it work great. The only down side is the control only shows the temp in Celsius. We have one in stock at the moment at Ak Frontier fab.

    Mel

  12. #12

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    Put a d4 in a 28 Koffler I ran last fall/winter I ran out of Whittier, like mentioned, sweats the interior a bit but blowing 40 and 10 deg outside heavy freezing spray but was in a long sleeve t shirt inside.
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    Hey Fishwheat,

    There is a D4 knockoff (Russian?) that is ~$1000. You can talk to Odie's Marine about their experience with it. I have the Espar D4 and am quite happy with the heat and the reduction in cabin moisture in our 26' ACB.

    IceKing02

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    I have a D4 in my wife's 28 ft Kingfisher. It does fantastic at keeping the boat warm. Deer hunting in Nov with temps right at freezing we were plenty warm in the cabin.
    2007 Kingfisher 2825 - Stor Fisk

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    Quote Originally Posted by JR2 View Post
    I have a D4 in my wife's 28 ft Kingfisher. It does fantastic at keeping the boat warm. Deer hunting in Nov with temps right at freezing we were plenty warm in the cabin.
    Thanks guys. I ordered the d4 and feel better about the decision after hearing your comments. Installation question for ya, where does the unit read air temperature from? Intake, combustion air, thermostat control? My intake may be close to the exhaust pipe is my concern. Thanks

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    I was told they get it from the thermostat that you mount to control temp.

    Wrap your exhaust in headder wrap. You can get it at Napa or any other auto parts store. It really helps with how hot the exhaust pipe gets. If you search espar install on here you will find a couple of threads on installs.

    Also get the digital thermostat, its a bit more $$ but I was told its way better as it pulls trouble codes and lets you set some other stuff up on the heater.

    PM me if you need any advice. I did my install in about 8 hours and its been working perfect for two years now.

    John
    2007 Kingfisher 2825 - Stor Fisk

    Civilization ends at the waterline. Beyond that, we all enter the food chain, and not always right at the top. -- Hunter S. Thompson

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    Quote Originally Posted by JR2 View Post
    I was told they get it from the thermostat that you mount to control temp.

    Wrap your exhaust in headder wrap. You can get it at Napa or any other auto parts store. It really helps with how hot the exhaust pipe gets. If you search espar install on here you will find a couple of threads on installs.

    Also get the digital thermostat, its a bit more $$ but I was told its way better as it pulls trouble codes and lets you set some other stuff up on the heater.

    PM me if you need any advice. I did my install in about 8 hours and its been working perfect for two years now.

    John
    One further question about exhaust location. My boat has carpeting on the side walls, is the exhaust too hot to exit through this area? My other option is to run it up higher and out the cabin wall, less chance of water up there, but I'm conserved this may allow exhaust fumes to blow back into the rear deck fishing area. Anyone have experience with venting exhaust through carpet or venting out cabin wall?

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    I have carpet on my aluminum walls, I cut it back a couple inches but I think you will be fine. The thru hull fitting should be enough to protect the hull and carpet.
    2007 Kingfisher 2825 - Stor Fisk

    Civilization ends at the waterline. Beyond that, we all enter the food chain, and not always right at the top. -- Hunter S. Thompson

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    I got the heater installed and tested it out in the driveway, works good. I think it'll put out enough heat. It took an hour and a half, but got temp up to 70. Started with a frozen hull, ice on walls and ceiling with outside temp about 25. Just gotta find a permeant tank now.

    i know most guys are drawing their combustion air from in the cab since boats obviously aren't airtight. My question is, would it be better at cutting condensation drawing air from outside? Seems to me any condensation would burn off going through the combustion chamber anyway.

  20. #20

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    If you want to remove condensation, draw combustion air from the interior.

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