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Thread: Espar heater in Glacier Craft boats

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    Member Ebbtide's Avatar
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    Default Espar heater in Glacier Craft boats

    Spoke with a fellow GC owner a couple hours ago who had trouble with his Espar. He pulled his tank and found a lot of water in the kerosine presumably coming in through the vent. I have had inconsistent performance with mine. Sometimes it works and sometimes it don't . It will usually light the night I go out but rarely the next am. Seems to start better when running on step but not every time. Just wondering if anyone else is/was having similar problems. I have the same vents he does not only on the kerosene tank but the fuel tanks too.


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    Has your tank been ran dry? Some people have larger tanks and never use all the fuel then it sits through the winter and either gels up or causes issues with the heater the following year.
    My vent/exhaust is above the gunwale and haven't had any issues yet.


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    Default Espar heater in Glacier Craft boats

    I don't think it has been run dry. I have put probably 6-8 gallons through it this season. Seems to run fine when it does start. I have only used kerosene in it. Not sure if kerosene degrades through winter.


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    How often do you run it and how often do you run it at max temp. Running on max(boost mode) every time you use it, for a short time, is a good idea as it burns up any soot in burner. Personally when I fire mine up I run it on max till cabin is hot then I turn it down to low.

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    Member Ebbtide's Avatar
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    It runs at max a lot. Usually until it cycles itself down. My cabin is not insulated so it requires quite a bit of heat to warm it up. There is a copper coil coming off the bottom of the heater that drips a little fuel/water concoction. Can't find its purpose in the manual.


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    If it's not firing up the next morning it could be a low voltage issue. Espars are real picky with voltage. Other than that I'd say run some stanadyne diesel treatment thru it. I always ran diesel in mine. Never had issues other than low voltage the next morning when a battery would drain down.


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    I throw a couple bottles of sea foam in my tank when it gets cold to help with the gelling. It also helps with water but I've never had water issues that I know of.

    That being said, mine will shutdown over night if I run it all night on the lowest setting. Seems to struggle to keep a fire going. It fires right up and runs fine when I turn it back on in the morning on high.

    I'd be curious about that fuel/water drip you have.

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    It tries to fire. You would think if there was not enough voltage it would not go through the cycles. It also kind of rumbles when it doesn't start. Like it's trying to clear something.picture of the copper coil



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    Quote Originally Posted by Ebbtide View Post
    It tries to fire. You would think if there was not enough voltage it would not go through the cycles. It also kind of rumbles when it doesn't start. Like it's trying to clear something


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    I don't think it's possible to predict the effect Low voltage has on a electronic circuit. Measuring the voltage going to the heater when you're having a problem would go a long way in finding the cause.

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    I'm not saying it is low voltage but when my voltage got low in the morning it would start then ramp up then back down a couple times before it just shut down Other than that pull the glow plug under the top cover and clean it up with a wire brush. That might help then run seafoam or stanadyne thru it


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    Coiled copper tube is just a drain for any condensation that builds up in the exhaust. Should not have any fuel dripping from there. Only water.

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    There is a max run time setting on my Espar. It will only run for X hours before turning off. You can change the setting if you have the fancy thermostat. What you can do is turn it off and back on at some point just to reset the timer. Default run time is 12 hours I think.
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    Quote Originally Posted by prconnection View Post
    Coiled copper tube is just a drain for any condensation that builds up in the exhaust. Should not have any fuel dripping from there. Only water.
    Correct, drain is from exhaust only.
    Run seafoam occasionally.
    Should have a inline fuel filter to prevent any water or debris from getting to pump prior to unit.

    Honestly, sounds like low voltage issues. You can reset the low voltage cut out if you have the digital controller plus reset the 12 hr shut down timer.
    I would put a charger on the batts, add a bottle of seafoam to some fresh heating fuel and fire it off and let it run on high for a few hours. Be sure you have good voltage.
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    For the DIY looking for answers you might find this interesting.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3H1MxHvthe4

    http://www.sprinter-rv.com/wp-conten...air_Manual.pdf

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    Quote Originally Posted by MacGyver View Post
    For the DIY looking for answers you might find this interesting.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3H1MxHvthe4

    http://www.sprinter-rv.com/wp-conten...air_Manual.pdf
    Forgot about the voltage setting in there, but the run time setting was there as well.
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  16. #16

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    I have a Webasto and was told that when they start running crappy the boys on the slope hit the intake air tube with an air compressor. I assume it blows through to the exhaust and cleans things out. Sounds plausible, but could also be a terrible idea for all I know. Anyone tried or heard this?

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    If you do not have an inline fuel filter with a sight glass I suggest getting one installed. I had a similar experience with my Espar and come to find out it was water in the fuel that was getting in through my fill cap. The fill cap gasket was not thick enough to make a good seal on the top of the gunwale, so water spray/waves/rain was getting into the tank. Ended up with at least 2 gallons of water in the tank. Luckily BW built the tank with a low tank drain so with a little effort I was able to drain the water completely out. I also have a site glass in-line filter that allowed me to see the water.

    My experience is to keep your diagnosis simple to begin with. I would start with water in the fuel before getting complicated with voltage etc.

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    Thanks for all the good ideas! I think when the heater does its roaring/burping it is spitting out fuel/water mix through the exhaust. So it stands to reason the copper line could have a fuel water mix drip out. Will definitely put a meter on it next time the problem occurs. Usually only run it 2-4 hours so I don't think it is timing out. The fuel line is filtered. The filter is under the floor, of course. Any way to check for water in the tank without ripping up the floor?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ebbtide View Post
    Thanks for all the good ideas! I think when the heater does its roaring/burping it is spitting out fuel/water mix through the exhaust. So it stands to reason the copper line could have a fuel water mix drip out. Will definitely put a meter on it next time the problem occurs. Usually only run it 2-4 hours so I don't think it is timing out. The fuel line is filtered. The filter is under the floor, of course. Any way to check for water in the tank without ripping up the floor?
    Disconnect the fuel line from the heater and run the start up mode several times putting the fuel into glass bowl. Get a few inches and the let sit. If you gave water it will separate.

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    In-line filter sight bowl. After one start cycle top is fuel. Bottom is water. Heater would run decent at rest and in driveway cause fuel was on top. But get under way and water and fuel mixed and flame out.

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