Results 1 to 15 of 15

Thread: Airtronic D4 heater install success!

  1. #1
    Member Maast's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Anchorage, Alaska, United States
    Posts
    510

    Default Airtronic D4 heater install success!

    Thought this might be useful for those who are installing or about to install a diesel cabin heater.

    Mickey-moused a temp 5 gal diesel tank using the supplied fill tube and a tall 5 gallon plastic gas can, fired up the heater and it ran like a champ.

    Cranked up the thermostat and let it run on HIGH for about an hour - no problem except my insulation wrapped exhaust pipes smoked a lot for about 20 mins curing the spray on coating - scared me for a few mins.

    A few lessons learned, observations, and things I'd do differently, in order of importance:

    - Do NOT install the heater pump on the outside of the rear cabin bulkhead - it acts as a soundboard, Inside the cabin would be a bad idea too. That sucker is ANNOYING and loud with its contant CLACK-CLACK-CLACK-CLACK.
    I'm talking about teeth gritting, drive to distraction, eyebrow twisting annoying. No matter what speed its running at.
    I'm moving it as soon as I can, wrapped inside light foam placed inside a block of dense foam and glued to the can, not the cabin, so there's no solid path of sound transmission. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

    - Dont install your through hull exhaust inside the cabin - do it outside somewhere, the through-hull port is loud, when the heater is on high it's objectionaly so, its not too bad when the cabin warms up and the heater switches to low, I'll be moving it soon, luckily I can use the opening in the hull for a sink I'll be putting in.

    - The exhaust pipe gets d@mn hot, the header wrap I used in addition to the insulating sock keeps it from being dangerous, but when the heater is on High I cant keep my finger on it for more than a couple seconds, less than a second on some spots. On low it can be touched with no problem. I'll be adding a bit more insulation in a few strategic spots.
    On the other hand the cool-it heat reflecting tape works great, the combusion air intake and fuel lines are cool to the touch, even though they're only about a inch and a half from the exhaust pipe. I'll be using more of that.

    - The through hull flange is surprisingly cool, I didnt need to worry about it. It never got more than warm to the touch, even though the exhaust coming out millimeters away will melt plastic and burn your hand quickly.

    - The cabin air blower doesnt make much noise, I can hear it, but its not a bother. My fresh air/cabin air mixer valve worked great. When the cabin got smoky I changed it over to fresh air and it blew the smoke out the cabin windows in no time.

    - The cabin air blower moves a lot of HOT air when on high, if you put your hand in front of the vent its like holding your hand in front of a 4 inch wide hair dryer. You can't keep your hand there for more than a min. On low its a lot cooler and slower.

    - The hot air ducting gets pretty warm too, could only hold my hand on it for about 15 seconds when the heater was on high. Its not in danger of melting rugs or anything - but you wouldnt want it in contact with any electronics.

    - I should have used a Wye instead of a T when I split off the main air duct for the window defrosters. Going to have to block the main vent by about 30% to create enough back pressure to get sufficient air to the defrosters. Or I might modify the inside of the T, dunno - I'll give it a bit more thought.

    - The heater pumps out a LOT of heat, it got a 9 foot cabin and 6 1/2 foot cuddy from 45 to over 80 degrees in about 15 mins, even with the windows open. I could have bought a D2 and been just fine. I couldnt tell the difference in heat output if I had cabin air or fresh air going.

    Thats all I can think of right now, I'm REALLY happy with the heater, with two notable exceptions (the first two).

    Hope this helps somebody.
    2696 Sea Raider Pilothouse
    "Dominion"

  2. #2
    Member Maast's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Anchorage, Alaska, United States
    Posts
    510

    Default

    PS

    - I should have left myself longer fuel and power lines, I'm limited now where I can move the d@mn thing.

    - When you install the thermostat or mini-controller strain relief the connections inside by tying a knot in the end of the wire cord. The knots a tight fit but you can still close the cover. Otherwise the cord puts tension on the flimsy inside connectors, even if you attach the cord to the wall.
    2696 Sea Raider Pilothouse
    "Dominion"

  3. #3

    Default Thanks for all the Espar install info...

    we have already bought the Espar Hydronic 5 for our diesel boat install so all your info will come in handy. SeaULater

  4. #4

    Default

    Thanks for sharing your trials and tribulations, very good points. You will be very happy with the heater once you get out on the water enjpying a warm cabin. Another benefit that no one has mentioned is what a great bug repellant they are...they put out so much heat that you can leave the doors/windows open and the bugs can't get in because they can't overcome the air velocity of the heat blowing out of the doors/windows! Enjoy.

  5. #5
    Member Gundog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    1250 miles S/O paradise in the lwr 48 dreaming of SE AK
    Posts
    255

    Default

    I notice the Airtronic and Webasto look identical are they? My boat is being prerigged for the Webasto and eventually I am going to put in a heater they have installed the mount, tank, and some support for the duct work. I am wondering if the mount would be the same. I have seen some good prices for the Airtronic but the Webasto seems to be more $$.

    Mike

  6. #6
    Member Maast's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Anchorage, Alaska, United States
    Posts
    510

    Default

    Wrapped the pump in layers of acoustic foam and thin aluminum, all it makes now is a muffled thump.

    However it turns out that a lot of the noise is transmitted along the fuel line, if the line touches metal it transmits the CLACK real well, wrapped foam around the line where it goes through metal and its a lot quieter now. More like a ticking clock in a quiet room.

    At any rate its ignorable for now, I'll do a more permanent solution when I install the perm tank.
    2696 Sea Raider Pilothouse
    "Dominion"

  7. #7

    Default

    I was wondering if the Espar heater itself gets hot or do you just have to be concerned about the exhaust. I am in the process of installing one now and want to mount it on the side of a bench seat but the top of the heater will be real close to the vinyl on the seat. The exhaust wil be 10 inches away from the seat.

  8. #8

    Default

    The heater itself has a plastic housing around it and the primary areas where there is excessive heat is on the exhaust and heater outlet. I have mine installed under a seat with ~ 1' of heat outlet to a rotatable diffuser and there is ~ 2' of exhaust to the outside. The exhaust pipe was only wrapped with the provided heat resistant sock and I had a plastic file box that accidently got pushed up against it and partially melted. I have since installed metal plates around the heater/piping to prevent items from being pushed up againslt them. Also when my heater was installed, they used a 5 gallon plastic fuel tank located inside the cabin. I had issues when the cabin heated up the fuel expanded and leaked out...I have since replaced the plastic tank with an 11 gallon aluminum tank.

  9. #9
    Member Maast's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Anchorage, Alaska, United States
    Posts
    510

    Default

    The heater housing never gets more than warm to the touch, even on high you can keep your hand against it with no problem.

    The heater pipe gets fragging hot, if I didnt have all the insulation around it it'd be scary hot.

    My temporary ghetto fuel tank is outside the cabin tucked into the corner between the cabin wall and the gunwale. Its ugly, but it works for now. I just havent had the time to fab a permanent tank.
    2696 Sea Raider Pilothouse
    "Dominion"

  10. #10
    Member Arctic Hunter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Los Anchorage
    Posts
    327

    Default Thanks!!!!

    Thanks for the tips! I'm installing a webasto heater in my glass boat and will definately review your threads on your install.
    2006 22ft Defiance 220EX
    150 HP Yamaha 4-Stroke
    Call Sign - "Defiance"

  11. #11

    Default

    So is the 2" clearance around the exhaust, that they call for in the instruction book, enough?

  12. #12
    Member Maast's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Anchorage, Alaska, United States
    Posts
    510

    Default

    IMO it'll do using just the provided insulation sock if there isnt anything meltable/burnable at 2" on the sides or bottom. On top I'd go with 3 inches min clearance to bare metal with nothing meltable/burnable on the other side of the metal. If you're installing under a carpet covered shelf or there are wires I'd go 4 inches of clearance.

    Or wrap it in more insulation that what was provided.

    I couldnt meet the min clearances due to my install location so I wrapped what I thought was a silly amount of header wrap insulation around the whole exhaust pipe. With that much insulation around it I expected it to be only warm to the touch - however its still too hot to touch for more than a second or three except in the places where there's 3/4" or more worth of insulation.

    The header wrap is kind of dense stuff so its not the best insulator (its pretty tough tho), but its what I had available, a less dense fiberglass wrap would probably work better.

    Maybe something like this:
    http://www.heatshieldproducts.com/m_hp_armor.php
    2696 Sea Raider Pilothouse
    "Dominion"

  13. #13
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Palmer
    Posts
    134

    Default

    This thread has been very helpful, I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to install one in our Pacific Cruiser 220. By chance would you have any photos you could post?

    What was the total length of your exhaust? The manual says 6' max length but I'll need at least 8' to reach the transom. Will it cause problems if it's a couple of feet longer? Would it hurt to dump the exhaust outside directly into the cockpit? I've seen people recommend against this but I've seen several wallas cooktop / heater combos done that way??


    Thanks for the help,
    Brian

  14. #14
    Member Mort's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Niceville, FL
    Posts
    459

    Default

    Brian, I installed my D4 in the head on my 26' AK Searunner. I took combustion air from out in the fishing space under the port gunwhale. I vented the exhaust through the port side, well above waterline. You can sometimes smell it from the back deck, but it's usually not obnoxious. I doubled up the fiberglass exhaust insulation, to be safe. So far, so good. Then I ran my warm air duct up behind the port pax seat, and it vents near the front pax feet. I intend to add some ducting to get warm air up to the windshields, but haven't worked details.

    Right now, I have no plans to replace my fuel tank. I have small 2-gal tank in the head. None of the installation would interfere with the use of the head, if we used it for anything but a storage locker.

    I don't have photos, but will try to take some when I get out to the boat. If you'd like to view the install, let me know (PM). The boat is stored on Elmendorf.

    Chris

  15. #15
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Palmer
    Posts
    134

    Default

    Mort, Thanks for the reply. I can't exit my exhaust thru the side, there's a foam filled stiffining channel the whole length and if I go below it I think it would be too close to the water line... I guess I'm stuck with routing it all the way to the back transom.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •