Espar Hydronic Heater - L300 Install

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ajd
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Vehicle: 1990 L300 P35W
Location: Bozeman, MT

Espar Hydronic Heater - L300 Install

Postby ajd » Sun Oct 01, 2017 9:45 am

I thought I would share my installation of an espar D5 SC heater in an L300. Living in a cold environment this has been by far the most invaluable addition to my van. I will admit the cost was a little hard to swallow not knowing how well this unit would work, but it certainly works! I do a lot a camping, often in the winter, and often in remote areas (where the block can't be plugged in). This thing burns diesel pulled from your stock tank or an auxiliary tank to heat the coolant system, in turn you get heat to the engine head very quickly and as an added bonus heat in the cabin when the van is not on. Set a timer for the morning and walkout to a preheated and defrosted van. It's amazing.

Things you might need:
3/4in coolant line
5/8in coolant line
3/4 to 5/8 coolant step-down fitting
5/8 coolant t-fitting
90 deg coolant shutoff valve x2
hose clamps, lots
brass fuel line t-tap
brass step down fittings to get the 3/8 t-tap down to 1/4
one way fuel valve (check valve)
zip-ties
exhaust sealant
electrical supplies: t splice connectors, butt connectors, wire, wire cutters, crimpers
rubber grommet to pass the electrical through the van body

You will find most of this stuff at an auto parts store except for the fuel check valve and 90 deg coolant shutoff valves. Those I got on ebay.

Location
The first hurdle, and probably the most difficult is mounting the unit. I found a nice spot on the van frame, drivers side between the adjusting arm for the torsion spring and the transmission. Looking under the skirt just behind the drivers side front wheel well, this is what you will see
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Looking under the van just behind the drivers side front wheel
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The D5 fits just barely in this space, sideways and with the exhaust ports towards the side of the van, while the coolant ports face forward towards the engine. I mounted mine without the metal box it came with because it wouldn't otherwise fit in this spot. some packages don't include this box anyway. (I later cut the box up and used it for a little skid-plate/rock guard). I installed the mounting bracket by welding a plate of steel to the frame with a drilled bolt pattern that fits the supplied mounting plate for the heater. You might be able to avoid welding with some clever drilling for bolts, but if you have access to a welder it will probably be easier. If you do weld, make sure you coat the weld properly to protect from rusting, my photo does not show this step. This is a nice spot because it's accessible if you develop a leak or need to remove it for cleaning. By using the supplied mounting bracket it's very easy to remove (one bolt that goes through the body of the unit ...nice design espar). I also like this spot because it's a relatively central place to route your electrical, fuel line, coolant lines, and exhaust to the back.

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espar in place
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I chopped up a little bracket out of the metal container that the heater came with for the fuel pump and bolted it at a 45 deg angle (as per the instruction manual) It bolts to the support beam just van-forward of the heater.

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coolant lines from espar
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The coolant lines and fuel line hop over the transmission to the passenger side of the van. Zip ties make great hose hangers to keep them away from the transmission or vibrating against other parts.
The shutoff valves are a nice addition, if you ever have a problem with the heater or need to clean it they will save you from draining the coolant from the entire system!

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Looking under the passenger side of the van
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The hot side (heat supply) from the heater will split at a Tee connector on the line that comes from the engine head (passenger side top-rear corner of the block) this line goes from the head to heater core. The return (cool side) will Tee into the line that connects the heater cores to the coolant return pipe that comes all the way around the block from the water pump. It is a metal pipe until it gets to the back of the block on the passenger side, then turns into a soft line, this is where the Tee will go for the cold side of the heater. I completely removed the old soft lines connecting to the return pipe and head, then replaced these sections with fresh coolant lines with the T fitting pre-installed. It's a hard to reach space so the more pre-assembly you can do the easier it will be to install. It took a few tries to get the right length of hose so there were no kinks. You have to make wide turns with generic coolant hose. Always start longer than you think and trim down to avoid multiple trips to the auto parts store ;)

By the way, this is a great time to flush your coolant system if you haven't in a while. Do the flush before you start the install so you don't muck up your new espar.

Fuel System
The install kit for the espar comes with a fuel tank tap and long pickup line. You could drop your fuel tank and follow the instructions to drill a big hole your fuel tank, but I thought this was a bit invasive and a lot of extra work. Tapping into your fuel line is possibly a little more risky because you will now have more places for failure, air leaking in, restricting the fuel supply, etc. If your careful and get all the right adapters and double check your hose clamps, I don't see any issue with this. You will want to get a check valve (with 1/4in barbs I believe) to prevent fuel from being sucked backwards from the espar which will mostly likely result in air getting to your injection pump. Also, as an extra precaution tap into the fuel line that is pre fuel filter so you don't mess with the clean fuel getting to the IP. The fuel for the espar does not need to be filtered.

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Fuel line from tank to fuel filter
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This is the modified section of fuel line that normally connects the hard steel lines from the tanks to the fuel filter. I removed about 3/4 of an inch from the middle to maintain the original length after the t-tap is inserted. Set it up so the t-tap points towards the rear of the van. This is where your espar fuel line will be coming from if it followed the heater hoses over the transmission. As noted above the fuel pump needs to be installed at a 45 deg angle and located near the heater.

More photos to come...
AJ

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ajd
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Vehicle: 1990 L300 P35W
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Espar Hydronic Heater - L300 Install

Postby ajd » Sun Oct 01, 2017 10:15 am

This is a schematic of how the espar is incorporated into the heating system.
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L300 Coolant system
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AJ

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ajd
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Espar Hydronic Heater - L300 Install

Postby ajd » Sun Oct 01, 2017 1:11 pm

One more photo of the fuel t-tap installed. Looking from below up at the fuel filter.

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AJ

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ajd
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Espar Hydronic Heater - L300 Install

Postby ajd » Sun Oct 01, 2017 1:35 pm

Exhaust
The installation kit that I got did not supply very much exhaust tubing, which made it difficult to figure out how to fully vent the exhaust beyond the skirt of the delica. You could potentially run it straight to the edge from where the unit sits, but with the rear heater core located there it would have to be below that. I thought this would be a little exposed and prone to getting crushed on a rock or hit with road debris. I ended up testing the espar before I figured out a solution, and found out how loud it is :shock: so I ordered a silencer muffler unit (that are supplied with some kits) and it came with more tubing! yay. Using the supplied hardware, I mounted the tubing on the van under body all the way back to the wheel well. I used exhaust sealant at all of the joints in the system.

For the intake, I used a small piece of the tubing and did a little up-then-down bend which will help prevent water settling near the port.

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AJ

204explorer
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Espar Hydronic Heater - L300 Install

Postby 204explorer » Sun Oct 01, 2017 5:03 pm

Very nice job installing that espar. Finding the right place t mount it is the hardest part and it looks like you figured it out.
I installed a lot of these and never used a check valve in the fuel line. I am not sure if would need it in your application. Either way as long as it works its all find.
Is there a specific reason you installed the shut off valves?
Is the espar pumping the hot coolant trough your heater core(s). It is the way I hooked mine up and I am going to install a module to run the cab fan while the espar is running. I can let you know how that works once I installed it.
Now we are ready for the cold to hit (I live in Manitoba, normally no shortage of cold weather here)

Andy

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ajd
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Espar Hydronic Heater - L300 Install

Postby ajd » Sun Oct 01, 2017 6:01 pm

Good to hear it works ok without the check valve. I just thought it would be a good precaution.

As for the shutoff valves, again, a nice precaution if something goes wrong with the espar I could pull it out without draining a large amount of coolant from the system. I've also heard that the d5 will need cleaning every once an a while (don't know how long that is yet). I guess soot builds up in the combustion chamber and needs to be taken apart to clean it out. This is also apparently magnified if you use it at higher altitudes which I do, a lot. I think the valves I got were like $10 each or something. So relatively cheap and potentially a time saver in the future.

Yep, I get heat to both heater cores and the engine. I actually did this install last year so I used it all last winter and for the first few months I was bummed that while I would get heat to the cores it wouldn't actually run the fans for you. So I had to manually turn the ignition key to 'on' to start the fans. I did some digging on the interwebs and found out that there is a pin (wire) on the electrical harness that supplies 12v when the coolant output reaches 100deg. So I tracked down this wire, tapped it, and connected it to the fan relay. Now the fans all come on once the heater gets up to temp. I'll take some pictures of this too.
Is this what you mean by installing a module? or are you putting in some kind of extra controller. I'd be interested in seeing that method.
AJ

204explorer
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Espar Hydronic Heater - L300 Install

Postby 204explorer » Sun Oct 01, 2017 6:13 pm

AJ, looks like you got it all figured out. The module I am talking about is from espar. I tapes into the same wire but the output is an ajustable pulse with signal, meaning it draws less amperage and you can adjust the speed of the fan to your needs.
I am thinking of ordering the module next week. I will take a picture of it once I receive it and add it to this thread. The part number for that module is 25.2800.70.4040. You can check it out online.

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ajd
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Espar Hydronic Heater - L300 Install

Postby ajd » Sun Oct 01, 2017 6:58 pm

Here are a few more photos of the electrical system and the tap to control the fan relay.

The power cable for the system follows the two cables on the lower right. These go up passed the air filter and into the engine bay. Connect them to the battery and don't forget to put a fuse into the cable, there are two, one at the battery and one for the fuel pump located on the fuel pump cable.
The cable for the controller unit and the fan relay control (white wire) go through the body of the van just behind the drivers seat. I drilled a hole from the top side and installed a grommet to protect the cable. Install the connector blocks onto the wire harness after you have fed the wire through and cut the cable to length.
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Looking from inside the van, this is where the cables come in. You can see the white fan relay wire continue on to go under the drivers seat, under the carpet in the front and up to the relay box above the accelerator pedal (block of 4 cylindrical relays). I was going to mount the control unit somewhere but I left it free hanging for a while and ended up really liking it that way. I can pull the controller into the front for engine starts or leave it in the back for access in the morning without getting out of the sleeping bag :-D I just have to be careful not to sit on it!
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Hard to see in this dirty photo but the wire to tap for the fan control is black with a red stripe and is one of the smaller wires.


One more of my homemade splash guard, made from the protective metal box it came with.
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AJ

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ajd
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Espar Hydronic Heater - L300 Install

Postby ajd » Sun Oct 01, 2017 7:00 pm

204explorer wrote:AJ, looks like you got it all figured out. The module I am talking about is from espar. I tapes into the same wire but the output is an ajustable pulse with signal, meaning it draws less amperage and you can adjust the speed of the fan to your needs.
I am thinking of ordering the module next week. I will take a picture of it once I receive it and add it to this thread. The part number for that module is 25.2800.70.4040. You can check it out online.


This sound sweet. It would be nice to have more control than just on or off. I'll check it out, thanks!
AJ

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Espar Hydronic Heater - L300 Install

Postby javabob » Tue Oct 03, 2017 8:26 pm

Fantastic post AJ! Thanks to the info that you and 204explorer gave me, I'll be diving under to install mine this weekend.
The kit that I have has a fuel metering pump. Am I correct in assuming that I will not need a check valve for the fuel line?

I think I have the wiring all figured out except for one plug that comes on the harness. In the wiring diagram it connects to EasyScan or EasyFan.
Is that the plug that would go to the fan module?
A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.

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Espar Hydronic Heater - L300 Install

Postby javabob » Wed Oct 04, 2017 12:24 pm

I'm also wondering if you guys know what this hose is used for?
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A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.

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ajd
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Espar Hydronic Heater - L300 Install

Postby ajd » Wed Oct 04, 2017 2:15 pm

huh, my kit did not have that one. But looks like it could be used for an air intake. The bends in it make me think that it could be oriented to keep water out. See if the diameter fits on the exhaust port.
AJ

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Espar Hydronic Heater - L300 Install

Postby ajd » Wed Oct 04, 2017 2:27 pm

javabob wrote:Am I correct in assuming that I will not need a check valve for the fuel line?

I think I have the wiring all figured out except for one plug that comes on the harness. In the wiring diagram it connects to EasyScan or EasyFan.
Is that the plug that would go to the fan module?

Ya, sounds like 204explorer has no issues running it without a check valve.

Which end of the harness is the extra plug on? Near the espar plug? It could be power for the fuel pump. There is a plug for that and a small fuse box pre-wired into the harness.
AJ

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Espar Hydronic Heater - L300 Install

Postby javabob » Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:35 pm

ajd wrote:Which end of the harness is the extra plug on? Near the espar plug? It could be power for the fuel pump. There is a plug for that and a small fuse box pre-wired into the harness.


The first picture is the wiring harness laid out the as I understand it. The second picture is the mystery plug.
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A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.

204explorer
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Espar Hydronic Heater - L300 Install

Postby 204explorer » Fri Oct 06, 2017 5:04 am

Unfortunately I can not say for sure. This is a pretty new style of heater and I have only installed one last winter. If everything else is hooked up I wouldnt worry about it.

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