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Old 11-11-2013, 08:03 PM   #1
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Default Espar Diesel Hydronic Heat Problem Solved

Our 2013 Great West Van Legend SE came equipped with the Espar Diesel Hydronic Heating System. We purchased the van in January of 2013 in Florida. We spent that winter in Florida and only had occasional need for heat. We ran up to the Black Hills in June. We boondocked in National Forest lands on that trip and the temperature got down to the low 50's at night. The Espar system initially warmed up and then quite producing heat. It was a very short very cold shower that morning.

A week ago I took the van to RV world of Lakeland, Lakeland Florida and had them look at it. After having it for a week or so, they figured out that the Espar unit under the hood did not have any anti-freeze type coolant in the unit. Hence, the Espar unit had no way of transferring the heat to the water or the forced air. Well two gallons of the proper coolant later and voila heat!

It appears that the delivering dealer did not check the Espar tank as part of the pre-delivery check.

Here are the lessons.
1. New technology is great...when it works. Being on the bleeding edge can be ok, but be prepared to work through kinks.
2. For GWV service, RV world of Lakeland went above and beyond to research and resolve this problem.
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Old 11-11-2013, 10:27 PM   #2
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Default Re: Espar Diesel Hydronic Heat Problem Solved

Quote:
Originally Posted by gordonhks
Our 2013 Great West Van Legend SE came equipped with the Espar Diesel Hydronic Heating System. We purchased the van in January of 2013 in Florida. We spent that winter in Florida and only had occasional need for heat. We ran up to the Black Hills in June. We boondocked in National Forest lands on that trip and the temperature got down to the low 50's at night. The Espar system initially warmed up and then quite producing heat. It was a very short very cold shower that morning.

A week ago I took the van to RV world of Lakeland, Lakeland Florida and had them look at it. After having it for a week or so, they figured out that the Espar unit under the hood did not have any anti-freeze type coolant in the unit. Hence, the Espar unit had no way of transferring the heat to the water or the forced air. Well two gallons of the proper coolant later and voila heat!

It appears that the delivering dealer did not check the Espar tank as part of the pre-delivery check.

Here are the lessons.
1. New technology is great...when it works. Being on the bleeding edge can be ok, but be prepared to work through kinks.
2. For GWV service, RV world of Lakeland went above and beyond to research and resolve this problem.
That's good news, for sure. RV World is a nice place, and was the first place we actually were able to look at multiple models of Bs, back in 2006. Is there any problem with the Espar running dry with burner going, like there would be with a water heater?
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Old 11-12-2013, 11:37 AM   #3
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Default Re: Espar Diesel Hydronic Heat Problem Solved

Good to know - thanks for sharing the info.
Do you know what model # Espar unit you have?

I'd like to learn a bit more about it. Is it plumbed into the engine cooling system or is it a separate system?
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Old 11-12-2013, 11:47 AM   #4
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Default Re: Espar Diesel Hydronic Heat Problem Solved

Booster, you have me stumped with that.

Marko, yet two more good questions, that I am unable to answer with any assurance of accuracy. However, I do not think that the system is plumbed into the coolant system. It seems to be a seperate closed loop.

The final question, is could this have been caused by a leak, rather than not having been filled correctly in the first place?

I know this. When the system works it is whisper quiet, which was the promise that lured me into this technology. The old propane system on the 2006 Roadtrek RS, was like having a 737 running in the coach
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Old 11-12-2013, 11:17 PM   #5
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Default Re: Espar Diesel Hydronic Heat Problem Solved

I'd think it would have been filled and tested by GW so a leak could be the cause. Or, it could have been filled but had an air pocket which worked it's way out. If you find out more about it let us know. Maybe check the coolant level every couple of days to see if it drops indicating a leak.
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Old 11-13-2013, 11:32 AM   #6
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Default Re: Espar Diesel Hydronic Heat Problem Solved

Marko, I am afraid that you are correct. I will monitor this and post results.
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Old 11-13-2013, 01:46 PM   #7
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Default Re: Espar Diesel Hydronic Heat Problem Solved

It's worth a call to GW I think to confirm whether the Espar coolant is in a separate system from the Mercedes cooling system. One of the advantages of (some) Espar units is that they can be used as an engine pre-heater. Also, you'd get "free" hot water and coach heat just from driving around if the Espar was plumbed into the engine cooling system.

Coolant will have hot and cold levels so bear that in mind when checking the levels. It would be good to find out the coolant capacity (or capacities if separate systems) so that you know how much coolant is needed if the systems where ever flushed out and emptied.
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Old 02-21-2014, 08:49 PM   #8
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Default Re: Espar Diesel Hydronic Heat Problem Solved

Ding Ding Ding, We have a winner! Marko was right it was a leak! I ran the system on a few short outings and checked the reservoir level and it was a little low. Hmmmmm. I talked to a person at the Tampa RV show that has a similar system. He said that he had a leak near the diesel/hydronic exhaust pipe.

Well, I fired the unit up and walked over to the exhaust pipe, laid on the ground and watched and waited. Sure enough, there was a coolant leak.

I took the coach to Lakeland RV world and they traced the leak and corrected it (I hope). So the loop on this thread seems to be closed for now....
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