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Old 09-13-2017, 11:24 PM   #1
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Default Stealth: What is the quietest gas heater (Espar, Webasto, Planar, Dometic, etc.)

Stealth: What is the quietest gas heater (Espar, Webasto, Planar, Dometic, Wallas, etc.)? [For a custom Class B type van conversion]

Goal: Stealth
Need: Quiet operation at night
Want: Small square footage in the cabin
Preference: Gas heaters (using/tapping the existing fuel tank) so that there is no need for a separate diesel or propane tank underneath the van
Installation: Floor installation (to keep the exhaust and air-intake stealth)
Vehicle: Mercedes-Benz Metris passenger van (with rear windows) custom glamper conversion

New to Class B living and van conversion. Researching stealth-approved gas heaters. As far as I can tell, major rv/boat/truck heater companies are Espar, Webasto, Planar, Dometic, Wallas, etc. and after you pick a reliable manufacturer, the selection becomes 'just air' vs. 'dual (i.e. air + water heating) or hydronic or hybrid' heaters.

As long as the price difference (between air vs. hydronic) is not outrageous, having hot water for shower/dishwashing would be nice of course. But my main focus is stealth, as loud heater or visible exhaust fumes (for the times van is not running at night) would ruin the total investment done to keep the van stealth (re: urban camping in cities).

Would love to know:

- What you went with it (or would go with it, if you had the funds): Manufacturer, Model #, price (or place of purchase), type (air vs. hybrid)
- How your experience was (i.e. actual noise level, warranty/support + finding parts if necessary, etc.)
- If I am missing anything, like are there stealthable low-profile roof A/C options (i.e. Dometic Penguin II) that are dual-purpose and provide heat in the winter

Thank you.
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Old 09-14-2017, 05:15 AM   #2
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Liquid fueled (Diesel or gasoline) heaters tend to be noisy due to forced induction blowers needed to vaporize the liquid fuel for combustion. That's particularly true during the burner start cycle. Mufflers are available for the combustion intake and exhaust pipes to somewhat lessen the jet-like roar.

The Propex sealed combustion furnace is probably the most quiet, but that's because it uses propane fuel, and would thus require an undermount propane tank. So the stealth tradeoff would be between the noisier gasoline unit and the propane tank mount required for the Propex.

Air conditioning units with heating such as the Dometic Penguin require 120 volt power and the requisite generator would be louder and more obtrusive than any of the options above.

Forum member MsNomer has installed an internal gasoline fired Webasto heater in their Promaster conversion and might be able to provide some sound measurements of the unit while operating.
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Old 09-14-2017, 07:23 AM   #3
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We have diesel powered Espar D2, the starting cycle is louder than steady state, low level. Espar has 4 power levels: 850W, 1200W, 1800W, 2200W, running at low is very quiet. So, to keep the unit running low good insulation is necessary. My Espar D2 is likely order of magnitude quieter than my old Suburbans or Atwoods.

I donít have direct experience with Propex but assume it is reasonably quiet with well muffled exhaust.

All heaters with combustion chambers will have noise from powered combustion air intake, powered recirculation air, and exhaust.

Another option for a very quiet heater would be vented catalytic heater Product.

Another option would be marine heaters like Dickinson or Cozy Cabin but they need room.
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Old 09-14-2017, 09:25 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockymtnb View Post
Liquid fueled (Diesel or gasoline) heaters tend to be noisy due to forced induction blowers needed to vaporize the liquid fuel for combustion. That's particularly true during the burner start cycle. Mufflers are available for the combustion intake and exhaust pipes to somewhat lessen the jet-like roar.
Makes sense. I guess I now need to find out whether the muffler enforced low-mode (post initial burner/combustion) can be stealth enough.

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Originally Posted by rockymtnb View Post
The Propex sealed combustion furnace is probably the most quiet, but that's because it uses propane fuel, and would thus require an undermount propane tank. So the stealth tradeoff would be between the noisier gasoline unit and the propane tank mount required for the Propex.
If I have to go with Propex (HS2211), where do you recommend that I get an underneath/hidden propane tank? I don't want to waste my previous cabin space with a portable tank, even if it is 2.5, so it has to be an installation. And are they easy to refill if it is set up that way? That is just such a new world to me.

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Air conditioning units with heating such as the Dometic Penguin require 120 volt power and the requisite generator would be louder and more obtrusive than any of the options above.
Energy would be my second research point but from the limited things I know I was thinking that an inergy kodiak type of portable power pack & solar generator (that I can charge at the office/hotel/library/starbucks) should give me enough power, no? Two birds one stone would have been nice because I still have to figure out my vent & A/C set up.
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Old 09-15-2017, 05:01 PM   #5
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A gasoline fired heater would likely be a simpler installation if the noise level is acceptable. If you choose propane then an undermount tank is needed.

The Metris is more constrained for space, both inside and under chassis, than other Class B vans, so these installation specific questions should be addressed with your van converter. Some converters, for example Sportsmobile, do not install any heaters in their Metris conversions. Not sure about GTRV.

Those portable power packs carry very little power from a thermal perspective. For example the inergy Kodiak's 1.1 kWhr rating provides about 0.9 kWhr usable capacity at 80% discharge level. That's less than a half-hour's worth of heating output from the Propex or Webasto, so not much heating value. Save your electrical capacity for refrigeration, lighting, and other electrical requirements.
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Old 09-16-2017, 04:14 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockymtnb View Post
A gasoline fired heater would likely be a simpler installation if the noise level is acceptable. If you choose propane then an undermount tank is needed.

The Metris is more constrained for space, both inside and under chassis, than other Class B vans, so these installation specific questions should be addressed with your van converter. Some converters, for example Sportsmobile, do not install any heaters in their Metris conversions. Not sure about GTRV.

Those portable power packs carry very little power from a thermal perspective. For example the inergy Kodiak's 1.1 kWhr rating provides about 0.9 kWhr usable capacity at 80% discharge level. That's less than a half-hour's worth of heating output from the Propex or Webasto, so not much heating value. Save your electrical capacity for refrigeration, lighting, and other electrical requirements.
Don't have a can converter yet, so I am researching. If we assume I'm going with a petrol/gasoline model:

Fuel Tapping:

- Self installers: Have you had problems connecting the heater fuel line to your existing van gasoline/petrol tank? Via T or Y piece? I've been told that most modern/newer vans have pressurized fuel systems and tapping into the tank via T would be dangerous. Thoughts?

- Does anyone know how do professional installers handle this issue?
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Old 09-16-2017, 08:22 PM   #7
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If the fuel pump is in the gas tank you would not want to tap into the gas line to the engine.

There should be a second line into the tank that does not go to the bottom. This prevents generators or heaters from using all the gas.

See if you can find this Aux line into the tank. You might have to drop it to find it.....
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Old 09-17-2017, 05:53 PM   #8
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There is no stealth. Stealth: What is the quietest gas heater (Espar, Webasto, Wallas, etc.)?
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Old 09-17-2017, 06:22 PM   #9
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There is no stealth.
What is the point of your post? Show you can google my username? Show that I should hang out in other forums rather than here? Show that you have nothing to contribute so you'd rather post nonsense instead of answering the questions on this thread? Sad, childish, and very unwelcoming.
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Old 09-17-2017, 08:34 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Espar seems to be working on the stealth problem.
No noise, no smoke, no under hood generator, no big batteries.

https://www.trucknews.com/sustainabi...pu/1003060195/

Just wait a while..
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