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Old 02-16-2024, 12:27 AM   #1
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Default Remote add on start/stop kit to use engine heat to warm interior of van

I've been playing with this idea for awhile now. Thought I'd run it by the nomads & campers here to see what they think of.

My Van/rig is pictured in my avatar. It is all manually operated. No advanced electronics. 90 Ford E 350 351 V8 high top extended.

I'd like to install an add on engine starting kit that will also stop the engine once warmed up. Then reset itself to cycle on and off thru the night. The point is to use the engine and it's coolant to circulate heated coolant thru radiators in the living area. A 12 vdc brushless circulation pump would be used for this. A mechanical thermostat would signal the pump to operate using the house battery. In practice it would operate much like a house boiler with baseboard hydronic radiator with a single zone.

I would also have a cover over the Van's grill to hold in any heat, much like large Trucks use during the winter. (called winter fronts) This would conserve engine heat. The engine would be set to start at 70 degrees and stop when it reaches 190 degrees. The cycling of the circulation pump motor would be independent, using the mechanical thermostat set to switch on at 60 degrees and off at 68 degrees.

In the day time when the temperatures warm up, the thermostat & remote starter would be turned off. I'm guessing that if temps were in the 40's during the day the system could be used in a constant mode.

I won't be traveling where it is hot and need air conditioning. But heat would be necessary in the higher elevations where I will likely be.

My rig is set up with a constant duty solenoid so both the starter battery and house battery charges while the engine is running.

There is also a Carbon Monoxide alarm onboard too.

Anyone else here ever thought of doing something like this ?
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Old 02-16-2024, 12:40 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dee Jsaan View Post
I've been playing with this idea for awhile now. Thought I'd run it by the nomads & campers here to see what they think of.

My Van/rig is pictured in my avatar. It is all manually operated. No advanced electronics. 90 Ford E 350 351 V8 high top extended.

I'd like to install an add on engine starting kit that will also stop the engine once warmed up. Then reset itself to cycle on and off thru the night. The point is to use the engine and it's coolant to circulate heated coolant thru radiators in the living area. A 12 vdc brushless circulation pump would be used for this. A mechanical thermostat would signal the pump to operate using the house battery. In practice it would operate much like a house boiler with baseboard hydronic radiator with a single zone.

I would also have a cover over the Van's grill to hold in any heat, much like large Trucks use during the winter. (called winter fronts) This would conserve engine heat. The engine would be set to start at 70 degrees and stop when it reaches 190 degrees. The cycling of the circulation pump motor would be independent, using the mechanical thermostat set to switch on at 60 degrees and off at 68 degrees.

In the day time when the temperatures warm up, the thermostat & remote starter would be turned off. I'm guessing that if temps were in the 40's during the day the system could be used in a constant mode.

I won't be traveling where it is hot and need air conditioning. But heat would be necessary in the higher elevations where I will likely be.

My rig is set up with a constant duty solenoid so both the starter battery and house battery charges while the engine is running.

There is also a Carbon Monoxide alarm onboard too.

Anyone else here ever thought of doing something like this ?

I think the biggest worry I would have is that it is normally not recommended to sleep in any running vehicle do to the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.


I know the truckers do it, but they also have above the cab exhaust stacks so I would think safer.


No space to add a furnace?
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Old 02-16-2024, 03:04 PM   #3
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Yes, I agree monoxide can be an big issue. I didn't mention that I was planning a vertical pipe similar to those used with generators to take the exhaust above the van.

https://www.amazon.com/RecPro-Genera...JOE3FVDYM&th=1

Also making sure the engine "doghouse" is well sealed and a fresh air venting
system in place. Front windows lowered about a quarter of an inch. Monoxide is slightly lighter than air and I'd be sleeping well below that area.

I'm figuring the engine may run twice to four times an hour for five minutes before shutting off. But I would be testing this thoroughly with several monoxide detectors.

I've looked at diesel heaters and saw one from the UK that both made heat and heated water. I might consider one of those as the exhaust could be vented to the outside altogether. In that case I'd have an small insulated tank to use the pump with in order to have hot water. That would be the way to go. If anyone knows of a source of these here in the USA, I"d like to know of it.

But as I said, I'm looking for points of view on my project. Thanks Booster for yours.
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Old 02-22-2024, 04:04 PM   #4
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I used Drone Mobile for years on my 2016 Roadtrek. It works great except you can't set it to start automatically, you have to start it through the app. It monitors temperature and battery voltage on the app. Can set the run time from 15 - 45 minutes. I used it to monitor and maintain battery voltage when the van was stored outside for long periods in freezing temperatures with no 120v access.

https://www.dronemobile.com/
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Old 02-22-2024, 06:04 PM   #5
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That's got to be the least fuel efficient way to heat the thing up and will waste a lot of fuel vs directly turning fuel into usable heat. Plus running for short duration with no load won't get the oil up to temp to burn off contaminants. If you drive within a few days that's not likely much of an issue.

Personally I would purchase either a gas heater (regular auto fuel - not propane/LPG) and run it off your fuel tank with a separate higher level fuel pickup (like generators do in RVs), or a diesel or multi-fuel (typically can run diesel, unleaded, kerosene, fuel oil) and run it off a small external tank then there is no modifying the fuel tank.
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Old 03-20-2024, 09:12 AM   #6
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Suburban furnace NT20-SEQ isn't too expensive. ~$600ish, plus propane tank, plus cheapo thermostat and some vents using common clothes dryer exhaust components. Works quietly (the current models have a redesigned, quieter fan and motor), blows nice warm air (not scorching, just nice) and vents outside and is not a Carbon Monoxide risk. It's an investment, but at least it won't wear and tear your engine.
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Old 03-20-2024, 09:32 PM   #7
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How about very simple install of air furnace like:

https://www.heatso.com/espar-airtron...trol-12v-4kwl/

https://www.aliexpress.us/item/22558...yAdapt=glo2usa

or hydronic heating connected to or not to engine coolant.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/13495698201...3ABFBMytKI3Mtj
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