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mountainman

Closed loop rear heating

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Happy New Year, everyone! I've been slowly converting my 2014 LWB XLT from a cargo van into a passenger/camper van. The goal is to be able to drive somewhere with people sitting on the OEM 60/40 second row bench and then convert to camper mode upon arrival. Since it's a cargo van it doesn't have the rear heating system installed, which would be nice for keeping passengers warm in transit (pun intended) and heating the rear while camping. My understanding is that the OEM system only provides heat when the engine is running and is a total piece of crap. So I'm wounding if anyone has installed a closed loop system (can be run while the engine is off) in the compartment under the foot area of the second row bench where the OEM system typically goes. I'm planning to install an auxiliary battery so an electric system would be idea, but I'm open to propane as well if it's efficient enough to be run off a small tank for upwards of a week. Any and all ideas are welcome!

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The Electric Vehicle conversion guys have electric heaters that work really well, but they usually have lots of voltage (ie batteries).  Depending on how many you have for your RV conversion.  They might be a good source.  These guys seem to have a good reputation in the community.

http://www.evwest.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=41&products_id=324

http://www.canev.com/heater.php

 

Trucker web sites might also help.

https://www.zoro.com/roadpro-vehicle-direct-wired-heaterfan-rpsl-681/i/G8897962/feature-product?gclid=Cj0KCQiA37HhBRC8ARIsAPWoO0yghDleBqUqjQzET_5mvnEcBsj4_humWeHaCBi47_ZnGnP4OgVHt9YaAvdGEALw_wcB

 

Of course you can search the RV community.  They have a lot of propane and electric options.

 

I've got one of these portable propane heater for heating my garage when I'm working on the car and it works really well.  I just refill the camper propane tanks from a larger 25# tank for the grill.  It would work for awhile, until you can get a more permanent solution.

https://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200307957_200307957

 

Let us know what you end up with! :)

 

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You may want to think about insulation. Whatever you install, you need to insulate so that energy isn't wasted.

 

 

I want to see how 5 of you are all going to sleep in the back.

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Thanks for the links, @davidparker. Those heaters sure do suck a lot of volts! I guess electric isn't that viable of a solution after all since I'm going to have at most 2 auxiliary batteries. The problem is I really don't want to be burning propane (or some other fuel) while commuting just to heat the rear. Perhaps the thing to do is install the OEM auxiliary HVAC (schematics attached) and then hook another closed loop heater into the ducts to be used when the vehicle is parked. Anyone have experience with Webasto or Propex heaters?

 

Good point about the insulation, @Fifty150. I haven't insulated the rear yet but I was planning to start with an insulated subfloor. In fact, I was finalizing the design of the subfloor when I realized I was going to be covering where the HVAC ducts are supposed to go in rear!

 

2 hours ago, Fifty150 said:

I want to see how 5 of you are all going to sleep in the back.

Dog pile! Just kidding. Some pore sap is going to have to sleep in a tent 😂

heater_assembly.png

heater_duct1.png

heater_duct2.png

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You started with a cargo van, and you're now adding passenger wagon parts.  Makes me think that you would have been better off buy a passenger wagon, then stripping out what you don't want.

 

I still want to 5 people riding to camp, then 5 people sleeping in the back.  By the way, after you fold down the middle row seats, you are not going to have a flat level surface for sleeping.  The passenger wagon 3rd row folds flat, then supports a flip out "board" which gives you a flat surface.

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4 hours ago, mountainman said:

 

@davidparkerAnyone have experience with Webasto or Propex heaters?

 

 

 

 

I have a webasto heater in mine.  I welded a box for it and put it under the vehicle next to the spare tire on the right side.  Kind of more work than necessary but I'm happy with the result.

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9 hours ago, dinocarsfast said:

 

I have a webasto heater in mine.  I welded a box for it and put it under the vehicle next to the spare tire on the right side.  Kind of more work than necessary but I'm happy with the result.

Sounds cool any pictures?

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13 hours ago, Fifty150 said:

You started with a cargo van, and you're now adding passenger wagon parts.  Makes me think that you would have been better off buy a passenger wagon, then stripping out what you don't want.

Good point. I'm probably going to end up putting windows on the sliding doors as well 😂 The original plan was to just build out the back for camping but there have been so many outings where people were just rolling around in the back that I decided to change the plan. C'est las vie.

 

13 hours ago, Fifty150 said:

By the way, after you fold down the middle row seats, you are not going to have a flat level surface for sleeping.  The passenger wagon 3rd row folds flat, then supports a flip out "board" which gives you a flat surface.

Correct. I'm planning to build a platform in the remaining cargo space to level it out. It'll have drawers for extra storage.

 

12 hours ago, dinocarsfast said:

I have a webasto heater in mine.  I welded a box for it and put it under the vehicle next to the spare tire on the right side.  Kind of more work than necessary but I'm happy with the result.

Cool! Did you hook it into the vehicle's gas tank and exhaust? I was think of installing the heater under the floor in front of the second row bench, if there's room...

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On 1/3/2019 at 11:33 AM, mountainman said:

Cool! Did you hook it into the vehicle's gas tank and exhaust? I was think of installing the heater under the floor in front of the second row bench, if there's room...

 

I connected it into the gas tank and and the exhaust is seperate.  I think you would have heat under the fake floor of the cargo.  I didnt go that route because I removed that section for more space.

 

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On 1/3/2019 at 10:28 PM, G B L said:

Sounds cool any pictures?

 

I took a video today, so here you go 😀

 

 

 

Also if anyone doesnt know what a webasto style heater is here is another link.  I chose it because the combustion chamber exhaust is outside the vehicle unlike a catalytic heater and the result is reduced moisture in the cabin

 

 

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Very Nice make sure you have a CO detector. You should consider a rubber spray flap mounted to limit the salt spray from the rear wheel. I am sure that they use plenty of road salt and sand where you live.

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I have one, and plan to get two CO detectors, so I think it will be one less thing to worry about

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Hey. Sorry for the slow reply. Thanks for making a video, @dinocarsfast! Very helpful! It looks like the heater fits well where you put it. Also, nice subfloor.

 

At this point I think I'm going skip the OEM heater in the back and just go with a Webasto. Hopefully once the van is insulated it'll be nice and comfy while driving and camping.

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