The Short Story…I installed a Diesel Heater as a backup in our Escape for under $200 CAN.
The Details…When talking Escape Trailers and cold camping, the reliability of the propane heater can be a hot topic…or maybe not so hot. There are more than a few people that have had their propane heater fail just when they need it the most, while boondocking.
For under $200 Canadian in parts you can install a VEVOR 5kw diesel heater in your trailer. The heater and the pile of parts that came with it, cost $156 Canadian (with a $17 off promotion) and it was shipped directly from the VEVOR warehouse in Vancouver BC for free. VEVOR and others also sell on Amazon.
I will explain my installation in 3 posts over the next month or two. This one, the interior installation, followed by exterior combustion air input and exhaust components and then my unique fuel supply system.
To be successful in Diesel heater installation and operation there are some very specific rules that must be followed. If you have heard of people having problems with this type of heater, it is probably because they have no idea of what they are doing. That is mainly because the instructions lack a lot of important content.
Luckily a gentleman named “John McK 47” on You Tube has 19 videos on the subject. Each one is like a night school course and I highly recommend watching if you are at all interested in the subject. Here is a link to the first of his videos: https://youtu.be/tvwmU_CcmGI
Our 2018 model 19 has the perfect spot to install one of these heaters in the cabinet on the floor under the sink. I would think this location would work with most of the Escape models. Of course, it is just as important that under the trailer location is suitable and clear of all pipes and tanks. This location is perfect as the heater output vent on the left is located near the door for fast hot air recovery when the door is opened. The right end of the heater is the cabin air input. I have drilled specific holes in the bulk heads to draw the air from under our bed and all the way from the the other side of the trailer for great air flow by the water pipes. Being inside the cabinet and just behind the door will allow for quiet operation and easy access to the components. As the heater takes up little vertical space, I will be installing a wire shelf over top to utilise what space is left.
There is a galvanised mounting plate that is provided for the heater to bolt to. I removed the vinyl flooring starting 6 inches from the left wall, cut an oblong hole in the floor, sealed the wood, put metal duct tape on the edge of the wood to reflect whatever little heat there is and sealed the plate to the floor. I made new mounting holes that were closer to the opening which gives it better stability and sealibilty.
The inner left wall where the output goes was cut away to fasilitate ease of mounting and vent alignment. The output vent pulls apart where it swivels so the wall mount part can be screwed to the wall. It is very efficient having the heater so close to the vent and not involving any extra bumpy duct work as provided.
The electrical cable coming out of the heater can be placed on either side by removing a rubber plug. Having it come out to the front of the cabinet allows it to run in a natural hollow that was made during trailer construction. It is recommended that a heavy duty wire capable of at least 10 amps be installed to power the heater. Not to worried, the 10 amp draw only happens for a very short period during start up. But of course that is all explained in the videos.
I mounted the controller on the cabinet near the bed. This keeps it handy for those cold mornings. However, it does come with a remote control so you can start it from anywhere in your trailer. Handy if you have a 5th wheel. By using a sharp, pointy, tool you can remove the wires from the white jack and make a much smaller hole in the cabinet for the wires to feed through. The controller actually clips into a backing plate that screws to the cabinet.
Usually I like to do a modification and test it for some time before posting. However, a good friend of mine, Mike, has installed one in his Cargo Trailer Conversion and it has exceeded all of his expectations. Mike and his wife spent a few weeks with us and we did a bunch of heat and air flow testing.
I thought I would make my installation progress, as seen in these 16 pictures, available for viewing at the Rally next weekend before the actual project is completed.