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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all, I am in the process of hunting down and buying a 159 WB High Roof model. We are going to do a camper conversion and live in it full-time for as long as we can manage :).

My first question: Has anyone installed an auxiliary diesel tank? I am open to the gasoline engine, fuel economy, and price, but I REALLY want to avoid dealing with LP. So I'm wondering if it would be worth it to install an auxiliary diesel tank just for the furnace and cooktop (Wallas XC Duo or Webasto combination). The tank would not need to be large.. maybe 5 gallons at most.

Thanks for any feedback!
 

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I believe I've seen one aux diesel tank install mentioned in these forums, hope they post!

From the factory both the diesel & gassers have a second fuel pickup installed for end user to connect to, accessible from inside the vehicle, doing it requires a check valve in line and it's located at the top of the fuel pump module, and the second pickup will not empty the tank but I don't know how much reserve it leaves on the main tank... (http://www.rambodybuilder.com/2015/van/docs/vf/drec.pdf)

I've seen from the marine forums whether using factory main tank or add-in fuel tank the diesel appliances need the highest quality fuel possible to postpone expensive rebuilds. I have yet to find a teeny tiny final 2-micron or smaller fuel polishing filter that anyone recommends though... With the Promasters engines main tank recirculating fuel filter loop that its lift pump system provides it is not as important as on some marine or agricultural machines but still cheap insurance. Racor makes a _2-micron disposable_ but it is huge.
 

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I have a gas PM with a diesel Espar heater. I ordered my tank on-line, but I do not remember the company. If you search for manufacturers of fuel tanks you should find several companies that offer them. Most of the manufacturers have many designs and will even alter dimensions especially if you are changing only one dimension. Dealers often have only a small selection of sizes/types. Mine is 10 gallons which is far larger than I need, 5 gallons would be ample. I have no filter at all and have had no trouble with the Espar. Before installing the tank I took extreme care to absolutely clean it out so that no bad stuff was in it from the fabrication process.

Diesel vs gas PM? I have had 2 diesel Sprinters and like my gas PM better! My camper conversion gets 17 to 18 MPG.
 

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I have a diesel PM and love it for its drivability, range and economy. I have an Espar Airtronic D2 plumbed off the spud in tank. No check valve or other filter. It has been great. Fuel usage is so small as to be insignificant about .02 gal/hour on low which is what mine goes to when the outside tempseratures are about 35º f. or below. We tend to use it a few hours in the evening and morning but option to sleep in a great bed with warm covers.

See: http://www.eberspaecher-na.com/file.../EB_Airtronic_D2_D4_D5_WEB_READY_01_26_15.pdf

We have no propane and have solved all the uses with great solutions, this heater being one.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I have a gas PM with a diesel Espar heater. I ordered my tank on-line, but I do not remember the company. If you search for manufacturers of fuel tanks you should find several companies that offer them. Most of the manufacturers have many designs and will even alter dimensions especially if you are changing only one dimension. Dealers often have only a small selection of sizes/types. Mine is 10 gallons which is far larger than I need, 5 gallons would be ample.
Thanks for the response, it sounds promising that you went the same path I am considering. Where did you mount the tank and how do you access it for filling? Those are my main two concerns..
 

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I know it's off topic, but make sure you read up on those cooktop's. I considered them, but they are slow to heat up, & will heat up the van whether you want it or not. I wanted to avoid dealing with propane too, & I even tried out an alcohol stove, but ended up with a propane camp stove and 1 gal tank of propane tucked away inside the van. Diesel for heat, airtronic D2.
 

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Where did you mount the tank and how do you access it for filling? Those are my main two concerns..
Steve in his Backroader build has the setup you're talking about. The link for the discussion is here: http://www.promasterforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=16609
He had Morehead design install his system, here is a video link where the build is discussed by the builder. The location of fill on the passenger side is shown at just before the 1 minute mark: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=--G...u.be&ab_channel=MoreheadDesignLaboratoriesInc

I recall someone else either using or speculating that they could use the DEF fill hole which is located behind the same door for the gas fill (which I assume is plugged for gasoline engines) for fill of an auxiliary tank (don't remember if it was diesel, water, or LP). I'm not sure I would do that if it were me, or even if it would pass regulatory muster, but it is an idea.

John
 

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More information re my post 3 above.
My tank is from rdsaluminum.com, click on marine tanks, click on above deck tanks. Mine is model 59180 13 gallon with one dimension reduced to reduce capacity to 10 gallons. You can make even smaller. Their tanks meet ABYC standards. There is a vent hose fitting to be connected to a through the wall vent fitting you can get from West Marine. A hose fitting goes to your Espar heater and their is a fill cap with a level gage. You can have them omit the gage; a wooden dowel dip stick is simpler for such a small tank. A metal lug is on the top for electrical grounding required by the ABYC on boats; you do not use it on a van.

The tank has a flange on each end with two screw holes and I just screwed it to my installed ply wood floor at the back end of the van. A piece of rubber or even old carpet under it helps as the bottom is not absolutely level due to welds. I fill it directly via the cap on top.

When heat is needed it should be at the floor level doable with an Espar. I believe a diesel stove is a mistake as it makes heat when you do not want heat and the heat is high up leaving the floor very cold. I do not like propane so I use a single burner butane stove (search for "portable butane stove") as my cooking is very simple. For serious cooking use a bar-b-qua outside.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for all the feedback, everyone. The auxiliary tank question is no longer relevant because I bought a 2014 159"WB High Roof Diesel yesterday!!!

papab, I will definitely still due some consideration of cooktop vs propane/other alternative. Do you know why the cooktop tends to heat the space more than a propane stove? Is it because the entire cooking surface is heating and so there is a larger surface area to heat the ambient air?
 

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Do you know why the cooktop tends to heat the space more than a propane stove? Is it because the entire cooking surface is heating and so there is a larger surface area to heat the ambient air?
I witnessed a demonstration of the Webasto diesel cooktop and it did really heat up the area near the stove. It takes 2-4 minutes to warm up and about 5 minutes to shut down, and unlike a gas cooktop the entire surface gets very hot. I also considered it dangerous for a confined area because of the burn hazard.

Here is a link to the instruction manual:

http://dealers.webasto.com/Sections...roductTypeId=13&ProductId=219&ShowResult=true
 

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More information re my post 3 above.
My tank is from rdsaluminum.com, click on marine tanks, click on above deck tanks. Mine is model 59180 13 gallon with one dimension reduced to reduce capacity to 10 gallons. You can make even smaller. Their tanks meet ABYC standards. There is a vent hose fitting to be connected to a through the wall vent fitting you can get from West Marine. A hose fitting goes to your Espar heater and their is a fill cap with a level gage. You can have them omit the gage; a wooden dowel dip stick is simpler for such a small tank. A metal lug is on the top for electrical grounding required by the ABYC on boats; you do not use it on a van.

The tank has a flange on each end with two screw holes and I just screwed it to my installed ply wood floor at the back end of the van. A piece of rubber or even old carpet under it helps as the bottom is not absolutely level due to welds. I fill it directly via the cap on top.


When heat is needed it should be at the floor level doable with an Espar. I believe a diesel stove is a mistake as it makes heat when you do not want heat and the heat is high up leaving the floor very cold. I do not like propane so I use a single burner butane stove (search for "portable butane stove") as my cooking is very simple. For serious cooking use a bar-b-qua outside.
Do you have photos of your auxiliary diesel tank install and vent. It's very interesting ... If the auxiliary tank is inside the van. Any problems with diesel odour?
 

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Thanks for all the feedback, everyone. The auxiliary tank question is no longer relevant because I bought a 2014 159"WB High Roof Diesel yesterday!!!

papab, I will definitely still due some consideration of cooktop vs propane/other alternative. Do you know why the cooktop tends to heat the space more than a propane stove? Is it because the entire cooking surface is heating and so there is a larger surface area to heat the ambient air?
Several of us use a portable Butane cook top and all I have spoken to think it is great. I store mine when not in use but it could be mounted if desired. They use small butane cans available at any asian market and Costco/Walmart/Sam’s Club for less than $2 in quantity. I think they are the best choice.
https://www.amazon.com/Deluxe-Porta...qid=1469788809&sr=8-5&keywords=butane+cooktop
 

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My aux diesel tank is inside. Zero odor as the tank is vented to the outside and the fill cap has a gasket and fits tight.

I use (both inside and outside) the common single burner, low cost butane stove and love it. I recently saw a two burner version of the same stove advertised but I can't remember where. It was about twice the size of the single. If two burners are needed seldom it might actually more practical to carry two separate singles.
 

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My aux diesel tank is inside. Zero odor as the tank is vented to the outside and the fill cap has a gasket and fits tight.

I use (both inside and outside) the common single burner, low cost butane stove and love it. I recently saw a two burner version of the same stove advertised but I can't remember where. It was about twice the size of the single. If two burners are needed seldom it might actually more practical to carry two separate singles.
Do you have any photos posted of the tank and vent setup?. I'm thinking it's the right idea for my van with an espar or planar heater. No propane and no external tank.
 

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I am on an entire summer camping van trip in Maine mostly doing music festivals and I have no camera or ability to take photos with me. I will be home in southeastern Virginia a week after Labor Day. If contacted by private email I can arrange a personal inspection for anyone in either location.

My DIY van is very unique in that it is set-up for one person sleeping crosswise who uses a bucket toilet. As I do winter "camping" it is super insulated and one means of doing this is that I have a solid 4 inch thick insulated wall across the back about one foot forward of the rear doors. Aft of the wall is the diesel heater and the tank is mounted on the floor. The vent hose goes straight up the inside van side wall and is vented outside about a foot below the roof via a common marine through hull side fitting available from West Marine. It is a very simple arrangement.

To answer the next question: The only penetrations of the aft wall are the two ducts for the Espar heater. The hot duct goes forward along the port side at floor level and turns inboard to direct heat out about a foot aft of the drivers seat. The cold air return duct is just inside the aft wall on the starboard side a couple of feet off the floor. This arrangement causes heat to flow through the "living area". I have no insulation forward as a floor to ceiling privacy curtain just aft of the seats keeps the heat in the back and little is lost in the essentially impossible to insulate driver's area.

The majority of space aft of the rear wall is used for hanging storage of items not needed inside but only needed from the outside -- think electric cords, water hoses, lawn chairs, seldom used vacuum cleaner, jumper cables, etc.
 

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I am on an entire summer camping van trip in Maine mostly doing music festivals and I have no camera or ability to take photos with me. I will be home in southeastern Virginia a week after Labor Day. If contacted by private email I can arrange a personal inspection for anyone in either location.

My DIY van is very unique in that it is set-up for one person sleeping crosswise who uses a bucket toilet. As I do winter "camping" it is super insulated and one means of doing this is that I have a solid 4 inch thick insulated wall across the back about one foot forward of the rear doors. Aft of the wall is the diesel heater and the tank is mounted on the floor. The vent hose goes straight up the inside van side wall and is vented outside about a foot below the roof via a common marine through hull side fitting available from West Marine. It is a very simple arrangement.

To answer the next question: The only penetrations of the aft wall are the two ducts for the Espar heater. The hot duct goes forward along the port side at floor level and turns inboard to direct heat out about a foot aft of the drivers seat. The cold air return duct is just inside the aft wall on the starboard side a couple of feet off the floor. This arrangement causes heat to flow through the "living area". I have no insulation forward as a floor to ceiling privacy curtain just aft of the seats keeps the heat in the back and little is lost in the essentially impossible to insulate driver's area.

The majority of space aft of the rear wall is used for hanging storage of items not needed inside but only needed from the outside -- think electric cords, water hoses, lawn chairs, seldom used vacuum cleaner, jumper cables, etc.
Thanks for the reply seapro.
I just returned from a western camping trip to Bc and adopted the bucket toilet after a very old port potty mechanism gave up.
I'll get another one though for simple convenience of days without emptying.

I'm setting up my van similarly - putting in a slat frame bed over the wheel wells and I'm fairly decided on the diesel heater setup. I just saw a planar package online that includes the diesel tank and thru hull fitting.

Probably a dumb question but Is there a reason for the length of vent tube for the diesel tank , reaching up to within a foot of the ceiling?

Have a great rest of the summer summer trip!
 

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Having the vent hose go high prevents any possibility of fuel sloshing in the tank from going towards the vent. Most importantly it also reduces the air exchange into and out of the tank due to normal expansion and contraction due to temperature changes -- think day to night. The long vent hose means air going up and down the hose mostly (due to hose volume) and little into and out of the tank. Why is this important? Decades of marine experience has taught that this reduces condensation in the tank. Any water formed in the bottom of the tank supports the growth of algae that lives at the water/diesel interface "eating" diesel to support its life cycle. As it dies it forms a sludge that then clogs up the Espar fuel pulse pump and burner injection nozzle. If the fuel is kept clean no fuel filter is necessary!

I do lots of stealth camping. The up high small vent is less noticeable. The only things indicating that I am a camping van besides the tiny vent are two roof MaxxAir vents and the unusual looking Smart Plug electrical fitting.

A correction to the previous post. I have a third aft wall penetration -- the wire harness to the Espar control reachable by my bunk for easy turn-on in the early AM while still in the rack. Other wiring to the area aft of the wall runs along the van side outside of the side wall insulation.
 

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Thanks for the explanation. I'll be following suit. I'm looking at a,3 gallon tank which comes with a planar heater, although it comes from Russia. Back to the search.
 
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