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Bison 2000a gasoline heater.

7338 Views 87 Replies 20 Participants Last post by  SteveSS
As with many others I am searching for the best heater money can buy for the least amount of money I can spend. The obvious answer for the least money side is the cheap diesel heater. You could get multiple faulty heaters and still save money. I really just don't want to add a diesel tank. We are typically 3 season campers but in Montana that still includes sub-freezing temps so I decided to look to our Canadian friends to the north.

This will be my attempt to add something useful to the forum as I wasn't able to find anything written up about actual use of the Bison 2000a gasoline heater from General Components. Hopefully it has a happy ending.

Step 1- how to get one. They have a few distributors in the US but anyone I contacted only deals in diesel versions. I read on the Transit forum to contact the company so I did. They were fantastic and shipped it out immediately. I see you can find it on Amazon as well now! And despite seeing "diesel" in every picture, this one does actually say “gas” on the heater.

Step 2- the install. The instructions are available online and I think they are very similar to the other brands. They make it very clear that the most likely cause of failure is a diy install. Included is everything you need except the connection to the aux port on the tank. I ordered the dorman 800-186 from Amazon after finding the info on this forum (thank you all). I did have a few questions about the install but lacked the appropriate time to call so I emailed. I had a general reply within 24hrs and a multiple very helpful emails from a tech within 36 hours. I was not in a hurry since it was snowing again so I was happy with the turnaround.
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Placement. I did not design the build around a heater but I felt like I had a great place for one behind the driver's seat and in front of my cabinet. After a lot of measuring I drilled my test hole through the factory wood floor, 1" xps, and the metal floor. You can see in the picture I marked all supports with tape to locate where I would drill. The drill it can be seen almost dead center in the picture under the van. Happy with the placement I moved on the the 4" hole saw for the stove pipe cap as I learned from @SteveSS . Unfortunately the arbor stripped out from the bit the second I touched the metal. It was brand new from Ace and they inspected it and decided it was faulty so I traded and paid a little more for the burlier one. Hole complete.
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Wood Grey Art Sculpture Artifact
 

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Gee that looks A LOT like the $150 chinese heaters from the pictures.

The chinese heaters are notorious for getting a "gasoline" sticker slapped on them despite being a diesel heater.

You should verify that you got what you paid for.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
@afox it is not like all the Chinese versions because I got a response from them 😆. In reality, I agree with you. How do you suggest I test it? I am hoping this whole thread will be a little test for the community.

@kramertech there is a manual altitude adjustment to operate between 1500m and 4000m. Just push a couple buttons on the thermostat to toggle it on. Sounds easy...I hope.
 

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Or, why not just go with a well under $150 Chinese diesel one?
I agree, but some people want a single fuel source. I was one of those people too, but the fact that gas heaters at altitude don't perform well and I can buy 3-4 spare units at the same price, pushed me back to diesel.
 

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Thank you for posting the info on installing the heater and the plan to update us on how it works out!

I learn from watching everything that people post about building things, and I also know how much more effort it is to take pictures that look nice enough to show others on the internet.

I agree with you that in a gasoline powered vehicle, it makes more sense to use gasoline from the tank than diesel when possible.

So far, I have not made the leap from "only electrical and solar installs" to "also heaters and exhaust fans" but I have considered it.
 

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Thank you for posting the info on installing the heater and the plan to update us on how it works out!

I learn from watching everything that people post about building things, and I also know how much more effort it is to take pictures that look nice enough to show others on the internet.

I agree with you that in a gasoline powered vehicle, it makes more sense to use gasoline from the tank than diesel when possible.

So far, I have not made the leap from "only electrical and solar installs" to "also heaters and exhaust fans" but I have considered it.
If you can design & build furnaces & small hot water tanks that run on 120v, gasoline, & propane; that are not problematic I see potential in that business model 👍.
 

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If you can design & build furnaces & small hot water tanks that run on 120v, gasoline, & propane; that are not problematic I see potential in that business model 👍.
Thanks - I have no plans to attempt to design such a beast. It isn't clear that I could do it substantially better than companies that have been building them for 70+ years at a market acceptable price point.

I would only offer installation of air and water heaters as a way to help people who purchase my modular electrical systems / solar generators and want me to install more than just the electrical and solar. Similarly, I don't design and build battery packs.

Appreciate the suggestion though.

_

Back to @MTrun and the gasoline heater install project
 

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Bison 2000A Bunk Forced Air Heater - 2 Year Warranty
It looks like there are legit gas and diesel versions, even though they use the same diesel photos for both.

Bison 2000A - Essence GC0643 - Ensemble de chauffage 2kw (12v) avec contrôleur numérique - Expedition Solutions
They also have a dealer in Quebec. Essence is french for gasoline. And at least one dealer in Europe.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ruhAWcSVGxQ
Unboxing videos for their products. Including a 10-ltr water-air heater (diesel or propane).

A thorough repair video. He says they are identical to Webastos.

It's not clear where they are made, but it sounds like it might be Russia.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I don't know enough about burners to understand the process of converting a diesel to gas but I hope they did a good job. :)

@nebulight yes, that is the controller. And I was not able to find any Webasto that was close in price without buying an EU one with no warranty, no support, and no guarantee of actual delivery. Heatso is more like $1800 from what I saw. They also have trouble at altitude for some people. I may find the same situation for this one but it was worth the try.

@phil Thanks, when the temp gets back above freezing this weekend I may give it a try as you suggested. I would expect it to work but my issues may show after longer term use.

I was really tempted by the cheap diesel version but just could not get past the second fuel source. I know that has cost me a few hundred dollars but I hope to benefit mentally in the long run. That and my wife gets terrible headaches from diesel fumes so if I messed anything up...
 
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