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Bison 2000a gasoline heater.

7271 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 · #44 ·
Our van has never seen elevations that high but we frequently crest 10k by foot along with our dog, Koya. Hence the name MTrun. We might be huffing and puffing by the top but this girl is happily waiting for us. I bet Bear will love it too.
Sky Dog Mountain Dog breed Carnivore
 

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Our van has never seen elevations that high but we frequently crest 10k by foot along with our dog, Koya. Hence the name MTrun. We might be huffing and puffing by the top but this girl is happily waiting for us. I bet Bear will love it too.
View attachment 90976
He’s a chihuahua so half the journey he might have to be carried, but he’s a trooper. He likes kayaking.
Sky Cloud Dog Plant Carnivore
 

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Me too! The only hiking I ever did was in Malibu, which wasn't very high. I have no idea what 4000m would be like. Will bear like it? I'll wear him in a bag on my chest when we go hiking.
Bears will like you. Bear will not like the bears. Take two cans of bear spray. One for each: one for you:ROFLMAO: to use on the bear and one for Bear to use on the bear.
 

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Discussion Starter · #52 ·
This may open up the discussion to "I told you so" or "Russian clone" or ...but I am still working through my elevation issue. The initial email that I sent was followed by some good back and forth with the company and they were having me take some measurements and run some tests. The eventual conclusion was that when "high altitude mode" was started the pump should slow down the fuel delivery and I should be able to hear the reduction in the sound of the pump. In practice however the pump slowed A LOT, as in it just stopped. They were bench testing to look for a fix.

This is the less encouraging part of the story. I stopped hearing back from them. I am confident it is a real company so I didn't think they just disappeared like some ebay seller can do but why were they not replying. Maybe because the gasoline Bison is not a big seller? They have larger customers to help? I don't know. Today I called and found out that they are having trouble with the control unit on some of the heaters. There is no real fix and there are no gas units to replace them with right now. They offered to send me a diesel unit and an aux tank or I could wait until January when their next gasoline units are expected. So I am waiting. Right now it works fine at lower elevations. I just might be out of luck if I try and camp over 6,000 or so feet this winter.

Was I duped? Maybe. Won't be the last time.😜 I will stay optimistic and wait for January (which will come just after April?)
 

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This may open up the discussion to "I told you so" or "Russian clone" or ...but I am still working through my elevation issue. The initial email that I sent was followed by some good back and forth with the company and they were having me take some measurements and run some tests. The eventual conclusion was that when "high altitude mode" was started the pump should slow down the fuel delivery and I should be able to hear the reduction in the sound of the pump. In practice however the pump slowed A LOT, as in it just stopped. They were bench testing to look for a fix.

This is the less encouraging part of the story. I stopped hearing back from them. I am confident it is a real company so I didn't think they just disappeared like some ebay seller can do but why were they not replying. Maybe because the gasoline Bison is not a big seller? They have larger customers to help? I don't know. Today I called and found out that they are having trouble with the control unit on some of the heaters. There is no real fix and there are no gas units to replace them with right now. They offered to send me a diesel unit and an aux tank or I could wait until January when their next gasoline units are expected. So I am waiting. Right now it works fine at lower elevations. I just might be out of luck if I try and camp over 6,000 or so feet this winter.

Was I duped? Maybe. Won't be the last time.😜 I will stay optimistic and wait for January (which will come just after April?)
As I have said many times in the past, these gasoline heaters (and most diesel heaters) cannot be adjusted to stoichimetric combustion without a combustion analyzer. Even with the CA, they cannot. The Afterburner control may assist but how would you know without that flue gas analysis? The same goes for propane heaters.

Suck it up buttercup, I think you just got screwed.

I would invite any manufacturer to reply on this thread with their method and proof that their product will manually or automatically adjust for altitude and stoichimetric combustion, with actual full video of the process with an analyzer.
 

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As I have said many times in the past, these gasoline heaters (and most diesel heaters) cannot be adjusted to stoichimetric combustion without a combustion analyzer. Even with the CA, they cannot. The Afterburner control may assist but how would you know without that flue gas analysis? The same goes for propane heaters.

Suck it up buttercup, I think you just got screwed.

I would invite any manufacturer to reply on this thread with their method and proof that their product will manually or automatically adjust for altitude and stoichimetric combustion, with actual full video of the process with an analyzer.
I'm no expert, but I was under the impression that at least some "automatic adjustments" are just simple barometric algorithms on the fuel side. Nothing fancy or particularly accurate. I think that's the case for my diesel Chinese knock-off with the blue controller. It has a barometer-altimeter, but I haven't taken it high enough for a real test yet.
 

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I'm no expert, but I was under the impression that at least some "automatic adjustments" are just simple barometric algorithms on the fuel side. Nothing fancy or particularly accurate. I think that's the case for my diesel Chinese knock-off with the blue controller. It has a barometer-altimeter, but I haven't taken it high enough for a real test yet.
How would you even be able to tell what the combustion efficiency is without an analyzer? Most of the marketing claims around these heaters rely on the fact that very few folks have access to a combustion analyzer available to dispute their marketing claims. Does not matter what 'empirical claims' anyone makes, just claiming it works is nothing more than a fart in a hurricane. Nobody knows who done it.

I, of all people, should have known better before I invested in such an expensive heater (Webitcho). But to be fair, and I did not know this until I had already received the unit, deep in the manual, Webasto warns their unit will not give satisfactory performance above 2k ASL.
 

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How would you even be able to tell what the combustion efficiency is without an analyzer? Most of the marketing claims around these heaters rely on the fact that very few folks have access to a combustion analyzer available to dispute their marketing claims. Does not matter what 'empirical claims' anyone makes, just claiming it works is nothing more than a fart in a hurricane. Nobody knows who done it.

I, of all people, should have known better before I invested in such an expensive heater (Webitcho). But to be fair, and I did not know this until I had already received the unit, deep in the manual, Webasto warns their unit will not give satisfactory performance above 2k ASL.
I hear you, but I won't need to measure combustion efficiency to see if my heater performs satisfactorily at high elevation. We will see ...
I find it implausible that so many companies are making their own diesel/gasoline heaters. Im inclined to think that there bison, webitcho, etc are all using the $100 Chinese heater and making minor modifications if any to them and adding their own badging.
AFAIK, Webasto and Espar are the real deal. Chinese heaters are clones of those (all diesel so far). Russians are either doing their own cloning, or reselling Chinese clones. Somehow the Russians are offering both gas and diesel versions. Bison and VeLit are rebranded clones; Russian and Chinese, respectively, I think. VeLit is definately doing modification, not sure about Bison.
 

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I hear you, but I won't need to measure combustion efficiency to see if my heater performs satisfactorily at high elevation. We will see ...

AFAIK, Webasto and Espar are the real deal. Chinese heaters are clones of those (all diesel so far). Russians are either doing their own cloning, or reselling Chinese clones. Somehow the Russians are offering both gas and diesel versions. Bison and VeLit are rebranded clones; Russian and Chinese, respectively, I think. VeLit is definately doing modification, not sure about Bison.
Velit, if they wanted to, could easily take their unit to high elevation with a proper combustion analyzer and video camera to prove the claims. Highly unlikely they will even do that. If they don't even own a proper combustion analyzer, what have they based their marketing claims on?

Just do it Velit and show us. I witnessed Webitcho's attempt with the software and a proper analyzer (which they next day aired into Denver) and with their best and brightest techs and proved to themselves and method a failure.

They, their authorized dealer and their youtube influencers flat out lied with their marketing claims.

I want my money back or fix it. Of course I would like to see a printout from their fix at altitude. I would be happy to see the 'fix' in Aspen rather than their hocus pocus in Michigan.
 
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