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Bison 2000a gasoline heater.

7323 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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MMXVI - L2H2 in Indiana
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They should dump the Chinese data and publish their own test.

for reference
the Amazing swivel seat seller had his product tested so people like me would stop saying it's just an Aliexpress swivel :)

does anyone still believe the specs on a cheap generic circuit breaker?
 

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2021 136HT
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Discussion Starter · #63 ·
I feel like we are poking a bee hive here! Maybe we should talk about best insulation instead? Or best tires? :p

Just to be clear, I chose to buy the heater that would cost 1/3 the price of the big 2 brands and had little in the way of user reviews. I hope that I found the magic answer but doubt it is that easy so if nothing else I can provide my first hand experiences to the forum that has taught me to much through my build.

As of now, I have a heater that works as long as I stay under roughly 5000 feet and I am waiting for them to clone me another!
Cat Font Rabbits and Hares Event Whiskers
 

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I feel like we are poking a bee hive here! Maybe we should talk about best insulation instead? Or best tires? :p

Just to be clear, I chose to buy the heater that would cost 1/3 the price of the big 2 brands and had little in the way of user reviews. I hope that I found the magic answer but doubt it is that easy so if nothing else I can provide my first hand experiences to the forum that has taught me to much through my build.

As of now, I have a heater that works as long as I stay under roughly 5000 feet and I am waiting for them to clone me another!
View attachment 92233
I choose the one on the right. Eats cockroaches and other bugs, has an appetite for rodents and will go a long ways to keep you warm when your heater fails.

That one on the left is good for a meal for two.
 

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2021 1500 136"WB High top
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I feel like we are poking a bee hive here! Maybe we should talk about best insulation instead? Or best tires? :p

Just to be clear, I chose to buy the heater that would cost 1/3 the price of the big 2 brands and had little in the way of user reviews. I hope that I found the magic answer but doubt it is that easy so if nothing else I can provide my first hand experiences to the forum that has taught me to much through my build.

As of now, I have a heater that works as long as I stay under roughly 5000 feet and I am waiting for them to clone me another!
View attachment 92233
I'm happy with mine. I wanted gas fueled and I couldn't afford the two leaders in the field -- both of which also seem to have altitude issues and cost twice as much. Someday the altitude will be an issue for me, but not for a couple years.

@MTrun, do you know is this a problem they say with all heaters, or something wrong with just yours? If they're sending you another, it seems like just yours. I know another girl who had one (she sold the van) and she had no problems. She lived in the van and drove around a lot, to mexico and lots of points north and west, but I don't know how much altitude she tackled.

Also, do you use the timer or just on/off? So far I just use on/off.
 

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Read up on portable oxygen generators (concentrator) do they work at altitude can they produce enough for your needs, they do make different sizes I don't need one somebody else's ball to do the home work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #68 ·
@Lolaeliz , I am like you and we have never used the timer/schedule function. We don't spend that much time living in the van and the controller is within reach of the bed so we just turn it on when needed. From what they told me, they had an issue with "some of the units" so take that however you want. You could easily test yours. When it is running you can hear the pump ticking. Press the left arrow and OK button at the same time. You should see a fan symbol appear on the display next to the heater symbol. The pump should be pumping at a slower speed but mine is totally silent and not pumping. The same buttons pressed again will turn off the high elevation mode and it will run normally.

I live at 3,500ft and it runs great here. I have used it between 5,000 and 8,000ft and we only had an issue that one time. I am sure heavy use at elevation would cause more issues so we have not been camping at many ski areas this winter.

I haven't done any research yet or really sat and thought about it but I wonder how humidity and air temp affect combustion?
 

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@MTrun amd @Lolaeliz
Do I understand correctly that the Bison doesn’t have a thermostat, only on and off and a timer?
 

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Discussion Starter · #70 ·
It has a pretty basic controller that I have used on thermostat and on set level (low 1-7 high). I am not super picky and just loved being able to have breakfast in a warm van! It is supposed to be able to run on a preprogrammed schedule and I have never tried that.
 

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@MTrun amd @Lolaeliz
Do I understand correctly that the Bison doesn’t have a thermostat, only on and off and a timer?
I only used it for one trip, so I there's a lot I don't know. You can set the temp so I assume there's a thermostat. @MTrun can answer that better. It doesn't have different speeds like high or low.

@MTrun, thank you for that information!!!! I will test it, although replacing it would be a bitch. I'm at sea level and by the time I get to high altitudes, my warranty will be gone. The instructions were so picky about how you placed the fuel pump, the angle. That was my big worry with the installation, getting that right.
 

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@MTrun amd @Lolaeliz
Do I understand correctly that the Bison doesn’t have a thermostat, only on and off and a timer?
I installed mine shortly before my trip. It was a 3 day install. I was burned out. All I wanted to know was how to turn it on and off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #73 ·
Well, General Components did not lie! They got the cloning machine fired up and sent me a new unit 😜. Actually a heater and full install kit showed up on my porch today. They said I would have to wait until sometime in January and I figured that meant March if I was lucky so I count this as a win. I called support and asked if everything from the previous install was compatible and they yes that I can just swap out the unit. Now just to find a time that I feel like working on the van outside in the winter!
Gas Cable Auto part Font Cylinder
 

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Well, General Components did not lie! They got the cloning machine fired up and sent me a new unit 😜. Actually a heater and full install kit showed up on my porch today. They said I would have to wait until sometime in January and I figured that meant March if I was lucky so I count this as a win. I called support and asked if everything from the previous install was compatible and they yes that I can just swap out the unit. Now just to find a time that I feel like working on the van outside in the winter!
View attachment 93170
Excellent! is this a new model or just a new unit? Mine didn't come with that yellow sticker.
 

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Discussion Starter · #75 ·
As far as I know it is supposed to be a new unit. I am sure it is the same basic system with a different control unit that according to that new sticker, automatically adjusts for elevation. I am not convinced that anyone has created a gasoline heater that does this without ever failing but I will happily give it a try and report back. If nothing else, I got a bright new sticker!
 

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Discussion Starter · #77 ·
Yeah I don't think the website looks any different than when I originally ordered one. The good thing is that when I call support I do actually talk to a person. They told me that they were waiting on a new version that did adjust for altitude.

Is there a better way to test pump speed than just counting pulses per minute? I am assuming the new unit will have a pressure sensor that slows the pump rate and the volume per pump will remain the same. I would like to get a baseline before I take the old unit out so I can compare the new one at home(3,500ft) and at higher elevations.
 

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Is there a better way to test pump speed than just counting pulses per minute? I am assuming the new unit will have a pressure sensor that slows the pump rate and the volume per pump will remain the same. I would like to get a baseline before I take the old unit out so I can compare the new one at home(3,500ft) and at higher elevations.
They say there's an app for everything. You need one that counts sound ticks. A reverse metronome?
 
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