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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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Has anyone considered installing an inline needle valve to restrict fuel flow to prevent an overly rich mixture when using a gas heater at altitude?
My first thought is that would require very fine adjustment that would be impossible to get right unless you were monitoring exhaust gases. I also suspect it requires dynamic adjustments for every combination of elevation and pump speed. If not, why has this nut been so hard to crack?
 

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Discussion Starter · #85 ·
Latest news, I installed the new heater this weekend and it works! For now anyway. We will see what happens at elevation. The swap was pretty simple. I was really happy I had easy access to the heater. Probably could have done it in an hour but working alone there was a lot of moving from under the van to inside the van and back. Everything was compatible except the wiring harness. The plug into the heater was the same but the pins were not arranged the same. It was showing power but the heater would not turn on. I swapped out the wiring and was back in business. I am going to contact them and see if there are updated manuals for download and see if they can tell me how it supposedly adjusts for altitude.
The old heater running on high (level 7) at 3,500ft was pumping approx 59 times per minute. The new unit on high is pumping closer to 57 times per minute. I have not tested it anywhere else yet. Hoping I can try to run it around 7,000ft in the next month and I will see if the rate changes.
 

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FWIW, I just received this reply from Ilia Kondakov at GC here in BC:
"Yes, we have recently added a new version of heaters with AAA-automatic altitude adjustment to up to 5000 meters."

I also just got a quote from my closest GC dealer here in BC:
"A 12V gas version of a Bison 2000A bunk heater is just under $1000.00 (CAD) plus taxes. They do not have any in stock right now ,, they are hoping to get some in ,,, but do not have an eta at this moment."

I was just curious. My $200 diesel knock-off is working fine, but I wouldn't mind the convenience of gas instead. Maybe someday. In the meantime, I have the info to try manually adjusting ours for elevation next time we're above 5000ft.
 

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The diesel ones are way under $100 US now!
They are currently just under $200 CAD up here, but that's still cheap compared to $1000. But it's also getting harder and harder to find true 2kW-size units (my size constraint), especially with controllers that support editing of min/max pump/fan speeds to enable manual altitude adjustments. I've also read ordering direct from China (AliExpress), like I did 4 years ago, has gotten super sketchy due to covid, supply chains, etc.
 
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