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2019-159 HR in PNW
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello great hive mind,
I am planning on installing a diesel heater under the passenger seat as so many people have also done. I've watched a lot of videos and everyone seems to skim over "just drop the heatshield" during the install videos/documentation.
I was expecting to just find the black plastic pins that you put wood screws into to pop up but found that I dont have those and everything is bolted in in a way that seems I'll also need to drop the exhaust for this procedure however I've never heard anyone mention that during install videos (or I'm maybe not paying enough attention?).

I have attached some pictures and circled the bolts and mounts holding the heat shield and the exhaust up that I believe need removed to get access to drill my hole under the seat and run the heater exhaust and intake hoses, fuel line, ect.. I would love some confirmation that I'm not too crazy here and that letting the exhuast dangle for a bit while I do this install shouldnt hurt anything. I got the van with 19k on it but I'm guessing someone had to drop the heatshield at one point and just bolted it back in since there are not any of the plastic pins holding that part in.
Anyway, thank you for any advice or confirmation on what I have pictured. I'm also happy to get more pictures if needed.
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Four bolts towards the middle of the van holding the exhaust and heat shield (the black push pin that is pictured is for a separate part of heatshielding)

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The mounting piece of hardware and bolt that is supporting the exhuast and holding in the heatshield. There is another single bolt on the right hand of the picture that is out of view but it looks the same. I couldnt get a pic with both bolts in it from under the van.

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This seems to be the whole area that needs dropped. 4 bolts in the back and there are two bolts in the front. Those 6 seem to hold in the heat shield and the exhuast. Am I good to drop this all out while I'm doing the install or are there some precautions I should take with supporting the exhaust while it's unbolted from those mount points?

Thanks in advance! Hope this makes sense.
 

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MMXVI - L2H2 in Indiana
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If you mount the heater all the way to the left you don't have to drop the shield, mine is on left side and I didn't drop it.
 

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2021 1500 136"WB High top
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We took the heat shield off. I had the advantage of being at my friends garage where he has a lift. Putting it back on was a bitch.

If the heater is placed like @phil says you can get away with leaving the heat shield there. You want it placed as close to the driver's side as possible, and when you cut the hole, watch out for the bundle if wires toward the front.

You want to attach all the stuff to the heater before you drop it through the hole because you won't be able to get to it with the heat shield there.

And the seat has a rail. We had to raise the mounting plate.
 

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2019 RAM Promaster 2500 136"
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52 Posts
When I installed my Webasto gas heater I saw no reason to remove the heat shield. I installed the wiring, exhaust, intake, and fuel line to the bottom of the Webasto and pushed them all through the hole from the top. Had no problems with the heat shield being there at all. There's tons of room.

Done on my driveway, alone, with no jacks or lift.

 

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2019-159 HR in PNW
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42 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
If you mount the heater all the way to the left you don't have to drop the shield, mine is on left side and I didn't drop it.
This could be the answer I was looking to hear. Would love to not need to take it all out.

We took the heat shield off. I had the advantage of being at my friends garage where he has a lift. Putting it back on was a bitch.
Did the exhaust have to drop down as well when you take the heat shield off? I was expecting it to be a "standalone" thing but how mine appears bolted in it is also holding up the exhaust.
With what you, @phil, and @DETstru said I might just make sure I run it all the way to the left of the passenger seat (left toward driver side that is if I'm reading this right) and not worry about the heat shield.

I got one of the bigger mounting brackets for it, versus the flimsy one that comes with it, and I'm using riv nuts to attach to the floor so it should be easy to pre-attach everything to the mounting plate before I drop it into the floor. I'm hoping y'all may have just saved me some headache with this heat shield business!

If youre still reading this - any pointers on where to run the exhaust out from there? Trying to figure out safe mounting locations since it's right by the gas tank there and want to make sure i run it all at a downward angle without bends as much as possible.

Thank you, Great Promaster hivemind!
 

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My opinion is install your heater somewhere else. When it breaks, AND IT WILL BREAK, it's a total pita to remove it so you can service it. I'm going through this right now and trying to figure out what how to get around the heat shield problem.
 

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2021 1500 136"WB High top
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This could be the answer I was looking to hear. Would love to not need to take it all out.


Did the exhaust have to drop down as well when you take the heat shield off? I was expecting it to be a "standalone" thing but how mine appears bolted in it is also holding up the exhaust.
With what you, @phil, and @DETstru said I might just make sure I run it all the way to the left of the passenger seat (left toward driver side that is if I'm reading this right) and not worry about the heat shield.

I got one of the bigger mounting brackets for it, versus the flimsy one that comes with it, and I'm using riv nuts to attach to the floor so it should be easy to pre-attach everything to the mounting plate before I drop it into the floor. I'm hoping y'all may have just saved me some headache with this heat shield business!

If youre still reading this - any pointers on where to run the exhaust out from there? Trying to figure out safe mounting locations since it's right by the gas tank there and want to make sure i run it all at a downward angle without bends as much as possible.
own.
Thank you, Great Promaster hivemind!
It dropped down a little, but that's what made it so hard to get back up -- getting the bolts to match the holes. This was me and very competent car person. I could not have done it on my own. Get the perfect placment and you'll be fine.

I made a video of the install. I think there's some good shots to show the placement. None of the heat shield because we both had our hands on it, trying to line up the bolt holes. But really, you don't need to remove it.

 

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2021 1500 136"WB High top
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My opinion is install your heater somewhere else. When it breaks, AND IT WILL BREAK, it's a total pita to remove it so you can service it. I'm going through this right now and trying to figure out what how to get around the heat shield problem.
Had I been smart enough during my build to plan for a heater to be added, I totally would have chosen someplace else. I really think everyone converting a van should consider that they might add a heater at some future time, and plan a place where it will fit. One season with the van and I realized I needed one and under the passenger seat was the only option.
 

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2021 1500 136"WB High top
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I'm using riv nuts to attach to the floor
I could be wrong, but the floor is thicker metal than muck of the van. Will a riv nut work? There must be something like it because the van comes with those d-rings that are screwed in.

Also, there's a bunch of sealant we applied that I think needs to be applied. That might interfere with the vivnuts. We drilled holes and bolted mine (the advantage to removing the heat shield), and the sealant was covering the holes.

If mine breaks, I can't imagine actually removing it. That would be a nightmare.
 

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2019 RAM Promaster 2500 136"
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I agree with Jlo that it should be installed elsewhere if possible. Best to install things were they can be serviced easily.

That being said, I still put mine under the passenger seat. It was best for my layout in my 136.

Some photos from my install below. I used rivnuts and they worked fine. One was a bit tricky to get in due to the corrugations in the floor. Rivnuts really make the no-heat-shield-removal plan possible. Because there's almost no way you could hold the nuts for the bolts without removing the shield.

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2019-159 HR in PNW
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
My opinion is install your heater somewhere else. When it breaks, AND IT WILL BREAK, it's a total pita to remove it so you can service it. I'm going through this right now and trying to figure out what how to get around the heat shield problem.
I'm at a point build wise that it would be like 15 steps back for me to install it elsewhere and I really value the space saving of under the seat.

I could be wrong, but the floor is thicker metal than muck of the van. Will a riv nut work?
I sure hope it will! Also your video was fantastic! I wish I had found it on my youtube rabbit hole I fell into with promasters and heater installs.

@DETstru your pics are fantastic and exactly what I was looking for, and it's good to hear the rivnuts worked for you. That was part of my "hopefully it will be easier to service this way" plan. Where I'm at in my build under the seat annoyingly makes the most sense for where my build is at. One of those things that makes me wish I could start with a whole clean slate. Didnt initially think I would want the heater but found over the last two winters I really really really reallllllly want a real heater!
 

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2019 RAM Promaster 2500 136"
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good to hear the rivnuts worked for you.
Yea they worked just fine! I was glad as well haha. Otherwise I'd be removing the heat shield.

Try to locate your heater in a spot that allows all the mounting bolts to not go through a sloping part of the floor corrugation. It's hard to get the rivnuts to work in locations where the floor is sloping. I didn't have this foresight and one of my rivuts didn't work so well. I got it to work by bending the floor a bit with a screwdriver but I doubt I can rely on it for much. Bit I'm fine with it even if I only had 5 of the 6 bolts well attached.

Also be aware that the floor has some kind of coating on it (not present in the back of the van floor, just in the front under the seats and front area). It's quite thick. I scraped it off around the rivnut locations before installing them. Most of it broke off while drilling the pilot holes.
 

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2019-159 HR in PNW
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
@DETstru Thanks for the tips!! I'm feeling significantly less intimated by this install after this thread. I have to accept there will be some PITA things to deal with mounting it in this location your mounting via rivnuts and pics of where you ran things helps immensely.
 

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I'm not trying to stir things up. I designed my van, but had a company build it out for me. My original design had the heater installed behind the driver's seat. During the build, my builder said "hey, I can install the heater under the seat if you like." I said sounds good, but wasn't thinking about future maintenance and how unreliable these things are. I'm just pissed and frustrated. I understand that it may be too late for the OP and others in the build process, just a heads up for folks in the future.
 

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2019 RAM Promaster 2500 136"
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I'm not trying to stir things up. I designed my van, but had a company build it out for me. My original design had the heater installed behind the driver's seat. During the build, my builder said "hey, I can install the heater under the seat if you like." I said sounds good, but wasn't thinking about future maintenance and how unreliable these things are. I'm just pissed and frustrated. I understand that it may be too late for the OP and others in the build process, just a heads up for folks in the future.
In my Van 2.0 I'll probably put mine behind the drivers seat. But Van 2.0 will probably have a different layout and might even be a 159.

my heater was an afterthought so I took the path of least resistance and did the passenger seat.
 

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Five years after we installed the Webasto in the rear, we installed the B2B charger under the seat. I have no idea where we could have put the B2B if the Webasto had been there. Considering that when we built the van, we weren't contemplating either addition, I’d say we got lucky.

So I crawl upon my soapbox again. No matter how simple you think you want your van, or how empty your pocket book is when you begin, when you design, contemplate beyond the present.
 

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2021 1500 136"WB High top
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Five years after we installed the Webasto in the rear, we installed the B2B charger under the seat. I have no idea where we could have put the B2B if the Webasto had been there. Considering that when we built the van, we weren't contemplating either addition, I’d say we got lucky.

So I crawl upon my soapbox again. No matter how simple you think you want your van, or how empty your pocket book is when you begin, when you design, contemplate beyond the present.
Exactly!!!
 

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2019-159 HR in PNW
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
when you design, contemplate beyond the present.
Something you really dont realize the truth to until you're deep into your first van build. So so so so so many things I would do different now that I have the experience of building out the majority of the van that would just be way too much to do over again at this point.

In my Van 2.0 I'll probably put mine behind the drivers seat. But Van 2.0 will probably have a different layout and might even be a 159.

my heater was an afterthought so I took the path of least resistance and did the passenger seat.
This is where I am 100%. I would do it different in van 2.0, but as my heater was an afterthought, I too am taking the under seat route.
 

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This is where I am 100%. I would do it different in van 2.0, but as my heater was an afterthought, I too am taking the under seat route.
my dinette is slightly raised, with a step up to the floor between the benches. This was so I had room in the benches for the water tank. I would have made the raised floor 1" higher and put the heater under there.
 
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