Heating and Hot Water

There are many solutions to heat a camper. We chose to use a parking heater, combined with an extra heater core and hot water boiler. It seemed to most versatile solution for us, because with this setup we can:

  • heat the living space independent from the combustion engine
  • make hot water
  • allow to pre-heat the engine in really cold situations
  • runs on vehicle fuel

The systems seems complex perhaps, but I really think it is worth to invest in such a system. In our case the extra parts needed are:

  • diesel heater D4WSC (Eberspacher)
  • heater core (comes from an VW T4)
  • boiler, 6 litre fresh water
  • 6-way valve to replace part MB439227
  • electric fan
  • piping
  • timer, Easystart

The diesel heater and boiler tank are mounted below the floor, there is ample space behind the engine and above / besides the transmission. the fresh water pipes to and from the boiler are isolated. A drawback might be that in case of fording, the heater might be submerged and therefore the intake and exhaust need to be closed to prevent the combustion chamber from flooding. A preparation I took is to place the intake close to the boiler which has it’s own, almost closed mounting cradle. in this way it is shielded from direct flow, caused by forward movement. Until now this worked OK. In an extreme fording case I might have to plug the intake and exhaust. Where the coolant water and fresh water lines are going trough the body, they are protected and sealed with rubber grommets.

The heater core is placed just above the vehicle floor. I did this so that the original coolant water level (height above expansion tank) did not increase, and therefore it was not needed to modify or replace the expansion tank despite the increase in volume.

The boiler itself is from Elgena. It is a simple design, a stainless reservoir with 2 coolant connections and 2 fresh water connections. There are also variants with alternative heating options, fro example 12V or 230VAC heating. We did not think it was needed for us, because, when driving, the coolant water of the combustion engine is used to heat the boiler as well, so an hour of driving, we have 6 litres of hot water that allows two persons to take a (short) hot shower, or we can do the dishes with hot water.

Water system. The green lines are the coolant pipes.