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Old 01-07-2013, 05:48 PM   #1
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Convert Force10 Heater to Propane

All:

Our boat has an 80's era bulkhead mounted Force-10 Kerosene heater. It's hard to light, smokes if not adjusted just right, requires pressurizing the fuel tank in the aft storage area, and the smell tends to give us headaches. In short, my wife hates it.

So one of my winter projects this year was to replace it with another heater. We tossed around the idea of a diesel/kerosene model with an isolated combustion chamber direct vented to the outside. Those run ~$800 and it appears would require a new flue and deck cap, as the diameter is twice that of the existing pipe.

Then I came across this diesel->propane conversion kit for the existing heater: http://www.go2marine.com/product/156519F/diesel-to-propane-conversion-kit.html

I am wondering if anyone has any experience with this product?

At $200 retail, it is substantially cheaper than a new replacement heater. We already have propane on board and in the cabin, with CO/LPG detectors, solenoids, etc because our oven/range is LPG. In theory, all I'd need to do is add a T downstream of the solenoid valve, and replace the kerosene fuel line with a propane one.

However, it is still an open flame in the cabin, but that appears to be the only negative.

I don't want to start a huge propane vs diesel debate (and I really don't want to relive the propane bottle storage discussion from last November :-) But I am interested in any thoughts...
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Old 01-07-2013, 06:03 PM   #2
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Might wnat to look at CAT catalytic. Welcome Page
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Old 01-07-2013, 08:09 PM   #3
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Heater Conversion

How many BTU's will the converted heater produce?
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Old 01-07-2013, 08:43 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by randyt View Post
How many BTU's will the converted heater produce?
Looks like 6,500 BTUs max.
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Old 01-07-2013, 09:30 PM   #5
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Heater Conversion

Mattkab,
Is heat produced by the heater enough now? I would say, if 6,500 BTU works, stay with it, if no, spend the money to upgrade. Keeping in mind, I think you can't have enough heat in PNW.
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Old 01-08-2013, 01:45 AM   #6
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[QUOTE=mattkab;124670
In theory, all I'd need to do is add a T downstream of the solenoid valve, and replace the kerosene fuel line with a propane one....[/QUOTE]

The "T" must be inside the propane locker and there are a couple other requirements for a safe installation. I have no experience with a propane heater so I can't help you there. Make sure the heater is rated and approved for installation on a boat.
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Old 01-08-2013, 05:35 AM   #7
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A kerosene heater with a Primus style burner will give about 10,000 BTU when operating well.

Sounds like you never learned to operate the unit properly.

NONE of these tiny heaters ( kero or propane) are designed for unobserved operation .
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Old 01-08-2013, 11:20 AM   #8
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Quote:
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A kerosene heater with a Primus style burner will give about 10,000 BTU when operating well.

Sounds like you never learned to operate the unit properly.

NONE of these tiny heaters ( kero or propane) are designed for unobserved operation .
The CAT is! Ran it 24/7 180 days of the year for 3 year, plus thermastat controller and vented.
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Old 01-08-2013, 12:38 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FF View Post

Sounds like you never learned to operate the unit properly.
Oh, there is no doubt!

I haven't learned to disassemble, clean, and reassemble the burner unit well either, even though I've done it 3 times this year to try to get a cleaner burn.
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Old 01-08-2013, 01:32 PM   #10
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The force 10 is a nice little heater. depends on the cabin size of course
They were all diesel at one time but I think Dickinson sold the product to someone else.
Now they are all propane. It shouldn't be an issue to convert it to propane.

Simple and you can make coffee on them.

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Old 01-09-2013, 06:16 AM   #11
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I haven't learned to disassemble, clean, and reassemble the burner unit well either, even though I've done it 3 times this year to try to get a cleaner burn.

I will look in my stash and see if i can find a "roaring" burner.

These work better than the silent style usually used in stoves.

It will make more noise than the quiet hissing of the stove unit, but heat is a sound to enjoy.

Free ,you pay shipping if I find one.
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Old 11-13-2013, 06:40 PM   #12
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Sorry to resurrect an old thread, but wanted to follow up.

This past weekend we installed the diesel to propane conversion. The project was a bit bigger than originally planned, as I completely replaced and upgraded my propane system with new fuel lines, new solenoid and solenoid panel, new gas-rated ball valves, and new regulator.

I still need to do a thorough leak test, but the stove works great, and I wouldn't hesitate to do the project again:


More details at: I make fire! | m/v C:\[ESC]
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Old 11-13-2013, 06:54 PM   #13
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You done good, Matt. Keep a "sniffer" in your galley drawer. Nice looking too.
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Old 11-14-2013, 07:04 AM   #14
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Looks good with a nice blue flame , but if anchored out for a while the solenoid is eating a bit of power when the gas is flowing.

NO problem with a SOC watching , but could be a surprise after a long weekend ,,

A tip for folks with Primus style burners that gunk up.

The fuel you are using is crap with too much oil in it.

Switch to half kerosene and half mineral spirits and the unit will be far happier .

Also use the unit at a good pressure and do not throttle the burner as a cook would do.

Too low a flame destroys the units ability to vaporize the fuel so it will spit and smoke.

Beware to only use clean fuel with no water.
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Old 11-14-2013, 09:38 AM   #15
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Perhaps it might be a good idea to relocate that fire extinguisher bottle a little farther from all that radiant heat. It's probably okay but just feels like a good plan. Very nice looking installation. Is that tile below?
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Old 11-14-2013, 12:03 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FF View Post
Looks good with a nice blue flame , but if anchored out for a while the solenoid is eating a bit of power when the gas is flowing.

NO problem with a SOC watching , but could be a surprise after a long weekend
Thanks, FF.

Like just about every system in a 30 year old boat, I need a thorough re-do of the electrical system. I am thinking of a complete re-wire, but at a minimum I need to trace all the wires, label them, clean up and organize the back of the breaker panel. Adding a true SOC meter at that point would be helpful.

As an example of what I don't like -- the solenoid positive wire was (and still is) tapped into the battery selector switch. Because it was convenient and the wire didn't need to be run to mid-ships. But the negative wire is run to the breaker panel, because there was no alternative. At least now I know what that single negative wire running along the top of my engine room is for.
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Old 11-14-2013, 12:07 PM   #17
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Quote:
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Perhaps it might be a good idea to relocate that fire extinguisher bottle a little farther from all that radiant heat. It's probably okay but just feels like a good plan.
That's probably a good idea. It would easily fit below the helm seat too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Cofer View Post
Is that tile below?
It's a cheap "stainless" self-adhesive tile my wife found at Home Depot for ~$25. We installed it in an afternoon.
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Old 11-17-2013, 02:14 AM   #18
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Greetings-
I'd ask a facilitator to determine if the following is a "New Thread" or fits the current conversation.
To day I received my latest issue of Norther Tool catalog. In the heating section there is the following article offered as a duel heating opportunity. Propane and electric wall mounted heater:

ProCom Vent-Free Trifuel Blue Flame Wall Heater 25,000 BTU, Model# MTF300TBA-B | Dual-Fuel: Gas Propane Heaters| Northern Tool + Equipment

the price is friendly at $269.00. That it doesn't require venting or chimney It does however, state that a 100# tank supply be used. Not familiar to what that means, except as a pressure factor?
What makes this attractive in a conversational way is the price for the unit and what the unit does. Yes, this is a house hold item, yet many times one sees items of non-marine use that are useable just not nomenclatured for marine use or if so, the price is increased. You see it in battery chargers, "Goop", anchor chain, paint and so forth, you get the picture. Having said that, outside of the tankage requirement, what say you the forum to the use of this unit in place of many hundreds of dollars of propane wall mounted boat heaters? That and the ability to fire up the gen set and have electrical heat on demand. Just saying the concept seems worthy.

Particularly as I am in the thralls of installing a DT30 Wallas at near $2 grand (invoke humor here!)

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there is no river.

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Old 11-17-2013, 02:23 AM   #19
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Or Home Depot tile! Had to add that on.
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Old 11-17-2013, 07:07 AM   #20
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Propane exhaust has 1.3 gal of water for each gal of propane burned .

Turned loose inside your boat may make for a really damp living.

There ARE house heaters with vents that do not require electric.

Try Backwoods Solar. Or look for Cozy heaters

Propane stuff mfg. subscribe to a big amount of advertising BS.

They attempt to claim that the BTU of the propane fed to the unit is the BTU output.

BEWARE how the unit is rated !!!
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