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Old 03-11-2017, 07:17 PM   #1
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Eberspacher diesel heater repair

I thought I'd share my successful adventure in repairing my old Eberspacher D4L diesel heater. I don't think it was original with my boat, and I don't think it was even new when it was installed. But it worked well until last month, when I all of a sudden noticed that it would shut off a few minutes after starting, and with no heat. I restarted several times with the same result.

All of the wording on the unit is in German, but I was able to find the model number (SP 200 AD 04) and find that it is a 4300W 12V air heater. I checked the thermostat, and it was definitely clicking on and off. And I could hear the fan start, so I knew it had power. I started looking around in the engine room and found the small fuel pump and could hear it running (ticking) and see fuel advancing down the line. That's when I noticed there was red diesel fuel dripping rapidly out of the exhaust line. Essentially, fuel was being pumped into the furnace, but it was not igniting, so then it was just running right back out.

This made me think of the element (glow plug). There is one protruding from the top of the unit, with two wires and the fuel line feeding into it. I removed those and pulled out the plug. It was heavily caked in soot (coke). My resistance meter connected to the two electrical points confirmed that no charge could get through. Burned out.

I manage to read the markings on the glow plug and found a place in the UK with an identical unit (BERU). They sent one over, I connected it back in, and bam, I've got heat again! However, I also got a lot of exhaust smoke into the cabin at first because there was still a lot of fuel soaked into the exhaust line, and that had to burn itself out first.

Hopefully I've extended the life of my heater by at least a few years (for only $30!), and hopefully this might help someone else find a similar solution. Good luck!
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Old 03-11-2017, 07:58 PM   #2
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Schratter,
HaHa I've got an old E-Spar heater that came out of my old Albin. Almost threw it out several times. After your post I'll keep it around awhile longer. Could work in my 18' OB boat w an on and off function only. Thanks
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Old 03-12-2017, 04:30 AM   #3
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Hey, the device works better when before shutting down the drive it at full power for 15-30 minutes, soot and other deposits are burnt off and the device turns on easily and does not give off smoke when you next start the burners. Another way is to burn 'petrol light "oil lamp,fuel," may be kerosine, I do not know the term US. it burns cleaner than diesel and clean the device once a year to do a good omen winter stores.


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Old 03-12-2017, 08:02 AM   #4
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The glow plug is a hassle as the unit as built for trucks and buses was designed to operate with 14V from the operating engine.

Start from batteries in a boat and the voltage can be too low to get a good light off.

The simple solution is to trim the nichrome wire in top of the unit at least one coil .

This will raise the voltage while dockside , and does no harm when lighting underway.

Measure the voltage when starting at the glow plug to see what you have .
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Old 10-10-2019, 12:28 AM   #5
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Thanks for the post. Just bought a boat and couldn’t get my heater to work. I will do some more investigating.
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Old 10-10-2019, 01:31 AM   #6
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Mine starts very consistently if I use Kerosene. I've even considered putting in a kerosene tank just for the heater.

FF - I don't see the nichrome wire. Is it inside the case?
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Old 10-10-2019, 07:11 AM   #7
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"FF - I don't see the nichrome wire. Is it inside the case?"

The units for larger boats X7 the coil is on top of the heater under a simple cover.

Kerosene does the best job in these heaters.
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