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Old 12-15-2013, 05:31 PM   #1
City: South Portland,Maine
Country: USA
Vessel Name: EMMA
Vessel Model: 86 Vista Sundeck
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 3
Espar help

Ok all you heater guru out there I need some help. I have a Espar D12 heater and I have a problem with it going through glow plugs. The heater stopped working a few weeks ago and it turned out to be a low voltage problem. After replacing the house batteries that fixed the low voltage problem. The heater ran great for a week and then stopped. After changing the glow plug it has been running great for a week and then it stopped again.Not a good thing since we live year round on "EMMA" and it is going down to 4 degrees tonight. Does anyone have any idea why it is going through glow plugs? Any help would be great. Thanks for any and all of your help

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Old 12-15-2013, 07:57 PM   #2
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City: Port Havelock
Country: New Zealand
Vessel Name: Siesta
Vessel Model: Pelin Sterling 36
Join Date: Sep 2013
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I would check all the electrical connections between the battery bank and the heater. A bad connection may also cause voltage drop issues and contribute to your problem.

Also, a bad connection may cause voltage variations due the higher current requirements (and possible arcing at the connection) from the heater fan and glow plug.


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Old 12-15-2013, 08:27 PM   #3
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City: Saltspring Island
Country: BC, canada
Vessel Name: Retreat
Vessel Model: C&L 44
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 1,661
At times of heavy draw on the whole marina, your voltage may be low, and the first thing to fail due to low supply voltage is always going to be your Espar heater. I had that problem with a D7L for years, until I scrapped it.
New gkiw plugs seemed to work with lower voltage than those that were a bit used, but I found that whenever I could be sure of the voltage being high, I had no problems with the heater. That was only after I had spent more on maintaining the espar than on three diesel engines, in the first 10 years I had the boat.
I also tried cleaning up older glow plugs, and that seemed to work for a while.
I have a diesel stove and I am a lot happier to have taken out the Espar altogether.
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Old 12-16-2013, 12:08 AM   #4
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City: West Vancouver
Country: Canada
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Try posting here. Brian runs the forum and is a wealth of knowledge and assistance.

HELP with Espar heaters
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Old 12-16-2013, 05:54 AM   #5
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Posts: 14,908
The Espars were built for trucks and coaches where the operating voltage is about 14V.

They use a big resistor to lower the voltage to the glow plug.

Frequently the start load on the batts , even with a charger on will reduce the start voltage too low to fire the fuel.

Solution 1 is simply to burn kerosene all winter.This is the BEST! solution.

Solution 2 is to measure the Voltage at the plug during start , which must be over 6V, it is rated for 7.5v.

If its too low simply trim a coil (or two) of the nicrome wire in the small housing on top of the heater.

Tiny wiring to the heater is a problem ,#10 is a minimum if the run is short .

Last trick is to not to use the thermostat to control the boat temp by cycling off/on..

Most units have a full-half switch which simply uses a resistor at halb to slow down the pump motor , see if operating at half is OK temp wise.

These units all foul up very rapidly on #2 diesel so a set of flame rings and a new nozzle can be required half way thru the season. And it is required at least 1 time a year for a liveaboard.

Other tips for the more adventurous if you desire.
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Old 12-16-2013, 01:48 PM   #6
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City: Seattle
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Had a D-12. Got tired of replacing plugs so I went with a pair of L16 dedicated batteries. The problem went away.
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Old 12-16-2013, 07:15 PM   #7
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Posts: 243
I have two identical espars. One in the boat. One in the truck. The only thing required for the one in the truck is enough voltage and enough fuel. The one in the boat needs cleaning, glow plugs etc. My conclusion is fresh clean fuel is needed.

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