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Old 02-28-2011, 09:47 AM   #1
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Espar hot airheat help needed

I think we have Espar serial number one on our 43 Defever.* It lights flawlessly every time as long as we are on shorepower or have the gennie running.* On batteries it very seldom makes it through the night if it lights at all.* If I start the gennie and light the furnace then I can shut the gennie down without losing the furnace.

I'd like to find somebody in the PNW who actually knows something about Espars so I don't end up just throwing parts at it randomly until I happen upon the right one.
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Old 02-28-2011, 12:26 PM   #2
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RE: Espar hot airheat help needed

Bob,
Sound exactly what mine was doing. I have a D2 forced air unit that really needs close to 13 volts to keep the glow pin lit. Once the unit comes up to temp and the glow pin shuts off it will run on a lower voltage. My charger was putting out over 13 volts to keep the bats charged all the time and I saw that they were resting at 12.5. When my heater fired up the voltage would drop to around 12.4 and it would cut out. Had the battery checked under load, guess what new battery which solved the heater problem. You might want to check the connections to the heater even a slight bit of corrosion will cause a high resistance low amp/volt problem.
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Old 02-28-2011, 12:59 PM   #3
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Espar hot airheat help needed

Quote:
bobofthenorth wrote:I'd like to find somebody in the PNW who actually knows something about Espars so I don't end up just throwing parts at it randomly until I happen upon the right one.
Get a hold of the folks at Boat Electric on Lake Union in Seattle.* We had an Espar before we moved to a warmer climate *and Boat Electric*gave us good customer service.* They have a great Espar Heater Troubleshooting Guide that you fill out and email to them and from there they can figure out exactly what your problem is.

*http://boatelectric.com/heating.htm

Larry/Lena
Hobo KK42
Bahia de Sol, El Salvador


-- Edited by Larry M on Monday 28th of February 2011 02:03:54 PM
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Old 02-28-2011, 06:23 PM   #4
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RE: Espar hot airheat help needed

Bob, where is the boat located?
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Old 02-28-2011, 08:26 PM   #5
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RE: Espar hot airheat help needed

@David - I did some rewiring this afternoon after testing the voltages during an ignition cycle.* I'm still not happy but its a lot better than it was.* We'll see how cold we get tonight to know if I made any real progress.

@Rochepoint - the boat is moored in Sidney but we've been on an extended cruise for a while now.* Expect to be back in Sidney around the end of the week.
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Old 02-28-2011, 09:00 PM   #6
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RE: Espar hot airheat help needed

Bob
Sidney is great! Thats where we are. I would talk to Sidney Propeller at Van Isle Marina. They are just great working on Espars, fixed problems other couldn't. Talk to Trevor (Espar guru) or Willy the owner and a guru too.
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Old 03-01-2011, 01:04 AM   #7
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RE: Espar hot airheat help needed

Quote:
DavidM wrote:

The Espar glow plug pulls a bunch of amps, about 30 as I recall as it goes through its heat up and ignition cycle. Your problem sounds exactly like low voltage. Check wire sizing, connections and battery status. Either one of these or all in combination will result in too low of a voltage to ignite.

David
After purchasing WESTERLY, it had an Espar D7L that was about 12 years old.* It didn't start all that well until I ran a dedicated #6 wire from the battery bank directly to the glow plug via a solenoid actuated by the glow plug circuit.* Never missed a beat after that.*

When the D7L was replaced with a small ARDIC, it was also voltage sensitive, and the best solution there was to run oversized wiring in addition to removing a coil from the glow plug.

Currently have an Espar D5L with oversized wiring - works good.

For Espar service in Seattle, either Boat Electric or Mark Walter*at Miller & Miller*206/285-5958

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Old 03-01-2011, 04:37 AM   #8
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RE: Espar hot airheat help needed

The old Espars will have resistance coil on top under a cover.

This was to reduce the usual (they were built for trucks and buses, not boats)14.4 charge voltage down to 6V to light the glow coil.

Since the coil is rated for 7,5V this added reliability.

IN stationary house boat application it sucks as the voltahe gets too low for reliable starts.

Happily the cure is FREE.

Simply remove the resistance coil cover and chop off two turns of nicrome wire and reattach.

Measure the Volts while it is starting at the glow plug and between 6 -7.5v is great.

IF the unit has been really plugged up from poor starting , disconect the heated air output and block it off with a hunk of pl,ywood.

The unit has safetys so obverheating it a few times does no harm, but will usually heat the combustion chamber enough to loosen the soot.

These units must have new parts installed every year or two to operate properly.

The part on the oil pump that is the oil injection in the combustion chamber gets plugged and needs to be replaced , along with the "washers" on its end.

Using kerosene helps if the unit is on a thermostat.
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Old 12-17-2011, 09:36 PM   #9
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RE: Espar hot airheat help needed

FF

Can you explain a bit better the procedure to change the voltage for startup. You mention "remove the resistance coil cover and chop off two turns of nicrome wire". I am not very familiar with the Espar and more details would help.
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Old 12-22-2011, 04:46 AM   #10
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RE: Espar hot airheat help needed

You will notice a metal cover about the size of a toilet paper center roll.

It is held on with screws.

It has a ni chrome coil under the cover that reduces the voltage to the glow plug.

Measure the voltage AT the glow plug in the boat , with your normal battery charger on.

It must be 6V ,although up to 7,5 is dandy.

THe coil is cut , bent and re attached ti its output to raise the voltage.

IF this sounds complex , print this page and have a more experienced friend do the work.


A #8 wire to the power unit is always the place to start, as is using as much kerosene in the fuel tank as you can afford.
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Old 12-22-2011, 05:40 AM   #11
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RE: Espar hot airheat help needed

Quote:
FF wrote:
THe coil is cut , bent and re attached ti its output to raise the voltage.

*Go to Radio Shack and buy a set of short, heavy, test leads with alligator clips on each end. Put one clip on the output terminal of the coil then move the other end to the spot on the coil where the voltage is what you want it to be, that point is where you cut.
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Old 12-23-2011, 04:27 AM   #12
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RE: Espar hot airheat help needed

With the above procedure the dockside voltage is set to 6V, when the boat is in operation the charge voltage will be 14,4 not dockside 12,6.

No problem as the glow plug is a 7,5 volt item.
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Old 12-30-2011, 09:13 PM   #13
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RE: Espar hot airheat help needed

Thanks for the explanations. *Otherwise, do you know of any external in-line device that would increase slightly the battery voltage ? * I am asking because the location of the espar prevents me to access the coil.

Another question as I am new to espar world: *when the unit on "half-heat", I do not notice difference in the temperature output. *Also, the fan blow the same speed.*Beside measuring the diesel consumption, which is a probably not that easy, do you know other mean to test the unit is responding properly to the setting ? *
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Old 12-30-2011, 10:04 PM   #14
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RE: Espar hot airheat help needed

Quote:
Gryphon wrote:
Thanks for the explanations. *Otherwise, do you know of any external in-line device that would increase slightly the battery voltage ? * I am asking because the location of the espar prevents me to access the coil.

Another question as I am new to espar world: *when the unit on "half-heat", I do not notice difference in the temperature output. *Also, the fan blow the same speed.*Beside measuring the diesel consumption, which is a probably not that easy, do you know other mean to test the unit is responding properly to the setting ? *
Don't know of any voltage increasing device (other than a charger) that would effect voltage levels, and then it would increase voltage to the entire system.* Increasing wire size may work for you, although it may not be any easier than getting access to the glow plug.*

On another note, my heater worked better after switching to gel cell house batteries due to a higher battery system voltage when compared with similarly sized wet cell batteries.**Improving your heater performance can be a combination of things.

How old is your heater?* Some of the older Espar furnaces were intentionally installed with the half-heat option defeated due to the need to provide higher burner heat for longer service.* Some of the newer heaters are much better*with multiple heating levels, you can find different levels of varying blower speed,*fuel supply and electrical consumption.
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Old 12-31-2011, 04:49 AM   #15
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RE: Espar hot airheat help needed

when the unit on "half-heat", I do not notice difference in the temperature output

All half does is lower the voltage to the oil pump.
This cuts the fuel delivery .
The blower stays at full speed.

If a heat gun does not find a difference in output after 10 min , my guess is the unit is choked up from the rotten starts , anbd is only giving marginal output.

Required is a new spray nozzle ( screwed on to the oil pump INSIDE the combustion chamberand the special parts attached that spread the fuel.

An hours dirty work , IF you have done it before and have the parts and parts book.

Not an amateur hour type repair!!!
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Old 01-10-2012, 09:40 PM   #16
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RE: Espar hot airheat help needed

You said the position "Half" lowers the voltage to the fuel pump. I guess it means the pump should pump twice less. However, I can still hear the pump clicking going at the same frequency. Does it mean the pump is still working as fast? What is this clicking sound actually?

Yes, the heater is an older model, early eighties.
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