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Old 10-11-2015, 05:41 PM   #1
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City: Ann Arbor
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Repairing Espar heaters

Bought Island Gypsy 32 this past June. Have discovered that Espar furnace does not work. Operator's guide for this D3L (certainly older) says to "remove glow plug and inspect for carbon build up. Clean and replace. Also, clean screen with brass brush to remove any carbon from it." I doubt whether Espar will have glow plugs for a unit this old, so I want to try inspecting and cleaning. Anyone done this? Have not yet taken off the unit cover so not sure where glow plug and screen are located. Any help appreciated. Thanks, George
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Old 10-11-2015, 06:35 PM   #2
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Repairing Espar heaters

Welcome!
Do you have any photos of the unit or the exact model number off the units plate? There are some great old time service guys around with older parts.

I did my Hurricane last fall, they are pretty straightforward but then I have the manufacturer in my backyard for parts and advice.

I think the first step is to clean everything - the combustion chamber, fuel nozzle, glow plug, fuel filters, exhaust, fans. Make sure that none of the electrical connections are corroded. Check fuses/breakers. Is it a water heater or hot air? If water, check the level and condition of the coolant, test the pump. Bleed the system. If it's air there is a heat exchanger, clean that too. Air filter? I can't remember if my hot air Espar had one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rochepoint View Post
Welcome!
Do you have any photos of the unit or the exact model number off the units plate? There are some great old time service guys around with older parts.
Mike, I'll be back on the boat this coming Saturday and will get pics and exact model number. Will get back to you after that. Thanks for your help. George

I'm having someone work on my D7L right now. I think it's around 1988 vintage (same as my boat). He says the controller board has failed and he's currently looking for a used replacement since the parts are not available new. This is apparently true for a few critical components including the fan.

Richard

Quote:
Originally Posted by Xsbank View Post
I did my Hurricane last fall, they are pretty straightforward but then I have the manufacturer in my backyard for parts and advice.

I think the first step is to clean everything - the combustion chamber, fuel nozzle, glow plug, fuel filters, exhaust, fans. Make sure that none of the electrical connections are corroded. Check fuses/breakers. Is it a water heater or hot air? If water, check the level and condition of the coolant, test the pump. Bleed the system. If it's air there is a heat exchanger, clean that too. Air filter? I can't remember if my hot air Espar had one.
thanks. It's air, not water. Time to clean everything.
George

Quote:
Originally Posted by Britannia View Post
I'm having someone work on my D7L right now. I think it's around 1988 vintage (same as my boat). He says the controller board has failed and he's currently looking for a used replacement since the parts are not available new. This is apparently true for a few critical components including the fan.

Richard
Richard, mine is a 1994. I'm trying to decide how much of this to try myself vs. finding someone who knows what they're doing and having them do it.
Thanks, George

Quote:
Originally Posted by Britannia View Post
I'm having someone work on my D7L right now. I think it's around 1988 vintage (same as my boat). He says the controller board has failed and he's currently looking for a used replacement since the parts are not available new. This is apparently true for a few critical components including the fan.

Richard
Just to add - glow plugs for my D7L are still available apparently. Not sure what vintage your D3L is. There's a good chance you can get them.

Richard

Quote:
Originally Posted by gbrides View Post
Richard, mine is a 1994. I'm trying to decide how much of this to try myself vs. finding someone who knows what they're doing and having them do it.
Thanks, George
Ok - well you may have better luck with parts. If you can find the manual on the electronics you could check the output of the controller. That's what failed on mine.

Richard

Quote:
Originally Posted by Britannia View Post
Ok - well you may have better luck with parts. If you can find the manual on the electronics you could check the output of the controller. That's what failed on mine.

Richard
I will be back on the boat this coming Saturday and will look for that manual. Thanks, George

Do a search on Google for Espar D3L, lots of manuals available online some from Espar of Michigan sounds like they are close to you.

Check out this Espar Forum(discussion) as it may help in your trouble shooting, repair, and maintenance.

HELP with Espar heaters

Good Luck...

Does it turn on and try and work? I have changed glow plugs and screens on three different air heaters, not a big deal, I have always replaced screens, rather than try and clean. They are difficult to remove, without screwing them up. I had one older heater, that the controller fried, an error on my part, that I replaced with a newer Airtronic, all the brackets and exhaust were reusable, wiring to thermostat was different, but the same number of wires, so no big deal there. These units like full voltage. I was having to replace glow plugs and screens at least every year. Glow plug would carbon up and burn itself up. Problem turned out to be voltage related. Voltage now supplied directly from battery thru breaker. Does not go fwd to main dc panel. On the airtronic if it does nothing and you have voltage to heater, plug is open. These heaters are far cheaper to buy from a trucking supplier. Been there, done that. Good luck.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rochepoint View Post
Do a search on Google for Espar D3L, lots of manuals available online some from Espar of Michigan sounds like they are close to you.
I saw the Espar of MI on the web, but saw only truck units. Didn't know that the truck units might be the same as the marine units. Once I get the model info on mine, I will give them a call to see what they too suggest.
George

Quote:
Originally Posted by knuckelbuster View Post
Check out this Espar Forum(discussion) as it may help in your trouble shooting, repair, and maintenance.

HELP with Espar heaters

Good Luck...
thanks, i'll check it out. George

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rebel112r View Post
Does it turn on and try and work? I have changed glow plugs and screens on three different air heaters, not a big deal, I have always replaced screens, rather than try and clean. They are difficult to remove, without screwing them up. I had one older heater, that the controller fried, an error on my part, that I replaced with a newer Airtronic, all the brackets and exhaust were reusable, wiring to thermostat was different, but the same number of wires, so no big deal there. These units like full voltage. I was having to replace glow plugs and screens at least every year. Glow plug would carbon up and burn itself up. Problem turned out to be voltage related. Voltage now supplied directly from battery thru breaker. Does not go fwd to main dc panel. On the airtronic if it does nothing and you have voltage to heater, plug is open. These heaters are far cheaper to buy from a trucking supplier. Been there, done that. Good luck.
When I turn it on, it sounds like only a blower is running, but no heat. You sound far more mechanical than I am. I'm hoping that if I can clean the glow plug and maybe the screen that it would fire up. Thanks for the input. George

Quote:
Originally Posted by gbrides View Post
I saw the Espar of MI on the web, but saw only truck units. Didn't know that the truck units might be the same as the marine units. Once I get the model info on mine, I will give them a call to see what they too suggest.
George
I just replaced our old Espar with a new D5L which we purchased from a truck shop. The only thing we had to do is change the exhaust system from 24mm to a 30mm, all parts available from the dealer. We saved more than a boat buck even after the exhaust upgrades.......

I've ordered parts from Espar Heater Parts, EZ Oil Drain Valves & More Industrial Products by the Lubrication Specialist. I spoke with the owner by phone; he was knowledgeable, helpful, and supportive of DIY work (unlike a now-defunct Seattle area Espar dealer). No experience with their flat rate repair service, but it might be worth exploring.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Britannia View Post
I'm having someone work on my D7L right now. I think it's around 1988 vintage (same as my boat). He says the controller board has failed and he's currently looking for a used replacement since the parts are not available new. This is apparently true for a few critical components including the fan.

Richard
Hi Richard
We still have our old Espar D7L that we replaced with a new D5L when our local shop refused to work on it because new parts weren't available and would not allow the tech to use old parts. All they wanted to do was sell a new one.......

Let me know what parts you would be interested in before we scrap it. The tech was amazed at the shape it was in just old like yours, it just would not energize. If you are ever coming to the PNW I would be glad to give it to you for spare parts..........

Quote:
Originally Posted by rochepoint View Post
Hi Richard
We still have our old Espar D7L that we replaced with a new D5L when our local shop refused to work on it because new parts weren't available and would not allow the tech to use old parts. All they wanted to do was sell a new one.......

Let me know what parts you would be interested in before we scrap it. The tech was amazed at the shape it was in just old like yours, it just would not energize. If you are ever coming to the PNW I would be glad to give it to you for spare parts..........
Mike,

Thanks so much. I need the control unit. Small. Shippable?? We should probably move this to PM

Thanks

Richard.

Richard, I have an older D5L ,1990 s vintage. When I bought the boat 2 yrs ago it didnt work and I live 400 miles from the boat. I had the whole winter to work on it so I pulled it out of the boat and brought it home to clean, and troubleshoot. What has been said about cleaning and changing glo plugs ,screens, and gaskets is right on.--espar of mich has good online manuals and parts are available.
More than likely you do not need a new control/brainbox expensive and unit specific. These units have a flame sensor over the combustion chamber and a remote temp sensor on a board in the top of the unit--both are more likely suspects. First place to check is voltage supply, 10ga wire and lots of juice for start up, once running they dont draw that much, but will not go through start sequence without 12.5v.
Startup is blower on, approx 30 sec relay clicks for gloplug, fuel pump starts pulse pumping--if all is well unit fires, if not it will attempt a 2nd restart, if that fails it will shut down. Often as you try to figure things out the control box will lock out---disconnect power and reboot.
Try this site for lots of background and info---http://www.letonkinoisvarnish.uk/Eberspacher_Intro_1.html, another one is boat electric in Seattle, but they just want to sell you a new heater. hope this helps, mine works great now-just takes some time and boat buck$ good luck,, Bruce

Quote:
Originally Posted by raindr View Post
Richard, I have an older D5L ,1990 s vintage. When I bought the boat 2 yrs ago it didnt work and I live 400 miles from the boat. I had the whole winter to work on it so I pulled it out of the boat and brought it home to clean, and troubleshoot. What has been said about cleaning and changing glo plugs ,screens, and gaskets is right on.--espar of mich has good online manuals and parts are available.
More than likely you do not need a new control/brainbox expensive and unit specific. These units have a flame sensor over the combustion chamber and a remote temp sensor on a board in the top of the unit--both are more likely suspects. First place to check is voltage supply, 10ga wire and lots of juice for start up, once running they dont draw that much, but will not go through start sequence without 12.5v.
Startup is blower on, approx 30 sec relay clicks for gloplug, fuel pump starts pulse pumping--if all is well unit fires, if not it will attempt a 2nd restart, if that fails it will shut down. Often as you try to figure things out the control box will lock out---disconnect power and reboot.
Try this site for lots of background and info---http://www.letonkinoisvarnish.uk/Eberspacher_Intro_1.html, another one is boat electric in Seattle, but they just want to sell you a new heater. hope this helps, mine works great now-just takes some time and boat buck$ good luck,, Bruce
Bruce,

Thanks for the insights. I did have it carefully looked at by a guy who's been servicing and repairing Espars for over 20 years. He said he checked the voltages and he was getting no output from the control unit. He said power into it was fine. I can confirm that it makes no noise at all when I switch it on.

Richard
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