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Old 02-25-2018, 10:28 AM   #1
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Fantastic Espar furnace repairman PNW

I wanted to let the group know about an Espar furnace repairman in the PNW. His name is Guy Johnstone. Our Espar furnace was declared dead and even dangerous by two Marine repair people. I was referred to Guy by another repairman, Rick Lee, as man I should have come look at our Espar D7L. Parts are not being made for this model anymore except glo plugs. Guy has been stocking up on parts, found some new sources and salvaging parts from other furnaces to keep these heaters working. In less than 15 minutes he had ours up and running. The problem was a bad thermocouple breaker that he reset and it works fine now! He did replace the breaker and did an inspection of the heater, ducting, fan, wiring and exhaust, then explained that the furnace was in good shape and could be safely used for several more years. So instead of several thousands of dollars to remove and replace we paid $354.00 to get it serviced, inspected and up and running. This fee also included driving 1 1/2 hours each way to come to our boat. Highly recommend this “Guy” for any Espar repairs!
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Old 02-25-2018, 11:15 AM   #2
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I was he was closer to Bellingham, although mine has been running fine the last few years. Espar has thin support and parts availability in the PNW.
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Old 02-25-2018, 11:22 AM   #3
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I had better luck with espar over webasto, however I really like the IRT Hurricane heaters. Absolutely no mystery to them. Easy to self service and they diagnose them selves.
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Old 02-25-2018, 11:33 AM   #4
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KenE, he drove from Kent to La Conner to work on mine.
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Old 02-25-2018, 11:41 AM   #5
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Sometimes if you contact guys like this and they are willing to work with you they can put together a trip of more than one service call in a small area so individuals don't get hit with all the travel bill.
Of course emergencies are not included but still might be worth a tel. call or e mail..
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Old 02-25-2018, 12:29 PM   #6
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Sometimes if you contact guys like this and they are willing to work with you they can put together a trip of more than one service call in a small area so individuals don't get hit with all the travel bill.
Of course emergencies are not included but still might be worth a tel. call or e mail..
Yes, that would be a good approach, to try consolidate a service call with other boats.

Keith, just curious......were you charged his full hourly rate for his travel time?
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Old 02-25-2018, 12:58 PM   #7
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KenE, no, he did not charge the full hourly rate for travel. He was more than fair on his travel. He had 3 hours of travel and 1 hour on the boat plus a $75.00 part. $354.00 total bill.
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Old 02-25-2018, 01:06 PM   #8
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Always good to hear about good service....
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Old 02-26-2018, 10:42 PM   #9
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I have been fighting my Espar for months. The guy I had look at it (from the certified repair list) said it was air locked but hadn’t seen one installed like mine and wanted to redo it. I have been doing everything I can to bleed it but still can’t get it to work quite right. I will give Guy a call. Thank you for sharing!!
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Old 02-26-2018, 11:11 PM   #10
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TwoDot, you are welcome! Let Guy know where you got the referral please so he knows ho Wyoming found him. I told him I would get his name out there on some forums. I hope you can get your problem solved as easily as he got mine done!
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Old 02-27-2018, 04:18 PM   #11
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I have been fighting my Espar for months. The guy I had look at it (from the certified repair list) said it was air locked but hadn’t seen one installed like mine and wanted to redo it. I have been doing everything I can to bleed it but still can’t get it to work quite right. I will give Guy a call. Thank you for sharing!!
Twodot....I have been down the Espar problems road like you, and the lack of support in this area is frustrating. About 10 years ago, I installed my Espar 50,000 btu hydronic system, buying the hardware from Rixen in Portland OR. The system started and would run, but not reliably. The error codes were ambiguous and not helpful. I'm 300 miles from the Portland dealer, so all the support from them was over the phone....not the best scenario for troubleshooting. No local techs knew anything about Espar, but lots about Webasto.

Long story short, I did two things that got things straightened out, one or both being the fix. One was the wire sizing from the dc panel to the boiler. I took what the sizing chart said for the length of the wire run and went one size bigger, I think it was fro #8 to #6. An electrician friend suggested I try this and that it might help. The second thing is fuel. The fuel lift pump at the boiler is really small, and I was using a fuel tank 10 ft away at a slightly lower elevation. I installed a dedicated 12 gallon fuel tank about 3 ft from the boiler and slightly above it in elevation. I put in a transfer pump from one of my main tanks to supply this day tank. Knock on wood, my Espar has run fine since I made these changes, several years ago.
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Old 02-27-2018, 09:09 PM   #12
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My system was also installed by Rixen. I talked to Guy today and he gave me a long list of problems with how it was installed. He said the only real way to fix was to reinstall in a more traditional way. He didn’t want to take on that big of job so recommended me to another person in Seattle that had taken care of similar issues on this kind of install. He was extremely helpful and talked to me about it for quite some time. My problem is with the circulation system so unfortunately your suggestions won’t help.

Keith, I did mention to Guy how I found him. Thanks again!
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Old 02-28-2018, 10:27 AM   #13
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Thanks for the update TwoDot. I hope you can get you reinstall done in a timely fashion. Guy is really an asset with these furnaces. Who did he recommend in Seattle?
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Old 03-01-2018, 09:24 PM   #14
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He recommended Jim Brown at Monkeyfist Marine.
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Old 03-01-2018, 10:42 PM   #15
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Thanks TwoDot, that’s a new one for me.
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Old 03-01-2018, 11:06 PM   #16
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I had a D7L in my boat for several years. I spent more on maintaining that heater than I spent maintaining 3 diesel engines, until I finally gave up and removed it.
In the course of those years, I learned that the D7L would run perfectly if the fuel was warm, which of course only happened after it had been running for a number of hours. On first starting it up, it was always balky until the fuel warmed up, no matter what parts had just been replaced.
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Old 03-02-2018, 11:03 AM   #17
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I discovered years ago, that Espars run really well on kerosene. I have had them in 2 different boats since 98. No issues. The igniters have never had to be cleaned.
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Old 03-02-2018, 11:44 AM   #18
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Mischief,

Interesting idea. How large is your kerosene tank to supply fuel to the Espar? Do you happen to know the burn rate of the espar?
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Old 03-02-2018, 02:47 PM   #19
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Hi, I believe it is a 16 gallon tank. I don't know the burn rate, but on the 38 ft sailboat, it lasts for about a month of steady overnight running. The tank does require an external vent.
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