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Old 11-09-2011, 02:55 PM   #1
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Espar starting trouble

I have an Espar D7L, which I think is original to the boat (1978). When I fire up the furnace, I get quite a bit of smoke - starts kinda light, then goes thick white, then dark gray.

All of this happens in just a few minutes, then clears, and seems to run fine.

Is this a problem?

ALSO, unit drains my batteries, and when it gets below 11V, shuts of. I can go a few hours before this happens, an usually catch it. But it has shut down twice on its own - after each occassion, it won't start for nearly 2 days. It sounds like the fuel sending unit is running, but the blower won't engage. I did nothing the the furnace but check fuses, and it started.

Does it need a few days rest every so often?
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Old 11-09-2011, 03:10 PM   #2
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RE: Espar starting trouble

I was told they need to be cleaned every 2000 hours and of course there is a special tool that you need. If you are running #2 it will soot up. I have been running mine on kerosene. It burns much cleaner.*You can take it in for service. Or try cleaning it yourself
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Old 11-09-2011, 04:05 PM   #3
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RE: Espar starting trouble

I think him right...sounds like the "injectors" need service....
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Old 11-09-2011, 06:12 PM   #4
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RE: Espar starting trouble

How old is the fuel you are using, I have the same Espar. Old fuel smokes or even will not start, fresh fuel is great just a little smoke on start up. If you run kerosene like Skipperdude it would think it has died and gone to heaven, no smoke!
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Old 11-09-2011, 07:18 PM   #5
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RE: Espar starting trouble

You need to disconnect the power to the heater after a "fail to start" event. Cycle the breaker & it should try to start again. Clean the exhaust line - backpressure will make it hard to start. They're really sensitive to low voltage during the start cycle - my manual is on the boat & I'm not but I think the critical voltage during the start cycle is higher than the ultimate low voltage shut down number. Make sure all your connections are clean and tight and that some PO hasn't undersized the wiring. They also are known to eat glowplugs and Espar is really proud of their glowplugs.
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Old 11-10-2011, 05:09 AM   #6
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RE: Espar starting trouble

These are truck or bus heaters and were expected to operate mostly with the engine ON.

That's 14.4V or so to the unit and there is a coil to reduce it to about 7V at the glow plug.

Reduce the system voltage to 12,5 , less the long wires in a boat and starting is problematic.

Yes, the units must be cleaned after many of on cycles , and that requires a few parts.
The device on the end of the oil pump and its washers (slingers) are always required.

First and simplest cure is to measure the voltage at the glow plug during start and if it is not near 7V , remove the protective cover and clip a turn (sometimes 2) off the resistance element , and reconnect.

When it is working a std factory rep. technique to help the unit is to disconnect the air delivery output hose and block the furnace off.

It will only run till the overheat sensor stops it , let it cool and do the overheat 3 times.

Espar charged $125 for this in 1970! opening and replacing the spray unit works better , but this does help.

When I was a dealer we made up a different thermostat .
The unit was started with a switch on Full,, and the thermostat only reduced the unit to the half power , but did not turn it off.

These are good units but annual (at least) service is manditory.

AS an Espar dealer for a couple of years , you can now understand why I suggest Dickinson for small boats and other marine systems like the Hurricane for larger boats.
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Old 11-10-2011, 05:36 AM   #7
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RE: Espar starting trouble

I have a D12L and this website has helped me trouble shoot it.
<table style="width:739px;" border="1"><tbody><tr><td width="201">Ignites & runs OK, but stops before thermostat switches off</td><td width="522">1. Check the fuel filters.</td></tr><tr><td width="201">*</td><td width="522">2. Check fuel pumps).</td></tr><tr><td width="201">*</td><td width="522">3. Clean the thermostat contacts (excludes electronic thermostats).</td></tr><tr><td width="201">*</td><td width="522">4. Check for loose wiring connections.</td></tr><tr><td width="201">*</td><td width="522">5. Check for high voltage. Measure voltage when it shuts off.</td></tr><tr><td width="201">*</td><td width="522">6. Check for low voltage. Measure voltage when it shuts off.</td></tr><tr><td width="201">*</td><td width="522">7. Is this a problem only when the engine in running?</td></tr></tbody></table>
*
<table style="width:737px;" border="1"><tbody><tr><td width="201">Ignites & runs normal, - excessive smoking starting and stopping</td><td width="520">1. Normally a symptom of clogged or partially clogged atomizer in models D3L, D7L, D12L AND D12W. Clean or replace atomizer.</td></tr><tr><td width="201">*</td><td width="520">2. Other models may require burner service to remove any carbon deposits.</td></tr><tr><td width="201">*</td><td width="520">3. White smoke = unburned fuel.</td></tr></tbody></table>

<table border="1"><tbody><tr><td colspan="4" width="672">WHAT IS MISSING ?
</td></tr><tr><td width="168">NO FUEL
</td><td width="168">= NO SMOKE
</td><td width="168">*</td><td width="168">*</td></tr><tr><td width="168">LOW FUEL
</td><td width="168">= WHITE SMOKE
</td><td width="168">= LOW CO2
</td><td width="168">HIGH AIR to FUEL
</td></tr><tr><td width="168">HIGH FUEL
</td><td width="168">= DARK SMOKE
</td><td width="168">= HIGH CO2
</td><td width="168">LOW AIR to FUEL
</td></tr></tbody></table>
<big>http://www.boatelectric.com/Service%20Depatment.htm
</big>
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Old 11-10-2011, 06:16 AM   #8
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RE: Espar starting trouble

If I were to be onboard a vessel during a long*water journey or sleepover, and*found out*the vessel's 34 year old heating system was as described by the original poster, I'd bolt.
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Old 11-10-2011, 06:36 AM   #9
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RE: Espar starting trouble

I'd bolt.

Nahh , they just hate starting , once on , leave it run all winter , no problem.
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Old 11-10-2011, 09:10 AM   #10
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RE: Espar starting trouble

My boat started life with a D7L, in 1980. I bought it in 1994. In the next 10 yrs, I spent more $ maintaining the D7L than the 3 diesel engines aboard, fighting the problems described in the OP.
I found that it would start easily if the fuel in the tanks was warm.
It would start easily if I changed out the igniter with a clean one.
It would start and run well if it was used frequently.
Eventually it failed altogether, by burning through the ignition chamber where the igniter attaches. I had it welded once, but there wasn't enough meat there to weld it a second time, so it couldn't go on. I traded what was left of it for a bottle of Scotch, to a member on this site. I believe I got the better part of that deal.
I have a diesel stove in the galley that has stepped up and does a great job of space heating, without the noise, without the battery drain, without the smoke, without the constant expense.
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Old 11-12-2011, 09:41 AM   #11
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RE: Espar starting trouble

I was pretty apprehensive about the D7 when we bought Gray Hawk.* We have a ProHeat on the bus and it took me about 3 years to master it so I wasn't looking forward to learning a bunch of new stuff about the German monster in our engine room.* Willie at Sidney Propeller was pretty helpful while I was learning but mainly what I learned was that I didn't want to dump a bunch of money into it.* I think we had a control head failure last spring and that was enough for me.* We pulled it out, I sold it to Willie for parts and I replaced it with a Webasto.* Willie claims that salvage units are the only source for some of the parts now - I don't know whether that's true or not but I have no reason to doubt his word.
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Old 11-13-2011, 01:43 AM   #12
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RE: Espar starting trouble

You are all adding fuel to my "simplify" fire. I DO NOT want to start messing with this heater, and if your comments are any indication, then that looks like what I have in store. To add to the difficulty, there is no one here in Ketchikan that I can find to help me service this thing.

I may be opening a new can of worms, but does anyone have thoughts on woodstoves? I like the idea of a Dickinson, but I REALLY like the idea of being able to have heat almost anywhere I go, without a day tank, or pump, or anything that adds to the complexity.

Thanks everyone for your help.
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Old 11-13-2011, 04:54 AM   #13
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RE: Espar starting trouble

A Dickinson will burn fuel that is already on the boat. 6 months worth should already be in your tank.using 200 G or so for a winter is a grand way to get rid of old fuel.

No chasing bears to get to a woodpile.

A day tank is as simple as a 6 or more G outboard tank .

Wood works , but it is the weight of fuel that gives the BTU. Most small wood stoves will not bank well enough to run 12 hours.

Coal is loads denser so is easier to keep operating , but nothing beets oil!

Turn it on in Oct , off in May , no problem. BTDT
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Old 11-13-2011, 09:52 PM   #14
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Espar starting trouble

The only time I've seen woodstoves is either in the CUTE boats as a showpiece, and those used Prestologs or the equivalent, or on huge older boats (tugs) where there was ample storage and availability of dry, suitable wood.. Even those big boats changed to oil when the engine changed to oil useage.

What do you do with the wood clinker, overboard? With oil stoves setup properly there is little residue.

There are good reasons for using diesel as a stove fuel:
--uses same type fuel as the engines so readily available
--minimal storage needed other than a small run or day tank or week tank. a couple 5gal jerry can be kept on the swimgrid and will last a week or more easily
--relatively little mess
--relatively little maintenance needed
--relatively small size compared to wood stove of equivalent heat output
--almost no battery power, a small fan only to supply combustion air.
--depending on the installation may be able to heat a H.W. tank by convection


Heating will not be as even as a furnace and temp regulation sometimes will be open a window or a door. Small fans, muffin types, can help a lot to circulate warm air.

Since you already have an Espar there must be a fuel tank or feed from the main tanks, use it to feed a Dickinson and if need be a small pulse pump. Best, to me, is a gravity feed although not always possible depending upon what you want.

The Dickinson doesn't have to be a stove but could be a bulkhead mounted heater or a free standing heater.

I've seen larger boats with two small Dickinson heaters, bulkhead types, mounted in the aft & fwd. cabins when the boat is a tricabin with a central saloon. Natural convection heats the saloon quite well. Then the propane stove does the cooking.

I realize this may not be what you want but I suspect that the long term impractical aspects of wood, once past the initial attraction of "being able to pick it up anwhere' will wear thin. Can be done as I have run across a few wood stove fired boats but I think the diesel offers far, far more.





-- Edited by C lectric on Sunday 13th of November 2011 10:54:12 PM
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Old 11-16-2011, 11:22 AM   #15
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RE: Espar starting trouble

I have our Webasto service every September as we run it most of the year.* However, heating with diesel is a lot more expensive than heating with AC electric, so the AC electric is primary with Webasto as back up.* When the temp is not below 40 the the Webasto is primary and electric is secondary.* In most units the heat can be taken off and sent into be serviced.* Being a live aboard if the Webasto needs service in the dead of winter they bring a spare head while outs is service.* I have spare sensors and main electronic logic box, injectors and bearing on the boat.* If it has not been service for a while the one major concern is that the burn tube that protect the actual heater neets to be repaired/replaced.*
*
The closest place to you is probable Seattle.* The Espar dealer is* Waypoint Marine 206-284-0220,* www.wpmarine.com *They may have a service/diesel person in your are that can help you or you may have to send it in.* My diesel mechanic can service the Espar and the Websto.
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Old 11-17-2011, 04:11 AM   #16
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RE: Espar starting trouble

"However, heating with diesel is a lot more expensive than heating with AC electric, "

Its 30c a KW in NYC marinas.
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