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Author Topic: Proheat system - specifics, parts, sizing?  (Read 4109 times)
daveola
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« on: January 22, 2010, 12:13:11 PM »


I know there are a thousand ways to hook up a Proheat system, but I imagine there are billions of *wrong* ways to do it.  Smiley

I'm curious about sizing of things.  Size of hosing.  Size of circulation pumps.  Size of heaters, etc..  And I know that using the wrong sizes can be wasteful.

I'm wondering if anyone here has a diagram or parts listing of their proheat system, and comments on what works and what doesn't work?  I plan on doing the same with mine (after building it, of course  Smiley

I'm also curious if anyone uses solenoid valves to switch zones on and off and what kind of valves they've used?

My plan is to use my 30kBTU Proheat to supply bus heat and hot water (possibly with a reservoir tank?), and maybe do veggie oil heating as well, and possibly even use the veggie oil to power the Proheat, but that needs some research.
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« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2010, 12:37:52 PM »

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« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2010, 02:29:59 PM »


I'm planning on putting my proheat in one of my bays.

I figure the exhaust probably needs to go through the floor, but it'd be nice if it went straight out towards the door.  Has anyone managed to hook an exhaust up to the bay door with some sort of flexible pipe, or perhaps some fitting that presses against the door when the door is closed?

I suppose one concern would be the bay door getting too hot if it was directly connected to the exhaust, though I suppose it could be isolated in the same way a roof vent is.
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Bill B /bus
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« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2010, 06:28:35 PM »

30K btu is minimal for a conversion.
Use a school bus water circ pump. Maybe $150.
Standard piping is 3/4" ID.
You can use standard radiant baseboard or fan forced heaters.
You can use distinct loops as Aqua Hot does or a single loop with one pump. Ensure that the expansion tank is the highest point in the system.
Do not tie into the bus water system, use a heat exchanger. I know its not cheap. But neither is a fried engine because you lost coolant.
Exhaust out the bottom and direct to the side.
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Bill & Lynn
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« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2010, 06:45:02 PM »

why do you wanna go with the proheat???
i went with a webasto 2020.these units are cheap to get right know.they are easy to maintain and repair.
you can remove the burner in less then two minutes,and its working with a pressurized nozzle like the oil burner from your house boiler.
i run WVO on all my equipment,but choose to run clean diesel or heating oil on my webasto and the two espar furnaces.espar approved now the use of b20 for some of their heaters,but im sure you cant run wvo on it.even for the beckett burner its some work to get it running on wvo.preheat and compressed air.

i have the webasto in the heater lop to my front heater and heat exchanger for WVO and my shower water.
its also t ed to preheat my engine.on a normal day it will start to heat my shower water,in the same time its getting my wvo ready.when im ready with the shower my engine is also at 180f and up i go.for night heat i have two espar d3lc running of the same tank as the webasto,to ensure they only get fresh diesel.there will always be some wvo in the main tank,no matter how long you purge.

thats just how i do it.

how long are you running on wvo.any problems??
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buswarrior
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« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2010, 07:03:05 PM »

I have a concern and an encouragement:

I would be concerned what that 30K BTU number means.

It more than likely is 30K BTU input of fuel.

You will pass some fair bit of those BTU out the hot exhaust, a net loss to what will be available to actually go into the coach.

My recent cold weather testing put somewhere close to 20K BTU of electric heaters upstairs inside the coach, for calculation purposes, electric heaters having the benefit of no loss to an exhaust. At 0 degree Fahrenheit, the performance of that amount of usable heat would not be acceptable, and there's still the protection of the water system down below in the bays to consider.

However, your smaller proheat has the advantage of running more efficiently in warmer situations.

My larger Webasto, rated at 100K BTU, while a powerhouse in the cold winter, is overpowered and inefficient the rest of the year, consuming a lot of fuel and short cycling if I try to use it to take the chill off a spring or fall cool night.

If you have a way to supplement the heating in the coach when the proheat reaches its capacity, you will have a hydronic system that can act as your primary heating system in all seasons that will be economical to operate.

happy coaching!
buswarrior
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« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2010, 07:59:46 PM »

Ahoy, BusFolks,

I have a Proheat X-45 (45,000 BTU) in my Eagle Bus.  It works just great, and is very easy to work on.  My hose sizes are 1", but 3/4" should be adequate.  I agree that 30,000 BTU is a bit marginal for real cold weather.  My Eagle is quite well insulated and tight, and at ~~ 32 degree weather, my Proheat runs maybe 1/3 of the time.

I don't know the Webasto system, but I know that the earlier ones do not have built in test. 

The Proheat is a modern machine, with built in test (BIT) with an LED display of 12 functions.  The BIT is important.  If something goes wrong, you have the ability to look at the BIT display on the computer/controller, and download the (superb) Proheat manuals to analyze the fault, order your parts, and affect the needed repairs. Without this comprehensive BIT, you must put your furnace in the hands of a service dealer.  Either remove it, and ship it off, or drive your motorhome to someone with a test rig.  Other competing diesel furnaces, by contrast, without built in test, are worse than a sick dog, who will at least limp, or lick his butt to give you some direction about what is wrong.

Enjoy   /s/   Bob
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« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2010, 12:05:59 AM »

I'm not sure what is wrong with a Proheat X45 either.  I'm into mine about $600 including complete servicing and testing.  I shipped mine to Nick and had him go through the whole thing and make sure it is running right.

I couldn't find a better deal on a Webasto at the time.
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daveola
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« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2010, 04:53:15 AM »

i went with a webasto 2020.these units are cheap to get right know.

Where and how much?

how long are you running on wvo.any problems??

For a bunch of years and many thousands of miles.  I've had a few problems with my WVO system on the road that have been a hassle, mostly fitting into one of these categories:

1. Filtration (such as clogging from not collecting clean enough oil)
2. Getting up to temp (My changes to the coolant runs have screwed up the flow - I either need a coolant aux pump and/or to use the proheat)
3. Filter not being properly closed and sucking air into the fuel lines

But otherwise it's basically working.


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« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2010, 07:02:05 AM »

there are a few on the E B ay site right know.
used ones went for as low as @86
the last NEW one had a asking price $500 and no bids!!!

i have no problems with proheat units.everybody has its own way.thats so great on bus people,they do it their way!!
Being from Germany,i grew up with these heaters.
yes a webasto has no build in troubleshooting link,but on the other site,with an a system working as an oil furnace there is not much troubleshooting left!!

anybody running a proheat on biodiesel???
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Gary '79 5C
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« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2010, 07:20:27 AM »

Dave,
Good Morning,
I have a Webasto located in the curb side of my MCI 5C, where the coach A/C compressor formerly resided. I like this as it is totally enclosed in metal, with the exhaust exiting directly down & out. I believe mine is a 40K BTU unit and has kept me happy at 20*. There are two large exchangers one in rear & one in front. Two toe kick units in middle, with three small coils and blowers in my two bays. Mine is also tied to the engine with a solenoid valve, so I have to be careful of a leak empting the engine coolant system, as stated.
Sourcing a Webasto unit on Ebay, I know there is a guy in Court House, NJ selling refurbished units on Ebay. He is a great guy, but still from NJ(?) whew...Not sure they are still avail.
Actually it is Nick, but do as you please. You would not be left out in the cold with Nick.

Another option is new from Wrico, in Oregon, That would be Dick Wright, I have done great with him on getset parts.

Good Luck,
Gary
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« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2010, 07:22:50 AM »

Whether ProHeat, Espar or Webasto, these coolant furnaces all do the same job, they heat liquids by burning diesel fuel.

There are many versions of controls and features that have been available, or not, different timers, analog style control systems, electronic style control systems, 12 volt/24 volt.

Over the years, the coach manufacturers have used them all at one point or another, whether they pick one as standard for awhile, or offer them all as options.

so a bunsut is well served by choosing the one that has the best combination of condition, features, local support availability and price.

happy coaching!
buswarrior

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« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2010, 09:53:39 AM »

I personally don't know why everyone wants a Proheat type heating system.  They're complicated, require maintenance, are expensive, have numerous hoses and fittings that can fail taking out your entire heating system, etc.  And at a cost of $6-10,000.00!?

Let's compare a simpler system.  I just replaced my Atwood Hydroflame furnace (35,000btu) for the first time in 15 years-and that was my fault for leaving it on for over a week burning out the fan motor ($600.00 total cost).  I have 2-10 gal electric water heaters straight from Home Depot ($600.00 total cost).  Heat strips in my three roof airs (they do work, but just have to give them some time to warm up)- total cost $200.00.  Two electric space heaters- $100.00.  My only propane is my furnace and stove.  Electric wall heater in the bathroom $100.00.  Electric block heater for the engine- $120.00.  So for about $1,800.00 I have a block heater, propane furnace, three roof top heaters, bathroom wall heater, 2 portable space heaters, 2-10gal water heaters-all of which have been 100% reliable for 15 years (sans furnace as explained). I don't think anyone with a Aquahot type system can claim anything near that. And all equipment I used is readily available at either Hardware or RV stores.  Good Luck, TomC
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« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2010, 11:11:27 AM »

All the electric heat in the world doesn't do one much good away from a power pole.   I was originally going to go propane, but I realized I have no room for the tank nor the room to duct the furnace.

I haven't installed my Proheat yet, but I will probably have about $1,500 into the project including marine water heater.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
daveola
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« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2010, 02:50:48 PM »

It more than likely is 30K BTU input of fuel.


You had me worried!  Smiley

It's output, according to Proheat:  http://www.proheat.com/PDFs/925824.pdf

That's comforting, since that's at .27Gal/hr.  And Diesel has 139kBTU,
so that's using 37.5kBTU of energy to create 30kBTU of heat.  That's 80%
efficient, which isn't too bad.  Better than running the genset to run
an electric heater, that's for sure.

I'm not going to spend much time in freezing climates, so 30kBTU is probably better than 100kBTU.  I suppose it'd probably be pretty easy to swap out for a larger diesel furnace in the future if I find I need it.

Can these units handle 100% duty cycle?

I wonder if you can have two units in parallel or series and only enable on the second one in colder climates?  Seems like it would make sense if I could somehow put the second unit perhaps halfway down the heat line, though I suppose I might just end up seeing one cycle more than the other and burn itself out.
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« Reply #15 on: January 24, 2010, 03:12:54 PM »

We have an X45 Proheat.  We had some serious "issues" with it a few years ago.  Thanks to Chris Wilson from this board (Chris the GM Bus Guy) it has performed flawlessly for 2 years now.  While Proheats and Webastos are similar in that they both burn diesel fuel to make heat, the similarity ends there.  If you end up with a Proheat take the time to do as Bob Belter has suggested, download the excellent online troubleshooting manuals and read them until you understand them.  I need to pay forward the assistance that Chris gave me so don't hesitate to phone me.  I know pretty well every mistake you can make in servicing a Proheat.

I should add that I have a good friend who runs trucks into the north on oilfield moves.  He has both Webastos and Proheats in his fleet but when I asked him how to fix my Proheat he said "dunno - we've never had one apart - ask me about Webastos". 
« Last Edit: January 24, 2010, 03:14:38 PM by bobofthenorth » Logged

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« Reply #16 on: January 25, 2010, 05:20:01 AM »

I personally don't know why everyone wants a Proheat type heating system.  They're complicated, require maintenance, are expensive, have numerous hoses and fittings that can fail taking out your entire heating system, etc.  And at a cost of $6-10,000.00!?
TomC

Hmmm, I paid $450 for my used ProHeat 45,000 BTU unit.  $100 to rebuild the circulating pump and about  $3-400 for heat exchangers, hose, clamps, etc.  We have used it for 3 years with no problems, although I will probably change the fuel filter this year. Our system is a basic system with a single loop that heats the inside of the coach and the rear (plumbing) bay as well as an additional heat exchanger that can be used to preheat the 8
v71.  Jack
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« Reply #17 on: January 25, 2010, 04:31:41 PM »

Okay, I've created a diagram for the system I think I want to build.  I haven't used a heat exchanger to isolate the engine coolant, but I'm not actually planning on using the Proheat to warm the engine, I'm planning on using it as an alternate heater/preheater for the veggie oil.  Because of this, the veggie oil coolant will either be connected to the engine or the Proheat coolant, but not both.  This seems that it would greatly minimize the chances of a Proheat coolant leak causing problems with the engine coolant.

Here's the full diagram:



But that's hard to read - you can see the full-size image here:
http://bus.getdave.com/Album/Heating/Diagram.gif

And here's the info I've written up explaining it:

Provides heat for:

   1. Bus interior
   2. Drivers seat
   3. WVO heating
   4. Hot water

    * valves Manual to start, but hopefully solenoids at some point. WVO valves are two-way (selectors) and interior valves are one-way (on-off)
    * Thermostats (t-stat in diagram) - wired in multiple to turn on Proheat and to open valves when I convert to solenoids.
    * Hot water - I might eventually add a tank with a heat exchanger to store small amounts of hot water (perhaps with a small 120V element) so that I don't have to turn on the furnace to do things like wash a few dishes. Until then I'll just control the hot water manually.

Thoughts?
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NeoplanAN440
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« Reply #18 on: January 29, 2010, 07:39:43 AM »

Okay, I've created a diagram for the system I think I want to build.  I haven't used a heat exchanger to isolate the engine coolant, but I'm not actually planning on using the Proheat to warm the engine, I'm planning on using it as an alternate heater/preheater for the veggie oil.

good ideas!!

i wanted a heat exchanger first also,for the same reasons you have.
after setting up my system for the house,i changed my mind on the bus and went with only one coolant system.
you have to understand that every heatexchanger means losses and also has to be sized right to do the job.
then you need more pumps,second coolant system needs an expansion tank etc....

on the other side,you want to use your engine coolant heat to be used while driving for heat and wvo.
every valve,heat exchanger connection is a point where you can get leaks.
then you need to balance the flow.to many systems in parallel and maybe one wont perform good enough.

in the summer your cabin heaters are off ,but still you need all the heat for wvo.

the only problem with coolant leaks on my wvo systems,that i had on my trucks is mostly with the hose in hose fuel line to the tank.after lots of test i found that aluminum is the only way to go for the line inside the 3/4 inch heater hose.on cooper i had the wvo reacting with it after sitting for long times.problem is that the brass fittings and the aluminum line tend to work over time and like to leak.if they are monted where you cant see it,that can be a problem.

that why i went with the surge tank on the fuel system for the bus.so its enough that i bundled the transfer lines from the main tank to the outside of the heater liners to the front heater.
this way (surge tank)i also dont have to heat the whole main tank to coolant temp.on my trucks i found a lot of condensation water in the tanks,if i used them only for short trips.do to the heating and cooling of the wvo.

as for coolant leaks.i trust my low level warning and always (with the detroit)i have an eye on the temp gauge.

thats my way,less parts less trouble.

if you are interested in how i set up my fuel system,i can try to get pics and explain it better!


im still working on my english (even after so many years here now) and fighting with my computer skills,as i wanted to set up a site with the story of the bus and my other wvo and solar house systems.

but thats when......

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daveola
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« Reply #19 on: February 11, 2010, 05:05:22 AM »


So, I've got a Proheat (30kBTU) to cleanup and install.

I was planning on going with simple baseboard heaters, but it looks like it'll take the length of the bus (one side) and about $400 to get just over 20kBTUs of heat.

So I'm reconsidering using some 24V or 120V fan powered heat exchangers - the power consumption isn't much of a problem because I have a hefty electrical system.  Any suggestions on which heat exchangers to look at?  I'm somewhat tempted to build my own using car heater cores and 24V fans like gumpydog does on his site...
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« Reply #20 on: February 11, 2010, 06:00:08 AM »

So I'm reconsidering using some 24V or 120V fan powered heat exchangers - the power consumption isn't much of a problem because I have a hefty electrical system.  Any suggestions on which heat exchangers to look at?  I'm somewhat tempted to build my own using car heater cores and 24V fans like gumpydog does on his site...

A friend of mine did that. He built a small box from 1/2" plywood that just fit the heater core from a Ford pick-up and installed a small muffin fan in the box.  He used several of these in his 4104.  This was after I went ahead and purchased a new ProLine heater exchanger with fan on Ebay. Some times, I need to think more outside the box, LOL.  Jack
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« Reply #21 on: March 19, 2010, 07:31:25 PM »


So - if I run my proheat when I just need DHW, and I don't need cabin heat or preheating, then there will be a very small amount of coolant in the system (the coolant in the ProHeat, the coolant in the hosing and the coolant in the heat exchanger).

It seems that would make the furnace cycle quickly, since it has very little coolant to heat up.  I'm thinking about adding a tank on the return that will help add some thermal mass.  Is this necessary, and if so, how big, and any thoughts on where to get one?  I'm tempted to get a gas tank from an auto junkyard, clean it out and weld some fittings on it, though that'll eventually have rust problems.

I'll have an expansion tank, but since coolant doesn't actually flow through the tank it seems that won't change the thermal mass of the coolant.

I haven't decided on my final placement for the ProHeat, I suppose I could just put it in the front of the bus and use the 60' of round trip hose to give me more space for coolant.  Smiley  Need to find some cheap hose that can handle the heat.
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« Reply #22 on: March 19, 2010, 07:39:59 PM »

I bought a new 5 gal portable air tank, then drilled holes and welded several 3/4" and 1" nipples with ball valves to the tank. That provides more than the minimum coolant capacity recommended for my Webasto.

I can isolate almost any part of the system with the ball valves. It also makes it very easy to add another loop (for engine preheat).

My way..........
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Mark Morgan    near Brandon, Manitoba, Canada
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