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Author Topic: On board heat  (Read 4503 times)
hanks69chevy
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« on: May 09, 2011, 03:42:25 PM »

I have a MCI 9 and the original ac is no good. Should I keep the duct work and use the original heaters or take everything out and use electric heaters.If I take everything out what do you use for the driver and for defrosters ?
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« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2011, 05:33:33 PM »

I can't give you the best of advise but mine still has the front heat for the driver and defrosters. Then I have the Suburban heater (propane/12 volt) for the rest of the bus. I generally run that while running down the road if need be. I also have a 1500 watt electric fireplace that I can run if need be if I run the generator.  Having multiple systems is nice in case one gives up the ghost. But I would sure keep the defrosters and driver heat. I know that from experience!
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« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2011, 05:40:45 PM »

most of your bussing done on the road in the frigid north keep all you can. if not. drivers heat will usuall knock the chill off going down the road down into the 40's. Hope this helps      Are you going to have a lp furnace? or other heat when parked?
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« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2011, 06:04:31 PM »

Both!

Use electric heaters when power is available and use the bus system when rolling. The bus defrosters are especially good so you don't want to lose those.

The main bus heat, since it is designed to warm 40 - 60 people is excellent when rolling. Not much good when parked unless you have a Webasto type setup but even then it is overkill.

Simple portable electric heaters will keep any bus warm as toast. It may take two or three, depends on the bus, but you sure can't beat the price.
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« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2011, 06:38:31 PM »



    Keep the O.T.H. but if it was me I would remove the duct work because of the "FILTH'' on the inside.

    Steve 5B.......
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« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2011, 06:41:36 PM »

Our factoryheat does not work.  We use a stand alone radiator type from Walmart that circulates hot oil through the radiator.  It will flat run you out of there in no time.
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« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2011, 06:47:21 PM »

It probably depends where you live/use your bus.  If you live in Texas, I would think your heating requirements would be substantially different than ours.

We live in Canada, and have stayed in the bus at -30 using a Webasto heater circulating through several rads inside the bus. The Webasto also warms the engine prior to starting when it is below zero. It certainly makes the bus more usable. I still have the OTR heat/defrost system in place when travelling.

YMMV

Mark
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Mark Morgan    near Brandon, Manitoba, Canada
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« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2011, 07:34:01 PM »

  I have a S&S Fleetwood Bounder, and was amazed to find zero insulation in the front cab floor, firewall and sidewalls. And the joke of a heater they installed is totally worthless below 35 degrees. Compared to a steel School Bus there is no comparison. Guess they never thought anyone would want to drive it below 70 degrees.

  The point I am trying to make is with a Bus, we already have an all climate vehicle, capable of toasty heating to sub zero temps while keeping the glass clear, to keeping 40 plus people cool in air conditioned comfort across the desert. Certainly the AC is way oversize, and could tolerate some downsizing, but I'm not tearing out either system.

  The Wabasto setup where its tied into the original heating system seems to work well, but there are other systems that can be tied into the Bus coolant system as well.

  And for AC you have the option of converting the current system to 134a, so anyone can service it, or go with roof air.
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« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2011, 08:14:05 PM »

We kept the bus heat and use it while traveling.  it also does a decent job of cooling with the big squirrel fans, even without the A/C, to about 80, or heating while traveling and the outside above 40.  for stopping overnight or whatever, we have 4 toe-kick heaters in the bus.  No, they do not drive you out when it's 16 outside, but they work fine with just 2 most of the time in the 40's and up.  We thought about doing the wabasto, but it's a toss up with just running the genset to keep the toe-kicks going.  probably less noise with the wabasto.

also, the wabasto heats the engine and bays so we had to do something else.  We have portable heaters in the bay that we run to keep from freezin something when it gets below 25.  and i have a block heater for warming up the engine before starting.
That's a lot of genset electric, so if you plan to boondock a lot in cold weather, maybe propane.  But if you'll be plugged in most of the time, toe-kicks are ok.  about 125 each from this oufit in SC cause i had to replace 2 of mine.

trust me, we know about weather and traveling.  tomorrow's high is 33 with snow  Sad

my 2 cents.  hth. good luck.
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« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2011, 04:24:36 AM »

I removed the original bus heater, and put in a smaller unit under the couch in the front of the bus.  It's from a BIG truck.  24v and puts out about 100k BTU.  Roasts you out!  I also kept the driver's heat.  Definitely helps.  Additionally, I reused a core/blower unit from my 73 winnebago.  I plumbed it into my generator for free heat when I need to run it in the cold.  Good luck!

Glenn
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« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2011, 05:57:13 AM »

Tenor that is a very clever idea putting some heater cores and a loop off the generator coolant line. That would eliminate running the electric toe-kicks (5) thus forcing us to manage power if it is real cold and we are using them or having to run the e-spar and gen simultaneously and burning up the fuel times 2.
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« Reply #11 on: May 10, 2011, 07:47:54 AM »

I have the OTR heater in my bus still, and it does a fantastic job of keeping us warm when driving in cooler temps.  I think the idea of the heater cores strategically placed in the bus is also an excellent idea, and would free up the whole heater/AC evaporator area for some other use (not sure what that would be, but who knows...)  I do think keeping the driver heater is mandatory.

Brian
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« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2011, 07:54:34 AM »

I plan on installing a Webasto and using the heating coil for the driver in the system for defrost.  I don't want the extra heat from the OTR system so I will remove it and use smaller zoned heat for the coach.
Possibly using the AC/Heat bay for another purpose.

Brice
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« Reply #13 on: May 10, 2011, 08:17:24 AM »

One added benefit to keeping the otr heating system is that on a hot day, climbing a long steep grade, if your engine temp starts to go up, you can open your windows and turn on the heaters to help cool the engine.  You might sweat a little while doing it but it is better than ruining the engine. Grin
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« Reply #14 on: May 10, 2011, 09:05:37 AM »

I would keep the otr heat why install another source of heat that will cost more money to run ?


good luck
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« Reply #15 on: May 10, 2011, 07:44:02 PM »

Hello hanks69chevy,

If you choose, it is possible to remove the coach heat and the parts, and keep the driver's heat/defrost.

But, being from New York State, you may want to keep the coach heat, whether you distribute the heated air via the stock duct work,or another solution you devise, is a choice you may make.

Remove the duct work for cleaning, keep track of which panel goes where, and when it is apart, once you see how it works, you can change your design ideas, otherwise, put it all back together nice and clean, and carry on.

If you remove the coach heater core (and coach AC equipment to open up that space) just cap the lines when you remove the coach heater core at the heater core, do not disturb the lines deeper than the core.

The maintenance manual will show you how it is plumbed, and these words will make more sense.

FWIW, I still have all my stock coach HVAC parts installed and available for use.

happy coaching!
buswarrior
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« Reply #16 on: May 10, 2011, 08:06:59 PM »

I forgot to mention that you don't want to use the original blower when parked because it is huge and uses a lot of battery power.
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« Reply #17 on: May 14, 2011, 06:21:04 AM »

I can engage the coach blowers on my MC8 by way of a bypass switch, the Trace draws 10-11 amps of 120V shore power to make then run....

happy coaching!
buswarrior

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« Reply #18 on: May 14, 2011, 08:20:53 AM »

I forgot to mention that you don't want to use the original blower when parked because it is huge and uses a lot of battery power.

  Im considering installing two radial ducted fans in front of the cores (plain old radiator coolng fans, blowing through), and removing the centrifugal fan unit. My thinking is the flat fans are (or can be) more efficient, and if they draw less current while providing enough airflow, even if its less airflow, perhaps equal to the airflow the current fans provide on low now, that will greatly reduce electrical loads. The centrifugal blower fan in an MCI9 is a 1.5 HP 24V motor that draws over 53 running amps.

  I guess as long as I dont destroy anything I can always put it all back like it is again if it dont work?
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« Reply #19 on: May 14, 2011, 10:00:18 AM »

We are keeping the otr heat but are planning to change out the blowers. The originals push way to much air without the original duct work...
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John P, Lewiston NY   1987 MC 9 ...ex NJT
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« Reply #20 on: May 14, 2011, 10:31:34 AM »

  I plan to keep the duct work, but rework it to fit within the needs and constraints of the conversion. Insulated and freeflowing behind cabinets, etc. Think about the tiny lil pos fan they stuff into a 30,000 BTU Suburban gas furnace in an RV. They expect that stupid thing to heat a 30 foot RV, and it actually sorta does. Or consider the tiny fans in roof AC units. We could reduce the fan power considerably in a Bus and still be quite comfortable, IMHO.

  Moving a large volume of air slowly, is always more efficient (and a heckuvalot quieter) than moving a small volume or air rapidly. They needed all that air flow when the Bus was crammed full of 47 breathers. In an RV we likley dont need 1/10 that flow rate.
  
  Edit: Has anyone ever considered hot water baseboard heat?
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buswarrior
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« Reply #21 on: May 14, 2011, 11:27:56 AM »

There have been transit coaches that used baseboard radiant heat with some success.

A number of busnuts have too.

Costs of firing a coolant boiler (Webasto/Espar/Aquahot/Proheat) versus other options versus your anticipated length of use are all part of the mix.

Coolant boilers make lots of hot water, but waste a lot of heat out the exhaust, and require some messing around to design a system of sufficient volume and controls to get the burn cycles from being too short, and the temp in the coach not to fluctuate.

Deep cold isn't the challenge, 45 - 65 degrees is the trick!

happy coaching!
buswarrior
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« Reply #22 on: May 14, 2011, 02:09:43 PM »

Paul,

I plan to something like that eventually, the original blower is way overkill for a conversion.

Now I have to turn it off and on every few minutes since the original thermostat is long ago failed or disconnected.
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« Reply #23 on: May 14, 2011, 07:53:48 PM »


Deep cold isn't the challenge, 45 - 65 degrees is the trick!

happy coaching!
buswarrior

  Not in the Bounder. With no insulation in the floor, and almost none around the cab, its a cold sob. 35F is about the limit, and to really be tolerable when driving in colder waether ive had to run an electric heater up front. Parked its not so bad, I believe weve gone through a zero night a time or two. Its when its moving. Brrrrrr. I always meant to fix that part of it, but once I decided I wanted a Bus I thought I would just leave well enough alone. I did put foam all around the firewall to block air and try to retain some heat, but I never noticed much difference, maybe a little less cold blowing on me. I should probably stop carping about it, someone will google "Bounder" and read all my negative comments, lol. I'll just say I will be glad when im able to Bus it.
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« Reply #24 on: May 15, 2011, 07:22:00 AM »

I thought we were talking about designing a heating system for a converted coach?

Air infiltration is your big enemy, both camping and driving, but much more so when driving.

No doubt, besides having insufficient heating capacity, the Bounder likely leaked air like a sieve going down the road.

As I was alluding to, it is a much bigger challenge to get your home made heating solution to cycle properly and maintain the temperature in the coach in cool weather 45-65 degrees, than to do so in cold weather, where the heating solution is closer to running continuously.

Baseboard radiant heat is one of those systems that has some complexity in design in exchange for the silence of operation.

There's an article here: http://www.busnut.com/bbs/messages/12262/34237.html?1267457597 that might help with your research.

A common man's forced air RV furnace does have its advantages!

happy coaching!
buswarrior
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« Reply #25 on: May 15, 2011, 08:13:59 AM »

I removed the OTR A/C and heat under the floor-I needed the space for my gray and black tanks.  I had the heater core tested (a big thing-like 5ft long and 18" wide) and remounted it inside under my cabinets in the hallway powered by 2-14" electric radiator fans.  It is not ducted, but has 4 vents aimed forward.  When it kicks on, I can count to 10 and feel heat in the drivers seat.  Very powerful and effective.  I have a manual ball valve to cut off the water to it in summer, but have T's in the line so my front defroster can always work (it too has a ball valve that I can control from the drivers seat).  Good Luck, TomC
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« Reply #26 on: May 15, 2011, 03:35:51 PM »

Thank you all for the info. Gives me a lot to think about. I will definitely keep the OTR heat. I'll just have to figure out how I want run it.
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« Reply #27 on: May 15, 2011, 09:56:46 PM »

That OTR heat is a couple hundred thousand BTU of free heat when it is cold outside.

If you want to ditch the fancy control system, you can get a 110 volt line thermostat and use it to turn on and off the underfloor fan's relay. They take a few degrees to switch from on to off. We have one fan left, and it is plenty for OTR use.

Tom Caffrey
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« Reply #28 on: May 16, 2011, 12:50:20 PM »

We kept both. The A/C was converted to 134a and I didn't need what little space that would be gained by removing it.
I have to say the factory thermostat that controls the temperature is a pain. I only had the return air coming from the front till now. I cut a hole in the floor in the bedroom to allow for return air there. I have not hit the road since I made this change. I hope that will help on the thermostat situation. The sensor for the water valve is in the return air duct.

John
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« Reply #29 on: May 17, 2011, 01:11:33 PM »

  (snip)   Im considering installing two radial ducted fans in front of the cores (plain old radiator coolng fans, blowing through), and removing the centrifugal fan unit. (snip) 

Paul, you might want to look at all the factors in this.  My vehicle HVAC experience came in small doses but they were intense doses -- our Golden Rule for fans is that the centrif/"squirrel cage" fans were almost always better for a given amp draw.  One of their greatest advantages is that "flat blade fans" can't build pressure; if you try to run them in a situation that needs pressure, the back pressure just sort of loads up against the blades and the air flow chokes out.  The centrif fans will build pressure.  And if you're talking about moving air through most any configuration of ducting (particularly if you have long lengths and/or bends), you're going to need pressure to move that air efficiently.

In a plain air, unobstructed situation, those radiator-type fans will blow a lot of air but if you're doing any "air handling". you may want to look at current draw and air flow specs for centrifugal fans of the same or lower current draw.  And "more air" @ "lower current draw" is the most basic definition of better efficiency.
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« Reply #30 on: May 17, 2011, 02:52:59 PM »

I may be totally in left field here, but I had a thought that I have no idea if it would actually work in a converted bus. I was thinking about maybe running 1/2" or 1/4" copper tubing under the floors and in the walls evenly spaced every foot or so the full length of the bus. These would be plumbed into the radiator and have a steady flow of antifreeze and distilled water. There would be a valve coming out of the radiator so in the summer time it would bypass the copper tubing in the bus. A person could have a wood burning stove vented thru the roof with a removable stove pipe on the roof, and the copper tubing would run in or near the wood burning stove when parked... There could be bypasses and multiple valves to control where the hot water mix would go..... maybe this would be overkill for when parked, especially if a wood stove were used... maybe the weight of all the extra fluid would be a deterrent, maybe all the copper would be cost prohibitive.... maybe?
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« Reply #31 on: May 17, 2011, 03:04:10 PM »

I've thought about some kind of radiant system like you describe.  In the residential world we use PEX tube.  Rather inexpensive and easy to manage.
But, I'd also like to know if someone has tried it. 
My first thought was that fact that it would raise my floor another inch.  I don't want to keep giving up inches.  But, radiant panel walls... that might work.
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« Reply #32 on: May 17, 2011, 03:13:09 PM »

I dont know anything about the MCIs but with my plywood floor in the RTS I could run lines on the roof of the bays, which is right below the wood floor.....
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« Reply #33 on: May 19, 2011, 06:30:02 AM »

Yes, I do recall some busnuts who have used radiant loops under the floor.

Are any of them still posting here?

happy coaching!
buswarrior
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« Reply #34 on: May 19, 2011, 06:42:20 AM »

One big problem with radiant heat-it is hard to control the temperature.  I'd think twice about subjecting the plywood floor to that kind of heat and drying out of the wood. Good Luck, TomC
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« Reply #35 on: May 19, 2011, 06:52:43 AM »

One big problem with radiant heat-it is hard to control the temperature.  I'd think twice about subjecting the plywood floor to that kind of heat and drying out of the wood. Good Luck, TomC

Tom, it is true that it could be hard to control. Radiat heat of that type is slow to start then will stay warm for awhile.  If you just want a warm-up on a cool morning it might drive you crazy.  If you need consistant heat in a cooler climate then I think the hot water radiant could be ideal.  I'm not worried about the plywood.  Remember that hot air movement could dry wood over time, but radiant heat isn't blowing air.  It simply raises the temperature.  We do it all the time in new and old homes with fantastic results.  Even with hard wood floors.

I'm thinking I might put radiant in my walls, then put some small air driven heater cores under some cabinets and such.  Hopefully get the best of both worlds.
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« Reply #36 on: May 19, 2011, 07:04:35 AM »

I think that Gumpydog put radiant heat in his bus.  Check out his site.  He will have detailed explainations of what was done.
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« Reply #37 on: May 19, 2011, 08:17:21 AM »

Link to Gumpydog

http://www.gumpydog.com/Bus/MC9_WIP/HVAC/House_HVAC/House_Heating/Hydronic_Heating_System/hydronic_heating_system.htm
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