Buying a Chinese diesel heater

February 2, 2020

Buying a chinese diesel heater

Cooling and heating is a pretty hard challenge in vanlife. Both require a lot of power conversion. Electricity is just to inefficient, trust me… I tried a couple of times. Because you have to convert 12v DC to 230v AC there is a lot of loss in power. which results in a bigger overal usage. As my electrical heating turned out a big fiasco I started looking towards other ways of heating. A more efficient way is diesel, diesel is one of the more safer fuels to use. Exhaust fuses are still a thing you have to look out for, a carefull installation is required. In my search for the perfect i stumbled across 3 big different types of diesel heaters.

Webasto: Webasto is the ferrari of the diesel heaters, they are superefficient, and build to last. cons? they are suuuuperexpensive. A webasto heater will set you back around 2,5k for the unit not installed. The price alone was a big no go for me, i just cannot afford a heater of that price.

Planar: planar is the inbetween. They are focussed on quality and price at the same time. A planar diesel heater will cost around 700-1,5k, which is acceptable but still on the high side.

Chinese heaters: This one is always a gamble, they are basicly the same as planar diesel heaters but with a lower quality control. The chance that you get one thats already broken or will break faster is a lot higher and most of the time warranty is nonexisting. But they are around 150€ a piece so i can buy 2 of them and have them break after a year and still be cheaper off.

So i placed the order on ebay, paid with paypall and waited! The seller where i bought the unit from was based in germany so the heater arrived after 4 days! Nice! I put it on my workbench to test it aaaaand…. Nothing. An error code of 3 blinking LED’s. Some searching revealed that the glowplug was throwing up the error. Some googling and asking around in different facebook groups reveiled that this is a common issue, the glowplugs are very sensitive and most of the times they get damaged in shipping. So at the time of writing i am going back and forward with the seller. An update soon!

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