Gas heater for the Junker???

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Oct 25, 2005
Hagerstown MD
It's been a while since I've had a good question to throw up at you fuddermuckers. I've been dooped over a minor heater hose issue last month and threw in the towel on the rear heater for a bit to tend to motorcycle pampering. I'm an old air cooled vw guy and many of you may know about the eberspacher heaters that came equiped on some of those old vw's. They were more common up north in Canada, Alaska and other parts. They kick out heat like no tomorrow and run off petrol or diesel.

I've got a more modern (1973) BN2 heater and am thinking of an install inside the passenger fenderwell under the hood. I'd have to plumb the fresh air intake and exhaust pipe. Fender well for the exhaust I think and fresh air from the hood vent maybe? I think I could run the hot air duct to the interior via the fan on the firewall. What do you all think? Has anyone ever done this? Could I...Could I be the first!!! I should have kept this under wraps maybe huh. I would keep my front heater as backup and defrost. I think for open air running in cold weather this would be ideal. Good for cold weather camping to as it can be plumbed into your tent.

I post up some pics for your viewing pleasure and shoot some more as I progress in research and trial fitment. here is a you link for the modern (new) heaters to show how they work, essentially its a long narrow tube w/ a ducted fan up front and a heat exchanger fired via glow plug.
YouTube - eberspacher Airtronic heater demo

I post up a few more shortly.
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i say go ahead and do it. people that are inovative like yourself gives people great idea's in the future. make this your inovation unless someone else did this. my motto is you can't have to much for heat.
Firing on petrol makes me uneasy - diesel aux heaters are quire common on Land Rovers in the UK. Link below is an install on a on LR looks alot more compact than the unit you have - perhaps because it only runs diesel.

Ebby install in a 110 - LR4x4 - The Land Rover Forum

New diesel units seem to be Eberspacher Airtronic - expensive and on ebay and mostly sellers in the UK.
what exactly is the problem with the rear heater? the heater itself or just the hardpipes going to it?

Hardlines have been shortened, several times. Then I used the worng size hose, more leaks. I got feed up will loosing antifreeze. Lazy yes I know. The fact is that the heater does take up space and is in the way of the dog. The dog is the most important creature in the family!

I have one of these things and with the loss of the beetle I feel the need to use this bad boy. I did find an interesting vanagon set up that appears to be more compact, modern and weather proof. And for about a 100 bucks! I like the idea of instant on heat as this truck takes quite a while to heat up the 55gals worth of coolant inside the engine. Ample heat is great in the winter and awesome with the top off on those cooler nights. I get tired of pulling the top on and off and on and off. I may try and sell the beetle unit for a newer more compact vanagon unit. first I want to set up the unit I've got and test fire it on the bench and see how fitment might occur.

Safety issues are really no more than that of a carb on top off a hot engine, these units even the old ones have several safety cut offs. They were all most all mounted on top of the gas tanks in VW's. I've never heard of failure causing fire etc. I set one up for a friend many years ago and was impressed with the amount of heat, in the dead of winter it would cook you if left on too long. Generally my buddy had is rear 1/4 windows popped to let some heat out.

attached is a pic of a vanagon unit, what do you think? again mounted under the hood plumbed into the fan box mounted on the firewall.
Sounds like a good idea to me. When you get this to work you may find folks wanting to buy complete kits from you. ;) Especially our far northern friends. Just think, defrost that actually works in seconds not minutes...

Good luck and post up the install pics as you go...
Being a air cooled VW guy I say do it. Those things work awesome and I am planning on putting one in the pig. I bought a Stewart Warner from a friend. My brother had one in his 40 and it cooked. We were actually talking and wondering why more people don't use them in cruisers.
I just don't think they are common knowledge. I'll be working on testing my existing this week coming. I found a fellow online that sells a more modern unit that may prove to be more weather proof and better fitting. I've seen several other older makes over the years. Stewart Warner, South wind and a few others. These heaters were especailly popular in Colder german and swiss environments. My ex's father told me he ran his eberspacher in his 911 and beetles almost 8 months out of the year in Germany. Both units only required a glow plug change once a year. The glow plugs are getting harder to find for theolder units so this is another reason for considering a more more unit.
If I had diesel I would definitely fit one - no comparison with a standard heater, heat before you start or when your not running, ie camping.

Petrol units are not very common in the UK and I have just moved the tank from the cab because I don't want fuel in there.

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