A couple of weeks ago I had time to visit the local auto wrecker. I found a new arrival, a late model Westy that had a engine fire. A sad sight, but on the upside the fire was pretty well limited to the very rear. Under the bench seat I found a Heat Source HS 2000 propane heater. It’s commonly referred to as a Propex heater and it was undamaged by the fire. Well the cable to the thermostat did get burned but everything else was ok. Settled on a price and I pulled the unit along with the intake and exhaust pipes and as much cable as I could get out.
A pic of it in the van, taken so I could send it to Simon and do some crowing.
Simon has the same unit and we mounted his between the front seats, with a hollowed out console over it. It’s worked out very well for him and after a lot of waffling on my part I decided to do more or less the same. Does it go without saying that this install location only works with syncros? The gas tank on 2wd Vanagons precludes this option.
I set the heater up on the bench, supplied power and propane, but no joy. Deader than a fart. I mentioned that the thermostat cable was damaged by the fire, I had cut out the bad part and spliced the wires. But the unit was dead none the less. I emailed Karl at westyventure.com and he kindly, and promptly told me to check out a fuse on the heater unit circuit board. It’s a well disguised fuse and indeed he was right, it was blown. We both agreed that the fire damaged thermostat cable was the cause. I jumped the fuse and the heater fired up.
I ordered some fuses from digikey and they came the next day ( amazing ) and all was well.
Next step was to assemble the parts needed for the gas line connection. The heater came with a 1/4″ compression fitting elbow. It’s 1/4 BSPT into the unit and what I discovered that there are various compression fitting sizes possible for the other end of the elbow. As I said, I had 1/4″, but it could have been 5/16″, 8mm, or even 3/8″. Anyway, I bought some 1/4″ soft copper tubing, a four way connector ( 4 by 3/8 NPT female) , a 3/8″ close nipple and a 3/8″ NPT X 1/4″ compression elbow.
Yes it’s confusing and I don’t think I can say it any more clearly.
Ok, pic of the propane tank end with the new fittings in place.
So, you see the new four way connected by the short nipple to the regulator. It replaces the stock three way. The stock plumbing to the stove and fridge connects the the four way pretty well in the same orientation they did with the three way. The new elbow barely makes it at the bottom of the 4 way connector. You might be able to see the copper line running vertically behind the 4 way.
I led the copper up to the floor then between floor and fram rail. That’s the sink drain there. The 1/4″ copper makes it in that tight gap. I don’t think anything larger would.
And because of the carpet and the rubber mat (latter not shown yet) and because the floor slopes, I made a base from 1/8″ aluminum for the heater to sit on. It’s supported at the rear by some 1″ C channel.