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Chinese Diesel Heaters - Found a Serious Problem
#1
Hi!

First post here.  (Tried posting this at another VanDwellingForum but was unable)  Hope it works here :-)

I absolutely love Diesel Heaters....and I'm aware that sharing this will give the diesel heater haters a lot to use against them but it's in the best interests of all to share this anyway.
And with that out of the way.....

I have found that some of the low cost All In One units came with substandard fuel tanks inside and over time they spontaneously crack and leak.

This is a very serious problem since they can leak fuel onto a running, fully heated unit.  The fire hazard here is self evident.
I just had one unit leak a full gallon of diesel fuel out of the clear blue into my garage.

The tank is too thin and obviously there was no oversight into it's quality and suitability for the purpose.  The diesel heater itself is great.  It's just the fuel tank.

The NON All In One Units have much thicker fuel tanks and so I don't think they would have this issue.
This only seems to affect the All In One Units.

If you purchased one of the Chinese All-In-One units I strongly recommend you take the time to carefully inspect your fuel tanks.
Perhaps it was just the units from this one seller on ebay (shown below0


   

   

This is the specific purchase and the ebay seller

   
[-] The following 2 users say Thank You to PeterPiper for this post:
  • Blacktank (12-23-2021), Kyz (12-23-2021)
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#2
welcome to the site and yes,you get what you pay for,the name brand ones are quite expensive

my rv came with propane and to replace it is quite expensive too but seeing that it's 1977 it's due
"not of the body"
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#3
PeterPiper
Hey I remember you from when I was a kid !
(I'm not going to ask how many either........)

Welcome to the forum that is easy to post on.
and THX for the heads up.

Post pics of your set up.
I'm sure our crew would be interested ...
Stay Tuned
rvpopeye



Weirdo Overlord  YARC 
ROOIRIA  
15 "Stinkin'Badges"  a "Full Monty Badge" 2 "Just Ignore Me" clusters  10 "Pine Cone" clusters  , one "Stinkin' Badger" and 128 of the coveted "Flying Manure Spreader"awards
(Pfeeeeeww ,What a "Stinkin' " honor !)
[-] The following 1 user says Thank You to rvpopeye for this post:
  • PeterPiper (12-23-2021)
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#4
I wouldn't want the fuel that close. I have a diesel engine so just run it there.
"If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so." - Thomas Jefferson
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#5
Another failure, and this is the very reason I always advise potential purchasers to buy TWO identical units when you go this route. You will have spare parts, and/or find out what is likely to fail, without having to go without heat at 3am when it's below freezing and you are in the middle of nowhere.

It's unlikely you will be able find the parts you need on the road.

BTW, diesel fuel is not really a 'fire hazard' in the normal sense. It's very hard to light....typically it just lays there and stinks!
Wondering About Wandering.
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#6
(12-23-2021, 02:06 PM)tx2sturgis Wrote: Another failure, and this is the very reason I always advise potential purchasers to buy TWO identical units when you go this route. You will have spare parts, and/or find out what is likely to fail, without having to go without heat at 3am when it's below freezing and you are in the middle of nowhere.

It's unlikely you will be able find the parts you need on the road.

BTW, diesel fuel is not really a 'fire hazard' in the normal sense. It's very hard to light....typically it just lays there and stinks!

For all their "failures", I personally find diesel heaters to be the pinnacle of all portable vehicle heating systems.
For the price, you can get 4 or 5 (like I did) and have spares.
The poor fuel tank problem is due to a lack of oversight in Chinese products destined for America.
Some vendors will go overboard to maximize their profits, unfortunately Chinese vendors have little fear of American consumer litigation.
I think it may be one reason many Chinese vendors are moving back to mainland China to sell their products from there.

It helps a lot to be a good Do It Yourselfer and be able to tinker with them.  If you're that type, I don't think there is any peer for Diesel heaters.....without spending a considerable sum.

That said, this poor quality fuel tank issue is a real booger.  You never know if or when it's going to fail.   It only seems to affect the ALL-IN-ONE units.
Like I said, the units with external tanks seem to have MUCH sturdier fuel tanks.
I don't know if ALL Chinese diesel heaters are made with these

I have 3 or 4 of them and so far only one has had the deteriorating fuel tank issue (so far).
There are specific plastics made to withstand constant exposure to diesel fuels and apparently this tank was made of something else.  And it was thin.

I'm hoping it was one vendor and one fuel tank supplier.   But based on the number of replacement fuel tanks available on ebay, I think it may be a widespread problem.
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#7
I usually do lots of research before I buy something & found a boat forum & we're talking big $$ boats & several dozen owners tried the cheap chinese heaters (Not the all in ones) & had no issues at all. I'd buy 2 sets of replacable parts & be all set. There's a you tube where a trucker is replacing a high $$ one with a cheap chinese one grumbling it was going to be junk. When he to the high $$ one out & spun it around on the bench sure enough it had a CE shinese lable on it so I looked up there locations in china & they were all over so things are always as they appear.
"If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so." - Thomas Jefferson
[-] The following 1 user says Thank You to Gr8ful for this post:
  • PeterPiper (12-30-2021)
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#8
The issue is not what country the parts came from, it's the high failure rate of parts (chinese, japanese, german, whoever) and the lack of being able to find a replacement part at the nearest truck shop or RV store.

Yes, a business such as ThermoKing (maker of truck APUs and trailer refrigeration units) will have parts in stock for a ThermoKing TriPac APU and parts for the associated (chinese or german) Webasto or Eberspacher bunk heater (called diesel heaters by all y'all!).

They will probably NOT have the proprietary cheap chinese parts like a plastic fuel tank or the control panel or blower assembly for the 'Shengdong' or 'Wangying' (for example) Chinese bunk heater.

ANY brand or type of bunk heater will fail when you need it most. So you really need a few spare parts and a backup plan for heat, even if you just need to idle your main engine to get you thru a cold night if the bunk heater fails. That is true in commercial trucking and it's just as true for RVs. campers, and vans.
Wondering About Wandering.
[-] The following 1 user says Thank You to tx2sturgis for this post:
  • PeterPiper (12-30-2021)
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#9
(12-27-2021, 12:37 PM)tx2sturgis Wrote: The issue is not what country the parts came from, it's the high failure rate of parts (chinese, japanese, german, whoever) and the lack of being able to find a replacement part at the nearest truck shop or RV store.

Yes, a business such as ThermoKing (maker of truck APUs and trailer refrigeration units) will have parts in stock for a ThermoKing TriPac APU and parts for the associated (chinese or german) Webasto or Eberspacher bunk heater (called diesel heaters by all y'all!).

They will probably NOT have the proprietary cheap chinese parts like a plastic fuel tank or the control panel or blower assembly for the 'Shengdong' or 'Wangying' (for example) Chinese bunk heater.

ANY brand or type of bunk heater will fail when you need it most. So you really need a few spare parts and a backup plan for heat, even if you just need to idle your main engine to get you thru a cold night if the bunk heater fails. That is true in commercial trucking and it's just as true for RVs. campers, and vans.

So true about spare parts.
I may post up a picture of the massive "spare parts" bin I have for my 3 (or 4) diesel heaters.  :-)
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