The Webasto installation, thermal insulation & Maxxair Fan are the key elements to make our van comfortable during winter. The van will be used as a winter splitboarding basecamp, therefore heat & humidity control is critical.
The Webasto AirTop 2000 is fueled from the main vehicle tank. Fuel consumption is low (0.03 to 0.06 gal/h), electricity consumption is low as well (1.25A to 2.45A on average, more during startup) and there is no humidity added in the van resulting from the combustion as opposed to propane heaters such as the popular Mr. Heater Big Buddy (http://amzn.to/2ggdPq0).
**WARNING: We recently had issue with our heater and learned the hard way that the “STC” unit is not supported in North-America. Only the “ST” model is. We strongly recommend to get the “ST” model if located in America… Look at the bottom of the page for further STC vs ST information***
See the datasheet of the Webasto here.
We chose to install the unit under the passenger seat.
TIME SPENT ON THE JOB: 20-24 hours* (!!)
* Note on the time: The Webasto installation is not rocket science; this is probably doable in 8 hours (some have claim to have done it in about 4 hours). Despite a good planning, the installation process was painful… We do not have a lot of tool and hardware in hand, so we had to make several trips to Home Depot and the Auto Parts store. In addition, we spent at least 4 hours just planning the routing: since we installed our unit under the passenger seat, we had to go across the van exhaust which is a very hot area and it made the routing more challenging. Another contributor to the long hours was the fact that there is not much space under the passenger seat (under the van), so we had to make sure the hole pattern would not fall into a frame. And since the access under the seat is so bad, the installation of the 4 screws, air intake, air exhaust and fuel line was VERY time consuming. That being said, the installation is solid and clean; we’re very satisfied with the final result!
TOTAL COST : 1200$ USD
DISCLOSURE: This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click and commit to buy one of the product linked, we will receive a commission fee. The price you pay remains the same, affiliate link or not. Buying through our affiliate links is a great way to say thanks if we were of any help in your van conversion! Alternatively, you can visit our Say Thanks! page.
- One of the following heater:
- Webasto Air Top 2000 STC Gasoline version with installation kit & MultiControl (Buy from eBay)
- Webasto Air Top 2000 STC Diesel version with installation kit (Buy from Amazon)
- Caution! “STC” models are not supported in America. For USA or Canada, we suggest to buy the “ST” model:
- Webasto Air Top 2000 ST Gasoline version with installation kit (Buy from eBay)
- Webasto Air Top 2000 ST Diesel version with installation kit & SmartTemp (Buy from eBay)
- 1x Aluminum sheet 0.062″ thick (to make a flat surface) (free if you get it from a friend)
- 3x Plus Nut 1/4-20 (optional to avoid drilling new holes in the van structure) (Buy from Amazon)
- 2x Bolt M8x1.25 30mm length (to use existing tapped hole in the van structure (Buy from Amazon)
- 1x Ford Gasoline Auxiliary Fuel Port Kit (10$)
- 3/8″ I.D. Fuel Line 8′-10′ length (check your installation for adequate length) (15$)
- 5/16″ I.D. Fuel Line 1′ length (connect from Auxiliary Fuel Port to 1/4″ fuel line) (3$)
- 1x Heat Shield Sleeve 1″ diameter (¾” diameter would probably work) 36″ length (Buy from Amazon)
- Kleen-Flo RustProof
- We learned the Webasto creates a lot of noise! We strongly suggest to also get the material to reduce that noise. Look at THIS POST (wait for it…coming soon) to learn more!
- Drill (with drill bits and 2-3/8″ hole saw)
- Jigsaw (if you need to fabricate a flat doubler)
HOW WE DID IT*
*Disclaimer: we’re good, but not that much. Use these instructions at your own risks!
First things first, there are a lot’s of do’s and don’ts so make sure to read the manual that comes with the unit.
1- Fit the Webasto Air Heater unit to the van
The seat was removed.
The jack will be relocated somewhere else. The bolt holding the jack was trimmed flush.
We located the Air Heater unit: it must be positioned so it does not interfere with seat base and with the structure under the floor. There is not much room under the van… we used existing fasteners and holes to help us make the correspondence between above/below floor location.
The surface on which the unit is installed must be perfectly flat for the gasket to work; we had to fabricate an aluminum plate to fulfill this requirement.
There are drilling templates provided in the manual, use them! Do not use the rubber gasket as a template, it is not accurate…
(see template in previous picture)
We tripled-checked the location of the unit and proceeded with drilling. Before drilling, we punched the holes center so the drill bit would not slide off center. As usual, we coated the bare surfaces with primer/paint/clearcoat for corrosion protection.
We then sealed the holes/aluminum doubler with Silicone. This is important to prevent gas fumes from entering inside the van.
The unit is fastened with 4 lock-washers and nuts under the floor. The access is VERY limited, so we had to use a gear wrench:
After securing the 4 nuts, we applied Silicone under the floor.
2- Route the combustion air-exhaust
We routed it toward the rear of the van near the passenger sliding-door. The sliding-door will be closed when we’ll use the heater, so we’re not worrying about the exhaust gas.
3- Route the combustion air-intake
4- Route the fuel line and the fuel pump electrical wire
We used 3/8” rubber fuel line to protect the Webasto fuel line and an additional Heat Shield Sleeve (Buy from Amazon) near the van muffler.
The fuel pump electrical wire is routed along with the fuel line.
We located the fuel pump near the fuel tank (as stated in the manual). The fuel pump was attached using a PlusNut fitted in an existing hole
PlusNut: get some, they will be handy throughout the whole conversion (this is what we used to secure the interior cabinets and stuff). The 1\4-20 .280 grip prebulbed type will fit in the existing Transit factory holes found everywhere inside the cargo area. We made a specific post about Plusnut here (selection chart, how to install & tips).
To gain access to the auxiliary fuel port, the tank must be lowered.
We drove the van until about 10 miles to empty (the tank is surprisingly lightweight at this point). Then we put a toolbox under the tank and removed the 6 screws holding the tank. No need to detach the fuel lines (they are flexible). We lowered the tank until we were able to detach the protective fuel cap on the auxiliary fuel port.
The connection fitting can be purchased from a Ford Dealer, it’s only about 10$. The fitting was pre-fitted with 5/16” fuel line, then 1/4”, then the Webasto fuel line
Then we installed the fitting on the tank and connected it to the fuel pump
Then, we connected the fuel pump electrical wires to the Webasto unit (the wires that are hanging out from the Webasto unit combustion air intake)
5- Secure the combustion air-exhaust, combustion air-intake and the fuel line to the unit using the provided clamps
6- Route the cabin hot-air duct and install the fitting
7- Install the provided protective screen to the cabin cold-air intake (as stated in the manual)
8- Connect the electrical harness to the air heater unit
9- Connect the Rotary Rheostat (or any Webasto controller) to the harness*
*Different controllers requires different harness! Ensure you have the appropriate one or it will not work…
10- Connect the harness to the power supply (red wire is positive, brown is negative)
11- Before testing the setup, the van fuel tank must be filled or the air heater fuel pump will only pump air…
12- Turn it on!
The unit requires 3-4 starts for the fuel to get pumped all the way to the unit, so we got 3 faulty starts before it actually worked. Also, when ambient air temperature is above 77F, the unit starts then shutoff immediately for self-protection…
If using the MultiControl 7 Days Timer, the device must be programmed first following these instructions.
That’s it! In your face, winter.
STC vs ST model
The following is the result of our own research (with some help). It is not official information, but good luck finding official information…
Availability and technical support:
- ST: Worldwide
- STC: Not in North-America…
What’s different? Found here:
“This product is the further development of the Webasto Air Top 2000 ST and has the same dimensions and technical characteristics. It also runs under the same legal operating licence as the Webasto Air Top 2000 ST. It uses the standard fuel pump DP42 as used in the Webasto Air Top Evo 40/55 heaters. A change of the applications when using the new heater is not required except for using ta different metering pump ad harness. The Webasto Air Top 2000 STC will ensure full W-Bus compatibility and full operation with the NEW SmartControl and MultiControl without using the Unibox. Can be used in conjunctions with the Webasto ThermoCall TC4, this Can also be purchased on our online shop.”
The STC can be controlled with the new MultiControl.
ON SECOND THOUGHT…
- On second thought, we would still install the heater ourself BUT we would buy the ST over the STC to get technical support…
- The first thing we noticed during our first night is the NOISE the heater produces! How bad is the noise? Enough so that during our first few nights, we did not sleep so well. We also felt bad for our neighbors installed in a tent just beside the van…
Here are the noise sources we identified:
- Fuel pump “ticking” (or “clicking”)
- Heard mostly outside, but also inside the van
- irregular frequency, so this is quite disturbing
- Exhaust pipe
- Heard mostly outside the van
- Intake pipe
- Heard mostly outside the van
- Heard inside the van
- Regular noise, does not bother us
Fortunately, there are ways to reduce the noise to a more acceptable level. We cover the modifications in this post here:
- If using the Webasto / Espar at high altitudes (approx. 5000 feet and more), there are some modifications to perform in order to prevent malfunction or lost of performance. See our post here: