Webasto / Espar: High Altitudes Usage

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The Webasto / Espar air heaters should be adjusted* for high altitudes if the majority of it’s time is spent above 5000-6000ft. Indeed, as the altitude increase, the concentration of oxygen reduce and the mix of fuel/oxygen become too rich in fuel. This could lead to debris accumulation (a.k.a. “coking”) and loss of performance / malfunction.

*Only the the diesel Espar requires to be adjusted; there is nothing to do about the gasoline Espar. It’s a different story for the Webasto as it was confirmed to us by the Webasto Tech Support:

“yes, both the gas and diesel heaters need to be adjusted to altitude.  That being said, is the heater in question going to be spending he majority of its time above 6,000 feet? If it will spend the majority of its time below that level, there’s no need to adjust it for altitude. Just be sure that you are running the heater for 20 minutes per month on high to keep the burner chamber clean.”

 

 

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For the Espar, the solution is to add a high altitude kit. Here is the installation manual.

“The kit automatically adjusts the fuel pump rate in relation to increasing altitude. As the altitude increases the fuel pump rate decreases. The High Altitude Kit adjusts fuel pump rate at all altitudes beginning at sea level.”

Espar High Altitude Module

Espar High Altitudes kit. Buy from Amazon

 

 

For the Webasto, there is no physical part to add; the unit must be programmed for high altitudes.

There seems to be no online documentation about that, but some people talked with Webasto technicians and what follows is basically a copy-paste from TheSamba.com thread. The author is “HoustonPhotog”, we don’t want to take credit for this.

 

Webasto Rotary Rheostat

Webasto Rotary Rheostat. Buy from Amazon.

Changing the Webasto heater for high elevations (5,000ft and MORE) using the Stock Dial Thermostat

The main wiring harness that comes out of the heater case itself has a diagnostic pigtail of 2 wires, one brown and one green. This diagnostic pigtail is what the techs use for programming the system.

1: Connect the brown wire to ground.
2: Turn the heater control knob to 12:00 (or even 1:00 if you are at very high altitude 10,000ft plus)
3: After a few moments, the LED on the heater control knob will begin to flash.
4: Turn the heater control knob to 9:00 (or even 8:00 if you are at very high altitude 10,000ft plus)
5: Keep the heater running with the control knob set to 9:00 for 3 minutes.
6: While the heater is running, remove the brown wire from ground.

Now the fuel pump should be set to deliver less fuel, thereby creating a better combustion mixture for high altitude and less oxygen.

The tech said you can change it back when at sea level, but also said it was unnecessary, as the reduced fuel will not cause damage at sea level, just a lower heat output by 100-200 BTU/ hour at the maximum setting. He said that running it lean at sea level will also help to keep the combustion chamber clean. The Webasto Air Top 2000 ST has a max BTU/h of 7000 so you are only losing at most 3%, and you are also reducing your fuel use, albeit marginally. Also, the system has Stepless temperature control, so you can feel free to turn it up 3% to regain your “lost” output all the way up to 97% output.

 

Changing the Webasto heater back for normal elevations (5,000ft and LESS) using the Stock Dial Thermostat

the main wiring harness that comes out of the heater case itself has a diagnostic pigtail of 2 wires, one brown and one green. This diagnostic pigtail is what the techs use for programming the system.

1: Connect the brown wire to ground.
2: Turn the heater control knob to 9:00
3: After a few moments, the LED on the heater control knob will begin to flash.
4: Turn the heater control knob to 12:00
5: Keep the heater running with the control knob set to 12:00 for 3 minutes.
6: While the heater is running, remove the brown wire from ground.

Now the fuel pump should be set to deliver the stock amount of fuel, thereby creating a better combustion mixture for low altitudes and more oxygen.

 

Webasto SmartTemp

Webasto SmartTemp

Changing the Webasto heater for high elevations (5,000ft and MORE) using the SmartTemp Thermostat

the main wiring harness that comes out of the heater case itself has a diagnostic pigtail of 2 wires, one brown and one green. This diagnostic pigtail is what the techs use for programming the system.

1: Connect the brown wire to ground.
2: Turn the SmartTemp Thermostat on and turn the thermostat up to 80 Degrees
3: After a few moments, the LED on the heater thermostat will begin to flash. (<– This is not confirmed. Will test soon. Abel.)
4: Turn the thermostat down to 60 degrees.
5: Keep the heater running with the thermostat set to 60 degrees for 3 minutes.
6: While the heater is running, remove the brown wire from ground.

 

Changing the Webasto heater back for normal elevations (5,000ft and LESS) using the SmartTemp Thermostat

the main wiring harness that comes out of the heater case itself has a diagnostic pigtail of 2 wires, one brown and one green. This diagnostic pigtail is what the techs use for programming the system.

1: Connect the brown wire to ground.
2: Turn the SmartTemp Thermostat on and turn the thermostat down to 60 Degrees
3: After a few moments, the LED on the heater thermostat will begin to flash. (<– This is not confirmed. Will test soon. Abel.)
4: Turn the thermostat up to 80 degrees.
5: Keep the heater running with the thermostat set to 80 degrees for 3 minutes.
6: While the heater is running, remove the brown wire from ground.

 

Webasto MultiControl

Webasto MultiControl. Buy From Amazon.*

*The MultiControl requires a different wiring harness. Please inquire with a specialist such as Butler Technik.

Changing the Webasto heater for high elevations (5,000ft and MORE) using the MultiControl Thermostat

We installed our Webasto with the MultiControl. We don’t have the instructions for now, but we will inquire to Webasto and post the result here soon…

 

Clearing out Webasto heater if it stopped working from use at high elevations (5,000ft and MORE)

1: turn the heater on.
2: Turn Thermostat as high as it will go.
3: Open all the doors and windows allowing all heat to escape the vehicle.
4: Once heater is blowing used compressed air to blow into the air intake of the heater which is under the van in order to help blow out the soft soot that has accumulated inside the heater out the exhaust tube. You should see soot blow out.
5: Keep the heater running for at least an hour, 2-3 hours is ideal.
6: Continue to use compressed air into the intake tube (outside the van) to blow out any soot out.
7. Once cleared out, Its recommended to remove the Exhaust tube and blow air through it as well to make sure all of the loose soft soot is removed from the exhaust flow.

 

 

Cheers!

 

You might be interested in these articles:

Webasto Air Heater Installation

Webasto Air Heater Noise Reduction

 

 

 

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ABOUT US

Hello! We’re Isabelle and Antoine, a couple dreaming of being on the move and we’re seeking for the ride of our life. We bought a Ford Transit van, converted it to a campervan, sold our house and hit the road full-time to make our dream a reality. We are sharing this in hope of inspiring and helping others to follow their dreams too!

 

 

CHEERS!

 

 

9 comments

  1. Pingback: Webasto Air Heater Noise Reduction | FarOutRide

    • Comment by Antoine

      Antoine Reply June 8, 2017 at 6:36 pm

      Could not find any info about that timer, unfortunately 🙁

  2. Comment by Jeremy Morgan

    Jeremy Morgan Reply August 24, 2017 at 1:06 am

    have you guys been able to figure out how to put the heater into high altitude mode with the multicontrol?

    • Comment by Antoine

      Antoine Reply August 24, 2017 at 6:30 am

      Nope, we’re still in the flat lands (and summertime) so this will have to wait… Our guess is that we will have to do it at a Webasto shop; we’ll keep you updated!

      Have a good one,
      Antoine

  3. Comment by Jeremy Morgan

    Jeremy Morgan Reply August 24, 2017 at 11:01 am

    Reading through their literature, it sounds as though the Multi-control should have the ability to put the unit in to the high altitude mode. There is a manual switch which is available to do this for the thermostat control options but the install manual states that the switch isn’t for use with the W bus connections (multi-control). I emailed Webasto UK in hopes that it is as easy as a setting on the multi-control.

    Those directions from the Samba post appear to be using the CO2 calibration procedure to effect the same change. It appears that those directions are for an Airtop 2000 ST, although they should work with the STC only replacing the brown wire with a green/red wire.

    We live in CO at 7,500 feet and many of our adventures are higher than that, hence my need to figure this out. Thanks for all the information that you guys have published, your site is one of my go-to resources. If you ever find yourselves in CO I’d love to buy you some beers and maybe show you some secret pow stashes ;).

    If I figure anything out I will let you guys know.

    • Comment by Antoine

      Antoine Reply August 24, 2017 at 2:55 pm

      Secret pow stashes and beer? This is all we need in this life! We’ll let you know when we’re around! Thanks!

      • Comment by Jeremy Morgan

        Jeremy Morgan Reply August 24, 2017 at 11:07 pm

        It appears that there may be more readily available tech support in NA soon. I came across a AT2000STC_USA operations manual on the tech webasto site. It’s release date was August 7th, 2017, so hopefully the tech support people at Webasto USA will soon be of some use for the STC model heaters.

        • Comment by Antoine

          Antoine Reply August 25, 2017 at 7:14 am

          OMG this is such a GREAT news!
          As we just hit the road, I can’t take the Webasto issues we had out of my mind; this is the single part of the conversion that worries me the most. No Webasto = No POW!

          Let’s hope support for the STC is available this winter!!
          Here is the tech Webasto link: http://techwebasto.com/documentation/heater/cargoapp/at-2000-stc.html

          Thanks for letting us know!
          Cheers!

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