Webasto / Espar: High Altitudes Usage

Webasto / Espar: High Altitudes Usage

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Webasto/Espar (Diesel or Gas) heater for Van Life: Theory, Installation & Review

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Hello! We’re Isabelle and Antoine 🙂 In 2017, we sold our house (and everything in it), quit our engineering careers, and moved into our self-built campervan. We’ve been on the road since then, and every day is an opportunity for a new adventure; we’re chasing our dreams, and hopefully it inspires others to do the same!

53 thoughts on “Webasto / Espar: High Altitudes Usage”

Heads up! As of Fall 2021, we are currently visiting our families back home and we might not be able to answer all comments due to time constrain. Thanks for understanding and see you on the road! -Isabelle and Antoine

  1. Hi Antoine, do you know if the altitude adjustment must be done having the heater at high altitude? or it can be done even at sealevel and it will have the same result. Thanks for your website, we found it very useful.

    Reply
  2. Great thread. I recently got a 2017 Transit medium roof, passenger with a pop top already built out. We have wrap around windows and use refletix on our windows for insulation right now and looking to add thinsulate to it if needed. I live in the Denver area and go to the mountains a bunch 8-9k+ altitude. I am looking to install a heater and trying to figure out what size. Is the Espar B4l overkill or the right size? I’m considering going with a smaller one like the webasto 2000 to help prevent carbon build up. Just want to make sure it will keep us comfortable hold at 65 degrees summer and winter. thank you for your help!

    Eric

    Reply
  3. A head’s up and a question. After struggling with 2 Chinese clones of the Webasto 2000 Airtop for 2 years in a Delica Van with on and off success, I bought one of the Russian units with a multicontroller. However, the wire harness they sent was incorrect for a MultiController ( was for Rheostat only). After studying the schematics, I tried the Chinese wiring harness and rheostat with no luck. So now I would like to build my own wire harness and connect the MultiController. The Webasto Airtop 2000STC Marine Installation Manual has the appropriate wiring diagram on page 40, but what they forgot was to give the pinout diagram of the 18 pin connector they call ‘X6’. I need to connect the yellow wire from the MultiController to Pin 5 of that connector, but I cannot seem to figure out where Pin 5 actually is.

    I’m wondering if anyone may know what this connector type is, or alternatively, where/how to find Pin 5 on it?

    Reply
    • Update, was able to determine that this connector is a 9002862E , and from some of the online pictures, you can figure out the pinout from there. I also discovered that the Russians had wired up their own harness that also works with the MultiController (and not the rheostat), my confusion was due to the fact that their wire harness did not match the ones illustrated in the Webasto documents. The Russian seller has subsequently told me that if I want to buy a rheostat so I can do an altitude calibration, another wire harness will be required, cost is about $45.00 for it. While all this was more education than I really wanted, it would seem you can buy all the required connectors from Ali Express, and by using the Webasto wiring diagrams, build you own wiring harness that will take all the Webasto options for perhaps $20.00

      Also worth noting that after studying the wiring diagrams so I knew I was using the correct pins on the bus for the rheostat connections, I tried a Chinese Rheostat that I had for the 2Kw Chinese clone of the STC2000, and although the rheostat LED did turn on, it did not work, even after trying to switch polarity. This surprised me as I assumed that all rotary rheostats would essentially be the same and that the Chinese one could be used in place of the Webasto.

      Reply
      • Tom,

        I think I’m in the same boat as you. I bought the Russian 2000 STC with the Multicontroller. I pulled the tape off, and the four wires that go to the MC are cut and soldered onto other wires. Did your harness also not have the resistor for the external temperature sensor or pins on 8 or 9 for that matter? What pins on the 18 pin connector should I hook the rheostat up to for the altitude adjustment? Do you happen to have a source for pins for the 18 pin connector?

        Reply
  4. Hey Antoine! I just put our Webasto (gasoline) heater in and everything seemed great. I attempted the altitude adjustment (not sure if it worked), and now I’m getting the smell of gas out of the exhaust pipe of the heater right when it starts, and right when it shuts off (for only about 5-10 seconds then it goes away – at both start and shut off). The smell/fumes are definitely coming from the exhaust pipe via a smell check when turning it on (I also checked every fuel line and connection for a melt or leak, but everything is great). I’m assuming this is a rich fuel mixture entering the exhaust chamber? Have you encountered anything like this and/or have any ideas? I’m not scientist, but smelling gas fumes definitely doesn’t seem normal to me!

    Reply
    • With our Webasto, it takes a few second (like 5-15 seconds) for the gas to ignite. During that time, gas is pumped and heated (but not ignited); so smelling gas sounds normal to me!
      Cheers

      Reply
  5. Hi Antoine:
    I have been reading with great interest your journal. One question that popped while reading about the heater installation: can you install the heater with the swivel mechanism as well?

    Thanks again

    Reply
  6. Hey Antoine,

    Question regarding the ease of adjustment between the Webasto and Espar. If I am reading the post and the comments correctly, it seems that the Espar system with high altitude kit is an easier option to adjust for elevation without having to use the CO2 calibration process. Is this corret?

    We live at 9000 ft but travel to the desert and lower elevations frequently and want to make sure we have the ability to use our heating system at all elevations without having to worry about build up or calibration issues.

    Reply
    • You can either get the Espar with automatic altitude adjustment, or get the Webasto and adjust it for very high altitude. You can then leave it adjusted for high altitude, even when going back to lower altitudes; it won’t hurt it.

      Reply
  7. Hey, has anyone used the MultiControl Timer to adjust for high altitude on the STC 2000? Curious to hear about your experience and if the heater still works well after adjusting

    Reply
    • You can’t use the MultiControl HD to make the adjustment, UNLESS you have the Air Top 2000 STC “RV” model specifically. Otherwise, the adjustment must be performed using the rotary control (once the adjustment is performed, you can use the MultiControl HD). That’s what we did and it’s working fine!

      Reply
      • Thanks for the info, Antoine! I adjusted my altitude setting when I was at 5,500ft but after running my Gasoline AirTop STC 2000 for about a week at 9,000ft, the chamber flooded which caused an F02 error. I’m thinking that my heater was running “thin” for 5,500ft but that it was just pulling too much gas to run properly at 9,000ft. When adjusting the altitude setting, my understanding is that you’re adjusting it to run “thin” at the altitude you’re currently at…is that your understanding too? Have you successfully run your heater at altitudes around 9,000ft?

        Reply
        • Yep, if it’s adjusted for 5,500ft it’ll run too rich at 9,000ft… We spent a week at Mammoth (8,000ft?) and didn’t have any issues, but we didn’t use the heater much.

          Reply
        • Hey Brayden,

          I think I’ve just encountered the same problem. I adjusted my STC per the instructions in this article to run as thin as possible, but I made that adjustment at sea level. I’ve now been running the heater at 9,000’ for a week and just encountered an H03 code in the multicontrol. Webasto tech support suggested that I had carbon buildup or that it’s still running too rich.

          Were you successful after you made the adjustment again at 9k’?

          Reply
      • Antoine, can you clarify what you mean “once the adjustment is performed, you can use the MultiControl HD”? Do you mean “use the MultiControl HD” for normal operations or use to perform subsequent elevation adjustments? We move around elevations a lot and it seems like a pain to remove the passenger seat and hook up a rheostat every single time. Given the rheostat seems to be designed for permanent installation, cost not being an issue, would it make sense to just install the rheostat permanently as well as a switch to connect the ground wire in a convenient place? Or does the rheostat need to be unplugged as well to use the MultiControl HD? I haven’t poked around on the wiring harness to see where the connector is (and a good ground source as well). Seems the easier this procedure is to do the more likely I am to do it at the proper times and keep the heater working well longer (realizing it’s just a guess without a gas analyzer but hopefully better than nothing for going from sea level to 9k feet). Thoughts?

        Reply
        • I honestly don’t know if the rheostat has to be unplugged, but my guess is yes… What we did is we adjusted it for high altitude (for around 6,000 ft I believe) and leave it permanently like that; it doesn’t hurt to have it adjusted for high altitude and use it at lower altitude.

          Cheers

          Reply
  8. Hey, thanks for all the valuable information on your site!

    I live at sea level and will be traveling to high altitudes over 5000ft. Do you think the airtop STC can handle a week of this with out adjustment? I unfortunately don’t own the rheostat. I appreciate your input.

    Reply

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