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Thread: Diesel powered cooktops/water heating

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeepdreamer View Post
    Gotta have the Java!

    If I can ask a really NEWB question...How does the water, the potable water specifically, get heated via the engine without coming in contact with antifreeze? *embarrassed...*
    The heat exchangers are typically high quality stainless stell. This isn't something done inexpensively due to mixing toxic antifreeze with potable water. If the hot water heater is heated by the camper heating system's non- toxic antifreeze can be used as an additional safety factor. Hot water has been made on boats from engine heat for years and safety aspects are well understood.

    I've never heard anyone talk enthusiastically about a diesel cooktop, but it is certainly a logical choice for international travel for the reasons mentioned. A diesel cooktop is pretty much like a crappy electric stove - perfectly usable but no one who cooks with it loves it. Cooking with diesel smells of diesel outside the the camper. Not strong, but ode de bus station is not exactly gourmet.

    I like having propane, but not for heat or refrigeration. If the critical systems don't run on propane much less is used. Plus there isn't the pressure of finding it in wild or unfamiliar areas.

    The disadvantage I see with a "single fuel diesel approach" is not only the cooktop but the diesel generator. I would rather have solar panels and a little tri-fuel generator. Not arguing that an all diesel design is a mistake, just that it may seem a clearer choice in theory than in practice.
    Don

  2. #12
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    Feb 2009
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    Some travelers use a diesel cooktop inside the truck, and a portable natural gas burner for cooking outside.
    Yes, we also carry a single burner camping stove fuelled from the disposable butane cartridges. It is in the outside locker and used when we are travelling and need to heat something up for lunch.
    Tony LEE
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  3. #13
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    I've spoken to two owners who have diesel fuel stoves in the their trucks, and both said that although it was a bit slow to start up, it worked great with good heat control. I've never heard of anyone complain about the exhaust smell - but never asked them either - are you speaking from personal experience dzzz?

    I plan to have a diesel fuel stove in mine for the overseas travel, and will most likely go with a small diesel generator as well as solar - having a single fuel source far outweighs the negatives in terms of weight and cost in my opinion

    I don't like the idea of LPG inside - over here in Australia you need to have gas detectors, a minimum size vent etc if you have lpg inside. The storage compartment must comply with certain regulations, and you need a certificate from an "authorised person" for the installation.

    The outside stove will a normal camping stove and or gas barbeque so I can swap it over to the various systems of lpg tank for each country if necessary. LPG is also very hard to find in some places - so relying on it as the only source for cooking is not possible.
    Last edited by Iain_U1250; 08-23-2010 at 02:58 AM.
    Iain
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  4. #14
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    Reviving an old thread here...

    Has anyone used a diesel cooktop (specifically a Webasto with the high-altitude setting) at altitudes over 10,000 feet (3000m)? We're building a sportsmobile-like van in preparation for a trip through South America.

    Ideally I'd like a webasto cooktop and a dual-top for space and water heating for all of the 'single fuel' reasons mentioned above. But that stuff is expensive, and I'd be disappointed to not be able to use it for a portion of the trip.

    The other option is diesel air/water heating and LPG for cooking, if for some reason the dual-top works better at altitude than the cooktop. A good sized propane tank would probably last a long time if you're only cooking with it, so that we may only have to refill it 2-3 times over the course of a year. But that also entails installing whole separate fuel system.

    Thanks!
    When Sparks Fly

    “There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

  5. #15
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    One 8.5kg propane cylinder was 25-30% full after 6 months continuous use in my camper powering the stove. Two 20 lb cylinders should last ~16months for just cooking.

    Charlie
    Unimog U500 with Unicat camper; diesel BMW X5 35d, diesel BJ40 Landcruiser and diesel M37

  6. #16
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    There's only 2 problems with propane:
    Shippers that run RORO ships don't want propane in the vehicle
    The necessity to buy tanks on the "other side of the pond" that will adapt to your fittings; requires some research.
    But once you have new tanks, filling in some unpredicatable place isn't really problematic due to the 16 month capacity. I carry 3 filling adapters to the POL thread. Dish, bayonet and German Acme.

    Charlie
    Unimog U500 with Unicat camper; diesel BMW X5 35d, diesel BJ40 Landcruiser and diesel M37

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by witt View Post
    in preparation for a trip through South America.
    Here's some info on propane in expedition vehicles, with some specific info on South America: http://www.hackneys.com/travel/docs/...4xvehicles.pdf

    While we were on the South America panel at OvEx 12, Rob Blackwell mentioned that he'd created additional LP/Propane info to supplement mine while they were in South America, but I don't know where he's got it. His web site is: http://www.whiteacorn.com/

    There are >1,500 waypoints for South America here, including places to refill Propane: http://www.hackneys.com/travel/index-gpssawaypoints.htm

    Propane is quick, easy, clean and it's great when you can easily find it. You can almost always find each country's portable LPG/LP/Propane portable tanks, at least in market towns, as most people use that for home cooking fuel. It can be much more challenging to impossible to refill a fixed tank in a specific country. Or, it can be done at a gas station, it varies depending on the country you are in.

    Conversely, you can find diesel anywhere on the planet.

    It's always best to have multiple ways to do the same thing, e.g. heat water, cook food, etc.

    My goal was to build a 12/24VDC and diesel only vehicle, but due to the timeline, we ended up with propane.

    We made it work in South America, but it wasn't always easy: http://www.hackneys.com/travel/argen.../thegasman.pdf

    As Charlie mentioned, it is very important to build a storage compartment that will contain the bottles/cylinders that are local to the country you are in. Those bottles/cylinders are not the same size as the U.S. market and vary with each country.

    Secondly, you'll need to carry a good kit of LP grade hose, fittings and adapters.

    The easiest possible route for propane is to just use the bottles that are available in each country. Buy local fittings to connect to that country's bottle and adapt them onto your feed hose. The local connections are widely available.

    Refilling a fixed tank can be problematic, so at a minimum, if you have a fixed tank, build your truck to accommodate a local portable tank, a two-way valve, and your fixed tank.

    Using the engine cooling system + diesel for heat and hot water and propane only for cooking would be a very efficient path. Heating with propane goes through a lot of fuel.

    Based on our experience, the single biggest reason to go to the trouble of rigging for propane is for an exterior grill. We used ours constantly and would struggle to give up that capability.


    Chile vs. U.S. portable tank
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    Last edited by dhackney; 06-09-2012 at 05:55 PM.
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  8. #18
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    If anyone is interested - heres my write up on propane in Central South America (as referenced by Doug ).

    http://whiteacorn.com/tips/theamericas#Propane

    I have a diesel cook-top in my new vehicle have not used it a high altitude yet, but already I see that it is slow to heat up and slow to cool down.

    I plan on carrying 2 Coleman gasoline stoves for the majority of cooking duties for our Russia to Europe trip next year.
    Rob Blackwell
    Unimog U500 GXV build 2012 ,
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    Currently (April 2017) back in Europe having picked up our Unimog from adventure-trucks.com in Netherlands, touring Spain and Portugal
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  9. #19
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    Cool, thanks for the info. Sounds like propane is perfectly viable for south america as long as you have somewhere to store a removable tank. We're in a van, so there's not a lot of exterior storage available in our vehicle.

    Rob, any particular reason you're planning to use gasoline for most of your cooking when you have a diesel cooktop? Are you planning to cook outside on the gas stove, and use the diesel only when you need to cook indoors?

    (Incidently, we used a coleman dual fuel running on gasoline almost every day for a year in africa - it worked great for the majority of the trip, but toward the end it started getting clogged/dirty, and you couldn't get a nice blue flame out of it.)

    I've been trying to contact Webasto to ask them some of these altitude related questions, but haven't heard back from them, which doesn't give me a warm fuzzy feeling about buying multiple-thousands of dollars worth of kit from them. I'll post here if I learn anything useful.

    Thanks again for the extremely helpful links!
    When Sparks Fly

    “There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

  10. #20
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    Jul 2011
    Location
    Montrose, Colorado, USA
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    I never did get a good answer from Webasto on the altitude issue; the customer service from their US division seems pretty poor (at least the person that I was trying to work with was unhelpful).

    However, the good people at Global Expedition Vehicles were kind enough to help me out, even though I can't afford their trucks! In their experience the Webasto X100 works up to about 12,000 feet. Above that you need another solution.

    Our current plan is to go ahead and install the diesel cooktop and heater, and bring a coleman dual fuel along as a backup / outdoor option.

    Fortunately Marc from XPCamper is a Webasto distributor and is very helpful, which makes me feel a little better about the lack of response from Webasto.

    Thanks for the input!
    When Sparks Fly

    “There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

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