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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 01-09-2008
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Espar heater/Ocean Options

Hey all. I am cleaning up an older Espar heater and find that I need some parts to make it like new. I'm told by the east coast dealer that they will not sell parts except for a few of the basic ones. They would rather have the unit down there, test it, replace whats needed and send back the refurbished unit. Being very mechanically inclined, it seems that I could do much of this myself ....but I do understand that there may be some special test to do regarding CO emissions, etc. I don't mind sending the unit down to Ocean Options for them to do there magic, as long as I know that they would do a reputable job of "rebuilding" the unit. Has anyone ever had any dealings with Ocean Options in RI?.....Can I count on them to do a good job. I was hoping to service this myself in order to keep expenses down but I will do what I have to do.
Thanks for your help.
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Old 01-09-2008
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Ocean Options

I just had an Espar system installed by them. They know their stuff and do a good job.
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Old 01-09-2008
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You could contact Ray at Ray's Marine in Brampton, ON.

http://www.raysmarinesystems.com/

He may have some advice on this as he is an Espar dealer and installer. I am debating whether to go Espar or Webasto myself at the moment, and so have had dealings with him (I bought a FilterBoss from him last year). He knows his stuff.
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Old 01-09-2008
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Three seasons ago, I engaged Ocean Options with hopes of refurbishing the 20+ year old Espar 3DL diesel heater, originally equipped with my boat. The system worked during the survey and sea trial, but quit shortly after. The fan would cycle on, but the furnace would not ignite.

I made a number of posts with an online Nauticat Owner's group and after receiving some experienced - first-hand replies, concluded with a short list of probable causes. Either the control module was at fault, glow-plug needed replacing, or excess carbon created faulty starts, forcing the system to automatically shut down.

At the time, my boat was on the hard during the winter after purchase at another boat yard, just after having the bottom barrier-coated. A Nonsuch 30, parked adjacent to my boat, was owned and worked on by Ed Hamilton, sales and service manager of Ocean Options. Upon making his acquaintance, he convinced me to either have his techs come to the boat to diagnose the problem, or I could disconnect the harness, metering pump, thermostat and furnace, then bring the whole system into the facility in Tiverton, RI for testing. I thanked him for his time and said I would do so.

After the next winter, I decided to finally take him up on his suggestion. Fortunately, the office and shop were only a couple miles from the marina, so I brought it down. Conclusion - the control module was fried and a new one was worth over $800. The 3DL was phased out and replaced by the new 4D Airtronic - but retailed at well over $2k. However, some new 3DL parts were available - still, no guarantee this would solve the problem.

Ed eventually gave me a deal on a relatively new 4DL, (less than 50 hours) that was just removed from a customer's sailboat after deciding to go hydronic (allergies). I ended up picking up a whole new system for a great price - after Ed came to my boat and gave me very good instruction for a DIY installation, then made a list of parts I needed. Much of the ductwork, intake and exhaust outlets, and the 6 registers were reused - everything else was new.

I installed the new system, but they still gave me a year's warranty on parts. The system started right up and has been outstanding ever since - extremely efficient and very comfortable heat. I highly recommend Ocean Options for all Espar parts and service.
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Last edited by TrueBlue; 01-09-2008 at 08:15 PM.
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Old 01-09-2008
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I have had a completely different experience with Ocean Options. My contact has been with their facility in Annapolis. I ordered parts through them for my Mastervolt generator. After 16 months they still respond to phone calls as "your parts are on order." In the meantime I found another source that shipped within a week.

They are also the regional distributer for MarineAir A/C. A tech from Ocean Options came out to diagnose a problem on one of my units. He said it was low on refrigerant and that he topped it up. I still didn't get any cooling. I convinced my boat broker (boat and systems under warranty) to bring in another service company who found the refrigerant ports still had factory seals (therefore Ocean Options tech had lied). It turned out I was indeed low on refrigerant due to a small but readily identifiable leak on the HP side.

Beyond my personal experience, I have heard many similar stories of dissatisfaction with Ocean Options in Annapolis.
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Old 01-10-2008
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Thanks for the Espar advice

Thanks to all that gave me some feedback on our heater. TB, your situation is sort of where I'm at. I do know that the D3L unit that I have does work. It came on a Passport 40 that I purchased this past summer. We had the unit working, it heated the cabin up to a comfortable temperature in the fall and ran nicely for well over an hour.
As part of my plans for this boat, its my intent to take apart, clean up and learn about the systems on the boat so that I can be well versed when we head out in a couple of years. Living in Vermont, the heater was one of the first things that I wanted to tackle......I wonder why???. So I took out the unit and all of its support stuff, took it apart to the point where I can look inside the heat exchanger. Looks a bit rough, dirty and some corrosion.
The folks at Ocean Options tell me that I could replace the heat exchanger ($600-800) but now that its apart, there would be no way of testing other things that may hinder the operation. As I took it apart, IMHO, things did look like a good cleaning might just keep this thing running for many more sea miles.
I simply hate to throw away good older stuff if it could be reworked......especially German technology.....as the older stuff is really well engineered, simple and foolproof.
So my dilema....throw good money into this unit and have my optimism rewarded or "get a whole new unit for".....as you mentioned ~2k.

I will get a second opinion from the folks at Ray Marine in Ont.....as was suggested by Val.

Thanks again for all of you suggestions....will let you know how I make out.
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Last edited by telekitr; 01-10-2008 at 11:53 AM.
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Old 01-10-2008
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Thanks for the lead

Quote:
Originally Posted by Valiente View Post
You could contact Ray at Ray's Marine in Brampton, ON.

http://www.raysmarinesystems.com/

He may have some advice on this as he is an Espar dealer and installer. I am debating whether to go Espar or Webasto myself at the moment, and so have had dealings with him (I bought a FilterBoss from him last year). He knows his stuff.
Val, thanks for this lead. I will call him to get a second opinion. As you can read from my post just above, I am in the process of making the decision. I will say this about Espar....this is a unit that is at least 18 years old. Not being sure of what kind of preventive stuff the previous owner did, the unit does (or did before I took it apart) start up, heat the cabin nicely and shut down.....just as it is supposed to do.
This is a good testiment for the Espar product.
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Old 02-18-2008
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Cabin Heat

I need a comparison of forced air diesel (Espar, Webasto) versus diesel fired hydronic which I believe pipes a water/antifreeze solution throughout the boat to individual radiators/registers each powered by fans. Obviously stringing water piping is much easier than forced air ducts.
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Old 02-02-2009
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comparison air vs. liquid heaters

I too am comparing hydronic vs. air heaters and pick up new info daily, but I think I'm going to go with air.
Every boat and use is different, but here's my 2cents.

I live aboard a 47' boat that stays at the dock and on shore-power most of the time. I want to be able to cruise in any weather without running the generator.
- Installation: I have lots of room to run 4" air duct below decks along the exhaust plenums and engine room and can use the same duct for one of my a/c systems. Installing air ducts is a lot easier (for me at least) and less expensive than the lines, valves, connections, air handlers or radiators, flow-pumps, etc.
- Leaks: If I have a leak in my air vent system, the leaking air just heats the wrong part of the boat and does not pose a cleanup problem. In a hydronic system, a leak could result in gallons of antifreeze in my bilge... an unlikely but possible and unpleasant scenario. I expect that a system that loses its fluid could damage the heater itself if run dry.
-Location: It would be nice to have heat up in the flybridge without having to run air ducts, but hydronic needs to have an expansion tank at the highest point in the system. This to prevent airlocks.
-Capacity: I understand that sizing a hydronic is more critical with a hydronic system. It can feed so many different systems... domestic hot water, engine pre-heaters, cabin heat. Too small and it would run all the time.. too large and it would be cycling on and off all the time. The same is true of air units, but as there are fewer variables and demands, it would be easier to roughly size. (I need a D4 or D5). I expect this issue would diminish with larger vessels.
-Quick heat: An air system will start delivering max heat right away and can be turned off just as easily. Hydronics will naturally take longer depending on the size and complexity of the unit.

If I were in a colder climate and I was primarily away from the dock, I would go with a hydronic system. My current needs are met with air. Like I said everyone's need are different.
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