My Struggle The Vevor 3kw Diesel Heater
What is a Diesel Air Heater? These handy little gadgets are known by a few different names. Some call them Chinese Diesel Heaters, Diesel Parking Heaters, Diesel Air Heater. If you are in the market for one of these I highly recommend joining these Facebook groups first…. “Diesel Keep You Warm (Everything Chinese Hears + Spares, Accessories)” and “Chinese Diesel vehicle air heaters – Troubleshooting & Parts sales, and “The Chinese Diesel Heater Community”. If the amount of issues people have with these things doesn’t deter you completely… keep reading.
I researched for months which to buy, and which not to buy, and honestly, it seems like for every one of the Chinese Diesel Heaters you could find as many positive reviews as negative ones. I don’t always spend the winter full-time boondocking in my van. The winter of 2022 found myself doing exactly that. It is challenging, very challenging here in Canada. I ramped up my search and I had two weeks to buy one and get it installed which limited quite significantly the buying options for me.
I was seeing some support for the Lavaner Pro – but it was only available on Ali Express and for sure would not have arrived in time. So, I bought the Vevor. Vevor got as many good reviews as negative ones and the price was under 300 Canadian Dollars. I did buy directly from vevor.ca because I felt more confident about their customer service. I am an avid amazon shopper but I was worried about my issues being outside of the amazing 30 day return window, so far, I have not been wrong about my instincts here. Prepare for the worst, expect the best!!
After a lot of research and questions to folks who have a Diesel Parkig heater I chose the 3kw (because the 2 was unavailable). i went with the smaller model because my Van is 21′. When the heater is running, it gives off a really good amount of heat I do believe the 5kw would have been too hot for my van. I run it on it’s lowest setting and the floor it’s directed at gets really warm, so warm I wouldn’t leave anything sitting there! This is the same one I purchased…
I think it’s important to note that they also come in a premade enclosure, but I had no idea where I would keep that style and it would need to have holes to the outside anyway… why not put it under the seat like so many others have done. Here’s a link to the enclosure style from Vevor as well.
The product arrived super fast, it looks good, and it has all the things one might need for installation, but I did what all the groups said, and I bought an upgraded fuel line and clamps. I bought high gauge wire to run from my battery at the back of the van to the unit at the front. I was super nervous about being able to pipe directly into the auxiliary fuel line on my precious van, but my installer was able to do that just fine.
It took two inexperienced people, one handy and very smart, and one looking at YouTube with zero confidence in their skills, 10 hours to install this Diesel Air Heater in my van. I’m not sure about your neighborhood, but around here a licensed RV tech is 100$/hour and up, I paid my guy 50/hr… so this cheap diesel heater just got a lot more expensive.
The instruction manual for this thing is an absolute joke, some really great informative videos like the one below are the only way to learn how to install them yourself.
For step-by-step instructions. Not many pages telling you the basic things, like which way the pump should face for the correct flow. For this reason, I’m really glad I had a smart guy to install this for me, as I would have never been able to troubleshoot the problem and the folks in those Facebook groups tend to really crucify people like me! We finally got it running, I took the van to my folk’s house, plugged it in and the heater seemed to run just fine. FOR A FEW HOURS.
I head back to work and all things go to absolute hecking heck. I’m getting an error code and the heater is shutting down, that and now my onboard generator won’t start with the button inside and my house battery is not charging and not surviving the night. My desire to be warm and cozy has now completely wrecked my off-grid lifestyle. I contact Vevor and they tell me to buy a new controller, but what they don’t tell me is that the controller won’t be compatible with my motherboard and will just throw a different error code and the heater won’t run at all. Now I’m pretty angry and I’m also cold. I have a propane furnace in the van, but it kicks on and off all night, the fan is loud, and every time it turns on, it wakes me up. I was really into the quiet constant low fan sound of this CDH but it was destroying my life, to be dramatically honest!
I was able to determine the CDH was affecting everything with some basic troubleshooting when plugged into shore power. I have another aftermarket controller coming from eBay I’m not really sure how to tell which will work with what and there aren’t a lot of answers about it on the good old interwebs. I haven’t given up on the thing yet, but I did get a full refund from the folks at Vevor Canada. I am out the install money and just getting my generator issue diagnosed cost me over 300$, so all in all, not worth it! I have now spent the money I would have spent to purchase one of the more reputable brands, but to be honest, I didn’t want to spend over 1000$, this is not ideal. By the time I get it up and running it will be summer and I won’t need it anymore.
My conclusion is… if you are somewhat handy and confident working with electrical gadgets, go for it, buy a cheap one, troubleshoot, problem-solve, lather rinse repeat! If you aren’t…either buy the expensive Wabasto heater with a lifetime of positive reviews or find a different way! If you’re skeptical about this form of heating your RV, check out my post about the other types of heaters out there.
UPDATE – Don’t believe the folks on Facebook saying you can’t use a Jackery or one of its competitors to run your CDH. I’ve been running mine using my Jackery for the past two days and I’ve had more success with this method than with a regular AGM. Granted my AGM battery was on its last legs. The Jackery used less than 10% of its 500w available power and that’s with a few stops and starts and running for roughly 3 hours. So here I am, warm and cozy, I just have to keep the remote next to my bed so when it throws the dreaded E08 that I”m still getting, I can at least restart it and go back to sleep.