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Does anyone make a heater suitable for a tiny van conversion?


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I've converted a RAM Promaster City van into the moral equivalent of a "self-propelled teardrop trailer". In other words, it is tiny inside. The total interior space amounts to about 170 cubic feet (4'x5'x8.5').

I am interested in adding a small heater. I've insulated the vehicle very well, and with so little cubic footage -- and considering the body-heat output of two sleepers -- the BTU requirement should be very minimal.

At the same time, a heater would have to be zero-emission in such a small space. So I am looking for something that uses electric power. (Which is OK - the rig is wired for shore power, and in cold weather I won't be camping in places where there is no shore power available.)

Moreover, the bed platform sits about 16" above the van floor, and covers nearly all the available square footage (apart from the driver/passenger cabin), meaning the heater would have to sit beneath it.  Thus, a tiny form-factor and fail-safe against overheating are both requirements.

Does anyone know of a product that would fit the bill?


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I put a Suburban RV furnace in my self build van. I am very happy. But, it is propane. You can only get about 1500 watts of energy from an electric heater unless you have 220 volts. Almost any commercially available space heater will be fine. The one posted by Linda is like the one I have in the SB bathroom. Heats the space, does a fine job.

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  • 1 month later...
On 12/21/2019 at 12:58 PM, Darryl&Rita said:

Propex has a heater marketed to the VW van crowd. Webasto has their AirTop heaters. Neither of these are electric, but they are intended for use in vehicles, such as yours. as far as electric heaters, any Walmart heater will work, as they have do-over switches, overheat switches, and other safety designs. 

The Propex 2800 I installed in our 35' trailer works great. At  32-34F it slowly brings the heat up in our 35' trailer but it is worth it because it uses 50% less power than the Suburban furnaces does.  Using the Propex at -10F we loose 1-2 degree/ hour depending on wind chill and it is not set up to heat the basement.   I thought removing the Suburban and installing another Propex but I think that's a project for the next trailer.


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On 12/27/2019 at 11:34 AM, Bill Joyce said:

I wanted it clear that since this topic was in the Boondocking forum, it was not a suitable choice for a boondocker.

Good catch!

Assuming this van is gas-powered, the diesel fuel-powered Webasto and other brands are out of the equation.

What would work is something similar to the old VW bug gas heater for the interior.

Edited by Ray,IN
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