Sprinter Van: Heater Install – Part 1

For 3-season camping in Oregon, a heater is a must. And so we began our search for a diesel powered heater that could tap into the diesel fuel tank using the provided tap (added by Mercedez-Benz to the 2010 and newer NCV3 model Sprinter vans). We looked at a variety of options, and settled on a model that was highly recommended by other Sprinter owners, and truckers alike – the Espar D2, otherwise known as the Airtronic D2.

Espar D2 / Airtronic D2

The Espar D2, otherwise known as the Airtronic D2, is a diesel powered heater that produces 850 watts of heat on Low, all the way up to 2,200 watts of heat in Power mode. Air flow is good, ranging between 40 and 105 kg/h. Plainly stated it can blow some hot air. Despite all that it uses very little diesel fuel in the process, and is compact to fit under the passenger seat of a Sprinter van. It’s the perfect solution for our needs. So we bought a used one on eBay from a trucker who turned in his leased truck.

Parts Required

You’ll need the following items to install your new or used Espar D2 heater in your Sprinter (mine is a 2013 MB Sprinter 170):

  • Espar D2 unit
  • Vent hose with hose clamps (included if new)
  • Vent for trim (included if new)
  • Exhaust hose with hose clamp (included if new)
  • Fresh air intake hose and clamp (included if new)
  • Gas line from unit to fuel pump (included if new)
  • Fuel pump (included if new)
  • 5/16″ Gas line to connect fuel pump to valve on Sprinter gas tank and hose clamp (available at O-Reilly’s Auto Parts or other parts stores)

Tools Required

You’ll need the following tools and supplies:

  • Hole saws to drill out holes for the: exhaust, fresh air intake, fuel line, interior heat hose, and trim piece
  • Drill
  • Screwdrivers
  • Sheet metal screws
  • Wood screws
  • Foam tape

Step 1 – Select your Install Location

Our first order of business is to determine where you’d like to place the heater unit. I contemplated putting it under the passenger seat, or near the rear wheel wheels, and finally where we might eventually place a kitchen cabinet. In the end I opted to place it in the passenger seat base, making all the connections and venting easy, and still being out of the way.

Step 2 – Remove your Seat from Seat Base

There’s only 4 bolts holding the seat to the seat base. One on each corner. Remove those 4 bolts and store them in a secure place so you can access everything under it.

Step 3 – Mark and Drill your Pilot Holes

Unbox your diesel heater, and dry fit it in place. Determine what options are best for your particular needs. In my case, I lined my fresh air intake hole (on center) and exhaust hole 3.75″ from the outside of the seat base. Meaning towards the outside of the seat base, closest to the door. See the provided photo for details. I verified 3 times where my holes would be on the under carriage as well so I did not interfere with the various items there. Take your time, measure twice, and then start with a small pilot hole before using your larger hole saw.

Part 2 – Drilling, Mounting, Hoses
Ken Clark
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