Diesel Heater Installation Step-by-Step, Photos and Tips

Diesel Heater Installation Step-by-Step, Photos and Tips

On this blog post, you can find useful photos and tips that can assist you in installing a diesel heater in your caravan, motorhome or cabin. Please note that this guide serves as a brief overview only, and we highly recommend seeking professional installation services to guarantee optimal performance and safety of your heater. For comprehensive installation manuals, FAQs, and additional information, please click here.

Also check our new installation video at the bottom of this page.

What’s Included with the Diesel Heater Kit?

When you purchase a diesel heater, it typically comes with the following items:

General Components

  • 1 – Heater Body
  • 2 – LCD Control Panel
  • 3 – Key Fob / Remote Control
    Electrical Components
    • 4 – Wiring Harness
    • 5 – Cable Ties
    Air Ducting Components
    • 6 – Hot Air Intake Ducts
    • 7 – Hot Air Intake Vents
    • 8 – T-Piece
    Fuel Components
    • 9 – Fuel Tank, nozzle and mounting
    • 10 – Fuel Line and clamps
    • 11 – Fuel Pump
    • 12 – Fuel Filter
    • 13 – Fuel Pump Mounting Bracket
    • 14 – Fuel Pick Up Standpipe
    Combustion Air Components
    • 15 – Combustion Air Exhaust Pipe
    • 16 – Fresh Air Intake Pipe
    • 17 – Fresh Air Intake Filter
    • 18 – Silencer / Muffler
    Others / Installation
    • 19 – Mounting Plate


    Tools and Supplies You’ll Need

    To install the heater in a caravan, motorhome, or campervan, you’ll also need the following tools and supplies:

    • Drill and drill bits
    • Hole saw
    • Screwdriver
    • Socket set
    • Wrench set
    • Electrical tape
    • Silicone Sealant
    • Round flange (optional)
    • CO detector (recommended)

    1. Choosing a Location to Install Your Diesel Heater

      The location of the air intake of a diesel heater is a crucial aspect of ensuring its optimal performance and longevity. It's important to position the air intake in an area with sufficient clearance to allow for the proper flow of air. This means placing it in an area that is free from any obstructions, such as boxes or equipment, that could impede the air intake. Additionally, the air intake should be located away from any sources of debris or dust, such as areas where loose dirt or gravel may be present.

      Check that you have ample clearance on all sides, including space to route all ducting, wiring, and fuel tubing, as well as space to inspect and service both air ends and the unit’s internals through the lid.

      Minimal clearances from body to other objects:

      • 70mm on access cover side
      • 30mm on all other sides

       clearance diesel heater

      Once you have found a suitable location, don't forget to check underneath the van to ensure that there is enough space for drilling and that you won't hit any chassis rails, water tanks, or gas lines. 

      2. Installing the Mounting Plate

      After confirming your measurements and selecting the ideal location for your diesel heater, it's time to proceed with the mounting plate. The first step is to cut a hole in the floor where the heater will be placed, and the mounting plate will fit into this hole while the intake and exhaust will come out of it.

      Check the diameter of the circle under the mounting plate to determine the size of the hole you'll need to cut, which is usually around 100mm. You can either use a hole saw or drill several small pilot holes around the marked circle and cut out the circle with a hacksaw blade.

      Attach all the necessary pipes and lines to the bottom of the unit before mounting it. Place the heater upside down and attach the mounting plate, the fuel line, the exhaust and the air intake pipe using the provided clamps.

      Next, apply silicone around the hole to seal the mounting plate. Then slide the pipes through the hole and insert the heater securely. Screw the four corners of the mounting plate to ensure it stays in place. 

      TIP: You can also add a round flange at the bottom of the heater and the mounting plate for added protection to the flooring.

      3. Installing the Hot Air Outlet Vents

      When installing the hot air outlet, it's important to ensure that it is safely positioned. This means ensuring that it is not in a location where it can cause any damage or be accidentally knocked or bumped. It should also be installed away from any flammable materials or surfaces to prevent the risk of fire.

      Install the air outlet vents by measuring and marking a circle on the cabinet for the ducting to pass through. Cut a hole for the air outlet vents and attach the ducting to the vent casing. If using two vents, join them with a T-piece.

      You don’t need ducting for the air inlet if there is enough ventilation in the compartment where the heater is.If using the ducting for the air inlet, ensure it is far apart from the outlet vents.

      4. Attaching the Diesel Heater

      Locate the four bolts protruding out through the hole from the bottom of the diesel heater. Use a ratchet to attach and secure them with washers and nuts to each of the four bolts. This will pull the diesel heater down and secure it to your mounting plate inside the caravan.

      Add some silicone sealant to seal around the flange from underneath the van:

      5. Installing the Air Intake Pipe

      Attach the air filter to the end of the air intake pipe. Secure the pipe in place with a hose clamp. Use a bracket to hold the length of the pipe up and out of the way under the caravan, making sure it points to the back of the van to avoid dust accumulation during travel.

      6. Installing the Exhaust & Silencer

      Use the provided clamp to connect the muffler to the end of the exhaust pipe. Secure it underneath the caravan and make sure it points away from the caravan to prevent fumes from being trapped underneath. Run the exhaust pipe on a slight decline from the diesel heater to enable any condensation to drip out.

      The muffler should always be installed outside to prevent the accumulation of dangerous gases such as carbon monoxide (CO) indoors. We highly recommend installing a CO detector near your diesel heater to ensure safety.

      7. Mounting the Fuel Tank

      To install the fuel line to the tank, you can use the fuel nozzle or the fuel standpipe. In this example.

      If utilizing the provided plastic fuel tank, the prefered connection is by installing the fuel nozzle on the side on the bottom tank. Locate the fuel nozzle with nuts and washers for installation. 

      Drill a hole on the side or bottom of the tank (reinforced part) and use a wire coat hanger or another type of flexible wire to feed the nozzle through the tank from the cap opening to the hole on the other end. Once the nozzle is attached, add a washer and a nut. Lastly, add the fuel line to the nozzle. If using the white nylon fuel line, you will need a piece of rubber joint.

      Alternatively, use the fuel standpipe and install it on the top of the tank, on even surface as shown below.

      8. Mounting the Fuel Pump

      Find a suitable spot underneath the van to mount the Fuel Filter and the Fuel Pump. 

      Consider these tips for mounting the Fuel Filter and Fuel Pump:

      • Mount the filter closest to the fuel tank
      • Mount the fuel pump near the diesel heater but no more than 2 metres away from the fuel tank. Use the fuel pump holder to mount it.
      • The fuel pump should be installed at an incline, with the discharge end rising up at an angle of 15* to 35* above the inlet. If needed the fuel pump may be inclined further, up to 90º

      Install the pump with the angle pointing towards the heater. Highest point should be heater end.

      pump angle instructions

      9. Adding the Fuel Line

      Fuel lines and components must be placed far from any heat source, such as vehicle exhaust piping, the engine compartment, any other heating equipment, any braking systems, any rotating components (such as a drive shaft), etc. This includes mounting the fuel pump and tubing away from the heater’s combustion air exhaust.

      You will need to cut 3 lengths of fuel line - one from the fuel tank to the fuel filter, another from the fuel filter to the fuel pump, and the last one from the fuel pump to the diesel heater. Be careful when cutting the fuel line to avoid crushing it, and use a very sharp blade on a flat surface.

      If using a white fuel line,  you need to slide the rubber joiners onto each end of the fuel pump and filter before clamping the fuel line. They are not needed with the green fuel lines.

      Slip a clamp to each end of the fuel line to secure it in place. 

      10) Connecting the Wiring Harness

      The wiring that comes with the diesel heater is plug-and-play and easy to connect. Simply match the connections for the fuel pump, motherboard and controller and connect the positive and negative wires to the caravan battery, making sure to install the fuse.

      You may need to drill some small holes to run the wiring to different places, such as the Fuel Pump under the van.

      Ensure to choose a battery with enough capacity. On startup and shutdown the heater takes about 10 amps for a couple minutes. On low settings, draws approximately 1 amp per hour, on medium 1.8 amps and on high 3.7 amps. On average, you can expect the heater to consume around 12Ah overnight.  

      11) Mounting the LCD Control Panel

      Choose a convenience spot to mount the LCD Monitor Display. Attach first the mounting frame to the wall, and then clip in the controller.

      Your 5kW diesel heater is now installed and ready to be tested.

      12) Starting it up for the first time

      Once the heater has power, the controller will be illuminated. 

      To turn on the heater, press the power button and the heater will begin to go through its start up sequence. You’ll hear the fan ramp up and the fuel pump begin to click.

      When using the heater for the first time the fuel lines are full of air and need to be primed. If the heater shuts down, press and hold the power button for a few seconds and try again. 

      You can also manually prime the unit but be very careful to not overprime it!

      Once the heater successfully starts, you can adjust the heat seatings.

      Congratulations, your 5kW diesel heater installation is now complete and ready to keep you warm during your caravan travels. Enjoy!


      Installation Video

      Check our our new diesel heater installation video for Caravan or Motorhome:


      For more information, visit our Diesel Heater Information Pack for instructions guide, installation photos and tips, FAQs, LCD controller instructions and more.

      If you have any issues with your diesel heater, please check our troubleshooting guide. If you need any further assistance,  please send a detailed video and photos of your installation so we can assist you further. Please show us:

      • The position of your diesel heater, fuel pump, fuel tank, etc.
      • The battery voltage measured at the terminals
      • Any error code, smoke or unusual behavior

      Please send the information above to info@ontrackoutdoor.com.au.

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