Spending a lot of time in a caravan, I rely on good winter heating.
In late 2009 I bought a used Eberspacher Airtronic D2 diesel heater on ebay. No idea how many previous hours on the clock, but I had added more than 2,000 hours since then - the last 1400 on red diesel.
In January 2011 it developed an irritating problem on cold start-up. Initial start was perfect, but as motor increased speed the unit flamed out for up to 10 seconds, then re-ignited and settled down to a normal run. Fuel fed continuously throughout the flame-out; resulting in a cloud of smelly smoke from the exhaust. Checks for water in the diesel and blockages in the filter were ok. Another major cause of non-electrical faults is an excessive build-up of carbon which can choke the system and affect the heater's efficiency. Eberspacher recommend a service every 2000 hours and I decided an overhaul was merited.
However, with temperatures hovering between freezing and -15 degrees C, I opted to wait and search for alternative solutions.
Eventually I contacted Power Enhancer UK to see if their fuel additives would be likely to work in this case as well as engines. Andy suggested Motor Silk. His straight approach was enough to convince me.
After using 40 litres of treated red diesel the flame out problem hadn't improved but the weather had, so I stripped the troubled unit.
It also gave me the opportunity to check what the Motor Silk was doing. The results are revealed as we proceed.
Dismantling is simple, especially compared to the earlier Eberspacher models. However, you will need a special tool to remove the glow-pin. Requests for this tool are frequently observed in Eberspacher forums, but brother Roy's solution works beautifully.
You will also need T20 and T25 torx bits, screwdrivers plus replacement gasket(s) and glow-plug screen.
D2 and D4 glowpins should last for the life of the heater.
Servicing Eberspacher & Espar heaters.
Eberspacher recommend an annual service (2000 hours of use), or every 2 years for occasional use.
They also recommend running the heater once a month to prevent the fuel gumming up the pump and pipes.
It may be better to service older generation heaters like D1L, D2L, D3L etc only when needed.
Eberspacher heaters are marketed as Espar in America and Canada.
How much does a dealer service cost?
One main dealer advertises the following prices, we have not checked on other dealers charges.
Prices include vat, service kit, and return carriage, any other faulty parts are not included (October 2013).
Eberspacher D2 D4 Airtronic £150.00
Eberspacher D5 Airtronic £205.00
Eberspacher DL1C D1LCC £170.00 new glow plug fitted
Eberspacher D3LC £150.00 new glow plug fitted
Eberspacher D5LC £225.00 new glow plug fitted
You also have to remove and package the heater plus pay carriage to the dealer.
In 2014 another dealer advertised Eberspacher water heater service for several models at £195
DIY servicing costs.
Servicing it yourself will be a lot cheaper, our pages show you how but only do it if you have the ability to do it safely.
Dealers obviously charge more, you are paying for their expertise, wages, equipment & premises etc plus they have to make a profit.
Our pages specifically cover Airtronic D2 D4 D5, D1LC, D1LCC, D3LCC, D5LC, D1L, D3. Other air models should be very similar to these.
Water heaters Hydronic D4WSC, D5WSC, D4WS, D5WS, D4WSZ, D5WSZ, D10 are also covered.
Service parts for the D2 on ebay 2014 cost about £15.
Service parts for the D1LC, D1LCC cost about £30 plus £20 if you do need to replace the glowpin.
Service parts for a Hydronic are about £37
You also may need to buy cleaning products eg Caustic soda. (Health and safety is extremely important with any cleaning product)
Annual Eberspacher maintenance can prevent the heater failing in use, usually when you most need it.
Servicing is also far easier when you are not freezing cold and getting an earful of 'helpful' advice from the other passengers.
We can only give servicing details of models we have serviced ourselves or ones where people have sent us photographs and descriptions. Servicing of other Eberspacher heaters should be similar enough to these to enable you use them as general guides.
Please send us your photographs so we can expand the models covered and help others.
Eberspacher cease manufacturing spare parts after 10 years, thereafter parts will be available only while they still have old stock.
Some models such as the D3LCC were fitted to military vehicles and parts for them will continue to be made.
Eberspacher Servicing Pages.
D3LCC Servicing is the same as D1LCC, gaskets are probably larger.
D3WZ is similar to above and also has some details on its own page.
You use any information and advice we give entirely at your own risk.
If you do not accept this do not use this site, go to an Eberspacher dealer.
We have tried to make it as accurate as we can but accept no liability for errors or problems caused by following our pages.
Some of the information is only suitable for people with a good aptitude for mechanical and electrical repairs.
Any DIY involves some risk of accidents and you must decide if you are capable and can do it safely before carrying out any work.
You should also ensure your DIY is done to a professional standard in order to avoid creating potential hazards and insurance invalidation. Boat installations must strictly comply with Marine regulations.