A perennial theme this as winter approaches, but I just wondered whether any Back Roomers had recent experience with the above - or is it still on the back burner ;-)
Example from Webasto is described at tinyurl.com/69q2f
Had these fitted to Landrovers we kept in Northern Norway for the annual migration north ( November till April). Only usefull for getting the engine slightly warmer than -25 as part of a futile attempt to get started. Cannot imagine much call for these tropical climates but then again could not imagine being stuck 1/2 way up a snow covered peak with a landie that would not start.
I take the point regarding Kenlowe heaters which have been around for decades and as far as I know need to run off mains electricity. My interest was really in the 'free-standing' variety which Webasto do, which burn the vehicle's own fuel and can be remote controllable, even (in the case of the top of the range model) by way of a phone link - not that the latter is likely to be within my budget.
I haven't yet met anyone who operates a Webasto heater of whatever type.
Webasto used to supply same via Vehvac in Edenbridge who it seems don't do it any more (judging by the fact that the info has been dropped from their web site). Maybe the UK isn't a strong potential market.
Oz (as was)
I have one - it's a great gadget: a Webasto Airtop 2000 with Eberspacher digital controller. It can be programmed to come on say half an hour before you set off in the morning. Imagine this: it's as pleasant as a warm bath, plus all your windows get defrosted. Nice!
It's fitted under the passenger seat, and as you say takes a feed from the fuel tank. There's a glow plug inside which burns the fuel (diesel in this case) and a small fan to circulate the heat. Not cheap new though they come up on ebay regularly, both 12 and 24v. Webasto or Eberspacher: both very durable, good quality/design.
Ideally, in a 12v vehicle you should power it from a second battery with split charge relay.
The reason I have it is because it's illegal in some parts of europe to sleep in a vehicle not fitted with one. The German police are especially keen on this I have found.
If you spent some time in a vehicle with one fitted, I think you'd be surprised how much you would use one in the UK. Pop out to the shop/your mates/whatever, set timer, return to toastiness!
I've had them in three air-cooled cars and they're very good, heat within 30 seconds, or if you get the programmable one you can have the joy of seeing all the cars in the street with snow on their roofs, but yours completely clear with steam rising off the roof!
My Audi has a Webasto diesel burning heater as standard. At the moment it only works when the outside temp is below 5 deg C ( a couple of degrees too low IMHO) and when the engine is turned on - but it is excellent and provides cabin heat in a couple of minutes. From other A2 owners there is a theory that it can be upgraded by Webasto to incorporate a timer.
I had one of these fitted to a sales van, the customers certainly appreciated the warmth as the ordinary heater never raised the temperature enough and as soon as the engine was stopped the air temperature soon fell. When it was cold the heater was left on all night as it used about 1/3rd of a pint per hour.
Also had experience going back about 20 years with then fitted in boats. They were excellent at keeping the cabin warm.
The only thing you have to watch out for is being down wind of the exhaust for any length of time as the fumes are non too pleasant. You might find a slight oilly discharge from the exhaust so watch where you park. Servicing is minimal, usually running the heater several times during the summer helps it maintain performance. The glow plug can get sooted up, but can either be cleaned or replaced.
Often wondered how difficult it would be to get a timed pump/heater to pump a bit of heated up oil from your sump to rocker box shortly before you set off in the morning (on the basis that most car journeys start at roughly the same time every morning) surely that would reduce engine damage in the first mile.
I have been reading about frost plugs and block heaters on the internet.
Apparently, in Scandinavia, Canada and USA a lot of people in the colder areas put what looks like a small immesion-heater in the block, they remove a "frost plug" and screw in the heater, a suitable connector is located in the grille or similar and it is plugged into the mains at night and heats at about 120w.
Does abyone know if any European-market cars have these frost plugs and where to find out where it is?