2020 Ram 5500 DIY Composite Panel Camper Build Thread

RAM5500 CAMPERTHING

OG Portal Member #183
Ok, this is melting my brain a little...

I am proud to be able to do 97.43% of this myself, and figure out what needs to be figured out.

But this has me perplexed, even after a couple days of brainstorming.

I got the furnace installed and running. Easy Peasy

I went with the new plug and play Espar D2L with the Easy Start Pro controller that has built in altitude compensation from Heatso. Install was super easy, was up and running heat in less than an hour.

The job was made even easier by the bracket/mount @Victorian sells to make the install clean and sealed from the elements.

Here are the links:

Heater: https://www.heatso.com/espar-airtronic-d2l-diesel-heater-kit/
Total Composites Bracket to install: https://expeditionupfitter.com/collections/heat-hot-water/products/mounting-flange-for-air-heater

Here is where/why i am confused...

Watched TONS of Vanlife Nerd videos on YouTube and read the instructions multiple times from the Espar website...

Every single Vanlifer nerd video, and the actual instructions, call for a couple things that don't make a lick of sense to me, and i want to make sure i am not missing something.

The kit includes lots of fuel line, hose, and clamps, and below is a pic of it all installed per the instructions, and per basically every single video i've found

heater1_FORUM.jpg

If you look close you'll see black pieces of hose going in and out of the fuel pump, and then clamped to the supplied blue hose line.

Just at the fuel pump, thats a total of 4 hose clamp connections / possible spots for leaks / failure. Then 2 more where the hose attaches to the heater. Making a total of 5 connections that i simply don't see a point for.

I got this all installed, and it worked fine, but the more i looked at it, the more i cant figure out why in the heck, they just don't use single pieces of hose and eliminate a bunch of connections?

I redid it using high quality 3.5mm fuel line, and eliminated 5 connections:

heater2_FORUM.jpg

Can anyone shed some light on why they might do this and if i am overlooking something? I am kind of confused...

Half of me thinks there is a reason they do it, half of me thinks mechanically there is zero need for it.

Anyone?

Also, both in the instructions, and every video I've watched, they instruct you to assemble the small fuse block they include in the harness with a 5 and 20 amp fuse and connect that to your existing fuse panel.

I'm ok and consider myself "competent enough" with electrical work but my brain also doesn't see the need to add a fuse block going into another fuse block, as look as the fuses match.

Anyone think i am missing anything thing with this thought process?

Half of me thinks its a case of "YouTube Monkey See Monkey Do"

NOTES: Yeah, the kelderman air lines are just Teed off right now, i am re-routing them. Those big aluminum spacers are going to be removed and replaced with 1/4" thick HDPE rounds soon.

One of the things that make this so easy on this truck (as well as sprinters and promaster) is the OEM aux port. Simply remove that cap, install the quick disconnect hose barb connector and youre good to go. It comes pre-plumbed to 3/4 depth of the tank, so you'll never suck it dry:

heater3.jpg
 
Last edited:

java

Expedition Leader
Ok, this is melting my brain a little...

I am proud to be able to do 97.43% of this myself, and figure out what needs to be figured out.

But this has me perplexed, even after a couple days of brainstorming.

I got the furnace installed and running. Easy Peasy

I went with the new plug and play Espar D2L with the Easy Start Pro controller that has built in altitude compensation from Heatso. Install was super easy, was up and running heat in less than an hour.

The job was made even easier by the bracket/mount @Victorian sells to make the install clean and sealed from the elements.

Here are the links:

Heater: https://www.heatso.com/espar-airtronic-d2l-diesel-heater-kit/
Total Composites Bracket to install: https://expeditionupfitter.com/collections/heat-hot-water/products/mounting-flange-for-air-heater

Here is where/why i am confused...

Watched TONS of Vanlife Nerd videos on YouTube and read the instructions multiple times from the Espar website...

Every single Vanlifer nerd video, and the actual instructions, call for a couple things that don't make a link of sense to me, and i want to make sure i am missing something.

The kit includes lots of fuel line, hose, and clamps, and below is a pic of it all installed per the instructions, and per basically every single video i've found

View attachment 620713

If you look close you'll see black pieces of hose going in and out of the fuel pump, and then clamped to the supplied blue hose line. Just at the fuel pump, thats a total of 4 hose clamp connections / possible spots for leaks / failure. Then 2 more where the hose attaches to the heater. Making a total of 5 connections that i simply don't see a point for.

I got this all installed, and it worked fine, but the more i looked at it, the more i cant figure out why in the heck, they just don't use single pieces of hose and eliminate a bunch of connections?

I redid it using high quality 3.5mm fuel line, and eliminated 5 connections:

View attachment 620714

Can anyone shed some light on why they might do this and if i am overlooking something? I am kind of confused...

Half of me thinks there is a reason they do it, half of me thinks mechanically there is zero need for it.

Anyone?

Also, both in the instructions, and every video I've watched, they instruct you to assemble the small fuse block they include in the harness with a 5 and 20 amp fuse and connect that to your existing fuse panel.

I'm ok and consider myself "competent enough" with electrical work but my brain also doesn't see the need to add a fuse block going into another fuse block, as look as the fuses match.

Anyone think i am missing anything thing with this thought process?

Half of me thinks its a case of "YouTube Monkey See Monkey Do"

NOTES: Yeah, the kelderman air lines are just Teed off right now, i am re-routing them. Those big aluminum spacers are going to be removed and replaced with 1/4" thick HDPE rounds soon.

One of the things that make this so easy on this truck (as well as sprinters and promaster) is the OEM aux port. Simply remove that cap, install the quick disconnect hose barb connector and youre good to go. It comes pre-plumbed to 3/4 depth of the tank, so you'll never suck it dry:

View attachment 620721

I did the same thing originally (using rubber fuel line) and a webasto tech on another forum told me to redo it.... Something along the lines of the small rigid fuel line is part of the metering system. He even went so far as to mail me the correct stuff (I bought my heater used didn't have the correct stuff). I do have a piece of flex in mine still so I can pull the tank out, but its pre-pump.

I don't see a reason for the added fuse, unless its between the pump and heater perhaps.
 

RAM5500 CAMPERTHING

OG Portal Member #183
I did the same thing originally (using rubber fuel line) and a webasto tech on another forum told me to redo it.... Something along the lines of the small rigid fuel line is part of the metering system. He even went so far as to mail me the correct stuff (I bought my heater used didn't have the correct stuff). I do have a piece of flex in mine still so I can pull the tank out, but its pre-pump.
Ah ok, that actually makes sense. They ID isn't that much different, but i know the pumps are pretty sensitive.

I am thinking keep the rubber line from tank to pump, and then use the blue stuff and the hose adapters from pump to heater. Thoughts?

THANK YOU

I don't see a reason for the added fuse, unless its between the pump and heater perhaps.
No, the added fuses are after pump, coming out of heater harness.
 

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Victorian

Approved Vendor : Total Composites
Some of our customers changed the fuel line set up also... Bad idea! It increases the amount of fuel you are getting into the heater. You will basicly run it way to rich and possibly even flood the burner. As stupid as it sounds, use the original line.

Another tip: fasten all parts to the heater BEFORE you glue the flange into the floor... Doing this from underneath is a big pain.

Cheers,
 

java

Expedition Leader
Ah ok, that actually makes sense. They ID isn't that much different, but i know the pumps are pretty sensitive.

I am thinking keep the rubber line from tank to pump, and then use the blue stuff and the hose adapters from pump to heater. Thoughts?

THANK YOU



No, the added fuses are after pump, coming out of heater harness.
Mine is rubber before the pump. No issues yet....

Sent from my SM-G973U using Tapatalk
 

Victorian

Approved Vendor : Total Composites
Sounds like you may want to have your hearing checked or you dont camp where its dead quiet. As you know its a common issue for many.
I hear people complain about it... But I think that our camper floor is simply not transferring these noises very well. You can hear the clicking outside, no question, but seriously not inside.
 

Jonnyo

Observer
I hear people complain about it... But I think that our camper floor is simply not transferring these noises very well. You can hear the clicking outside, no question, but seriously not inside.
i think it as to be with the thickness/quality/insulation of your composite floor. I have the transit van and even with my 1 inch foam insulation in the van...i can hear the ticking outside resonate inside and it s very annoying so decided to not attach it to the frame but make some kind of suspended system.

And to the OP, i have the same set up with those black rubber part and while i don't understand the logic of it, it simply work and never had a leak or a issue so life is good!
 

RAM5500 CAMPERTHING

OG Portal Member #183
Some of our customers changed the fuel line set up also... Bad idea! It increases the amount of fuel you are getting into the heater. You will basicly run it way to rich and possibly even flood the burner. As stupid as it sounds, use the original line.
Good info! Thank you!

Another tip: fasten all parts to the heater BEFORE you glue the flange into the floor... Doing this from underneath is a big pain.
I failed that tip and 100% agree with your above statement!! hahahaha
 

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RAM5500 CAMPERTHING

OG Portal Member #183
Insulate the pump well or the ticking noise will drive one crazy.
This is the supposedly new updated quieter pump in this D2L kit.

I have nothing to reference it to as far as noise, but it was a noticable outside when i was checking it, not that loud, but definitely heard it.

Didnt notice it inside. But honestly, i was doing 10 things at once and not really paying attention to it. I will update more next time i run it. Waiting on a couple small bits to arrive to finalize install.

Thanks
 
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