block heaters vs. espars?

To all transits. Does anybody use block heaters? I’m trying to figure out what the advantages and or disadvantages are for using a block heater? The cost of keeping our espar units up and running is way to high. I dont see any disadvantage to the block heaters so i appreciate all input. Thank you, Andre`

ssgclapp's picture

The only downside to block heaters is the need for dedicated electrical outlets and extension cords for each bus. They work great keeping the engine warm for easy starting but do nothing if you need the heat for your buses heating system while running. Do you need to run the Espar system during operation to keep the temperature up and the passengers warm? If not then the block heaters are a very low maintenance alternative. You will probably go throgh a few extension cords in the begining since operators may forget they block heater is plugged in and then drive off with it still plugged in.

You may want to figure out cost of operation when you figure in that your block heaters mostly will be plugged in all night, while you can program the espar to run up to two hours before shift start with the seven day timer, if memory serves me right the espar uses about one pint per hour of operation . The espar is better if you do any runs that may require the bus be parked waiting on a special service group or something where power is not available. The espar does a very good job of keeping the cooling system up to temp in the rear of the bus in winter months.

Your other alternative could be to run airtronic espar heaters which eliminate the need for extended idling, coolant lines, pumps and the water leaks associated with an extra 40 feet of heater hose. We have one bus retrofitted with an airtronic and it puts out enough heat to cook a thanksgiving bird in record time. Without any coolant heat exchangers in the passenger area of that ford cut-away, in winter months the airtronic is enough to heat the whole cabin running on low. That airtronic has two and a half years on it now with no issues.

we run block heaters here in the winter months because of the cost of maintaining the espar heaters we try to control the cost of the electricity i am in here 2 hours before any of the drivers need to start thier route so when i come in i flip the breaker which controls all of the dedicated outlets for the busses If we had an option i would elect to get rid of all my hydronic espars and go to the airtronics and be done with this mess Espar has problems in my medium duty international and they still dont know what the correct fix is for them

Jimmie, It seems that Eldorado threw out the instalation manual that came with the Hydronics. Espar calls for 3/4 ID hoses, but Eld. decided to go with 5/8 instead. there has been a recall for those. If you contact Hoekstra (Randy in parts) he can set you up with most of the hoses and fittings you will need, you may still have to replace the espar water pump o-ring or the water pump. after we have completed the system re-plumb we have not had any issues with leakage, and drivers no longer lose heat in the cab. we routed hoses a slight differently than the Eld. recall defines, I can send you the sheet if you want to see what we did. I can put together a list of the extra parts we used in the plumbing as well

I have done the recall and still have the problem espar has now decided to install restrictors close to the engine but i would be interested in seeing how you have run yours my email is