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Paul Sylvan

WEBASTO NIGHTMARE - COULD IT BE RED DIESEL ?

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WEBASTO NIGHTMARE - COULD IT BE RED DIESEL ?

 

My wife and I bought a new boat from The New Boat Company in October, 2006, to live on. It came with a Webasto heater which we were told by sales staff would run on red diesel. We believed them at the time but now we’re not so sure.

We suffered continual breakdowns with our Webasto heater for over 12 months and each time the problem was the same, and required the same solution i.e. a new burner unit (the burner would get coked up to the point that the heater would not restart after its first 35 minute heating cycle). The New Boat Company failed to rectify the ongoing faults so in October, 2007, (8 long months after the problems first appeared) we contacted Webasto in Germany. They forwarded our email to Webasto UK who took over the investigation. After checking the installation and replacing the burner unit (AGAIN! This was No. 4) Webasto UK, conducted a month long experiment running the heater on white diesel. At the end of the experiment, No. 3 burner, which had been run on red diesel only, was compared with No. 4 burner (white diesel only). There was a difference. What a surprise! The burner run on red diesel had an extra yellow/white deposit mixed in with the black carbon deposits on the inside of the burner chamber. Webasto UK sent us a final report in which they stated that ‘…the most probable cause for the high build up of carbon and reduced burner life is due to an excessive presence of sulphur and/or other unknown properties within the fuel and/or tank, and is not in any way related to a Webasto product or installation issue’. That seemed to be the end of it as far as Webasto was concerned - we were being told that it was the fuel that was faulty not the unit. But how could this be? The boat had been built with the heater plumbed directly into the red diesel fuel tank and we had only ever filled up our tank with red diesel from a reputable marina outlet . We smelt a rat and decided to look further.

We contacted the Department for Transport and were told there was a considerable difference between standard red diesel BS 2869 (also called dyed gas oil), and white road diesel BSEN 590. The main difference is the sulphur levels. Webasto UK had chosen to use white road diesel (low sulphur) for their experiment on our burner. How convenient! particularly in view of the fact that they indicate excessive sulphur as the problem.

We began to see that there is a lot of misinformation around concerning red diesel and how it differs from white diesel. This was highlighted to us when the Managing Director of The New Boat Company told us that red diesel was just white diesel with dye, clearly at odds with what the Department for Transport and the British Marine Federation, who we had also made enquires to, told us.

Still without a properly functioning heater and now in the grip of winter, and still with no solution in sight, we began to feel decidedly abandoned not only by Webasto but also by The New Boat Company. With nowhere else to go we continued to dig. And this is what we found out.

Many years ago red and white diesel had the same high sulphur levels and were identical except for the red dyes used to distinguish the off road diesel for tax purposes. Over the years, however, legislation has required a lower sulphur content for white road vehicle diesel and the levels of sulphur have been dramatically reduced to, now, less than 50 parts per million (P.P.M.) for white road diesel. In contrast, red off road diesel continued to contain its high levels of sulphur, up to 2000 P.P.M. until January 2008 at which time it was reduced to no more than 1000 P.P.M. So, until recently, according to our calculations, standard red diesel has been able to contain up to 40 times more sulphur than white road diesel. Could this be the same excessive sulphur that was described in the Webasto report? And if so, is red diesel really a suitable fuel for long term use with Webasto heaters?

 

BK Marine (a Webasto agent) who bench-tested our heater unit seemed to support the above when they told us that if we ran the heater on Kerosene it would be fine. This statement seemed to imply that red diesel might not be quite as suitable a fuel to use for Webasto heaters as we’d been told and it was certainly in contradiction to the information given to us by The New Boat Company when they said that the heater ran on red diesel. BK Marine further stated that our Webasto problem was a ‘one in a million’. Hmmm…

In case we weren’t just the ‘one in a million’ we decided to search the Canal World Forum for other heater problems and, amongst numerous relevant postings, came across Roger Gunkel’s ‘Red Diesel…At last the facts!…’ dated July 2006, and then his other posts relating to his heater experiences. Our stories seemed so similar that it got us wondering if our heater problems and the continuing roundabout of buck passing and speculation were being echoed elsewhere on the inland waterways system.

We never really did buy into the ‘you’re one-in-a-million’ lie. What a joke!.

 

All the Webasto heater problems we have heard about, to date, and there are many, seem to relate to boaters who are living aboard. Could it be that it is the daily use of the heaters particularly in winter time that shows up weaknesses in the ability of these heaters to perform for a reasonable period of time on red diesel.

 

After a year of heating nightmares we have now given up on the Webasto and installed another manufacturers unit which has been guaranteed to run effectively on red diesel.

We are warm again.

 

We have asked The New Boat Company to remove the Webasto unit and refund the appropriate monies on the basis that it was not fit-for-purpose on our vessel.

They have declined this request.

We have now commenced legal action.

Whatever the outcome we hope that some much needed transparency will be brought to this slippery world of boat heating systems and the appropriateness of using red diesel for high use consumers.

 

We would be interested to hear other boaters’ experiences with Webasto heaters and their reliability (or not) when run on red diesel, particularly where they are the main source of heating and get considerable/ongoing use.

Comments appreciated.

 

Paul Sylvan

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WEBASTO NIGHTMARE - COULD IT BE RED DIESEL ?

 

My wife and I bought a new boat from The New Boat Company in October, 2006, to live on. It came with a Webasto heater which we were told by sales staff would run on red diesel. We believed them at the time but now we’re not so sure.

We suffered continual breakdowns with our Webasto heater for over 12 months and each time the problem was the same, and required the same solution i.e. a new burner unit (the burner would get coked up to the point that the heater would not restart after its first 35 minute heating cycle). The New Boat Company failed to rectify the ongoing faults so in October, 2007, (8 long months after the problems first appeared) we contacted Webasto in Germany. They forwarded our email to Webasto UK who took over the investigation. After checking the installation and replacing the burner unit (AGAIN! This was No. 4) Webasto UK, conducted a month long experiment running the heater on white diesel. At the end of the experiment, No. 3 burner, which had been run on red diesel only, was compared with No. 4 burner (white diesel only). There was a difference. What a surprise! The burner run on red diesel had an extra yellow/white deposit mixed in with the black carbon deposits on the inside of the burner chamber. Webasto UK sent us a final report in which they stated that ‘…the most probable cause for the high build up of carbon and reduced burner life is due to an excessive presence of sulphur and/or other unknown properties within the fuel and/or tank, and is not in any way related to a Webasto product or installation issue’. That seemed to be the end of it as far as Webasto was concerned - we were being told that it was the fuel that was faulty not the unit. But how could this be? The boat had been built with the heater plumbed directly into the red diesel fuel tank and we had only ever filled up our tank with red diesel from a reputable marina outlet . We smelt a rat and decided to look further.

We contacted the Department for Transport and were told there was a considerable difference between standard red diesel BS 2869 (also called dyed gas oil), and white road diesel BSEN 590. The main difference is the sulphur levels. Webasto UK had chosen to use white road diesel (low sulphur) for their experiment on our burner. How convenient! particularly in view of the fact that they indicate excessive sulphur as the problem.

We began to see that there is a lot of misinformation around concerning red diesel and how it differs from white diesel. This was highlighted to us when the Managing Director of The New Boat Company told us that red diesel was just white diesel with dye, clearly at odds with what the Department for Transport and the British Marine Federation, who we had also made enquires to, told us.

Still without a properly functioning heater and now in the grip of winter, and still with no solution in sight, we began to feel decidedly abandoned not only by Webasto but also by The New Boat Company. With nowhere else to go we continued to dig. And this is what we found out.

Many years ago red and white diesel had the same high sulphur levels and were identical except for the red dyes used to distinguish the off road diesel for tax purposes. Over the years, however, legislation has required a lower sulphur content for white road vehicle diesel and the levels of sulphur have been dramatically reduced to, now, less than 50 parts per million (P.P.M.) for white road diesel. In contrast, red off road diesel continued to contain its high levels of sulphur, up to 2000 P.P.M. until January 2008 at which time it was reduced to no more than 1000 P.P.M. So, until recently, according to our calculations, standard red diesel has been able to contain up to 40 times more sulphur than white road diesel. Could this be the same excessive sulphur that was described in the Webasto report? And if so, is red diesel really a suitable fuel for long term use with Webasto heaters?

 

BK Marine (a Webasto agent) who bench-tested our heater unit seemed to support the above when they told us that if we ran the heater on Kerosene it would be fine. This statement seemed to imply that red diesel might not be quite as suitable a fuel to use for Webasto heaters as we’d been told and it was certainly in contradiction to the information given to us by The New Boat Company when they said that the heater ran on red diesel. BK Marine further stated that our Webasto problem was a ‘one in a million’. Hmmm…

In case we weren’t just the ‘one in a million’ we decided to search the Canal World Forum for other heater problems and, amongst numerous relevant postings, came across Roger Gunkel’s ‘Red Diesel…At last the facts!…’ dated July 2006, and then his other posts relating to his heater experiences. Our stories seemed so similar that it got us wondering if our heater problems and the continuing roundabout of buck passing and speculation were being echoed elsewhere on the inland waterways system.

We never really did buy into the ‘you’re one-in-a-million’ lie. What a joke!.

 

All the Webasto heater problems we have heard about, to date, and there are many, seem to relate to boaters who are living aboard. Could it be that it is the daily use of the heaters particularly in winter time that shows up weaknesses in the ability of these heaters to perform for a reasonable period of time on red diesel.

 

After a year of heating nightmares we have now given up on the Webasto and installed another manufacturers unit which has been guaranteed to run effectively on red diesel.

We are warm again.

 

We have asked The New Boat Company to remove the Webasto unit and refund the appropriate monies on the basis that it was not fit-for-purpose on our vessel.

They have declined this request.

We have now commenced legal action.

Whatever the outcome we hope that some much needed transparency will be brought to this slippery world of boat heating systems and the appropriateness of using red diesel for high use consumers.

 

We would be interested to hear other boaters’ experiences with Webasto heaters and their reliability (or not) when run on red diesel, particularly where they are the main source of heating and get considerable/ongoing use.

Comments appreciated.

 

Paul Sylvan

 

Nightmare.....very well written

 

After a year of heating nightmares we have now given up on the Webasto and installed another manufacturers unit which has been guaranteed to run effectively on red diesel.

 

can I ask which one, i understand if you dont want to say?

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Nightmare.....very well written

can I ask which one, i understand if you dont want to say?

Thanks for you reply. We put in a Hurricane Hydronic heater SCH25 from Calcutt Boats

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Lots of people run Webastos on red diesel (or stuff sold as red diesel)?

 

Edit: I don't know about the Hurricanes, but personally the only diesel heater I would rely on as a liveabord if it was my only form of heating would be a drip/gravity fed unit like a Bubble or Kabola, but even these are not entirely foolproof.

Edited by blackrose

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We have asked The New Boat Company to remove the Webasto unit and refund the appropriate monies on the basis that it was not fit-for-purpose on our vessel.

They have declined this request.

We have now commenced legal action.

 

Paul Sylvan

 

If you have a wriiten statement from Webasto stating that red diesel is not a suitable fuel for the heater and NBC supplied it on the basis you would be using red diesel (as all NB'ers would) then it would appear you have a very strong prima facie case as "not fit for purpose". I run mine on red diesel and have had no problems but I am not a liveaboard.

 

Chris

 

PS: I have checked their advertising blurb, the installation instructions for the Thermo Top C and the troubleshooting guide and it only refers to "diesel" without qualification of type. It even mentions bio-diesel as a suitable fuel. Your case gets stronger it appears.

Edited by chris w

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My wife and I bought a new boat from The New Boat Company in October, 2006, to live on. It came with a Webasto heater which we were told by sales staff would run on red diesel. We believed them at the time but now we’re not so sure.

 

I have to say, how many times I heard statements by boat owners like the above.

 

Key works. New Boat Company --------- salesman :huh:

 

Never believe a salesman, especially if they're selling you a boat or anything to do with boats :)

 

Do your own reasearch, I knew several years ago that webasto had problems with Red diesel, common knowledge in boat yards I've been connected with.

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I have to say, how many times I heard statements by boat owners like the above.

 

Key works. New Boat Company --------- salesman :huh:

 

Never believe a salesman, especially if they're selling you a boat or anything to do with boats :)

 

Do your own reasearch, I knew several years ago that webasto had problems with Red diesel, common knowledge in boat yards I've been connected with.

 

Common Knowledge!!!!!!!!! after 2 years living on my boat have had no problems with my Webasto.

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Common Knowledge!!!!!!!!! after 2 years living on my boat have had no problems with my Webasto.

 

Well you're one of the lucky ones or the heater is little used. But great if you've had no problems with it. A few people i know have had problems, and a boat yard I was associated with stopped using them and moved over to eberspacher.

 

I think ther're very sensitive to red diesel more so than others. Also depending where you get your supply of red diesel might have a bearing on how they perform. Red diesel has always varied it it's quality depending on it's sourse and how well it's kept. Diesel left in tanks for long periods can also deteriorate and cause problems. It's possible that webasto stuff just seems to suffer if it doesnt get nice clean fuel, just a thought.

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NBC changed over the other way, from Eberspacher to Webasto, 2 years ago because of the problems they had been having technically. On this Forum, Eberspacher problems feature many, many more times generally than Webasto problems. Eberspacher state that their unit should be run on white diesel only.

 

Chris

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WEBASTO NIGHTMARE - COULD IT BE RED DIESEL ?

 

 

My experience, for what it's worth:

 

I have a Webasto Air top 2000, as the main means of heating a 24 foot cruiser which I have lived on for 4 years.

 

The heater normally runs 3 full days and 4 evenings per week in the winter, using red diesel.

 

On purchasing the boat, the heater was not working and I took it to BK for servicing, they cleaned out the soot and replaced the burner unit. After working for about a month, the heater again failed due to clogging up with soot. Another trip to BK and they diagnosed a loose fan on the shaft and replaced the fan unit as well as another new burner unit.

 

Since then the heater has required a new burner unit every 12 months or so, (1000 hours ish?) which I have replaced myself. (Note that these are cheaper if purchased through a HGV specialist rather than a marina, I use AB Butt in Leicester)

 

I made two modifications in December 2006:

 

Fitted a fuel filter - I was expecting the burner to need replacing about December 2007 as usual, but still going strong, so an improvement there.

 

Removed one of the fuses - the installer had fitted 2 x 10A fuses in series for some reason. This was causing an unacceptable voltage drop on starting with a lowish battery, as mentioned in another post. I can now start the heater on a frosty morning without having to run my engine.

 

In general I am happy with the heater now, but would be interested in other peoples experiences.

 

M

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WEBASTO NIGHTMARE - COULD IT BE RED DIESEL ?

 

In my humble opinion the sulphur content may be a red herring, and carbon buildup could be due to the cetane rating of the fuel.

 

I'd try a diesel additive that includes a cetane booster.

 

Diesel/Gas Oil appear to be much abused terms that everyone uses to mean whatever they want to.

 

cheers,

Pete.

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NBC changed over the other way, from Eberspacher to Webasto, 2 years ago because of the problems they had been having technically. On this Forum, Eberspacher problems feature many, many more times generally than Webasto problems. Eberspacher state that their unit should be run on white diesel only.

 

Chris

 

That's interesting, maybe red diesel is causing problems to both. I'm surprised eberspacher has had so many problems, I've been in the haulage business for some years, and drivers think they're the dogs, although white diesel might explain that :)

 

I was put off both the above systems at an early stage, and went for a bubble stove with back boiler, basically as from research they seemed the most reliable units available. However I wasn't a member here then, so I may have missed some useful info along the way. Saying that the bubble hasn't had any problem in 3 years, but it's been used very little. My brother has one too and has been used a lot more without problems, so hopefully i'm in for some trouble free heating :lol:

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Some diesel suppliers sell other oils, oil is not cheap, if they have any crap what can they do with it instead of dumping it?

 

Solution, Hide it in the red diesel of course where it cant be seen so easily and where it usually ends up on building sites where no one cares, obvious isnt it.

 

What i`m trying to say is, its possible that it could be where you purchased the diesel rather than the diesel thats the problem, maybe good quality red diesel would be fine.

Edited by Troll

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Well BK must have sold 2 million units!!.... I had a burner clogging issue with my Thermo Top C at about a year from installation (Feb 2007) and BK via Foxton Boat Services replaced it under warranty. It was totally and utterly clogged with carbon and so were the passageways within the heater body. Since then it has been running fine with the new burner and has shown none of the previous tendencies to cut-out or hang up.

However, I don't let it run on 'idle' or low power for long and prefer to run it in hour-long bursts where it runs at full power for most of the time. I don't know if this helps, but it was FBS recommendation and their intimation was that long periods on low power were the root cause of most of the troubles. The instructions I received with my unit advised that additives shouldn't be used in the fuel....

And the installation instructions were specific to a marine environment.... with no mention of it not being suitable for use on 'red'....

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I think it is pretty obvious that all these automotive derived heating systems have issues in the marine environment and the common factor is the use of gas oil fuel commonly available to boaters.

 

The quality of the gas oil supplied is obviously seems to have some bearing being that some people suffer horrendous problems while others don't.

 

Without letting the cat out of the bag by being too specific, public statement and and the acknowledged in the trade reality aren't often the same because it wouldn't be good for sales.

 

From our experience additives help while running on kerosene or road diesel is problem free.

 

One manufacturer recommends the use of smaller units that will run near to there maximum output continuously burning lower certainer rated fuels more efficiently, on the downside of this you have to remember these units were never designed for domestic style heating and long run times this is reflected in the expected component service life of the units.

 

You really have to consider if these units are suitable for the markets they are sold into?

 

Heating a small recreational cruiser for a few weeks a year is not the same as heating and providing hot water on a live aboard boat where the owner expects to get the equivalent of land based domestic system.

 

For builders it's a hard choice cost versus reliability, we have just changed our basic spec to the ITR Hurricane units after offering them has an upgrade for a few years.

 

If you have the room a true domestic boiler will always be the best and maybe even cheaper option.

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I know I'm probably going to regret posting this, but it may help others extend the time between services.

 

At the weekend our Webasto refused to start, and we assumed we were going to service it with a new burner. Whenever it tried to start there was the most horrific white smoke (nothing to do with the Vatican!) and the cycle ended with failure.

 

A friend suggested we try what a local Webasto agent had advised him to try in similar circumstances. i.e Switch off the diesel; try restarting the Webasto through a few cycles; turn on the diesel; try restarting the Webasto. If it doesn't work try again. If that fails, you'll need the service.

 

I tried it - a couple of cycles without fuel seemed to clear whatever build up there was in the exhaust box, so on with the diesel, and it started first time. It mentions the problem of driving rain causing the silencer box to block, in the manual. But it doesn't suggest a solution.

 

 

 

Now let's hope it starts tomorrow morning!

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I can agree with Blackrose, Kabola boilers are good. Ours is still working without major mishap after four years of liveaboard use. The upside is they are simple and dont use elecricity at all and are silent, and its kept us snug, even in the middle of a Pennine winter. One downsde, I clean the burner pot every couple of months, not a difficult job but very, very dirty.

 

Andy.

 

Edited for crap spelling and to mention the fact that the boiler seems happy burning red diesel no matter where its purchased.

Edited by Travis

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WEBASTO NIGHTMARE - COULD IT BE RED DIESEL ?

 

My wife and I bought a new boat from The New Boat Company in October, 2006, to live on. It came with a Webasto heater which we were told by sales staff would run on red diesel. We believed them at the time but now we’re not so sure.

We suffered continual breakdowns with our Webasto heater for over 12 months and each time the problem was the same, and required the same solution i.e. a new burner unit (the burner would get coked up to the point that the heater would not restart after its first 35 minute heating cycle). The New Boat Company failed to rectify the ongoing faults so in October, 2007, (8 long months after the problems first appeared) we contacted Webasto in Germany. They forwarded our email to Webasto UK who took over the investigation. After checking the installation and replacing the burner unit (AGAIN! This was No. 4) Webasto UK, conducted a month long experiment running the heater on white diesel. At the end of the experiment, No. 3 burner, which had been run on red diesel only, was compared with No. 4 burner (white diesel only). There was a difference. What a surprise! The burner run on red diesel had an extra yellow/white deposit mixed in with the black carbon deposits on the inside of the burner chamber. Webasto UK sent us a final report in which they stated that ‘…the most probable cause for the high build up of carbon and reduced burner life is due to an excessive presence of sulphur and/or other unknown properties within the fuel and/or tank, and is not in any way related to a Webasto product or installation issue’. That seemed to be the end of it as far as Webasto was concerned - we were being told that it was the fuel that was faulty not the unit. But how could this be? The boat had been built with the heater plumbed directly into the red diesel fuel tank and we had only ever filled up our tank with red diesel from a reputable marina outlet . We smelt a rat and decided to look further.

We contacted the Department for Transport and were told there was a considerable difference between standard red diesel BS 2869 (also called dyed gas oil), and white road diesel BSEN 590. The main difference is the sulphur levels. Webasto UK had chosen to use white road diesel (low sulphur) for their experiment on our burner. How convenient! particularly in view of the fact that they indicate excessive sulphur as the problem.

We began to see that there is a lot of misinformation around concerning red diesel and how it differs from white diesel. This was highlighted to us when the Managing Director of The New Boat Company told us that red diesel was just white diesel with dye, clearly at odds with what the Department for Transport and the British Marine Federation, who we had also made enquires to, told us.

Still without a properly functioning heater and now in the grip of winter, and still with no solution in sight, we began to feel decidedly abandoned not only by Webasto but also by The New Boat Company. With nowhere else to go we continued to dig. And this is what we found out.

Many years ago red and white diesel had the same high sulphur levels and were identical except for the red dyes used to distinguish the off road diesel for tax purposes. Over the years, however, legislation has required a lower sulphur content for white road vehicle diesel and the levels of sulphur have been dramatically reduced to, now, less than 50 parts per million (P.P.M.) for white road diesel. In contrast, red off road diesel continued to contain its high levels of sulphur, up to 2000 P.P.M. until January 2008 at which time it was reduced to no more than 1000 P.P.M. So, until recently, according to our calculations, standard red diesel has been able to contain up to 40 times more sulphur than white road diesel. Could this be the same excessive sulphur that was described in the Webasto report? And if so, is red diesel really a suitable fuel for long term use with Webasto heaters?

 

BK Marine (a Webasto agent) who bench-tested our heater unit seemed to support the above when they told us that if we ran the heater on Kerosene it would be fine. This statement seemed to imply that red diesel might not be quite as suitable a fuel to use for Webasto heaters as we’d been told and it was certainly in contradiction to the information given to us by The New Boat Company when they said that the heater ran on red diesel. BK Marine further stated that our Webasto problem was a ‘one in a million’. Hmmm…

In case we weren’t just the ‘one in a million’ we decided to search the Canal World Forum for other heater problems and, amongst numerous relevant postings, came across Roger Gunkel’s ‘Red Diesel…At last the facts!…’ dated July 2006, and then his other posts relating to his heater experiences. Our stories seemed so similar that it got us wondering if our heater problems and the continuing roundabout of buck passing and speculation were being echoed elsewhere on the inland waterways system.

We never really did buy into the ‘you’re one-in-a-million’ lie. What a joke!.

 

All the Webasto heater problems we have heard about, to date, and there are many, seem to relate to boaters who are living aboard. Could it be that it is the daily use of the heaters particularly in winter time that shows up weaknesses in the ability of these heaters to perform for a reasonable period of time on red diesel.

 

After a year of heating nightmares we have now given up on the Webasto and installed another manufacturers unit which has been guaranteed to run effectively on red diesel.

We are warm again.

 

We have asked The New Boat Company to remove the Webasto unit and refund the appropriate monies on the basis that it was not fit-for-purpose on our vessel.

They have declined this request.

We have now commenced legal action.

Whatever the outcome we hope that some much needed transparency will be brought to this slippery world of boat heating systems and the appropriateness of using red diesel for high use consumers.

 

We would be interested to hear other boaters’ experiences with Webasto heaters and their reliability (or not) when run on red diesel, particularly where they are the main source of heating and get considerable/ongoing use.

Comments appreciated.

 

Paul Sylvan

 

Hi,

 

I read on one of the forums that a leading oil co had admitted that red deisel is the same as home heating oil and is much different from the road fuels in use today.

 

The government are pledged to reduce the sulphur content over the next couple of years to road fuel levels this no doubt will solve the heater probs. However....... :lol: I have a vintage engine in my NB Tarka which needs he sulphur as a lubricant (like lead in 4 star petrol) does anyone know what effect the reduction in sulphur willl have on old marine deisels.

 

Does this warrant another thread? Are there additives we can use.

 

cheers

 

Ian

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I know I'm probably going to regret posting this, but it may help others extend the time between services.

 

At the weekend our Webasto refused to start, and we assumed we were going to service it with a new burner. Whenever it tried to start there was the most horrific white smoke (nothing to do with the Vatican!) and the cycle ended with failure.

 

A friend suggested we try what a local Webasto agent had advised him to try in similar circumstances. i.e Switch off the diesel; try restarting the Webasto through a few cycles; turn on the diesel; try restarting the Webasto. If it doesn't work try again. If that fails, you'll need the service.

 

I tried it - a couple of cycles without fuel seemed to clear whatever build up there was in the exhaust box, so on with the diesel, and it started first time. It mentions the problem of driving rain causing the silencer box to block, in the manual. But it doesn't suggest a solution.

 

 

 

Now let's hope it starts tomorrow morning!

 

I mentioned on earlier post that I have had no problems with my Webasto in 2 years as liveaboard, maybe I should also mention that I do run it for a few hours every month during the summer months.

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I know I'm probably going to regret posting this, but it may help others extend the time between services.

 

At the weekend our Webasto refused to start, and we assumed we were going to service it with a new burner. Whenever it tried to start there was the most horrific white smoke (nothing to do with the Vatican!) and the cycle ended with failure.

 

A friend suggested we try what a local Webasto agent had advised him to try in similar circumstances. i.e Switch off the diesel; try restarting the Webasto through a few cycles; turn on the diesel; try restarting the Webasto. If it doesn't work try again. If that fails, you'll need the service.

 

I tried it - a couple of cycles without fuel seemed to clear whatever build up there was in the exhaust box, so on with the diesel, and it started first time. It mentions the problem of driving rain causing the silencer box to block, in the manual. But it doesn't suggest a solution.

 

 

 

Now let's hope it starts tomorrow morning!

It started fine - and has continued to do so. I wish I had know this when we had the problem last November - might have been able to save a couple of hundred quid :hug:

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I brought to live aboard from THE NEW BOAT Co in 2006 with a webasto heating system the heating has never worked from day one. During this time THE NEW BOAT Co have done there best to help by replacing the entire system twice and at there expense to no avail. Eventually a webasto engineer was sent to test the system over six weeks with white diesel it worked perfecly , it run hot enough to burn off the carbon and sulpher residue which was apparently the problem. Webasto still insist that red diesel is adequate to run the system whilst several boat owners will dissagree.

Edited by stevie

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I have spoken to Paul directly and at length regarding the problems with his Webasto. the similarities with my own Eberspacher case (which have been fully documented on this forum) are remarkable. This is particularly clear in the comments regarding fuel quality and 'rareness' of the problem from both manufacturers.

 

There are as always a number of well intentioned but not neccesarily relevant comments from forum members with different experiences. Some of these suggest that various outlets sell sub-standard fuels or fuel contaminated with waste oils. I am sure that there are unscrupulous small scale suppliers that do fit that category, however in my own and Paul's case, supplies have only been purchased from a highly reputable supplier with high volume fuel turnover.

 

There are also considerable numbers of users of both Webasto and Eberspacher heating systems who do not have problems, although many of these users are in fact low hours users. I also have a small boat on which I have run an old Eberspacher airtronic for four trouble free years, however I doubt that it has run for even 50 hours over this time! The other well quoted example is the fact that thousands of these units have been run efficiently in commercial vehicles for many years. That is irrelevent of course as they are running on lower sulpher content white diesel.

 

It is of course extremely difficult for the majority of owners to have any real idea of how many hours their heaters have run, rather than how many years they have had them. This is naturally a great 'get out' for manufacturers and suppliers as they will always play the lack of service card, knowing that you are going to have your own doubts and almost certainly no proof. In my own case, I insisted on having a diagnostic system and hours counter fitted to my third replacement Eber. This showed quite clearly that it had failed completely again, after completing less than half the reccommended service hours. It was of course out of guarantee by then as it had been relegated to an occasional backup system to the solid fuel stove.

 

There is finally the comment that the units, although highly efficient when running properly, are not really suitable as domestic heating systems!! REALLY! Isn't that precisely why they are sold to purchasers of live aboard boats.

 

I think it is high time that the scandal of these systems was made fully public and the manufacturers and suppliers forced to face their responsibilities. Eberspacher and Webasto both issue fuel requirement specifications for their heaters and RED DIESEL DOES NOT MEET THAT SPECIFICATION. Paul's case has shown quite clearly that his Webasto does not run successfully on Red Diesel as a domestic heating . This has been tested and confirmed in writing by Webasto's own test team. This is completely indisputable and also backs up their own spec figures as well many unhappy user's experiences.

 

The question then becomes not 'does it run on red diesel?' but 'WHY ARE THESE UNITS BEING MARKETED TO BOAT OWNERS?'

Eberspacher are currently and quite blatantly marketing their products as 'Central Heating For Boats' I also understand that Paul can also show that Webasto are using similar wording. In addition, boat builders are fueling these systems from the boat's main diesel tank. Both manufacturers and suppliers are perfectly aware that red diesel is the only readily available fuel to boat users and are therefore equally guilty of supplying an unsuitable product into the market. Why should anyone who has just purchased an expensive heating system connected to his diesel tank want to be told afterwards that he could fit a seperate tank for kerosene, (if he could get the fuel) or have to put in special additives just to help it to work properly. Any purchaser would be unaware of required fuel specifications as this would certainly not be included in promotion material. I would further suggest that any potential purchaser preparing to spent arround £2500 on a heating system for a liveaboard, would never even consider it if they were aware that it was likely to have problems on the available fuel. Would you buy a car if you knew it would't run on the fuel available from filling stations?

 

Webasto and Eberspacher are multi million pound companies, who are very aware that if they are shown to have been marketing a product 'Unfit for Purpose' for many years, there could be serious repercussions. I would like to thank Webasto for showing conclusively that the product is unsuitable to the market and welcome wholeheartedly Paul's efforts to bring them to task. I would like to see trading standards investigating the marketing of both companies and those boat builders that consistently grab the profits whilst hiding the problems. The boating market is seen as fragmented and specialised, but I bet that if a similar problem involved fuel suitability for a family car, there would be national coverage in all media. Just look at the recent coverage on the suspect Tesco petrol supplies.

 

The units themselves are remarkable pieces of technology and engineering and with the right fuels will give great service. Its such a pity that they have been sold into our market without the full facts and warnings being readily available to customers

 

We can thank this forum for giving us the abilty to bring these sorts of problems to the notice of a large number of present and potential users and hope that Paul can start to enlist the support and interest of this forum and the boating press generally. Good luck Paul, you have my number if you need my further support.

 

Roger Gunkel

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I don't think either Webasto or Eberspacher are going to put their hands up and say they have any reason to stop or change the way they market them.

 

The best solution if you know you are going to run them on gas oil is to look for an alternative.

 

We won't be fitting anymore without they are a specific request, not because we have had problems but because both companies have made such a mess of handling the perceived problems that I don't have the patience or time to explain the situation to every potential customer we see, it is far easier to add £500.00 or so to the boat price and have an easier life.

 

I would suggest those builders still using them should consider the same. :D

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