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Fffrank

Heater retrofit?

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Fffrank

On my 2004 23LSV the previous owner had told me that one of the problems with the boat was that the heater core needed to be replaced (and had been bypassed.)  Not a big deal for me, but digging into it I'm finding out that the heater core and the box that it goes into is completely gone.  Behind my kickpanel is just the fan.  Buying a new kit from Heatercraft is super expensive.  Does anyone see a reason why this unit wouldn't work?  https://www.amazon.com/ProAir-Floor-Mount-Heater-4-hole/dp/B01FN2ZGBM/ref=sr_1_fkmr2_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1493911201&sr=8-1-fkmr2&keywords=4+outlet+heater+24%2C000btu

 

ProAir also makes a "vertical mount" version although the pictures on their website look exactly the same.  It might just be a mounting difference?

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Woodski

@Fffrank:  One of the primary factors in the cost of a marine heater (Heatercraft) is the price of the heater core which is more compatible with raw water or dirty / corrosive water found in many / most lakes.  The ProAir systems you are looking at are used in vehicles such as fire trucks, etc. where coolant is used as the circulating fluid.  Raw water & lake water tends to corrode a standard automotive heater core quite rapidly, most likely why the system in your boat was bypassed.  That kit will work, but the heater core unit will be a standard automotive unit and unless you have a closed circuit cooling system where you will run antifreeze as the fluid, expect a pretty short core life.  If you do select the Pro Air model, installing a marine type core may require significant modifications to fit one in (the Heatercraft cores do come in several sizes and in many cases match a standard Ford heater core size / water supply pipe size).

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DUKENO1

I am definitely no expert...don't have a heater and can really only think of a few occasions in the last 10 years that I would have used it. However, a good buddy of mine who is an engineer , built his own for his Nautique using a heater core from an automobile that  he picked up at a NAPA or Advanced or some such.  He has had that thing in his boat working fine for many years now.  I am not trying to say Woodski is wrong...maybe our water here is very low in minerals that might speed up the death of a regular automotive core?  Or maybe my friend has just been lucky.  We also have pretty mild winters here and his boat is stored in an insulated garage so winterization is never an issue.  Anyways, just thought I would chime in.

 

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Fffrank
2 hours ago, Woodski said:

@Fffrank:  One of the primary factors in the cost of a marine heater (Heatercraft) is the price of the heater core which is more compatible with raw water or dirty / corrosive water found in many / most lakes.  The ProAir systems you are looking at are used in vehicles such as fire trucks, etc. where coolant is used as the circulating fluid.  Raw water & lake water tends to corrode a standard automotive heater core quite rapidly, most likely why the system in your boat was bypassed.  That kit will work, but the heater core unit will be a standard automotive unit and unless you have a closed circuit cooling system where you will run antifreeze as the fluid, expect a pretty short core life.  If you do select the Pro Air model, installing a marine type core may require significant modifications to fit one in (the Heatercraft cores do come in several sizes and in many cases match a standard Ford heater core size / water supply pipe size).

If the only difference is the heater core, then there is no difference.  OEM heater-craft and the NAPA cross referenced are both copper.  They're a maintenance item and should be replaced every few years.  The NAPA unit is $35.  

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Woodski

@Fffrank:  Did you find the cross reference chart at a NAPA store?  Good info to have, although sometimes a cross reference ends up not being quite the same product.  I tend to view the cores as you note, a disposable item and in need of replacement at relatively short intervals.  I have found storing them with RV antifreeze, shutting off the supply and only flowing water through them when needed does extend the life or replacement / resolder interval.  Heater-craft cores are dimensionally akin to a Ford core, but the big one for the 3 outlet heater is pretty hard to find or cross reference in my searching.  As I understand the difference between the Heater-Craft core and a standard automotive unit, the H-C core is made from a continuous tube thus eliminating the solder joint to water contact.  The solder joints are usually what fails.

@DUKENO1:  Like you friend, I actually made my own also, pretty easy task if you are handy with bending, cutting and riveting some sheet aluminum, adding a fan and plumbing it all up.  I use automotive cores also, much cheaper.

Edited by Woodski

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