It’s official: heater season is upon us. That means it’s time to pull out the old Buddy heater for some nice, warm, humid air. Nothing beats the sensation of waking up to cold condensation dripping on your warm face -it’s the price we pay to camp in the Winter months, right? But, what if there were a better way? This is where I say, there is, and it’s called the Planar 2D -12V diesel heater! Let’s go over a few of the details.
The Planar 2D heater kit arrives neatly packed in a cardboard box, filled with everything necessary for a successful install. Included are the heater box, wiring harness, tiny muffler, brackets and plumbing -that’s really all there is to this thing. The only challenge is determining where to mount the heater box: do you want it to be portable, or permanently mounted? I chose to do both.
I would like to take a second and thank Total Composites for sending over the Planar 2D-12 that we used to write this piece. Without it, this feature wouldn’t be possible.
Since we have yet to buildout the truck bed to take advantage of the GFC camper, the decision was made to temporarily mount the Planar in a steel box that was taking up space in the shop, with the intention of permanently mounting the unit in the future. Nonetheless, here are our findings:
Firing up the heater for the first time requires priming the pump, which only takes a few minutes … basically, cycle the unit on/off until fuel reaches the heater, to begin the combustion process. Once the heater fires up, there will be some melodic clicking, this is entirely normal and clears up after a few minutes.
We decided not to use the provided muffler due to the temporary nature of our setup. We also cut down the length of the air intake tubing, which eliminated the built in sound dampener. With both of these items left out, we expected the Planar to be loud, but it really wasn’t/isn’t bad at all. The mild white noise will be a welcomed addition once the heater is built into the truck.
There was a small amount of smoke coming from the tiny exhaust pipe, but this cleared up after a short period of time. I’m guessing it was just some residual oil burning off of the exhaust tubing -the same thing happens when installing fresh exhaust on a car and can be expected. Once running, the Planar warms up quickly and purrs along happily. Once the heater is shut down, the internal fan will continue to blow until the combustion chamber cools to a safe temperature.
It’s amazing what one can grow used to. I have slept in a myriad of different ground tents and vehicles. The amount of condensation that can build up during a single night of camping is nothing short of astonishing -especially when using propane heat.
This is not the case with the externally vented, Planar 2D. I woke up in a warm, dry bed after a long night’s sleep. Even though the GFC camper doesn’t have any semblance of insulation, I remained comfortably warm. No switching out tiny propane tanks at 2 AM, no risk of suffocation, and no need to vent the camper; just 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep, nice.
Note: I did not measure fuel consumption, but if enough of you are interested I would be happy to conduct some tests -drop a comment below if you’re interested.
If you plan to install a Planar 2D in an HD diesel truck, be sure to do some research. For example, I learned that my 2013 RAM 2500 has a secondary fuel pickup hose pre plumbed in from the factory. This means that diesel for the heater can come directly from the factory fuel tank without modification to the truck.
To learn more about the Planar 2D, or to get your own, visit www.expeditionupfitter.com