Building an expedition truck: Heating (part 2)

Winter landscape in Ardennes Belgium

In the previous article we wrote about how we came to the decision to install a coolant/water heating system in our expedition truck and how stupid we were to wait with the installation till the end of the build.

In this follow-up article you can find more information/images about how we exactly tackled the installation.


The heart of the heating system

The heart of the system is the heater itself, the Eberspächer Hydronic II D5S Commercial:

  • Capacity: 1200-4800Watt
  • Electricity consumption*: 5-27 Watt (130W while starting) & ≤ 32W for the pump (*Keep this in mind when planning your solar system; we totally forgot about it).

The Hydronic runs on diesel from the truck’s fuel tank and consumes between 0.15l and 0.59l per hour. It’s installed on the outside of the truck, attached to the camper unit (if we would ever take the unit off the chassis, the Hydronic stays with the unit).

We also added an altitude kit. This allows us to use the heater beyond 1500 above sea level (up to at least 2500m; theoretical max. range = 4000m).


Boiler & Heat Exchangers

The heated coolant runs from the Hydronic to our 20l boiler. There it heats up the water for the kitchen and shower.

In the summer the coolant will thereafter run back to the Hydronic. In the winter however, the coolant will reach 2 different heat exchangers, the Helios 2000 and the convectors.

Diagram of Heating system in Terratrotter's Expedition Camper
The Helios 2000 (Max. capacity: 2000W) is designed to heat the camper in a short period of time. This is especially useful when returning to the truck on a cold day or after ventilating. (As we found out the hard way, ventilating is extremely important to combat condensation on cold days). We combined the Helios with the EasyTouch Thermostat to automatically control the fan speed as the temperature inside the camper increases. Once it reaches the desired temperature, the fan is shut down. It also has a night mode that can run the fan on the lowest speed.


Aside from the Helios, we added 4 convectors: one underneath the sitting area, the tall closet and the kitchen, and one in the hallway (approx. 230cm in total). To work properly these convectors need air flowing freely around them. That is why we also left space between the furniture and the walls. Convectors are slow heaters. And we currently use them to maintain the desired indoor temperature. Our convectors produce approx. 400W per meter. As a result, they have a total capacity of approx. 920W.


The Helios together with the convectors and rubber hoses produce a maximum heating capacity of 3100W (or 3.1kW). This turns out to be MORE than enough for our 8m2 insulated camper unit. The rubber hoses together with the convectors alone produce that much heat that we started to insulate the hoses underneath the bed and added a thermostat.

Conclusion: We have it nice and toasty inside our tiny home on big wheels!

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5 thoughts on “Building an expedition truck: Heating (part 2)
    1. Thanks Christopher for making the time to give us feedback! We truly appreciate it and we will keep the articles coming 🙂

      Happy Travels,
      Nicole & Elmer

  1. Hi!
    You have a really nice blog!👍🏿
    I would like to know the make and model of the convector that you use In your heat installation.
    Thanks in advance!

  2. Great article about the heating system. Don’t know how I will install it. There is no representative here in Peru and I will buy directly. ?????

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