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Wallas revisited
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westward



Joined: 17 Feb 2005
Posts: 708
City/Region: Seattle
State or Province: WA
C-Dory Year: 1985
C-Dory Model: 16 Angler
Vessel Name: TBD
Photos: Steady Eddy
PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2021 10:53 am    Post subject: Wallas revisited Reply with quote

Greetings!

Never thought I'd be asking this question, but here goes:

On our new (to us) Rosborough 246 we need heat. I've decided on diesel heat with thermostatic control. The existing Force10 propane cooktop is worn and I'm not jazzed about having hard-installed propane on the boat anyway. Installing a dedicated forced-air diesel heater PLUS a new cooktop would be tricky and fairly expensive. For that option I would go for the Wallas 22gb heater unit.

Though I have heard from multiple sources they are frustratingly unreliable, and had thusly dismissed them from my heater search, there is an obvious appeal to choosing a Wallas heater/stove combination. It would fit the existing cooktop cutout for an easy install, would leave the cabinet space underneath unmolested, and would cover both heat and cooking. Though we intend to add some inside passage cruising and boat camping, our need for heat and cooking is probably less than with most cruisers. We could use a ceramic cube heater to supplement whenever we have shore power, and our jetboil for our morning French press.

Now my question: I have heard that the newer generation of these heater/stoves is significantly more reliable than the original versions. What are your honest thoughts? Is this simply a case of my wanting them to be something they're not to suit my immediate needs, or have they actually demonstrated major improvement?

Thanks for your input, Mike
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ssobol



Joined: 27 Oct 2012
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City/Region: SW Michigan
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C-Dory Year: 2008
C-Dory Model: 22 Cruiser
Vessel Name: SoBELLE
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2021 11:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are other brands of diesel heaters that are widely used and less expensive such as Espar and Webasto.

There are widely available Chinese knockoffs for a couple of $hundred.
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westward



Joined: 17 Feb 2005
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City/Region: Seattle
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C-Dory Year: 1985
C-Dory Model: 16 Angler
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Photos: Steady Eddy
PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2021 11:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks,

The savings in our heater/stove scenario would include the cost of a new cooktop plus several hours labor d/t simpler installation. I like the Espar/Webasto units except for the loud noise they make on startup. I know from experience this is annoying to others nearby your boat. If we go the dedicated heater/dedicated cooktop route I would probably opt for the Wallas 22gb unit (reliable, self-contained, relatively easy to install) and probably just refurbish the Force10 propane unit that came with the boat. I would, however, like to avoid the obvious time investment that scenario entails. I won't go with a Chinese knockoff unit as I value my time more than labor time for heater replacement (some have said of the Chinese units: "buy 2, then just swap out the first when it quits working").

If it's sounding like I'm trying to convince myself to go with the Wallas Nordic, I probably am, but hands-on experience by others is quite persuasive to me.

Warm regards, Mike
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Hunkydory



Joined: 28 Mar 2005
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City/Region: Cokeville, Wyoming
State or Province: WY
C-Dory Year: 2000
C-Dory Model: 22 Cruiser
Vessel Name: Hunkydory
Photos: Hunkydory-Jay-and-Jolee
PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2021 12:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike, our original Wallas 95 came with the boat & worked great on our 2003 & 2004 SE Alaska cruises & elsewhere, but on the subsequent cruises of 2007 & 2010 it failed with very expensive repairs. In 2012 in SE Alaska it failed again, where my options were another $1000 repair job or a new 85 model for $2400. I chose the new then 85 model. In just the rest of the 2012 cruise we put almost 800 hours on it & many more in 2015, 2016 & 2018 in Alaska, where it has been very dependable & I have confidence in it for our planned SE Alaska cruise this coming spring. It seems the newer models have been quite dependable, but the high cost is a shock. One of my sons has a off road capable rv trailer on order & he has chosen the option of the new Wallas cooker/heater for it & he is very extensive in researching best options for such a choice. Personally I think the present Wallas heaters & combos to be top of the line & if operated as many threads here in the past have suggested very reliable. Like you, I donít care for the louder noise of most of the other choices, but the high price of the Wallas & itís past poor reputation leads many to other options.

Jay

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robhwa



Joined: 04 Dec 2013
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City/Region: Anderson Island
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2021 12:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

westward wrote:

If it's sounding like I'm trying to convince myself to go with the Wallas Nordic, I probably am, but hands-on experience by others is quite persuasive to me.

I have four Wallas units...currently only one installed one in my CD22, one in my popup camper, one in a yurt, and one I don't use yet. Three were units people sold or given me as they didn't like the Wallas. The compromise of a heater/cooktop really is a compromise. I use the Wallas for cabin heat and sometimes for heating water. It is a medicre cooktop, so I use an induction cooktop (I have a 2000 watt inverter and 200 amps of LiFEPO4 batteries) primarily for cooking unless I have time and the Wallas is already going. Since the Wallas draws air from the living area, puts out dry heat, and exhausts to outside, it is great in the CD22 in humid Western Washington. When too dry, keeping a pot on the open stove helps keep humidity up much as I do with a wood stove. My main complaints are the noise when trying to sleep. The warm air also blows to the wrong direction, so I use a 12 volt fan to push some back into the sleeping area (not much success). I was a little concerned about propane on my CD22 since it is denser than air, and leaks could settle and ignite. Diesel has many advantages of safety. If you go with the Wallas, run it regularly, start and finish on the high setting. Don't run it for short times (let it heat up completely). Don't let Wallas diesel sit in the stove, in the tank, or in a container with air in a humid environment. You'll be able to tell when fuel is bad since it won't put out much heat (or might not ignite). Sometimes just changing to new fuel solves problems. Reliability is a problem, but I have actually had pretty good luck. I run the Wallas for a few hours when I run my gasoline generators, lawn mowers, log splitter, tiller, etc., about once a month. I think some regular use helps. Leaving any fuel sitting in an appliance for long periods seems to cause problems.
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westward



Joined: 17 Feb 2005
Posts: 708
City/Region: Seattle
State or Province: WA
C-Dory Year: 1985
C-Dory Model: 16 Angler
Vessel Name: TBD
Photos: Steady Eddy
PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2021 12:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Jay

FWIW I just got off the phone with Scan Marine. I had an extensive and I feel very honest conversation with their rep. Here's a brief summary of that conversation:

-The original Wallas cooktop/heaters were indeed unreliable and became increasingly problematic as they aged (not his exact words, but he was quite transparent about the poor service history). This was d/t a 2-fan design where both fans were brush type and operated at different speeds. The motors would soot up and eventually shut down ("kill themselves"), and lifespan could be between 500-1,000 hrs. Their appeal was they were the only product then available which did both heating and cooking

-The new Nordic and countertop models (same unit, different installation) use brushless motors and better control systems, and have been extremely reliable, with few callbacks for service/repairs

-Diesel fuel is preferred to kerosene in every situation except extreme cold where the diesel begins to gel

-It is very important to adequately size the electrical service as the units need significant power during their startup phase (12 minutes). Power starving = unit failures

-The units need open air below and shouldn't be too tightly enclosed

-excessive dust, pet hair, etc. will foul up the new units. They need to be protected from these conditions

-The units have automatic 12 min. startup and 5 min shutdown cycles which are not to be interrupted. No more need for running full blast, purging fuel, etc.

-The heat-only units are significantly more difficult to install (I suspected this)

-For cooking: best to plan cooking for after the unit has already been running in heat mode for a bit, or in Summer wait until the startup cycle is complete.

-Many more unit-specific details and installation suggestions were provided for my boat and our situation

I have now spoken at length with ScanMarine reps twice, and both times have been very positive experiences. No sales pressure and a remarkable willingness to spend time explaining things at length to help me not only understand the specific Wallas units, but also help develop an overall heating/cooking system and strategy. I would not hesitate to purchase from this firm. (BTW I have also had very positive interactions with Sure Marine, our local Webasto dealer)
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srbaum



Joined: 30 Aug 2010
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City/Region: Portsmouth
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2021 4:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike,
I had a 95D unit on my 22 and had that boat for 10 years. When I purchased the boat, I had loads of problems with the unit and eventually figured out that the ground wire had a break in it, so the wire diameter for the power needed was diminished. After that it was reliable, but after year 6, I had to send it to Scan Marine for service. A few years later, I had to do it again. Living on the east coast, made the cost of shipping, along with repair cost, through the roof. On my current 26, I installed the Nordic DT and absolutely love it. I use my boat year-round, so the heat is used a lot. I do cook with it and yes, it takes time to heat up, but all of the overall, the other benefits clearly out weigh the negative.
I had a trip two weeks ago and used it to keep the cabin dry and toasty at night, took some folks on an orientation cruise this past weekend and it was on for almost two days. Today, temps were 42 in the morning and I enjoyed the morning inside the boat at a comfortable 68 degrees.
Would I recommend the Wallas Nordic, absolutely!
PS, I have three Cafamo fans in the cabin and use one or two on low speed to quickly distribute the heat, throughout the boat (I also use the fans, when running the air conditioner).

_________________
Steve Baum
Homeport of Portsmouth, VA
OSPREY (Ex Mister Sea) 2000 22 C-Dory 2010 - Sold 3/19
OSPREY (Ex ADITI) 2007 26 Cape Cruiser 2018
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thataway



Joined: 02 Nov 2003
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City/Region: Pensacola
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2021 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have had 4 different Wallas units in 4 C Dorys, and have not had any trouble that I could not fix on the water. I used fuels from "Liquid Candle was" (got 5 gallons at West Marine for $10 years back as a close out0 to Liquid Heat, and #2 diesel. The voltage, warm up period, and full bore, then cool down (apparently not necessary any more). Cleaned burners when necessary etc.

On the 25 I just sold, I went with induction cooking and electric heat--but we have become "fair weather sailors".

The person who bought the boat will be putting a Websco forced air unit. The boat had the port forward bulkhead, Thataway also had 4 fans, two up high forward and one on each side of the bunk area, to circulate both warm or cold air.

After Cruising S E AK with a C Dory 25 and the Wallas, I had felt that one of the forced air heaters would have been a good "investment". However those heaters do take up a lot of room (equals storage space), and need to be ducted to the bunks and cabin both. (On the Cal 46 we cruised AK 4 years, and had a 46,000 BTU circulating hot water system--with radiators in 3 cabins, and copper pipes in the hanging lockers, and under the head floors/and on the towel racks.)

_________________
Bob Austin
Thataway
Thataway (Ex Seaweed) 2007 25 C Dory May 2018 to Oct. 2021
Thisaway 2006 22' CDory November 2011 to May 2018
Caracal 18 140 Suzuki 2007 to present
Thataway TomCat 255 150 Suzukis June 2006 thru August 2011
C Pelican; 1992, 22 Cruiser, 2002 thru 2006
Frequent Sea; 2003 C D 25, 2007 thru 2009
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westward



Joined: 17 Feb 2005
Posts: 708
City/Region: Seattle
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C-Dory Year: 1985
C-Dory Model: 16 Angler
Vessel Name: TBD
Photos: Steady Eddy
PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2021 5:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My boat project list includes dash-mounted Hella fans for window defogging; sounds like these fans could also be useful for heat circulation? The need to run ducting for makeup and output air represents one of the more challenging aspects of the dedicated heater install. Our boat has a FRP cockpit box intended as a propane tank locker but which would be perfect for a Wallas diesel tank with either setup, to minimize diesel fuel vapors in the cabin.

Scan Marine also reports having anticipated the supply chain challenge, so they have everything they sell in stock. I'm thinking I'll pick up a Nordic heater/stove with install kit early next week.

Best, Mike
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srbaum



Joined: 30 Aug 2010
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2021 6:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike,
My Wallas diesel fuel tank is in the cabin, in the cabinet, below the sink. There is absolutely no odor. On my 22 it was also in the same general location and there was no odor in that boat either.
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hardee



Joined: 30 Oct 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2021 6:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

16 years with a Wallas with NO Problems. (I know, but I am still on that side of the fence.) The tank is under the sink and there has never been any diesel fumes floating around in the cabin. Start on High, and run 15 min before adjusting, then back to High and run 15 min before shutting down. Works for me.

Harvey
SleepyC Moon


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bridma



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PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2021 6:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Had my Wallas for 6 years, never a problem. No smell, very important to start up on high, shut off on high.
A couple of gripes: Sitting opposite the Wallas I got quite hot, my wife sitting opposite me complained she was not warm enough! But she does feel the cold more than most. A little free standing woodstove fan does move the heat around. When cooking it can be a bitch getting the temp setting right as it takes a little longer for the rings to cool down a bit.
If I were to buy another boat or RV that came with a Wallas, I would be fine with it. If the boat/RV had no heat, I would certainly look at other products on the market before getting another Wallas.

Martin.
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srbaum



Joined: 30 Aug 2010
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Photos: Osprey
PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2021 6:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The new Wallas Nordic, does not need to have the control regulated for start up or shut down. It truly is automatic and starts and shuts down on a low setting, regardless of what you set the knob on.
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DayBreak



Joined: 16 Jul 2017
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2021 7:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We love our DT 85 Nordic Wallas. It is four years old and has performed flawlessly. As a matter of fact we are using it now and it is cooking our meal. Tonight we will run it on low for heating and to keep the condensation down in the cabin.. The unit circulates air from inside the cabin and expels it outside. When we bought our boat with the unit the technician told us to run the Wallas once a month for 15 minutes to keep it running well long term.
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robhwa



Joined: 04 Dec 2013
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2021 7:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

All of the above advice will help your Wallas perform as you want.

In my experience, bad fuel is a serious problem. Good article on diesel...applies to gasoline as well, particularly ethanol gas.

https://chembloggreen1.wordpress.com/2012/12/13/hygroscopy-and-storage-of-diesel-fuel/

I buy new diesel and keep a full container of diesel (little air) when I start a trip, boat or camper. Fortunately, I can just dump older diesel into my truck so I don't have to store it for long.
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