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WakeWorld Discussion Board » >> Boats, Accessories & Tow Vehicles Archive » Archive through February 10, 2003 » Anyone ever though of... « Previous Next »
By Wastemore (barry) on Thursday, December 26, 2002 - 9:43 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
Making a boat heater out of a tranny cooler?
Something my buddy and I were talking about. Using a fitted fan to blow the hot air through flex tubing to vents in differnt places in the boat.
I haven't put it all on paper and worked out details yet. It *seems* simple enough(<--- this is where I always get into trouble).
Any ideas?


Thought... not though.

(Message edited by Barry on December 26, 2002)

By Peter Chandler (peter_c) on Thursday, December 26, 2002 - 11:05 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
Why not just use a cheap heater core? You could even grab a used one out of a wreck possibly for free. The blower motors could be used or new too. Might even be able to grab the entire heater assembly out of a car. Although I can not think of any particular brands or models at this time.

Every boat needs a heater

By Jeff Guilford (fogey) on Thursday, December 26, 2002 - 11:09 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
I've been thinking of fabricating a heater as well (hey, is that TWO things ).

A small heater core should be cheaper than a trans cooler. Better yet, how about the whole heater unit from a small car or pickup without A/C? This would give you the squirrel cage motor/fan assembly--and it would be set up for multiple speeds.

An alternative might be to peruse a J.C. Whitney catalogue.

By Wastemore (barry) on Friday, December 27, 2002 - 8:12 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
Peter, My only concern with a used heater would be rust. I'd rather not introduce rust to my system if at all possible. I suppose I'll end up with it anyway.. I dunno. The blower motor I could def. use.
I question why the boat heater-cores I've seen are under the dash on the drivers side. This makes no sense to me. Why not mount the heater core in the engine bay? It would be far easier to drain if need be and, since I use a drop-light to keep my engine bay warm, it would also keep the core warm and I wouldn't have to drain it for fear of freezing. It would be out of the way, too. It would be far easier/less expensive to run control wires to the dash then it would be to run hoses.
See any problems with this, Fogey/Peter?


By Jeff Guilford (fogey) on Friday, December 27, 2002 - 9:23 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
The heater cores I've seen are brass or aluminum, so rust is not an issue. Besides, rust is unavoidable in your cast-iron engine block (unless you have closed cooling system).

I think heater cores are located in front because the air would lose a lot of heat in the ducting from the engine to the front. Hot water in a heater hose doesn't lose near as much energy.

Two drop lights?

By Wastemore (barry) on Friday, December 27, 2002 - 10:01 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
Okay, I assumed the heater cores were steel. So then, a used heater core would work!

Next question:
Assuming you're going to put vents on both sides of the boat. Why put it in the center of the boat on the drivers side? You'd have to run ducting either around the back of the engine bay or around the bow to get it to the passenger side losing a lot of heat.
It just makes more sense to me to place it in the engine bay so you'll have equal distances on drivers/passenger side. I can't imagine running ducts under the floor. The path would be blocked by stringers, etc.
Is my thinking fouled up?

Again, this is not something I've actually planned out as of yet, so I could be making no sense.

Feel free to chime in.


By Jeff Guilford (fogey) on Sunday, December 29, 2002 - 11:09 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
I see two downsides to making your own heater. The first is the hassle. The second is the one you raise--the ducting.

Assuming it's feasible to have the heater assembly near the engine and run ducting up the passenger side, where is the duct going to come out so it's accessible to passengers? You'd have the same problem even if you mounted the heater unit near the driver and tried to go under the floor, through the ski locker, or around the bow.

I think that's the main benefit of a Heatercraft kit. You get hardware to cleanly mount one or two ducts in the driver's side of the passageway to the bow. The ducts can be pulled out through these holes and extended to wherever you want to use them.

If I could come up with a nice-looking way to do the same thing, I'd put in a system using an automotive heater.

By BrianS (6more) on Monday, December 30, 2002 - 6:00 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
A heatercraft heater is just a old Ford heater core inside a custom made box with a blower attached to it. I have also thought about building one myself and figured it can't be too tough. I personally get enjoyment out of figuring things out like this. Most people will tell you it's not worth your time and just buy it. It just depends on what you want to do.

If you can build our own box, it should be easy to do. You can buy the finish ends of the tube from heatercraft to get the professional look. Everything else will be hidden. I think the heater core is out of a 73-74 Ford PU truck or something similar. I have also heard of people taking a rear heater assemble from an old full size van and using that because it had the fan assemble already.

If you do build one your self, be sure to post pictures and a description of how you did it.

By Bob (bob) on Monday, December 30, 2002 - 10:57 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
i just thought about the heatercraft heaters and mounting in the engine bay?????are there motors spark free, probably not so i think ill opt for behind the dash
By Jeff Guilford (fogey) on Monday, December 30, 2002 - 1:42 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post

I e-mailed Heatercraft to ask if they'll sell the ends to the heater tubes. No answer yet, but a DIY approach is pretty feasible if these parts are available.


Good point on sparks from the heater blower motor! That pretty well dictates the location of the heater box for me as well.

By kevin v (vanderski) on Monday, December 30, 2002 - 2:04 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
I have seen someone take a heater core hooked up to the hot water intake and put it on the drivers side on the floor with a neoprene layer over it. Sure makes a nice foot warmer.
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