Installing a Chinese Diesel Heater


TOTAL: £109.58

No matter how well you insulate your van, it can get extremely cold in the winter months. It’s very important to install some way of heating the van. 

Why a diesel heater?

There are different options when it comes to heating the van. Electric heaters are out of the question due to the immense amount of power they require to function. I considered installing an LPG heater, as I plan on fitting an LPG tank, but the heaters cost £500+!

The most popular option are diesel heaters which come with a small diesel tank you can store in the van or you can hook up the heater directly to the fuel tank under the van. 

The top end version of this heater costs around £1000 however there are cheaper versions at a fraction of the price which have proven to be just as good. I opted for one of these.

You get everything you need in the box, including a little remote to turn the heat on/off or up/down.

replacement fuel line for diesel heater

Replacement parts

There are many many videos online of people fitting these cheap diesel heaters and the one thing that almost everyone recommended doing was replacing the fuel line that comes with the heater. 

The fuel line that’s included is far too wide and also way too flexible, this encourages things like air bubbles and a lack of air pressure so it’s best to replace this with some thinner, more rigid piping.


Where you position the heater will largely depend on whether you’re using the supplied fuel tank or fitting it to the van’s fuel tank, however you’ll need to drill into the floor regardless as the air intake pipe and exhaust pipe will need to be fixed outside the van. 

As well as the air intake and exhaust pipes, the fuel line also feeds out the bottom of the heater so if you’re using your van’s fuel tank you can feed the fuel line directly out the bottom of the van. If you’re using the supplied fuel tank, the fuel line will need to be fed back into the van. 

Some people doing the latter choose to elevate their heater slightly to save the fuel line from having to exit and then enter the floor of the van at all.

When I was emptying out my van, there was already a diesel heater installed in the van which I had to strip out and throw away. This heater however was connected directly to the fuel tank so I was hoping to connect my heater up to the existing line still running across the bottom of my van, meaning that I wouldn’t have to take my fuel tank off from under the van.

Drilling hole in the floor

I only have a small space under the van to position the holes, so I took the base plate under the van and placed it where I’d like the holes to go and drilled a small pilot hope up from the bottom of the van. 

Back in the van, I positioned the base plate over the pilot hole and drew around it with a sharpie so I knew where to drill the rest of the holes. 

I then drilled the holes with various holesaws of different sizes.

Fitting fuel line

fuel filter connected in place underneath the van

After screwing the base plate to the bottom of the heater, it was then a case of fitting the pipes and fuel line to the bottom of the heater as well. These can all be fastened in place with jubilee clips that come with the heater. 

Before feeding the pipes through the floor, there is an electrical wire that needs to be connected directly to the pump, so if your pump is going to be fitted externally you’ll need to feed that wire through a hole outside of the van. There isn’t a dedicated hole for this wire in the base plate, so I fed it through next to the air intake pipe and I made sure to make the hole big enough for both.

It’s then a case of feeding the fuel line and both pipes through the hole and out the bottom of the van. 

I then positioned the fuel pump where I’d like it under the van. It comes with a rubber housing and self tapping screw. This rubber housing also helps to deaden the clicking sound of the pump. 

I fastened the pump to the underside of the van where I wanted it. It’s also important to mount it between a 30/45 degree angle.

I fed the fuel line to the pump and cut it to length then connected it with more jubilee clips. I then measured out more line and connected it to the fuel filter, then connected the other end of the fuel filter to the old existing fuel line that was connected to my fuel tank.

The kit comes with some more metal housings and self-tapping screws to allow you to fix the exhaust pipe and air intake pipe to the underside of the van.

Lastly, back inside the van I fixed the metal plate attached to the bottom of the heater to the ply floor of the van with self-tapping screws.

Wiring up

There are four cables that need connecting up in total. One cable was already fed down through the bottom of the van and connects directly to the fuel pump. I then used cable ties to connect the wire to the fuel line. 

There is then a positive and negative wire that I connected directly to my 12v fuse box and used a 20amp fuse. 

The last cable connects to the heater’s control panel.

close up of the LED control panel for the diesel heater

Programming heater

Once you’ve got power to the heater, the first thing to do is to prime it. Priming the heater will start the pump and feed fuel through the line and get rid of any air bubbles in the system. 

If you hit the OK and DOWN button at the same time on the controller, it will show 'H - oF'. If you then hit UP it will change to 'H - oN' and start priming. 

Once you can see fuel throughout the fuel line, you can stop priming the heater and you’re good to go! 

The heater has a lengthy start up and cool down process and it’s important not to cut power to the heater whilst it’s cooling down as this can damage the heater. 

If you have any questions at all, feel free to ping me an email or drop me a message on Instagram!