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Eberspacher, Batteries, Charging, Autocruise.


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This is about what I have done to fix a problem with the Eberspacher failing to start after only a couple or three nights away off hook up. May be a bit long but of interest to some.


I have a 2006 Autocruise ( pre 'Swift' Autocruise CH Company ) with an Eberspacher 'Combitronic'. For a long time I have suffered with failures of the Eberspacher to start up after only two or three nights. ( It could be started by running the engine while it was firing up ) There are several threads on various forums about the power requirements for an Eberspacher start up so will not repeat them here.


A 'battery thread' earlier this year with much input by many and specifically from 'aandncaravan' made me seriously consider reviewing my battery set up.


I had two 115amp batteries in //. They were charged at home by a 3.8amp 'clever' charger, by the alternator while travelling and when 'camped' by nothing.


Although the 3.8 amp charger was too small for the two batteries, because they were on charge for a long period and the charger would eventually go into a 'full charge and monitoring' state I thought this was ok. Some of the comments by 'aandncaravan' and others made me think that this may not be the case. ( I used this small charger in preference to the installed Sargent charger because the latter had a constantly running fan) So I was probably wrong in believing that I had 'fully charged' leisure batteries when setting off from home.


So this is what I did:

The eberspacher is on the opposite side of the 'van from the batteries. (original Autocruise spec was just one leisure battery ) The Eber had a dedicated direct connection from the batteries separate from the rest of the 12v circuits. I had already replaced this wiring to a heavier cable having been advised that the original was not up to the Eber spec. requirements but this made little difference.


So, I separated the batteries. One in its original position for the habitation electrics and the other I moved to the Eber side of the 'van and connected this direct to the Eber. I now had no means of charging this battery unless on hook up but a short trip away showed an improvement in the Eber starting reliability even with only the one battery connected to it.


So now I needed a charging system.


I fitted a 150amp solar panel and used a 'Dual Battery Charge Controller'.


So I now have both batteries feeding their own individual circuits but both charged by the solar panel. I have set the controller % age to charge the batteries 50/50 but it is adjustable to various percentages down to 90/10.


The 'habitation' battery is of course also charged by the vehicle alternator and a charger when on hook up at home if required.


The 'Eberspacher' battery currently cannot receive a charge from the alternator, only the solar or a mains charger if required but if the solar keeps it charged there is no need for 'owt else.


Our first longish trip away with this set up was in July and we had eleven nights with no EHU .......... **Eleven** and no problem with the Eber and it would have continued so for much longer, I am sure!


Admitedly we did not use the Eber extensively for heating but it also heats the water and was started probably three or four times a day and it is the starting that uses the power. We did also have some good weather and of course the long summer days but we also had cloud and rain and even thick fog.

( 'Davidstow Sunshine' my Cornish friend calls it. )


I hope that is of interest to some, especially those of you with the

Autocruise CH / Eberspacher set up.


There are other ways of acheiving a similar result I am sure but I did it this way because I wanted to and it has worked. :-D




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Thanks for that Harvey. It's quite timely as an eighty year old.lady family friend has recently acquired an Auto Trail Pinto and I was/am concerned that it has the Eberspacher Combitronic system fitted and also comes with only one habitation battery.


I don't think that Eberspacher is the ideal system for her if things go wrong (she spends some weeks in the van in winter whilst visiting friends in France) and I fear the worst. She was advised by her dealer not to bother with the diesel heating and just to use it on electrics. From experience I don't think electric heating alone is enough in really cold weather, and knowing the French she could be limited to a 6amp supply or the like, so alarm bells are ringing.


I think that a second battery is a must for starters - any other comments gratefully received.

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That will be an *Autocruise* Pinto that your friend has. I have googled and found one for sale to see what it is. A bit of a rareity being on an Iveco chassis. They seem to have been introduced for the 2006 model year although my 2006 full model brochure does not show them.


I have had my nine year old Autocruise Starblazer for seven years now and the pictures of the Pinto show that it is very similar in fit and finish. Very nice.

It also shows that the control panel for the Combitronic is a 'De Luxe' version as mine is so I expect the specification of the Eberspacher system is probably the same as mine. They do vary a lot.


The hot water is by diesel with the addition of a mains immersion heater. The heating is by diesel also with the addition of electric heating option. They can be run as either diesel or electric or both together in 'boost' mode.

When running the heating in diesel mode the water will also be heated.


The diesel Eberspacher is efficient and heats things up quickly. Your friend must use it. Running electric heating only will not be sufficient unless it is quite mild and she has a big coat .......


From my experience I have concluded that the most important things are a good battery and a sytem of charging it.

No good having a large battery capacity if you do not have a good means of charging it fully or keeping it charged.


If she is using an EHU she can keep the battery charger on 24 hrs a day to maintain the battery and use the Eber on diesel only if the supply amperage is low. I do not have the specs for the wattages of the immersion or room electric heater to hand but I use both mine if on EHU in this country but that is very rarely and probably on a 10 to 16 amp supply.


Why, I wonder, did the dealer 'advise' her not to bother with the diesel heating and to use the Eber on electric only. Because it does not work on diesel? Has she tried it?


I do have a love / hate relationship with my Eberspacher. Most of the problems that I have had with my Autocruise have been associated in some way or another with the Eber but reading forums I see that it is not uncommon for people to have problems with their Trumas ...... I have read of many.


I think that I have 'cracked it' now and should have done it years ago. Next trip is Shepton Mallet Show when it is unlikely to be very warm or sunny so that will be another good test.


I hope that helps and ask anything else if you need to.





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Interesting to see mention of the Autocruise Pinto. We have a 2007 model and think it is a superb van. The heat out put of the Eberspacher on mains hookup is 1500 watts, which I think will keep the van nice and warm in cold weather, although the output on diesel is 3500 watts. If you enter the word Pinto in the search box on this web site you will find a review of the 2007 model Autocruise Pinto.


Any other Pinto owners out there?





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Harvey - Your quite right, it is an Autocruise of course. I don't doubt the efficiency of the Eberspacher, just the problem of keeping it going on the one battery if on a low EHU supply. I also wondered about the dealer suggestion to avoid the Eberspacher and have run it. All OK but that was with a brand new replacement battery.


Incidentally, we used to have an Autocruise Starburst and thought the original Autocruises great vans.

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I have no experience of the set-up that is discussed above but can state categorically that if you have an Eberspacher fitted then it should be run periodically if possible at full output to maintain the combustion chamber in clean working order. I think you will find that instruction in all Eberspacher books so please tell the lady owner to read up and do as the manufacturers suggest and ignore the previous advice.
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