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Choosing the Best Diesel Heater Fuel Tank

People use their campers/RVs/Caravans differently and due to the large number of designs, there is no one size fits all in diesel heater fuel tanks. When you are choosing a diesel heater/hot water or cooker generally the fuel tank will be sold separately, so take the following into consideration to get the right tank for you.

Capacity

The most common 2kW air heaters average around 100 to 150mL of diesel per hour so generally 10L tanks are sufficient, giving 50+ hours of operation in most mid sized caravans. 10L is the most common tank size. If you are running a diesel hot water system as well, have a much larger van or are using a 4kW heater then consider a 15L, 20L or dual 10L tanks.

Small motorhomes or vans (where not using the vehicle fuel) can often get away with a 5L tank to save space.

If you want an underfloor tank to save space these are all 15L.

Bolted on or Removable

Tanks fixed outside the RV can save internal space, but it means the whole RV needs to be taken to the service station to fill the tank. Removable tanks can be taken out to be filled making it easier to top up if you are camped long term in one location. How you use your van and whether you carry separate jerry cans of diesel to facilitate filling a bolted on tank is a key consideration.

Jerry Cans

If you already carry diesel jerry cans consider converting one to a fuel tank using our DIY kit to save carrying an extra tank.

Quality

Watch out for low quality clear tanks like the one below. These tanks are very flimsy, are not UV stable so crack after a short time in the sun and allow sunlight into the diesel which allows mould/algae to grow in the fuel. This mould/ algae makes the fuel gluggy which will then damage/block your heater fuel pump.

Low quality clear tanks

Tank Location

The most common locations are as follows:

  • Front boot, tunnel boot, front tool box (removable tanks)
  • Bolted on a bracket or tool box on the draw bar (fixed)
  • Inside under the bed, or in a cupboard (removable, should be in splash box)
  • Bolted on the rear (fixed, not desirable due to likelihood of the fuel splashing past the breather on rough roads as the back of the RV bounces around)

Tank

Use/Install Locations

Pros and Cons

Most common tank for caravans.

Installs easily in front boot, tunnel boot or under bed or cupboard (less preferred).

Pros
  • Removable with self sealing disconnects.
  • Has splash box
  • Compact, fits well in front boots
  • Easy to install
Cons
  • Takes space inside

Use instead of 10L easy fit in small vans, goes well under bed or cupboard, splash box has a lid.

Pros
  • Removable with self sealing disconnects.
  • Has splash box with lid
  • Compact, fits well in front boots
  • Easy to install
Cons
  • Takes space inside
  • Small capacity only good for small vans

Very common tank for caravans. Can be installed on draw bar, rear bumper (not preferred) or bolted to a tool box.

Pros
  • Bolts outside saving space
  • Quick to install on a tool box
Cons
  • Can’t be removed to fill
  • Sometimes needs specific bracket to mount it

Great for larger vans where there is space under the floor as saves space inside.

Pros
  • Large capacity
  • Saves space inside
  • Lockable
  • Easy to instal
Cons
  • Needs clear space next to the chassis to fit it in

Great if you have a jerry can holder already installed, or for setups that will use more diesel.

Good for off grid and tiny homes.

Pros
  • Fits in standard jerry can holder
  • Extra capacity for bigger heaters or hot water
  • Have disconnect fittings so can be easily removed to fill
Cons
  • If outside all the time need to upgrade to metal disconnects to prevent UV degradation.

Can be handy if you want a removable tank but the 10L easy fit doesn’t fit.

Can allow transport of the fuel in the vehicle and then plug in tank when at camp.

Good for off grid and tiny homes.

Pros
  • Has disconnect fittings so can be easily removed to fill
Cons
  • Does not fit a standard jerry can holder (smaller base).
  • If outside all the time need to upgrade to metal disconnects to prevent UV degradation.

Turn an existing jerry can into a fuel tank.

Pros
  • Use an existing jerry can you have and save carrying an extra fuel tank.
Cons
  • You have to make it!!!
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