One of the central parts to the Eberspacher-type evaporative burner is the wire mesh screen that surrounds the glowplug, where the incoming fuel is heated to vapour before it’s blown into the combustion chamber & burned.
These screens, like glowplugs in the older heaters, are consumable parts and either get clogged with soot/tar or just eventually burn away.
The problem is that these parts (for what they are at least) are bloody expensive, so I’ve been looking to come up with something that can serve as a decent replacement for much lower cost.
Here’s a slightly used screen from my D1LCC heater, as can be seen the lower edge is already burning away even after only a few hours use. This edge tends to burn as the screen projects into the combustion chamber by about 1/4″, so it’s exposed to higher temperatures there. The rest of the screen is covered by the alloy casting that holds the burner. The mesh itself is stainless steel, and looks like something between 120-150 mesh.
The mesh is wound 2-3 turns, and spot welded to hold everything together. I would imagine to give more surface area for fuel vaporization. An unfortunate side effect of this is that the screen is much more susceptible to clogging as the mesh size is effectively reduced.
This also makes them damn near impossible to clean, as the carbon deposits get stuck between the layers in the screen. Applying a blowtorch flame to the entire screen & heating it to orange heat (~1200°C) does burn most of the crap out of them. Running Paraffin/Kerosene as the fuel also makes for a much cleaner burn, extending life.
(Assuming of course that the screen can be removed without totally destroying it – in my experience after many hours of running they seize in place & require sharp implements, violence & much swearing to remove, in several pieces.)
I had some copper mesh spare from a previous project, around the correct mesh size, so I figured I’d cut a piece to the same size as the official mesh & give it a go in the heater.
Here’s my single-layer DIY screen after a couple of hours operation in the heater. Ignition time doesn’t seem to be impaired, there’s no smoke from the exhaust, and it appears that it’s staying cleaner than an OEM screen, since the mesh size is a little larger. I’ll have to monitor the situation & see how long these last, but if it’s anything close to the OEM screen life it’ll make maintenance much cheaper.
This is the opening that holds the glowplug & it’s screen. The fuel inlet can be seen on the left wall of the chamber, with a circular groove that feeds fuel onto the screen in operation.
And here’s the DIY screen in place, it’s obviously not as good a fit as the OEM version, but it’s sufficient to do the job!
Finally, here’s the glowplug itself. Possibly the beefiest plug I’ve ever seen, even in large diesel engines.