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190 Skier 03-29-2011 12:54 AM

Heater Installation Prostar 190
5 Attachment(s)
A great snow ski season with lots of snow means full lakes this year for us California skiers, so I spent some quality time this winter getting the boat set up for spring. Last year we had a couple of cool mornings and remember hitting the lake with a 37˚ chill in the air. That day I swore a heater would be my winter project. With lots of info from this TT site I made it happen in my 1990 Prostar 190.

I went with the Heatercraft two vent style for my project, and ordered the mounting kit to have all the brackets and fittings needed to make all the connections. I know I could have gone and found them myself cheaper, but I wanted to have everything I needed to be right there and avoid a treasure hunt. I am a picky boat owner who hates the thought of cutting a hole in the fiberglass of my boat, so cutting a heater vent mounting hole under the observers seat just was not going to happen. For this reason I decided to make a free standing tower out of PVC to mount the two Hot Tube Extendable Vents. A PVC fence post from Lowes made the perfect material for the mounting tower. A 5 x 5” PVC post fit the diameter of the vent tubes exact, it is impervious to being wet, and it was only $14.

Attachment 65380

The PVC is easy to work with, I cut it to length with a circular saw, cut the holes with a jig saw then smoothed the edges with a little Dremel tool. I located the tower under the dash on the left side of the driver’s seat. This will make it easy for the driver to reach under and pull a hose out for the observers, and would have the second vent keeping the drivers feet warm. I painted the tower black to make it blend it well beneath the dash. I used stainless steel “L” brackets that I primed and painted to secure the tower to the floor using stainless steel screws I got from the Marine supply center. I do not trust the stainless steel fasteners I get from Lowes or Home Depot since they seem to still corrode at times.

Attachment 65381

Attachment 65382

The heater core/fan unit I mounted under the bow, in front of the driver’s foot rest, with the supplied brackets in the kit. The brackets had slots which allowed me to slide the heater box up so it was about 1" off the floor, this will allow good air circulation under it and prevent any possible corrosion should the carpet get damp.

Attachment 65383

The heater core hoses were easy to secure to the rear of the fan box and looped around to get out to the engine compartment. I zip tied them together and used a zip tie to secure it them to the side of the fan box mounting bracket to minimized their movement.

190 Skier 03-29-2011 01:06 AM

Heater Installation Prostar 190
4 Attachment(s)
The heater hoses run along the floor under the bow of the boat and dive down into the bilge compartment along side the steering cable and electrical harnesses.

Attachment 65389

Once in the bilge area I split the hoses so the return from the heater core runs on the port side, and the supply hose runs on the starboard side. This allowed me to run them to the correct side of the engine and keep the installation clean and out of the way. I secure the hoses to the same restraints that secure the wire harnesses and steering cable as they run through the bilge area.

Attachment 65390

Attachment 65391

After reading many posts on heaters, I knew a Y-Tube was essential to get optimal performance out of the heater. I installed the Y-Tube in the cooling hose between the raw water pump and the engine. Note this 1 ” hose has two wires that are formed in the wall of the hose for extra support. These wires spiral along the length of the hose on opposite side. Cut the hose with a hack saw so you can get thru the wire as well. Another approach is to cut the rubber on each side of the hose and then use wire cutters to get thru the wire. If you try and use a razor blade knife to cut this hose, once the blade gets to the wire it will want to follow along the side of the wire resulting in a spiral cut (picture a paper towel roll when you split it along the spiral seam)

Attachment 65392

190 Skier 03-29-2011 01:12 AM

Heater Installation Prostar 190
4 Attachment(s)
The hot water feeding the heat exchanger in the fan box comes from the same port that was used for the temp sensor. This is located on top of the engine, next to the distributor cap. I used the brass T that was provided in the kit to allow the temp sensor and feed water hose to split out of a single port. I routed the hose alongside the spark plug wires, beside the alternator and behind the exhaust manifold cooling hose. This location has easy access to the bilge area and keeps it protected from the fan belt and moving pulleys on the front of the engine.

Attachment 65393

Attachment 65397

The electrical connections for the heater were not difficult. I was originally going to wire the fan to the auxiliary switch on the fuse panel and only have the fan switch either on high or off. After pulling the fuse panel and seeing the tight work space available and the fearing cracking the acrylic panel by forcing my hand behind it, I changed my mind. I decided to wire the heater per the schematic in the kit and use the three setting switch provided. I wanted to mount the switch near the throttle on the right side of the drivers seat for easy access and operation. Based on my aversion to drilling holes in the boat, I made a bracket for the switch from the PVC fence post and bolted it to an existing hole on the back side of the throttle bracket. I did this after making the sure the wires on the back side of the switch could be easily routed and could in no way interfere with the linkage of the throttle.

Attachment 65395

Attachment 65396

This was not hard and actually a fun way to spend some quality time with the boat and a few beers during the off season. It maybe took me a half a Saturday and a couple of evenings. Time well spent come spring skiing time. I added lots of pictures since those help me the most on the threads I read, hope it is helpful to others thinking of making this addition. I also did a shower install so that thread will be next.

Luv2Ski 03-29-2011 08:00 AM

Great to see posts like this that share a project for others to see.

Thanks for posting.

BUT, it looks like you put the 'Y' pipe on the wrong side of the raw water pump. It should be placed on the intake side where the pressure will be low so that extra water flows through the heater system. With it on the pressure side, you will get little flow and may even flow cold water through the heater instead of the hot.

Originally Posted by 190 Skier (Post 741692)

Also, the stock location for the heater in a 190 is mounted on the underside the bow. There is a section on the starboard side with a good mounting plate (unless they only glass that as an option - not sure on that one). It is somewhat nice to have the box and all that hose off the floor, but yours looks nice where it is.

great job in general.

190 Skier 03-29-2011 05:10 PM

Heater install Prostar 190
Good catch on the Y-tube. I positioned it based on a photo I saw in a previous post. It will definitly work better on the suction side of the raw water pump.

Luv2Ski 03-30-2011 01:11 AM

No problem, would be a bummer to have cold air blowing out for that first March ski ride....

catamount 05-10-2013 11:22 PM

I know I'm bumping an old thread here, but I'm replacing the heater in my 1987 and wondering if I can screw the new one to the floor like you did here. What is the "best practice" for drilling into the floor in the bow? Are you comprising the integrity of the wood by doing so?

flya750 05-12-2013 11:25 AM

I just got done installing the same Heatercraft 202 Unit in my '97 PS190.

I gotta say.. your installation logic completely baffles me? It looks to me like you completely destroyed your storage area???

1.) If I am analyzing the pictures correctly...It looks to me that you mounted the so called 'Vent tower' right and the heater unitright in the way of the precious storage? How does the heat flow work when you shut the gull wing door?

2.) It looks like you also mounted the heater unit down on the floor? I mounted mine up and completely out of the way. The goal of my installation was to not compromise my precious storage. My '97 had some mounting strips that were installed into the fiberglass that made it easy to mount the heatercraft unit to the bottom of the Bow deck - So the heater is up and out of the way. Does the '90 PS 190 not have these special mounting strips so you can mount the heater unit up and out of the way?

catamount 05-12-2013 12:45 PM

flya750, the OP might not have known that there are glassed in wooden supports for a heater just forward of the driver's seat under the bow deck. I probably wouldn't have known that had I not removed the broken heater from my '87.

That said, I am worried about hanging my new replacement heater from the same slats because they are rather thin and the new unit is heavier; I'm concerned that I'll upgrade to a larger screw which would promptly puncture my deck. That's my nightmare.

I am considering securing some thicker StarBoard type material in a similar location before mounting my heater. The OEM heater mounting screws in my '87 were puny.

flya750 05-12-2013 07:42 PM


Yes... I was concerned about the extra weight of the newer Heatercraft unit myself. For my installation, I added extra mounting screws and super glued them in. I also added rubber shock mounts in the mounting brackets so if the heater unit does bounce around the stress will be minimal on the mounting screws as the rubber shock mounts I installed will take some of the "bouncing around" forces.

If the heater unit is too heavy, I doubt that there will be any damage to the bow deck; I feel the screws will just pull out.

But in my case.. I feel that I got four solid screws holds that are super glued. I have confidence in my installation but I will monitor it this season when I go to the big lakes that get quite rough.

I even added some ZIP ties for redundancy that will hold the heater unit in place just in the unlikely case my screw mounts don't hold up. The zip ties will minimize any damage that would be caused if the heater unit goes bouncing around without my knowledge. ;)

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