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Old 07-05-2017, 07:07 PM   #1
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Default Roadtrek 190 reliability?

I am nearing retirement and would like to buy a Roadtrek 190 with current technology (lithium batteries, solar panel, under hood generator, and volt start). I think I want these features because we have a small dog that would travel with us and we could leave it in the van with the AC running for extended periods if we needed to. Are these technologies reliable and safe enough to leave ones pet inside the coach with the AC on and not worry about the AC not running or working? We live in SC and the summers are very hot. We have to be able to trust that our pet can be in a safe and cool environment if needed. Alternatively, are old school Onan generators reliable and safe to run for hours if needed? Any comments and suggestions would be appreciated.
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Old 07-05-2017, 08:02 PM   #2
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The Onan is pretty reliable with regular maintenance. I can't comment on the new technology, but it sounds like it works great for some and a nightmare for others, particularly with Roadtrek.

But a must is a reliable warning system to let you know if the system has failed and AC is off. I would have two warning systems if possible.
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Old 07-05-2017, 08:47 PM   #3
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I am nearing retirement and would like to buy a Roadtrek 190 with current technology (lithium batteries, solar panel, under hood generator, and volt start). I think I want these features because we have a small dog that would travel with us and we could leave it in the van with the AC running for extended periods if we needed to. Are these technologies reliable and safe enough to leave ones pet inside the coach with the AC on and not worry about the AC not running or working? We live in SC and the summers are very hot. We have to be able to trust that our pet can be in a safe and cool environment if needed. Alternatively, are old school Onan generators reliable and safe to run for hours if needed? Any comments and suggestions would be appreciated.
The Roadtrek 190 and 210 have been in production for decades and consequently the design has been pretty much refined as it will get. The Chevy platform is arguably the most reliable and bullet proof in production today and the mpg of about 16 is remarkable for a 300 hp V8.

Both these models offer lithium batteries (400ah in the 190, up to 800ah in the 210) underhood generator and autostart. When Roadtrek introduced this technology in 2014 it had significant problems but they seem to have been mostly resolved in current production.

With respect to the safety of pets, there is no totally safe way to keep them in an RV in tropical conditions. How long would you expect to leave them unattended? Without engine support, the roof AC operating period is limited to the ah battery capacity and the autostart feature will provide no practical additional operating time once the batteries are depleted. The safer method is to leave the engine running (or the Onan generator running) and have the AC supported by the underhood generator which with dash air employed will keep the interior reasonably cool.

When you leave the coach unattended, if you have cellular coverage, there are apps available that will permit you to interrogate the coach and determine interior temperature.

Onans vs. underhood generators: If the Onan starts, (the major complaint), it will generally run until you drop below 1/4 tank of gas. Onans run from propane have a much shorter operating time. They are noisy and prohibited in some RV sites, plus they require periodic maintenance which is difficult to perform on a B because of its' location. The underhood generator is comparatively trouble free and totally maintenance free. Their weak spot is the high power inverter it must employ to provide 120VAC power. A facility to repair an Onan isn't very hard to find. A failure of the underhood generator/inverter is more likely to require replacement than repair which complicates the logistics of accomplishing this.
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Old 07-05-2017, 09:06 PM   #4
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.

If you have gone hiking and you are 2 hrs into a trail...
you get a message that your RV is overheated and the AC is not coming on.
What do you do?


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Old 07-05-2017, 09:08 PM   #5
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I am nearing retirement and would like to buy a Roadtrek 190 with current technology (lithium batteries, solar panel, under hood generator, and volt start). I think I want these features because we have a small dog that would travel with us and we could leave it in the van with the AC running for extended periods if we needed to. Are these technologies reliable and safe enough to leave ones pet inside the coach with the AC on and not worry about the AC not running or working? We live in SC and the summers are very hot. We have to be able to trust that our pet can be in a safe and cool environment if needed. Alternatively, are old school Onan generators reliable and safe to run for hours if needed? Any comments and suggestions would be appreciated.
Leaving a B with anything running, an Onan or engine, and it will attract attention especially in a non-RV area. Then if your dog barks, authorities will likely be called. If you leave your dog unattended do so in a campground with shore power. Chances are it might be acceptable as many are in the same situation. However, a barking dog will still attract attention you don't want.
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Old 07-05-2017, 09:12 PM   #6
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Re the generator bans in some places. We are also seeing a large increase in areas were generators AND engine idling is banned where we have been. With the big alternators becoming more common, I am sure that trend will continue and expand.

If you need less than 3-4 hours, you can do that on a big lithium pack to run the AC, but then you need to recharge the batteries which will take nearly as long as the AC was on if idling, and about 2/3 as long driving. If the AC is on and you are idling, the batteries may take hours longer than the AC ran without the engine.

IMO, the Onan with a warning system, or two, would be the most likely to be safe, although nothing is 100%.
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Old 07-05-2017, 09:50 PM   #7
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.

When your "Underhood Generator" fires up,
your running light will also come on.

There is no way to avoid this attraction.
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Old 07-05-2017, 10:59 PM   #8
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.

When your "Underhood Generator" fires up,
your running light will also come on.

There is no way to avoid this attraction.
Advanced RV has a way to disable running lights while idling via keyless automatic start or Autogen as they call it.
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Old 07-05-2017, 11:11 PM   #9
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Advanced RV has a way to disable running lights while idling via keyless automatic start or Autogen as they call it.
Are running lights now a DOT requirement for U.S. vehicles?
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Old 07-05-2017, 11:27 PM   #10
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Are running lights now a DOT requirement for U.S. vehicles?
That I don't know but the Sprinter has them. The disabling is for keyless autostart only. Once you insert a key they come on again.
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