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Old 10-29-2016, 11:52 PM   #41
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I expect you're right. The Hymer Aktiv is being made in the same plant as other Roadtrek products if that tells you anything. I'd hate to get flamed relying on my bad memory, but during the tour, I believe they claimed R7 in the walls and better than that in the ceiling. I realize for house construction, that isn't great, but for an RV it didn't sound too bad. The units I saw in construction had spray foam on the walls, and I understand they add additional insulation.
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Old 10-30-2016, 12:09 AM   #42
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I requested today that Roadtrek swap the Girard water heater for the Truma Aquago Comfort Plus with the hot water loop. Thanks for that suggestion. That should not only keep the heater and hot water lines warm, but also save on water wasted waiting for hot water at the tap. I should hear their response by Monday.

I did a little reading on compressors or pumps for blowing out the water lines when you want to play it save, or cut back on power consumption from line heating. Its interesting that people reference high pressure compressors and dial pressure back to 40 or 50 psi. I would have thought a high volume low pressure (around 5 psi max) would do a better job. I had a special pump for blowing up my Zodiac that I expect would have done a great job. I blow out my pool's 2" lines with my ShopVac and it does a great job with high volume low pressure air. I went a little crazy and was thinking of plumbing an air pump or compressor right into the plumbing and operating it via a control panel switch and a couple solenoid valves. Just walk from tap to tap (the Zion only has 2 taps and the toilet) to release the water / air. Should only take a minute.

I agree with posters on the shower. Too much moisture in the air. A sponge bath is more likely if its good and cold out.

Solutions for window coverings would be appreciated.
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Old 10-30-2016, 12:36 AM   #43
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I expect you're right. The Hymer Aktiv is being made in the same plant as other Roadtrek products if that tells you anything. I'd hate to get flamed relying on my bad memory, but during the tour, I believe they claimed R7 in the walls and better than that in the ceiling. I realize for house construction, that isn't great, but for an RV it didn't sound too bad. The units I saw in construction had spray foam on the walls, and I understand they add additional insulation.
I wouldn't assume that Roadtrek has done anything yet to improve the insulation on the Zion now that they are also building the Hymer Aktiv in the same plant, they may have but I wouldn't assume they have unless you were told that...
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Old 10-30-2016, 02:43 AM   #44
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Thanks for the feedback. I will dig deeper into it. What your saying was one of my concerns as I'd heard the LiPo batteries couldn't be charged below 0C. Roadtrek provided an information video for me to watch. It claimed that their Ecotrek battery modules could be used down to -40C. Given that Roadtrek appears to be a very conservative company, and the fact that they warrant the battery modules for 6 years, I'd be surprised if their claims were grossly exaggerated.
I would not categorize Roadtrek as being a very conservative company. They have been very sloppy and often not very forthcoming with their information. So, unless you can cite that video and link it online or find a corroborating source I'd be very leery about anything withstanding -40C or what they said in that regard.
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Old 10-30-2016, 05:29 AM   #45
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I would not categorize Roadtrek as being a very conservative company. They have been very sloppy and often not very forthcoming with their information. So, unless you can cite that video and link it online or find a corroborating source I'd be very leery about anything withstanding -40C or what they said in that regard.
Whether or not Roadtrek is a conservative company perhaps depends on the criteria chosen. They certainly went out on a limb in their initial Etrek production which could hardly be characterized as conservative, but their provision of an unparalleled six year warranty on their products could be characterized as very conservative indeed.

Consequently, as a practical matter for the Roadtrek owner, low and high temperature limits for lithium batteries are of little concern. My Roadtrek warranty for their lithium batteries is six years with no temperature exceptions of any kind. Thus, battery degradation or failure from high or low temperatures is their problem, not mine. I believe the warranty provided by the builders of the batteries in your coach does specify -4F as a permitted low limit and holds you responsible for complying with this limitation, making it your problem, not theirs.
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Old 10-30-2016, 12:57 PM   #46
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I would not categorize Roadtrek as being a very conservative company. They have been very sloppy and often not very forthcoming with their information. So, unless you can cite that video and link it online or find a corroborating source I'd be very leery about anything withstanding -40C or what they said in that regard.
Thanks for the warning. I have since read several posts on this site including feedback from yourself on Ecotrek and issues with it and Roadtrek's tendency to whitewash. I've read the 0C charge limit and -20C discharge limit in several sites. I understand the batteries are in a fan cooled and heated box. What it's true limits are is something I will press Roadtrek for. It will be interesting to see what response I'll get. I've been asking for details on the propane Alde system for example and haven't received anything. I'll let you guys know what I find out.
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Old 10-30-2016, 01:31 PM   #47
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Whether or not Roadtrek is a conservative company perhaps depends on the criteria chosen. They certainly went out on a limb in their initial Etrek production which could hardly be characterized as conservative, but their provision of an unparalleled six year warranty on their products could be characterized as very conservative indeed.

Consequently, as a practical matter for the Roadtrek owner, low and high temperature limits for lithium batteries are of little concern. My Roadtrek warranty for their lithium batteries is six years with no temperature exceptions of any kind. Thus, battery degradation or failure from high or low temperatures is their problem, not mine. I believe the warranty provided by the builders of the batteries in your coach does specify -4F as a permitted low limit and holds you responsible for complying with this limitation, making it your problem, not theirs.
This post is a little confusing. From it I gather you are operating in a gray area with Roadtrek if you operate outside the battery manufacturers limits. They have provided protections for the batteries in their Exotrek modules. Your claim would be those protections should have held the battery usage within spec. Their claim could be you violated the battery spec therefore you violated your warranty.

It would be nice to see their specs for the ecotrek modules itself and some description of response to temperature and or low charge extremes. ill request this info and see what I can get. I'm glad I posted this stuff now and appreciate your frank responses. Best to proceed with eyes open.

My reference to conservative nature of the company is likely a little odd. For the promaster seats, they apparently did the necessary testing to be able to recover the seats and make changes in the cab where other upgraders backed away. It struck me as conservative that they conducted such testing and yet aggressive to push the envelope. I suppose you could say the same thing about Ecotrek.

It's interesting for the Zion at least that they put the module under the floor. That could be strictly a space issue. I don't know where the modules are located in other coaches. It would appear they are perhaps more concerned on the high temp / fire safety end and less concerned about the cold end as fewer customers would press the cold extreme limits.

I would think if things were getting bad in terms of temp extremes or charge limits, their options would be to shutdown or start the van engine via Voltstart to provide a huge boost to the battery heaters. Once the batteries were well within temp range, they could charge them. In the meantime the gu generator could support the loads. This is pure speculation and I suspect it will remain so as Roadtrek likely would not be keen to divulge their proprietary secrets. They would not even share with me the plumbing diagram for the Zion claiming its proprietary information.
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Old 10-30-2016, 01:36 PM   #48
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The last I heard from Roadtrek, they are preparing a Winter Usage Guide which should clarify all of the low temperature operational and storage considerations.

In terms of whether one would consider Roadtrek to be conservative or not and whether they will have the same propensities for sloppy builds and issues with the rollout of new technologies in the future, I did a reset on what to expect from them when Hymer Group took them over. There have been major improvements in customer support and reductions in initial quality problems. The major investments in manufacturing including the new plant and the complete rebuild of the old plant seem to show that Hymer Group is in this for the long term with the goal of duplicating their success in Europe which is based on high quality and customer satisfaction. The 6 Year warranty including all equipment installed by Roadtrek is a major benefit to the buyer.

I expect that people will continue to feel the need to highlight their problems from the past, which there surely have been many, but I don't see any reason to expect that type of performance to be the norm in the future...
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Old 10-30-2016, 01:48 PM   #49
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This post is a little confusing. From it I gather you are operating in a gray area with Roadtrek if you operate outside the battery manufacturers limits. They have provided protections for the batteries in their Exotrek modules. Your claim would be those protections should have held the battery usage within spec. Their claim could be you violated the battery spec therefore you violated your warranty.

It would be nice to see their specs for the ecotrek modules itself and some description of response to temperature and or low charge extremes. ill request this info and see what I can get. I'm glad I posted this stuff now and appreciate your frank responses. Best to proceed with eyes open.

My reference to conservative nature of the company is likely a little odd. For the promaster seats, they apparently did the necessary testing to be able to recover the seats and make changes in the cab where other upgraders backed away. It struck me as conservative that they conducted such testing and yet aggressive to push the envelope. I suppose you could say the same thing about Ecotrek.

It's interesting for the Zion at least that they put the module under the floor. That could be strictly a space issue. I don't know where the modules are located in other coaches. It would appear they are perhaps more concerned on the high temp / fire safety end and less concerned about the cold end as fewer customers would press the cold extreme limits.

I would think if things were getting bad in terms of temp extremes or charge limits, their options would be to shutdown or start the van engine via Voltstart to provide a huge boost to the battery heaters. Once the batteries were well within temp range, they could charge them. In the meantime the gu generator could support the loads. This is pure speculation and I suspect it will remain so as Roadtrek likely would not be keen to divulge their proprietary secrets. They would not even share with me the plumbing diagram for the Zion claiming its proprietary information.
Actually, if all the ecotreks are offline there is no way to have power to the coach even with the underhood generator running. All the batteries including the AGM are disconnected from the coach power system. The AGM is still connected to the underhood generator.

If you plug into shore with the ecotreks offline you may be able to get 120v power in the coach (not sure about it, if the inverter can be powered up then you will) but there will be no stable 12v power without at least one ecotrek online. The battery charger in the inverter does not work as a converter when there is no battery connected so, the 12v power is very unstable according to all reports I have seen.

For the case where the ecotreks are shutdown with the cells below operating temperature, you do get power to the battery heaters by running the underhood generator, so after the ecotreks are up to temperature they can be brought online.
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Old 10-30-2016, 02:54 PM   #50
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.

The thread is morphing.


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Old 10-30-2016, 06:53 PM   #51
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This post is a little confusing. From it I gather you are operating in a gray area with Roadtrek if you operate outside the battery manufacturers limits. They have provided protections for the batteries in their Exotrek modules. Your claim would be those protections should have held the battery usage within spec. Their claim could be you violated the battery spec therefore you violated your warranty.
There is nothing gray about this. You can't be held accountable for violating a battery spec never presented.

The following language in the Roadtrek 6 year warranty includes the following disclaimers:

10. Warranty is voided if the EcoTrek batteries are tampered with, opened, or modified in any way, including attempts to change the Battery Management System programming or setpoints.

11. Warranty is voided if the EcoTrek batteries are allowed to remain in a dicharged condition for extensive periods.


These batteries are not appliances with typical shotgun warranty exclusions. There is presently no language in the above disclaimers that even addresses, much less burdens the owner with managing battery temperatures in tropical or arctic conditions. That's why it's their problem, not mine.
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Old 10-30-2016, 07:08 PM   #52
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I noticed a detailed comment from Davydd on another thread.

I didn't think the Zion was too far off the 4 season ideal. Again I'm pretty new to all this.

The positives...

The fresh water tank is inside the van.
The lithium ion batteries are in a temperature controlled module.
The Voltstart auto engine start is supposed to start when the battery system is at low charge. I'd like to see if it also engages when the temp control is challenged.
The only under floor pressure plumbing is the 2 lines crossing from the bathroom to the kitchen sink. They could be moved inside or hear traced and insulated. The latter being easier.
The black and gray tanks can be heat traced and insulated with a little creativity. All solutions would likely have to deal with this.
The drain system has a macerator pump and gravity feed increasing the potential for dump options. Yes, when I did some digging I found almost all dump stations are closed in the off season so you are likely looking at getting creative with dump options.
The water heater is tankless so dumping only costs you a liter of water. If I can get it swapped for the Truma Aquago Comfort Plus it will have good freeze protection and it will cycle hot water in the lines keeping everything warm and keeping water at the taps hot for less waste. It will also recover almost instantly when turned back on.

A cassette toilet like in the Aktiv would be preferred to transferring to an external cassette. Even the Aktiv must still need a gray water dump. I wonder what they do for that.

I would never consider a composting toilet. We had one at the family cottage. It stunk, and without continuous use it never worked properly no matter how much we tried. The compost removal didn't look any different than what went in. I'd prefer to deal with a black water tank and a roll away transfer tank if needed.

While double pane glass would be an improvement, glass in general is a terrible loss of heat. The Zion actually doesn't have an abundance of windows. Using coverings with some creativity should sort things reasonably.

My crazy built in blow out air pump idea was included to provide options. Depending on conditions (extreme cold, low propane, low gas, low batteries) blowing the lines at the flip of a few switches and opening 5 valves manually would be a nice to have fallback.

My thinking is you use plumbing a lot in the morning, around meal times for prep and cleanup. Outside of those times, if you could put the system in a fail safe lower energy state by blowing the lines that might be a good way to go. There will be times when we're off skiing all day. Why keep the heat up and heat tracing up all those hours if you can't afford the energy? It doesn't make sense to me.

I greatly appreciate everyone's feedback and welcome more. I've learned a lot and realize I'm just scratching the surface.
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Old 10-30-2016, 07:31 PM   #53
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.

How much power do you have for heat trace???
How long can they last?


Black tank is not too big a concern. In Freezing conditions, you are not going to be boondocking for weeks. You are most likely going to use a garbage bag over the toilet.

The gray tank is also not too big a concern.
Pure water freezes at zero degrees celsius.
Dirty water freezes at a lower temperature.
Just dump some antifreeze in there and it will hold off freezing for awhile.

When winter camping, IMHO you are not going to use the fresh water tank. You bring bottled water for drinking, cooking, and sponge bathing. You have to winterize all the plumbing so that they are not at risk of ice damage.
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Old 10-30-2016, 09:18 PM   #54
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Default It's Not Nice To Fool With Mother Nature...

It appears based on being on the site for about two years and listening to long-time RVers that trying to make a Class B RV 4-season capable is a fight that under most conditions cannot be won.

1st and foremost the glazing is not designed to retain heat in the colder season.

2nd - Are there many camping facilities where dump stations are open during the winter season should you use the on-board bathroom and kitchen?

Seems like 3 out of 4 seasons is do-able but that 4th season pushes the limits for RVing

What is Roadtrek's official statement about using their product in the winter months?
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Old 10-30-2016, 09:24 PM   #55
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Simpler solution would be a wet and dry vacuum to evacuate the water system. Add a cup of cheap vodka to your water tank if needed. A small portable catalytic heater running inside while gone for hours will keep keep up with the heat loss and keep things from freezing unless you have terrible insulation. Just remember to air out when returning. Something like this:
https://www.amazon.com/Mr-Heater-F21...atiltic+heater

Sometimes the simple solutions cost less and are portable so you don't have to carry it with you all the time or have to fix it in the future.
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Old 10-30-2016, 09:52 PM   #56
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The really easy way is to just make the water system true low point drainable. Open the drain and maybe a faucet or two and a vent, and all the freezable stuff is gone until you want it again. No antifreeze, no compressor, no heaters, almost no work, and relatively foolproof.
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Old 10-30-2016, 10:22 PM   #57
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I think I documented already my first week in our Advanced RV was in temperatures never above freezing day and night and down to 0F while boondock camping with fresh water in our tanks. That week was spent in Advanced RV's parking lot, parallel parked on a city street, at home to stock up, at two cracker barrels, a friend's driveway and Walmart. It took a week to drive from Cleveland to Minneapolis to Arizona where we first encountered above freezing temperatures.

We could maintain comfortable temperatures with our diesel-fired Espar heating system. It is designed for four seasons.Would one want to live that way? Well no. Fine maybe for a weekend at a ski resort but not all the time. A Class B has an engine that enables you to move and seek warm weather.

Dump stations or even finding open campgrounds can be a problem. Nothing is open in the upper Midwest I know for fact other than primitive camping. With conventional waste systems you would need a macerator and plentiful anti-freeze to liquify and dump. Do not use salt. Salt might get you down to 20F and of course is very corrosive. On roads it is useless at 15F. Your engine exhaust pipe actually helps with radiant heat to your tanks.

Anyway, as for Roadtrek, they do promote a winter freezeout at Tahquamenon Falls state park in Michigan's upper peninsula in January. The Michigan DNR opens the campground and plows out the roads and sites that get reserved. There will be quite a bit of snow. There is electricity but no water or flush toilets. Mike Wendland promotes it and Roadtrek's Yan Seiner attends. Last year there were 30 hardy RVs. We are going again this January.

Boondocking at the Iron Mountain, Michigan Walmart


Camping at Tahquamenon Falls State Park
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Old 10-30-2016, 11:07 PM   #58
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I think I documented already my first week in our Advanced RV was in temperatures never above freezing day and night and down to 0F while boondock camping with fresh water in our tanks. That week was spent in Advanced RV's parking lot, parallel parked on a city street, at home to stock up, at two cracker barrels, a friend's driveway and Walmart. It took a week to drive from Cleveland to Minneapolis to Arizona where we first encountered above freezing temperatures.

We could maintain comfortable temperatures with our diesel-fired Espar heating system. It is designed for four seasons.Would one want to live that way? Well no. Fine maybe for a weekend at a ski resort but not all the time. A Class B has an engine that enables you to move and seek warm weather.
[/IMG]
Glad to see it can be done..... Nice rig. How many miles are on your RV? Has it been reliable thus far?
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Old 10-30-2016, 11:37 PM   #59
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The really easy way is to just make the water system true low point drainable. Open the drain and maybe a faucet or two and a vent, and all the freezable stuff is gone until you want it again. No antifreeze, no compressor, no heaters, almost no work, and relatively foolproof.
Be careful with this approach. Some of the most vulnerable parts of the system, such as pumps, filters, and nooks and crannies inside faucets and other fixtures tend not to drain completely with just a gravity drain. Compressed air helps to clear out such spots.

I have had pretty good luck with full-function winter camping in the northeast during frigid weather. We think keeping the water systems working is part of the challenge. Look for state parks that have year-round lodges (e.g., Canaan Valley in West Virginia)--they often have year-round electric camping as well. Also look for parks near ski areas.

As for condensation, we find that keeping the roof vent open a bit helps a lot. Turn on the fan while showering.
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Old 10-31-2016, 12:05 AM   #60
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Yes, fan vent open a bit & we have ventvisors over the driver & passenger cab window so one or both or them open just bit definitely helps reduce or eliminate condensation.

Interesting old topic from 9 years ago: http://www.classbforum.com/forums/f5...night-661.html - battery capacity is one thing that has changed fairly dramatically in recent years.
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