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Old 01-08-2011, 04:11 AM   #21
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Default Re: Boondocking in Cold Weather

Quote:
Originally Posted by Photog
The first time we used the furnace in our new Roadtrek 190V, the smoke alarm went off too. There was no smoke, so I pulled the battery out, and continued running the furnace. We had a couple hours before bedtime, to make sure everything was working safely. Ours had a bad smell too, and we had the windows & vent cracked for an hour or so.

A few weeks later, I talked with Roadtrek about our smoke alarm going off, when using the furnace. They said the new furnace burns off some manufacturing oils & paint, and that sets off the smoke alarm.

We plugged the battery back into the smoke detector, and ran the furnace. No more bells & whistles. Just heat. Nice.
I later read in the manual that it's common for that to happen, due to manufacturing oils being burnt off.

We've since run it a on a couple of other outings without incident.

I didn't know you could remove the battery! Would've made for a much more comfortable night!
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Old 01-10-2011, 06:53 PM   #22
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Default Re: Boondocking in Cold Weather

We should probably replace that 9 volt battery in the RV smoke detector, at the same time we do the ones in our house (daylight saving time).
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Old 02-22-2011, 02:50 AM   #23
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Default Re: Boondocking in Cold Weather

WHAT???

"At this point I was driving, we were getting 17.7 mpg, which, by the time we were done with the traffic had dropped to below 16.5."

How fast- or slowly --do you drive to get that kind of MPG?
The PO on my van said he got 18mpg. He must have driven it at 50mph.
My Ford 350 motor gets 16mpg IF I have nothing in the RV, empty tanks and I keep it at 60 mpg. In real world.... full of stuff, tanks full, and driving 70+ , more like 14.
How do you get 17+?
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Old 02-22-2011, 01:10 PM   #24
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Default Re: Boondocking in Cold Weather

I can get around 16-17mpusg with some restraint in acceleration and on cruise control
out of my 2002 Chev 5.7L V8 in the 190P, fully loaded.
I think her van being newer probably just has better mileage because of newer technology,
maybe a lighter foot, and I also think she might have a smaller engine, too. I recall someone
mentioning Roadtrek were going to offer a 4.9L V8(?) in some newer models.
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Old 02-22-2011, 05:34 PM   #25
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Default Re: Boondocking in Cold Weather

Hi, sorry I am a bit late to this conversation but thought I might share some things we do when we are in colder environments boondocking. Everything mentioned so far was pretty much right on with what we do for dealing with water etc. The comfort factor, we tend to deal with a little differently. When plugged in, yeah, we use a small space heater too. When out there, we use the furnace only when we are up and not attempting sleep. It stays off while we are sleeping but is fine thanks to many blankets, one of which is an electric which works very well when we need to heat things up a bit. We also have been known to heat some water on the stove and fill a couple hot water bottles which provide a few hours of toasty comfort in the bed. In the morning, while still warm in bed, I will then turn the thermostat up and warm things up before I climb out from under the blankets.

Overall, it works really well and saves LP and sleep. Things are changing this year though. One of the mods I am working on is a direct vent LP fireplace That and a tankless/instant water heater should make things more tolerable if we get stuck in cold weather again. Overall though our favorite method for dealing with it is avoidance! We do much of our navigating based on climate

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Old 02-22-2011, 11:49 PM   #26
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Default Re: Boondocking in Cold Weather

Where will one of these fit, in your RT?

Quote:
Originally Posted by visionquest
"direct vent LP fireplace"
This is a direct vent propane fireplace. Are the LP fireplaces considerably smaller?
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Old 02-23-2011, 12:17 AM   #27
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Default Re: Boondocking in Cold Weather

The ones I am looking at are much smaller. There is one marine version which has been installed in very small RV's in the past, made by Dickenson Marine. I am looking at a few that are a little larger though. One is 16" wide, another fits in a 19.5" frame. My galley side is getting completely re-engineered. Everything switched around. Part of the reason I am going to a tankless water heater is to gain more install space for the fireplace too. The units I am looking at are all 12,000 to 14,000 BTU.

Hope that answers the questions for now I am still making decisions and shopping to figure out exactly which way to go, but it is going to work out fine. I will do a post in the modifications area as always when I get into it. Lots of other mods to do this year as well.

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Old 02-23-2011, 02:05 AM   #28
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Default Re: Boondocking in Cold Weather

Quote:
Originally Posted by Photog
Where will one of these fit, in your RT?

Quote:
Originally Posted by visionquest
"direct vent LP fireplace"
This is a direct vent propane fireplace. Are the LP fireplaces considerably smaller?
At first I thought you were joking. I've seen them mentioned on the 4scf.com forum as a heating option
addition to some of those people's 5th wheels and TTs but never even considered adding one to a class B.
It should be possible though, if enough space is available. I think the biggest hurdle for LP fireplaces and
tankless HWHs is rapid and possibly powered venting. Also there is an increased fire hazard, so there may
also be insurance considerations. Your insurer may not cover a class B van that's been turned into a tiki
torch, if there's ever a fire.
Some units are UL or CSA approved, some are not, and some apparently are non-committal. Someone
else on here was considering a tankless HWH a while back and I think he decided not to do it after
doing some research. Can't remember exactly why, but i think it may have been safety concerns, as
they generate very high temps very quickly and powered venting might have been the issue, but I
don't recall. Still, if you're determined, it may be possible.
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Old 02-23-2011, 04:39 PM   #29
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Default Re: Boondocking in Cold Weather

Sportsmobile installs Instant water-heaters. Maybe they have done the research, and narrowed down the models that are appropriate for RV usage.

Is the direct vent fireplace going to look like a fireplace or is it really a direct vent furnace, something like this:
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Old 02-23-2011, 06:45 PM   #30
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Default Re: Boondocking in Cold Weather

The instant on water heater is actually pretty easy. There are direct replacements for RV's that take up quite a bit less room than the 6 or 10 gallon models with a tank. They have door kits that replace the Atwood doors that we have in B's too. No issues there at all.

The LP direct vent fireplace is very doable as well. Just getting all the clearances figured out and the best model to use. There are several that will work fine. Fire issues are no worse than they are with a furnace, LP fridge or stove. Not worried at all about insurance either. I don't inform them everytime I make a mod anyway. I don't expect I will have any issues with it at all. Mainly the big concern for me is that it is in fact direct vent and I have all the proper clearances taken care of. I tend to do things very much overkill anyway.

The fireplace looks like a fireplace not a heater. The downside is the cost, this isn't going to be a cheap mod by any means. I don't mind though, I am extremely frugal with everything else. I don't mind spending on the rig. Given the deal I got on it and some of the other projects I have done to it, I am way ahead on it money-wise. I am pretty dedicated to it at this point anyway. Gas engine fails, Cummins 4bt goes in along with a new transmission. Any other failures will be handled in a similar way. Good thing we like it so much

A few more things that are interesting about fireplaces in vans we have learned. I have seen wood fireplaces in a couple here locally, but that is a huge No-No according to some of the stove manufacturers we have discussed it with. Solid fuel like that is not a good mix with a gas engined vehicle. Different story if the rig is diesel power though. Apparently it is acceptable then. LP is no problem with a gas rig though. Those manufacturers were for Marine stoves so they are used to dealing with small powered vessels with similar concerns. I have also been talking to the manufacturers of the LP fireplaces I am more interested in and they say I won't have issues provided I follow their standard installation guidelines. I don't plan on driving with it running ever. Also, the models I am looking at are all electronic ignition, no pilot lights to be concerned with during fueling.

Hope that helps with a few more questions. I am going to wait till I get done with the decision process before I tell exactly which I am going to go with, but at that time, I will also show all the others that would be possible. Install will be very well covered too I promise

It may seem like a silly project to some, but it is right up my alley really. I have always been telling people that they should do what it takes to have the things they want in their B's. If it is important to you, it usually can be done with a bit of creativity. The B is our home so we really like making it nice an comfortable beyond what most people care. Often doing things that others find silly (like tiling my shower etc). This is just one more example of it. There are a ton more coming this year as well

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Old 02-23-2011, 07:01 PM   #31
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Default Re: Boondocking in Cold Weather

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike

I think the biggest hurdle for LP fireplaces and tankless HWHs is rapid and possibly powered venting. Also there is an increased fire hazard, so there there may also be insurance considerations.
Hey Mike, I wanted to address the vent consideration for you. Both the Hot water heater and the LP fireplace draw their combustion air from outside the vehicle then vent the exhaust back out exactly the same as with installation in a house or boat or larger RV. The installation in a B doesn't change it in any way.

Not sure how the fire risk would be increased either, the current forced air furnace and LP hotwater heater both have similar amounts of combustion occurring in the same size space, both are sealed from the interior of the van in a similar way, the difference with the fireplace is that one side is visible due to the glass, rather than hidden by steel. Lots of glass in the rig that rides fine so I am not worried much about the tempered thick glass for the application. That and it would definitely be only used while sitting in one spot. The difference with the water heater of course is run time. There is no need for it to run as long as the current version does. It actually seems like a much safer system when you dig into it a bit.

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Old 02-23-2011, 09:35 PM   #32
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Default Re: Boondocking in Cold Weather

Quote:
Originally Posted by shezonit
WHAT???

"At this point I was driving, we were getting 17.7 mpg, which, by the time we were done with the traffic had dropped to below 16.5."

How fast- or slowly --do you drive to get that kind of MPG?
The PO on my van said he got 18mpg. He must have driven it at 50mph.
My Ford 350 motor gets 16mpg IF I have nothing in the RV, empty tanks and I keep it at 60 mpg. In real world.... full of stuff, tanks full, and driving 70+ , more like 14.
How do you get 17+?
I think we were doing close to the speed limit at the time, which could have been anywhere from 55-70. The interior water tank was full to the tune of about 14 gallons and the gas tank was full. We had a minimal amount of stuff, just a carry on bag for each of us since we flew to pick up the RT. Plus we had reset the thingy as we were driving on the highway. Real life mixed driving, trying to be careful not to idle too much and trying not to go too fast but not being fanatical, it's more like 16mpg. I think we've got over 6000 miles on it since we picked it up on December 23.

I do think there is a difference in mpg btw. the Chevy and Ford motors, even similarly sized. My hubby's a Ford guy and has had this discussion with others.
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Old 02-23-2011, 09:39 PM   #33
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Default Re: Boondocking in Cold Weather

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike
I can get around 16-17mpusg with some restraint in acceleration and on cruise control
out of my 2002 Chev 5.7L V8 in the 190P, fully loaded.
I think her van being newer probably just has better mileage because of newer technology,
maybe a lighter foot, and I also think she might have a smaller engine, too. I recall someone
mentioning Roadtrek were going to offer a 4.9L V8(?) in some newer models.
We frequently use cruise control, but do in fact have a 6.0L motor with a 6 speed transmission.
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Old 02-23-2011, 10:15 PM   #34
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Default Re: Boondocking in Cold Weather-First Time Using Plumbing

We started off with the suggestions, using antifreeze for the toilet, bottled water and baby wipes.

But eventually I decided to throw caution to the wind and use it, darn it that is why I bought it.

Well, of course the very first time we ran into trouble. It went down into the low/mid teens and was very windy. I had the furnace on 45 while we slept, but neglected to turn on the fridge (which is suggested in the manual), I'd read about it but forgot it. I suspect the heat from the fridge helps protect the galley lines.

By the way, one thing we've been doing with the furnace is we have a roll of the reflectix that's about 3 ft. wide and I've used some of it but still have the bulk of the roll and we stand the roll up behind the wardrode on the floor and unroll some across the aisle to deflect the heat to the back of the van.

So back to my first experience. I finally decided to run the water but had not yet used the water heater, nor was there any water in there as I'd not yet opened the bypass. We woke up to non-running water, but had gone to bed late so it wasn't a full 8 hours of the worst of the cold.

We panicked a bit, of course we didn't want expensive repairs within the first month of owning our RT!

Hubby removed the door to and the floor in the cabinet that houses the interior tank. We turned on the generator and turned up the heat, he ran my handheld hair dryer at whatever lines he could get to, including just sticking it in the kitchen cabinet and blasting it aimed at where the lines seemed to be. Eventually we had success and went about our business. But we did turn the heat up to 55F while we left, had the refrigerator on and came back every two hours to run the water a little. It helped that it was sunny that day and had gone up into the twenties.
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Old 02-23-2011, 10:25 PM   #35
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Default Re: Boondocking in Cold Weather

You looking at something like this?

http://www.boatownersworld.com/dickinso ... _p9000.htm

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Old 02-23-2011, 10:29 PM   #36
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Default Re: Boondocking in Cold Weather

This is what I have settled on for a fireplace.

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/fireplac ... 88191?mt=8
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Old 02-23-2011, 10:44 PM   #37
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Default Re: Boondocking in Cold Weather

Quote:
Originally Posted by tontobird
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike
I can get around 16-17mpusg with some restraint in acceleration and on cruise control
out of my 2002 Chev 5.7L V8 in the 190P, fully loaded.
I think her van being newer probably just has better mileage because of newer technology,
maybe a lighter foot, and I also think she might have a smaller engine, too. I recall someone
mentioning Roadtrek were going to offer a 4.9L V8(?) in some newer models.
We frequently use cruise control, but do in fact have a 6.0L motor with a 6 speed transmission.
No worries, it was just speculation. I believe some models were offered with a 4.8L V8 and I was
guessing it might get better mileage than the larger motor, that's all. Some might say the smaller
engine would have to work harder to push the weight, so the mileage might suffer.
Glad you like your van, they are fun, and a lot of work, too.
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Old 02-23-2011, 10:51 PM   #38
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Default Re: Boondocking in Cold Weather

Someone gave us an HD Fireplace DVD for Christmas, just after we got our RT.

This did nothing to help with cold weather boondocking (thread title). It was cute a couple times. But has not been used in a long while. We hardly ever watch TV or DVD any more. Having too much fun, then dinner and bed.

But, cold weather boondocking can really extend your number of camping nights. I like the "hot water bottle" that was mentioned earlier. I have used that when backpacking in the mountains.

I'm not sure how fuel economy helps with the cold weather issues.
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Old 02-23-2011, 11:16 PM   #39
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Default Re: Boondocking in Cold Weather-More Cold Weather Roadtrekking

We are lucky in that we can store our RT in our garage that is built into a hill, so it doesn't get below freezing. In fact, the ability to do so is why we chose the Chevy over the Sprinter, the Sprinter is too tall for our doors. Otherwise we wouldn't be able to use it the way we have in cold weather. While we are not using it it is protected, so we don't have to worry about winterizing and de-winterizing.

Other reasons we got the 190 was for the 2 batteries and the interior fresh water tank as we knew we'd be using it in winter. As for propane, we have a place we can get our tank filled a half mile from our house.

My husband would like to put a 3 way valve on the line where it leaves the interior tank before it runs across the aisle under the floor for quickly winterizing the lines without having to empty the interior fresh water tank or putting pink stuff in the fresh water tanks. I know it is popular to do a kit at the pump, but this would not protect the vulnerable line that leads from the tank TO the pump.

In any case, after seeing this: (thanks markopolo!)

viewtopic.php?f=9&t=29

I felt greater confidence in using our Roadtrek in cold weather.

We've been careful to run the fridge as suggested in the owner's manual, and we now use the hot water heater, I turn it on as we get ready for bed, most of the time I leave it on overnight, sometimes I turn it off after the water's heated. We run the water through the lines before we go to bed and as soon as we get up. Keep the furnace on 45 during day, 50 at night if we're not in it, but 45 when we're sleeping. Run a little water through the lines before leaving the unit and upon returning.

Venting to help with condensation while we sleep.

I make sure to pour antifreeze into the perma bathroom shower trap, and to add antifreeze to the tanks as we go along. We've dumped twice so far, after dumping I poured a half bottle or so of antifreeze into the empty gray tank and ran the macerator to get the antifreeze into the pump.

Generally I feel confident that we can manage if the night temps go to the mid teens. We are only out for 1-2 nights at a time.

One day recently a cold front came in faster than forecasted and it got into the single digits. We were heading home that night anyway. When we went out to our RT, the lines to the faucets and toilet were all fine, just that feeder line from the interior tank to the pump had froze up. We drove the 2 1/2 hours home and put a little space heater underneath and everything's fine.
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Old 02-23-2011, 11:17 PM   #40
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Default Re: Boondocking in Cold Weather

Quote:
Originally Posted by visionquest
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike

I think the biggest hurdle for LP fireplaces and tankless HWHs is rapid and possibly powered venting. Also there is an increased fire hazard, so there there may also be insurance considerations.
Hey Mike, I wanted to address the vent consideration for you. Both the Hot water heater and the LP fireplace draw their combustion air from outside the vehicle then vent the exhaust back out exactly the same as with installation in a house or boat or larger RV. The installation in a B doesn't change it in any way.

Not sure how the fire risk would be increased either, the current forced air furnace and LP hotwater heater both have similar amounts of combustion occurring in the same size space, both are sealed from the interior of the van in a similar way, the difference with the fireplace is that one side is visible due to the glass, rather than hidden by steel. Lots of glass in the rig that rides fine so I am not worried much about the tempered thick glass for the application. That and it would definitely be only used while sitting in one spot. The difference with the water heater of course is run time. There is no need for it to run as long as the current version does. It actually seems like a much safer system when you dig into it a bit.

-Mike
97 Roadtrek 170P "Taj Ma Trek"
http://WWW.VanTramps.Com
Thanks, I guess. I'm only playing Devil's Advocate with regard to the insurance situation. I would be
concerned about your insurer balking if your van burns to the ground, and it has anything to do with a
new non-OEM tankless HWH, or a non-OEM gas fireplace on the inside wall.
Anything you add to your van, especially DIY stuff, that changes the OEM specs and hardware
significantly, also probably changes your actuarial category, in the eyes of many insurance companies.
Your insurer insured a 1999(?) Roadtrek D170P. They almost certainly insured it, based on what they
think it came out of the factory with, inside and outside. If it burns up or floods because of a DIY thing
you did to it, don't be surprised if they deny compensation, if something goes wrong, that's all I'm suggesting.
However, if you're not worried, as you mentioned in your other comments, I'm not either.
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