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Everything posted by GAP

  1. Interesting stuff for sure. It is a bit hard to tell from your experience whether it was the altitude or the cold that cause the difficulty in firing. Also our 2021 E2 has the older style furnace and not the Vario unit so may react to situation differently. As I'll be staying primarily at ski resort parking lots, I won't have access to AC power and would bet that even if a DC blanket existed, it would draw plenty of juice to operate.
  2. I saw a number of responses concerning the rear view camera but nothing specific to the TPMS. I'd love to have a system that speaks to the truck instead of adding another device to the dash or trying to sync with my phone.
  3. We are taking a x country trip this winter that will include a ski safari through Colorado. Will be likely staying in our E2 at higher altitudes and exposed to quite low temperatures. While winter caping in New England last season, we had no problems with any of the propane based systems - refrigeration, furnace or cooking. My understanding is that propane functions at lower efficiency in lower temps and have read that it performs poorly at higher altitude. In googling this issue, I've found a lot of conflicting theories on problems and solutions but nothing that sounds reasonable enough to be actionable. Does anyone have experience that may help us out?
  4. I think John has hit it on the head. Addressing dead ends are an opportunity to address a few problems: 1) lack of heat in the belly - especially flowing back to the water lines backside of garage, 2) to bring warm air to compartments (primarily the bathroom and closet) where little to none now flows and 3) to fix problem with furnace short cycling. Oliver has recently addressed a piece of these issues by putting a return into the bathroom which serves to allow for air flow through bathroom and introduces warm air into the basement. Yea. As to the rest, my current plans are to decrease or eliminate the existing return vent under the curbside bed. I agree with previous statements in this chain that warm air from cabin flowing in there is the likely a cause of short cycling. Cutting back on that return vent will have the furnace looking for other source(s) of return air. Oliver has supplied some by adding a vent to bathroom. I'll add another by opening a vent under the street side bed to the basement. That wall is pretty tight but all other walls surrounding the garage are soooo leaky that the thirsty furnace should draw some air through there feeding it's need for return air and warming the rearmost water lines. I'll also cut and place a vent just above and to the left of the speaker over the closet door. Assuming the bottom of the bathroom cabinet is open to the basement (anyone know???), I'll add a small vent from closet into that cabinet which will open the dead end in closet. That circulation will allow wet ski/bike/kayak clothes to dry while hung which has always been a problem for me. My bet is that the air introduced through the bathroom and closet will be quite cooled down by the time it reaches the furnace so will fix the short cycling of the furnace. I'd also like to cover the drainage holes in the belly for the winter so as not to draw in a lot of frigid air. Will use cut pieces of thick yoga matt for that job (from the outside) making my cuts such that they would allow a little water to escape = a little fresh air to still get in and feed the furnace. If furnace still sounds like it would like more fresh air, I'll follow John's lead on adding a small vent from cabin to basement from under the street side bed. For what it is worth, you contributors on this forum have been an amazing resource for a techno boob such as myself. Thanks much for all for adding to this chain. That said, if this mad scientist experiment falls flat, I'll make sure to spread the blame. Ha.
  5. Results After 2 Years Of Use: We have never had any problems at all with our composting toilet. This is mostly due to doing our homework by having read through the earlier parts of this forum and watching a few you tube videos. Helped us avoid problems others have suffered through. The only modification we've done is John's idea on drilling a few small holes in the bottom of the container holding the pee tank. Never had bugs of any sort. The fan housing unit has a fine screen where it feeds into the solid tank so no bugs can come from the vent pipe into the solids container. There is also a fine screen on the intake side. For good measure we add a half cup of diatnatious (sp?) earth to every load of coir. We don't add toilet paper to the solids container. Seemed like a gross option when we first started but has turned out to be an easy solution. We use the same round step lid garbage container suggested earlier in this thread. We line it using recycled plastic bags from grocery store - the type you put fruits and vegis in. Soiled paper and wipes take about 5 days to start to fill the bag and we've never had any smell at all. Weird but true. As previously discussed, the only smell associated with the toilet is a slight potting soil odor when changing the coir, even if the toilet has been recently used. We add a few ounces of vinegar to the pee bottle before using and there is never any smell from there either except while emptying a full container. Even then, it's surprisingly slight. To clean, we allow to soak for a few hours filled with water with 1-2 tablespoon of bleach. Our bottle is 2 years old, has had lots of use and looks practically new. To empty the solids bin, while on the road, we simply cover with a 13 gallon recycled garbage back, invert and ban the bottom a couple of times. If anything sticks, we use a paint stir stick to dislodge which, in turn, we wipe with alcohol and store in a zip lock. If at home, we dump the contents at the base of a bush and spread out with a rake. Plants seem to love it. While on the subject, we dump full bottles of pee around bushes as well and they really seem to benefit from it. We use coir as it is cheap and more environmentally friendly than peat moss. We travel with two 1 gallon zip locks of prepared material (the perfect amount to fill container to center line of stirring units) and an extra brick big enough for to make another batch. Soaking for an hour is all it takes to totally break a brick down to the right consistency. The video on the first page seems like an easy process. Our test for proper hydration is to squeeze a fist full of material in our hand. If it almost holds together, it's just right. Takes about two weeks of constant use by the two of us to be ready for changing. If not quite ready after a trip, we leave the fan on for about a week, then unplug and let it sit and continue to decompose. True for winter as well but, if around freezing or colder, the decomposition will pause till things heat up again. No smell at all even after the fan is turned off. We couldn't be happier with this system.
  6. I do have a composting toilet. Placed a 4" hole "eye brow" style (partially covered so water will not get not splash on, vent between bathroom alongside the toilet into the area below the front dinette seat. I've noticed problems with furnace drawing air in wrong direction thorough the toilet. Given the further mods I'll have to make to allow for wintertime water usage, I suspect there could be enough draw to cause that issue and, if so, I'll have to adjust accordingly
  7. Great idea on the putty. Sounds like a good option. The closed cell foam I was considering is not a spray can, construction item. It's the same sort of stuff, but slightly firmer, that yoga matts are made of. Would simply cut tiny half moon wedges to fit the the intake covers. Of course this would be a winter only thing and I'd have to keep an eye on the floor of the basement and garage to confirm they are dry.
  8. Hey Charlie, I do appreciate the response but truthfully, if I had a better idea of 'physics, sizing of vents/ducts and water/hydraulic piping" I'd not have to ask these questions. Ha, ha. My work and education background is in other fields and I just don't speak that language. Am doing my best to figure out how to tweak the trailer so that it can operate in the cold conditions that it was supposedly built to work well in. I guess I'll do as planned, opening alternative return supplies further away from the furnace while incrementally closing the supply vent closest to the unit and keep an eye out for short cycling. From my 20 plus days in below freezing conditions, the cabin temps have been spot on yet varying to an acceptable degree between the bathroom (that was a dead end before my earlier tweaks) and main cabin. it's the temps surrounding remote water lines that has been the big issue. I really appreciate the feedback.
  9. It's hard for me to tell which one of those last two bullet points are the one to pay attention to. I'm thinking the last one describes our situation where the small round exterior vent is exhaust, which is not described as being exhaust venting in their description above. If so, the size of the existing return vent is too small as it is roughly 6x10". Either way, I was considering adding more area of return vent capacity through both the basement and garage due to the distances involved (to the bathroom and through garage via vents placed in walls under beds) and obstructions/restrictions along the path. I am not worried about there being fresh air to feed return vents as there are so many drainage holes through the belly to outside. There are enough holes to the outside that it makes me consider blocking some of them with plugs of closed cell foam as will be inefficient to heat the area between shells otherwise.
  10. Just a couple of clarification questions: Wouldn't you think that by diminishing the size (or eliminating) the existing return vent by the furnace and placing return vents further forward that feed into the basement, that when the furnace runs, it would pull warm air through the basement ? In my case, I placed a vent by the toilet, feeding into the basement below the forward dinette. There are exterior shower water lines run through the garage which is the most susceptible area with water to cold temps. To address those lines, was planning on adding a vent to the wall (separating basement from garage) in basement under the streetside bed and another in wall between garage and basement by the furnace under the curbside bed. I've already rerouted a heat duct through that area feeding into the main cabin below the battery box. This has considerably warmed up the area around the exterior shower. By partially of fully covering the only existing vent (right by the furnace) wouldn't the furnace operating then pull warm air through basement from the bathroom and through the garage from the now warm area under the streetside bed?
  11. I was considering something similar. I was going to contact cement a piece of pre cut foam pad to same sized piece of reflectex, both shaped to cover entire door. As I have lithiums, there is no need in cold weather for venting. Foam would be cut from a cheap, closed cell camp mat. I'd attach heavy duty peel-and-stick velcro to back of reflectex and inside of the battery compartment door. That way, it would be easy to remove the insulation and allow ventilation during the summer.
  12. I've camped quite a bit in winter conditions with temps down to single digits. Have been posting recently on tweaks that were necessary for the trailer to function in those temps but have not had any problem with our Dometic fridge _ that were related to cold weather use. I assumed but should double check to see if the cold weather kit is a standard feature on the current units. I too looked at skirts and do agree that they would be efficient for cutting Lp usage but think they would be quite the task to set up and tear down. My thoughts after spending a chunk of time starting up at the belly of the trailer is that the belly is already constructed in a way where it would be fairly easy to add a layer of insulation to the exterior. Not sure what the best solution is but seems that closed cell foam or even the blue/pink exterior home insulation would be tough enough and easily adhered with spray adhesive or contact cement. Would have to cut away holes for drainage in a few spots. Would also have to be super careful to make sure to pick the right material and glue it in place right as having chunks of material coming loose on the highway would be less than ideal. I think this would make a massive difference. Really, should have bought some 2'x2' squares of different materials to play with during the summer to see what the best option is. As cold is just around the bend, will need to be a project for next summer. As it stands now, on days where it is consistently in low teens to single digits, we burn through a 30lb LP tank every other day. To get through this winter, we picked up an extra tank which will travel in the bed of our truck. Gerry
  13. We live in Connecticut and use a Eevelle horse trailer cover. link to cover We use it year round and are super happy with it. Bought their top shelf version for a 24' V front trailer and it fits perfect except for not covering the storage box and leveler on the tongue - both fine with us. The material is very sturdy, there are vents running across the top lip which work really well even if cover is put on a wet trailer. A number of straps that go under the belly and one across the top, which holds the material firm to trailer even in wind storms. This also prevents the material from sitting on the ground and freezing to the pavement. There are top to bottom zippers every 6-7' with velcroe tabs at the top so it is easy to roll up panels for easy access to any part of the trailer. We wax and buff 2x/year, wash with a soap/wax combo in general and the trailer looks fantastic. Purchased on sale for 40% off so ended up costing around $550 including tax and shipping. They have lots of sales. Our primary reasons for going with the cover was twofold. We want to minimize drying/cracking of sealants arounds windows and roof. Also, leaves and dust collected around the roof supports for the awning which also pools water. This made for constant ugly staining which was a real chore to keep clean.
  14. Great way to help protect those areas. This season, I've unscrewed the exterior shower head , brought into the inner shell and put the head back on. Also pulled the cold and hot knobs so now there is a deeper space behind the little door to the shower to add a layer of closed cell foam. We used reflectex on our battery compartment as well and it made a huge difference. Used two layers of that stuff on both the garage and battery doors.
  15. I would bet that what allowed you to camp in those nightime single digits was the daytime temps in the 40s. Those conditions are iffy to bank on but do work around the inner shell's slow decent into freezing temps by allowing things to warm up each day.
  16. Here is a link to a recent thread which dives pretty deep into tweaks to help the Oliver function (mosrly) in sustained cold temps: 3.75 Season Trailer?
  17. Wow. Great post Oli. I have dug through your furnace modifications once and, while it will take another peek or two, was super impressed with your approach. The primary difference in my shot at it was that you added heat to the pex runs for the external shower while I have tried to isolate those lines so they can be left filled with antifreeze. Not sure if I have the mechanical chops to do the same as you outlined but it could be the path of least resistance to address that particular problem. Thanks much for the thorough description and photos. Gerry
  18. My last trip last winter was 5 days where daytime temps were in teens and nightime lows around 0. I attribute mad scientist mods with the level of success we had but, it felt like walking a knife's edge. Temp in battery box was solid, by the knobs to shower was in mid 30s and between the shells, under the front dinette seat dropped till freezing till I propped open the lid in the seat. Then was in high 30s. Our trailers are so well insulated that having extended daytime periods above freezing allows the inter-shell area to warm up which may have an effect that lasts well into the night. This is pure conjecture as none of the weather I saw last season got that warm. Super interesting stuff. Really helpful hear everyone's experiences. Thanks for sharing.
  19. Been thinking Steve about the differences in our experiences. May not be all that far apart. During my test trips, the temps never got above freezing even during the days. You mentioned lows around mid teens. What were average daily highs? Good idea on the exterior shower head. When I moved a thermometer around to test different areas in that below-the-streetside-bed, a mater of a half foot in bound would make a pretty large difference. As the exterior shower pex lines terminated by the hot/cold knobs, that is where I hung the sensor. Looking forward to comparing notes with you and others that have tried similar.
  20. Oooops. I got it. Camframo is a manufacturer of small heaters and the antifreeze pump is the hand pump used for winterizing. Thought it was anti freeze pump. Ha.
  21. Hey Steve, Good stuff. Thanks for sharing. BTW, what is a Camframo Heater and an anti-freeze pump?
  22. We use a light weight, 12' ladder like this Telescoping Ladder to get to the panels. If they are covered with powdery snow, we clear with a long brush attached to our truck window scraper. You can also get a rubberized "roof rake" to push the snow off. If snow is wet, dense or icy, we wait for a warm day and use our little generator to keep the batteries topped off until the panels can be cleared off. BTW, those ladders are super handy. We keep in our truck bed all the time and I can't tell you howe often we've been glad it was there.
  23. Hey Kirk. Sorry to say but, from my real world testing, you are right. Great as they are, these trailers are not set up stock for use in temps below mid 20s if the water system is on. To different degrees of efficiency, just about any trailer with a decent heating system could be used in the winter as long as the water system is turned off. I've heard that a number of other manufacturer's stick built models are set up for running dewinterized in deep cold conditions and cannot square how Oliver claims these trailers to be truly 4 season capable as they are currently built. Your trailer's huge lithium capacity my be able to handle the bilge pumps and keep them running 24/7 but I'd suggest running some tests with the unit winterized first to see what is what. Please share your results here as it could prove helpful to all.
  24. For the sake of efficiency, we sleep with everything buttoned up. If you run your hands past the edges of window sliders, past the seam between panels on the bathroom window, around the edges of the door, etc... there are plenty of minor leakage points. We feel these minor porosity is healthy and would prevent mold much the same with a modern house. During the days we run the Maxair when cooking and, as necessary, pull the reflectix inserts in the windows to allow the heat "cook away" moisture buldup per condensation on on the glass. We also carry a small mountain of micro fiber hand cloths to wipe away moisture from the glass, bathroom and galley. Super absorbant and easy to clean. Our safety backups is the monitor/alarm to warn of of C02 buildup. The smoke alarm has gone off while cooking items that really produce smoke but the alarms have not gone off otherwise.
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