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Towing the Oliver with the refrigerator running on propane


astrocaster
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Hi, All,

Thanks for the responses to my question on the heat released into the cabin by the refrigerator. I would appreciate hearing from others, as well. I have another question: Do you run your refrigerator on propane when you are towing the Oliver? The instruction manual for our Dometic unit indicates that this is fine--it specifically says there is no need to keep the refrigerator level while it is on the road and running on propane, since the rolling and pitching motion of the trailer will keep "the liquid ammonia from accumulating in the evaporator tubing."

 

On the other hand, the manual Oliver gives new owners seems to indicate that we should run the refrigerator on DC when towing the trailer. It has been noted by one member of these forums, however, that doing so depletes the trailer batteries faster than they are charged by the tow vehicle alternator.

 

I would appreciate knowing how other Oliver owners handle this.

 

Thanks,

Steve

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I don't own an Oliver just yet, but unless I was sure that the alternator on my tow vehicle was recharging the battery bank faster than the refrigerator was depleting the battery bank (if your battery voltage is reading over 13.2 volts or so while your engine is idling on high and your refrigerator is set to 12V, you should be ok), I would not tow with the fridge on 12V for long periods of time. If you are traveling only an hour or two, you know your battery bank is fully changed, and you are headed to a camp site with shore power, I think it would be just fine to use 12V, maybe even preferable. Just be cautious and know the state of charge on your battery bank. If you routinely camp off-grid and use much power (over over 30 amp-hours of 12V power per day, which is easy to do if you run your furnace in cold weather, and this assumes you have two batteries, not one), this usually requires a battery monitor that costs about $200, and is optional equipment on almost all RV's. At the very least be sure you monitor your battery bank voltage and know what voltages to look for under what circumstances (charging, discharging, or neither).

 

Some basic knowledge of batteries is very helpful. It allows you to use the equipment that comes standard on the trailer (the volt meter) and know what voltage readings you should be seeing when your battery is charging, discharging, or neither. The normal voltage readings for "neither" is dependent oh how much time has elapsed since the battery bank was being charged or discharged. The normal voltage readings for discharging is dependent on the rate of discharge. The normal voltage readings for charging is dependent on the rate of recharging. If you watch your volt meter, and relate its readings to what you know you should be seeing under the existing circumstances, you will soon get a feel for the condition of your batteries, the size of load on them when they are discharging, or the rate they are being charged.

 

Doug

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DougI, good info. We tend to put the refrig on propane to cool it down before loading it with grocerys for a trip, maybe as much as eight hours before. We almost always travel with it on propane. It cools down more rapidly on propane. Should our departure time get a setback, We boondock and dry camp with it on propane. On those occasions that we are in a built up campground with hookups, we switch to elevtricity, particularly if it's going to be an extended stay, yea for the geezer pass !

We think that we can shut down the house and stay at the lake cheaper than we can stay at home, thanks to the geezer pass !

I would rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on earth 08' Oliver Legacy Elite HULL NUMBER 0003(sold)

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Mountainborn, I've never had a three-way fridge that uses 12V power. I'm glad Chris has warned us about using the 12V setting when we are towing. I will see if my 200W solar panels will solve the problem. They probably will if the sun is shining.

 

We too love the geezer pass and use it every chance we get, at National Parks, National Forest, BLM lands, and Corps of Engineer lakes. It saves us money and puts us where we like to be, in beautiful surroundings.

 

What you and Butcherknife seem especially good at is finding all the free campsites and other goodies along your way. I need some lessons because I seem not to find these places as well as you and Butcherknife do. Got any tips you can share?

 

Doug

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My wife is a passive passenger when it comes to navigating and researching while on the road. She doesn't want to learn how to drive, so it makes things more difficult. She has no interest in reading maps or other RV related information. When she does read the available information, we are already too close to, or past, where we are going to do much good, but I'll keep her anyway cause no one else would put up with me.

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We've actually found that if we have the frig good and cold, we can drive a good long ways (4 or 5 hours anyway) and things are still good and cold, without having the frig on at all. Is this a bad idea?

 

Tom

 

I think that is a great idea, especially since it works.

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Tom, we do that sometimes. Especially when leaving a boondocking site after a extended stay. We will turn off the fridge to save a small amount of propane just incase it takes awhile to find a fill.

I would rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on earth 08' Oliver Legacy Elite HULL NUMBER 0003(sold)

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Doug, there are sites that deal with boondocking/drycamping locations. We usually look along our planned route for such places that have been posted. Then there are certain givens, like BLM, USFS, ect. Google earth is a powerful tool in a campsite search.

I would rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on earth 08' Oliver Legacy Elite HULL NUMBER 0003(sold)

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Doug, let's move over to the Bondocking forum so astrocaster can get his refrigerator forum back on course before we totaly Hijack it.

I have posted a Google earth view of the La Jara campsite there.

I would rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on earth 08' Oliver Legacy Elite HULL NUMBER 0003(sold)

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Thanks, all, for your responses. They are very helpful. We have a nine-hour stretch of driving through Texas to do on Monday, and we will run the refrigerator on propane (and not the 12v) for at least most of that time.

 

One more question: Somewhere I read that it is the law, at least in Texas, that you have to turn off all appliances running on propane before pulling up to get gasoline for your TV. Is that your understanding? Is this really necessary? Is it common practice? We'll be going through Arizona and then returning home to California, as well. Do you know about the law in these two states on this issue?

 

Thanks,

Steve

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Steve,

 

Here's something I found and it may be of some help/interest in this thread regarding the use of propane while on the move.

 

http://www.gypsyjournal.net/traveling_with_propane.htm

 

I learned a few things from it. As with everything on the internet, take it with a grain of salt, use what you need and discard the rest.

Steve, Tali and the dogs: Reacher, Lucy and Rocky plus our beloved Storm and Maggie (both waiting at the Rainbow Bridge)

2008 Legacy Elite I - Outlaw Oliver, Hull #026 | 2014 Legacy Elite II - Outlaw Oliver, Hull #050 | 2022 Silverado High Country 3500HD Diesel 4x4 

 

             801469912_StatesVisitedTaliandSteve08-23-2021-I.jpg.26814499292ab76ee55b889b69ad3ef0.jpg1226003278_StatesVisitedTaliandSteve08-23-2021-H.jpg.dc46129cb4967a7fd2531b16699e9e45.jpg

 

 

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The refrigerator running on DC is a hungry beast... It uses more power than our vehicle alone can provide while charging from the tow..., draining additional power off the trailer batteries. However, since we had our solar panels installed, I'm happy that we can now run the refrigerator on DC with the additional amps provided by the solar panels. We do, however, unplug the trailer from the truck if we stop for lunch or shopping to avoid draining the tow vehicle battery. (No help traveling at night, of course....) :D

 

Sherry

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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Thanks for all of the repies regarding running the refrigerator on propane. We have done so now for several trips over a few thousand miles and we are very pleased with how this works. The refrigerator seems to use very little propane and does a great job cooling. We do make a point of stopping short of the gas pumps at stations and turning the refrigerator off while refueling and then pulling out and restarting it. No problem.

 

Steve

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