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preventing water lines / tanks from freezing while in transit

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We will be doing some travel this winter that has the potential to be below freezing while in transit.

 

Has anyone come up with a solution to keep the cabin and between the hulls (water lines and tanks) above freezing with 12v low amperage heaters while in transit?

 

Any solutions are of interest but don't want to travel with open propane lines and hope to continue to operate without an inverter.


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I would use my furnace at a low setting. You will use some propane, but won’t have any battery drain the TV should keep the battery’s charged while traveling and you’ll have a warm cabin when you arrive at your destination.

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Perhaps this is not what you want to hear, but, given the your constraints of not using propane - I simply leave my Ollie winterized during such travel. I do carry a couple of gallons of water in milk jugs in the bath for flushing the toilet. And, I carry other water in my truck for drinking, bathing and food prep. Once I get to warmer climates, I flush the lines and proceed normally. Since winterizing the Ollie is so easy, I then re-winterize once I get back to the chilly north.

Bill

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2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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12 volt heaters big enough to do any good would use a ton of current, especially if you are also using the fridge that way!

 

Why don’t you want to use propane while traveling? Fire risk?

 

John Davies

Spokane WA

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"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

 

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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Oliver designed in two perfectly good freeze protection systems, and they are great features. One is to run the propane heater, which ducts the warm air between the hulls, and adds a lot of energy to the area. The other is too winterize.

 

"Lo amperage" means low energy.

 

You either need a lot of energy, or you need to remove the chance of freezing what is there. To remove the chance of freezing what is there, you need to drain it out, or add anti-freeze to it.

 

 

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John


"I only exaggerate enough to compensate for being taken with a grain of salt."


LE2 #92 (sold),   Black Series HQ19   

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Even with the heat on, the most vulnerable areas will still tend to frieze - particularly the hose inlets. The best thing to do for short stints in the cold is to carry a compressor or air tank and blow out the lines prior to travel. It doesn't take much time and gets you 90% winterized.

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Snowball • LE2 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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I agree about blowing out the outside lines and shower head, a small compressor like this one - which puts out nearly 6 cfm - would work fine, and as a bonus you can air up your TV or trailer tires with it. Or an air mattress or inflatable boat.

 

https://www.4wd.com/p/smittybilt-5-65-cfm-air-compressor-2781/_/R-DSBP-2781

 

I tend to shy away from inexpensive pumps but I have had one of these for several years and it is fine for occasional use. The tiny glovebox sized “high pressure” pumps are to be avoided at all cost. Most are less than worthless....

 

John Davies

 

Spokane WA

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"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

 

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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thank for all the input.. I was my understanding that it's not legal to travel with active propane lines in some states plus it can damage your refrigerator / appliances to run when they are not level. I'm i miss-informed?

 

 

 


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You're not - but many people do it anyway.

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Snowball • LE2 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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It’s legal till you get caught. Seriously I don’t know about out west. East coast some tunnels have signs no propane if you are able to see them they are so small. I haven’t ever seen inspections before entering, or anyone being stoped for it. If you happen to be in an accident in the tunnel then the legal part of it kicks in, in short there are laws pertaining to propane on highways  like a lot of other laws out there that aren’t really enforced unless something bad happens. Still doesn’t hurt to know basic traffic laws for different states you travel in. Each state is different.

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Tunnels, ferries and refueling your TV are the places to be concerned about. The first two are a moderate risk if there is an accident and gas is released into a confined space. Kaboom! For a short tunnel at high speed, I would never shutoff the bottles. For a long slow one, certainly.

 

WA State Ferries, the big ones, require you to use EPA approved cans for flammable liquids (only ten gallons allowed) and you must turn off your permanently mounted RV propane supply (regardless of tank size), and flag the regulator so that it is obvious to an onlooker that they have been secured. An dock attendant will ask you and visually check for a flag. I have never seen one actually touch a valve knob. I use a piece of red surveyors tape, dangling out the access hole. The little ferries here, on remote lake crossings, have the signs but nobody ever checks. It is a lot more casual.

 

When refueling, there is a very small risk that a pilot light could ignite spilled gas vapors. The fridge presents the biggest risk since it is closer to your TV. Use common sense, stay at the pump and don’t spill fuel; I think you are a lot more likely to ignite fumes with static discharge than from a hidden pilot flame fifteen feet away.... I have two jerry cans on my rear rack, I remove them and fill them carefully at the pump, so if there should be an accident it would not immediately envelope the trailer. Just think about what you are doing and don’t screw up.

 

Millions of RVers keep the propane on when traveling and fireballs are not that common, if you are in a serious wreck you probably have lots worse things to be concerned about. Everyone has different risk tolerance, do what makes you feel comfortable.

 

John Davies

 

Spokane WA

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"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

 

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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below freezing is also very relative. The heater will keep most things warm, but the highest risk is the outside shower. Ours didn't freeze up, but there was definitely frozen water inside the door that I had dribbled before putting it away. At some point I will put an isolation valve/drain on those lines. This was at 20 degrees with probably 80-90mph wind chill while in motion (quartering headwind).

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2019 LE2 #529 expected Sep/Oct 2019


 

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very good stuff and educational.

 

The fridge is not a problem or concern. We "charge the Oliver fridge the night before leaving town and then put all the food in it already cold or frozen from the house fridge. The Oliver fridge is a great "ice box". It stays cold all day until we stop to camp. At this time we turn on the fridge and all is good. Turn it off before we travel and so on. Never had a problem with food getting warm or defrosting. Doing this is super easy and worth the small effort to keep the fridge in good shape. Again I'm assuming we are operating with reliable information that it's very hard on the fridge to travel with it on and doing so greatly increases the likelihood of damage.

 

I'm happy to learn the propane heat on its own gets the job done in cold weather. So far we have only had cold nights and mornings (high teens) but warm in the daytime. The concern is if we get caught when the temp is really cold 24/7 for several days in a row. I had a friend on a duck/goose hunting trip in Canada last year that made a mess out of his Lance camper in this very situation. The idea of just stopping and winterizing and blowing out lines is viable if the temp were to get crazy. All is good in my book as long as nothing internal gets broken. Seems like the biggest concerns are the outside shower and water input ports freezing if it gets really cold.

 

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I never knew that really serious damage will occur over time to the fridge, a “death by a thousand cuts” accumulation of damage, for a couple of reasons.

 

http://www.rvforum.net/SMF_forum/index.php?topic=106056.0

 

I always just assumed that the efficiency would be lower when off level during the time the flame was burning.

 

This just reinforces my absolute hatred towards propane RV appliances. The fridge especially. I sure hope mine dies soon so I will have a better excuse to put in a 12 vdc compressor unit. Will I stop traveling and parking for a while off camber with the propane on? Nope.

 

Here is a question ..... why is this not mentioned in either the manufacturer manual or the Ollie one? Has anyone ever been told this during orientation, or at a Rally?

 

John Davies

 

Spokane WA


"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

 

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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John, it was in our manual for the dometic rm2r54 we used to have. First thing in user instructions. Basically, if you're comfortable, the fridge can operate safely.

 

I think our Norcold 3way manual said 3% was ok, but I wouldn't swear to it. That's actually a lot of slope, .4 inches to a foot, I think. ( I looked up a Norcold manual online. See attached.)

 

Both manuals mention that travel doesn't affect the fluids. It all levels out. After all, none of us really drive uphill for an entire trip.?

 

The newer generation fridges of today aren't as susceptible to the slope issues as the old school fridges of days gone by, but it's still important.

 

Another reason you'll like the Danfoss compressor when you finally get one. Slope in a trailer, or heel in a sailboat, is pretty much immaterial.

Screenshot_20191022-103832_Drive.thumb.jpg.c7014505bf991ff6b2e8cf16d8fb9fc9.jpg

Screenshot_20191022-104939_Drive.jpg.08a9c553f003d87a8f4b673aa3cb436e.jpg

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2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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Thanks for the images, I was are of the off-level info - that is pretty widespread knowledge - but I do not remember reading anything about permanent equipment damage. That may just be one of my many brain farts.

 

John Davies`

Spokane WA


"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

 

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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On 10/21/2019 at 7:19 AM, Overland said:

Even with the heat on, the most vulnerable areas will still tend to frieze - particularly the hose inlets. The best thing to do for short stints in the cold is to carry a compressor or air tank and blow out the lines prior to travel. It doesn't take much time and gets you 90% winterized.

Overland,  New to this thread;  can you explain how one can hook up compressed air to the lines to blow them out?  Thanks, Hobo


2018 Elite II, Hull #414 (the very last 2018 produced).  Trailer name "2 HOBOS" .   2006 Dodge 3500 Megacab, 4x4 with 5.9L Cummins diesel.

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hobo -

There are a number of ways to do this job.  Using something like this:

RV blow out plug

or like this:

RV Blow Out Plug

can help - note that there are a number of other hoses and plugs that do similar jobs.

Make sure that you do not put any more than 60 psi into those lines.  Simply screw the plug device into the appropriate port, control the psi of the air from your compressor, attach the compressor to the plug device and blow the water out of that line.

Make sure that you do all of the lines that you are concerned about - winterization port, black tank rinse port, city water inlet, fresh water tank inlet.  Also, make sure that you get the water out of the outdoor shower - both hot and cold water.

Remember that this does not take the place of a full winterization.

Bill


2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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Here’s a video that explains the process. Last winter I used this method and it was successful enough that I’ll continue to do so. You do have to be thorough as Bill said, and there’s definitely a greater risk of failure vs using anti freeze. The main difficulty being that even a small amount of water left in a line can collect in a low spot and form a plug. But it’s such a simpler method, and because it doesn’t have to be undone when it’s time to go camping again it works better for us with our camping habits and changing weather.  If I lived in a colder climate, I might not be as willing to risk it.  Regardless, it’s a good tool to have for when you’re traveling in the cold. 
 

https://youtu.be/fyjFAFFe7xs


Snowball • LE2 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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possibly a propane shutoff safety valve reduces concerns about running propane while in transit?  Check out this interesting TechnoRV propane safety valve


KWR


2019 Oliver Legacy Elite II, Hull#444


2019 GMC Sierra 2500HD Crew Cab, 4WD, Denali, Duramax 6.6L Turbo Diesel V8 Engine with Allison 6-speed transmission

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