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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 • 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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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.   

2018 Navigator L   2020 GMC Sierra 2500 Duramax

 

 

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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 • 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

Attached is a picture of the GasStop Propane Shutoff Valves I recently installed on Hull #4441195112753_TechnoRVvalves.thumb.jpg.dabe6d58437a6e36fe1559f0731aae82.jpg 

Edited by KWRJRPE

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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On 10/21/2019 at 1:19 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.

According to the Oliver Winterization info, they do not recommend purging water lines in Ollie with air.  I suspect it has to do not with over pressurization, but rather the high speed movement of sections of water through mostly air filled hoses.....and then hitting an elbow.  Pop goes the elbow.


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I wonder how much heat is needed to keep the basement from freezing?  Would a 500 watt heater running near continuously do so? 

If so, the new Ford F-150's can be ordered with 200 amp alternators.   To run such a heater, we would need really large copper cables run for (Both Plus and Minus) from the truck to the trailer batteries, with relays and fuses appropriately sized.  

That would allow us to use the trailer 120V electrical system to power up a 120V 500 watt electrical heater, the furnace fan to circulate heat to the basement, and some power to charge the batteries.

I am guessing that at least 1/0-ga wired would be needed for the approximately 60 foot run (30' each way).  

Not something that I would do with my rig, but would it work?  Your thoughts?

Edited by Geronimo John

Tug:  2019 F-150 SuperCrew Lariat, 3.5L EcoBoost, Max Trailer Tow, FX-4, 4X4, Rear Locker

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GJ -

Perhaps you are correct about "pop there goes an elbow" but - in addition - it is very difficult to remove ALL water in the lines via the compressed air method.  On previous campers I used compressed air and it seemed no matter how careful I was, there was some part that always was destroyed due to freezing.  It is not a surprise when I finally realized that these parts were either small - back flow preventers - or at the extreme ends of plumbing runs - exterior showers, toilets.  Given the work involved in using compressed air to make absolutely sure that ALL water had been removed from the system, I simply decided that the RV Antifreeze method was far easier and less time consuming.

With regards to your heater question - I really don't know.  However, there are other ways fellow Forum members have posted concerning getting heat to that area that sound simpler and even possibly cheaper than what you propose.  Check out Bugeyedriver's bilge heaters for instance.

Bll


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

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Bugeyedriver post Nov 13, 2017

I am responding for additional information about your two basement 120V basement heaters.  

  • What were their wattage?  Were they the same size street side/curb side?
  • Down to what temperature do you think they would be effective?
  • What brand and if possible model number would you purchase if you were going to install them at this time?

Thank you,

Geronimo John


Tug:  2019 F-150 SuperCrew Lariat, 3.5L EcoBoost, Max Trailer Tow, FX-4, 4X4, Rear Locker

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On 11/13/2017 at 10:28 AM, bugeyedriver said:

TopGun2 Bill: 

I had recalled Bugeyedriver's post about using small heaters in the basement.  I rechecked and he is using them via shore power.  I also (above) sent  a note asking his thoughts about how they worked out.  However that solution does not address the issue at hand, that of providing safe energy to heat Ollie while traveling in freezing conditions.  The use of the maring bilge heaters would certainly be a great heat source for the bilge.  But they still require power to run.   The Oliver batteries, even if augmented by solar panels simply do not have the ability to do so.  Hence my brain storming on this topic.

That said,  you are correct that adding a large circuit from TV to Ollie would be expensive,  So further brain engagement ensued on how to use more of what we already have vs. adding weight and cost as I had postulated.

ALTERNATE IDEA:  Oliver has an option for a 30 amp port on the front side of the LP tank enclosure.  It would less effort and certainly less costly to just run a cord from  my truck bed transported Honda EU2200, to that input port.  Then use the bilge heaters, or maybe even less expensive the existing electrical strip heaters while in transit.  Running the Honda while traveling should not be an issue so long as it is properly restrained... which it should be already.  To optimize the generator exhaust dispersion and noise, adding a 90 degree turn up on the generator horizontal exhaust would help clear the exhaust from the truck bed. 

The other consideration would be possible generator noise.  For the 2019 F-150 with its sound reduction glass, and using a Honda inverter generator, I don't think that it would be an issue.  However for other generators and trucks it could be.

Have any of our owners actually done this?  If so, what are your thoughts?  How well did it work?  How cold do you think this set-up could travel in and not freeze up the trailer?  What would you do to optimize this concept?

Thanks all!

Geronimo John

 

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Edited by Geronimo John

Tug:  2019 F-150 SuperCrew Lariat, 3.5L EcoBoost, Max Trailer Tow, FX-4, 4X4, Rear Locker

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