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Now that I read this thread, I am wondering if we should choose the regular water heater vs. the Truma water heater. Is there a thread on this to compare the two?  I thought the Truma was best for water saving and time saving purposes.  I appreciate and value your feedback.  Thank you, Mirna.

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Mirna - 

Certainly the Truma is nice and if you simply can not remember to keep the standard water heater turned off, the Truma will save you propane.  It also has the benefit of "instant gratification" given the short time it takes to provide hot water.  Some claim that the Truma also simplifies maintenance but that can be argued.  If those features are important enough to you to spend the extra money that is asked for the Truma then you have your answer.  However,  on the rare occasion that either one of these heaters requires repair, the standard heater is generally less expensive to repair and parts tend to be more generally available.  If you can remember to turn the heater on about ten minutes prior to needing the hot water AND turn it off after you have the hot water you need then the standard water heater is probably cheaper to run.  And the standard water heater gives you the option to run on electric if you are plugged into shore power.

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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Ok, that last post cinched it for me, I’m going with the standard water heater. Lower cost, easier/cheaper to repair, can run on gas and electric, fairly quick heat up time. Sounds good to me. 

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In summer temperatures you can just leave the regular heater running most of the time. It keeps the water at around 140 degrees, I think. That is not a very big temp difference (“delta T”) compared to the average outside temp. In cold weather the delta T can be huge and that poorly insulated tank will chill down really fast, so it cycles often and you are also sucking propane into the furnace. 

In summer I just leave the regular water heater running during the day, even while towing. If it’s cold out, or a 30 mph crosswind at the campsite, I shut it down when not in use. (It can sometimes send smells into an open curbside window....) . At bedtime I shut it down because the igniter snapping sound and “whoooosh” wakes me up. I just reach up and flip the heater on when I start to wake up around dawn... The switch is easy to reach from that side bed.

For cold weather camping I might  pick the Truma to save gas. But I don’t know how that version prevents freezing. Maybe somebody can comment on that issue. Some Trumas auto drain when it gets near freezing....? The regular heater must be left on, or drained and bypassed.

John Davies

Spokane WA

Edited by John E Davies
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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/

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The truma will fire up just enough to keep the water inside the unit above freezing.  From the factory it will do this with propane, or you can buy the electric antifreeze kit which does the same on 12v, which is great when traveling through freezing temps. It doesn't do anything to protect your pipes, but it will protect your expensive water heater from damage. 

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Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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36 minutes ago, Overland said:

The truma will fire up just enough to keep the water inside the unit above freezing.  From the factory it will do this with propane, or you can buy the electric antifreeze kit which does the same on 12v, which is great when traveling through freezing temps. It doesn't do anything to protect your pipes, but it will protect your expensive water heater from damage. 

That's interesting, so if you do not have the 12 volt heater kit, and you run out of propane, must you immediately drain the Truma manually? What happens if you run out at say 10:00pm on a 20 degree night and don't notice it immediately? Will it be trashed by dawn? How long does it take to chill? The 6 gallon standard tank will stay at least a little warm for a long time. Hopefully long enough to either get more propane or to grab your socket and drain it....

John Davies
Spokane WA

Edited by John E Davies

"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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Posted (edited)

If you run out of gas, the control panel will flash a warning light.  And if you think it's cold enough to freeze, you gan go out and flip the drain lever open and go back to bed.  

Edited by Overland
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Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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I'd get the truma again, given the choice.  Both options are going to waste the water from the heater to the faucet.  I like pulling into camp and flicking the dial, and taking a shower.  My wife likes taking really long showers.   Sometimes we go for a walk and it's wash dog, wash wife, wash me.  We can do that all back to back with the Truma.  We never worry about turning it off or on.  We just always have hot water - even in the middle of the night.  Winterizing it is easy.

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I would think the decision between the Suburban and Truma water heaters would boil down to the type camping you do (or plan to do) most.  The full benefits of the Truma would only be available if you are using full hookups in a RV park.  You can't very well have quick/unlimited hot water without having unlimited cold water in the first place and a drain down which to put said water after you're done using it.  We spend 95% of our time boondocking so I can't see spending the extra money with our style of camping. OTOH if you are primarily camping with hookups, you could probably forgo the solar/battery package and with the money you save, justify spending it on a Truma.

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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 NUMBER: 0026 2014 Legacy Elite II - Outlaw Oliver, HULL NUMBER: 0050 2017 Silverado High Country 2500HD Diesel 4x4 

 

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On 5/1/2020 at 8:13 AM, Overland said:

The truma will fire up just enough to keep the water inside the unit above freezing.  From the factory it will do this with propane, or you can buy the electric antifreeze kit which does the same on 12v, which is great when traveling through freezing temps. It doesn't do anything to protect your pipes, but it will protect your expensive water heater from damage. 

So, the electric antifreeze option is not needed; the Truma will automatically keep itself warm with propane if left turned on?  I ask because I prefer to have "fewer moving parts" ie: less components to malfunction 😊

Ray and Susan Huff

Elite II Twin on order

2013 F350 3.2l diesel Super Duty 4x4 long bed crew cab

2017 Leisure Travel Van Unity Twin Bed (sold)

AZARCACOGAHIIDILKSLAMSMONENVNMOKORSCTNTX

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On 5/1/2020 at 5:35 AM, topgun2 said:

Mirna - 

Certainly the Truma is nice and if you simply can not remember to keep the standard water heater turned off, the Truma will save you propane.  It also has the benefit of "instant gratification" given the short time it takes to provide hot water.  Some claim that the Truma also simplifies maintenance but that can be argued.  If those features are important enough to you to spend the extra money that is asked for the Truma then you have your answer.  However,  on the rare occasion that either one of these heaters requires repair, the standard heater is generally less expensive to repair and parts tend to be more generally available.  If you can remember to turn the heater on about ten minutes prior to needing the hot water AND turn it off after you have the hot water you need then the standard water heater is probably cheaper to run.  And the standard water heater gives you the option to run on electric if you are plugged into shore power.

Bill 

I agree; your comments sway me toward the standard heater.

Ray and Susan Huff

Elite II Twin on order

2013 F350 3.2l diesel Super Duty 4x4 long bed crew cab

2017 Leisure Travel Van Unity Twin Bed (sold)

AZARCACOGAHIIDILKSLAMSMONENVNMOKORSCTNTX

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On 5/1/2020 at 8:49 AM, John E Davies said:

That's interesting, so if you do not have the 12 volt heater kit, and you run out of propane, must you immediately drain the Truma manually? What happens if you run out at say 10:00pm on a 20 degree night and don't notice it immediately? Will it be trashed by dawn? How long does it take to chill? The 6 gallon standard tank will stay at least a little warm for a long time. Hopefully long enough to either get more propane or to grab your socket and drain it....

John Davies
Spokane WA

Draining the Truma if just a matter of opening the drain valve in the outside compartment.  Not ideal in the middle of the night in 20 degree temps, but no tools required.  You just have to plan ahead.

Ray and Susan Huff

Elite II Twin on order

2013 F350 3.2l diesel Super Duty 4x4 long bed crew cab

2017 Leisure Travel Van Unity Twin Bed (sold)

AZARCACOGAHIIDILKSLAMSMONENVNMOKORSCTNTX

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On 4/29/2020 at 6:52 AM, C&MCurrie said:

I feel your pain. We put a deposit down as well and keep waffling back and forth on a couple of options. We however plan  on Boondocking. Deciding on the powered awning and Truma water heater is especially difficult as I tend to align with the “keep it simple, stupid” group, LOL. Anyway, I will be closely following this thread. Keep the opinions coming.  

I'm a fan of KISS too.  Still not sure about the awnings.  I heard the manual awning is self-supporting now, so that may be the deciding factor.  We don't use our motor home's POC Carefree awning much because it has support arms which are a pain to deploy;  It has issues hanging up on deployment; and it's not wind/rain sensing.  Comments, anyone?

Ray and Susan Huff

Elite II Twin on order

2013 F350 3.2l diesel Super Duty 4x4 long bed crew cab

2017 Leisure Travel Van Unity Twin Bed (sold)

AZARCACOGAHIIDILKSLAMSMONENVNMOKORSCTNTX

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On 4/28/2020 at 8:23 AM, John E Davies said:

 FYI the cargo tray can easily be added in the future in less than an hour.

 

@John E DaviesI appreciate your comments as we decide which options to choose.  One we are still going back and forth on is the cargo box:

We have a HD pickup, so weight is not an issue. 

We are looking at the possibility of mounting our tray bike rack on the pickup.  The rack extends 26" beyond the receiver; the distance from hitch to LP cover is 34" so I think this will work. However, clearance might be an issue with the cargo box installed.   

The only consideration to mounting the rack in this manner will be that the rack is hinged to drop down, so opening the tailgate might require the trailer to be unhitched or removing the bikes (which takes less than a minute). Once I get a schematic of the trailer tongue, I can better calculate how the rack might work.  It's a trade-off between using the rack or carrying the bikes in the pickup bed, which is a hassle; we prefer the rack.

My question is: You say a cargo box can easily be added later.   I get this, but if the Oliver cargo box is ordered, can it easily be removed?  Is it welded or bolted to the tongue?  Adding one later has the advantage of customizing the box to fit our needs (our son can do this).

The other option we are unsure about is the auto-drain backflow prevention:

I understand the need for this, but it's another electronic element to hassle with.  I have reservations, however, about the manual valve: is it in the way, particularly where feet are concerned?  I can see going into the bathroom barefoot in the middle of the night and whacking an ankle bone on the handle; would be nice if it was recessed. What are your thoughts on the backflow prevention options?  Exactly how does the automatic valve work?  Reliability of each option . . . . . . why not just plug the drain with an expansion stopper, or perhaps to a kayak scupper plug, while towing?

I agree with your other observations: Our intention is to keep our Oliver as simple as possible with fewer powered/electronic accessories; I'm thankful that Oliver gives you this choice.

Our options list:

Midnight decor with Ultra Fabric dinette upgrade

Hypervent mat

Solar Pro Pkg (4 6v AGM, solar panels, inverter)

Micro-air Easy Start (we will be carrying a generator)

Omni-directional Antenna - mostly for FM and resale; still somewhat undecided

Manual curbside awning

Black cabinet doors

No microwave

30# LP tanks

Standard toilet

Standard 6 gal water heater

4G cell phone booster

Backup camera

Inside basement access door

Extra fabric back cushions to convert dinette into sofa and possibly use with beds

Edited by Susan Huff

Ray and Susan Huff

Elite II Twin on order

2013 F350 3.2l diesel Super Duty 4x4 long bed crew cab

2017 Leisure Travel Van Unity Twin Bed (sold)

AZARCACOGAHIIDILKSLAMSMONENVNMOKORSCTNTX

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1 hour ago, Susan Huff said:

I have reservations, however, about the manual valve: is it in the way, particularly where feet are concerned?  I can see going into the bathroom barefoot in the middle of the night and whacking an ankle bone on the handle; would be nice if it was recessed.

In 4+ years we’ve never whacked an ankle.  Not even close.  We have forgotten to open it (pullout) and had some sink water come up through the floor drain.  But ankle whacking has not occurred.

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1 hour ago, Mike and Carol said:

In 4+ years we’ve never whacked an ankle.  Not even close.  We have forgotten to open it (pullout) and had some sink water come up through the floor drain.  But ankle whacking has not occurred.

Thanks!  And you answered my question about how the back flow prevention valve works:  To prevent the grey water from coming into the drains, it shuts off the flow of water to the grey tank.  In order for water to get to the grey tank, it has to be open.  I think I want the manual valve.  

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Ray and Susan Huff

Elite II Twin on order

2013 F350 3.2l diesel Super Duty 4x4 long bed crew cab

2017 Leisure Travel Van Unity Twin Bed (sold)

AZARCACOGAHIIDILKSLAMSMONENVNMOKORSCTNTX

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As Mike said - the problem is remembering to open (or close) that valve.  However, the electric switch option still requires you to remember to open (or close) the valve.  All the switch does is save you from having to bend over to open (or close) via the manual one.  You would almost have to actually try to catch your ankle on that manual handle.  Again, as Mike said, I've never even thought about it.

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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So we're getting close to deciding on our options:

1. No to auto backflow prevention: I see no advantage to the "Automatic" backflow prevention valve.  I assumed that automatic meant you don't have to remember to open/close it; apparently you still have to push the button?  The manual valve seems much simpler and less apt to malfunction.  Someone please correct me if this is a wrong assumption.  A couple of you have curbed my concern that the valve would be in the way while using the "facilities".

2. No omni-directional antenna: my initial reasons for inclusion of this option were FM radio and occasional TV reception for local news.  It seems that FM reception is poor and TV not that great unless you are very near the broadcast area.  We rarely use our TV now, except to watch an occasional DVD.  Resale value might be the only advantage, however these days those who want TV are going to have satellite receivers.  Besides, how hard is it to sell an Oliver?  Cosmetically, no antenna makes for a much sleeker looking trailer 😎

3. No cargo box: It might be convenient to have easy access to chocks, leveling blocks, etc especially on a road trip where you go through the hookup/unhook routine on a daily basis.  However, as my husband pointed out, it's just another checkpoint when breaking camp and we wouldn't want to carry valuable cargo there; and there's plenty of room in the pickup.  In addition, I am not certain the cargo box will allow us to carry our bikes on a rack behind the pickup.  As with the antenna mentioned above, I feel the cargo box interferes with the clean lines of the exterior.

The $1,200 not spent on these three options can be used to purchase other aftermarket accessories 💰

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Ray and Susan Huff

Elite II Twin on order

2013 F350 3.2l diesel Super Duty 4x4 long bed crew cab

2017 Leisure Travel Van Unity Twin Bed (sold)

AZARCACOGAHIIDILKSLAMSMONENVNMOKORSCTNTX

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Susan, I created some unique storage space behind the propane tanks with outside access. You can find information about it and several of my mods in this thread.

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 NUMBER: 0026 2014 Legacy Elite II - Outlaw Oliver, HULL NUMBER: 0050 2017 Silverado High Country 2500HD Diesel 4x4 

 

      ALAKAZARCACOCTDEFLGAIDILINIAKSKYLAMEMDMA       ABBCMBNSYTsm.jpg

 

 

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