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Freezing weather while towing


Donna and Scott
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How do keep your fresh water from freezing while towing from place to place. Do you run the furnace?  I know when stopped what to do but if we are in the cold traveling several days this January we will be towing all day in below freezing temps.  

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#837 Just getting started.

TV is 2020 Durango Citadel or 2021 Dodge 1500 diesel V6.  2021

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Leave the furnace on low and open some of the hatches. Make sure the fresh tank is full, that much water would take a long time to freeze.

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Steve, Tali and the dogs: Reacher and Rocky plus our beloved Storm, Maggie and Lucy (all 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 SRW Diesel 4x4 

 

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

 

 

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I can't see any problems. The furnace fan won't pull enough amperage to outpace your trucks alternator. It will consume some propane, but that's better than frozen lines. If it were going to be bitterly cold (well below zero) for hours while traveling, I might consider blowing out the lines until I could get somewhere warmer. You do NOT have to be concerned about wind chill. If it is zero degrees (F) outside and you stick your hand out the truck window while going 70 mph, it will feel like -35 degrees. But, the trailer (and all inanimate objects) can get no colder than the ambient temperature.

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Steve, Tali and the dogs: Reacher and Rocky plus our beloved Storm, Maggie and Lucy (all 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 SRW Diesel 4x4 

 

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

 

 

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Does your Ollie have lithium batteries? If so, your furnace won’t run them down very far. But they won’t recharge off the truck either. Healthy lead acid batteries should be fine with the furnace draw, but that load will be carried by the alternator anyway.

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, Safari snorkel.

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There is an explosion hazard if propane appliances are on when refueling.  It is illegal to tow through tunnels with tank valves in the on position. Many choose to ignore these facts (I assume) due to the low incidence of actual fires or explosions. I have only traversed one tunnel several times (Chesapeake Bay Bridge tunnel). They rely upon the honesty of the drivers and don't do a visual inspection. Personally, I always turn the propane OFF prior to getting underway. You could winterize your trailer for towing in subfreezing conditions?

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2021 Elite II #769, 2018 Toyota Tundra

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WA State ferries also require the gas to be shut off and tagged, at least the larger ones do. The tiny open topped ferries like in the middle of the state never check, I guess because there are no enclosed decks to trap the fumes.

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, Safari snorkel.

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If you have a compressor, you can do a quick and dirty winterization by blowing out the water lines. At the very least, that might help save the check valves at the water ports, since those are the most prone to freezing while underway, and wouldn’t be protected by furnace heat anyway.

That, and filling the tanks like Steve suggested, are probably the two simplest and most effective things you can do.  Another idea is to crank the heat up before setting off, to get as much heat into the trailer as you can, then do the same if you stop for lunch to rewarm everything.

I think if you do those things you won’t have any problem except in the most extreme situations. 

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23 minutes ago, Overland said:

If you have a compressor, you can do a quick and dirty winterization by blowing out the water lines.If you have a compressor, you can do a quick and dirty winterization by blowing out the water lines. At the very least, that might help save the check valves at the water ports, since those are the most prone to freezing while underway, and wouldn’t be protected by furnace heat anyway.

That, and filling the tanks like Steve suggested, are probably the two simplest and most effective things you can do.  Another idea is to crank the heat up before setting off, to get as much heat into the trailer as you can, then do the same if you stop for lunch to rewarm everything.

I think if you do those things you won’t have any problem except in the most extreme situations. 

"If you have a compressor, you can do a quick and dirty winterization by blowing out the water lines."

Is there a video on how to do this?   Is it easy for a novice to do? 

John and Debbie, Beaverton, Oregon,  2017 Ford Expedition EL 4x4 with heavy duty tow package. 

Present trailer, 2003 Coleman tent trailer

Oliver Elite II is on my wish list

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2 hours ago, John Welte said:

Is there a video on how to do this?   Is it easy for a novice to do? 

If you search on YouTube for “winterize RV with compressed air”, you’ll get a good many videos. We’ve also had some topics about it here on the forum with some additional tips specifically for Olivers.  As far as difficulty goes, it’s a much easier process than using antifreeze, for sure.  I think the main thing is to make sure that your compressor isn’t set at a really high psi, which could potentially damage the plumbing.

The other thing to think about when using air is that you won’t get 100% of the water out, and what’s left could possibly settle in a low spot. I think the only place that might be a problem would again be the check valves, and some people will squirt just a bit of antifreeze in the water ports when they’re done, just to make sure that if any water settles in the valves, it won’t freeze.

Or you can do like me and rip all the plumbing out and redo it so that those check valves are inboard and at a high spot in the lines. 🤓

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On 12/23/2021 at 8:47 AM, John E Davies said:

Does your Ollie have lithium batteries? If so, your furnace won’t run them down very far. But they won’t recharge off the truck either. Healthy lead acid batteries should be fine with the furnace draw, but that load will be carried by the alternator anyway.

Ok dumb question from someone who doesn't yet own a trailer...  Does the trailer charge off the tow vehicle electric while towing?  I assumed they wouldn't.

From your post it seems like Lithium doesn't (charge from tow vehicle) but if our trailer has traditional batteries it will?

Thanks in advance for humoring my rookie question.

Nik

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3 hours ago, Ghostrider10-32 said:

Ok dumb question from someone who doesn't yet own a trailer...  Does the trailer charge off the tow vehicle electric while towing?  I assumed they wouldn't.

From your post it seems like Lithium doesn't (charge from tow vehicle) but if our trailer has traditional batteries it will?

Thanks in advance for humoring my rookie question.

Nik

Correct

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Steve, Tali and the dogs: Reacher and Rocky plus our beloved Storm, Maggie and Lucy (all 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 SRW Diesel 4x4 

 

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

 

 

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This is venturing off topic but since it’s come up, I give my spiel; and if that spurs more discussion, we can break it off into a new topic.

The charging issue has been discussed in some of the battery threads more thoroughly, but both types of batteries will be charged, a little bit, when your truck feels like it. It isn’t about the batteries themselves, but rather the wiring size and length going from the engine bay all the way back to the trailer, and the electronically controlled alternators in today’s trucks.  It started with GM vehicles a number of years ago, but they’re all like that now.

Essentially your truck won’t recognize the load and so won’t keep the alternator going at a high enough voltage to do you much good.  And even if it did, the wiring is too small to get a full charge anyway.  Good thing, with lithiums, since with decent wiring they’d burn out your alternator in nothing flat.  

I suspect that with lead acid batteries, most people have never had reason to become aware of the issue - the adoption of solar panels preceded the new electronics, and driving all day out in the sun will usually charge a small bank just from solar alone. You naturally assume that the truck had something to do with it.  But it becomes obvious with large lithium banks since if they’re considerably discharged, they may not charge all the way through solar alone while driving.

The solution for both battery types is a battery to battery charger, but most people are perfectly fine without, even with lithiums. It would be pretty far down my modification list unless you’ve found that your solar isn’t keeping up, or like the peace of mind of having an additional charge source, or just enjoy modifying things, etc. 

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3 hours ago, Overland said:

This is venturing off topic but since it’s come up, I give my spiel; and if that spurs more discussion, we can break it off into a new topic.

 

After watching a Victron video SeaDawg posted about Lithium battery demand and alternator damage with a particular system, purchased a shunt to monitor Lithium Battery charge with TV running and 7 pin connector connected. Battleborn told me I did not have to worry about about my system with 12V TV charging our Lithium battery, but I learn from threads here, too!

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Tundra LE2

 

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1 hour ago, Fritz said:

Good summary, Overland.  One question, though: my impression is that the 7-pin charge wire on recent trailers with a lithium package is not even connected to the battery.  Is this correct?  

This is correct. Oliver does not connect that wire.

 

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Steve, Tali and the dogs: Reacher and Rocky plus our beloved Storm, Maggie and Lucy (all 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 SRW Diesel 4x4 

 

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

 

 

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We won’t be doing any winter camping… if I wanted to be where it’s really cold, why I could just stay home.. We do however seem to end up occasionally driving where it’s cold, or dealing with overnights in the low 20s. Sometimes we travel with the furnace on, but not often. We do always make sure the hot water heater has been doing it’s thing so we can run hot water through the pipes once in a while.
I added insulation to the basement door, and have some in the outdoor shower compartment as well, where if needed, I can stuff a 10hr hand warmer. I cut a hatch in the basement to gain access to the check valves and pipes at the water intakes, where I can stuff hand warmers as well. 
I also made an insulation block for the water inlets out of 2” rigid foam insulation. It basically clamps tight on the intakes  when in place. When temperatures are in the upper teens or low 20s I can keep those intake fixtures at least 10 degrees warmer than the outside temperatures, so it helps somewhat. 
These little things help with occasional cold spells.. but wouldn’t do much good if the temperatures didn’t moderate during the day.. 
 

Insulation block

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Inside the block, cut our for water intakes.. the bolts, wing nuts, and steel plates squeeze it together in place 
250EC7F4-5C93-4BE6-8F95-C89094E68FC6.thumb.jpeg.7d2676f403e8b39d8378457f7b55c2f0.jpeg
 

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Mark & Deb..2020 Elite II..Dearie..Hull #685..2016 Tundra

 

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