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First night out was a doozie.


johnwen
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After leaving the mother ship yesterday, we arrived at Tunica, MS for a week or so to check things out before heading back east.  Anything we can't solve or fix we'll take back to OTT before heading home.  At Hohenwald I made the mistake of leaving the city water hose connected, but turned off, and was of course greeted buy a rather sizable block of ice the next morning, roughly the size of a water filter 😞  It was persistently raining on departure from OTT so I only drained half of the freshwater tank before heading for Tunica.  That was a blessing as it turns out...I'll explain a little later. 

Question #1... Does the freshwater really take that long to drain?  I had both kitchen and bathroom faucets open in case it helps evacuate the suction of the exiting water.  

Last night at Tunica I noticed a very cold draft from the top of the refrigerator, above the frame and below its fiberglass enclosure.  The wind was very strong from that side so I took the outside upper vent cover off and discovered a large gap all the way across where insulation mats meet.  A good 3/4 inch gap.  I taped it up with some low tack tape as well as the top of the refrigerator inside the trailer.  Pictures below.

Question #2...Is there supposed to be a gap there?  I'm leaving the tape there temporarily to block the 30 degree breeze I'm getting from the outside.

About 4 AM I realized the mistake I made (AGAIN) with the city water so I opened the faucets and sure enough the ice was starting to form  on the inlet screen at the trailer, but as the water flowed and the ice melted I let it run for a few minutes to make sure everything was ok.  Then my feet felt something terribly cold.  I'm not at all used to having open and close a valve in the toilet to travel, so I can't really get onto myself for forgetting to open it upon arrival at Tunica.  At least I remembered to close it prior to leaving the mother ship 🙂 No questions here, just venting!

Here's where it starts getting serious.  After the "thaw" at 4 AM, I chose to start up the water heater, for added warmth in the basement, via propane.  It started up fine, ran a minute or so and then the propane alarm went crazy.  After figuring out how to reset the alarm, we turned the fan on to the highest setting, and turned off the water heater.  My Casita has the same Suburban heater and when the wind blows hard from that side the igniter has a hard time keeping up with the flameouts, so the propane gets blown back into the trailer, in my opinion, and sets off the alarm.  So I just switch over to electric.  We opened every hatch we could to check things out and didn't see anything out of place but the alarm persisted and now the carbon monoxide/smoke alarm went off.  No smoke and the alarm was 4 short beeps...carbon monoxide.  We were about to evacuate into the cold, wet snow.  But after opening everything up, the alarms went silent, the red lights went out and the green light on the propane alarm came back on.  In retrospect, the next time this happens I will turn off the offending appliance and propane tank first, troubleshoot later!  Now all was back to normal, or so I thought.  The furnace started blowing cold air...rats!!!  Propane bottle must be out.  I tried starting the stove...no luck.  Propane bottle must be out.  Now I had to get out in the wonderful weather we're having.  Loosened the bottles and the only one I had open was a lot lighter so I assume (I know... I should avoid using that term) it must be empty.  I'll check when the weather conditions become a little more favorable.  That's why we only open one bottle at a time, better to have a spare.

Question # 3... Should a full propane bottle last more than 2 1/2 days using only the furnace and water heater?  Water heater is turned off when not needed.  I'll turn the furnace down to 69 (was set at 71) or so and augment with my space heater.  I wonder if a low, sputtering propane tank could have contributed to my problems.

Last question...I wonder what caused the carbon monoxide alarm to go off?

And the blessing of the half full freshwater tank?....we have water for a little while!!! 🙂 🙂 

PS  This really will be the last question... at what temp do ya'll pull the plugs and winterize?   We don't have antifreeze so we'll dump all water, including the water heater, and blow the lines out with a little foot pump.

Have a good laugh with this one ya'll.  Stay safe and warm wherever you are!

I hear the ice falling from the roof.  Must be time to get things in order outside.

John

 

 

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26 minutes ago, johnwen said:

Question # 3... Should a full propane bottle last more than 2 1/2 days using only the furnace and water heater? 

A full 30 lb propane tank will last us most of a season in our 32' fifth wheel running hot water, furnace, and stove as needed. Even if you have 20 lb tanks, something doesn't sound right. I'd look for a propane leak somewhere. 

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Stephanie and Dudley from CT.  2022 LE2, Hull #1150: Eggcelsior.

Tow vehicle: 2016 GMC Sierra 6.0 gas dually 4x4.

Our Oliver journey: Steph and Dud B's RV Screed

Where we've been RVing since 1999:

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3 minutes ago, Steph and Dud B said:

A full 30 lb propane tank will last us most of a season in our 32' fifth wheel running hot water, furnace, and stove as needed. Even if you have 20 lb tanks, something doesn't sound right. I'd look for a propane leak somewhere. 

Thanks!  We do full time and I forgot to mention the fridge was on propane for the travel from OTT to Tunica.  20lb tanks.

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We met in Arkansas on ur way to Oliver. We talked about the trouble that we have had upon delivery. None r the same as you r having. A propane tank lasts longer than that for us. We use an electric heater and electric hot water when we can. Ott maintenance has treaded us excellent. I think all the bugs are out of ours. We are in Florida now and will drop trailer off for maintenance Jan25.

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Hi Mark and Patricia (and Ginger), good to hear from you!  Glad the kinks are worked out.  As you can see we are working on ours.  We too are thankful to OTT's service department.  They did install a monitoring system for propane bottle capacity, tire pressure and refrigerator temperature.  I didn't get the propane monitor bluetooth sensor working yet.  Will try today.  I touched every bolt and nut and looked at every weld after talking with you, so I did find both struts, bottom nuts, on the left side that were not tightened.  That could have been a big deal and I have you to thank as I probably wouldn't have looked that close had we not discussed the problems you had.  Enjoy the warm Florida weather 🙂 

John

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I have a friend who is still working. He has an old camper not an Oliver that he lives in for work. He developed a propane leak and didn't know it. The propane replaced the oxygen inside the trailer and he almost died. A word to everyone. Be careful.

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18 minutes ago, Mark Patricia said:

I have a friend who is still working. He has an old camper not an Oliver that he lives in for work. He developed a propane leak and didn't know it. The propane replaced the oxygen inside the trailer and he almost died. A word to everyone. Be careful.

He couldn't smell it?

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 

 

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1 hour ago, ScubaRx said:
1 hour ago, Mark Patricia said:

I have a friend who is still working. He has an old camper not an Oliver that he lives in for work. He developed a propane leak and didn't know it. The propane replaced the oxygen inside the trailer and he almost died. A word to everyone. Be careful.

Expand  

He couldn't smell it?

Humans become "nose-blind" to the stink additive in propane after a while. If it's a slow leak that builds over time you might not smell it.

Stephanie and Dudley from CT.  2022 LE2, Hull #1150: Eggcelsior.

Tow vehicle: 2016 GMC Sierra 6.0 gas dually 4x4.

Our Oliver journey: Steph and Dud B's RV Screed

Where we've been RVing since 1999:

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3 hours ago, Mark Patricia said:

We talked about the trouble that we have had upon delivery.

 

3 hours ago, johnwen said:

both struts, bottom nuts, on the left side that were not tightened.

Hi, could you folks expand on this a bit? Any thoughts on what others should check at their deliveries would be very helpful. Thanks!

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Stephanie and Dudley from CT.  2022 LE2, Hull #1150: Eggcelsior.

Tow vehicle: 2016 GMC Sierra 6.0 gas dually 4x4.

Our Oliver journey: Steph and Dud B's RV Screed

Where we've been RVing since 1999:

ALAZCACOCTDEFLGAIDILINIAKYLAMDMAMIMNMSMOMTNENVNHNMNYNCNDOHOKORPASCSDTNTXUTVTVAWAWVWIWYmed.jpg.e6391b9064a3f8f0951751f985664135.jpg

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Sorry to hear about the issues on your first voyage!  

We have a different refrigerator, but a gap that lets in cold air does not sound right.  

A propane tank, 20 or 30 lb should last longer than a couple of days even running what you were running.  Question:  if you have electric hookups why don’t you use electricity for your hot water and heat?  A small space heater that runs quietly is much less annoying that the furnace cycling on and off.  I leave the switch on the hot water tank in the on position when we travel so that when hooked up to electric it is always on and we always have hot water.  Propane is only used for dry camping.

Yes, it takes almost forever to drain the freshwater tank.  That’s why I rarely do it.  Question: If you are traveling why are you draining your fresh water?  I try to travel with it full.  I would hate to get caught in a dry camping situation with an empty fresh tank.  We’ve been camping in below freezing weather at night this month so we have been using our fresh tank for water.  Here at Zion there is no water hook ups at sites.  I top off the fresh tank when I can so it remains as full as possible.

I’ve never winterized.  We regularly camp when the low gets into the 20s and a few times in the teens.  When at home in storage I keep a space heater on during cold spells.

I would have service check you propane system.  You shouldn’t be getting an alarm like that with everything so new.  Smoke detectors can be finicky.  I replaced ours last year and it went off in the middle of the night last week.  We hit reset and it didn’t come back on.  Weird.  We sleep with the vents open unless it is super cold and then with just the bath vent open.  Mike

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I agree with Mike above.

Short answers to questions

1 - yes

2 - no

3 - yes.

Be very careful with this weather that we are having - very unusual.  And, it is currently forecast for another winter storm to come through the southeast somewhere between Friday and Sunday that will dramatically lower temperatures.

Bill

 

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38 minutes ago, Mike and Carol said:

Sorry to hear about the issues on your first voyage!  

We have a different refrigerator, but a gap that lets in cold air does not sound right.  

A propane tank, 20 or 30 lb should last longer than a couple of days even running what you were running.  Question:  if you have electric hookups why don’t you use electricity for your hot water and heat?  A small space heater that runs quietly is much less annoying that the furnace cycling on and off.  I leave the switch on the hot water tank in the on position when we travel so that when hooked up to electric it is always on and we always have hot water.  Propane is only used for dry camping.

Yes, it takes almost forever to drain the freshwater tank.  That’s why I rarely do it.  Question: If you are traveling why are you draining your fresh water?  I try to travel with it full.  I would hate to get caught in a dry camping situation with an empty fresh tank.  We’ve been camping in below freezing weather at night this month so we have been using our fresh tank for water.  Here at Zion there is no water hook ups at sites.  I top off the fresh tank when I can so it remains as full as possible.

I’ve never winterized.  We regularly camp when the low gets into the 20s and a few times in the teens.  When at home in storage I keep a space heater on during cold spells.

I would have service check you propane system.  You shouldn’t be getting an alarm like that with everything so new.  Smoke detectors can be finicky.  I replaced ours last year and it went off in the middle of the night last week.  We hit reset and it didn’t come back on.  Weird.  We sleep with the vents open unless it is super cold and then with just the bath vent open.  Mike

Hi Mike and Carol,

Thanks for the help.  I will start using elec for the water heater, I'll have to use the circuit breaker for the on/off switch as it seems to be more convenient that way.  I've heard the switch can fail and if it's in the off position, no good.  I know it's not a good habit to use a c/b as a switch but circuit breakers are easy and relativity cheap to replace and a last measure to help me remember whether or not the Tank is filled with water.  We got 1 of our propane sensors to work momentarily and yes, one tank was empty and the other was at 45%, which leads me to think the tanks were not full upon pickup.  But I don't know for sure.  I've just finished with a hot shower so it's reassuring the alarm didn't go off again.  Helpful to me about the winterizing info.  We drain to reduce weight, thus to help gas mileage (however insignificant), but do fill before arriving at a waterless campground.  I'm "training " our space heater as we speak, to learn what setting is acceptable.  So we'll reduce our dependency on the furnace.  My only concern there is basement protection, but we do have a sensor by the water pump to help me out.  I really appreciate your help 🙂

John

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33 minutes ago, topgun2 said:

I agree with Mike above.

Short answers to questions

1 - yes

2 - no

3 - yes.

Be very careful with this weather that we are having - very unusual.  And, it is currently forecast for another winter storm to come through the southeast somewhere between Friday and Sunday that will dramatically lower temperatures.

Bill

 

Thank you, Bill.  I see some really frigid temps headed our way and I'll blow out the lines before they get here 🙂 

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1 hour ago, johnwen said:

Hi Mike and Carol,

Thanks for the help.  I will start using elec for the water heater, I'll have to use the circuit breaker for the on/off switch as it seems to be more convenient that way.  I've heard the switch can fail and if it's in the off position, no good.  I know it's not a good habit to use a c/b as a switch but circuit breakers are easy and relativity cheap to replace and a last measure to help me remember whether or not the Tank is filled with water.  We got 1 of our propane sensors to work momentarily and yes, one tank was empty and the other was at 45%, which leads me to think the tanks were not full upon pickup.  But I don't know for sure.  I've just finished with a hot shower so it's reassuring the alarm didn't go off again.  Helpful to me about the winterizing info.  We drain to reduce weight, thus to help gas mileage (however insignificant), but do fill before arriving at a waterless campground.  I'm "training " our space heater as we speak, to learn what setting is acceptable.  So we'll reduce our dependency on the furnace.  My only concern there is basement protection, but we do have a sensor by the water pump to help me out.  I really appreciate your help 🙂

John

The switch on the hot water tank does fail.  I’ve replaced mine twice and I carry an extra in my spare parts bin.  Great idea to use the circuit breaker and avoid the switch.  Mine is now always on because I don’t plug into electricity when I store unless it’s going to be below freezing more than a couple of days.  When that happens I want the hot water on anyway to provide a little extra heat.  (When I had AGMs I did plug in while in storage to keep the batteries charged.  With lithiums I just turn them off.)

My 30 lb propane tanks last for weeks while we are on the road.  I’ve had one run dry a few times, I just switch to the other and fill once we get home if it isn’t more that a couple of weeks.  I think the furnace may be the biggest draw but we only use it when dry camping.

I understand gas mileage improvements, but I don’t think the trouble of draining the fresh tank is worth the effort.  We’ve decided on campsites while on the road and a good number of those have been no hook ups, so having a full or near full fresh tank gives a lot of flexibility.

I insulated my basement door.  My unscientific view is that if it is 25 degrees outside and 70 degrees inside the surface areas that are at 70 degrees are going to counter the surface areas that are at 25 degrees keeping the stuff in there above 32 degrees.  I haven’t installed any thermostats yet (I should and probably will, now) but we haven’t had any freeze issues while on the road even down into the teens.

Good luck!!  Mike

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21 minutes ago, Mike and Carol said:

The switch on the hot water tank does fail.

One of the little things I've wondered about Olivers. All our previous RVs had an indoor switch for the AC side of the hot water heater, right next to the switch for gas. Very handy. In campgrounds with low voltage we would often leave the AC heating element off during the day, when voltage was lowest, and just kick it on while we were showering (to speed the heater's recovery time).

Now wondering: Is the electric hot water element wired to the inverter? Wouldn't want that.

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Stephanie and Dudley from CT.  2022 LE2, Hull #1150: Eggcelsior.

Tow vehicle: 2016 GMC Sierra 6.0 gas dually 4x4.

Our Oliver journey: Steph and Dud B's RV Screed

Where we've been RVing since 1999:

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The electric element in the standard water heater cannot be operated by the inverter, at least in my trailer, Hull 218. In regards to leaving the outside 120 volt switch on all the time, and using the inside circuit breaker instead….. that will work fine, until the day you drain the tank and in a senior moment you flip on that breaker. Without water around it, the heating element will burn out in seconds. 

I keep the HWH switch off at all times, unless I am actually using that mode. I would rather go outside in the weather than disable the unit through a brain fart. If you do operate your unit this way, then I suggest that you buy a spare element and the tool to replace it.

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/

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1 hour ago, Steph and Dud B said:

Now wondering: Is the electric hot water element wired to the inverter? Wouldn't want that.

Ours is not.  If we want hot water when there are no electrical hook ups we must use propane.  Mike

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15 hours ago, Mike and Carol said:

I insulated my basement door.

Thanks for that tip, Mike.  My outside door came with reflectix already installed, no reason I couldn't use it on the inside basement door.  I wish I could lift the 30 lb bottles up, over the wall 🙂 

John

Oliver II #996 "Bessie", 2019 Silverado LTZ 5.3, Veterans

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14 hours ago, John E Davies said:

The electric element in the standard water heater cannot be operated by the inverter, at least in my trailer, Hull 218. In regards to leaving the outside 120 volt switch on all the time, and using the inside circuit breaker instead….. that will work fine, until the day you drain the tank and in a senior moment you flip on that breaker. Without water around it, the heating element will burn out in seconds. 

Thank you, John.  I used the c/b in my Casita but after looking things over it appears that the refrigerator and water use the same 20 amp c/b.  Well, so much for that idea 😐.

John

Oliver II #996 "Bessie", 2019 Silverado LTZ 5.3, Veterans

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15 minutes ago, johnwen said:

Thanks for that tip, Mike.  My outside door came with reflectix already installed, no reason I couldn't use it on the inside basement door.  I wish I could lift the 30 lb bottles up, over the wall 🙂 

I used a thick yoga mat I picked up at Walmart to insulate the basement and battery doors.  I also used it to line the bottom of my Ram Boxes on my truck. Lifting the 30 lb bottles is no easy task as we age.  I need to be on a step in order to get them over the lip without rubbing the fiberglass.  Mike

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50 minutes ago, johnwen said:

Thanks for that tip, Mike.  My outside door came with reflectix already installed, no reason I couldn't use it on the inside basement door.  

Reflectix is weird stuff, the R value is only 1 for a thin layer. Doubling it only increases the R value to 1.1. If you can make a space between the layers, the value will be higher. That is why it works when applied to the two Ollie hull halves, with the big gap between them. OTH a 1” piece of the pink rigid foam board is R5.

https://www.reflectixinc.com/about-reflectix/what-about-r-values/

If you want better insulation for the basement you should put rigid foam on the outside door, and also put something in the shower cavity, A nice “future Ollie feature” would be vacuum molded insulated access and battery doors, with an inch of foam sandwiched by fiberglass panels. It would intrude very slightly into the cargo area, but would greatly reduce cold air infiltration. And it would not be butt ugly like my battery door mod.

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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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1 hour ago, johnwen said:

Thanks for that tip, Mike.  My outside door came with reflectix already installed, no reason I couldn't use it on the inside basement door.  I wish I could lift the 30 lb bottles up, over the wall 🙂 

John

How often do you need to take the 30 lb bottles out.   Someone said that in some places (I think it was Vail) you can't pull the trailer up to the propane filling filling station and you need to remove the bottles for filling. 

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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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1 hour ago, John E Davies said:

If you want better insulation for the basement you should put rigid foam on the outside door, and also put something in the shower cavity

Very helpful tip, John.  Will do 🙂 

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Oliver II #996 "Bessie", 2019 Silverado LTZ 5.3, Veterans

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