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Old 10-27-2005, 08:23 AM   #1
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We went up on the Skyline drive in Shenandoah National Park, Monday to see the fall colors. We camped at Big Meadows, 3500'. We were in the clouds from about 3000'. There was about 100' visibility when we entered the campground. The ranger gave us a map and said pick a site and come back and register. We did. We knew beforehand there would be no hookups.

We turned the generator off about 8:00 pm for quiet hours. I had the inverter and gas heat on since it was in the 30's. By the time we went to bed it was raining pretty good which made for great sleeping. The next morning I got up about 6:00 to complete silence and dim interior lights. I knew right away the house bank was depleted but didn't check the voltage. The generator would not start. So I started the main engine with no problems. That's why we have two battery banks. After a few minutes I was able to start the generator. Coffee pot went on and everything started working great. Lesson #1: My house batteries will run the propane furnace for about 10 hours. Then I must start the main engine to get enough current to start the generator.

When I finally went outside I found out why I could not hear the rain. It had turned to snow and we had about four inches. It snowed the rest of the day and Tuesday night, totalling about eight inches. They plowed the campground roads. But the plow stacked it in front of our site. A very nice park volunteer came along and shovelled us out. Lesson #2: Carry a shovel with you in the winter.

Skyline Drive was closed all of Tuesday. Wednesday, a Ranger came by and said the drive was still closed but a caravan would be leaving at 1:00 going south 15 miles to US 33. Well I started getting ready. Lesson #3: Slides will not retract with snow on the awnings. When I tried I could see the bottom moving in but the top only moved an inch or two. I climbed up on the roof which was a very interesting manuever. I never stood up, staying on my bottom in the middle of the roof throughout. With my squeege that I use to clean the windshield, I was able to remove the snow from the awnings over my two slides. They then retracted with no problem. After changing my trousers and undies which were soaked from the wet snow on the roof, we started up and joined the caravan to US 33 without incident.

I have an indoor/outdoor thermometer with the outdoor sensor in one of my lower compartments. The temperature there hovered right at 32 degrees. I don't know what the outside temperature actually was. I don't really know if heat from inside the RV heats the compartments or not. Does anyone know about this?
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Old 10-27-2005, 08:23 AM   #2
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We went up on the Skyline drive in Shenandoah National Park, Monday to see the fall colors. We camped at Big Meadows, 3500'. We were in the clouds from about 3000'. There was about 100' visibility when we entered the campground. The ranger gave us a map and said pick a site and come back and register. We did. We knew beforehand there would be no hookups.

We turned the generator off about 8:00 pm for quiet hours. I had the inverter and gas heat on since it was in the 30's. By the time we went to bed it was raining pretty good which made for great sleeping. The next morning I got up about 6:00 to complete silence and dim interior lights. I knew right away the house bank was depleted but didn't check the voltage. The generator would not start. So I started the main engine with no problems. That's why we have two battery banks. After a few minutes I was able to start the generator. Coffee pot went on and everything started working great. Lesson #1: My house batteries will run the propane furnace for about 10 hours. Then I must start the main engine to get enough current to start the generator.

When I finally went outside I found out why I could not hear the rain. It had turned to snow and we had about four inches. It snowed the rest of the day and Tuesday night, totalling about eight inches. They plowed the campground roads. But the plow stacked it in front of our site. A very nice park volunteer came along and shovelled us out. Lesson #2: Carry a shovel with you in the winter.

Skyline Drive was closed all of Tuesday. Wednesday, a Ranger came by and said the drive was still closed but a caravan would be leaving at 1:00 going south 15 miles to US 33. Well I started getting ready. Lesson #3: Slides will not retract with snow on the awnings. When I tried I could see the bottom moving in but the top only moved an inch or two. I climbed up on the roof which was a very interesting manuever. I never stood up, staying on my bottom in the middle of the roof throughout. With my squeege that I use to clean the windshield, I was able to remove the snow from the awnings over my two slides. They then retracted with no problem. After changing my trousers and undies which were soaked from the wet snow on the roof, we started up and joined the caravan to US 33 without incident.

I have an indoor/outdoor thermometer with the outdoor sensor in one of my lower compartments. The temperature there hovered right at 32 degrees. I don't know what the outside temperature actually was. I don't really know if heat from inside the RV heats the compartments or not. Does anyone know about this?
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Old 10-27-2005, 08:31 AM   #3
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James, very few coaches actually have ducted heat into the lower compartments. They use "gravity heat" by having holes or even a vent grille allowing the warmer upstairs air to slightly warm the compartment. And on many coaches nowadays, there's "heat by association" I'll call it; -the heating duct for upstairs passes through the compartment. Not a lot of actual heat brought in, but generally enough to avoid water lines and tanks feezing down to about 20 defgees F outside. Below that, you gotta start thinking seriously about adding heat (heat tapes, heat pads, light bulbs, etc.).
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Old 10-27-2005, 09:18 AM   #4
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Your outside temp sensor is at the bottom of and inside the front bumper
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Old 10-27-2005, 10:50 AM   #5
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">I climbed up on the roof which was a very interesting manuever. I never stood up, staying on my bottom in the middle of the roof throughout. With my squeege that I use to clean the windshield, I was able to remove the snow from the awnings over my two slides. They then retracted with no problem. After changing my trousers and undies which were soaked from the wet snow on the roof, we started up and joined the caravan to US 33 without incident. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Climbing on a snow and ice covered roof my undies might have been "otherwise" soaked..
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Old 10-27-2005, 11:36 AM   #6
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Another thing I think I learned is that the gas furnace doesn't use much gas. I ran it continuously for over 48 hours. When I started it indicated the propane tank was 2/3rds full. After we were out of the mountains and I shut it off, it was still indicating 2/3rds full. I have seen it at 1/3 when I filled it the last time, so I think the indicator is working properly.

BTW, I think the gas furnace did a top notch job in keeping us warm. The only problem I have with it (and the air conditioner) is the loudness of the fan. When I change from high fan speed to low I get no change. I did solve that problem for me, I just don't wear my hearing aids.
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Old 10-27-2005, 12:56 PM   #7
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Hey seriously though James, I've found the gas heater fan to be very annoying with only one speed... "loud" when running even though there is a setting for low and high. That setting doesn't seem to have any effect on heat or A/C. Anyone got an answer for how to make the propane powered basement heater actually come on with a low (or quieter) fan speed?
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Old 10-27-2005, 03:34 PM   #8
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We have had fun learning the cold weather characteristics of our Horizon. Our discoveries:

-Heat pump is great until about 40 degrees, then it becomes ineffective (stick house heat pump is good to mid 30s)

-Propane main furnace sounds like a 747 on takeoff roll

-You need a five degree swing before the propane furnace will kick in with thermostat set to heat pump mode; we set the thermostat at 73 degrees, when it is 69 or 70 degrees in the coach, we are NOT happy campers. We learned to turn on the propane heat before bed if the weather is forecast to be in the low 40s or 30s

-We just discovered that we had a bath/bedroom furnace -wow- it is just the thing for a toasty room at bath time and we now use it at night for auxillary heat

-Every morning the inside of the windshield is dripping wet with condensation; might need more ventilation or maybe an insulator pad right against the glass

-If we are having a good night of sleep, none of the furnace/blower noises bother us
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Old 10-27-2005, 04:37 PM   #9
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Hi All,
The only time you get two speeds is with AC and that's the inside fan, not the outside. When on electric heat, the fans run high regardless of the thermostat switch setting. The fan speed switch isn't even wired to the propane heater. Reason being, without the proper air flow through the furnace, it will overheat. An all too common problem it would seem. Several forum members have reported the furnace cycling the propane on and off repeatedly. Caused by inadequate air flow across the burner allowing it to get too hot and shutting off the flow of fuel till it cools then re-igniting. Both our Adventurer and Journey had this problem. Duct work too small. Our Horizon has much better ducting and works fine.

10 hours of running the furnace seems about right. The Journey came equipped with three Trojan 120 Amp.-Hour batteries and the 01 Adventurer had only two. This rating is at room temperature and for new batteries. As the temperature goes down, so does the Amp.-Hour rating of the batteries. As batteries age and get cold, it's not unreasonable for the 360 Amp.-Hour capacity of new room temperature batteries to drop to 150 Amp.-Hours or less. That means that the furnace running for 10 hours at 10 Amps. or so (I've measured this before) plus a little lighting and residual loads will eat up the batteries and leave you without enough to start the generator. We have experienced this several times. Chaco Canyon, Denver, northern Arizona, and western New Mexico at temperatures as low as -5 degrees. Deep discharging like this is very stressful on the batteries and speeds up the ageing process.

The Journey and Adventurer would freeze the water lines at these temperatures. The Horizon has an opening in the duct work to route warm air into the basement, but it's not much and only works with the propane furnace. So when connected to shore power, we run auxiliary electric heat in the water compartment. A home made heater that puts out 600 Watts and has a thermostat control and fan keeps us from freezing at -10 degrees. Two 1200 Watt space heaters (connected to different circuits in the coach) keep us toasty and the furnace only runs infrequently to maintain a comfortable temperature in the coach. Last winter we were filling propane only every 4 to 5 weeks.
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Old 10-27-2005, 06:11 PM   #10
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You could also have started your generator by using the battery boost switch.
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Old 10-28-2005, 01:34 AM   #11
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">You could also have started your generator by using the battery boost switch. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Tom, I didn't think of that. I know to use it to start the main engine if the engine batteries are low but it did not occur to me that it could be used in the other direction. Thanks.

Mark, thanks for the great information. When running the gas furnace, do you think it better to run the fan in ON or AUTO?

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content"> Every morning the inside of the windshield is dripping wet with condensation; </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

John, I had the same problem all day while sitting there snowed in. None of the side windows fogged up. I started the main engine once and the defroster and aux fans cleared the windshield great but shortly after shutting the engine down the condensation came back. In my Journey the cockpit stays about 5-8 degrees cooler than the rest of the coach.
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Old 10-28-2005, 03:45 AM   #12
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I like to run my fan on auto at all times. Adjusting the outlets in the ceiling will work wonders for condensation on the windshield and also if you have a problem with you A/C or Heat not cutting off with a small differential adjusting the outlets will help this also..John, wish I had two heat sources and two thermos...Good Miles
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Old 10-28-2005, 05:57 AM   #13
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I purchased a roll of the silver window insulation material and cut it to fit the complete windshield including the driver side window. The results are amazing. In the summer it keepsthe coach coll and in the winter the heater actually cuts off. I purchased the "space" blanket from Camping World. Try this link window insulation
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Old 10-28-2005, 06:44 AM   #14
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Adjusting the outlets in the ceiling will work wonders for condensation on the windshield </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Unfortunately, my gas furnace only supplies heat from the floor vents, none from the ceiling vents.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content"> I purchased a roll of the silver window insulation material and cut it to fit the complete windshield including the driver side window. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

While we were snowed in I spent most of the day in the copilot's seat, reading and looking for widelife. I understand how your idea would help but actually we were very comfortable. I don't like to cover the windshield. I never pull the drapes across it. Just me.
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Old 10-28-2005, 07:30 AM   #15
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Hi JamesOne,
Switch position has no effect. The ˜On' - ˜Auto' function on the TrueAir thermostat isn't wired to the propane furnace either. Follow links from this site to find out all you ever wanted to know about TrueAir, RV Products, and the Basement Air conditioner. http://www.airxcel.com/

Also, I ˜may' stand corrected, the outside fan may have two speeds depending on the unit installed.
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Old 10-28-2005, 11:00 AM   #16
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Switch position has no effect. The ˜On' - ˜Auto' function on the TrueAir thermostat isn't wired to the propane furnace either. Follow links from this site to find out all you ever wanted to know about TrueAir, RV Products, and the Basement Air conditioner. http://www.airxcel.com/ </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I followed the links as you suggested. Here is what I found there. "Fan speed selection permits high or low speeds with automatic or continuous operation." I must admit I did not try the On position, only the Auto. In Auto, my fan operated only when the gas furnace kicked on.
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Old 10-28-2005, 12:44 PM   #17
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Hi JamesOne,
The ˜On' position only works with Cooling. It has no effect with either Electric Heat or Propane Furnace. I wish that RV Products had wired it so ˜On' meant ˜On' and ˜Hi' ˜Lo' meant ˜Hi' ˜Lo' even if it only affected the AC's inside fan when on Propane Furnace. It would help to have some background fan noise when parked near a busy street and would alleviate cold spots and provide air filtration in the winter. It also makes no sense that the ˜On' and ˜Hi' ˜Lo' do not function when on Electric Heat for the same reasons.
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Old 10-28-2005, 12:45 PM   #18
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by rg:
I purchased a roll of the silver window insulation material and cut it to fit the complete windshield including the driver side window. The results are amazing. In the summer it keepsthe coach coll and in the winter the heater actually cuts off. I purchased the "space" blanket from Camping World. Try this link window insulation </div></BLOCKQUOTE>That sounds like a good plan. I'm with James - we love to look out the front during the day, but we always pull the drapes at night.

Actually for our coach the windshield thermal loss isn't too bad for outside temps into the mid to high 30s (lowest we have experienced) - the gas furnace seems to have more than adequate capacity to make up for the BTU loss. The condensation in the primary issue.

Now in the summer, we have a big problem with BTU loss/gain - loss of my beautiful cold air; gain of heat.
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Old 11-02-2005, 07:10 AM   #19
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Tom N:
You could also have started your generator by using the battery boost switch. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

On many coaches the "Battery Boost" or "Auxiliary start" solenoid get's it's power from the "House batteries". When the house batteries get low the solenoid will not operate.

This is to prevent you from inadvertently draining your "Chassis" or "Starting" batteries to a point you cannot start the rig.

In other words, the house backs up the starting but the starting will not backup the house on these rigs.
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Old 11-02-2005, 08:31 AM   #20
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">In other words, the house backs up the starting but the starting will not backup the house on these rigs. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Because of the different answers, I called Winnebago. Rod said the above quote is correct. He said I had used the right procedure when my discharged house batteries would not start the generator. Start the main engine to get the alternator charging the house batteries. Then start the generator.
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