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Old 12-17-2018, 10:30 AM   #1
Winnie Driver
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: Loveland CO
Posts: 10
Functioning of Propane Heat, Dash Heat and Motoraid

We purchased our new to us 2008 Voyage unit from the Previous Owners (PO) in the later part of September 2018 when the temps were in the mid-90s. The Voyage generator was running at that time, and the two AC units were pumping out cold air throughout the ceiling vents. Additionally, I tested the propane heater, and it seemed to work as designed, i.e. the fan came on, air came out of the duct next to the thermostat, and the propane furnace ignited just like it was supposed to do.


All seemed well with the propane heat until I alone (good thing about that since the wife would have been miserable) made my maiden voyage to the Mothership in Forest City Iowa to have our Full Length Slide (FLS) repaired. Unfortunately, the weather was the pits with air temps during the day in the mid-20s with evening temps dipping into single digits. I hadn’t winterized the coach, since I planned to “camp” in truck stops for the night to and from Forest City. The basement heat (propane) and engine Motoraid heating of the hot water seemed to be functioning correctly, but I was still worried about the pipes and tanks freezing. We had stayed in our previous Travel Trailers, and Minnie Winnie in freezing conditions, and the propane heater in those units functioned as designed and all was well with them. However, the Voyage Class A was a different animal, so who knew how it would perform in winter conditions.


The Voyage propane heater seemed to function well keeping the bedroom warm as well as keeping the basement from freezing, but the forward part of the coach never went above 45! The floor forward of the bedroom and thru the bathroom and kitchen areas was very warm on stocking feet (like slab heat), and that heat in the basement was keeping the tanks and plumbing from freezing. However, there was zero air flow out of any of the floor ducts forward of the bedroom, including the bathroom, kitchen, living room, and the two ducts behind the drivers and passenger seats.

When the dash engine heat and dash controlled coach heater was on with fans turned on to High or Low, the heat and air flow only came from the dash and the two ducts behind the drivers and passenger seats, i.e. air flow was still missing from all the remaining coach floor heating ducts. The factory AC and Heating technician claimed this was normal for these type of coaches, but I didn’t believe him, and I turned to the Visitors Center staff to help me locate the engineer that designed this system. Being an engineer myself, I hoped that we would both be speaking approximately the same language. When he returned my phone call, he was absolutely adamant that something was blocking the heat flow forward from the propane heater, and rearward from the dash and Motoraid heater. He called me after hours, so I had to wait for the following day to talk to the Service Advisor. Meanwhile, I purchased two electric ceramic heaters to help take the chill off the coach interior, while the propane heater continued to cycle on and off and pump heat into the basement and the one functioning bedroom duct.

The following morning’s appointment with the Service Advisor went much better than I thought, since just mentioning the Winnebago’s HVAC engineer by name, and what he said, got everyone’s immediate attention. After the meeting, the technician who was addressing other problems told me that specific engineer had been around forever and he personally designed most, if not all, of Winnebago’s heating and cooling systems. My personal thoughts were that a mouse had built a nest in that duct, but as it turned out that wasn’t the case! A flapper valve in the main duct was jammed in the closed position, and once the technicians located its position under the coach they were able to free it up and place a stop (a screw) at the 80% point so that the flapper would never fully close again. Was this a manufacturing defect, or was this something that happened while traveling? It’s very hard for me to say, but since the coach was used very little, I’ll tend to go with the former and not the later reason.

From that point on the coach was very warm, and I stopped using the electric heaters. Riding down the road on the return trip home with the dash heat and coach heater fans on, I had to open the driver’s side window, turn down the dash temp as well as the dash fan, and coach heater fans to Low, even though the outside temps were in the 20s during the day and again single digits at night.

So this is a cautionary tale of persistence, where even the factory technicians were clueless on how this system was designed to function. In their defense, the Voyage class coaches were only produced for a limited time, but the functioning of similar systems should be consistent across the board. As the technician said after finding the jammed flapper valve, “ … it was very good that you were persistent and wouldn’t let it go.” He also said that he was going to write this one down in his own personal log for future reference, although I doubt that he’ll have trouble remembering this one!
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2008 Winnebago Voyage 32H, & 2010 Subaru Forester
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Old 02-07-2019, 10:03 AM   #2
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Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: OH
Posts: 66
Glad to see that the flapper is now allowing you to recycle and reuse the excess engine heat to heat the coach. This is exactly how our winne works. With the engine heat on, there is no need to use any thing else in the coach for heat. As you mentioned we would actually have the dash fan on the lowest setting but leave the bedroom fan on the mid setting and that would heat the whole coach well. The only reason for long sleeves was the radiational cooling from the windows else I would have been in short sleeves and shorts!
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