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Old 12-14-2009, 07:09 PM   #1
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Adventurer Accident

In September we totaled a 2007 Adventurer 38J. No one got hurt but did reinforce some old lessons and learned some new ones. Although there was no fire and the refer was off there was some propane leakage from the lines. Do not drive down the road with the refer on gas and running. The windshield was the only exit available and it is extremely difficult to brfeak it out. Carry in the cockpit area a hatchet, hammer or something substantial to break out the windshield. It took 5 truckers and three shovels to break it out and that is how we got out. Winnebago makes a great metal cage for the front of their motorhomes. Works as designed. No damage to the cockpit area.
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Old 12-14-2009, 09:55 PM   #2
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Sorry to hear about your accident. Glad you're safe & the material things can be replaced.

I'm not sure if the same rules apply to motorhome windshields, but I learned (from a fire safety seminar at work) in order to break an office window for egress, aim to throw a chair at the corners, near the window frame, & not the center. Office windows are safety glass &, according the the fireman, are weakest at the corners & strongest in the middle. I hope I never have to find out, but it's something I'll always remember.

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Old 12-14-2009, 11:07 PM   #3
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There's nothing like advice from someone that's been there. I would assume that the best strategy would be to drive with the propane tank shut off completely. Since there isn't much use for propane when on the road, it wouldn't be much of a sacrifice.

Your second point about breaking the glass is intriguing. Most of us would assume that you could always crawl out one of the side windows but it sounds like this isn't always an option. Looks like I'll be adding an ax to the list of safety equipment.

Nice to hear that the cabin integrity was maintained in spite of totaling your RV. I've always liked Winnebago's design philosophy.

On a final note, I'm sorry to hear about your situation. However, your advice is extremely valuable and may literally save a few lives in the future. Nice work and thanks.

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Old 12-14-2009, 11:17 PM   #4
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Can you tell us more about what happened?
Were you hit broadside?
Did the coach end up on it's side?
You couldn't exit out the entry door or the "emergency exit" window?
No way to exit out any of the other windows?

I think we can learn more if we know what kind of predicament you were in.
Thank God you could walk away unhurt.

Thanks for sharing this scary episode.
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Old 12-15-2009, 04:07 AM   #5
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How do you propose a full timer run with the ref off?
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Old 12-15-2009, 06:11 AM   #6
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Sorry to here about your troubles and am glad that everyone is OK. But I can't see running with my propane system offline. I travel mostly in the winter months and often need the furnace for heat in route and stay on the road for two to three days to get to my destination so I need to run the fridge when underway as well. I realize the potential hazard this represents in case of an accident but believe it is an acceptable risk.
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Old 12-15-2009, 06:13 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by ron55 View Post
How do you propose a full timer run with the ref off?
Good question, I have always left my refer on while I travel. How do you keep the refer cold? Inverter while traveling? I was never told to turn off the propane except to fill the tank. Please let me know what you all do.
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Old 12-15-2009, 06:25 AM   #8
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I would think if the fridge is good and cold turning off the propane to it wouldn't be a problem. The problem would be remembering to turn it back on at night when stopped then remembering to turn it off again once underway.
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Old 12-15-2009, 08:44 AM   #9
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I would think if the fridge is good and cold turning off the propane to it wouldn't be a problem. The problem would be remembering to turn it back on at night when stopped then remembering to turn it off again once underway.
I hear that.
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Old 12-15-2009, 09:09 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moosemuffs View Post
In September we totaled a 2007 Adventurer 38J. No one got hurt but did reinforce some old lessons and learned some new ones. Although there was no fire and the refer was off there was some propane leakage from the lines. Do not drive down the road with the refer on gas and running. The windshield was the only exit available and it is extremely difficult to brfeak it out. Carry in the cockpit area a hatchet, hammer or something substantial to break out the windshield. It took 5 truckers and three shovels to break it out and that is how we got out. Winnebago makes a great metal cage for the front of their motorhomes. Works as designed. No damage to the cockpit area.
If there was no fire, what concern was the propane? Seems to me that all safety systems worked as designed. We run propane 24/7 and choose to take the improbable consequences.

As with all things, YMMV.
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Old 12-15-2009, 09:32 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ron55 View Post
How do you propose a full timer run with the ref off?

When we're running, most likely our gennie is to. We run the fridge on AC.
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Old 12-15-2009, 10:38 AM   #12
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I too would be interested in knowing more about the accident situation. I can imagine if the MH is on one side, you are standing on the bottom side and the windows on the other side are going to be difficult for most folks to get out of unless you happen to have something to stand on.

Oh, and if you DO decide to carry an axe or other large object to assist in breaking out the windshield, be SURE it is VERY SECURELY restrained somewhere so it doesn't go flying around in an accident and do you in before you have a chance to use it!!!

Like others have indicated, we turn the LP off at the tank only when refilling or on the rare occasion of going through a tunnel etc that requires it. We do occasionally use LP for the refrigerator or furnace while driving, though normally we use the inverter to run it on electric. The engine alternator generates enough power to make that work. In hot weather, we would be running the generator for ac so would power the fridge that way.

I have driven vehicles that were powered by LP, and was no more afraid of it than I was of gasoline (maybe less!!). LP systems have safety features to prevent/minimize leaks in an accident. Most of the risk is just from having it on board in the first place.
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Old 12-15-2009, 03:34 PM   #13
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One of those spring-loaded center punches will quickly shatter tempered glass if you use it in any corner. Or, get one of the rescue hammers...it will shatter glass and includes a set belt cutter if that might be needed.
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Old 12-15-2009, 03:48 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hardy1000 View Post
Good question, I have always left my refer on while I travel. How do you keep the refer cold? Inverter while traveling? I was never told to turn off the propane except to fill the tank. Please let me know what you all do.

There was a prior thread that assured us that running the fridge on the inverter while underway was ok to do so that is what we've been doing. Since the engine is running, isn't everything being charged so running the fridge off the inverter shouldn't be depleting anything, correct?

Please let us know if there is a problem doing it this way. Thanks.
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Old 12-15-2009, 07:21 PM   #15
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As to the cause of the accident. My wife was driving with less than eight hours of experience behind the wheel. She is a good driver but this event was beyond her driving skills, and even a professional driver could have been caught in this situation. We were on a narrow back road when an oncoming 18 wheeler passed causing a vacuum blast. With no shoulder the right front wheel dropped of the road, over corrected, flipped the rig onto the right side. Exit door on bottom, exit windows 8ft above. Although the refer was off a propane line was pinched causing a leak. It took a quick move to get out and crawl under to shut off the tank valve. Lots of odor but no fire. As to the windshield. Five truckers tried to break the winshield with shovels and hammers. They finally punched a hole and peeled it back for an egree. Tough windshield.
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Old 12-15-2009, 07:44 PM   #16
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sorry that happened,but thankfull that both where all right.I want to send my wife to driving school maybe down at Foretravel in Nacogdoches Texas even though we couldn't afford something like that!
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Old 12-17-2009, 07:40 AM   #17
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FWIW, I will try to answer some questions that have been posted here.
1) We never run with the propane on for any reason.

2) To aid in keeping the refer cold, buy some refreezeable plastic cooler packs. Coleman or Blue Ice used to or does make them. Before you travel, move one or two from your freezer to the fresh food section. Works very well unless it is 95+ outside, sun is beating on the refer side of the coach, etc. When parking for the evening and assuming you are plugged in, move packs back to freezer overnight.

3) If you have a 2KW or greater inverter, run refer on electric. All should be fine if the house batteries are being charged properly. If in doubt about this, check your One Place panel will going down the road.

4) Keep all shades, drapes, and blinds closed to keep coach as cool (or warm) as possible. Use inside vent covers, the foam covered fuzzy ones. These work, both winter and summer.

We run our Norcold 4-door refer on electric through a Xantrex RS2000 . I have 400 watts on solar on the roof as backup. We prefer to live for a while yet.
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Old 12-17-2009, 08:55 AM   #18
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I'm glad that you both are ok. I've felt those strong vacuum blasts, no fun.
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Old 12-17-2009, 01:19 PM   #19
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I couldn't help but chime in on this one. Firstly, let me say how sorry I am for your accident but glad all are fine.

Second, as a professional firefighter with 33 years of experience with all types of vehicle fires I offer the following; Propane is a very stable fuel. It's flammable limits in air is around 2%-9%. A very small range that must ignite under the best of conditions. Now take gasoline; it's flammable limits are around 9%-87% in air. Gasoline is very volatile, and needs to be respected anytime it is out of it's container or fuel system.

Now with that said, 99% of all vehicle fires are caused or fed by gasoline or in less likely scenarios; diesel. Diesel has a flashpoint (where it burns) greater than 100 degrees F before it will burn. Gasoline will burn down to -45 degrees F. Don't get me wrong, diesel burns great once you get it lit. Propane is a cryogenic liquid which means it's boiling point is -240 degrees F, and is always giving off a flammable vapor.

In a confined space, and finding an ignition source, propane will have an explosive force to be sure, once the big bang (which would take hours to build up in a RV), a flame would be visible at the leak site, that would impinge on other parts of the motorhome causing the ensuing fire. By then, the gasoline fire that most probably would have happened first would have consumed the rig. There are lots of vehicles on the road that run LPG/LNG safely, and cleaner then gasoline.

In closing, I run with my LPG on all of the time, and feel very comfortable with the minimal risks I am taking. Now if I can only figure out how to shut off my gasoline fuel while motoring down the road for the ultimate in RVing safety
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Old 12-17-2009, 11:19 PM   #20
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If safety is the main concern, then maybe one of these could have prevented the accident in the first place. I have been running one on my two rv's for the past 10 yrs. This big guy really applies a lot of force to keep the front wheels pointed straight, during blowouts, a drop-off on the edge of the pavement, and strong side winds .... as in a blast from a oncoming truck .

I'm not saying it could of prevented the accident, but that's what it is designed for ..... to maintain control.

Camping World and many others sell them.

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