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Old 07-29-2018, 11:12 AM   #1
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Propane to refrigerator on while on road dangerous?

I have a 2008 diesel Winnebago Journey 39Z and have always left propane on to fridge while in transit. I'm seeing articles stating it is a dangerous practice due to possible explosion from spark or vehicle accident. I'd like to read your opinions and/or experience.
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Old 07-29-2018, 11:39 AM   #2
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That’s how we keep the food and drinks cold.

Do you have links to any of these articles?
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Old 07-29-2018, 12:45 PM   #3
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We also run our fridge on gas while on the road. Our fridge has an automatic 15 minute propane shutoff for when we stop to buy gasoline. The only time we'd turn propane off would be where it's required... on a ferry, in some tunnels, etc.
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Old 07-29-2018, 12:58 PM   #4
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Our dealer also told us about turning the refrigerator off when traveling and making sure gas is always off. Our refrigerator stays cold enough for a couple hours travel time
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Old 07-29-2018, 02:28 PM   #5
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We always left the gas fridge on when on the road along with the gas furnace if needed. We would shut them off when fueling. They are made to be used on the road. That is how the food is kept cold. If you shut the ref. off, the food doesn't stay cold very long and it takes a long time to get cold again.
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Old 07-29-2018, 02:45 PM   #6
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I only did it for the first 15 years when I had a RV fridge. I've stopped now... but only because I have a residential fridge now. I've also stopped believing in anything a dealer tells me.
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Old 07-29-2018, 09:55 PM   #7
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We run our fridge on propane while in transit. We turn it off if we fuel up at combination gas/diesel pumps, leave it on if we fuel up at the diesel only island. (Because the flash point of gasoline is about minus 50F, the flash point of diesel is about 140F)

You can internet search yourself silly on this subject, and choose whichever opinion makes you sleep better. But consider this: buy a cup of coffee and it has warnings on all surfaces. Buy a folding camp chair, more warnings. And so on, ad infinitum. Conversely, there is a telling lack of warnings on our fridges.

Having said that, SarahW, I am very interested in this automatic shut off feature you have. Tell us more about it.

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Old 07-29-2018, 11:10 PM   #8
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Having said that, SarahW, I am very interested in this automatic shut off feature you have. Tell us more about it.

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It is actually a feature of our Dometic RM1350 refrigerator. When "auto" operation is selected, there is a temporary gas lockout (15 minutes) when the RV ignition switch is turned off.
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Old 07-30-2018, 07:54 PM   #9
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(It is actually a feature of our Dometic RM1350 refrigerator. When "auto" operation is selected, there is a temporary gas lockout (15 minutes) when the RV ignition switch is turned off.)

We like that! Good to know if our Norcold gives up the ghost. In the meantime, I guess we will just continue trotting back to push the off button.

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Old 08-04-2018, 04:15 PM   #10
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Agree with above comments. We tried leaving the refer off, but food would get warm, ice would start to melt on longer trips. last 7 years of travelling, we leave the refer in auto mode, and shut off when circumstances call for it, i.e. gas stations, and tunnels that warn about it. (and sometimes, in cross winds, it blows itself out, and we have to shut off, and restart later, to avoid soot build up with futile restart attempts while driving.)
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Old 08-04-2018, 04:16 PM   #11
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Refer

We never shut the power off. Run the Inverter going down the road and put the Refer on Auto. If it needs propane, then it switches, never had a problem. Also, I never shut down at the truck stops when refueling.
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Old 08-04-2018, 04:39 PM   #12
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We used to disable the coach batteries at fuel stops with a gasoline powered motorhome. So that none of the DSI igniters would wake up and try to start their respective devices at an inopportune time. We also ran our 3-way Dometic fridge on DC while driving. No flame, just electric heat for the absorption process. Propane turned off.
Now we have a DC0061 Norcold 7 cu ft fridge and 300W of solar. Propane is still turned off for this and the parasitic battery draw reasons, and our fridge runs fine without it, as we drive.

Someone mentioned links to suggestions that you don't actively use propane while driving. Here's a pretty balanced vid on pros and cons of the issue.

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Old 08-04-2018, 04:44 PM   #13
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Propane to refrigerator on while on road dangerous?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SarahW View Post
It is actually a feature of our Dometic RM1350 refrigerator. When "auto" operation is selected, there is a temporary gas lockout (15 minutes) when the RV ignition switch is turned off.
What happens after 15 minutes? Does the refrigerator automatically restart? If so, the spark from the restart might ignite the gas fumes if you are still refueling after 15 minutes, which might not be that unusual given 80 gallon tanks and time lost putting in your credit card etc.

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Old 08-04-2018, 04:48 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Liv4weekends View Post
I have a 2008 diesel Winnebago Journey 39Z and have always left propane on to fridge while in transit. I'm seeing articles stating it is a dangerous practice due to possible explosion from spark or vehicle accident. I'd like to read your opinions and/or experience.
We also have a 2008 Journey 39Z. We run with the inverter on any time we are using the diesel engine, frig set to auto. This makes the frig default to electric and the engine alternator will keep the batteries charged. If stopping for fuel the frig will stay on electric, and for this short period, will not deplete the batteries. We turn off the inverter if the engine will not be running for a long period of time and the frig will go to LPG if no other electric is available. Also, diesel isn't anything like gasoline. You nearly have to atomize it to make it burn. Stick a match in a bucket of diesel and I think it will put the fire out.
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Old 08-04-2018, 05:35 PM   #15
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Always travelled With Fridge On BUT

Turned the propane off before filling at a gas station. That was with a class A and two trailers.
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Old 08-04-2018, 07:07 PM   #16
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We leave the refrigerator on when traveling down the road and when fueling. In an accident, I’d be more concerned about a gasoline tank rupture. Also, our refrigerator is on the side opposite the fuel tank filler and is about four feet above the ground. The large rubber/plastic collar on the fuel nozzle is a fume-recovery apparatus. Fuel spillage is another worry altogether.
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Old 08-04-2018, 08:23 PM   #17
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For those worried about running the frig or water heater while driving; do you really think the manufacturers of these appliances would design them to operate while traveling if it is unsafe?
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Old 08-04-2018, 10:06 PM   #18
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In my 2012 Itasca Navion iQ with a Dometic frig, itís my understanding when set on ďautoĒ it runs on 12v while driving. That should mean the propane can be turned off and frig is still cooling.
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Old 08-04-2018, 10:54 PM   #19
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You do not want a burner running when fueling near gasoline or the propane island so you turn the refrigerator and gas water heater off by their control panels along with turn off the generator when fueling. Otherwise when traveling down the road you leave them running. When going cross country with multiple drivers taking shifts you are not going to make it with the refrigerator off for 24 to 48 hours.

If you have a problem with the burner constantly blowing out when driving then you need to get the burner adjusted of the draft shield looked into. I have a 2001 Adventurer 35U and have had no problems whatsoever in over a decade of ownership and thousands of miles traveling for multiple days including many that involved evacuating during some pretty bad storms.

Similar types of refrigerators are also used in boats that make oceanic crossings and rest assured they are not turned off for the days or weeks it may take to do so.
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Old 08-05-2018, 04:47 AM   #20
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We run the Generator during our entire travel day - We like the A/C to complement the dash air and we just run the Fridge on AC - I have checked mileage with and without the generator and really can't tell any great difference.
Just our preference.
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