Towing with the Fridge on Propane? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-29-2010, 06:39 PM   #1
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Towing with the Fridge on Propane?

Hi We are new to rving My wife & I are planning a trip from Toronto Canada to Branson MO for 4 wks. My question is While I'm towing can the fridge be left on propane or do I switch it to 12 volt? Thanks in advance Bud & Jean
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Old 11-29-2010, 07:03 PM   #2
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Many will advise against it but i run the fridge on propane while traveling. DC is a safe bet but could deplete the RV battery if wiring is not beefy enough from the tow vehicle. 10 gauge or thicker is best.
Joe
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Old 11-29-2010, 07:58 PM   #3
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we always tow on propane
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Old 11-29-2010, 08:28 PM   #4
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We always tow with the refrigerator on propane because ours has never worked on DC.

I do go inside the trailer and turn off the refrigerator before we pull up to a gas pump. I don't know if it's necessary, but I feel a little safer doing it that way. Then after we pull away from the pump, I turn the refrigerator back on.
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Old 11-29-2010, 09:08 PM   #5
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I have found when the weather is fairly cool that I can put a small freezer pack into the fridge and it does the job while traveling. Normally I keep a couple of small freezer packs in the fridges freezer section for that purpose.
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Old 11-29-2010, 09:15 PM   #6
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I would say that if you are going now you won't even have to worry about running your fridge while driving because of the outside air temp.

I was able to go 4-6 hours in the summer heat without running the fridge and I got in mine at least every 2 hours or sooner for drinks.

Just have the fridge down to temp and loaded before leaving.

Bill K

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Originally Posted by buddy hammond View Post
Hi We are new to rving My wife & I are planning a trip from Toronto Canada to Branson MO for 4 wks. My question is While I'm towing can the fridge be left on propane or do I switch it to 12 volt? Thanks in advance Bud & Jean
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Old 11-29-2010, 09:19 PM   #7
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We've only had a trailer with a 'fridge since Feb. and the 1st lesson learned was NEVER tow with 12 volt option ... one lunch/pit stop forgetting to unhook the electrical connection and your house battery is TOAST!

We also never tow with the propane on. 2 years ago we watched a Rialta burn to the ground in about 5 minutes when the driver forgot his refrigerator pilot light was on when he pulled in to fill his tank - UGLY! Thankfully no one was hurt. This was just across the road from our RV park - yikes.

Our unit must be very well insulated. We turn it all off during towing, but by the time we reach our overnight destinationk, all is still cold (not frozen but cold) and we either plug into shore power if in a park or then fire up the propane for boondocking.

Just our experiences - hope this helps. Safe journeys and happy trails - L 'n D
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Old 11-29-2010, 09:19 PM   #8
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I always try to keep some Blue Ice in my home freezer and use it to cool down the RV refrigerator when I start a trip. And then I leave the stuff in there to provide a backup when the fridge shuts off. Although I leave the refrigerator on propane all the time, it seems like the pilot gets blown out a lot while I'm traveling or during wind storms.
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Old 11-29-2010, 09:28 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Carol H View Post
I have found when the weather is fairly cool that I can put a small freezer pack into the fridge and it does the job while traveling. Normally I keep a couple of small freezer packs in the fridges freezer section for that purpose.
We put two liter bottles full of water in our deep freeze, then used one in the fridge and a couple in our cooler on our last trip. We still had some ice after 5 days. two days of which we ran the fridge on shore power. Plus, you will have ice water as it thaws!

Poll after poll says that 70-75% of RVers travel with their propane powering their fridge, we don't.
It depends on your risk tolerance and your perception of the risk level
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Old 11-30-2010, 12:06 AM   #10
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Hi: All... We have only tugged once with the propane on due to extreme heat that day. Usually I rely on keeping the door closed, and the frozen lettuce to keep the fridge cold while towing!!!
Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
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Old 11-30-2010, 02:09 AM   #11
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12 DC or not seems to be directly related to the tow vehicle. When I was towing with my 1998 Blazer I couldn't tow and keep the battery charged with fridge running on 12 volts. With my 2005 Dakota, full tow package, it's not a problem. I tow with fridge running on 12 volts in warm weather. If it's cool I just leave it off.
The insulation seems to be quite good. I had the fridge full of stuff including several cans of Coke. After sitting in the hot sun, 80° day, for several hours the Coke was still quite cold.
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Old 11-30-2010, 01:06 PM   #12
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Fridges need to be level to work efficiently. So what we do is cool the fridge down on shore power or propane before we hit the road and make sure the freezer is full of frozen food or ice packs. Only seen softening, not complete thaw, on the hottest days and longest legs, So, we tried 12V on long legs on hot days, turning fridge off when stopped for more than 20 minutes. No appreciable difference. Have heard of people with pilot issues (Going out) while towing so we don't use propane unless stopped.
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Old 11-30-2010, 01:13 PM   #13
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Fridges need to be level to work efficiently. So what we do is cool the fridge down on shore power or propane before we hit the road and make sure the freezer is full of frozen food or ice packs. Only seen softening, not complete thaw, on the hottest days and longest legs, So, we tried 12V on long legs on hot days, turning fridge off when stopped for more than 20 minutes. No appreciable difference. Have heard of people with pilot issues (Going out) while towing so we don't use propane unless stopped.
The reason for that is reservoir of coolant needs to be pretty much full. If the trailer is not level the coolant isn't all in the right place and reservoir will get scorched. However when driving it sloshes around enough that the reservoir from scorching. The fridge working or not working when traveling is not the issue. The issue is safety, in motor homes that have the propane system hard plumbed in the risk is very small of there being a problem. The risk goes up quite a bit with trailers where there's a rubber hose between the tank, regulator, and trailer. In my case there's two pieces of hose before we get to hard plumbing. A rupture in either could be pretty ugly. Things happen on the highway, lots of stuff flying around. Look along the side of the road and see how much stuff there is that came flying off of vehicles. Now imagine that one just happened to hit one of propane hoses, could be ugly. If have a good solid cover over the propane tank(s) that protect those hoses the risk is reduced.
Just my 2 cents worth.
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Old 11-30-2010, 02:26 PM   #14
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We usually tow with the fridge running on propane. I have had an issue in a Boler with the pilot light being blown out, but solved that with a wind deflector near it (still lots of ventilation, just less wind). Level is not an issue when towing, as noted by Byron, because the ammonia mix is sloshing around with movement. Level is an issue when parked because the ammonia mix could be blocked in the pipes and prevented from circulating if not level enough.

If your fridge is cold when you start, you should get a few hours out of it if you choose not to run it while travelling.

Yes, you must be sure to turn the gas off when fueling the vehicle. Yes it is (barely) possible that you might get a gas leak from a ruptured propane line while driving or in a catastrophic accident. Yes, some toll tunnels in the eastern USA will not allow a propane rig to go through (whether turned on or not), and you must turn off your propane for ferries. However, I personally don’t feel that it is unsafe to tow with the propane fridge running, and we have done it for many years in several trailers, on road and off, with no problems at all.


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