Furnance options? - Fiberglass RV

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Old 07-25-2011, 03:10 PM   #1
Junior Member
Name: Nicole
Trailer: 1976 Trillium 1300
Posts: 7
Furnance options?

We're looking ofr a furnance for our trillium. Any suggestions out there? We're not looking to spend a lot, we need something for a little comfort on those chilly nights.

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Old 07-25-2011, 05:15 PM   #2
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Name: Norm and Ginny
Trailer: Scamp 16
Posts: 7,082
Pasadena, Newfoundland, definitely a good place we've been to at least four times, but certainly it can get cool.

Generally if it's going to be cold we seek an electric site. We have a number of methods for keeping warm. We do carry an electric blanket for when we have electricity. Other than that we carry a third blanket. We hardly ever run the heat at night. We do carry a small electric heater for pre bed times.

On occasions when we're non-electric we have run the propane furnace, though we really dislike the noise it produces and its infernal cycling. Again we never run the propane when we're sleeping, just too loud. As well the propane furnace does do a job on the battery.

We are considering adding a catalytic heater and eliminating the propane furnace. I know some people worry about safety issues with them, but we would never run a c at heater while sleeping.

Hope this helps and we love Newfoundland, have completed four trips and planning to do one more and the Trans Labrador again.

Norm and Ginny

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Old 07-25-2011, 06:01 PM   #3
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Name: Heath
Trailer: Compact Jr
Posts: 150
I was just going to post the same question when I saw your post. we have the same problame. My compact jr has a gravity furnace in it but the last 2 times I used it we got exuahst smell in the trailer so we dare not use it again. and it is a 1972 original so I think it is toast. I have been looking into a catalytic to replace it with but if any other options out there looks like a lot of use would like to know about them.
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Old 07-25-2011, 06:31 PM   #4
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Trailer: Trillium 4500
Posts: 157
We have a circa 78, duo-therm gravity furnace and really like it. Zero noise, no thermostat means a 1-10 adj. dial under the cover, not really a problem, most nights 1 is too hot so we open windows to adjust. I've read of condensation problems with the cat. heaters. Heath, could the "exhaust smell" you're experiencing be the dust burning off? Our furnace was really stinky at first, but once burned off is fine. I'd recommend getting a good propane/CO2 detector installed then running the furnace for a good 10hrs. with nobody in the camper. Check for leaks in the system with soapy water in a squirt bottle all the while.
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Old 06-03-2014, 01:28 PM   #5
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Name: Dave W
Trailer: Trillium 4500 - 1977, 1978 (2), 1300 - 1977, 1973, and a 1972
Posts: 5,281
The original furnace for a 1976 Trillium is a 65810-002. It fits below the sink and takes up that cupboard. You would have to cut a hole for the vent. I see them on kijiji from time to time. I have a spare one, but it would be very expensive to ship, and I have never run it.
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Old 06-03-2014, 04:16 PM   #6
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Name: Mike
Trailer: Bigfoot 17' DLX
Posts: 347
I have a 1989 Bigfoot 17 and the original 12K BTU Atwood furnace that was in it when I bought it was dead. Since I drag this thing between Alaska and California, often in sub-zero temps, I wrestled with this same issue for awhile before I solved it.

I didn't want to buy a new furnace in Alaska as they are incredibly expensive here. But I had to get home last fall in freezing temps so I opted for a Mr. Heater Big Buddy portable propane furnace to at least get me home.

While it worked, I later realized how much better a built-in furnace is. The heat from the portable is hard to control in a small space. It seems like it was either too hot or too cold. Plus the heat just goes straight up and collects on the ceiling before it starts warming up the areas at bed height.

When I got back to California I bought a new Atwood 7920-II 18K BTU unit to replace the 12K BTU one that was dead. I bought it from Chuck at Fiberglass Travel Trailers RV and I've never looked back.

This January I drove back to Alaska and even in temps well below freezing the furnace kept the trailer plenty warm with little effort and kept the heat evenly distributed. It was night and day from the portable.

The lesson learned is that you should "try before you buy" if possible as you may never know what you are missing if you try one solution that you think is "good enough". It depends on where you intend to travel and in what kind of climates so there is no single "right answer". But you should make an attempt to try different solutions like a portable or wall mount heater and a built-in propane heater to better judge for yourself before you make this decision. Even if you have to borrow someone else's RV or trailer to try it out, I highly recommend this as the decision i the end is very personal and subjective.
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Old 06-04-2014, 02:35 PM   #7
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Name: Chris
Trailer: Boler
Posts: 291
I have the same question. We use an electric heater when possible, but almost never camp where hookups are an option.

I tried a candle heater in the summer, it does warm slightly, not enough.

I have a big buddy heater, it heaters the trailer up quickly, but I do not feel it is safe to run while sleeping (it has an oxygen sensor).

If I could reduce the moisture in the night, the heater would be less important, but I have not found a good solution here either.

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