Propane and towing - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-15-2014, 09:14 AM   #1
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Propane and towing

Sorry if this has already been addressed...
I was reading the manual for our 2 way dometic fridge. It mentions using propane while towing as if ok. I thought you should never tow with any propane appliance on
Peggy

We purchased a 2003 Scamp 16, but I can't figure out how to change from "no trailer yet"
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Old 10-15-2014, 09:34 AM   #2
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I tow with propane on all the time, other than places that specifically say to turn it off. If doing a short run in moderate temps, I will have the fridge off. I have it, so why not use it?

I never checked any US authorities, but did contact the National, and all the Provincial and Territorial, Departments of Transport in Canada, and every last one said that using propane when towing is allowed.

Some worry the dangers, but for me, life has WAY more dangers to it than those associated with towing with the propane on. You do have to do what is comfortable for you though.
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Old 10-15-2014, 09:44 AM   #3
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Many people tow with the propane refrigerator running. I don't for several reasons. First there's no need. I've gone for 2 days without the refrigerator running and everything was still cold. So unless I'm traveling for more than two day without stopping what's the point?
Second with the propane on and refrigerator running I have to remember to turn it off when putting fuel into tow. I believe this is law.
Some will say if something happens like a crash you've got propane spewing out and igniting, not fun. I'm not sure that's as much of an issue as it used to be. The safety valves built into the cylinders should prevent a lot of propane escaping. But it might not if the escaping amount was small and gradually got larger. Going from none to a lot the safety valve will shut off the flow.

Many tunnels require the propane be turned off and ferries do too.

We actually go one step farther, we carry a very limited amount of stuff that needs refrigeration. From many years of backpacking we've learned how to live without refrigeration.
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Old 10-15-2014, 10:08 AM   #4
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Pre cool the fridg for a couple of days B 4 departing and preferred drinking water bottles and put in fridge along with the other items you want to keep cool and there is no need to use the propane while towing.
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Old 10-15-2014, 10:55 AM   #5
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I also don't normally tow with the propane on as I know I would not remember to shut off when stopping for gas. If the fridge has been pre cooled it is normally stays cool enough - I do add a bottle of frozen water to the fridge when starting out as well as a couple of small freezer packs that I put beside or on top of dairy products and meats. Once at camping spot I put them back in the freezer and reuse when I am on the move again.
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Old 10-15-2014, 01:26 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by catboat View Post
We purchased a 2003 Scamp 16, but I can't figure out how to change from "no trailer yet"
Click on "User CP" link at the top left of the web page, in the left hand menu select "Edit Your Details", scroll down to "RV Brand".
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Old 10-15-2014, 04:49 PM   #7
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What about using 12 Volt for the refrigerator when towing?
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Old 10-15-2014, 04:52 PM   #8
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What about using 12 Volt for the refrigerator when towing?
You can if you've got a big enough alternator in the tow vehicle. Most that have tried have a dead or near dead battery at their destination. Most vehicles can't keep up with 9.5 amp requirement plus the 2 to 4 amp charging requirement.
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Old 10-15-2014, 05:06 PM   #9
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We don't have the 12 volt option, and we haven't seen it available very much.
We have been turning it off during the day when driving, but it seems to lose coolness pretty quick and take forever (3-4 hrs) to get cold. Does this sound about right? Maybe there is something wrong (or owner error) with our unit. The freezer does work well enough to freeze a couple of bottles of water, and the cold packs sound like a good idea.
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Old 10-15-2014, 05:55 PM   #10
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You can if you've got a big enough alternator in the tow vehicle. Most that have tried have a dead or near dead battery at their destination. Most vehicles can't keep up with 9.5 amp requirement plus the 2 to 4 amp charging requirement.
This is a BS. Sorry, can't resist. All vehicles have at least 80-100A alternators, fridge consumes about 10A on 12V.
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Old 10-15-2014, 06:45 PM   #11
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What about using 12 Volt for the refrigerator when towing?

RV refrigerators work much better on 110v or propane. While some people may perceive 12v operation safer than propane and prefer to utilize 12v operation, for the most part 12v will keep the refrigerator cold. A good rule of thumb is that 12v will maintain the temperature, but if the door is opened and warmer air gets in, the refrigerator will struggle to return to the cooler temperature on 12v, and may not do so. But 12v will keep the contents cooler than if the refrigerator is turned off completely. Unfortunately, the refrigerators in our RVs just do not perform as well as the ones in our homes.


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Old 10-15-2014, 07:06 PM   #12
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This is a BS. Sorry, can't resist. All vehicles have at least 80-100A alternators, fridge consumes about 10A on 12V.
You might have a 100 amp alternator, but you are not going to push 10 amps down 20 feet of wire and the umbilical connector... unless everything is in perfect condition.

I'm doing good if I see 4-5 amps charging my trailer's battery while plugged into the tug.

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Old 10-15-2014, 07:21 PM   #13
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The OP states she has a 2 way refer. 12 volt is not an option here. When I replaced the unit in my trailer the only option was a 2 way 110V or propane. The Dometic unit I have has an electronic igniter (no pilot light) and in the last 2 years I have towed the trailer about 18000 miles with the refer. running on propane. I have had zero problems doing it this way. I phoned Dometic and asked if it was OK to run on propane when driving and they were evasive. They did not say yes but they also did not say no either. Most of the time, I'm on the road for weeks with very limited 110V power available (by choice) so the option of ice or pre cooling will not work for me. There are some places where you must turn off the refrigerator. Some have already been mentioned and another was highway construction zones SOMETIMES have signs telling you to turn off propane. I would not hesitate to have the refrigerator on propane when driving but if I had a pilot light instead of electronic ignition I would rethink running with the pilot on.
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Old 10-15-2014, 07:29 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by sokhapkin View Post
This is a BS. Sorry, can't resist. All vehicles have at least 80-100A alternators, fridge consumes about 10A on 12V.
You may want to check what amount of amps you are getting the next time you are plugged into the vehicle and running the fridge on 12v
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Old 10-15-2014, 07:31 PM   #15
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We don't have the 12 volt option, and we haven't seen it available very much.
We have been turning it off during the day when driving, but it seems to lose coolness pretty quick and take forever (3-4 hrs) to get cold. Does this sound about right? Maybe there is something wrong (or owner error) with our unit. The freezer does work well enough to freeze a couple of bottles of water, and the cold packs sound like a good idea.
I added bubble wrap insulation to the sides and top of my fridge and it helped a lot to keep it cool. Also made sure I closed off all the gaps in the rear and to the side cupboards are sealed.
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Old 10-15-2014, 08:16 PM   #16
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You may want to check what amount of amps you are getting the next time you are plugged into the vehicle and running the fridge on 12v
Discharged trailer battery is fully charged after 8-10 hours of towing with 12V fridge on.

The charge line to 7-way connector is about 20' of 10AWG wire. The connector is grounded with 3' 10AWG wire to the ground point in the TV trunk area.
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Old 10-15-2014, 09:31 PM   #17
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I know this has been discussed many times. I've towed with the fridge on propane in all my previous units for 16 years without any problems.
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Old 10-16-2014, 08:31 AM   #18
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Discharged trailer battery is fully charged after 8-10 hours of towing with 12V fridge on.

The charge line to 7-way connector is about 20' of 10AWG wire. The connector is grounded with 3' 10AWG wire to the ground point in the TV trunk area.
Count yourself amongst the fortunate ones Many here including myself have found that the tugs charge line can not keep up with the 12v consumption of the fridge while towing. True of both the tugs I have used for my current trailer - one with factory tow package and one that had to have the charge line added to it.

Possible reasons for your good fortune is the gage of your charge line and as yours is a newer trailer the fridge may be more conservative on its 12V usage? It may also be impacted by what else is being used in the tug at the time - i.E.. AC, Heater, radios, phone charges etc.....

My point being is that one should not assume that all set ups are identical and if someone suggests that they are unable to run there fridge on 12V without some battery level depletion I would believe them.
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Old 10-16-2014, 10:50 AM   #19
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Propane and towing

I've had two different Aliners with 3-way refrigerators. One I pulled with a Dodge Caravan, the second with a
Ford Ranger. Until I reviewed the 12v line with #10 wire on the Caravan and in the Aliner, the battery would discharge if running on 12v. After rewiring, I did not have that problem. When I bought the second Aliner, I immediately did the same with it, and the Ranger. I do believe wire gauge is important if one wishes to travel on 12v. Just my opinion, for what it's worth.

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Old 10-16-2014, 11:19 AM   #20
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I'm retired and have had RVs of some sort for the last 50 years.
I always leave my refer on when traveling.
I think I've seen maybe 3 or 4 burned up RVs in the last 50 years and I don't remember how many miles..
While fueling up turn of the gas.
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