Propane Heater Retro-fit - Scamp - Fiberglass RV

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Old 03-24-2006, 02:44 PM   #1
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Trailer: Scamp
Posts: 17
Hi All:

I'm finally a fiberglass rv owner - an 85 16' Scamp to be exact. Needs a bit of work, so I have been browsing through the forum topics.

One of the ideas I am considering is installing a forced-air propane heater (NON CAT). The present day electrical heater is not fully functional - the fan works but no heat. I am going to get an electrician friend of mine to trouble-shoot, but a propane heater may be a better option for me since I rarely have electrical hook-ups when I camp.

anybody try this before? any recommened models?


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Old 03-24-2006, 05:01 PM   #2
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Name: Rob
Trailer: 1980 Bolar 1700
Posts: 92
Boy oh boy is this a can of worms. Not to actually do the job you are asking about but you are likely to find as many different opinions about heaters and heat sources as you are variations on trailer modifications.

Here is my version only. Most, I think, end up with electric heaters or coleman cat heaters because they are teathered most of the time, don't really need heat often enough and/or just don't want to lay out $450 for a brand new furnace. There are several options for you if you decide to go with a furnace. Of the brands around you have Suburban and Atwood Hydro-flame as the major brands still in production. I think the Atwood will be a little cheaper. Check out your local RV store and ask around also check to see what they have on the racks for replacement parts. Nothing worse than finding a bargin on an off brand product only to find that when it needs repair, parts are non-existant. Ebay seems to have pretty consistant pricing on them if you search "RV Furnace" but make sure you find out you local prices before searching online. Then you will know if you are really getting a bargin.

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Old 03-24-2006, 07:11 PM   #3
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Trailer: Scamp
Posts: 17
Hi Rob,

Thanks for the reply. From what I gather, these forced air units also draw a lot of battery power when not plugged in. Obviously, no where near a full electric furnace, but enough to be aware.

The CATs seem like a good option in that regard, but I'm paranoid about the CO. Perhaps this is NOT well-founded, but there is a lot of debate.

I'm used to a tent, so I could live without a heater. I've camped in 8 degrees Celcius in the Rockies and I did ok.

BUT, I figure if I'm gonna fix this SCAMP up, I might as well get all the parts working. If I can't fix the original, I'm going to replace the furnace eventually.
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Old 03-25-2006, 06:07 AM   #4
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Trailer: Scamp
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Well. well, well ... my furnace IS propane! What's that old saying. "RTFM"?


No wonder the furnace fan goes but no heat - NO GAS!!!
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Old 03-25-2006, 07:19 AM   #5
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Trailer: 2007 Casita Liberty (Sold 2011)/ Honda Odyssey
Posts: 705
This is the furnace that Scamp installs. Works very well, although loud! Once we stopped at a forest service campground in the Sierras and caught the leading edge of a winter storm and were oh so happy to have that heater. Although it didn't much help on the trips to the icy john!

Suburban Manufacturing
BTU 12,000
22 lbs.
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Old 03-25-2006, 09:41 AM   #6
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Trailer: Scamp
Posts: 17

Thanks for the link. Definitely good to have a furnace for those unexpected cold spells. I don't expect to be using it a lot, but I'm glad it works.
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Old 03-25-2006, 12:36 PM   #7
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Trailer: Bigfoot 16 ft
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Lenny the forced air Propane furnace will drain you batteries in a night or two. If you dry camp for more than 2 days at a time you will run your battery down: unless you have a 75watt+ solar panel or a generator to recharge. You could also recharge your coach battery via your tow vehicle if your wired for that. As Patrick mentioned the factory furnace works great and is an off the shelf item. Camping world installs them but they are a bit pricey. I have a Olympian Wave Cat. heater (also pricey) for dry camping and I highly recommend them. They use zero electricity, efficient and are VERY SAFE if used properly. People have used them in the 1000's for many, many years with a low incident rate. Our Wave hearter is the smallest model and will cook us out of our 13ft Scamp.
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Old 03-29-2006, 08:38 PM   #8
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Above is a site from another post on a propane cat heater that's vented outside for a VW van.I've contacted the dist but so far havn't received and answer .The vented portion is what got my attention. If it's real and not too expensive I think it would be a great alternative to the noisy fan option we all put up with on modern forced air furnaces.

PS : I couldn't get the link to auto send but it may be worth typing in.
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Old 03-30-2006, 06:19 AM   #9
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Trailer: 84 16 ft Scamp
Posts: 725
We never used the Suburban furnace that came stock in our Scamp. It did heat it effectively, but was awful noisy and drew the battery down making the lights dim whenever it was on. A lot of people like them cause they're vented to be safe. I've installed a Force 10 range with oven that took the space where it was. I'll advertise it locally, or maybe on e-bay.

We just use good sleeping bags. I stage the coffee pot before going to bed. In the morning I pop out of bed long enough to light the burner under the coffee pot and turn on a small Hella fan, then back in bed. By the time the coffee is ready, the trailer is quite toasty.

I recently found small portable catalytic heater on sale. The plan is to permanently mount it in the bathroom. It will make the morning libations more comfortable.
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Old 03-30-2006, 09:15 AM   #10
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Name: Brian
Trailer: Boler (B1700RGH) 1979
Posts: 4,999

Above is a site from another post on a propane cat heater that's vented outside for a VW van....
PS : I couldn't get the link to auto send but it may be worth typing in.
The vented catalytic heater may be the same as Gina D.'s Cat heater, as discussed in [b]Aaarrrgh! Heater Won’t Work, The first crisis.... Look for my post in that topic for links to more info on this unit.

Vented catalytic heaters do seem to be rare. A look at other topics by doing a Search for "catalytic" would probably be worthwhile, because they're a common topic of discussion in FiberglassRV.

P.S. Randy, the link in you post works fine.
1979 Boler B1700RGH, pulled by 2004 Toyota Sienna LE 2WD
Information is good. Lack of information is not so good, but misinformation is much worse. Check facts, and apply common sense liberally.
STATUS: No longer active in forum.
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Old 03-30-2006, 06:46 PM   #11
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Trailer: 1980 Bolar 1700
Posts: 92
Well if you really want to go ultra low tech, you get several medium size smooth rocks and put them by the camp fire while you enjoy the evening. When its time for bed put on the oven mitts and bring them in and place them on the stove. They will radiate for several hours.
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Old 03-30-2006, 08:48 PM   #12
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Trailer: 74 13 ft Boler and 79 17 ft Boler
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If you heat them up on the propane stove you won`t have to carry hot rocks around....Benny
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Old 04-05-2006, 12:33 PM   #13
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Trailer: 84 16 ft Scamp
Posts: 725
I know an old fellow that travels full-time in a small Toyota motorhome. He just uses a couple of large terra cotta flower pots over the burner on the stove.

To vent them he fit some electrical conduit bends to the pots. With the pot upside down over the burner, he runs the conduit bend from the hole in the pot to a hole in the side of the trailer. The conduit extends outside several inches. When not in use there is a flap that seals off the wall penetration.

I've talked to him a couple of times over several years at a BLM type campground near Ajo, AZ where he hosts a couple of months in the winter. The rest of the year he travels the country visiting his kids who live in various parts.

Nice fellow. Stop over in the evening with a drink or goodie and he'll show you all you ever wanted to know and more about a simple short wave radio setup he's very proud of. If it's cold out you can see how well his "furnace" works, too.

Yup. He's one of my favorites.
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Old 11-30-2015, 02:54 PM   #14
Name: Steve
Trailer: Scamp 16
Posts: 51
Evan, I've got a 16' Scamp. Will the Olympian wave 3 be big enough or the next step up. My furnace sounds like it going to take off and this seems better than throwing money into the old furnace.

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