What trailer to buy? - Page 12 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-06-2017, 09:41 AM   #155
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Don't really want propane as I exclusively grill veggies, fish, and meat with charcoal. We eat mostly whole foods anyway.

Wouldn't mind a trailer being all-electric.
Propane is basically a very compact, portable supply of energy. The energy contained in a 20-lb cylinder dwarfs the energy contained in even a very large RV battery array.

I consider operating our 3-way refrigerator on propane to be one of the "great things" about our trailer. I have seen reports of four weeks of use and more on a single 20-lb propane cylinder under summer conditions. Propane is highly portable, readily available and not dreadfully expensive, so offers several advantages.

As to the ventilation problems I have mentioned with refrigerator units about 4 cu ft and smaller, the primary problems seem to be the limited ventilation provided by the upper "wall-mounted" vent, and improper installations which don't maintain the proper spacing and baffling between the trailer wall and the back of the fridge. Many others have preceded us in identifying repairs and upgrades to improve these issues. There are several key threads on this and the Casita forums that address how to resolve this issue.

I have a pair of $16 12VDC fans and a $9 PWM drive awaiting installation before our scheduled July trip to eastern Washington. On the other hand, larger refrigerators that vent through the roof of the trailer seem to perform much better from what I have read.

I think the best alternative in RV refrigeration is a 12VDC compressor type such as the Engel brand. Owners seem to be very enthusiastic about them. They are much more efficient than ammonia-style RV refrigerators, so require much less energy to operate. You can read more about them online.

However, going all-electric ideally would mean not becoming generator dependent, at least not in many folks' opinions. The steady hum of generators and the suggestion of exhaust odors in the air is a divisive subject among campers and RVers. An alternative is to start looking at solar. It's practical for this purpose as refrigeration requires far less energy than air conditioning would.

So, there's lots to think about. Personally, I am grateful for forums like this where I continue to learn from those much more experienced than me.
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Old 06-06-2017, 10:18 AM   #156
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+10 No propane = eliminates most efficient source of heat and refrigeration when boondocking. Cooking is really a side benefit.

Also, we can all debate the "is it safe to run propane frig while towing", but it is very efficient then too.
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Old 06-06-2017, 10:34 AM   #157
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Originally Posted by Civilguy View Post
Propane is basically a very compact, portable supply of energy. The energy contained in a 20-lb cylinder dwarfs the energy contained in even a very large RV battery array.

I consider operating our 3-way refrigerator on propane to be one of the "great things" about our trailer. I have seen reports of four weeks of use and more on a single 20-lb propane cylinder under summer conditions. Propane is highly portable, readily available and not dreadfully expensive, so offers several advantages.

As to the ventilation problems I have mentioned with refrigerator units about 4 cu ft and smaller, the primary problems seem to be the limited ventilation provided by the upper "wall-mounted" vent, and improper installations which don't maintain the proper spacing and baffling between the trailer wall and the back of the fridge. Many others have preceded us in identifying repairs and upgrades to improve these issues. There are several key threads on this and the Casita forums that address how to resolve this issue.

I have a pair of $16 12VDC fans and a $9 PWM drive awaiting installation before our scheduled July trip to eastern Washington. On the other hand, larger refrigerators that vent through the roof of the trailer seem to perform much better from what I have read.

I think the best alternative in RV refrigeration is a 12VDC compressor type such as the Engel brand. Owners seem to be very enthusiastic about them. They are much more efficient than ammonia-style RV refrigerators, so require much less energy to operate. You can read more about them online.

However, going all-electric ideally would mean not becoming generator dependent, at least not in many folks' opinions. The steady hum of generators and the suggestion of exhaust odors in the air is a divisive subject among campers and RVers. An alternative is to start looking at solar. It's practical for this purpose as refrigeration requires far less energy than air conditioning would.

So, there's lots to think about. Personally, I am grateful for forums like this where I continue to learn from those much more experienced than me.
MUST-HAVES: Baby brother tells me I must, without a doubt, have a dual burner range; 1.9 CUFT Refrigerator (LP/120VAC/12VDC; furnace w/thermostat, electronic ignition, UL listed safety standard; Cover/food tray for range; at least fiberglass behind galley; a fold-out galley extension; 12VDC receptacle. You agree?
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Old 06-06-2017, 10:42 AM   #158
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Had a great phone conversation this morning with Anita @ Oliver and I know the company stands behind their wonderful trailers and are aware of issues and always trying to improve upon their fine product. Wrestling now between modifying a Parkliner 16 (painting cabinet doors, maybe reupholstering the fabric, buying a good mattress for full-time bed); modifying a 19' Escape (same deal as above); or sticking with the standard Oliver Elite.
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Old 06-06-2017, 10:48 AM   #159
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Originally Posted by roguebooks View Post
MUST-HAVES: Baby brother tells me I must, without a doubt, have a dual burner range; 1.9 CUFT Refrigerator (LP/120VAC/12VDC; furnace w/thermostat, electronic ignition, UL listed safety standard; Cover/food tray for range; at least fiberglass behind galley; a fold-out galley extension; 12VDC receptacle. You agree?
Pretty much, except I see little need for 12V operation of a fridge. Absorption fridges are battery hogs on 12V, and you can do everything you need on LP or 110V. If you plan 12V operation of a fridge, you're better off with a dedicated 12V compressor fridge powered by high capacity batteries and a decent-sized solar array.

My Scamp did not come with a backsplash behind the galley. We don't cook inside, so it doesn't matter. But in any case I wouldn't make that a deal breaker, as it's easy enough to add, and there are lots of stylish alternatives to plain fiberglass (stainless steel, pressed tin, plastics made to look like pressed tin or tile or...).
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Old 06-06-2017, 11:27 AM   #160
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Michael,

Speaking of backsplashes and counter tops, this is what I made and installed in my Oliver.
The standard fiberglass surface seems vulnerable and I didn't want the wall to act as a backsplash. Then I upgraded the faucet too. Much easier to reach and less splash.

As far as the fridge goes, when talking about 12v operation, be sure you distinguish between absorption style with a 12v heater (very power hungry) and a 12v compressor style. The compressor style is much more efficient on 12volts, but they are not perfect either. I've had two of them. They do make a bit of noise, but that may not be a deal breaker, but they are relentless with their power draw as they run about 30% of the time on average. Maybe 10% in cold weather, and 50% or more if you open the door a lot or add food to them. You always have to give them power that must come from somewhere. Shore tie, generator, solar with batteries.

I really like propane refrigerators! And when we're home, I plug the trailer in and run it on 120v, just like a household fridge.
Attached Thumbnails
20170422_211434-1.jpg   Kit-faucet.jpg  

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Old 06-06-2017, 12:04 PM   #161
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That's really nice, Raspy. Is that a single piece of stainless that turns up at the back and wraps down in front?

Reminds me of this 13' Scamp that sold a while back:

Name:   Scamp Reno.jpg
Views: 112
Size:  50.8 KB

Goes to show even a humble Scamp, with some work and creativity, can go upscale! Don't miss the custom dinette table, of which you can catch a glimpse at the bottom of the photo.
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Old 06-06-2017, 12:12 PM   #162
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roguebooks View Post
MUST-HAVES: Baby brother tells me I must, without a doubt, have a dual burner range; 1.9 CUFT Refrigerator (LP/120VAC/12VDC; furnace w/thermostat, electronic ignition, UL listed safety standard; Cover/food tray for range; at least fiberglass behind galley; a fold-out galley extension; 12VDC receptacle. You agree?
We appreciate our bigger fridge (4 cu ft) which includes a freezer compartment. We tend to carry a lot of produce, which is bulky.

I agree with others here that the three way 12VDC function has limited usefulness. However with some smaller models, 12VDC is just "included"; there's no need to try and avoid it.

These fridges operate by heating ammonia. Ours has a 175 watt 120 VAC heater. So, operation on 12VDC requires a lot of current, about 14.6 amps. This would only operate for about 3+ hours on a "standard" 100 amp-hour RV battery. (You can only draw roughly half the rated amp hours.)

Also, people often find that too-small conductors in the wiring from the tow vehicle to the trailer won't run the fridge on 12VDC properly. So the 12VDC "capability" often basically ends up not being useful at all.

I bumped the switch on our 3-way fridge a couple of times and the power center's cooling fan came on almost immediately, telling me that there was suddenly a lot of current flowing through; yup, it was the fridge.

Other items; I also like our water heater, 6 gallon 2-way (LP and 120VAC) with DSI (direct spark ignition, no need to light a pilot light.)

We spent just under $600 for a custom mattress that fits the curved shell of the Casita and we like it very much. We also like the 54" width; some folks do fine with smaller beds - around 48" is the smallest "double" in these trailers as best I recall - ? Make inquires if the literature doesn't tell you the size as RV beds described as "full" and "double" vary quite a bit.

The wife's folks had their kitchen cabinets painted to perform an inexpensive remodel. I'm not clear how easy or difficult it might be to do in a trailer, but there are appropriate paint products out there. I have some light-hued laminate (basically white) on hand that I am going to use to make lightweight stress-skin panel doors for the Casita.
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Old 06-06-2017, 12:17 PM   #163
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Originally Posted by thrifty bill View Post
+10 No propane = eliminates most efficient source of heat and refrigeration when boondocking. Cooking is really a side benefit.

Also, we can all debate the "is it safe to run propane frig while towing"
Ah Bill, let's not; I've already seen that movie!
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Old 06-06-2017, 12:25 PM   #164
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Ah Bill, let's not; I've already seen that movie!
You won't have to stick around long before you'll be watching re-runs. Kind of like Gone With the Wind, except it plays quarterly instead of annually.
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Old 06-06-2017, 12:32 PM   #165
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You don't have to stick around long before you'll be watching re-runs. Kind of like Gone With the Wind, except it plays quarterly instead of annually.
That one can sometimes turn out a real disaster. I never have been a fan of disaster movies.
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Old 06-06-2017, 12:56 PM   #166
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Jon,

Yes it's a single piece of 304 stainless 14 gauge that I had bent. A 6" splash in back and a 2 1/2" turn down in front to stiffen it up and give a smooth edge. Cut out the holes with a 4 1/2" cut off wheel and then glued it down with white silicone. A few screws help hold it. No more concern about scratching up the fiberglass surface.

Here's a couple more pix of the work:
Attached Thumbnails
20170420_183455.jpg   20170421_190811-2.jpg  

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Old 06-06-2017, 01:19 PM   #167
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Originally Posted by Civilguy
I bumped the switch on our 3-way fridge a couple of times and the power center's cooling fan came on almost immediately, telling me that there was suddenly a lot of current flowing through; yup, it was the fridge. . .
Hitting the buttons on the 'fridge is a common problem on Casitas. After bumping ours and turning off the 'fridge accidentally a few times, I contacted Little House Customs and got their button guard, which neatly solves the problem:

Store | Little House Customs

Scroll down to 'Fridge Button Guard'.

/Mr Lynn
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Old 06-06-2017, 03:43 PM   #168
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Originally Posted by Raspy View Post
Michael,

Speaking of backsplashes and counter tops, this is what I made and installed in my Oliver.
The standard fiberglass surface seems vulnerable and I didn't want the wall to act as a backsplash. Then I upgraded the faucet too. Much easier to reach and less splash.

As far as the fridge goes, when talking about 12v operation, be sure you distinguish between absorption style with a 12v heater (very power hungry) and a 12v compressor style. The compressor style is much more efficient on 12volts, but they are not perfect either. I've had two of them. They do make a bit of noise, but that may not be a deal breaker, but they are relentless with their power draw as they run about 30% of the time on average. Maybe 10% in cold weather, and 50% or more if you open the door a lot or add food to them. You always have to give them power that must come from somewhere. Shore tie, generator, solar with batteries.

I really like propane refrigerators! And when we're home, I plug the trailer in and run it on 120v, just like a household fridge.
That is one beautiful job you did. I cannot do that! Impressive. Wow.
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