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Old 01-06-2016, 07:11 AM   #1
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First Big trip - sub 0F

We took our 26BH out for the first big trip last week. We pulled from Houston to Abilene, thru Lubbock to Amarillo, then on to Angel Fire, NM. We left headed right into the winter storm blowing in. With RWD and an open rear diff on the truck, it was interesting. It was also the maiden voyage for our TV. About an 1 1/2 out of Houston the wind hit me so bad, I honestly thought I had a mechanical problem with the truck. Nearly turned around, but it eased up somewhere around Waxahachie, TX. Once the rig and I aligned our expectations, all was well, haha. I also learned that the TV really likes about 70mph more than 60mph. Looks like I'll be shopping for tires for the TT.

The grey/black water valves froze up by the time we hit Amarillo, but nothing a hair dryer didn't solve. In NW it started dipping as low as -17F. Again fighting frozen dump valves, and the intake line from tank to water pump froze. I ran to a local hardware store to get a heated wrap, only to discover the fresh water tank was frozen. We tuffed it out, using the city water hook up and running a faucet during the mornings and evenings, and disconnecting the rest of the time. Pondering a few ideas for a "skirt" and heater to battle these issues if we decide to go cold again...

One question. On our second day in NM, the fridge quit working, on gas or electric. It started working again when we got back in warmer climates that were around 30F. Is that normal?
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2015 Jayco 26BH
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2015 Explorer Sport 3.5L EcoBoost, AWD, and Tow PKG (Kid hauler, and ambitious TV)
2011 Shelby GT500 (only thing it pulls is G's)
2003 Jeep Liberty Limited (DD's)
1995 F-150 short wheel base (Sold)
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Old 01-07-2016, 01:17 PM   #2
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On your fridge not working. If it operates at the call of its thermostat as residential models do, then the refrigerator will not require cooling. Again, if it's like its residential kin, since the freezer runs along with the refrigerator, it will not kick on. And that can lead to thawing in the freezer. Right or wrong, this is what was explained to me some years back when we lost some foods in the freezer when I'd put our old fridge in the garage for extra space.
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Old 01-07-2016, 01:54 PM   #3
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snip...
One question. On our second day in NM, the fridge quit working, on gas or electric. It started working again when we got back in warmer climates that were around 30F. Is that normal?
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On your fridge not working. If it operates at the call of its thermostat as residential models do, then the refrigerator will not require cooling. Again, if it's like its residential kin, since the freezer runs along with the refrigerator, it will not kick on. And that can lead to thawing in the freezer. Right or wrong, this is what was explained to me some years back when we lost some foods in the freezer when I'd put our old fridge in the garage for extra space.
Or you could have an 'absorption' type refrigerator (standard in most RVs) in your trailer, not a residential 'compressor' type. It's normal for absorption types to stop working when it gets too cold inside the refrigerator and outside.
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Old 01-07-2016, 02:06 PM   #4
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Yes, it is an absorption type rv fridge. The fridge and freezer both got warm. From what I understand they relay on liquid to gas exchange of a chemical (amonia??) To cool. I thought maybe if the evaporator, which is exposed to outside temps, got too cold it might not function properly, but that was all conjecture.
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2015 Jayco 26BH
1996 F350 SRW, 7.3 PSD, Crew Cab, 8' Bed, 3.55 gears (the beater, and TV)
2015 Explorer Sport 3.5L EcoBoost, AWD, and Tow PKG (Kid hauler, and ambitious TV)
2011 Shelby GT500 (only thing it pulls is G's)
2003 Jeep Liberty Limited (DD's)
1995 F-150 short wheel base (Sold)
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Old 01-08-2016, 08:07 AM   #5
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Regarding the refer. The problem seems to be that the heat source (electric or gas) has to heat the liquid refrigerant to it's boiling point for the refer to work. In extreme cold that sometimes is not possible. I've heard that they will work better on LP in extreme cold as the LP flame is hotter than the electric heater. I've also heard of some folks blocking the outside vents to cause the refer compartment temp to rise. Another problem is if there is any snow blocking the top or bottom vents.

Norcold makes the following kit. I'm sure there are others. I have no idea how well they work.

Norcold Refrigerator Cold Weather Kit, 634913
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Old 01-08-2016, 08:14 AM   #6
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That is some good info. Thanks
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2015 Jayco 26BH
1996 F350 SRW, 7.3 PSD, Crew Cab, 8' Bed, 3.55 gears (the beater, and TV)
2015 Explorer Sport 3.5L EcoBoost, AWD, and Tow PKG (Kid hauler, and ambitious TV)
2011 Shelby GT500 (only thing it pulls is G's)
2003 Jeep Liberty Limited (DD's)
1995 F-150 short wheel base (Sold)
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Old 01-08-2016, 09:03 AM   #7
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That is some good info. Thanks
Most of this except the fridge issue can be solved by not using the on board plumbing during sub freezing outings. Some RV antifreeze in the Black tank might help and using a couple gallon jugs of water to "flush" will make the toilet function w/o charging the fresh water system. A jug or gallon thermos in the kitchen will handle cooking needs. We have traveled with temps as low as 5 below and a high of only +9 for the first 2 days of our trip. We did not experience any problems with the fridge in our 2014 White Hawk. The above things made our other activities fully functioning. The single OEM battery was drained by 3 or 4 am that first night as the furnace never shut off as it worked to overcome a fully frozen interior. Fired up theTV for furnace fan and finished out until dawn when we pulled out of the Wally W parkinglot.

Unless you are setting up for a longer stay, skirting is not practical or particularily helpful. Camping in freezing weather requires some adjustments to normal habits. We were heading south toward warmer climate so the sub zero thing was a means to a warmer end. As a rule when its going to be below 25% in a non heated rv, we keep the plumbing winterized. Makes it easier to get things flowing when we reach our destination.
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Old 01-08-2016, 09:56 AM   #8
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We were on hook ups for a couple of days. We actually had a small electric heater that probably did about 80% of the heating, even in that climate. We were hooking up the water hose in the mornings and evenings when we were active in the camper and disconnecting the rest of the time. We only experienced the city water hook up freezing once, and that was quickly solved with a hair dryer. When we did pull upstakes we were about 300 miles down the road when temps finally got near 32 again, and every thing seemed to have resumed normal operation.


My goal is to find a solution that would be helpful to camp for a few days, in low temps, with all the conveniences that we purchased the camper to have. We may not decided to do another cold trip, but the family does seem to enjoy skiing. I think some insulation and radiant barrier added to the bottom of the TT, with a heavy vinyl skirt and a heat source would keep the pipes flowing. Maybe blocking the vents on the fridge, or possibly the linked kit from above to keep the fridge going. But, like I say, I will only pursue that, if we decide to do another cold trip.
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2015 Jayco 26BH
1996 F350 SRW, 7.3 PSD, Crew Cab, 8' Bed, 3.55 gears (the beater, and TV)
2015 Explorer Sport 3.5L EcoBoost, AWD, and Tow PKG (Kid hauler, and ambitious TV)
2011 Shelby GT500 (only thing it pulls is G's)
2003 Jeep Liberty Limited (DD's)
1995 F-150 short wheel base (Sold)
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Old 01-08-2016, 11:26 AM   #9
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Another way to avoid most problems caused by towing thru cold climates is to simply put the thermostat on 70 and arrive all toasty and warm. There is no issue with using your furnace while towing and the amount of propane used is negligible. I guess some of us are just a little more hesitant to "rough" it than others are.


I have seen folks with custom made snap on skirting weighted down with sand bags. Looked fairly easy to install and remove. However, I find that with full covered underbelly and heat into the underbelly I have never had an issue with things freezing up.
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Old 01-08-2016, 11:44 AM   #10
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I've done the roughing it thing since I was a teenager. Dragging 5 girls into the west Texas summers, nearing 100, tent camping for a week at a time with water only sites at a state park.


We bought the camper to work a little less, and vacation a bit more. Not having plumping puts me back to just have a warmer, hard sided tent that weighs 6000#. We don't have a high end camper, or an artic package, so our belly is fully exposed unfortunately. We didn't have any issues warming things up when we arrived, and as long as the temps were above 0F we did ok. It was that -17F crap that got us..haha.


As for the skirting, I was thinking of going to the print company and picking up a heavy vinyl (6-8mil) mis-print for next to nothing. Sewing in some good magnets and ta da. It would fold and store fairly easily and install as quickly as magnets can stick to the frame. I'm hoping the weight would be enough to hold it in place, and offer some "insulation"
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2015 Jayco 26BH
1996 F350 SRW, 7.3 PSD, Crew Cab, 8' Bed, 3.55 gears (the beater, and TV)
2015 Explorer Sport 3.5L EcoBoost, AWD, and Tow PKG (Kid hauler, and ambitious TV)
2011 Shelby GT500 (only thing it pulls is G's)
2003 Jeep Liberty Limited (DD's)
1995 F-150 short wheel base (Sold)
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