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Driving with fridge running on propane
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pjackman
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2005 7:41 pm    Post subject: Driving with fridge running on propane Reply with quote

The owner's manual says you shouldn't drive your Westy with the fridge running on propane.

I forget to switch back to battery periodically. And I've read that it can take the battery up to 20 minutes before it offers any cooling power.

So what do you do when you've been parked for awhile burning propane and you just want to spin by the campground store for supplies?

What is the potential/actual harm of driving with the fridge propane on?
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Big B
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2005 12:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I drive my motorhome for days with the propane on in the reefer unit, and my wife makes coffee on the stove while we drive.
But,i've never done that in my Westy, soooo, it would be hard to comment. There shouldn't be any difference, unless there is some spaciific reason.
Any body got input on this????
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GRUvan
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2005 1:46 am    Post subject: Driving with Fridge Propane On Reply with quote

I've taken my Westy on a few short trips (less than 30 miles) with the fridge running and did not encounter any problems. If I am not mistaken, there is an automatic shutoff device to cut the gas supply in the event the pilot light goes out. That being said, I would not try to do it on a long trip.
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Wellington
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2005 4:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I didn't know you are suppose to turn off the propane when driving. My friends Westy, the pilot light goes out when he goes above 50KPH. I've driven mine at 120KPH for two hours and it never went out. Another discovery I made was to drive on propane, park not turn off the propane, but flip the switch to 110v and plug in. Well it took a while for me to realize I was using propane and electricity, as the cooling fan on the back of the fridge wopuld not turn off. The fridge wass continually trying to cool its self. But is was sure cold on the inside. lol. BTW 63MPH is 100KPH. I'm in Canada.
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lordsniff
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2005 4:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The reason is in case of an accident . With an open gas tank and a naked flame , the end result is obvious .
Remember the coach with open oxygen tanks on the news recently .
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psych-illogical
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2005 9:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, the accident scenario is the obvious reason. I've also heard of people doing this and having the pilot light blow out. They get to their destination, find that the fridge hasn't been on for hours and everything in there is warm. I think the issue with running on 12V is the cool down time. If the unit is already cold from running on propane, switching to 12V should maintain the temp. The procedure I've read for getting ready for a trip is to plug into 110V to cool the thing down and then load it with cold stuff from the house fridge. When your ready to hit the road, turn it to 12V and drive. I'd think the transition to 12V would be the same going from propane.
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lordsniff
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2005 10:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

psych-illogical wrote:
Yeah, the accident scenario is the obvious reason. I've also heard of people doing this and having the pilot light blow out. They get to their destination, find that the fridge hasn't been on for hours and everything in there is warm. I think the issue with running on 12V is the cool down time. If the unit is already cold from running on propane, switching to 12V should maintain the temp. The procedure I've read for getting ready for a trip is to plug into 110V to cool the thing down and then load it with cold stuff from the house fridge. When your ready to hit the road, turn it to 12V and drive. I'd think the transition to 12V would be the same going from propane.



You got it . Especially if you have a deep cycle second battery . The charging system should keep the battery fed and the fridge running . That will leave the starter battery up to spec and ready to go .
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ianstone
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2005 4:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

lordsniff wrote:
psych-illogical wrote:
Yeah, the accident scenario is the obvious reason. I've also heard of people doing this and having the pilot light blow out. They get to their destination, find that the fridge hasn't been on for hours and everything in there is warm. I think the issue with running on 12V is the cool down time. If the unit is already cold from running on propane, switching to 12V should maintain the temp. The procedure I've read for getting ready for a trip is to plug into 110V to cool the thing down and then load it with cold stuff from the house fridge. When your ready to hit the road, turn it to 12V and drive. I'd think the transition to 12V would be the same going from propane.



You got it . Especially if you have a deep cycle second battery . The charging system should keep the battery fed and the fridge running . That will leave the starter battery up to spec and ready to go .


i'd like to put in a 2nd batt...

any suggestions for this regarding battery type, etc?
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Thrak
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2005 4:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If I'm on a long trip I use DC. However, if I'm just driving an hour or three I stay on the gas. Here's the way I look at the safety issue. If you're in a crash and rupture the propane line it seems to me that dangerous pilot light (enclosed in the burner box) would just go out before any gas could get to it in order to blow up real good. With that same logic we shouldn't be driving with all that very explosive gasoline on board. After all there is pretty much a continuous flame in all four of those cylinders.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2005 6:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i've never taken my fridge off of propane. i've had it running constantly on a 4 week summer vacation and no problems. the propane lasts forever and i never saw any reason to switch to 110 or 12.
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Wellington
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2005 4:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

skinnyboy, or anyone else, how long will the fridge run on a full cylinder of propane. Anyone know?
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lordsniff
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2005 5:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ianstone wrote:
lordsniff wrote:
psych-illogical wrote:
Yeah, the accident scenario is the obvious reason. I've also heard of people doing this and having the pilot light blow out. They get to their destination, find that the fridge hasn't been on for hours and everything in there is warm. I think the issue with running on 12V is the cool down time. If the unit is already cold from running on propane, switching to 12V should maintain the temp. The procedure I've read for getting ready for a trip is to plug into 110V to cool the thing down and then load it with cold stuff from the house fridge. When your ready to hit the road, turn it to 12V and drive. I'd think the transition to 12V would be the same going from propane.



You got it . Especially if you have a deep cycle second battery . The charging system should keep the battery fed and the fridge running . That will leave the starter battery up to spec and ready to go .


i'd like to put in a 2nd batt...

any suggestions for this regarding battery type, etc?




Have a look at the thread titled Battery overheating . It is a recent one so should still be fairly close by .
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Thrak
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2005 5:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This math is for the fridge only. If you use the stove then obviously you will run out of propane sooner.

Refrigerator input BTU= 650/hr
BTU/gallon of propane =91600
3 gallon propane tank

So if you could fill your tank completely full which you can't, the fridge would run for 91600x3/650/24=17.6 days.
Shortly after I bought my van I installed a new tank. The new tanks have a device to prevent overfilling (20% expansion space). My new tank held almost 2.5 gallons. So if you do the math you will find that the fridge will run for about two weeks of continuous use. I hope this helps. But does anyone know this? If a train leaves the station at ......
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Thrak
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2005 6:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One other thing. I am one of those people who actually read the manuals from cover to cover. So pjackman, where does the manual say not to drive while running the fridge on propane? The camper supplement demands that we not use the stove while driving but mentions nothing about the fridge.
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mightyart
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2005 6:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The refrigerator is supposed to be able to run on propane when driving the van.
http://www.vanagon.com/info/articles/Refrigerator/Reefer_Madness.htm#driving
When driving, the alternator is powering all your accessories not the battery. The second battery is good when the engine is not running.
but like heating anything(believe it or not the reefer cools by heating) on 12 volt it is very inefficiant, so it sucks a lot of juice quickly. Heating with propane is more efficient so driving with the propane makes sense.
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Tomswesty
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2005 3:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I finally gave up on my frig and got a Norcold 12v and run it off the aux battery. Cools down and stays at 35F when it's 95 out. I got tired of trying to get the old one to stay cold enough without spoiling everything. Now I turn it on and it's cold, especially the beer........... It will run about 3 days without re charging the aux battery so I am happy.
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ianstone
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2005 4:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tomswesty wrote:
I finally gave up on my frig and got a Norcold 12v and run it off the aux battery. Cools down and stays at 35F when it's 95 out. I got tired of trying to get the old one to stay cold enough without spoiling everything. Now I turn it on and it's cold, especially the beer........... It will run about 3 days without re charging the aux battery so I am happy.


if you don't mind my asking, what did that run you?
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bigdood
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2005 5:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the biggest issue i see is remembering to turn it off at gas stations - don't think you'd want the pilot light running
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2005 12:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

my fridge ran for about 2 weeks on one tank so the math seems correct- you get an A+ thrak! this was middle of the summer (so it was cooling almost all day) and very little stove use. i never shut it down while filling up at the gas station. the pilot is so small and buried in the back of the fridge that i don't believe enough gasoline vapor could ever get back there to cause a problem. but when we all sit in the back of the van and huff gas, i turn the pilot off....kidding.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2005 5:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I got a Norcold DC0040 1.7 cuft 12v off Ebay for $340 used. It was local so I picked it up and saved the hassel of shipping. It fits the opening but is a little shorter so there is about 2 or 3 inches on the bottom not covered (yet). The thermo switch works great and only runs when it needs to with a low hum noise that isn't too bad at night.
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