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Old 12-28-2015, 11:48 AM   #15
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1991 34' Excella
Princeton , New Jersey
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Your ONLY option for an aux. heater while boondocking is a propane catalytic. Even with low batteries the interlock on the propane tanks should remain open because of the very low current they take.

You want to check your batteries with a hygrometer not just a voltmeter. If any cell is low replace all batteries as the poor one will draw down the others.

2004 Excursion 4x4
1991 34 ft. Excella +220,000 miles, new laminated flooring, new upholstery, new 3200 lbs axles

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Old 12-28-2015, 03:14 PM   #16
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1988 32.5' Airstream 325
Vista , California
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Originally Posted by HowieE View Post
Your ONLY option for an aux. heater while boondocking is a propane catalytic.
What he said.

Chris and I are buying one of these from my daughter.

Dysfunctional Veteran- does not always play well with others. 19 a day is 19 TOO MANY.

(19 recently revised from 20, revised from 23, revised from 22. Even the VA is a work in process)
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Old 12-28-2015, 04:46 PM   #17
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1977 23' Safari
Niagara on the Lake , Ontario
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Pretty sure i saw this heater on sale at bass pro this week, might have to pick one up
1977 Safari Land Yacht
2005 Toyota Tundra SR5
2010 Ford Flex Ecoboost
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Old 12-29-2015, 06:49 AM   #18
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Panama City , Florida
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If not your battery, check this page on troubleshooting the heat system.RV Daily Tips Issue 782. Dec. 29, 2015 | RV Travel
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Old 01-18-2016, 11:33 PM   #19
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1998 36' Land Yacht Widebody
Ft. Lauderdale , Florida
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Found your furnace problem interesting. Something similar happened with my 97 Landyacht on arrival in Montana in October. Only had it since April and it spent entire life in the south on short trips to Florida and along the coast. Because it also has heat strips in the roof units, the furnace was never used. Blower would activate but the furnace would only run about 5 seconds. Kept doing this over and over. Had a wonderful Mobile RV Tech come to the campground and he found the computer board in the furnace was defective. $130 later it was working like a charm with no problems since. Lesson learned was just because it was never used, its still 17yrs old. This lesson also applies to tires that look great but are old.......replace them or else!
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Old 01-30-2016, 12:57 AM   #20
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1983 31' Airstream310
Denver , Colorado
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Update: The batteries were from 2008. Thanks to everyone's post I bought two new and problem solved!
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Old 01-31-2016, 09:40 PM   #21
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you need a catalytic heater as backup
1994 36' Classic Diesel Pusher
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Old 01-31-2016, 10:12 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by PammieSue View Post
What he said.

Chris and I are buying one of these from my daughter.

They have this heater on clearance at Walmart for $30, check your local stores
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Old 02-01-2016, 01:54 PM   #23
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1964 22' Safari
1983 31' Airstream310
Denver , Colorado
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I'll look into that for sure!

Now that I'm back in Colorado, have become more familiar with her, and had her winterized I've had time to think about it. Having additional item(s) on board when I already have redundant systems doesn't seem necessary. Tell me if I'm missing something and these are my thoughts:

1. I bought new batteries so that fixed my problem.
2. My bearings in the motor were squealing, especially on start up. I replaced the motor, and now feel confident in the furnace working good.
3. If I'm plugged in I don't need to be worried about draining the house batteries and a 12 volt ceramic seems to be a good back up even if boondocking. I know it draws on the battery but I can fire up the onboard generator. If its after generator hours and my batteries are low the Mr. buddy catalytic heater would be nice to have.
4. One of my roof units is a Coleman Delta T and it seems to have a heat option. I haven't tried it yet and this would also only work if plugged in or have the generator running.

After typing this out I think I it comes down to if I want to have a true back up the catalytic heater is the way to go. I don't do much cold weather camping but it would of been nice to have a back up on this last trip!

Do most of you just travel with a few small bottles stowed away or do you have a location you can tap into the propane from the inside?
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Old 02-01-2016, 02:36 PM   #24
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1982 31' Airstream 310
champaign , Illinois
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We just got back from a two week stay out in CO when they were having night time temps of 0-5 degrees and highs in the low 20s during the day. We were nice and toasty in our 310 but we wouldnt consider doing it without electric hookups where ever we stayed. The blower motor on the furnace is going to eat up your battery power and its going to be a struggle dealing with that if boondocking. Most folks questioned our sanity to do the trip WITH electric hookups. We use 2 electric ceramic heaters and the furnace to keep the rig warm. The two ceramics do a good job and the furnace didnt run a great deal. Im not saying it cant be done but I know we wouldnt attempt staying in the rig in those temps without electric hookups. For us, I would be too concerned about keeping my batteries up and heat going to have any fun... Plus, if something does go array, and youve got water in your system, then things could get messy real quick. Just my thoughts.....have fun...stay warm.

One more thing, make sure your converter is charging correctly. I know you put new batteries in and the furnace started working well. But, if the new batteries were fully charged when you installed them then you MAY have been running them down and the presumed "fix" is temporary. Just double check your charging system with a meter. Check it at your batteries with the rig plugged into shore power and then check again with just the generator running. Your converter should be putting out around 13.5v I believe. I would check it just to make sure so you dont head out again and find the new batteries arent getting the correct charge.

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Old 02-01-2016, 03:16 PM   #25
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2010 30' Classic
Vintage Kin Owner
South of the river , Minnesota
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Hello coairstream

Glad you figured it out.

Winter camping is a topic in its own right, and there's a subforum on that here where there has been extensive discussion of winter camping and winter boondocking.

With everything working properly it should be possible to run the furnace for a night or two if you start with fully charged batteries.

Adding another battery can add another night or so. Conservation measures can play a role.

As others have pointed out, winter camping will make full use of your electrical system and any problems or inherent shortcomings of that system will become obvious.

There are many strategies for carrying/obtaining sufficient propane for longer stays where electricity is available or a generator is being used

You can charge the batteries quickly from the generator if the converter is a modern temperature compensated 3 stage one.

I do not believe catalytic heaters are safe for reasons I have written about many times in the past. There are better alternatives. Search is your friend or if you want more details PM me
To learn to see below the surface, you must adjust your altitude
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Old 08-26-2016, 08:14 PM   #26
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Menomonee Falls , Wisconsin
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Hey jammer,
This is off the furnace subject. How did you come by the name jammer. I ask because in glacier park, the people who drive the red busses are referred to as jammers. Also truck drivers back in the day were called gear jammers. Now we got automatics. I hate them. I'll take a 15 speed any day manual, of course. I ask because back in 85 I worked in glacier park. Knew a few of the jammers. Met a girl there too. 31 years now together. Thanks dave

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