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Old 12-31-2014, 09:14 AM   #15
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Thanks for all the advice. We are really looking forward to the trip
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Old 12-31-2014, 09:23 AM   #16
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I just called an Airstream service center and they said that the battery system is all connected, which makes no sense whatsoever.
They ARE connected, but through a Battery Isolation Module (BIM). That allows any source of power (generator, shore power, engine alternator) to charge ALL of the batteries, while at the same time isolating the batteries when there is no source of power, in order to prevent a deep drain on one system from affecting the other.

New models have a "boost" switch in the dashboard, allowing you to forcibly connect the house and cranking systems in spite of what the BIM is trying to do, so that you can jump-start the engine from the house system if the house batteries have power but the starting battery doesn't. It's not good for your house batteries to use them as cranking batteries, but it beats being stranded.
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Old 12-31-2014, 09:34 AM   #17
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We can run either battery down without affecting the other.....ask me how I know this.

Both charge when driving.

Whatever AS service center you spoke with may have given mistaken or partial information, Mjgman.

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Old 12-31-2014, 04:29 PM   #18
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The batteries are charging properly.. It's just the design of the system, if you run the batts down the boost enables you to get the van started.. I still bring a small jump box with me.. They are super handy to have...
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Old 12-31-2014, 04:44 PM   #19
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But the bottom line is that the coach battery shouldn't run the chassis battery(s) down if the BIM is functioning properly.
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Old 12-31-2014, 05:25 PM   #20
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I would ask Colonial RV to winterize your fresh water system. Drain all lines and water tank. Drain fresh water tank. Have them flush great and black tanks with a gallon or so of the RV antifreeze and have them flush the macerator line and pump with the RV antifreeze. Then use it and maybe stay in a motel the 1st night as suggested. Once you are far enough south, stop and add fresh water to the water tank keeping in mind the water heater alone is 6 gallons. Turn on the water pump and purge the water lines and ENJOY your new motorhome.

Yes stop at Walmart and pick up maybe 2-3 gallons drinking water. We did the same thing last March. Came from PA to FLA and once we got to GA we added water to the fresh water tank and then had a normal operating m-home. Along the way we just drank from the water bottles and used some water to flush toilet and freshen our face/brush teeth/etc.

As to a spare starting battery, your engine battery is isolated from the RV batteries and should have no reason to go dead overnight while "dry camping."

But ask away. There are lots of knowledgable answers available here on AIR FORUMS.
Two big issues with any RV is managing the battery charge and how to handle the winters.
If you're expecting to store your Interstate in sub-zero temperatures when you return to Texas (i.e. not indoors) then it will need to be winterized after you get there. In that case I would agree with Bikerbill and let Colonial get it ready for the winter for you, and just drive it down there, either using motels on the way, or sleep in it at truck stops using just the propane for heating. Ask Colonial for some RV antifreeze to flush down the toilet, etc.
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Old 01-05-2015, 11:07 PM   #21
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If you run the tank heaters while you are driving the alternator will keep the batteries up no problem. Turn them off when you stop and you should be able to get through the nights without them freezing up (unless it's really cold). It takes a long time for a big tank of water to freeze. You could dump some antifreeze in the grey tank (just pour it down the sink). The black tank will be fine inside with you at a comfortable temp. In my experience with a full load (rooftop a/c on high) the generator will blow through the propane tank in about 36 hours of run time. But you should only need to run the genny if your using the microwave or coffee pot so that should not be a factor. Even if you run it to keep the tank heaters on at night they won't put nearly the load on the system that the a/c does (perhaps 6 amps vs 15 for the a/c). The furnace and hot water heater (running only on propane) use so little fuel that I can't even begin to tell you how long it will last. I would guess that you would get at least a week out of your propane supply just to run the furnace and water heater. One of the truck stop chains (Flyin J or Pilot?) has propane at many of their stores (though not all). Your can use the GPS to search for them by name along your route and it will also provide their phone numbers so you can call ahead and verify availability. Also most U-haul locations have propane and those are also easily searchable on the GPS. Note that for most of us, our propane level gauge is notoriously pessimistic. Run it down to where you feel comfortable the first time then note how much (or how little) propane it takes to fill it up. For our 15 gallon LPG tanks, you can only fill to 80% so when it's truly empty it should take about 12 gallons to fill it up. IIRC when my gauge first hits empty it only takes about 8 gals to fill it up. That was after running the generator for about 24 hours. In a later trial I got to the about the 36 hour mark before the generator actually sputtered to a stop (well after the gauge told me it was empty). Your mileage may vary. Good luck and safe travels!
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Old 01-06-2015, 01:12 AM   #22
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Winterizing your AS (water drained, pipes blown out, antifreeze added) can make it inconvenient to travel in, but a lot less inconvenient than bursting a water pipe. With an electrical hookup, you can save your propane by running a small space-heater inside and piling on the covers. Take a lot of water bottles for your water uses, such as a manual toilet flush, and put an anti-freezer chaser (like windshield washer fluid) down the toilet or sink after your waste-water.
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Old 01-06-2015, 08:43 AM   #23
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With proper winterization you're good to some pretty low temps.

If you feel comfortable operating the generator and furnace, the coach can be made quite cozy in the cold.

Camped in my winterized Interstate the weekend before Thanksgiving in a race track paddock (lime rock park in CT). I even ran out of propane (finally) and discovered my propane level sensors are very inaccurate (even when empty it reads full, LOL). Now I know that I can get about 28hours of mixed propane use from that tank.

Oh, yeah, during one of my two nights at the race track, I ran out of propane about 2 hours before I went to bed (was 22 outside) and when I woke up in the morning the inside of the coach was 17 degrees! Glad I brought some heavy wool blankets. With no propane to run the genset and the furnace I had to resort to using the cab heater to warm the inside.

A winterized bathroom will call for some strategic planning for when nature calls.
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Old 01-06-2015, 10:11 AM   #24
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Oh, yeah, during one of my two nights at the race track, I ran out of propane about 2 hours before I went to bed (was 22 outside) and when I woke up in the morning the inside of the coach was 17 degrees! Glad I brought some heavy wool blankets. With no propane to run the genset and the furnace I had to resort to using the cab heater to warm the inside.
So a really comprehensive backup kit should also include a few of those mini propane cylinders, a propane stove, and a propane catalytic heater.
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Old 01-07-2015, 03:26 AM   #25
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Now I know that I can get about 28hours of mixed propane use from that tank.
Wow, I'm shocked by how short that is. I've let my AI sit in the driveway non-winterized for weeks with the furnace on 50 and had insignificant use of propane. Also dry camped in it three nights in temps in the 20's (cabin temp at 65) also without making a dent in the propane level. I'm left wondering why your use was so different? Were you running the generator much? In my experience the generator sucks the fuel down at many times the rate of the furnace and hot water tank. Curious ....
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Old 01-07-2015, 10:15 AM   #26
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Wow, I'm shocked by how short that is. I've let my AI sit in the driveway non-winterized for weeks with the furnace on 50 and had insignificant use of propane. Also dry camped in it three nights in temps in the 20's (cabin temp at 65) also without making a dent in the propane level. I'm left wondering why your use was so different? Were you running the generator much? In my experience the generator sucks the fuel down at many times the rate of the furnace and hot water tank. Curious ....
How do you keep your macerator pump from freezing?
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Old 01-07-2015, 10:32 AM   #27
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We've taken a couple of different paths.

First time out, while "winterized", we took bottled water, plastic toilet liners,kitty litter. Used the KOA bathrooms during the day, and the liner with a couple handfuls of kitty-litter for those middle of the night trips. (Not ideal, but sure beat opening the door in the icy cold.)
Second time out, we filled everything below the floor wth antifreeze. Then used the water system as usual...with tank heaters on!!! Of course this uses a lot of antifreeze (essentially winterizing everytime you would dump). Worked, but not sure how practical it is.
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Old 01-07-2015, 12:45 PM   #28
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Wow, I'm shocked by how short that is. I've let my AI sit in the driveway non-winterized for weeks with the furnace on 50 and had insignificant use of propane. Also dry camped in it three nights in temps in the 20's (cabin temp at 65) also without making a dent in the propane level. I'm left wondering why your use was so different? Were you running the generator much? In my experience the generator sucks the fuel down at many times the rate of the furnace and hot water tank. Curious ....

28 hours of generator use. The last 10 hours were generator and furnace simultaneously. The 28 hours of propane lasted 13 months though.

If I were to add up all the furnace use while plugged in, it wouldn't be more than 5 - 7 hours.

Used the water heater maybe once.

Figure 35 hours out the tank.
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