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Old 04-01-2007, 10:34 PM   #1
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1975 Argosy 26
Normandy Park , Washington
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Travel w/ 'fridge on ?

Is it possible/legal and or advisable to travel to and from camping with the propane refrigerator burning?.....seems dangerous but wonder how people use the fridge ?


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Old 04-01-2007, 10:40 PM   #2
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Don't know if it's legal, but I do it all the time. No problems yet.

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Old 04-01-2007, 10:51 PM   #3
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You will get a very divided answer to this question. Many people do and many people don't. I do not.

First of all, I see no reason to do it. If your fridge is cold it will stay cold for a long time. I left Tucson this afternoon and drove to Phoenix. 3 hours in the desert heat and the ice was still frozen solid when I arrived home. For longer trips I put a few frozen blue ice thing in the fridge. The fridge is always very cold when I get to a campsite

Second, if you run with the fridge on in propane mode you are required to shut it down when you refuel. In all the years I have been towing, I have never seen anyone stop and shut down the fridge before they enter a gas station.

The chances of something happening are slim, I perfer not to take that chance.

The choise is yours.


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Old 04-01-2007, 10:51 PM   #4
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I do it all the time. I have heard it is illegal in some states. Just call the Highway Patrol in whatever states you'll be travelling in to clarify.
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Old 04-01-2007, 11:04 PM   #5
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I do, because it is usual for us to spend days in succession on the road without stopping the night for hook-ups. I had a problem with the gas blowing out and the factory installed a wind shield to remedy that. When I asked why it is not a matter of course normally, I was told they do not recommend it. Without a 3 way fridge I do not see anyway around it. As it was with blowing out en route, I had melted ice cream and spoiled food several times as the fridge and contents got much too warm.

For more on this, if you like, do a search and you will find many responses about this too.

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Old 04-02-2007, 12:35 AM   #6
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I definately do ,keeps things cold especially if your trip will be 5 or 6 hours
long .The whole gas station thing has been debated here in previouse threads
and some are afraid of possible trouble ,so they shut it off .Unless your flame
or access door is right close to the pump id not be concerned .you have the
air blowing all around the coach and your outside anyway ,the main question you raised is that you can do it without fear of trouble .Id say unless you have a vintage fridge (gas only) with no saftey if the pilot goes out ,gas
stays on kinda thing ,that would be a concern then .I have a dometic 660
that has never had the pilot extinguish during travel ,level or not ,so Ive
never had any problem.Many others have as well ,no problems .But you do what you feel comfortable with thats the main thing .

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Old 04-02-2007, 03:31 AM   #7
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I don't

I live in Virginia Beach - and to leave town 5 out of 6 ways involve going through a tunnel. To go through any of those your RV has to stop for a propane tank inspection. In Baltimore you can't take a propane tank larger than one of those tiny coleman style lantern tanks through their tunnel at all. Of course that's because they had a massive explosion and fire in theirs back in the 60's which killed quite a few people. If I can get a ticket for having the tanks open, it tells me there's some element of danger.

Propane is heavier than air, so a fire can start down low. I'd NEVER leave my tanks on in a gas station. A cigarette on the ground, a spark from your clothing and whoof! We've all seen people filling their gas tanks while smoking... and nothing bad happens... except once in 1000 times. But when something bad happens it's really really bad.

I only have to carry food for myself, not a whole family, so I rarely have a full freezer. I freeze water in jugs in the freezer and sometimes buy a bag of ice to fill the whole refrigerator up with maximum cold stuff. It has stayed frozen for up to 13 hours in pretty high temps.

If everything in the freezer is frozen solid before you start, you should be OK. Even if you're going without hookups, if you start the gas as soon as you park the camper it should stay cold.

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Old 04-02-2007, 05:13 AM   #8
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i do

i have always traveled with the fridge running on propane.

there is nothing worse than warm beer when you arrive at a campsite!

here are a couple things to keep in mind. i have an electronic ignition fridge, so i have never experienced a flame failure enroute. i assume if it gets blown out by a wind gust it just relights itself.

my trucks have large enough fuel tanks i rarely if ever have to refuel enroute, i usually do it at the end of a day of traveling after i have decoupled from the trailer. i do shut it off temporarily if i need to at a gas stop.

my friends with manual pilot fridges have never experienced it either when all of the factory shrouds are installed correctly. they hate warm beer too!

if you have a fridge that is prone to having the flame blown out durning travel you can install a funace filter to the inside of the lower door to help baffle the wind gusts. i have never had to do this personally, but have read of folks here that have had good results with this method.

finally, if you cannot stand having a lit flame in your trailer when traveling for what ever reason you can go an alternate route. last spring, my cooling unit failed on my dometic. before i could get it replaced i had a trip planned, instead of traveling with no fridge i went out and bought a thermo coupled 12 coleman cooler for 70 bucks. i just tossed it in the living room and plugged it into the 12 volt television outlet. it draws about 3 amps when running and can be reversed to heat the cooler as well. i haven't really used it much since i fixed my fridge but but it could come in handy again for potlucks or extra space if the fridge is full.

for the price i think it could be a reasonable alternative for those who cannot travel with the gas on or need the extra cooling space.

i'll dig up a link for it...

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Old 04-02-2007, 05:17 AM   #9
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here it is, coleman power chill 40 quart cooler/heater.

12 volt DC Refrigerator - Thermoelectric Cooler from StormPrepare

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Old 04-02-2007, 06:35 AM   #10
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I travel with the refrigerator on.

After reviewing the pertinent information on these forums and talking to many RVers, I made the decision to travel with the refrigerator running on PL gas. I inspect the system daily while travelling. Our style of Airstreaming includes all day runs with overnights without hook ups.
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Old 04-02-2007, 06:38 AM   #11
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I use mine in transit all the time. I called Dometic a few years ago and they told me the units are designed to be in operation when in transit.

However, Dometic has a recall issue that may make me rethink this until the fridge is fixed.
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Old 04-02-2007, 07:07 AM   #12
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Flame Out

In 12,000. miles I had 2 flame outs on my Refrig.I always left in propane mode.on the road and on hookups.I get a better constant Temp.on propane than Elect.I will try that baffle fliter in the future ,thanks.
wbcci ,#3510 NEU & 4cu
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Old 04-02-2007, 10:03 AM   #13
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Sloshing helps

I have always traveled with the unit on and always shut it off for refueling a gas burning tow vehicle. My '77 original fridge seems to be working better now that it's sloshed (Burped?) a few thousand miles down the highway. My SOB RV tended to blow out if there was a wind from the left side and 18 wheelers passing me so we kept an eye on that. I never had any luck with the thing staying cold for more that a short time once the fire went out.
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Old 04-02-2007, 10:23 AM   #14
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My fridge has only been off for about three weeks in the last year. Since I switched to diesel I do not worry about turning it off in the "gas" station.
As far as it working running down he road. That has been a problem. The factory fixed it by putting a wind block inside the fridge area near the heating chamber. Before they did this the fridge flamed out constantly. The LP quit working in January. They replaced the ignitor board. All is fine now.

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