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Old 07-28-2017, 09:34 PM   #57
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We just today went to the dealer here in Missoula to look at a BC in person for the first time. We were unaware of some of the issues at that time, so didn't know enough to discuss them with the Airstream guy who was showing us the trailer. I think I do understand the problem with getting the heat out and bringing in cool air to ventilate the rear of the fridge.

Is there enough room inside the Airstream wall for a vent channel ? I'm thinking about the double aluminum wall space probably filled with insulation at the moment. And Possibly pulling in fresh air through a slot in the floor?
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Old 07-28-2017, 09:57 PM   #58
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Originally Posted by Gringo View Post
We just today went to the dealer here in Missoula to look at a BC in person for the first time. We were unaware of some of the issues at that time, so didn't know enough to discuss them with the Airstream guy who was showing us the trailer. I think I do understand the problem with getting the heat out and bringing in cool air to ventilate the rear of the fridge.

Is there enough room inside the Airstream wall for a vent channel ? I'm thinking about the double aluminum wall space probably filled with insulation at the moment. And Possibly pulling in fresh air through a slot in the floor?


That could potentially work if you can get the air to then flow over the coils and out the vent.....
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Old 07-29-2017, 12:49 AM   #59
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We showed up at Jackson Center this morning. In addition to the fridge issue we took the opportunity to get a few other small issues addressed.

My service tech was Joel. If you should show up for service at Airstream and you draw Joel, you should have a good day. He is everything that today's service folks have failed to aspire to. Thoughtful, attentive and skilled are three important attributes and he has them all.

The fix considered that the fridge creates heat that fills the cavity between the unit and the front wall. Much at that heat fails to exhaust itself through the forward vent because it has the upward path which heats up the counter top.

As I understand the issue, AS engineers got together with Dometic engineers and decided to limit the volume of space available for the heat to fill. Instead of adding fans (Joel pulled the noisy fans that were initially added) Joel placed deflectors between the fridge and the forward vents. They also insulated a top deflector that is supposed to eliminate the hot countertop.

In effect, the design should fill the considerably smaller space which has been created by the deflectors. In addition, itappears that the deigners sought to take advantage of the expansion of the heated air to drive movement from the fridge through the deflectors andout the vent.

By the time we were walked through the fix by Joel, the fridge had cooled fromthe low 50s to 43. Two hours later it was at 40 and, after 3 hours on the road, it was 37.

Joel says that ours ws the first to get the redsign in the service department. However, all the new BCs are seeing the mod.

Tomorrow, we will get more heat and I will continue to monitor temps. So far so good, and no fan noise.
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Old 07-29-2017, 02:30 AM   #60
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That sounds like good news for all of you.
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Old 07-29-2017, 03:48 AM   #61
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Thanks Bborzell for the update. What were the ambient outside air temps during that overnight reading, and while on the road?

A solution which takes the fans out, and relies on thermal convection to get the hot exhaust air out, will remain a cruel joke -- in my opinion -- with the propane cover continuing to provide a nearby and substantial physical obstruction to air flow.

Moreover, this "solution" does nothing to cover uncle bob's questions about air pressures/vacuums on the front of the Basecamp while towing.

What does Jackson Center say about the cooling-while-towing air pressure factors? Please get in the face of everyone in the chain-of-command there, and ask the difficult questions! If you have left already, please continue to hound them if/when your fridge fails to perform in challenging weather, towing and sun conditions, as I am sad to suggest will probably happen.

As mentioned many times, we were thinking of downsizing to the BC, as will many Airstream baby-boomers IMO, but with the current FUBAR fiasco, that will never happen.

Airstream and Thor need to wake up here, and cop on to the full extent of this problem. [IMO]




Thanks again for the detailed post.

Peter
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Old 07-29-2017, 05:02 AM   #62
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Wondering if you have been monitoring this fridge thread, and might have some feedback from the company on the cooling-while-towing issues raised by uncle bob's Post #40 [and subsequent posts], which is quoted below?

Thanks,

Peter


Quote:
Originally Posted by AirstreamInc View Post
. . .
Here's more info on the service bulletin regarding the refrigerator vent that we posted earlier in the week on the forums. Let us know if you have any questions!
<snip>
Airstream apologizes for any inconvenience. Customers requiring additional information may contact Airstream Customer Service and Technical Support at 1 (877) 596-6111, option 2.


[click on arrow in quote to go to uncle bob's Post #40]
Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle_bob View Post
Hi

Here's yet another problem / question to toss into the pile:

When moving, air flows over the TV. It then hits the front of the Basecamp. My guess is that it flows *down* over the front of the trailer in the area between the propane tank cover and the trailer. It then exits under the trailer. (= high pressure just above the propane tank cover). A "tall" TV would create a different pattern than something like a sedan hatchback. Yes, with a big automotive wind tunnel or a copy of FloEFD you could dig further into this.

If the air *is* doing this, pulling the trailer is actually *worse* than having it sit stationary in the driveway. Even with fans, you have a limited back pressure range. At some point, the air simply stops moving. It's not just an issue if you are relying on convection.

Bob
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Old 07-29-2017, 07:01 AM   #63
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Hi

The gotcha with my "nutty theory" is that it also is TV dependent. Pull the trailer behind a pickup with a tall shell on it and you get one situation. Put it behind a Mini Cooper and you have very different flow. In between those two are a whole variety of cases. Convection is *not* very powerful in terms of moving air in a situation like this. Small changes can be important.

Bob

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Old 07-29-2017, 08:37 AM   #64
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Exactly.

Even when parked in a campsite, a decent wind blowing on the front of the Basecamp will easily reverse the convection, and push the exhaust air back into the fridge's mechanical space!

Even a child could foresee this . . .

What will the next few Band-aids be, now that the fans are being yanked out, before someone wakes up and directs a strong wind at a new BC, and monitors the fridge's interior temp on LP when there is a positive pressure on the front, which by the way, will create a strong vacuum on the downwind end of the trailer. With that squared-off stern, the vacuum will be significant for sure.

Has Airsteam done any wind tunnel testing during the design of the new Basecamp? With very simple calibration, atmospheric pressures at several locations would be very easy to measure.

Have you noticed the way that commercial trucking companies have been adding wind-control panels in all kinds of locations to make the air flow for a semi-trailer rig more "laminar" and thus more fuel-efficient? [between the tractor and trailer, under the trailer near the rear wheels, on top of the tractor to push the air up as high as the trailer, etc. etc.] This ain't rocket science!

Come on JC, you can do it! The only way natural convection works for hot fridge exhaust gases -- is to vent them up a flue, through the roof, like you did all along in the 1950's, 1960's, 1970's, 1980's and so forth.

It wasn't broken so why "fix" it with myopic re-designs?

Have a good weekend.

Peter




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Old 07-29-2017, 09:03 AM   #65
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Simple Survey on Fridge Performance While on Propane

Wow. That's cool bborzell. Hope this fish is permanent and all you BC folks can put this behind and camp on.

. Any chance you have pictures to post of the fix?
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Old 07-29-2017, 09:25 AM   #66
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I did a two-day refrigerator test on propane only. Our BC is sitting in the RV storage lot in full sun in PC, UT. I stopped by on way home from work three days ago and turned on power, propane and fridge. Put a glass thermometer on bottom shelf and digital thermometer on middle shelf nothing else on in the BC. Came back next morning at 8a - below are the data

Outside temp Refrigerator temp
Day 2
8a 65 40
6p 85 66

Day 3
8a 67 42
6p 84 55

Glass thermometer temps was nearly identical to digital thermometer temps and they were on different shelves so temps are accurate. The freezer freezes and is always frozen no matter what outside temp is even when inside fridge temp was 66deg.

Conclusion:
1) the refrigerator does not maintain sufficient cold temp to safely store food when running on propane when ambient temp is above mid 70s degrees.

2) the freezer clearly is capable of keeping temp below 32deg even in hot temps above mid 80s.

I don't have electrical to plug into at my RV storage to do same test on shore power.

At this point, I'm thinking the small metal cooling fins in the refrigerator are just not good enough to maintain safe food storage temps in anything above 70s deg ambient temp. The freezer freezes and stays frozen so the fridge works - just bad design??? At this point I'm thinking of taking the freezer door off and maybe it will keep whole rest of the refrigerator cold enough. I don't really need to freeze things anyway

Follow-up after calls to AS warranty in Jackson and AS UT dealer - they both acknowledge many reports of poor fridge performance. They have a fix - two additional fans and insulation around the main box. Scheduled to bring it in to UT dealer in couple of weeks n told them I need back within 2 days or taking back anyway. No 6 weeks sitting around waiting for parts this time!
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Old 07-29-2017, 09:32 AM   #67
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Originally Posted by FricknFrack View Post
. . .
. . . They have a fix - two additional fans and insulation around the main box.
. . .
Stop the presses! According to Bborzell in Post #59-- direct from Airstream's base in Jackson Center -- the fans are out and thermal convection alone is going to fix things up just dandy . . .



Thanks for your detailed report, and good luck!

Peter

PS -- It will be interesting to see how long it takes for "no more fans" to filter out to the dealers and sales people. Speechless here . . .
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Old 07-29-2017, 09:36 AM   #68
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Wow. That's cool bborzell. Hope this fish is permanent
. . .
Hey I know you have trout on the mind, but let's not add any permanent fish to this beleaguered fridge situation!

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Old 07-29-2017, 10:33 AM   #69
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Hey I know you have trout on the mind, but let's not add any permanent fish to this beleaguered fridge situation!



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Old 07-29-2017, 10:41 AM   #70
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.....

Has Airsteam done any wind tunnel testing during the design of the new Basecamp? With very simple calibration, atmospheric pressures at several locations would be very easy to measure.
......

Hi

"Automotive" wind tunnel testing is not easy. You need a facility that gives you a moving surface under the vehicle as well as the "wind". Without the moving surface, you don't get the real picture. Net result - it's easier to instrument up something like a Basecamp and tow it around to check something like this.

Bob
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