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Old 10-24-2011, 06:56 AM   #15
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We just switched to our second propane cylinder. Is that about typical for an LP cylinder? All in all we have two nights back in May, low lp use, then five days and nights and 1400 miles fridge using LP, with three of the nights on the furnace with temps around 28-32 deg. The fridge was on LP last night as we were unplugged.

not sure what to expect out of the second cylinder.
Compared to the furnace, the fridge, HW heater & stove use a relatively insignificant amount of LP. A tank will indeed last much of a season if you're not using the furnace. I've had a tank run out in as little as 5 nights of heating. We were running maybe an hour in the evening and in the morning + the overnight.

But I don't like the furnace noise overnight and turn the thermostat down until it's not on a lot -- like, say... 50-55° or so. Target sells some nice extra-heavy fleece blankets. That and a small down comforter go a long way toward comfort. First one up in the morning ticks up the thermostat.

Unlike a house set at 70°, I find our Safari gets too warm if we even approach a 65° setting when we're up and about. There are more cold currents with the bare aluminum interior models; so we keep a throw handy for reading. Your results may vary is the only true fact here.
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Old 10-24-2011, 07:27 AM   #16
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I find keeping the tank valve "Closed" works for me. Use to keep both open and it would switch over automatically .Cool idea but "Both Tanks " go empty. Usually at the Least convient time.
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Old 10-24-2011, 08:25 AM   #17
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Hi, propane usage is too variable. I have had one tank last more than one year and I have used up two tanks in about eight days; Weather conditions were the deciding factor.

I have an infra-red thermometer, but very seldom use it. My hubs are covered so no reading there. [center caps]

I torque all of my lug nuts and set tire pressures just before each trip and never check them again until I'm ready for the next trip. I visually check my set-up at all rest stops, all camp grounds, and all gas stops. I have never had a flat, but I have noticed sidewall bubbles and the start of tread separation and immediately changed those tires. My longest trip so far was to Alaska; It was more than 10,000 miles and for 50 days.
Bob's TPMS works for me also. Cept' I do a cold pressure check whenever possible.
Iv'e only had one on the road tire failure years ago, my own fault....lesson learned, trailer tires require much more attention than most drivers are used too.

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Old 10-24-2011, 08:53 AM   #18
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Thanks for the replies. I'll look into the monitoring systems for the tires. This is an RV rich environment up here, with several big stores over on I-25 south of FTC.

What's the best monitoring system for the propane tanks? Pressure guage? Those stick-on strips?

I suspect we didn't have a full tank to start with from the dealer. We haven't been taking daily showers, but have been leaving the water heater on while parked. I was wondering if anyone had worked out whether it is better to turn it off after use, and then warm it up from ambient all the way to 140 degrees at the next use, or to leave it on and let it run short bursts to maintain 140 degrees. I guess that would depend on how often one needs hot water. I was also considering the fact that the tank full of hot water is inside the trailer, and is in fact somewhat of a thermal bank. I know it's insulated, but it's still radiating warmth into the trailer.

We are digging this SO much we've decided to hang around another day or so here before winterizing and putting her away for the Rocky mountain winter. Having a problem finding inside storage, so we are actually considering buying a fabric cover and storing her outside. Not real happy about that option, but it's a lot cheaper.
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Old 10-24-2011, 09:02 AM   #19
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Pressure gauges only show you when the tank is almost empty and the pressure starts to drop. The strips on the tank only work by pouring hot water on the tank and then looking at the strip. We keep an eye on the regulator and fill the empty tank. We can go several weeks on the road on one tank (30#) if we do not use the furnace.

We leave the water heater on (gas only) when we are setup. The only time it runs is when we use hot water for showers or dishes.
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Old 10-24-2011, 09:08 AM   #20
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Like others, I always leave a full tank unopened in reserve. The stick-on strips are worthless. It doesn't warm up much inside if the fridge runs out of gas on a day's drive if I'm not opening the fridge until later -- when hopefully I look and see the 'check' light.

We turn off our HW heater when we go to bed and turn it off again when done with breakfast (of course, never on when we travel). Your AM/PM usage can dictate when you turn yours on. I find that it stays warm enough that it comes back up to temp in a small fraction of the time it takes when cold. I think overlander63 has commented during times of fulltiming, staying in one spot, that he's had his on continuously for as much as a year -- and he lives in the lower lower 48. [Terry, sorry if I'm off by as much as 11.9 months. My forgetter is getting better all the time! ]
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Old 10-24-2011, 09:19 AM   #21
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Gringo,

To answer your question...you probably won't know you've got a flat on a tandem a/s trailer if you've got a sufficiently capable TV. I had a blowout a couple of years ago that was preceded by a dull pop that we both heard but dismissed because nothing seemed amiss towing. It wasn't until we went under an overpass and heard a faint slapping of the remaining carcass...some 25 or so miles after hearing the pop. Fortunately, there was minimal damage (broke the wire for the brake) but now I have a TPMS.

Marc
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Old 10-24-2011, 10:53 AM   #22
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To answer your question...you probably won't know you've got a flat on a tandem a/s trailer if you've got a sufficiently capable TV. I had a blowout a couple of years ago that was preceded by a dull pop that we both heard but dismissed because nothing seemed amiss towing. It wasn't until we went under an overpass and heard a faint slapping of the remaining carcass...some 25 or so miles after hearing the pop. Fortunately, there was minimal damage (broke the wire for the brake) but now I have a TPMS.
Yep. We heard the pop, and I looked in the mirror and was able to see the tire. Otherwise, though, I would have had no idea it was ours.

Do research on the TPMS options before buying one. A fellow Airstreamer told me this weekend he'd spent big bucks on a set for his truck and triple axle trailer, and found that the false alarms were too common, meaning it'd be easy to start ignoring it, defeating the purpose. Then they actually DID get a flat and it didn't warn him. (He didn't remember what brand it was.) That was the final straw for them...
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Old 10-24-2011, 10:55 AM   #23
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re: "I've discovered this way that my right rear truck tire always runs about ten degrees hotter than the others ... no good reason that I have found." -- check the weight on the tire. Keep the pressure at max sidewall rating. Also keep an eye on the brakes as weight on the tire can influence braking.

Propane has 93,000 BTU per gallon. A typical tank has 5 to 7 gallons. The furnace burns about 30,000 per hour and the water heater maybe 15,000 per hour. The refrigerator is a few hundreds. The stove around 5,000 to 10,000 per hour.

The automatic switchover regulator should be checked regularly, along with propane connections and a sniff test (if you see flies or spiders near your propane connections, it usually means a leak as their nose is better than yours). It is usually most convenient to keep both tanks open and let it do it's thing - but you shouldn't ignore anything on your rig as far as routine inspection and maintenance.

Tire and hub temperature monitoring is easy to do and it is a good idea to do a walkaround and check these and other things at every stop to look for potential problems.

TPMS type systems are probably the best way to get immediate notice of rapid tire deflation, though.
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Old 10-24-2011, 11:12 AM   #24
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Having a problem finding inside storage, so we are actually considering buying a fabric cover and storing her outside. Not real happy about that option, but it's a lot cheaper.
I'm pretty certain you will be even less happy about what a fabric cover will do to the clearcoat finsih in your Airstream after a season or two. You'd be better off to store it outside without a cover touching the skin than with one.

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Old 10-24-2011, 11:17 AM   #25
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I'm pretty certain you will be even less happy about what a fabric cover will do to the clearcoat finsih in your Airstream after a season or two. You'd be better off to store it outside without a cover touching the skin than with one.

Shari
I'll agree with that.
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Old 10-24-2011, 11:59 AM   #26
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I would think that on a dual axle trailer it is quite possible to have a flat and not know it until the tire starts to fly apart and then you will most likely feel vibration through into the tow vehicle - and quite possibly have costly trailer damage.

I use a TPMS system - it isn't a 100% guarantee, I suppose you could still have an instantaneous blow out. Under that condition, the TPMS would of course warn you, but by the time you got the trailer stopped damage could already have occurred.

What it will do is warn you of a slow leak and allow you to address the problem before the tire heats so much that it starts to come apart.

I do like to have the TPMS for increased peace of mind. But I also do a walk around at each and every stop and examine the tires for any visible problems and either feel the hubs or dig out my IR thermometer.

I also change tires every five years, and recently moved to a higher range tire because the weight of my trailer was such that as pretty much at the top end of the range tire that was fitted - I felt that moving to a higher range might give a little extra margin of safety. I'm not really sure of that though!

Finally, I have reduced the speed that I travel at - Before I realized that trailer tires are supposedly only rated for 65mph, I regularly ran at 75mph or more - now I rarely exceed 65.

I seem to be getting more safety conscious in my old age! Maybe I'm just not in a hurry any more!

Brian






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Old 10-24-2011, 03:10 PM   #27
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Real Life Story. Like many others we run a TPMS with varying results. Most annoying are the "lost sensor" alarms (always false so far). That said, we got a 57 lbs. low pressure alarm in Russellville, Arkansas, about .8 mile from camp. We rolled in and stopped to take a look. One of the four was slowly loosing air, and was somewhat worn looking. Popped it off the next morning and located the local Goodyear dealer. Had it replaced before 9 AM. Saved our bacon.
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Old 10-24-2011, 03:19 PM   #28
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Real Life Story. Like many others we run a TPMS with varying results. Most annoying are the "lost sensor" alarms (always false so far). That said, we got a 57 lbs. low pressure alarm in Russellville, Arkansas, about .8 mile from camp. We rolled in and stopped to take a look. One of the four was slowly loosing air, and was somewhat worn looking. Popped it off the next morning and located the local Goodyear dealer. Had it replaced before 9 AM. Saved our bacon.
Forget the T...

that's the alarm that would save your bacon more than once.

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