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Old 10-23-2011, 09:03 PM   #1
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How do you know you've got a flat?

We are now near the end of our first "real" trip in the new 27FB. Dallas to Wichita Falls to Palo Duro to Taos to Colorado Springs to Ft. Collins.
It's been 'interesting' and a real education in a number of ways. Have a couple questions I hope you experienced main streamers can help me with.


We stayed with friends in Colorado Springs last night and the AS ( now named "Silver Sage") was unplugged and on LP all night. It ran out.

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.

And as we came down from Veta Pass, I had to wonder:
How do you know if you have a flat on the trailer while driving? Can you feel it in the tow vehicle handling?


A trucker came over to me at a gas pump near Pueblo and asked about the laser thermometer I was using to quickly check the temps of the tires and bearings. He thought it was a great idea and had never seen it before. An old trucker, been around. Do you guys use them?

Fort Collins KOA is pretty neat, by the way. And Taos....
well.
I want to go back to the WalMart and film a documentary.
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Old 10-23-2011, 09:14 PM   #2
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I do use an infra red thermometer, not laser.
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Old 10-23-2011, 09:34 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gringo View Post
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.

And as we came down from Veta Pass, I had to wonder:
How do you know if you have a flat on the trailer while driving? Can you feel it in the tow vehicle handling?

The heater and the water heater are the big users of propane, however that does sound like a short time on a cylinder. We have a heatpump type AC/heater, and an electric water heater, so I may be all wrong on the propane consumption thing.

For tire monitoring, I use a TPMS (tire pressure monitoring system), it's like the new cars have only the sending units screw onto the valve stems, and it will alarm if the tires loose air pressure. It's not a perfect deal, but better than nothing.
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Old 10-23-2011, 09:34 PM   #4
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Get yourself a tire pressure monitoring system and you will know just before you get a blowout and have time to stop before damage is done.

Your propane regulator should have automatically switched over to the 2nd full tank. That seems like a lot of propane to go through IMHO.
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Old 10-23-2011, 09:37 PM   #5
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That sounds like a lot of propane to use in a pretty short time. I go through one bottle plus a little more in a whole season ... but I try not to use the furnace much, and when I do, I keep the thermostat set pretty low ... in sub freezing weather, maybe 50 or so, then turning it up a bit for showering, breakfast, etc. before heading out somewhere. And I don't run the water heater except for twenty minutes or so before showeirng or dish washing. Are you sure you started with a full tank? Sounds to me as if either you had a partial bottle full, or that you run the furnace all the time and at a pretty high interior temp. ... I'm just back from two consecutive trips: the first three days, 1,000 miles, cooking, showering, etc., three nights light furnace use (temps in 40s-50s), and the second a 3,000 mile ten day trip with nights in the mid thirties to low fifties, ten days of fridge use, cooking, showering eight mornings (2 days in places that had showers), and I'm sure (no gauge, but plenty of experience) that I haven't used half of a 30# bottle ...

As to the IR thermometer yes, I have used one for years, (with a laser to show me the center of the "read" zone), to check tire temps and at least hub temps ... that usually means I more or less coast into rest stops, so that I don't heat up the hubs with brake use. Never had a trucker question it, though I do get some funny looks. By the way, 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. And it's not the tire ... after rotation, the right rear is still a bit warmer. It's also not load or pressure; have checked carefully. It doesn't run hot - just a bit warmer than the others. Of course, if there's much sun, sunside tires run a bit hotter also. That too doesn't explain this particular phenomenon. I'm not worried, but I AM puzzled.
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Old 10-23-2011, 09:49 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverCottage View Post
Get yourself a tire pressure monitoring system and you will know just before you get a blowout and have time to stop before damage is done.

Your propane regulator should have automatically switched over to the 2nd full tank. That seems like a lot of propane to go through IMHO.
TPMS does work. I've hear - but never personally witnessed - horror stories of a type that replaces the valve stem, leaking air out of the tires, but at least they tend to report it!

As to the auto-switch-over regulator; many of us keep only one tank valve open at a time. That way, we KNOW when one tank is empty without having to check the regulator. Whenever one runs out, I manually switch over to the other one and get the empty one refilled. It's simple minded, I know, but that way I always have at least one full tank. And when I refill, it's refilling a totally empty tank, so that the guy who only sells by the tankfull rather than by weight or gallonage doesn't get to overcharge me. (I always figured that the manual changeover would just have to occur on the darkest, coldest, rainy or snowy night ever ... but so far this has never happened to me. Good karma, I suppose. )
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Old 10-23-2011, 09:56 PM   #7
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Leave both your propane bottles on and the automatic regulator will switch to the new one when the current one is empty (point the switch or arrow to the one in use). When you go to get the empty one refilled, you can just point the switch to the "new" one and disconnect the old one without turning anything off. That way you don't run out, and get cold, and have to re light anything.

Propane useage: Highly variable depending on how you use your water heater, furnace etc. When out full time boondocking, using the refrig on propane only, and hot water on all the time, I figure a 30# tank will run me about 2 1/2 weeks with not much heat on, with heat, maybe 2 or a lot less if it is farily cold out. I am not conservative in my heat or hot water heater use, but am conservative of water itself. My refrigerator is somewhat smaller than your, I am sure, but I keep it very cold.

So, just some more grist for the mill.
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Old 10-23-2011, 10:09 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AirsDream View Post
~~
As to the IR thermometer yes, I have used one for years, (with a laser to show me the center of the "read" zone), to check tire temps and at least hub temps ... that usually means I more or less coast into rest stops, so that I don't heat up the hubs with brake use. Never had a trucker question it, though I do get some funny looks. By the way, 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. And it's not the tire ... after rotation, the right rear is still a bit warmer. It's also not load or pressure; have checked carefully. It doesn't run hot - just a bit warmer than the others. Of course, if there's much sun, sunside tires run a bit hotter also. That too doesn't explain this particular phenomenon. I'm not worried, but I AM puzzled.
Hmmm....

Do you have an open diff in the rear? I wonder if your truck somehow routes more torque to the right wheel.
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Old 10-23-2011, 10:22 PM   #9
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I use an IR thermometer with a laser targeting pointer to monitor hub and tire temps as well. I was pleased to find that the Carlisles that came on my Argosy run slightly cooler at 65mph than my truck tires, even in the sweltering Texas summer.

Re: the (good) advice to open both propane tanks and use the auto changeover: Also be sure you check the regulator every day or so to see when it changes over from the empty tank, so you'll know it's time to refill one before you run out altogether.
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Old 10-23-2011, 10:35 PM   #10
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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.
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Old 10-23-2011, 11:51 PM   #11
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Our last trip was ~2.5 weeks and 3,300 miles with rain, cold days & nights (Washington State & Oregon), snow on the ground (at Yosemite) then >100* at Lake Cachuma (Santa Barbara County) for a couple of days. We consumed more than 2 full tanks of propane (1st tank lasted ~5+ days). We were not waistfull in our use, but we were warm when it was cold. When we purchased our AS and asked the PO how long a tank would last, he said he could go a whole season on a single tank. He later told us he had only taken the AS on 4-5 trips during his 2.5 years of ownership (and proudly told us they never once used the shower). I kind of take this as an indicator of "your mileage will vary" when it comes to the use of consumables, be it water, propane, or whatever.
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Old 10-24-2011, 12:22 AM   #12
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Smile The Do-Whop Whop Whop-The Do Whop Whop...

If you read you're owner's manual, tire pressures may vary. Pay special attention during shakedown and preparation cruises so as to pick up any unusual vibrations... Should yo have a space age tire monitoring devise, by all means also monitor you're rear view mirrors from time to time to allow you to notice smoke and or wheel well parts leaving the scene!

AirsDream, you bring up an interesting point! Most highways deteriorate from the Crown and or left side, over to the brake down side to the right. So as to require an right side drive tire to work harder to keep up! NO??
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Old 10-24-2011, 06:00 AM   #13
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Regarding your LP use: You said it was your first real trip. Perhaps the tank wasn't full at the start. Maybe you thought the dealer was giving you full tanks, but they weren't?
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Old 10-24-2011, 06:41 AM   #14
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I use a TPMS on all of the trailer tires (the truck came with a factory installation). I find all six trailer tires usually stay within 2 psi of each other. The Pressure Pro system alarms both for high pressure (an indicator of high temp) and of course low pressure. My father-in-law had a flat on a previous Airstream and beat a wheel well and interior cabinets to pieces with the steel cords!
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