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Old 02-03-2010, 11:43 AM   #1
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1971 25' Tradewind
Menlo Park , California
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Do we need a heater?

We just bought a 1971 25' Trade Wind that needs a fair amount of work. The heater is broken and we're considering pulling it out and not replacing it. At this point, we don't think we'll be anywhere that we'd need it, but we have no Airstreaming experience to base that on. What's your experience?

How often do you use your Airstream heater? Under what conditions?

How have your plans for using your trailer changed from what you thought they'd be when you bought it?

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Old 02-03-2010, 12:30 PM   #2
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I have heaters but don't use them..... instead I use a small electric heater which is more than adequate....and easy to move around.

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Old 02-03-2010, 12:39 PM   #3
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I assume you're talking about the propane furnace. I no longer have one in my '72 Sovereign either. I live in a pretty warm climate here in Phoenix, but I like to camp in the mountains (7-9000 ft elevation) and it gets pretty cool even in the summer. And if you camp anytime during the winter the nights can drop into the 30s.

What I use to keep warm is a propane catalytic heater. They're small and don't take up much room. Mine is mounted on the side of the kitchen cabinet by the main door. Use can see it in my kitchen photos on my blog.
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Old 02-03-2010, 01:02 PM   #4
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It really depends on where you plan on traveling and how you plan to use your trailer.

We use our heater - but don't have an air conditioner. Neither of our trailers had A/C when new and we never added them because we camp mostly at elevations above 7000'. We also boondock quite a bit so an electric heater is not much help. We do have a generator for recharging our batteries when boondocking, but don't run it all night and that's when the temps drop enough to want the heater. We use our original heaters (not furnaces with ducts or blowers) in both our trailers. I like that they are quiet - no thermostat clicking on and off or squeaks or fans from blowers. Just simple heat. Much like the modern catalytic heaters today.

If you plan on camping mostly in campgrounds with hook-ups or during summer months closer to sea level, you may not need a heater. But, keep in mind, if you ever decide to sell your trailer, the next owner may not share your lifestyle and want a complete trailer, including a heater.

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Old 02-03-2010, 02:00 PM   #5
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None of the furnaces in our trailers work and we don't usually miss them. We use a Cat Wave 8 and a portable electric heater when heat is needed. I suppose it boils down to personal preference and climate tolerance.



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Old 02-03-2010, 04:45 PM   #6
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Some like it hot.

Funny you should mention it as I am in the process of replacing the furnace in my 72 Tradewind. So I can speak within my current analysis. Here in Texas it doesn't get cold often as in the North. But I'm planning on going to Yellowstone this summer and will be in a campground with out electricity. So now having a furnace that works on propane and the 12V system matters to me. If I'm on the road and it's a cold night and I'm in a Walmart parking lot then the furnace matters to me. Not the bad news is that you have the recalled NT22A furnace in your trailer that if not properly serviced it can and will leak carbon monoxide into your trailer. 4 out of 5 people on this forum will tell you to trash the furnace due to these issues and the rust and lack of parts. I've tried to repair mine and taken it out thinking maybe there are cheap or free parts. Maybe if someone gives them to you other wise the costs of parts, say in my case a fan motor or blower is over $100. For $375 + $25 you can have a NEW under warranty NT30SP. I'm ordering mine tomorrow. To me I want my Tradewind complete, so it's worth the money to put a new one in and when I'm on the road and it is cold outside and inside, I know that heat is a thermostat away.
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Old 02-03-2010, 05:23 PM   #7
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The furnace in your Tradewind if OEM is a Suburban NT22a. This furnace was recalled because of a problem with the crossover tube which can cause a serious carbon monoxide problem, like death. It is hard to find parts for or to get someone to work on. Most people replace it usually with a Suburban NT30.

You could also replace it with a propane catalytic heater which is covered in other threads.

If you go the small electric heater route if you don't have an electric hook up you could power it with a electric generator. Generators are also extensively covered in other threads.

Some people also like the extra under counter space they get without a furnace.
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Old 02-04-2010, 10:28 AM   #8
1972 Travelux Princess 25
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You will need some kind of heat anywhere in the US, at some time of year, even if just to keep off a slight chill or dampness.

Electricity is not always available and catalytic heaters give off carbon monoxide. If you use any type of fuel burning heater with no chimney or vent, be sure to leave a couple of windows open. Death by suffocation, in a camper, is too common.

I would not be without a proper furnace myself.
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Old 02-04-2010, 10:50 AM   #9
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In my climate I would not be without one because as late as mid-May and as early as mid-September it is possible to get cold, wet days. October and November have good chances of freezing temps depending where we go. Up to a point heavy clothes, sleeping bags, and a campfire will help but not our preference.
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Old 02-04-2010, 10:58 AM   #10
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Furnace Replacement

Also the furnace routes over the water tanks, lines and can keep them from freezing.
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Old 02-04-2010, 11:28 AM   #11
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Don't take chance with the NT-22. The one in my TW ran OK but after a thorough check we found the head exchanger had a hole in it. It was internal and very hard to find. Could have been a disaster.
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Old 02-04-2010, 08:09 PM   #12
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Menlo Park , California
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This is all very helpful. I see a few common threads in the comments:

It will make the trailer complete to have a furnace -
We plan to keep this trailer for a long time so if the new owner wants one they can install the latest and greatest since it sounds like salvaging the OEM one isn't an option anyway.

Warmth is good -
Something worth considering. Mostly, we're summer campers and look at the trailer as a more convenient tent. But if we're parked in the NW for a long, rainy stretch, something warmer than a pot of tea might be nice.

Other heater options -
Bart has commented on the catalytic heaters. We could do something small that would still let us use that under sink space for storage. More storage is good.

Furnace protects pipes and tanks from freezing -
A point I hadn't considered. I think for us it falls into the "we don't plan to camp in snow" category.

So I think we'll leave the furnace out and consider adding a different heater later. As the second part of my OP noted, we may change our minds about how we use this silver beastie. Already, our plans have expanded from just parking it for a summer while we work on an unimproved bit of land in the NW. Now I'm bookmarking camping sites and saying "We could go here, and here and here!"

I'm sure I'm not the only one who has had an Airstream change their plans.
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Old 02-04-2010, 09:31 PM   #13
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Eagle River , Alaska
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No Heater ?!?

No heater...Good one! Made me laugh.
I have 4.
Suburban furnace
Catalytic LPG wall heater
Heat strip on A/C
Portable ceramic electric

At least one is running out there now.

If I had to pick one, I'd keep the catalytic.

Even in Nevada, Arizona and California I find we use catalytic heater to cut evening chill.

No heater in a big aluminum can...good one.
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Old 02-05-2010, 07:58 AM   #14
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1972 25' Tradewind
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Heater in Tradewind

Let me know if you need any info on removal etc. as I am taking out (again) the NT22A from my trailer and replacing with the NT30SP next week. Your Tradewind should have the same systems that I have.

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