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Old 12-06-2010, 03:31 PM   #43
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Blairsville , Georgia
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I moved into my stationary 31', '76 model full time about a month ago. Several nights of 25 degree temps with only an unvented propane heater inside and no problem. (Yes, I have propane, carbon monoxide and oxygen sensors) Last night it went to 20 degrees so I used the furnace which has a long duct running under the bed and bathroom closet next to the water lines. Again no problem. Tonight it's going down to the mid teens so I'll see how it does. I'm hooked up to water and not using the white water tank which is drained. An electric heat tape on the incoming line has kept that thawed so far. Inside everything is nice and comfy though I guess I'm using a lot of propane keeping it that way. I'm at 1800' elevation in the N. Ga. mountains. This is going to be home so i have to make it work! I think underpinning with styrofoam is the next step.
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Old 12-06-2010, 03:39 PM   #44
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I am working on an idea whereby I would run a parallel circuit to the furnace blower controlled by a rheostat or maybe an automotive multi-speed blower resistor bank. This would allow the furnace to operate full time on a low speed (and low noise!) with an electric heater nearby the cold air return which would keep the tanks thawed. Whenever the thermostat calls for furnace heat, 12V would be applied to the original leg of the parallel circuit and the blower would go to high speed. When heat is no longer called for, the thermostat will shut of the furnace and the original leg of the blower circuit and the low speed circuit will take over.

Has anyone done this?
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Old 12-06-2010, 03:51 PM   #45
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One of your problems could be the space heater. If it does not allow the Airstream furnace to cycle often enough the heat to the tanks will not have much of an effect on their temperature. Your space heater needs to be as far away from the thermostat as possible. Also your configuration may only have one of the tanks receiving the heated air, need to check by looking at your heater and see where the 2nd hose goes. Mine is vented directly to the fresh water tank and indirectly to the grey & black.

A trick I use very often is to put a drop light under each tank with a 100 watt light bulb and leave them on day & night when its freezing. For extreme cold camping higher wattage bulbs or the earlier mentioned space heater might give you the edge you need.

It's not exactly the "green" way to go but you do what you need to do and pay your carbon footprint back some other way!

My actual final solution for cold weather camping was to move to Texas and stay South during the winters. ...But I do understand, hope all works out for you.
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Old 12-06-2010, 04:10 PM   #46
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So I should update my profile. I am no longer in Virginia we moved to Boulder CO last year. And I believe I've learned my lesson, I just don't think I will risk trying to use the plumbing, I will winterize and just dry camp. The resort we stay at up in Breckinridge CO has public showers and all so no worries there. I did find a place called Timeless Travel Trailers that will retrofit heating pads and such to your rigs plumbing I'll check out the price. THANKS!
Thanks for posting the link to Timeless Travel Trailers. I thoroughly enjoyed looking at the work.
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Old 12-15-2010, 07:16 PM   #47
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We went through the same problem and used a hair dryer and ceramic heater over several hours to thaw out the black water lines. We wrap our fresh water hose in insulation with a heat strip. Your tanks should be ok. Our gray tank and lines have never been a problem.
good luck,

Spence & Kate
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Old 12-24-2010, 02:25 AM   #48
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Yes, you can retrofit an Airstream for extreme winter use. Extreme skiers Zach and Reggie Crist are logging their second winter in the Eddie Bauer/First Ascent Airstream without a single problem. The vehicle has been in nearly fulltime use traveling from ski area to ski area at temperatures as low as -25F. Here is a link to a video about the build of the trailer (click on header in frame): YouTube - Behind the Scenes: Designing the First Ascent Airstream for the Ultimate Road Trip

In the photo below the coach is being pulled up a ski trail by a snowcat at Beaver Creek, CO for the World Cup races last december:

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Old 12-24-2010, 10:22 AM   #49
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Winter Class

Brett:

That is one nice unit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dave
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Old 12-24-2010, 11:04 AM   #50
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Thumbs down A Really bad Idea

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chip Arnold View Post
I moved into my stationary 31', '76 model full time about a month ago. Several nights of 25 degree temps with only an unvented propane heater inside and no problem. (Yes, I have propane, carbon monoxide and oxygen sensors) Last night it went to 20 degrees so I used the furnace which has a long duct running under the bed and bathroom closet next to the water lines. Again no problem. Tonight it's going down to the mid teens so I'll see how it does. I'm hooked up to water and not using the white water tank which is drained. An electric heat tape on the incoming line has kept that thawed so far. Inside everything is nice and comfy though I guess I'm using a lot of propane keeping it that way. I'm at 1800' elevation in the N. Ga. mountains. This is going to be home so i have to make it work! I think underpinning with styrofoam is the next step.
Wow, using an unvented propane heater sounds like a really bad idea. They give off noxious byproducts of combustion, burn oxygen, and are illegal in Canada and in some US states. Do really want to bet your life that they work perfectly?
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Old 12-24-2010, 11:12 AM   #51
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[QUOTE=tmarquis;921766]So I decided to take our 23ft 2009 international to the ski resorts last weekend for some winter fun......... BUT THE TANKS FROZE anyway.

We had the same problem with our 23 Safari several times including one memorable miserable morning in Rawlins Wyoming ....what we found, though, was it was the dump valves, not the heated tanks that froze. As you were able to dump the grey tank it sounds like the same thing. We tried numerous fixes which I won't go into. The final answer was this. With the tanks empty before a winter trip we put RV antifreeze down the grey and black tanks. Then with the outer drain cap in place we pull open the dump valves to allow the antifreeze to fill the void. So the valve area doesn't freeze being full of antifreeze.

We do the same thing with our 25 Cloud. Last February during our dash south we were snowed in at Las Vegas NM for several days. Very cold but nothing froze up.
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Old 01-16-2013, 08:41 PM   #52
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I've been having good luck living in my AS this winter. The temperature has gotten down to -4 a couple of times and has averaged 21* for the last 20 days. The only problem aside from realizing how poorly the AS is insultated is a frozen black tank valve. I don't know how to get in there to repair or replace or thaw. Any thoughts?
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Old 01-16-2013, 09:05 PM   #53
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Frozen black tank valve

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Originally Posted by Wild-Air View Post
I've been having good luck living in my AS this winter. The temperature has gotten down to -4 a couple of times and has averaged 21* for the last 20 days. The only problem aside from realizing how poorly the AS is insultated is a frozen black tank valve. I don't know how to get in there to repair or replace or thaw. Any thoughts?
Our Owners Manual describes putting a low-wattage lamp in a drain cap. They recommend buying a new drain cap, drilling a hole in the center and installing a low wattage Christmas tree light. Is there anybody out there who has tried that or something similar with modern materials?

It may be a better idea to prevent a freeze than to thaw a frozen dump valve. Who knows? That and a higher wattage bulb hanging close couldn't hurt.

Of course you could do as I did recently and wrap the light with a towel, wrap the towel with a tarp, and find a nicely charred towel in the moring. Sheesh! I amaze myself with occasional tricks that are just royally D.S. in hindsight. Sigh.
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Old 01-18-2013, 01:11 AM   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gsmithii View Post
Our Owners Manual describes putting a low-wattage lamp in a drain cap. They recommend buying a new drain cap, drilling a hole in the center and installing a low wattage Christmas tree light. Is there anybody out there who has tried that or something similar with modern materials?

It may be a better idea to prevent a freeze than to thaw a frozen dump valve. Who knows? That and a higher wattage bulb hanging close couldn't hurt.

Of course you could do as I did recently and wrap the light with a towel, wrap the towel with a tarp, and find a nicely charred towel in the moring. Sheesh! I amaze myself with occasional tricks that are just royally D.S. in hindsight. Sigh.
Ha! Skip, that sounds like something clever - just what I would have dreamed up. You're not alone... wear a helmet and safety goggles at all times!
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Old 01-19-2013, 06:53 AM   #55
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Winter camping - sheesh!

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Ha! Skip, that sounds like something clever - just what I would have dreamed up. You're not alone... wear a helmet and safety goggles at all times!
Ex - act - ly! And try to avoid learning from experience - it's better to learn from somebody else's experience.
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Old 01-19-2013, 02:12 PM   #56
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Underneath the black and grey tanks, just behind the valves, are access plates so you can get to the parts inside. I imagine using a hair dryer in the hole may help.

Gene
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