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Old 02-07-2008, 12:54 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by millvalleyca
...being a novice to RVing I can't imagine how I would have reacted...
i'm not sure how i reacted is the best or safest approach, which might just be to run like h3ll!...

Quote:
Originally Posted by millvalleyca
are the wires on a 2008 set up the same as yours? (ungrounded and "Hot"?)how would you retrofit the problem...
yes i think they are. an electrical person will have to explain why the single wire running to the jack is hot, or how best to address this issue.



Quote:
Originally Posted by millvalleyca
...Did the rubber around the wire just wear out due to the friction from the cover? Should I protect the wires with some sort of "cover"?
yes that's what will happen and did. cutting a notch in the cover might help. i opted to PAD the wire (which i spliced/repaired)

and will have it MOVED eventually to a better spot...

notice the wiring for the break away/brake pin is also in that location, and subject to friction/wear...

Quote:
Originally Posted by millvalleyca
"disconnected the 12 system"? what did you do?...
there is a 'disconnect' for the 12v under the sofa.

of course is only disconnects the 12 v appliances INSIDE from the battery, NOT the jack wire which caused the fire...

so again, my reaction may not have been the best, it's just what i did.

cheers
2air'
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Old 02-07-2008, 01:06 AM   #22
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The wiring short that you described is a perfect example of why the fuse for the jack wire needs to be at the battery, not exclusively at the jack. When I purchsed it, My bambi had evidence of such a short in the battery box and a large burn mark on the top of one of the batteries from the jack wiring. I can only conclude the the wire jacket was frayed and caused an unfused dead short where the wiring passed thru the box.

You make some very valid points regarding the distance to the rear door but I'm not overly concerned as long as other safety precautions have been taken, like having extra fire extinguishers and a sound and practiced exit strategy.
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Old 02-07-2008, 01:14 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Goin camping
...We raise our front "sunglasses" as it'd be easier to open the window and bust out the front window screen to escape through that larger and easier to get to window than try the small high up designated emergency exit...
hi gc...

i agree with this general notion except for the placement of the lp tanks/cover/flag polls and other stuff...

obstructing the front center window...

i tried going out that one too... it wasn't pretty.

as for a little on the fire exits criteria, from the NFPA standards listed above...

here are some relevant sections...

section 6.2 recreational vehicle exit facilities.

6.2.1.1. recreational vehicles shall have a minimum of 2 exits located remote from each other
and so arranged as to provide a means of unobstructed travel to the outside of the vehicle

6.2.1.2. each bedroom or area designed for sleeping shall have at least two unobstructed paths to exit.

6.2.3 access to alternate exits.

6.2.3.1. the path leading to an alternate exit...shall be not less than 13 inches wide at the narrowest point....

6.2.3.2 the supporting surface shall be not more than 3 feet below the bottom of the alternate exit
and shall be capable of supporting a weight of 300 lbs.


the bolding is mine.

-are the side exit windows lower than 3 feet high? i don't think so, and will measure them sometime.

-is the perimeter around an island queen bed 13 inches?

maybe, but there is NO WAY it is 13 inches on the new 30ft front bed/rear door classic, with a KING size mattress...

now someone define 'unobstructed' as it relates to some of these exit points...

cheers
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Old 02-07-2008, 01:36 AM   #24
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Tongue jack wires.

Hi, every time I move my propane tank cover I watch out for the jack wires; Not a great way to place them. I took a piece of clear plastic tubeing [1/4" ID] and slit it down one side and slipped it over the bottom lip of my propane cover, in the front, the width of the coupler/ frame. I may relocate the jack wires, somehow, to not run under the tank cover.
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Old 02-07-2008, 01:48 AM   #25
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Propane Tanks.

Hi, I didn't like the way my propane tanks were mounted; One wing nut was trying to hold the tanks firmly in place and hold the cover in place at the same time. [double duty] I noticed my tanks were loose and wobbled so I made some minor changes. These pictures will be easier than me trying to explain what I did. Much nicer now.
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Old 02-07-2008, 02:12 AM   #26
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great idea robert!

your modification also means the tanks can be VERY securely fixed,

while the cover is just snug, not overly tight.

it might be useful to shorten the tank lip/retention section (it has 3 notches)...

so it is less likely to contact the brass tank valve bits...

also i'm not in favor of LOCKS on the tank cover (inside or out)...

had mine been locked down, i might not have been able to loosen it in time...

cheers
2air'
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Old 02-07-2008, 06:03 AM   #27
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To answer a couple of questions that were raised, a battery usually doesn't just catch fire, it explodes from hydrogen gas that has accumulated in it and the battery compartment. Once the fuel runs out (pretty fast) that's it. A secondary fire can start from the explosion and flames igniting the wiring insulation, and other bits in that area.
More likely is a fire from overheated or shorted wires that aren't properly protected (fuses/circuit breakers). This is what 2air experienced with his tank cover.
The only "codes" are for when a structure intended for permanent location, and trailers and moho's aren't permanent. Instead, there are vehicle standards that are either voluntary or government regulated. Placement and type of many items, even safety items, are voluntary. Airstream placed a small fire extinguisher by the main entry door in our trailer, it isn't enough to put out a bad case of heartburn, much less any real conflagration. I have two additional extinguishers, 5 pounders, one in the living room, the other in the bedroom.
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Old 02-07-2008, 06:17 AM   #28
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Great idea about the extra extinguishers. I think the location by the door is convenient, but not practical. I am going to get one for the bedroom in mine as well.

Which type did you choose for that area?
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Old 02-07-2008, 06:36 AM   #29
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AS Safety

I understand that there are many rules/codes for RV construction but most applies to wood frame and fiber wall RVs. The AS is all metal walls, inner and outer, with metal ribs, same as an aircraft, and should be handled as such. Meaning chaffing of wiring is a big problem. Wiring needs to be secured properly and wrapped with a protective cover in areas of contact with the metal. The entire frame is ground and any break in the wire coating becomes a short.
Just food for thought.

dale
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Old 02-07-2008, 06:47 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azflycaster
Great idea about the extra extinguishers. I think the location by the door is convenient, but not practical. I am going to get one for the bedroom in mine as well.

Which type did you choose for that area?
I got 2 Kidde 5 pound ABC extinguishers. I left the one that was mounted there, giving me a total of 3, and a total of 12 pounds of retardant. Also 2 smoke alarms.
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Old 02-07-2008, 07:11 AM   #31
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AS Safety

We have the rear window emergency exit, My dog/grandchildren sleep in living/dining area forward. We have an extra set of keys hiden in a rear compartment so we can unlock front door once outside, to get dog/grandchildren out.
Second fire extinguisher is at front door, if you can't get to it you can't use it.


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Old 02-07-2008, 07:19 AM   #32
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I agree, some of the designs aren't really all that great.

I modified my jack wire last fall. I didn't have any loss of insulation on the power jack wire, my fix was simply to insulate the possible contact by placing additional shrink wrap around that area. If the tank rests on the lip of the power jack, there is ample room for the wire. However, even though the tank sits in the same spot, it can be attached in a manner where the center (where there is no tank to keep the cover expanded), may not rest on the lip and thus rest on the wire. One additional planned mod for me is that I will have a power cut off switch installed in my battery box, which I've already modified my battery box with a lock similar to that which is found on the tank fill door. Also placed a similar lock on the fridge vent.

I have also placed flex loom to protect the gas lines on the "A" frame from stray rocks, as well as the same on the exposed gas line feeding the water heater just south of the street side wheel well. Additionally, I also placed flex loom over the umbilical which does move about while being towed, to help reduce and chafing.

Wiring within the Airstreams, going through walls has a rubber or plastic grommet that the wires pass through. However, some of the wiring going below the floor decking has no protection and rests on sharp corners of the plywood. I addressed this by placing a buffer under and in some cases, around the wire bunches going through the floor where the wire sets rest on the sharper cut out section of the floor decking.

Of course when they built mine, the front inner skin there is a front hole where the 12v wires and umbilical meet under the front sofa. Some clown balled up and shoved a McDonald's breakfast sandwich wrapper into the hole where the wiring came. What if the cable plant would of overheated? I can tell you that the wrapper was most likely not flame or combustion treated, and to top it off, under my sofa where this was, it was enclosed in a wooden box.

The ecscape windows are a whole 'nuther beast. It makes sense that they are there, but like the children doing duck and cover drills during the cold war, it's a gesture. I will be the first to admit though, if a fire broke out in my Safari SS, and the window was the only exit, I suppose I'd rather be face first then well done.

Has anyone noticed how HOT the incandescent bulbs can get and heat the whole area around the bulb and fixture? Also, any know how much nasty chemicals there are in RVs, let alone our Airstreams. I have to open mine up to air it out or I can't breathe inside. That can't be good!

The bottom line is no, things are not as safe as they could be, and it's not just Airstream, it's industry in general.

How you ask, well, the bean counters come into play. Does the (for example) .05 per unit to do it differently cost more in mass production than it would to settle a lawsuit? That thinking has been center to many of the auto industry failures. There are fewer RVs on the road than cars, but 20k fires, seems like a lot to me.
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Old 02-07-2008, 07:29 AM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvertwinkie
I agree, some of the designs aren't really all that great.

I modified my jack wire last fall. I didn't have any loss of insulation on the power jack wire, my fix was simply to insulate the possible contact by placing additional shrink wrap around that area.
This is a comon problem and it appears to have been addressed. My breakaway was chafing as well. I put sprial wrap around it. I have no idea where the manufacturing engineering folks are but they are abviously not cheking up on the prodction floor.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvertwinkie
I have also placed flex loom to protect the gas lines on the "A" frame from stray rocks, as well as the same on the exposed gas line feeding the water heater just south of the street side wheel well.
This could be a problem allowing any gas escaping to bre chanelled and pool.
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Old 02-07-2008, 09:19 AM   #34
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I know being prepared is the best way to go and this forum brings up all the issues we need to know. But this one tops them all. Friends call me Mr paranoid. I now worry about wheel bearings, good year tires, leaks, hitch grease and now the damn thing cooking me like a hot dog. Possibly hotels were not so bad after all.
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Old 02-07-2008, 09:49 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by safari 28
I know being prepared is the best way to go and this forum brings up all the issues we need to know. But this one tops them all. Friends call me Mr paranoid. I now worry about wheel bearings, good year tires, leaks, hitch grease and now the damn thing cooking me like a hot dog. Possibly hotels were not so bad after all.
Hotels safer? Google MGM fire in Las Vegas.

In reality will your Goodyears blow or your bearings cook or your hitch grease exploding into flames or your trailer catching fire or even everyone in your state being killed because you are not towing with a 3/4 diesel and a haha hitch?

Mishaps and equipment failures do happen. They just don't happen as often as you might think. Consider that over 12 gazillion Marathons are out there so some blow and the vast majority don't. Just like car tires.

If Airstreams were self torching to any degree you would have heard of it before now.

These discussions come up to inform and educate. Before this thread had you planned your escapes or thought about fire extinguishers? Probably not. Thankfully now you will and prepare just like you should for your home.

The real upside is that your bearings are regularly checked as is your tire pressure and condition and your trailer is now safer than most on the road.

Check your equipment and have a plan for mishaps and you'll be fine and having fun.
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Old 02-07-2008, 11:14 AM   #36
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Most of the safety issues discussed here are associated more with the quality of construction than with the floor plan. Although escape from the front bedroom is a concern and should be addressed, the rear loung/living area is most likely the result of campground design. Have you noticed that with rear bath models of the 60's and 70's that the best view is from the bathroom window? If I want to see the rear end of my tow vehicle, I can do that by opening the garage door and standing in the driveway. Even though all my trailers have been rear bath models, I'm still hoping someday to get a rear lounge model. Darol
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Old 02-07-2008, 12:22 PM   #37
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I have to agree with Goin Camping that the odds of disaster are small, and by this type of thread, we are reminded of things to watch for. I will check those wires under the propane cover when the snow melts (that might be a long, long time) and will consider a 2nd fire extinguisher. That escape window looks like it might cause more personal damage than running 15' to the door from the bed. It's a lot longer from my bedroom at home to the outside doors, though the bedroom windows are a lot bigger and easier to open. It's also a lot further down to the ground.

And yes, Twink, there's a lot of nasty stuff offgassing inside, most notable after the units been closed up for a while. Formaldehyde and other chemicals that are not too good for us. I have friends who are very chemically sensitive—and that sensitivity builds up over the years. The stuff in the Airstreams may contribute to problems later in life for some of us who feel fine now. Best to ventilate before and during use especially for people with weaker immune systems (for ex., all us retirees).

One other note: When I drive around the country, I notice an enormous number of RV's parked at people's houses. There are a lot on the road, but the number parked says to me a lot of people buy them, but rarely use them. Somewhere I saw a statistic about how many RV's there are in the US and and I can't remember how many, but it may have been 10's of millions. 20,000 fires out of that total isn't a whole lot, but it's far too much too. I do worry about wires chaffing and have already noticed some spots that need reinforcement. One simple way is to wrap with a lot of electrical tape.

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Old 02-07-2008, 01:07 PM   #38
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Thanks 2air and Michele for bringing up something I have been looking at for a few months. Thanks also to whoever said "mouse hole". I got busy. See below.
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Old 02-07-2008, 01:24 PM   #39
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Two extinguishers are a great idea, here's the logic for putting the extinguisher at the door.
The materials that make up the interiors are very flammable once ignited and there is not much time for action - be it exiting or fighting the fire.
If there is a fire, you must first get out.
Then if the fire is small enough to deal with and it's safe to do so, you can get your extinguisher from the doorway, approach the fire and take action.
I agree that the extinguishers provided are next to worthless and that a larger one would be a good investment.

That is the reasoning - now in real life, if I had one near my bed, I would consider fighting it if the fire were small enough. I can't recommend that for every one though - I've been observing and fighting fires long enough to know somewhat to expect.
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Old 02-07-2008, 02:11 PM   #40
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nice mouse hole scottw!

thanks for the pix too.

clearly the factory service department knows about this issue...

just as clearly it would take the guy/gal making the tank covers a few extra minutes on the assembly line,

to fabricate this revision or another, like MOVING the wiring to a more protected location.

i think the issue with this ONE item is...

IF they know (and surely they DO KNOW) about this potential electrical and fire hazard...

-and are doing NOTHING to revise the design...
-and are doing NOTHING to notify current owners of the risk...
-and are doing NOTHING to suggests revisions at the dealer network level...
-and are doing NOTHING to guide owners to a safe diy solution...

does this suggest negligence at the factory/manufacturer level?

i think it is negligent and they need to provide a safe/reasonable solution...

this would likely become a RECALL type issue in the automotive world...

and probably applies to 80-90% of all units produced in the last 10 years (with this style tank cover)

to repeat this jack wiring issue is not an IF it happens but a WHEN it happens problem....

which can be ELIMINATED if addressed during design and construction.

cheers
2air'
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