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Old 04-14-2011, 10:31 PM   #1
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Question: Can you keep the refrigerator on while towing?

Hi,

We just got our 2009 27'FB in a private party sale and my wife called our local AS dealer to ask them a couple of questions on the various systems. After getting her questions answered and was about to hang up she asked "what is the biggest mistake new/novice AS owners make when towing their trailer?". His response came as a bit of a surprise to me. His response to her question was (I am paraphrasing...) "turn off our refrigerator when towing, don't keep it running using the propane system. If you leave it on the wind pressure will push the head generated by the propane burner back into the refrigerator and heat it up." Then he suggested we put a jug of frozen water into the refrigerator to keep everything cool.

We are new AS owners, but have rented SOBs in the past. We always towed with the refrigerator on using propane without any problems (or just didn't realize we were creating a problem). We are leaving in the morning for our first trip and don't want our food to spoil and don't really want to lug a cooler around (other than for our beer and wine). Thanks for sharing your opinions and comments.
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Old 04-14-2011, 10:45 PM   #2
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I run with mine on all of the time. I do not feel that it is dangerous in any way and the remark about heating up the fridge is a new one on me. They are designed to run while on so I would really question what the salesman said.

That said, there are lots of opinions on this board but I feel the vast majority of folks here run with it on. Of course I have been known to live on the edge. I don't turn it off while fueling either and drink right out of the tap, even at far off campgrounds! Call me crazy but I am just like that and after many years of doing this, I am still here to report in.
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Old 04-14-2011, 10:47 PM   #3
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Mine is on when towing. There is no place in the refer big enough to put enough Ice in to keep it cold. Haven't had any problems so far.
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Old 04-14-2011, 10:50 PM   #4
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We also run ours in our MH. Just remember to turn it off when pumping fuel into your TV. Don't want any ignition sparks near gas pumps.
Ricky
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Old 04-14-2011, 10:52 PM   #5
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Thanks for the comments. The salemand's response sounded very odd to me, but being a newbie I figured I would post this question to the pros.
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Old 04-14-2011, 11:20 PM   #6
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The salesman is just that...a salesman. We tow with our frig on...they are designed to do that and will not "heat up the frig." Sometimes I wonder what planet these people are from.
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Old 04-14-2011, 11:40 PM   #7
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When towing I leave the fridge on.
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Old 04-14-2011, 11:43 PM   #8
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Pretty strange sales approach. If it were a big deal Airstream would sell the 12V model fridges so you wouldn't have to use the gas. Isn't that why the new ones have the automatic mode that switches from electric to gas?

I know it pays to be safe but I don't think that a trailer about 20 feet behind my TV in the outdoors with the fridge on the streetside would be a hazard to gasoline.
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Old 04-14-2011, 11:52 PM   #9
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We just completed a two week, 3,800 mile trip. The fridge was on the full time.
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Old 04-15-2011, 12:04 AM   #10
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I know it pays to be safe but I don't think that a trailer about 20 feet behind my TV in the outdoors with the fridge on the streetside would be a hazard to gasoline.
If you pull into a set of pumps that can fuel 2 cars together. 1 in front of the other. Your trailer could end up in front of the 2nd pump. The car fueling on the other side of that pump will be spewing gas fumes out of their tank. the fumes will go under the TT to the streetside.
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Old 04-15-2011, 12:15 AM   #11
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Lucy has logged over 70,000 miles on he road with her refrigerator running on the LP gas system. The only problem that we ever had was once when running in a severe cross wind, the gas flame on the refrigerator unit blew out a couple of times. That was before the Dometic recall that put a metal shield over that area. It has not happened since.

When traveling, it is a good Idea to check the status of the refrigerator on the refer control panel each time you stop. If the check system light is on. turn the refrigerator off for a few minutes, then back on. This will usually reboot the control panel, and the refrigerator will come back in the normal operating mode.

The information given to you by the salesman is questionable at best. Plus, did he tell you where you can get this frozen jug of water, and where you can put it without throwing a bunch of your food away?

Brian
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Old 04-15-2011, 09:34 AM   #12
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We tow with our LP on for the refer. However, we ALWAYS turn off the refer when refueling. Life is risky enough!

Have folks seen the videos of the mother who refuels her car?--she exits the vehicle, grounds her body by contacting the door, leaves the door open, inserts the gas nozzle, starts the pump to refuel her car, returns to the car, slides into the seat, grabs her purse and generates static electricity during the entry and exit, does not ground herself on the exit, then grabs the pump handle, and her static charge ignites the fumes around the pump handle........not very pretty.

Gas fumes are always a risk. We have a diesel truck, but there are ambient fumes in the area when we refuel......

We all know the old saying: " The fact that a thousand people think that a bad idea is acceptable, doesn't make it a good idea"!

We always turn off our refer to refuel....definitely safer......Zigi
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Old 04-15-2011, 09:42 AM   #13
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I have owned several SOB's in the past and would never consider towing with propane turned on to the coach. As several have posted about pumping gas I believe the risk is too great. Just my 2 cents.

I cool the fridge for a couple of days before we leave and when we stop I will start it up and have never had a problem with food spoilage. the fridge stays plenty cold even while off.

Jay.
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Old 04-15-2011, 10:07 AM   #14
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Zigi, no I have not seen that video. Could you please post a link.

My position remains unchanged when it comes to refueling. I have not heard of a single case where a trailer caught fire at a pump because the refrigerator was on at the time. I have seen numerous examples of motor home fires caused by engine issues and one of a trailer on fire because of a faulty heater.

Gas fumes are heavy and they fall to the ground. The fridge is up off of the ground and the gas fumes would dissipate by the time it got there. Your chances of a fire under these conditions would be about the same as someone smoking on the sidewalk by the gas station. It could happen, but it hasn't. Again, to each his own, but I would like to hear of a case where this ever happened.
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Old 04-15-2011, 10:19 AM   #15
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I run my fridge while on in both the motor home and the trailer. In Cosmo, (our 27FB) I had some issues with wind blowing out the burner, so I installed a small fiberglass furnace filter (the cheap spun fiberglass filters with paper frames) right behind the access door of the fridge.

No fridge blow out since (~50K miles - thru windstorms too)

I'd equate the risk of any gas station accidents to the RF energy put out by cell phones and 2 way radios. Gas stations still have signs stating not to use 2 way radio communication devices and cell phones...

FWIW, I have a diesel TV, so most the time I'm filling up at the diesel only pump anyways, where gas pumps are not directly near me or on the same island that I am at. Not saying that diesel isn't dangerous or flammable, but the flash point between diesel and gas is pretty great.
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Old 04-15-2011, 10:24 AM   #16
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while fumes are always mentioned i'm more concerned about the odd things that can happen. i've been doused by quite a stream of gas from slow auto-shutoffs and i've seen a hose burst while in use.

on the pumps where putting the nozzle into the pump ends the transaction, what happens when the driver drives off while connected? how is the pump shut down?
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Old 04-15-2011, 10:27 AM   #17
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while fumes are always mentioned i'm more concerned about the odd things that can happen. i've been doused by quite a stream of gas for slow auto-shutoffs and i've seen a hose burst while in use.

on the pumps where putting the nozzle into the pump ends the transaction, what happens when the driver drives off while connected? how is the pump shut down?
Most, if not all, hoses have a quick disconnect valve in the hose. Look for it. It is silver and is usually a short distance from where the hose fits into the pump. May be a law now, I don't know.
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Old 04-15-2011, 10:27 AM   #18
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I tow with fridge on. I've done this with 4 RV's over the past 25 years. The only problems I've encountered is on two units the flame would blow out if a truck passed. On one it was in a popup and the regrig did not have automatic ignition. The other was on my previous fiver. I discovered that the electronics on the dometic regrig. had a recall. It was not relighting the flame if blown out. Once the board was replaced, it never had any more problems.

The only time I've noticed the contents getting heated up is during the instances when the flame got blown out and didn't relight. Rest of the time, the refrig has maintained the proper temp.
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Old 04-15-2011, 10:43 AM   #19
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Our new Dometic fridge shuts off for 15 minutes when the TV engine is shut off. This is "to allow for refueling". Which would imply that Dometic expects the fridge to be on while traveling.
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Old 04-15-2011, 10:57 AM   #20
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Have folks seen the videos of the mother who refuels her car?--
Haven't seen it but I'd like to. Where did you find it it?
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