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Old 05-04-2021, 07:47 PM   #1
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refrigerating on the road

maybe there is a better subforum for this... I am just learning my way around... the forums, and the Airstream!

On my first trip at the moment... it's pouring rain and blowing it horizontal and heading toward freezing temperatures... wow, an Airstream is an awful lot more comfortable than a tent!

My question: while on the road, towing... do folks leave the refrigerator running? Do you leave your propane turned on? I have the unit set to "auto" so I thought I could turn off the propane and the fridge would switch to 12v, but it was beeping. I didn't shut off the battery power to the trailer... I feel like I am missing some key detail somewhere!


Thanks in advance!
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Old 05-04-2021, 07:50 PM   #2
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Which refrigerator do you have? 2 way (propane and 120 volt), 3 way (propane, 120 volt or 12 volt) or electric only.
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Old 05-04-2021, 08:01 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by azflycaster View Post
Which refrigerator do you have?

That's a great question! I wonder how I would find out? I guess I should turn off the propane and turn on the inverter, and if that stops the beeping, there's the answer!


Do folks commonly leave the inverter running while traveling down the road?
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Old 05-04-2021, 08:06 PM   #4
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The manual the dealer gave me covers more than a dozen models with all sorts of power options, so that isn't much of a clue.
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Old 05-04-2021, 08:07 PM   #5
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2021 25’ flying cloud runs off propane & shore power. Yes, I run with my propane and fridge running. I suggest pre-cooling the fridge by plugging into shore power prior to your departure, then switching to gas. While the fridge maintains temperature well on propane, it struggles to get down to temp on gas. Make sure your propane is open. Turn the fridge off, then back on. Then manually select gas. My Dometic on my 2020 was temperamental and required this.
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Old 05-04-2021, 08:10 PM   #6
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From the symptoms, i would guess that you have Propane and 120 volt AC. Until recently, this was the standard for almost all Airstreams. If you have this type and it is in auto (not gas) and you turn off the propane it will try and relight the flame. You will hear a series or two of clicking as the igniter attempts to light the flame. It will fail and you will have an error code or a check light (model dependent).

If your fridge is this type, you can either leave the propane on like most of the traveling public do or shut off the refrigerator and keep the door shut till you get it running again.
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Old 05-04-2021, 08:16 PM   #7
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thanks folks! yeah I have a 2021 FC 25... someplace I read to turn off the propane while moving, but I know a lot of the instructions are more to avoid liability claims than to be practical!


I got the freezer to make ice, so it sure does work!
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Old 05-04-2021, 08:24 PM   #8
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I travel with fridge in LP mode

Just to provide some data on your earlier question, I am one of those that does travel with propane valves open, and run the fridge in auto while towing (meaning it runs on LP while towing). I have an older FC (2015) so I can't run mine on 12VDC only. Before a trip, I do always connect to shore power and turn on the fridge a day early, so it cools down before I run it on LP, to try and save some LP.
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Old 05-05-2021, 07:00 AM   #9
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We travel with the Propane/Fridge on. One trick to cool down quickly is to buy a bag of ice when pulling the coach out of storage, put half in the freezer and half in the fridge and turn it on. When traveling, avoid loading the fridge with a pile of warm items all at once. (Load a can of tasty beverage one at a time after removing a can of tasty beverage) etc. - Brad
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Old 05-05-2021, 07:18 AM   #10
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We travel with the Propane/Fridge on. One trick to cool down quickly is to buy a bag of ice when pulling the coach out of storage, put half in the freezer and half in the fridge and turn it on. When traveling, avoid loading the fridge with a pile of warm items all at once. (Load a can of tasty beverage one at a time after removing a can of tasty beverage) etc. - Brad
Brad, good call! I always plug in the day before, though never really thought about stacking the fridge with warmer items all at once. I usually just pull from the house fridge and add to the ASís. It would be easy to add add a case of warm la Croix etc without even thinking about it... now I will!
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Old 05-05-2021, 07:26 AM   #11
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Do folks commonly leave the inverter running while traveling down the road?
No. Only turn on the inverter while you are using something plugged into a marked inverter outlet.
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Old 05-05-2021, 09:32 AM   #12
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Propane driving or not ?

For 6.5 years never ran with propane on. Only precooled, preloaded and after many hours of keeping the fridge door shut.... started driving. Mostly So Cal / Sierra trips up to the 80’s drove up to 5hours without temps climbing to a concern. Freezer rose to mid 20’s and Fridge to mid 40’s typically. (We have a multi zone wireless temp sensor kit to monitor freezer, fridge, separate 12v cooler under dinette without having to open and check em). Pic was a trip test using propane on a 7 hour drive home from Yosemite.

Last year we started all the same but driving while on propane to keep all super chill.

Lesson learned is depending the ambient temps, travel time and stuff in fridge you may be able to choose NO power for many hundreds of miles or many hours before plugging in or firing back up.
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Old 05-05-2021, 10:11 AM   #13
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Refer Power Source

I understand some states have regulations regarding ďopen flameĒ at gas stations and other potentially dangerous sites. Makes sense. So, as you leave roadway for gas fill-up, youíre going to have to secure LPG tanks AND confirm a possible lingering refrigerator flame is out before approaching fuel pumps.

Roberta and I have driven our first 8,000 miles with LPG off, but we may change our habits. I was judging status of refer by confirming ice existed in ice trays. Thatís really only saying youíre at 32 degrees at the top of your box, and maybe not even that if cubes started out colder. Now we have a large, easy-to-read thermometer at the BOTTOM of the box. Iíve discovered Ice on top and temperature at bottom barely under 41 degrees. (With nothing in the refer, weíve been able to get the bottom of the box down to 34 degrees running on LPG.)

These new AC/LPG/DC boxes are beginning to sound good. Run DC on the road, AC where shore power is available and LPG when boondocking.

I think a movable thermometer is a must.

As for our next outing, weíll keep the refer going with LPG but secure prior hitting fuel pumps. Iíve seen that refer flame, and itís a torch.
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Old 05-05-2021, 10:22 AM   #14
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(Load a can of tasty beverage one at a time after removing a can of tasty beverage) etc. - Brad
There are 2 other options for this.
1 Buy them pre-chilled.
2 Put them in a cooler with some ice.(added benefit put cooler next to chair outside and use cooler as table)
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Old 05-05-2021, 10:34 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by 1StreamDream View Post
Just to provide some data on your earlier question, I am one of those that does travel with propane valves open, and run the fridge in auto while towing (meaning it runs on LP while towing). I have an older FC (2015) so I can't run mine on 12VDC only. Before a trip, I do always connect to shore power and turn on the fridge a day early, so it cools down before I run it on LP, to try and save some LP.
Same here, with a 2016.
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Old 05-05-2021, 10:37 AM   #16
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Good advice by all. I have run our refrig on gas while on the road for over twenty years and have had no issues with it. Remember to cool it down for a day before going on the road. Another hint is to load the freezer before you leave. The frozen items will remain frozen and help to keep the freezer cold. Have fun on the road!!
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Old 05-05-2021, 10:42 AM   #17
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All the above are good ideas for using your fridge.

If you use propane for your fridge its a good idea to turn on the propane then light the stove burner temporarily to get propane into the lines and make sure you don't put the power in the store position when traveling. The fridge should then switch from electric to propane and vise versa when on auto. make sure your fridge door is closed well when traveling

Good Luck
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Old 05-05-2021, 10:44 AM   #18
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There have been many threads on this topic. Do a search to find all types of answers/solutions. Do NOT use your inverter. This only powers the marked outlets. With a gas/electric fridge the power will run through your converter I believe.


I have been towing a trailer with a fridge since about 2004 and have over 50K miles on my Airstream. I run with it on and have only been asked once to turn off the gas pumps before fueling. I do turn off the tanks while on ferries and have yet to venture far enough east to have to be concerned about those tunnels I have read about. All the hints about pre cooling are good ones. It does help especially when outside temps start getting high.
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Old 05-05-2021, 12:32 PM   #19
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We have always ran with propane on...18 years now; 4th AS...no issues. Start on AC day before with shore power. Make sure the "Auto" switch actually makes the switch when you turn on the propane; if not, turn off and manually select. As was mentioned, sometimes it can be stubborn, but most of the time works fine. We have used the inverter once or twice...it does suck up battery, and really, we don't need any electric that bad...if we do, we will connect the generator as needed. Enjoy!
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Old 05-05-2021, 02:27 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by kukula View Post
thanks folks! yeah I have a 2021 FC 25... someplace I read to turn off the propane while moving, but I know a lot of the instructions are more to avoid liability claims than to be practical!


I got the freezer to make ice, so it sure does work!
Hi

You can indeed turn off the propane while in motion. Drive 8 hours down the road in mid summer and you will be much safer ( from LP issues). Indeed all the food in the fridge and freezer will have been exposed to unsafe temperatures. You may die of food poisoning, but you *will* be safe from LP issues.

Keep in mind that "chunk of ice over there" in the freezer section does not in any way prove that things stayed safe .... Also, even if it does not poison you, it's spoiled and will soon taste bad.

So, options:

1) Don't use the fridge when in motion and be very safe. Only stock it once you get to the camp site and it's had at least 12 hours to cool down. Empty it again before you go back on the road.

2) Only carry bottled water in the fridge or other "refrigeration optional" items. Let them warm up in the disabled fridge while on the road.

3) Run the LP on the road except when going through tunnels that are marked with a "turn it off" requirement. That way the fridge does what you need it to do.

Your choice.

Bob
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