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Old 12-11-2008, 11:32 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by JK3500 View Post
...My one concern is whether the catalytic alone is sufficient for heating. I am conservative and keep the trailer "jacket comfortable" in the winter. Since your trailers are about the same size as mine I am interested in how well the catalytic is able to keep the trailer reasonably warm in temps down into the teens and single digits...
Full report coming in the New Year. I'm heading out to Seattle, Mono Lake, and back to Colorado. I expect many nights to be below 20 degrees, so I'll have good data to report.

Zep
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Old 12-11-2008, 11:37 AM   #22
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Full report coming in the New Year. I'm heading out to Seattle, Mono Lake, and back to Colorado. I expect many nights to be below 20 degrees, so I'll have good data to report.

Zep
Awesome. Sounds like a great trip. Look forward to reading the report. Enjoy! jk
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Old 12-12-2008, 10:43 AM   #23
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Zep, sounds like a great trip.

We stumbled across Mono Lake this year on our way to Death Valley and were just blown away by the beauty. Very exotic sight for a Virginian. We also visited Bodie and wished we hadn't gotten there so late. It is worth more than the hour we could spend there.

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Old 12-13-2008, 04:58 PM   #24
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Bodie is fantastic at sunrise. Was there once, no one around, and three military fighters came screaming overhead at very low evelation. Startling, incongruous and awesome.
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Old 12-29-2008, 04:39 AM   #25
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Back early. Miserable trip (while driving), but nights in the Sovereign were comfortable.

First, the conditions: 3,375 miles, 10 long days of driving, not one day without significant road ice. Night time lows down to -5, daytime highs usually 26 or so, but we saw 36 on two days. Worst weather in the NW in 30 years.

The trip was planned for coastal Oregon and Seattle, so we expected lows of 30 degrees, with maybe an excursion or two down to 15. Highs typically are mid-40s. Actual temperatures never got this high. So the challenge was what to do about the sub-freezing daytime temperatures while driving. With some trepidation I decided that the heater had to run pretty much all day (had to keep the canned goods and drinks from freezing, and keep the fridge from freezing the veggies). The beauty of a catalytic heater is that there is no flame and it won't "blow out" due to a big bump.

The Olympic Wave 6 heater worked great. For days when the outside temperature was in the 20s, I ran the Olympic at low. When the temps were below 10, I ran it at max. The trailer remained above freezing despite being in a continuous 45-65 mph gale with a not-so-good door seal. The other drafty source were the holes under the kitchen cabinet for the water drain lines. Neither of these were fixed during the trip due to the extreme cold--caulk doesn't like to be applied below 40 degrees and the weather stripping adheasive won't stick.

The only significant problem was condensation. When the heater was at max all day, there was enough to wet the floor under the windows in the front of the trailer (the heater is up front). If you've seen my other thread on the Sovereign and all the window modifications I'm doing, you may recall that one of the windows (next to the door) is only single pane. It collected roughly half of all the condensation, sometimes as frost and sometimes a water that would run off immediately.

Due to the extreme conditions, we hooked up to electrical every night, sometimes with 20 amps, but mostly with 30. Surprisingly, once the trailer was warm (like 50 degrees), two 1500 Watt ceramic heaters were sufficient to maintain comfort all night, even when it was 5-10 degrees ouside. On the coldest night (it actually got colder than -5 most of the night) we used the Olympic and one ceramic heater, with a Buddy heater for a few hours.

I haven't refilled the propane yet, but I ran the heater pretty much on medium or max for 85 hours straight and then another 35 hours on low and used less than what I estimate to be 10 gal of propane.

In summary, the Olympic made the trip possible, but due to the length of the Sovereign you need some heat source in the rear. We were surprised that a ceramic heater was sufficient back there, but I think that's a testament to the fact that there weren't any air leaks in the aft part of the trailer. For boondocking, I think that a Buddy heater in the back on low would do fine. I just need to get the door seal fixed and other leaks blocked to see if I'm right about this. I can't emphasize enough how significant the draft was from the holes under the kitchen cabinet and they're only 1" in diameter with a 5/8" pipe in them!

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Old 12-29-2008, 05:03 AM   #26
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It goes without saying the trip didn't follow the original plan. Business cancellations nixed Bodie, sliding backwards on a hill west of Portland nixed getting to the coast. Some days were beautiful, every day on the highway was terrifying (try chains over Snoqualmie Pass where the Sovereign is trying to slide to the inside of the turn). Here's some samples...

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Seattle ice...
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Road grime and salt was constant
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Thick fog in eastern WA and OR
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Glad to be back in Colorado where temps are in the 50s!

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Old 12-29-2008, 05:20 AM   #27
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Great pictures, sounds like you had an interesting trip. I need to turn the heater up a few degrees...
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Old 12-29-2008, 06:20 AM   #28
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Zep,

Great trip report. A testament to your driving abilities. Makes me wonder, can you stud a trailer tire?
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Old 12-29-2008, 06:33 AM   #29
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Zep,

Great trip report. A testament to your driving abilities. Makes me wonder, can you stud a trailer tire?
They call them "traction tires" in Oregon. I don't know if you can get them in truck tires, but it seems like (watching pickups go by me a high rates of speed) they must be available (or is everyone else nuts?).

I really felt like I needed chains on my front tires and maybe "drag chains" on the trailer, at times. The semis are required to have drag chains on their trailers and I have to admit there were times I thought it would be a good idea for me, too.

By the way, I met up with GORANSONS at a stop on I-84 and handed over a couple of vents. I think it was about 8 degrees when we took the photo.

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Old 12-29-2008, 07:30 AM   #30
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I can't wait to here the "rest of the stories"
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Old 12-29-2008, 07:57 AM   #31
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Zep,

What a trip - you guys win my prize for iron man traveling. How did your water pipes and holding tanks fare? Was the heat in the living area sufficient to keep the low stuff from freezing?

Pat
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Old 12-29-2008, 10:18 AM   #32
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Zep,

What a trip - you guys win my prize for iron man traveling. How did your water pipes and holding tanks fare? Was the heat in the living area sufficient to keep the low stuff from freezing?

Pat
I don't use the water system if the temps are going to be below 25 degrees for more than a few hours. I put 4-5 one gallon water bottles in the shower pan and manually pour water from them to wash dishes, etc. You can get along on about a gallon and half a day that way and hit the showers at the RV camps.

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I can't wait to here the "rest of the stories"
Just like driving an air hockey puck with 6,500# in tow that wants to go in another direction... no, actually the Sovereign was very well behaved. I never visually detected it sliding sideways, but the steering effort seemed to indicate that it was doing it a little. It's unnerving to be in the slow lane in a left turning part of the highway and the highway is inclined to the left--you feel yourself being dragged left, even if it's just imagination.

I think everyone should take note of one thing in particular. If you have chains on your rear wheels, you're really driving a vehicle chain that has reasonable traction at only one point--the middle. So the drive wheels are trying to push and the front wheels are thinking they can go sideways. Separately from that, the trailer is pulling the tail around in whatever direction the ice ruts and gravity dictate. I also think that one set of chains in this circumstance are more dangerous than no chains. I went into 4x4 mode a lot, which may or may not have helped the steering.

Going up Vail Pass was terrible. The fast lane had two wheel tracks with no ice, so vehicles in that lane were zipping up the hill. The slow lane had negligible ice, but once you put the chains on, you're limited to 30 mph and if you're luck is all bad, the torque-incline-weight-speed combination puts you right at a transmission shift point, so you're on a bucking bronco until you decide to put it in 2nd gear and take the whole damn hill that way. I really don't know if 4x4 without chains would have been better. I've done Eisenhower and Vail 6-7 times before in the snow w/o chains with the Caravel and Overlander and never had a problem. But this time chains were "required," per the flashing lights.

One cool thing (is this a pun?) is that some of the Utah weigh stations leave their scales on when the staion is closed, and the weight is shown outside on a large digital display. From front to back I was 3,900, 4,600, 5,500 lbs. Thank you Price, UT, weigh station!

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Old 07-05-2010, 08:54 PM   #33
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Rear propane connection

The aluminum tube from the propane "in" fitting is very soft and maleable. You can bend it easily with your fingers. As long as you keep a good radius and bend it only once or twice, you can put the "in" fitting at the bottom, as I did, or at the back.

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You'd want to put the fitting at the back if you needed to put the hinge on the left side, rather than the right side as I did. To put the fitting at the back (instead of the side), I'd run the feed line in front of the flame line. This will provide enough room in front of the fitting to make a 2" or so radius bend, from just inside the front cover and towards the back. You have to estimate where to put the new hole for the fitting to match where it will be with the radius in the tube.

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You could also give yourself a "back" propane in orientation by using the 90 degree fitting and just turning it in that direction.

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Old 07-05-2010, 09:38 PM   #34
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I stood in front of that heater, and it wasn't florida but compared to that 8 degree heat it made a big difference, I was impressed. I know our suburban would never keep up like that, not to mention all the battery power it would eat up.
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