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Thursday, May 10, 2012

I Really Didn't Know What To Say

Cause there wasn’t really anything happening here today, that is if you don’t count the pouring rain. 2 inches of rain is a whole lot of water running into the salty sea.

So just five minutes ago I was ready to scratch today’s posting, but then I read John Roger’s blog “Life in a Volkswagen Bus” and he brought up a topic which I certainly have a relationship to, and it’s not a good one.
John is writing about the good old Ebersb├Ącher heater which was mounted in VW-Campers for a long time. Now, we are talking way back – the seventies.
John can get up on  a cold morning and yet moments later he sits having breakfast in a toasty  warm Volkswagen Bus. I am very jealous about that. Tell you why:
Our 40ft. 2004 Diesel pusher has a problem which I never expected when we bought it in 2008. We didn’t notice it either for a while as we bought the thing in Arizona where it is warm. But then we got up north to Alberta and it was April and we had frost outside. In the front seats it got so cold that pretty soon I was holding the wheel with woolen gloves on my hands. My legs felt like they been in a freezer all night and Bea was sitting there with blankets and coats and what not.

We finally drove into town somewhere in Southern Alberta and found an electric fan heater. I started the big Genny and put the heater on the floor between our seats. It helped a bit, but we were far from warm as most of the heat wandered off to the rear of the coach.

Running the propane furnace I consider to be risky, we really don’t want a fire, and I know that the flame can be blown out while driving, Then propane would stream out without an automatic valve to stop it, which is just another misconstruction in the system.
Diesel Pushers have their engines in the rear. The hot air has to travel the entire distance (40ft) to the front before it streams out of the front dash vents. By then it is cold, or almost cold. Even turning on the air condition on full blast does not help much.
What are those motor home manufacturers thinking about where there products are being used? Florida? Summertime in the North? Forget it. After paying up to $200.000 for a halfway decent motor home you get to ride in a potential freezer compartment. Not good.

Yet, if you ever rode a Greyhound bus you know you were never cold inside. Efficient heating systems are available, but the RV-Industry never uses them, unless maybe if you spend a million bucks on a Prevost Motor Home.

Interestingly, and I never found out why, is there always hot water in our boiler after we’ve been driving a whole day. Yet the boiler is not turned on. Looking at the boiler from the outside, there is nothing unusual to see. Now, why not let that water circulate through interior radiators which could contribute to the heating of the coach while driving. I am not any engineer, but that solution strikes me as a possible one.

I am sure this will trigger a few comments with advice about this or that, and I’m looking forward to them.

Thanks for racking your brains about this.

16 comments:

  1. can't help with your heater issues but for now it sounds like you are going to need some thicker socks and a big pair of woolen mittens!

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  2. No help here either. We didn't have a diesel pusher and our rig wasn't too bad. It was still cold - or at least I thought so.

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  3. Maybe it's just easier to dress warmer. We don't leave our propane on while driving at all. I know others do but we're just more comfortable with it off.

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  4. You could convert your propane heater to electric for about $1K http://www.rvcomfortsystems.com/

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    1. But that doesn't really solve my problem while I am driving. I'd have to run the big Genny while driving down the road. While parking I don't have problems with the propane heating. Many RV-Parks have only very expensive electric power to offer. Besides we never stay in RV-Parks. So I don't think electric heat is the answer, but thanks for your suggestion.

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  5. Interesting. I've never heard anyone report that particular problem with diesel pushers. We have a truck and 5'er so we're fine with the truck's heaters. I've always left our propane on while driving so that our fridge keeps cool.

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    1. Other Rv'ers with Diesel Pushers have told us about the same problem. We also leave the propane on for the fridge, but not for the furnace.

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  6. Hello Peter,
    If the heater hose which brings the warm water to the front heater is accessible you could wrap it with pipe insulation. There is a foam insulation which comes in (I think) 4' lengths and splits so it can be placed over your hot water pipes in your house, that may work. It can be bought in most hardware stores, at least in the North country. Mice would love to chew that stuff however so if they can gain access that could be a problem. If you just wrap the hoses with fiberglass insulation the mice will HATE it so that could be a better solution. Sincerely, - - - - - Old Farmer Chuck

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    Replies
    1. The heater hose is only accessible in the front generator compartment. It runs in the hollow of the double floor. Insulating the part which is accessible I have considered and might do it. Question is why didn't the manufacturer do a better job with that?

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  7. I've got a 38' diesel pusher and do not experience any heating problems in cold weather. Seems something isn't work right in your rig. As far as the hot water is concerned, it's called a hot water assist. The engine heats the water through heat exchangers in the hot water tank. We find this very helpful when you get to a destination and have instant hot water.
    Sincerely
    02 DutchStar

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    1. The hot water in the boiler after driving is indeed a good thing. Re. the heat vents there is slightly warm air coming out, but by far it's not enough to take the chill out.

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  8. Some "older" pre 2000 pushers have shut off valves in the heater lines running to the front. You might want to check that out. It might be as easy as opening a valve. Good Luck Have the Best Day You Can Grumpy Dave

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  9. i would think for the heat and for the cost of running your genny ,it would solve all your cold problems going down the road ,and you would be exercising the genny at the same time ,and when you got to your nite camp,wherever that may be ,your rig is already warm and using less resources to start up jmho

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  10. The coach is likely heated by a radiator (heater core) located in a housing up front, this housing should be ducted to the windshield for de fogging and to registers near the floor and in the dash. It sounds as if this radiator is not getting warm/hot coolant from the engine.

    As has been already suggested, it could be as simple as a valve being shut off. This valve could be located near the engine (most likely as it is used to isolate the heater flow in the event of a leak) or/and could be located in front near the heater radiator (core). There could even be isolation valves at both ends of the circuit, again to isolate the heater core with out draining the heater lines from the engine. when you are able to get the heater working, run it on full hot for about 20 minutes to make sure that there is no air in the lines, then check your engine coolant level to see if it has been reduced by air coming out of the lines. Check the operators manual as it may need to be checked only after the engine has cooled down.

    Good luck, Don

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    1. Hello Don, a very good suggestion and I will investigate that. I just can't understand why somebody (the previous owner?)would turn off the valve. I now hope that these valves are accessible without taking the Genny and/or the rear engine out. :-) Thanks for the tip!

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  11. You may find that there is a leak somewhere in the heater lines or radiator (core), and instead of repairing it, the previous owner may have just shut it off. The valves should be reasonably accessible. Remember that there is a feed line and a return line, and they both likely have valves on them.

    Don

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