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Author Topic: Staying in winter weather  (Read 1670 times)
thejumpsuitman
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« on: December 23, 2010, 07:59:39 PM »

I was wondering where some of  you folks from the far North coming South stay overnight when weather is sub-freezing.  This may be something I will have to do and have never done before....  Wal-Mart with generator running?  Truck stops? Rest areas?  Are there any places you can plug in?  I would love to have some ideas and some precautions for such a stay.

Thanks,
Marc
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DMoedave
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« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2010, 08:36:26 PM »

I leave from NY/NE PA area and try to get to Mid NC for the first stop over, weather and traffic permiting. Sometimes because of all the last minute stuff to be done at home and with my biz i only get 3-4 hours down the road and i sleep at a rest area or truck stop for a couple or four-five hours. As for heat, depends on what you are set up for. Alot of RV's have the gennie buzzing away and at the truck stops the same with the engines on the rigs. Not sure how the anti idiling laws will change that. I park and sleep up front on the  couch with the propane heater set around 50 and sleep well. when i get up (somtimes i set the alarm) i crank the heat up start coffee, go inside and hit the heads and come back and do my walk around finish some coffee, look at the maps (stall and wake up my brain) stow anything out and loose and start up and head back on the road.  Most campgrounds are closed till you get farther south, we dont have a gen set just invertor and never have found or needed a place to plug in. If its really cold i try to get as far south as soon as i can. I drive till i am tired or hit crappy weather or traffic and pull over and rest again. Be carefull and alert around some rest areas and truck stops, park around lighting if you can and where you can see it as you walk away and please dont take up more than one spot at a truck stop or rest area. The RV section is usually pretty full this time of year but i park there when i can but i have been blocked in by morons before at the rv spots. Good luck and happy travels
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white-eagle
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« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2010, 08:56:39 PM »

Follow what Dave said.  get as far south as you can.  if the temp is in the teens, you're usually better off with electric somewhere.  We try to look at how long we'll have to run the genset to keep warm versus the cost at a campground.  when we used to come from Ohio, we'd park at the skp park in Knoxville or drive further to chatanooga but still cold enough to find a campground.  Atlanta south to florida is usually good not to freeze overnight.  We are all electric, but we carry a portable Mr. Buddy, just in case.
a simple 60 watt bulb will usually keep water from freezing in an enclosed space.  hang a drop cord near the water pump.
we have run our genset at walmart, and at truck stops.  i try to stay clear of other RV types. 

keep near lights and keep some sort of protection handy.  i've never had a problem and we boondock a lot, but the solution to any problems is always close by and loaded.
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Tom
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thejumpsuitman
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« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2010, 09:12:11 PM »

Say hypothetically that freezing weather cannot be avoided...  What kind of worries then?  How to keep engine warm enough to start, etc.
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Joe Camper
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« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2010, 10:44:16 PM »

If you do not have an electric block heater (or do not want to run the gen to power it) or Webasto or Aqua-Hot, your engine will stay warm easy for 4 or 5 hr in temps down to 20 or so. If it gets down around zero it needs to be plugged in or be started up every couple hr for 10 or 15 min. These are vague examples but hope it helps some.

IMO if I did not have a hydronic heating system I'd just run the gen. Get a heater in the plumbing bay take on water and I'd run the crap out of the gen. I'd be warm and comfortable. That's why we got the thing, the bus AND the gen. Full tank of fresh water sitting next to a running water heater with a good fan forced heat source would be pretty hard to freeze up. It would take quite a while and under some pretty cold temps.

If you do not have a heated and insulated plumbing bay do not take on water till your out of sub freezing temps.
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TomC
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« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2010, 11:33:37 PM »

If you don't have a block heater and have a generator, you can use a 500 watt halogen light (around $10.00 at the big box stores) shinning under the oil pan to keep the engine warm, or to warm it up in the morning.  I did that this last weekend in Las Vegas when the temp was down in the 40's at night-but with a 30mph wind chill-ran the light for about 2 hours before starting.  Really made starting in the morning less of a hastle, with minimal smoke.   Good Luck, TomC
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« Reply #6 on: December 24, 2010, 03:54:04 AM »

If its really cold you're going to need more than a light bulb for heat but that big lump of cast iron will hold heat for a long time after its been running hard all day.  We have a Proheat so its never a concern for us but if I didn't have that I think I'd set the alarm for about 4 hours after I shut down and get up to start the noisemaker.  Or run the gennie with a blockheater if that's an option.  Or do like the truckers do and let it run all night on high idle.  I know that's not ideal but cold starting a diesel isn't pretty either.
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bevans6
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« Reply #7 on: December 24, 2010, 05:03:07 AM »

When I come down, I usually get to Beckley/Summersville area on Rte 19 between I79 and I 77.  There is a good exit one before the Rte 19 exit off I79 that has a KOA that stays open, but the access to the campground is lousy.  There are Walmarts on 19, and there are truck stops in Beckley that are possibly the noisiest, most crowded truck stops I have ever seen!  Anyway, I stop for about 8 hours, I run the generator for an hour before I start to preheat with the block heater, or I use ether.  I run the propane furnace for heat.

Going home is worse.  I always seem to have to stop around Pittsburg or up to Erie area.  That gets very cold sometimes!  I've been through there is early December with 14 inches of snow and 10 degrees!  I didn't stop that trip!

Brian
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« Reply #8 on: December 25, 2010, 10:12:44 AM »

Our '67 MC 5A is not insulated very well at all. Stock insulation in the walls and ceiling, and none for the floor. I have two furnaces, one in the rear, 20K, and one in the front, 40K.I have one duct from each ran into the rear bay, with flappers to divert, as needed, according to temp. (Bay or coach outlets). I can keep from freezing water down to -20 F, (all water tanks/lines are in the rear bay). As far as starting in the morning, I start the Gennie, make coffee, wife makes breakfast, do my pre-trip, and by then around 2 hours have gone by, and it starts right up. Or watch a movie on the dvr. You can push the start time up an hour by the 3-5 second  crank, wait 10 seconds, repeat. Usually starts on the third or fourth try with lots of white smoke. The coldest start we ever had was in -20 F and it took three hours of block heater before starting.

Don & Sheila
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lostagain
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« Reply #9 on: December 25, 2010, 02:02:16 PM »

When I drove for Brewster's in Banff, Alberta, in the '70s, on cold mornings (-20, -30*C), one of us, someone reliable at getting out of bed early, would have an early call time to start all the buses needed for that day. Most of them weren't plugged in, just the ones known to be hard to start. You'd go from one to the next with the either pills and start them. All the diesel smoke you could breathe in the lot as you can imagine. Then if you were overnight somewhere, you often left it running on fast iddle all night. Nowadays, they all have block heaters or Webastos and the like.

Merry Christmas,

JC
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JC
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buswarrior
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« Reply #10 on: December 26, 2010, 10:55:50 AM »

If you have no other devices, just idle it.

Won't be the first time it has been idled all night...

Be thoughtful as to where your engine room is in relation to neighbours.

How is your air drier heater powered? Be sure to leave that circuit energized... often it is via the coach heater circuit.

Coach heat on, fast idle it, otherwise, low idle and the defroster on low and sleep soundly to the rumble of the Detroit.

You will leave a smoke show when pulling out, so as you are inclined, pull away with as little throttle as you can, leave the smoke show for the on ramp? Or, pull out before it gets light out?

happy coaching!
buswarrior


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thejumpsuitman
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« Reply #11 on: December 26, 2010, 08:30:46 PM »

I appreciate all the responses.  Doesn't look like it will be quite as bas as I thought, but you never know.  Have a block heater and a generator, but would like to have a backup plan, just in case.  Main thing is I have no furnace, just space heaters and coach heat.  Don't want to freeze, you know.  Probably take a few couple hour naps instead of a full night sleep until I am out of the really cold weather.
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Jerry32
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« Reply #12 on: December 27, 2010, 07:22:57 AM »

I try to plan on a cheap RV park to get plugged in if very cold and then get as far south as possible the next day. Jerry in Yuma AZ for the winter
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