Or something like this direct vent model
That propane heater in your link looks like just the ticket for outside-vented safe propane RV heating without electric power! It doesn't need to have it's pilot manually lit with a match, either ... unlike my old Chinook propane heater!
I know this is a dicussion about the old propane interior lights - one of which we had on the dinette wall in our 1969 Chinook Class C chassis-mount RV - but our old Chinook also had another outstanding RV appliance I wish you could still get: A propane furnace with no fan and with all air supply and venting from/to the outside. It just somehow radiated heat into the interior in complete safety with no battery power required. I had to light it's pilot light whenever we used it, however.
Anyone know where to buy these type RV propane furnaces anymore - to go along with propane lights?
The cost of running the compressor compared to the watts of heat extracted is about 100% more than running plain electric resistance heat at the lowest operating temperature for the "pump".
Don, I'm not sure that your comment above came out as clearly as you intended it to.
Here's my way of talking about heat pumps:
It's much less expensive to get heat from a pure air-to-air heat pump system than from a pure resistance heat system -> when outside temperatures are such that an air-to-air heat pump system can deliver heat. That's of course because heat pumps merely transfer heat that already exists, versus creating new heat as resistance heaters do.
We have had a couple of heat pump systems for about 37 years in our all electric powered residence. Our newest heat pump is a state-of-the-art high efficiency (Trane XL16C) air-to-air one with complete computer control of it's variable speed compressor and variable speed circulation fan. Even though it uses auxiliary resistance heat strips for fast warmups if you want it, in it's fully automatic compressor-only mode it can still deliver heat and keep our interior warm (71 degrees F) with outside temperatures in only the high 20 degrees F range - as a matter of fact it had to do this again this past Sunday evening.
So .... in an RV park with pay-as-you-go electric and outside temperatures not much lower than the 40-45 degree F range - a heat pump roof unit (without heat strips) set to heat mode should result in lower electric charges from the park than what would result from use of a resistance heater in the RV.
Thanks for your propane data!
It looks like you have about the same size propane tank on board as we do - 18 gallons gross - so I was curious as to about how long ours might last in an extreme cold situation with around the clock usage. (However, our Class C is a bit smaller than yours.)
What's the purpose of your "1031952 x .8 = 825561 inside the RV" calculation?
Didn't you already account for the 80% efficiency of the furnace in the line above that?: "21499 x .8 x 60 = 1031952 btu's for the tank size"
..."Melbourne’s rear stabilizer bar raises and lowers each side of the unit to similar heights, reducing roll when cornering.
Well, let me see what we got from Winnebago ....
The Ford E450 that Winnebago put under our Itasca came with both front and rear stabilizer bars. They may look different than what's used on the Melbourne, but what they do is work to hold the left and right sides of the chassis level to reduce roll when cornering. They're probably the stock ones Ford builds the E450 with. Check Page 13 of this specification to see what diameter the rods are used in both the front and back stabilizer bars. Probably what the Melbourne has, too, are what comes on the E450 chassis as delivered by Ford:
Here's some other stock items and features in our Winnebago Itasca Class C to compare against other Class C motorhomes:
- Chrome wheel covers.
- Aluminum driver/passenger cab running boards instead of fiberglass.
- Electrically heated and remotely adjusted cab mirrors.
- Remotely operated cab door locks.
- All exterior storage cabinets are steel walled with carpeting.
- One piece fiberglass roof with full-length rolled edges.
- Deeply crowned roof for extra strength and water run-off.
- Exterior shower with the remote pump switch, hot, and cold controls for it right at the hose.
- Exterior remotely controlled entertainment system with 12 volt DC, 120 volt AC, and cable outlets.
- Exterior snap-on shelf for a BBQ or outside TV.
- All sewer valves are up high and completely contained within a steel-lined dust/dirt resistant enclosed cabinet ... nothing hanging and exposed to the ground to snag.
- The sewer hose is completely contained in the cabinet mentioned above ... not in a tube across the rear.
- Spare tire mounted up out of the way instead of on the back.
- Massive lug wrench for tire changing by the user if desired.
- All exterior electrical services contained within a steel-lined dust/dirt resistant enclosed cabinet ... up high for good ground clearance.
- Built-in valve and hose for winterizing.
- Built-in electric grey and black tank 12 volt DC heaters for cold weather camping with or without hookups.
- Double coach battery protected area that can hold up to twin Group 31 batteries and is accessible from the interior but completely isolated from it.
- Double steel lined and carpeted outside storage areas that run laterally across the RV for storage of long items like fishing poles, shovels, beach umbrellas, etc..
- Four additional steel lined and carpeted exterior storage cabinets besides the two special cabinets mentioned above.
- Exhaust system heat shields to keep the cab floors cool.
- 130 amp alternator instead of 120 amp.
- Switch in the cab to boost the chassis battery from the coach batteries if needed.
- Switch in the cab to power the radio from either the chassis battery or the coach batteries.
- Automatic electric step for the coach entrance.
- The coach's rear tire wells are steel lined to prevent/reduce any damage from a tire blow-out.
- The floor is lined with steel under the flooring insulation.
- All interior coach framing is aluminum.
- All interior wiring is bundled by category.
- All coach cabinet shelves slide on steel tracks.
- All cabinetry uses solid oak doors and facings.
- All galley water is filtered through a long lasting and easily replaceable cartridge.
- The built-in Onan generator is well sound-isolated from the interior and can be comfortably run for hours if needed during hot drycamping conditions.
- The cab radio has surround speakers in the coach area and can be controlled by a remote.
- 18 gallon propane tank.
- 45 gallons of fresh water.
- Steel rear bumper extending all the way across the rear of the coach.
- Roof access ladder actually strong enough to use and last.
- A complete documentation package with information on the motorhome, the Ford chassis, all appliances, and their respective warranties,
- Narrow band digitally controlled propane furnace and air conditioner with two fan speeds and two fan modes.
- Shower head with ON/OFF water controls right on the shower wand.
- Exterior sensor grey and black tank metering system for reliable level readings.
- The entire volume under each dinette seat is available for storage and there are access doors on the ends so the dinette cushions don't have to be removed for access.
- The driver's seatback is not blocked, so it can be tilted back for driving.
- The passenger's seatback is not blocked, so it can be tilted back during travel.
- The coach area contains multiple 12 volt DC and 120 volt AC receptacles.
- There are multiple distributed and adjustable ducts for both the propane furnace and the air conditioner. Furnace duct tubing is located in coach voids where the water lines run for cold weather camping. The fresh water tank is completely contained within the interior and is near some furnace duct tubing to keep it warm.
- The cab area, cabover bed area, and rear bed area can be isolated by snap-on or tracked curtains that were supplied by Winnebago.
- The main engine and generator exhausts are up high to reduce any chance of damage.
- The built-in generator is installed on a side of the coach opposite where any outside activities usually take place.
Also, in some states residence property taxes may depend upon how long you've been around and have stayed around.
We have very low property taxes in our retirement home - way lower than more recent neighbors around us - because of assesed value containment laws. This situation in CA really helps with retirement expenses ... but you have to have stayed in your home the whole time from your working years and on into retirement.
What's in that link is an outstanding business concept. I hope the business owners make it long term. Even permanent residents in very cold parts of the country might switch to an RV parked in these "RV condos" for less expensive living!
Of course it's always nice to get as far away from the next camper as possible for boondocking ... until your tow vehicle, or truck camper's truck, or toadless motorhome breaks down in a way that you're not able to patch up on your own and your cell phone can't get out ... or worse - a medical emergency. Then you sure wish you weren't so far out in the middle of nowhere with no other campers around.
We're fortunate to have two other couples with small toadless motorhoms like ours who also like to boondock. It sure gives us a solid feeling of security and safety when boondocking together with one or both of them. It's really great boondocking with close friends to share daytime activities with, sit around the campfire with, play evening board games with, or watch movies in the evenings with.
We often wish there existed a Western U.S. RV club made up of like-minded motorhome owners who preferred boondock camping - perhaps structured like the Sierra Nevada Airstreams club - as there is plenty of moderate boondocking available in the Sierra Nevada and Sierra Basin areas that don't require 4X4 SUVs pulling offroad trailers or 4X4 truck campers to get to.
1) There's plenty of information on the effectiveness of FSD shocks on Super C motorhomes - and probably on Class A motorhomes too ... a search of the WEB will lead to users comments on the various truck and motorhome blogs (as I discovered). FSD shocks have been available for the E350 for quite some time. The WEB probably has plenty of user inputs on them too. If push comes to shove, someone really interested in what the upcoming E450 FSD shocks might offer could contact the KONI company directly (as I did regarding availability).
2) Removing a leaf need not lower carrying capability. Air bags can replace any loss from a removed leaf spring on each side - if you get ones that can carry the poundage that the leaf spring was carrying. Of course air bags rugged enough to replace one leaf on each side can also restore, or increase, vehicle height. After doing this, you get to ride most of the time on air in the rear without spending the big bucks for full air suspension.
3) As I said, plenty of E450 shuttle buses have full air suspension systems. The cost is in the $4000-$5000 range. For folks who shell out the big bucks for a new E450 based Class C motorhome from $70,000 on up and really love their rigs ... maybe $4000-$5000 to make their E450 ride and handle like a sedan (but still carry full rated weight) would be for them money well spent.
X2 Sure the streets in Boston are narrower than in Salt Lake City, but the highways are the same, east or west. I try to avoid cities anyway.
Well ... the Interstate highways are the same ... but the State highways are not the same.
We've noticed that State highways vary in two important respects:
1) The lane WIDTHS are not all the same. This has no bearing on the LENGTH of your RV, but is real important if you have a WIDE (100 inch to 102 inch) RV - of which many are.
2) The SHOULDERS are missing or very narrow on many State highways. This is real important if you need to pull off - as is often more necessary in an RV than when traveling in passenger vehicle. Also, from a pure safety viewpoint - what if one was to have a slow flat or a blowout occur on their RV on one those shoulder-less State highways ... of which there are plenty in the East.
Slightly changing the subject: I recommend one having an RV navigation system with built-in flagging or warning on overpass heights of you plan on exploring/sight-seeing back East off the Interstate or State highway systems. There's a lot of low overpasses back there.
The "heavy duty" shocks are stiff shocks, and stiff shocks are NOT what is needed in the Ford E350/E450 rear end when it comes to road ruts, potholes, and highway cracks. But then again, you don't want a soft shock back there - for good load control.
So folks are right ... you cannot "shock your way out of" a harsh ride with these two chassis in a Class C motorhome using standard shocks. I can see only three ways to improve the rear end ride in the E350/E450 chassis:
1) Try the Koni FSD shocks on your E350, or try them when available for your E450. These are not the same as the regular Koni shocks ... you'd have to be sure to ask for Koni's FSD shock if you try the Koni route.
2) Have a leaf taken out of the rear leaf springs and install heavy duty air bags. This will put more of the rear end weight purely on air to partially simulate a full air suspension system in the rear.
3) Have a full air suspension system retrofitted in the rear of your E350 or E450 Class C motorhome .... just like is on some shuttle-buses.
I'm going to the try the Koni Frequency Selective Damping shock route to help with the pounding in the rear of our Class C's E450 chassis. I could reduce tire pressure in the rear because we're not anywhere near fully loading the rear axle, but I don't want to compromise on the long tread wear, solid lateral stability, and cooler sidewalls you get from using higher tire pressures.
I've read what you've lamented about concerning your Born Free. A lot of folks in the forums really brag-up their Born Free rigs. I feel for you as RV problems are the pits, since they're supposed to be for recreation ... not headaches. We looked at Born Frees when shopping before buying our new (then) ITASCA V10 Class C, but from what you say I guess we maybe lucked out by not going the Born Free route.
I agree with you on diesels with regards to heavy-duty applications. A Class C motorhome of course is a light-duty application in the diesel world and as such, the modern gas engines have advantages over diesels in this light-duty world here in the U.S., IMHO. What my BIL went through with his diesel rig I practically lived every minute of it with him as he went through it. He's now looking at Ford and RAM pickups with a tow trailer - after his sour experience with a supposedly quality diesel chassis and coach Class B combination.
I've shopped with him in some of his recent looking and what Ford, Chrysler, and GM are now doing with their gas engine development is amazing. They're power and torque is ultra smooth, vibration free, instantaneously on tap, and they idle very quietly inside and out. Along with these improved gas engine characteristics, it seems that in the gas world the engines are going up in mileage while in the diesel world as engineers try to duplicate these characteristics in light-duty diesel applications, diesel mileage is declining from what it used to be with the old diesel technology.
In the 8000 miles I've driven since the change I've averaged about 10.5 mpg. Before it was 10 or less.
Don ... is your 28.5 foot Class C on the Ford E450 V10 chassis?
If it is, as you're well aware that 10.5 miles per gallon after going to larger diameter tires is outstanding for that engine/chassis combination and you've made my point on what making your gearing a bit taller can do if you take it easy on the gas pedal after you do it.
Good point on you're reduced rolling friction also being a contributor. Are your 235 tires Michelin's newer M&S2 line? Michelin mentions their M&S2 tires (NOT their old M&S line) as being "Green X" rated due to lower rolling friction.
FWIW, I've ran 3 diameters over stock on my 4X4 offroad GMC pickup for years for excellent gas mileage (if I kept my foot out of it) and terrific ground clearance. The pickup's RPM was around 1700-1800 when cruising on the highway - right down there where diesel cruise RPMs run.
We don't have a Freedom Express, but I do notice two outstanding things in your post:
- You get an A++ for daring to take your small Class C offroad!
- That outside storage size is off the charts for a small Class C!
When going down the road, the work to overcome wind resistance is not related to the diameter of the tires and/or what mechanical gear the engine is in.
A vacuum gage will read the same for the same RV on the same stretch of road, at the same speed, in the same mechanical gear, and under otherwise identical conditions - one time with a smaller diameter tire, the second time with a larger diameter tire. The only difference should be slightly better gas mileage with the larger diameter tire due to less friction and (maybe) less heat loss in the engine at lower RPMs.
I'll have to remind the high mileage Sprinter owners I associate with how unreliable their trucks have been.
Well, I sure don't have to remind my BIL - who bought a new Mercedes ("Sprinter") based Interstate Class B in 2009 and then finally sold it last spring because he was tired of the unreliability of both it's Mercedes diesel chassis and Airstream-built coach.
He also didn't like not being able to idle the diesel in it for long periods, either, because the propane generator in it was too loud to use for battery charging whenever he tried to camp in the shade. I even ruined a ~$200 jacket crawling underneath it in a rainstorm trying to fix something (... made more difficult by the low Mercedes/Sprinter chassis ground clearance). The Mercedes chassis was even becoming a threat to their safety because of an intermittent and immediate complete chassis (not coach) electrical system shutdown when going down the road a few times.
Everything has it's problems, but one does have to draw the line.
FWIW, every bit of information I can get my hands on indicates that the later versions of Ford's V10 provide long life right up there with diesels.
If I was to buy a new 3/4 or 1 ton pickup for a TC or other stuff, I'd opt for the V10 in it due to several reasons - if it was still even available thanks to the diesel cultists thinking only diesel can pull.
(The V10 in my Class C has been superb - but I don't yet have 300,000 miles on it, either.)