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Old 09-04-2015, 04:01 PM   #1
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5er winter & cold weather use

I just got off the telephone with Forest River. I was speaking to one of their techs about using the trailer in cold weather. I asked him if there was a register in the underbelly of the trailer and he told me no. According to him the only heat supply to the underbelly is from the flex duct work which is not insulated and they protect all the tanks with the heat pads, all four of them. I asked what protected the water pump and he told me he has never heard of the water pump freezing up. I questioned him twice about this but he insisted that he never had heard of one freezing.

I also asked about using a heat tape around the pipes and pomp and he told me that shouldn't damage them in any way by doing that.

I asked what temperature range the trailer is insulated to but he could not answer that. He informed me that FR claims their trailers to be three sason trailers, not four, but he does know owners have used them thru the winter with-out any problems. He told me the ceeiling is inulated with 4 to 4 1/2 inches of foam, the floor has 2 inches of fiberglass insulation and the walls have 1 1/2 inches of fiberglass in them.

That is not a lot but with good heaters it should work down to around 20 degrees I think. At least I hope so. If it gets below that I will plan on staying home. I would like to be able to use it a little below freezing though.

From what he is telling me I shouldn't need any air blowing into the underbelly but to be safe I think I will us a 4 inch booster fan blowing down thr. It sure can't hurt! Debating between blowing air around the pump and plumbing in that area and using the heat tapes. Not sure which would be better. I could also just put a small electric heater next to the water pump. I have one that is controlled by a stat I could use.

As always this is open to suggestions and thoughts.

Jim
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Old 09-04-2015, 11:10 PM   #2
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Even with 93į temps today (middle TN) it's probably not too early in the season to talk about frozen water pipes on the trailer. I've got the same thoughts with plans to camp thru December in Tennessee. Don't have heat tape on the tanks yet, but probably won't use the fresh tank and water pump as both of our destinations have pedistal water. However, I did find an electric water hose at Camping World so I won't need to unhook water hose at night, a habit I started when other rigs froze around me.
As for heating the basement I'll use an old Polonis thermostat controlled mini space heater adjusted to 60ish degrees. The gas furnace blows a small amount of heat into the basement of the 5th wheel which we only use at night below 30 degrees. My knowledgeable dealer says not to worry about water pipes under the enclosed trailer down to 25, just use the gas furnace periodically.
DW mentioned than hot water pipes actually seemed to warm up the cold water this past summer and an inspection shows that they both touch each other through most of the basement routing. So simply using hot water at our rear kitchen faucet before nap time should help keep them (pipes) flowing.
Another forum member suggested an oil filled 1500 watt space heater inside the coach, have not made that commitment yet.

Rob
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Old 09-04-2015, 11:44 PM   #3
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FR has never made/sold a 4-season trailer.
that's why you didn't get the answers you wanted.

if you wanted something that was constructed for very cold temps, you should have looked at Arctic Fox or Outdoors RV.

there are other manufacturers that make 4-season trailers also. but not FR.
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Old 09-05-2015, 12:37 AM   #4
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I have had a Forest River rep tell me with a wink and a smile that these campers are really 2 1/2-season use.

Mine is OK down to 30-degree nights as long as it warms up the next day. Much colder than that and I'm the problem, not it!
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Old 09-05-2015, 09:03 AM   #5
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First off, times 2 on what bikendan posted.

So letís clarify who you talked to. You say you talked to a Forest River tech. Was it someone at corporate Forest River, or a tech at a specific RV brand, or a dealership tech that works on Forest River RVs?

Forest River makes a lot of different brands of RVs that range from entry level with an open underbelly and poor insulation to higher end Cedar Creeks and Cardinals with enclosed underbellies and good insulation. What Forest River brand were you talking about or was it one of FR subsidiaries, Coachmen, Palomino, Prime Time, or Shasta?

I have owned two Wildcat RVs and now I have a CC Silverback and have never had an issue with a water pump freezing up since all three fifth wheels dumped air from the furnace into the front storage compartment. We have camped many times with temps in the low 20ís.

When temps are 32 degrees and above I use a space heater to supplement the furnace. When temps are down into the 20s I turn on the tank heaters and only run the furnace so that warm air is dumped from the furnace to the front storage compartment at frequent intervals. Yes I use a lot of propane but Iíve never sustained damage due to cold weather.
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Old 09-05-2015, 09:43 AM   #6
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I'm not sure what model you have and what options but no FR trailers are 4 season. Was the tech an employee at corporate, assembly line, or a dealer employee?

They do pretty well for 3 season when equipped correctly. Sealed underbelly and tank heaters. I've been camping in March in Utah with mine with no problem. I have a couple duck hunting trips in October November. After that I'll put her up for the winter. I'm expecting freezing temps at night but 40s in the day.
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Old 09-05-2015, 09:54 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oakman View Post
First off, times 2 on what bikendan posted.

So letís clarify who you talked to. You say you talked to a Forest River tech. Was it someone at corporate Forest River, or a tech at a specific RV brand, or a dealership tech that works on Forest River RVs?

Forest River makes a lot of different brands of RVs that range from entry level with an open underbelly and poor insulation to higher end Cedar Creeks and Cardinals with enclosed underbellies and good insulation. What Forest River brand were you talking about or was it one of FR subsidiaries, Coachmen, Palomino, Prime Time, or Shasta?

I have owned two Wildcat RVs and now I have a CC Silverback and have never had an issue with a water pump freezing up since all three fifth wheels dumped air from the furnace into the front storage compartment. We have camped many times with temps in the low 20ís.

When temps are 32 degrees and above I use a space heater to supplement the furnace. When temps are down into the 20s I turn on the tank heaters and only run the furnace so that warm air is dumped from the furnace to the front storage compartment at frequent intervals. Yes I use a lot of propane but Iíve never sustained damage due to cold weather.
Oakman,

When I say I spoke with a FR tech it is a tech from Forest River the Rockwood Signature Ultra-lite division, phone number 574 642-2640. I go straight to the horses mouth when ever possible. My trailer is an 08
Rockwood Signature Ultra-lite. I know FR makes many models and probably over half of the 5ers on the road.

I have been told by some members that there is a 2" register in the sealed underbelly but according to the tech that is not the case, at least not with the Rockwood models. He says the heating pads on the tanks and the heat from the uninsulated flex duct work is enough to keep the tanks from freezing. There is also a 4" flex duct that runs across the trailer near the pump and exposed pipes. Probably supplies enough heat to the storage area but?

I plan on installing two 4" booster fans, one to the underbelly and one to blow on the pump area. Both will be on a thermostat set around 40 to 50 degrees.

To heat the trailer I plan on using a good ceramic heater set about 70' and then set the furnace thermostat to around 65' for nights that the electric heater can't keep up.

Jim
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Old 09-05-2015, 10:01 AM   #8
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I survived last winter in Kentucky with temperatures down in the teens with just two electric heaters, occasional gas heat. I do have the heat traced water hose also.
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Old 09-05-2015, 10:06 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bikendan View Post
FR has never made/sold a 4-season trailer.
that's why you didn't get the answers you wanted.

if you wanted something that was constructed for very cold temps, you should have looked at Arctic Fox or Outdoors RV.

there are other manufacturers that make 4-season trailers also. but not FR.
I don't plan on living in my 5er but want to be able to use it when it gets cold, say 30 to 40 degrees, but want to be safe if it gets colder than that.

I have never seen a 4 season 5er in the area I live in which is NJ. I am sure they are out there but I have never seen one.

Want to be able to go to SC in the winter and want the trailer to be safe, it can get into the 20's on occasion.

Jim
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Old 09-05-2015, 10:12 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SuicideSaints View Post
I'm not sure what model you have and what options but no FR trailers are 4 season. Was the tech an employee at corporate, assembly line, or a dealer employee?

They do pretty well for 3 season when equipped correctly. Sealed underbelly and tank heaters. I've been camping in March in Utah with mine with no problem. I have a couple duck hunting trips in October November. After that I'll put her up for the winter. I'm expecting freezing temps at night but 40s in the day.
The Rockwood has a s ealed underbelly and tank heaters.

Jim
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