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Old 05-07-2015, 09:45 AM   #1
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Upcoming HW296 Upgrades - Hot water, Insulation, Generator

Thought I would share with my fellow campers a few modifications that I am doing this summer to make my 2014 HW296 a little more livable this summer. It's been quite a while since I have been on the forums, but to those who don't remember me, I was the 19 year old who bought the camper while working at Acura. I can proudly say I have payed off the camper and enjoyed many successful trips with friends and family. On these trips a few things irked me and here are some of the items I plan on doing soon.

1. Remove the god awful Suburban 5 gallon water heater and replace it with Suburban's new instant hot water system. No more hot water tank; so less weight, no waiting for hot water, and no cold showers. Check it out HERE

2. Add a tank monitoring system. After a recent trip to what used to be Tom Raper of Fairfield ( now camping world with the biggest American flag I have seen ) I noticed the 2015 HW296 comes with a lovely tank monitoring system giving you all the tank levels. A quick look underneath the camper and I noticed that the black tank is no longer above the floor level but beneath where you can see the sending units. I will compromise and only install the tank level sensors on the gray and fresh water. The system I am looking at is a SeeLeveL II tank monitor that views battery voltage, fresh, gray, black, and LP tank levels. Perfect! Check it out HERE

3. Insulation!! This camper gets HOT during the summer and even with the A/C on full blast, doesn't quite cut the mustard for me. The answer is Pop Up Gizmo's Super High Wind bunk covers; basically a insulated reflective blanket that straps on the top of the bunk ends. In addition to that I will be custom cutting Reflectix panels to fit in all the windows of the camper (bunk & box). Between these two mods it should be much cooler in my camper.

4. Install a hard propane tank cover as mine came with a crappy looking fabric that goes over the tanks. Also going to look into changing size of LP tanks to get something bigger for cold camping (heater sucks the gas up like none other!)

5. Generator. I don't like taking the easy way out on anything. Especially when it comes to having to haul around a Generator to power the camper when i'm out with no hook ups (often). I will be converting the slide out storage compartments to house the Generator and necessary equipment.

This requires a major overhaul of the entire design because the generator will be a Onan RV QC 2800 model 2.8HGJBB-1120A that produces 23.3 amps @ 120VAC@60hz. The model is 22"x16.3"x12.8" so it dimensionally fits perfectly. It consumes .5 gal/hr at full load so a 10 gallon fuel tank will give me everything that I need. Summit racing has a nice fuel tank ( View link HERE ) the tank is 17"x16"x10" once again fitting perfectly.

The floor where the generator sits will need to be cut out and special brackets installed to hold the generator (they need an open bottom to cool) where the front intake will be done by opening the existing door in front of the unit. A fire resistant box will be constructed then insulated with dynamat and foam to keep the vibration and sound to a minimum.

The gas tank will sit on the other side of the slide out with the other exterior access door being converted to a gas fill up neck to fill my tank. The tank will be completely isolated from the generator and have it's own flameproof box made.

The exhaust for the generator will be modified with OEM Onan resonators to significantly reduce the sound of the unit.

A 30amp auto transfer switch will keep all the power in check.


Tell me what you think, I'm sure i'll get the "Just buy a honda or similar and call it a day" replies but that's okay. Hope you all are enjoying the weather and getting to use your campers! God bless.
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Old 05-07-2015, 09:47 AM   #2
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It 35lbs too.....
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Old 05-07-2015, 09:54 AM   #3
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It 35lbs too.....
What's 35lbs? the Honda generator?
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Old 05-07-2015, 09:54 AM   #4
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Only thing I will say is...
Agree the popup gizmos are great. Help to reduce the heat somewhat, but protect the canvas covers greatly from tree sap and bird dung. I camp a lot in large pine forests so sap is a big problem.

Propane tank covers suck. Had one, used it a few trips, then threw it into the garbage when I moved from UT to ID. Usually, top off or fill up the tank(s) after each trip and the hard cover was a pain. But my opinion....and have noticed no damage to the tanks, even though I have taken mine off road.

Larger tanks. I thought of that, but if I got larger tanks (taller), I could not pull out the front bed.
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Old 05-07-2015, 10:41 AM   #5
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Hi Corey,

I remember you! Welcome back to the forum.
Sounds like you will be doing some nice things to the pop up.

A few points.

Tankless is an awesome set up. But $1K is steep. Ouch!

Are you sure the black tank is under the floor? There is a grey tank very close to where that black should be. Check to make sure the tank in question is hooked up to the large 3" discharge valve. The tank might be the grey tank for the shower drain which is what you are stepping on when you use the toilet. Hahaha.

Pop up gizmos are great. I bought the SHW version for mine also.

Mine has the plastic LP tank covers already from factory. That was added after you purchased yours. Great idea to add.

Generator is a great idea but I do not understand where you are going to mount it. Under the dinette?


Vin.
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Old 05-07-2015, 02:21 PM   #6
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looks and sound great except the generator? if you are installing under a living area slide out you will heat up your tt when using it.
Most generators like mine are installed in the front storage/generator compartment. Two reasons its much larger area and reflects some of the heat built up from the generator out of the living area because of pre installed air vents. Also they have firewalls to allow a few extra min's for evacuation incase of a fire.
You know you will also need to install a generator box which is also a firewall and the gas tank needs to be out side of the generator fire box. I don't know if you took this into your numbers for space.
Good luck I hope it works for you.
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Old 05-07-2015, 02:40 PM   #7
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Hello Corey

Congrats on the Payoff! That extra money allows for more trips and more toys!
My last toy was a popup and living in Florida I had similar issues. They under power the AC for something as inefficient as a popup.
I did have the solar blankets, but bought them the week I traded it in (So I took them back).
My last trip in it was the Florida Keys and during the day it could not keep up with the heat! We sweated most of the day and froze all night.
I like the idea of the Tankless Water Heater. I will change that out after the warranty!
On behalf of the Generator, the nice thing about the Honda. It can be used for the house if you have power outages! It also weighs very little and is very quiet. It can also be chained to a tree away from your site and cabled in. Also you don't loose your valuable storage.
I agree with f5moab, Just toss the cover and make it easy on yourself.
If the tank gets rusty you can throw a coat of paint on it!

May your Camping trips be many and often!

Regards,
Mark
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Old 05-07-2015, 09:19 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vinmaker View Post
Hi Corey,

I remember you! Welcome back to the forum.
Sounds like you will be doing some nice things to the pop up.

A few points.

Tankless is an awesome set up. But $1K is steep. Ouch!

Are you sure the black tank is under the floor? There is a grey tank very close to where that black should be. Check to make sure the tank in question is hooked up to the large 3" discharge valve. The tank might be the grey tank for the shower drain which is what you are stepping on when you use the toilet. Hahaha.

Pop up gizmos are great. I bought the SHW version for mine also.

Mine has the plastic LP tank covers already from factory. That was added after you purchased yours. Great idea to add.

Generator is a great idea but I do not understand where you are going to mount it. Under the dinette?


Vin.
I will make a diagram and attach the picture later to show what I'm talking about. It would be level with dinette where the storage compartment is. It would have to be modified but it is doable. The other alternative is move the LP and battery and place the unit in a custom enclosure in the front.

Quote:
Originally Posted by j free View Post
looks and sound great except the generator? if you are installing under a living area slide out you will heat up your tt when using it.
Most generators like mine are installed in the front storage/generator compartment. Two reasons its much larger area and reflects some of the heat built up from the generator out of the living area because of pre installed air vents. Also they have firewalls to allow a few extra min's for evacuation incase of a fire.
You know you will also need to install a generator box which is also a firewall and the gas tank needs to be out side of the generator fire box. I don't know if you took this into your numbers for space.
Good luck I hope it works for you.
Yes I didn't think about the heat, the A/C already struggles. But yes the I did find a box enclosure that would work without major modifications.

Quote:
Originally Posted by compman69 View Post
Congrats on the Payoff! That extra money allows for more trips and more toys!
My last toy was a popup and living in Florida I had similar issues. They under power the AC for something as inefficient as a popup.
I did have the solar blankets, but bought them the week I traded it in (So I took them back).
My last trip in it was the Florida Keys and during the day it could not keep up with the heat! We sweated most of the day and froze all night.
I like the idea of the Tankless Water Heater. I will change that out after the warranty!
On behalf of the Generator, the nice thing about the Honda. It can be used for the house if you have power outages! It also weighs very little and is very quiet. It can also be chained to a tree away from your site and cabled in. Also you don't loose your valuable storage.
I agree with f5moab, Just toss the cover and make it easy on yourself.
If the tank gets rusty you can throw a coat of paint on it!

May your Camping trips be many and often!

Regards,
Mark
Yes getting debt off feels good. I was a hard head who didn't listen to any of the advise on buying outright but when working at Acura they cut the used car demo program and I had a few years before I qualified for a new car therefor I had to buy one. I bought a car I had wanted ever since I saw it, a Kinetic Blue Pearl 07 Acura TL Type-S and financed it for 12 months to pay it off quickly. Talk about cutting payments close. Glad everything is paid for now though, live and learn right?

I think I might just give up on the tank cover and call it a day. I am considering a Honda unit just because of how much simpler it would be.

The tankless heater is a must, once the warrantee is up, out the old crap goes! I contacted Popup Gizmos about interior liner and exterior cover. I will also be custom making Reflectix window inserts and possibly plates for the walls with velcro strips to take them off when closing the camper.
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