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Old 10-19-2012, 02:37 AM   #1
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Cool Northern MN in 385BH Full Time!

Hi everyone!
Ok, so I thought I'd open this up for some input. We are NOT novice fulltimers, in fact, I wouldn't own/rent/set foot in a house if you gave me one. I don't even like looking at them. We've lived in our RV (Class A MH) for a long while now, and have just slammed down $8500 on a brand new 2013 385BH, and will pick it up on Tuesday 10/23 along with our new to us 2004 F350 (I know 6.0 PS, worst engine ever, blah, blah). We've done this because the kids are no longer babies, and we needed more than 35 feet with the illusion of privacy, and some sort of "insulation" against the cold, and apparently I'm a masochist.
I've read all the threads on the first model year problems, and am scared sh--less that I just made the mistake of a lifetime giving up "Bussy", but that's not what I'm on about here. So yep, we currently live in Northern Minnesota on the Iron Range as I work at an iron mine. We will be here for 44 months, then BACK to Colorado . We will winter over 4 times with temps reaching negative 35degF with 4 feet of ground freeze and who knows how much snow. We will attempt to keep the water on, as we work camp at a defunct RV park and get free everything. We've stayed in our Class A through hurricanes, 3 feet of snow, earth quakes, angry red necks, and more, but never a Northern MN winter.
So we have a very comprehensive plan. If anyone is interested I will continue this post with our plan and our progress (and yes pictures). We are open to all forms of advice, help, insight, and corn whiskey. If there is no interest I will bugger off. If anyone is in MN and would like to stop by, PM me, you missed the pig roast (honestly so did I...too much firewater) but we can still tell old war stories and bitch about our rigs! Maybe go ice fishing/ice drinking?
Let me know folks.
Thanks for your time, Oh, and Christopher Columbus, if you're still around this site, please PM me preferably with a phone number where I can talk with a factory rep/tech.
Thanks!
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Old 10-19-2012, 07:16 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GypsyFamily
Hi everyone!
Ok, so I thought I'd open this up for some input. We are NOT novice fulltimers, in fact, I wouldn't own/rent/set foot in a house if you gave me one. I don't even like looking at them. We've lived in our RV (Class A MH) for a long while now, and have just slammed down $8500 on a brand new 2013 385BH, and will pick it up on Tuesday 10/23 along with our new to us 2004 F350 (I know 6.0 PS, worst engine ever, blah, blah). We've done this because the kids are no longer babies, and we needed more than 35 feet with the illusion of privacy, and some sort of "insulation" against the cold, and apparently I'm a masochist.
I've read all the threads on the first model year problems, and am scared sh--less that I just made the mistake of a lifetime giving up "Bussy", but that's not what I'm on about here. So yep, we currently live in Northern Minnesota on the Iron Range as I work at an iron mine. We will be here for 44 months, then BACK to Colorado . We will winter over 4 times with temps reaching negative 35degF with 4 feet of ground freeze and who knows how much snow. We will attempt to keep the water on, as we work camp at a defunct RV park and get free everything. We've stayed in our Class A through hurricanes, 3 feet of snow, earth quakes, angry red necks, and more, but never a Northern MN winter.
So we have a very comprehensive plan. If anyone is interested I will continue this post with our plan and our progress (and yes pictures). We are open to all forms of advice, help, insight, and corn whiskey. If there is no interest I will bugger off. If anyone is in MN and would like to stop by, PM me, you missed the pig roast (honestly so did I...too much firewater) but we can still tell old war stories and bitch about our rigs! Maybe go ice fishing/ice drinking?
Let me know folks.
Thanks for your time, Oh, and Christopher Columbus, if you're still around this site, please PM me preferably with a phone number where I can talk with a factory rep/tech.
Thanks!
$ 8500.00. 2013 385bh? ?????
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Old 10-19-2012, 07:26 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by f1100turbo

$ 8500.00. 2013 385bh? ?????
I'd imagine that's a downpayment, Turbo.

Welome to the forums, Gypsyfamily!

We're a friendly bunch here and I look forward to hearing abut how this works for you.
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Old 10-19-2012, 07:37 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Triguy

I'd imagine that's a downpayment, Turbo.

Welome to the forums, Gypsyfamily!

We're a friendly bunch here and I look forward to hearing abut how this works for you.
Whew I was goin to get me one of those lol!

To the op congrats and welcome to the forum!
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Old 10-19-2012, 07:59 AM   #5
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Welcome! We're in Northern Ontario, pretty much due east of you so we know what you're getting into, much braver than us though, we've left the trailer for the warmth of our house. The DW is from Roseau, MN so she REALLY knows what's headed your way. Good luck!
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Old 10-20-2012, 03:33 AM   #6
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I feel better

Turbo, yes $8500 down. $8500 and our beloved bus. Sigh, all things must end.

Triguy, thank you, and I'll attempt to follow most of the rules.

So, honestly I feel better about these Columbus things after just spending 6hrs fixing my "rock solid" class A...3 Days before we get this 5th Wheel. So these things dont come with Generators and Sat dishes? Honestly I had no idea, I just assumed they did. I guess I get the generator, but $75k and no sat dish from the factory? Is this typical of 5th Wheels? Oh well, TV rots the brain anyway.

OK, so I've included couple of pictures of our set up. The 385 will go where the class A is now, hopefully it's level enough for the apparently kinda lacking leveling system. The Ice House is for the kids as a play room/bed room for me when I'm on nights so I can get some sleep. The cargo trailer is for all of our sh_t. We'll be selling that now that we're lacking a way to tow it (any takers?). Our plan may have to change a bit, but for the most part we're sticking with it. We intend on preventing/delaying ground freeze (which we see as our primary concern), by packing under the 385 with 4,000lbs of hay. We were going to use square bales in the class A as we needed to leave the mechanics exposed to run if needed, but I believe the entire underbelly of the 385 is sealed, and I can just pack hay in/around the unit until my little heart explodes. The water line will run on top of the ground, under the hay, wrapped in heat tape and insulated. If we can prevent ground freeze to the tap, we should be good to go. We'll probably end up heating the underside with a string of contractor lights inboard of the hay, but I'm slightly concerned with a fire hazard. I've never seen a 60w bulb light grass on fire, but i'm sure it can.

We'll not keep grey cracked as usual to prevent an ice dam from forming, so we'll just leave the connection, but have to dump/drain on tank fill. Do both grey/black tanks drain from a single point or do they each have their own drain/valve set up? We had a recommendation to wrap the sewer line with heat tape, I don't see this as being possible. I'm not inclined to "hard plumb" the sewer line as this is a 5th wheel not a mobile home, and we intend to keep it that way.

How much propane do ya'll go through running the furnace? We're going to heat primarily with electric heaters as our power is free, but will need to augment with propane. I'm also making an assumption I can tap one of the propane lines to a 250# pig vice the little 20# toy that comes with the camper? Anyone have an extend-a-stay kit on one of these?

How much power does the unit draw collapsing slides? I need to buy the right sized generator. I'm probably going to get a 15kw (to power the 385, ice castle, block heaters, trickle charges, cargo trailer, etc), but in case I decide to get a normal human sized generator, how power much to collapse slides/retract jacks?

Chris Columbus, do you know what the roof/slide load numbers are for snow/ice? We've always just collapsed if more than a couple of inches are in the forecast and will continue to do so, but just for my edification. Also, we've replaced our fair share of converters over the years. Would it be better to put the batteries on a trickle charger like the trucks or leave them on the coach's system? Can I mix the two with the 385's system? Also just to be clear, I'm disconnecting the batteries (via the switch) after we're on shore power, correct?

Any advice/comments?

PS ParkMan the wife is from Montreal!
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Old 10-20-2012, 06:51 AM   #7
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WOW........ looking forward to hearing about your winter!!!! We love our Columbus but it will be winterized in November. And we are much further south than you!! keep us all posted......
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Old 10-20-2012, 08:17 AM   #8
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Montreal eh? Get it? "eh!" haha
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Old 10-20-2012, 08:17 AM   #9
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Very interesting. Just wondering if the bales of straw/hay will attract field rodents?


Wintering in Florida in a 325rl.
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Old 10-20-2012, 09:27 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Patrickdana
Very interesting. Just wondering if the bales of straw/hay will attract field rodents?

Wintering in Florida in a 325rl.
Well yes this is a concern; however, at this point we are most concerned with preventing as much ground freezing as possible. Standard foam insulation just won't cover enough of a footprint for the associated costs, and may yet attract rodents. This is an issue that is on our radar, and may be simply solved by means of the cats/birds around the campground. If it would only snow and actually stick we may only need foam. My concern with the hay is what to do with it come spring...

We'll probably end up trapping many a poor mouse this winter, but that would only mean our plan is working.
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