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Old 11-20-2017, 10:01 AM   #1
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Questions, questions!

Hello, I am a brand new RV owner. I purchased a lovely 1997 T-2653 Solaris Sunline travel trailer. I'm in chilly NY State and successfully pumped antifreeze thru the water system. However, because I'm doing some interior cosmetic renovations, I'd like to run the heat on propane and I have no idea how to get that started, or even if that's OK to do after filling the water system with antifreeze! I know if I plug it in, the heat will come on ... everything is working fine. But I think it's all hooked up to electric at this time. (Not even positive about that.)
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Old 11-20-2017, 12:39 PM   #2
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Welcome Aariel,

Congrats on your new camper! We are here in chilly Ohio today...

As to running the furnace, yes that is OK. There is no connection between the water system and the furnace. They are totally independent.

Now to what needs to be on to run the furnace. The LP tanks needs to be turned on and it needs 12 volts DC power. Then turn on the thermostat, adjust the thermostat to the desired temp and it should start.

It sounds like you have it working but may need some help on where the 12 volts DC come from. There are 2 separate electrical systems in your camper. A 12 volt DC system which runs the furnace, lights, water pump, fridge, water heater, radio if it has one and the control system for the roof AC unit, if it has one.

The 120 VAC shore line power you plug in, powers the microwave (if you have one), the wall outlets, the motors on the roof AC unit if you have, a water heater electric element if yours has one and an option on the fridge to run on electric rather than LP gas one and a 12 volt power converter. The power converter takes 120 VAC shore line power and creates 12 volts DC to charge the camper battery and power the 12 volt items in your camper.

The camper is almost self-contained to run most all things on 12 volts DC and your battery. When you plug in the camper to shore line power, the converter starts working and takes over for the battery.

It sounded like what I think you said, when you plugged in the camper the furnace worked. Did we understand that right? And did it not work when you were not plugged in?

If it worked plugged in, then the power converter created the 12 volts DC to run the furnace and if it did not work when you un plugged it then it sounds like the battery is not connected or drained down very low.

Hope this helps

John
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Old 11-20-2017, 03:07 PM   #3
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JohnB, THANK YOU! I really appreciate your sharing your expertise! This is precisely the situation. The battery is drained.

I'm at a friend's house and don't want to run up his electric bill. I wrote to the man I purchased from, and he said the heat always runs on propane. (There's an option to run the fridge on propane, too, but I do not need the fridge now.) So I guess I just need to plug in and turn up the thermostat. I never turned off the propane tanks.

In fact, I have not opened up the cover over the propane tanks ... How do I tell how much gas I have left? Do I just remove the tanks to refill them? Am I supposed to turn them off if I'm not going to use the gas for several months?

Thanks so much again. It was great to get that clear explanation of how the systems are connected.
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Old 11-20-2017, 05:33 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aariel View Post
So I guess I just need to plug in and turn up the thermostat. I never turned off the propane tanks.

In fact, I have not opened up the cover over the propane tanks ... How do I tell how much gas I have left? Do I just remove the tanks to refill them? Am I supposed to turn them off if I'm not going to use the gas for several months?
Hi Aariel,

Your very welcome.

First on turning off the gas, I would recommend this:

When you are not using the camper, turn the gas at the tanks off. This is for both safety and if there is a real fine leak it will not drain your tanks. The gas controls we have on an RV are not made as heavy duty as like a home LP tank system for a stove, dryer or water heater are that you do leave on all the time. In the case of the camper, it make more sense to take the time to turn the camper tanks off when you are done using them.

Something to know: When you turn on the tanks, open the knob very slowly and stop opening any more when you hear it start to hiss. The hissing is the gas passes into the empty piping and it will stop hissing when the pipes are full. Then you can open the valve all the way open. The reason for this is, there is a small safety flow valve in the green nut on the hose that connects to the tanks. If that valve gets a real fast slug of gas all at once, (like quickly opening up the tank valve) it will think there is a blown hose or gas valve somewhere leaking and go into safety lock out mode. Safety mode greatly restricts the gas flow to almost nothing. Then you have to reset it by turning off the tank valve and bleeding the gas pressure out back down close to zero and starting over on slowly opening the tank valve. You can bleed the gas back to zero either by unscrewing the green nut from the LP tank and then putting it back on.

How to tell how full the tanks are. Some things to learn about your tank regulator.

If yours has an auto change over regulator (odds are high it might, but check) there is a small red and green indicator that will tell show red when one tank is empty. Green means it is not empty but can be almost empty all the way to full. If you open both tanks, the regulator will automatically switch to the other tank when the first one goes empty. It is a nice feature to not have to go out in the middle of the cold night and switch tanks.

This red/green device is only a visual indicator so you have to look at it to tell. Once you learn how much LP gas you use for how many days, then you know to check if it is red as you have 1 empty tank and you are running on the other tank. You can do this after every camp out. If you never look at it then you will run out of both tanks and then realize it when nothing works.

This thread will help show what the auto change over regulator looks like an how it works. LP Auto Change Over Regulator Explained

Now to how full is the tank?

If you have a tank cover that comes off easy, there is a warm water method. You pour warm water down the side of the tank from the top and then feel for a colder temp change. Where it changes temp is the liquid level. If the furnace or stove is on inside the camper this is easier to tell the hot and cold change. And sometimes you may even see a condensation change or a frost ring change in the winter. Here is a video on it from a BBQ grill tank.
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Old 11-21-2017, 07:25 AM   #5
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Welcome and congrats on the purchase of my favorite year/model combo!

To add to what John said about power supplies, even though you should keep the trailer plugged in if you are using the furnace and lights inside, those items won't draw that much power. You are probably using an adapter for the power cord, so that limits you too.

What will probably draw a lot and draw constantly is if the battery is trying to charge and it's dead or bad. I would recommend taking the battery off the tongue and taking it to an auto parts store, where they can test it. If the battery is old and internally shorted, the trailer will struggle to run multiple items at once and it will be more costly for electrical usage.

I will have to double check, but I believe the propane auto changeover that John describes is not quite what you have. If it has the factory original regulator, it should have the auto changeover, but I don't think it has the red and green indicators. There's a slider switch to choose which tank to pull from first though.

What type of interior renovations are you doing?
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Past Sunlines: '97 T-2653 #5089, '94 T-2251, '86 T-1550, '94 T-2363, '98 T-270SR
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Old 11-21-2017, 08:13 AM   #6
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Thank you very much again, JohnB. You are a wealth of information. When I joined this forum, I had no clue as to how much help I'd get. Terrific!!!
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Old 11-21-2017, 08:38 AM   #7
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Hey Sunline Fan, thanks for that extra information. I really don't want to pull too much electric from my friend, so I appreciate the info about the battery ... I'll get it checked. It was working a month ago,tho, when I bought the RV, but petered out. I plugged in a converter between the RV plug and the heavy-duty extension cord from the house. I'll post a picture when I take the cover off the propane tanks. I know the fridge has a button that switches it from electric to propane.

I plan to keep the RV in place on my property, once I have the site set up, to use as a guest house. So I'm making changes based on the RV being mostly in one place, not traveling. I'm taking out some of the RV cabinets and cafe booths, putting in some furniture, tile on floor, etc.
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Old 11-21-2017, 08:54 AM   #8
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SunlineFan brings up a good point about getting your battery checked if it is suspect of being a bad battery. This now brings up 2 things to pass along since having a camper is new to you.

1. On the older campers, yours is one of them, unless a prior owner installed a battery disconnect switch there will be none provided by Sunline. When the camper is not being used, not plugged into shore power and the battery is still hooked up, there is a constant small battery drain by things inside the camper slowly draining the battery down. The LP gas detector has no switch to turn it off as it is a safety device. The display on some of the radios are always on drawing power and often the TV antenna power booster can be left on accidentally. All these little power draws can drain your battery down to low levels in 1 to 2 weeks while the camper is not used/stored. With the lack of a battery disconnect switch, you need to unhook the negative wire (often the white wire) off the battery to stop the draining down of your battery.

2. If you take the battery out of the camper, make sure the positive battery wire (often the red wire) does not touch the metal frame or the battery negative wire "if" you have the camper plugged into shore power. If those 2 wires touch or the red wire touches the frame with the shore power plugged in, that short will blow the battery charging fuse instantly. Then the hunt starts for, where did they put that fuse in my camper? You can tape off the end of the positive wire or tie it off so it cannot touch.

Just passing these along to help save you from learning the hard what what can happen.

Hope this helps

John

PS. There is a lot of learning to that goes into owning a camper... But all is good and the fun times are really great!
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Old 11-21-2017, 10:24 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aariel View Post
Hey Sunline Fan, thanks for that extra information. I really don't want to pull too much electric from my friend, so I appreciate the info about the battery ... I'll get it checked. It was working a month ago,tho, when I bought the RV, but petered out. I plugged in a converter between the RV plug and the heavy-duty extension cord from the house. I'll post a picture when I take the cover off the propane tanks. I know the fridge has a button that switches it from electric to propane.

I plan to keep the RV in place on my property, once I have the site set up, to use as a guest house. So I'm making changes based on the RV being mostly in one place, not traveling. I'm taking out some of the RV cabinets and cafe booths, putting in some furniture, tile on floor, etc.
In that case, the battery may be ok, just drained, but it would be good to have it checked. If it's about five years old, it would make sense to just go ahead and replace it, because they don't last much longer than that.

Wow, that sounds like quite a big change! The cabinets in Sunlines, as well as the factory dinette booth, are all screwed from the outside in. The trailers are built inside out, so in order to cleanly remove, you'd need to strip the siding off the outside. You can carefully cut the screws or cut apart the cabinets to minimize the damage, but you will still have holes in the wall regardless.

What interior color do you have? I might be interested in buying some of your old parts, especially cabinet pulls, if you are interested.
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Past Sunlines: '97 T-2653 #5089, '94 T-2251, '86 T-1550, '94 T-2363, '98 T-270SR
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Old 11-21-2017, 11:14 AM   #10
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Hi Sunline Fan,
How do you post pictures here?

I've removed one booth with much busting up. Most of it was screwed from the inside, just a few screws from the outside, which actually just pulled thru the wall! (I can cut then off with my hacksaw if I need to.) It's all wood, oak veneer i think. However I removed a nice cafe table intact, white top, was going to post it online without much hope of selling it ... The other booth is next ... cushions are typical but nice fabric, not using those. I anticipate I'm going to destroy most stuff as I remove it as I pretty much don't know what I'm doing hahaha. Just trying to keep walls intact. I'm going to remove the kitchen and bathroom sinks/faucets, the toilet (replacing with porcelain, higher toilet) and the shower hose if I can to replace with a nicer one. I'm planning on removing the shower surround and tiling it. I'm removing the cabinets over the jackknife sofa and over the bed, but I don't know how to keep them intact; just the doors are easy.
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Old 11-21-2017, 12:46 PM   #11
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Hi Sunline Fan,
How do you post pictures here?

I've removed one booth with much busting up. Most of it was screwed from the inside, just a few screws from the outside, which actually just pulled thru the wall! (I can cut then off with my hacksaw if I need to.) It's all wood, oak veneer i think. However I removed a nice cafe table intact, white top, was going to post it online without much hope of selling it ... The other booth is next ... cushions are typical but nice fabric, not using those. I anticipate I'm going to destroy most stuff as I remove it as I pretty much don't know what I'm doing hahaha. Just trying to keep walls intact. I'm going to remove the kitchen and bathroom sinks/faucets, the toilet (replacing with porcelain, higher toilet) and the shower hose if I can to replace with a nicer one. I'm planning on removing the shower surround and tiling it. I'm removing the cabinets over the jackknife sofa and over the bed, but I don't know how to keep them intact; just the doors are easy.
It's a little tricky, but not too bad. There are two ways. The first is within the post. Not sure how you have been posting so far, but if you are using the quick reply box at the bottom, click the "go advanced" button, or click the reply button below this post (left side) before you type anything. That will take you to a new screen.

On that new screen, scroll down to the additional option section, click the button that says manage attachments, and choose your pictures to add in that dialog box. Then hit upload. They will attach, and you can close that little window. Then just go about your post like you normally would, and hit submit reply when done.

I've attached a picture of mine using that method here.

The other option, if you are posting a bunch of pictures or want them easy to access later on, is to create an album on here. John can explain how to do that better than I can.

Yeah, the table probably isn't of much value, nor are the cabinets themselves. The doors really aren't either. Most of the doors are floorplan specific and year specific, but someone into woodworking might have use for building something custom with them, because they are nice oak doors. The same goes for the table. I've seen some people make Craigslist posts before with spare parts and appliances, just don't expect much for it all. It's more for the convenience of getting rid of it.

I'll caution you about removing too many cabinets though- they are more than just cabinets, they are part of the structure of the trailer. The main box itself is pretty weak without the cabinets supporting. I know you said you won't be towing it, but just for overall stability, some will help. But if you leave the walls in the middle, that will really help too.

Laying tile is also kind of risky- again even though you aren't towing it, and especially with cabinets missing, the trailer will flex. It'll flex in hot and cold, it'll flex from walking around in it, it'll flex with snow load on top. All that flexing could cause the tile to crack. Floor tile might be ok, but I'd encourage you to look into something else for the shower walls. The RV industry has come a long way in terms of "luxury" products since 1997, and there are many shower enclosures available now that look like tile but are made of plastic. You can check with Bontrager's RV Surplus to see if they have something like that that would fit your need.
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File Type: jpg 18519848_10209471067722062_7265728784605598565_n.jpg (127.5 KB, 2 views)
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2007 T-286SR Cherry/Granola, #6236, original owner, current mileage: 9461.2 (as of 10/01/16)
1997 T-2653 Blue Denim, #5471
1979 12 1/2' MC, Beige & Avocado, #4639
Past Sunlines: '97 T-2653 #5089, '94 T-2251, '86 T-1550, '94 T-2363, '98 T-270SR
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Old 11-21-2017, 05:05 PM   #12
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Managing the propane

Here are photos of my propane set up. There's an electrical device in front of the tanks that is just for lifting the front end of the RV up and down, I believe. The switcher thing (I believe it is manual)between propane tanks showed green for the reserve tank.

How do you get the propane tank off the RV to take it in to be refilled?
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Propane Cover.jpg (40.7 KB, 2 views)
File Type: jpg Propane Cover+Switches.jpg (43.7 KB, 2 views)
File Type: jpg Propane Battery.jpg (96.9 KB, 2 views)
File Type: jpg Propane Two Tanks Uncovered.jpg (62.6 KB, 2 views)
File Type: jpg Propane Tank Switcher.jpg (55.7 KB, 3 views)
File Type: jpg Propane Tank Switcher closeup.jpg (48.8 KB, 3 views)
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Old 11-21-2017, 05:09 PM   #13
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Managing the propane 2

The tank on the left had a warning label mashed down on the top that says it hasn't been used before and i'm not sure if that is accurate ... It says to take it to a specialized LP person to "purge" it before it's used. When I opened the tank cover, the switcher was already switched onto the reserve tank.
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Old 11-21-2017, 05:46 PM   #14
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Here's a tip. When one tank goes empty and you switch over, don't forget to fill the empty one. Or you might find yourself very cold one night when the other one goes empty. Don't ask how I know this. Lol. Now I use masking tape and put the in-service date and date filled on the side of each tank.
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