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Old 09-26-2009, 09:14 PM   #1
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Join Date: Nov 2007
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SUN #462
Winter Living

Hi Guys & Girls,
Is it possible to actually live in a Sunline Travel Trailer duing the Winter? I have a T-2052 and am seriously thinking about it. It would be in Maine. If it is possible, how would I have to set it up?

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Old 09-27-2009, 11:31 AM   #2
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I full timed in ours last year but it was in far south east New Mexico. The coldest temp I saw was in the low 20s.

But.......I did something I will never do again with the Sunline. I used an electric heater. Why? I had to buy my gas but my electric was part of the site rent so I was trying to save a little money. Besides, those gas furnaces are horribly inefficient and eat gobs of gas when trying to heat the trailer when it's really cold. The heater was rated at 12 amps and I used it at night and when at work left it on in the daytime set at 45 degrees. All seemed fine until I was packing up to bring everything home.

I couldn't get the shore power plug off of the trailer. When I finally did get it off, I found the cause of the problem. Something went wrong and one of the plug blades had welded itself to the female part inside the plug. Parts of the plastic plug had melted and was charred. I don't know when this happened, but I blamed it on the heater. I view it as a very close call for my little Sunline going up in flames.

Based on my experience in the New Mexico desert I would think twice before trying it in Maine. Jan and I lived in Kittery, Maine in '71 and '72 when my Sub, USS Sam Rayburn, was undergoing overhaul in Portsmouth, NH. I know what your winters are like and I think living in a Sunline would be a real challenge.

Paul & Jan
Columbia, Missouri
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Old 09-29-2009, 08:34 AM   #3
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Re: Winter Living

Originally Posted by JaniceG
Hi Guys & Girls,
Is it possible to actually live in a Sunline Travel Trailer duing the Winter? I have a T-2052 and am seriously thinking about it. It would be in Maine. If it is possible, how would I have to set it up?
There are a number of issues you would have to deal with to do this:

1. Sunlines are built as 3 season trailers, and winter is not one of them. They have single pane glass, minimal wall and ceiling insulation, no insulation in floors, and the door(s) can be pretty leaky due to gasketing issues.

2. Condensate in cold weather is a BIG problem in TT's. There is lots of exposed metal (door and window frames) that are magnets for this plus the window glass, too. Below freezing, the walls themselves will attract condensate when the TT is occupied. In the sleeping area, you can awake to every surface on the exterior walls and ceiling dripping with moisture from your breathing.

3. The propane heater is great in cool weather, but when the temps drop below freezing, it has to run almost continously to keep up with the heat loss.

4. The roof vents are natural paths for heat loss - a thin layer of plastic is all that stands between the inside and outside of the trailer.

5. Piping needs to be protected from freezing. Heat tape can protect your water line to the to TT, but with the thin exterior walls, any interior piping that is right on an exterior surface may freeze. Exterior tanks need to be heated and insulated.

6. The trailer needs to be skirted to block the elements from getting to any part of the underbelly. This area then needs to be heated, or your floor will way too cold for comfortable living.

7. GalaxieDriver's issue with the electric heater is a valid one. If you are going to use an electric heater, run a separate heavy duty power cord from the heater out of the trailer to your power source. Do not put the trailer and the heater on the same electric circuit where you are parked. They need to be on separate circuit breakers to prevent overload. The cord from the heater to the power source should be way over-rated for the heater so that there is minimal voltage drop or current loss in the cord itself. If the wire in the cord is not an adequate size, you immediately have the potential for overheating. The longer the cord, the greater the problem.

Now, has it been done? Yes, but it takes a bunch of thought and preparation.

If you can park the TT in an unheated, well-ventilated building, you eliminate all the problems associated with wind pentration of the trailer. Why unheated and well-ventilated? Your propane heaters (water and furnace) both give off carbon monoxide which can build up to deadly levels. Using electric heating exclusively eliminates that problem, but now you are using electricity to heat the TT, heat your water, heat your external tanks, heat all of the external plumbing, and heat the enclosed underbelly of the trailer. Unless you have a cheap source of reliable electricity, you may be bumping into significant cost.

I would suggest you poke about the Internet with Google and see if you can find info from folks who have already done this in cold climates. They will have a long list of mods, etc. necessary to cope with your Maine winters.

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Old 09-29-2009, 08:53 AM   #4
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Melting Plugs

The reason plugs sometimes melt is often the result of the plug contacts becoming corroded, making a high resistance connection, subsequently creating heat. This can be a problem with or without an electric heater.

These contacts are in an outdoor environment and more suseptible to corrosion. Contacts need to be kept clean.

By the way, we rarely use our propane heater, only when we are boondocking and it's cold. We use the electric heater while in the trailer and never at night, we have an electric blanket for night time.

Of course we try not to be in areas that have prolonged below freezing weather.

Also, Maine set a record last year when the temperature dropped to minus 50F. It is expected that this winter will be equally cold.

Norm and Ginny Milliard
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Old 09-29-2009, 04:28 PM   #5
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Nancy G.
This vein of conversation brings me to my question--we'd like to extend our camping into November if we could. Anyone know of an area that would be interesting, not too cold and have open campsites before Thanksgiving?? We were thinking Jersey Shore maybe?? It can't be any colder there than it is in Long Lake this week!!!

Nancy and Pat
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Old 09-29-2009, 04:57 PM   #6
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Hi Nancy

I do a lot of camping at the jersey shore and there is much open after oct 15th the only one that maybe open until thanksgiving is Beachcomber campground near Cape May, but I am not sure, my wife and I looking for some where to go that same week, we were thinking of Gatlinburg Tn. I know that is some what further then NJ , but I is the south and a little warmer that time of the year then up here in the north east . check out this web site WWW.BEACHCOMBER.COM there is a link to all campgrounds in NJ and there opening and closing dates and ammenities sorry this is a little off topic, Dan
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Old 09-30-2009, 09:30 AM   #7
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Old Mill Stream in Lancaster, PA is open year round.

We usually stay there the week before Thanksgiving (Anniversary of our first real trip with Sunny...) First two years were very temperate, 30's overnight and 50 to 60's daytime. Last year it got down to 18 deg overnight, so we stored our coiled up water supply hose into the shower and ran off our tanks for overnight "potty breaks", but other than that precaution we didn't do anything "special" for the cold. We do have heated tanks (Fresh, Grey, and Black), so it makes it a little easier to "cold" camp. Our furnace had absolutely no problem keeping the coach warm, even with a roof vent open about 1/2".

There is plenty to do: Christmas Show at American Music Theatre is fantastic, and several other live shows are within a couple of miles. Plenty of Christmas shopping at several outlets close by. The Santa Trains at the Strasburg Railroad are pretty neat too.


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Old 10-01-2009, 09:49 AM   #8
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Although we have not lived in our trailer for the entire winter season, we do camp in it all year round. Now Although we live in Southern Ontario we do head about 3 hours north throughout the winter to spend time camping in our trailer.

As Steve indicated, there are a number of items you need to do to your trailer to prepare it for winter use, but honestly they are not that hard or time consuming.

I am a member of another forum called 4 Season Campers Forum where the members talk about and share ideas on how to use your rig in the winter. One of the members full times in his Motorhome at MacGregor PP and has written a book about about winter camping, and a lot of his ideas and what he has done has been discussed at great lenghts on the forum. You may want to drop by and see what everyone does to prepare their rig for winter use. This year, we have added heating pads to our black and gray water tanks and plan on using the full water system this year when camping. I have also added a second power inlet to the trailer so I can split off and the amount of devices on the main converter in the trailer to a completly seperate circuit that is also fused seperatetly at the campground.

Last year I had posted a number of links to our winter camping adventures. Below are a few of the links to the pictures we took last winter:

New Year's Camping
January Camping
February Camping
March Camping

I hope the link and the photos help.

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