Do you travel with the refrigerator on? - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 07-28-2020, 05:40 PM   #1
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Do you travel with the refrigerator on?

That means propane is on and the fridge is cooling.

Is the trailer generally level enough to do this without hurting the fridge? In one of the videos, Reace mentioned not to operate it when out of level by more than 10%.

Can you tell by the bubble level how much 10% is? What do you do? Please.
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Old 07-28-2020, 05:46 PM   #2
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Just drive and not worry about it. Climbing mountains and descending, it all evens out in the end.
If you need to fret, you can get a level app for your smart phone.
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Old 07-28-2020, 05:50 PM   #3
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YES ; with refrigerator set to propane !
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Old 07-28-2020, 05:54 PM   #4
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Yes. In the case of my Casita with a 3-way reefer, in 12VDC mode, but propane mode is just the same in this regard (the 'level requirement' has to do with refrigerant circulation, not mode of operation).

10% is 1.2" (call it 1-1/4") per foot of beltline length .... easy enough to measure* and very unlikely you'll exceed that for your hitched-and-properly-trimmed trailer lest you incur a raft of other towing issues more serious than the reefer.

The reefer does just fine as the trailer rocks-along behind; up-and-down grades and even parked for short breaks on a slope. The reefer's 'do not exceed angle' is a factor for extended operating, as when parked un-level for a matter of more than a few hours.

*admitting: I'm olde skoole and carry a 30" aluminum carpenter's level in my trailer
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Old 07-28-2020, 05:56 PM   #5
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YES ; with refrigerator set to propane !

Ditto. On propane.
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Old 07-28-2020, 05:59 PM   #6
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Yes, refrigerator on all the time. Though there are steep grades here and there we’ve not suffered any ill effects. Long days on the road often involve Interstate travel. Few places are over 4% grade. And when they are, it’s not that far nor does it take that long to traverse. (Especially with the Highlander).
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Old 07-28-2020, 06:00 PM   #7
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Yes, on propane. And No, I've never once given a thought to it being, or not being, level.
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Old 07-28-2020, 06:02 PM   #8
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I drive with the fridge on propane. On a 10% grade, I would thinking about braking (going down), or getting to the top before worrying about keeping the fridge level.

On major highways, most steep grades would be 6-8 percent.
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Old 07-28-2020, 06:35 PM   #9
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No I turn it off. We have a 12V refrigerator in our truck that we move a few items to - soda and snacks for the road mostly. Everything else will stay cold enough for the ~5 hours we might be on the road without the fridge running. It's worked so far. If the circumstances called for it I'd run it on propane.
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Old 07-28-2020, 06:37 PM   #10
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The manual for our older RM2510 says this:
“When the vehicle is moving the leveling is not critical, as the rolling and pitching movement of the vehicle will pass to either side of level - keeping the liquid ammonia from accumulating in the evaporator tubing.”

Should be the same for any absorption fridge.
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Old 07-28-2020, 06:41 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rubicon327 View Post
The manual for our older RM2510 says this:
“When the vehicle is moving the leveling is not critical, as the rolling and pitching movement of the vehicle will pass to either side of level - keeping the liquid ammonia from accumulating in the evaporator tubing.”

Should be the same for any absorption fridge.
This is true. Problems occur when it is not level and not moving.
And yes, I travel with refrigerator on propane.
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Old 07-28-2020, 06:44 PM   #12
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I do travel with the fridge on. (On propane) I do move anything out (into a cooler, no ice added) that has any weight. I’ll leave beer in the drawers at the bottom and frozen food in the freezer as I have the smaller fridge in the 19 that has an internal door for the freezer.
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Old 07-28-2020, 07:57 PM   #13
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I have run the fridge on propane, but most generally choose not to do it. I can't pre-cool the fridge where the trailer is stored, too much of an angle. I use an RTIC cooler until I get to my destination. BUT, the main reason for not transporting food in the fridge is over the years I've read too many cases where the refrigerator liner is cracked and broken (shelves on the door too) from food jumping up and down while under tow. Especially on really rough roads. Anyone hit a pot hole? A package of hot dogs isn't heavy enough to worry about, but a gallon of milk may cause issues. Besides, it's easy to use the cooler for beverages (only) at destination, rather than constantly opening the refrigerator. YMMV
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Old 07-28-2020, 08:20 PM   #14
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Donna, Did you use a cooler when you went cross country?
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Old 07-28-2020, 10:20 PM   #15
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Donna, Did you use a cooler when you went cross country?
Off and on. Mainly because too much food for the refrigerator. I don't like to jam pack the frig, more efficient with air space around the food, especially since it was HOT. Judy had medication that had to be refrigerated and I was concerned the thing wouldn't hold a cold enough temperature (although ended up with zero issues). Hence the cooler and ice... plus those beverages
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Old 07-29-2020, 06:18 AM   #16
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Ah, I Forgot about the not holding temp issue, I haven't driven in the heat for a long time.
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Old 07-29-2020, 09:00 AM   #17
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Since I purchased my first camper with a fridge over 30 years ago, I always travel with the propane running the fridge. The jiggling offsets the changing angles.

I always wonder about those who smoke cigarettes while fueling their autos though.

Enjoy,

Perry
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Old 07-29-2020, 09:10 AM   #18
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Don’t forget most all ferries have signs preventing the propane fridge being on and I believe tunnels going under bodies of water prevent it. I travel with mine on battery, but I almost always precool it down before I take off, and after 4-6 hours of driving it’s always ok...
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Old 07-29-2020, 10:03 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UncleTim View Post
...

Can you tell by the bubble level how much 10% is? What do you do? Please.
That much tip would be uncomfortable camping. If you're comfortable then the 'fridge is fine.

Moving keeps the fluids from accumulating in the wrong places. That holds true for travel-trailer refrigerators, too.

I use a steel ball bearing and watch the roll while leveling the trailer - but only when I plan to be stationary for a week+ and am feeling obsessive–compulsive.
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Old 07-29-2020, 10:36 AM   #20
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I think it's good to know the basic principle of absorption fridge operation and then you can decide on why being close to level is so critical. It all comes down to the tubes at the back and boiling ammonia to vapour which snakes its way up to reach the top where it has cooled to liquid to return to the bottom collection pot. Since the fridge sits sideways the snaked tubing is positioned the same. By being over 6 degrees, fore and aft, the angle of this tubing assembly can disrupt the nice cycle flow of climbing vapour and draining liquid. Over time ammonia crystals can form, sort of like plaque, and slowly plug up the passage.

When I had a motorhome it was a pain trying to block tires to maintain the optimum angles of no more than 6 degrees fore/aft and 3 degrees side to side. Now with a trailer it is pretty easy using a tongue jack.
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