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Old 08-25-2019, 07:49 PM   #1
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THOR #16319
propane on while driving

I am new to this whole RVing thing and I am wondering about a few things. I have heard different things and I'm here to ask you all this.

1) While driving our Class C Thor Four Winds motor home can we leave the propane on so the food in the fridge doesn't go bad or should we be running the generator instead? (Confused)

2) If we pull into a Walmart to sleep for the night, do I need the engine running to start the generator?
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Old 08-25-2019, 07:57 PM   #2
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1) You're going to get answers all over the place here. Yes you can leave the propane on so you can keep the fridge cold (in reality you could turn off the fridge and, as long as you don't open it, your food will still be reasonably cold after a 3-5 hour drive). Many people will say leave the propane off while on the road period and others will say drive it without issue. Personally: We use the propane while on the road and turn off the fridge when at a gas pump--just remember to turn the fridge back on once you've left the pump.

2) Nope don't need the engine on at all to start the genny. Especially if you've been driving all day and your coach is wired correctly (typically the alternator will charge both the chassis and the house batteries).
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Old 08-25-2019, 09:21 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamieGeek View Post
1) You're going to get answers all over the place here. Yes you can leave the propane on so you can keep the fridge cold (in reality you could turn off the fridge and, as long as you don't open it, your food will still be reasonably cold after a 3-5 hour drive). Many people will say leave the propane off while on the road period and others will say drive it without issue. Personally: We use the propane while on the road and turn off the fridge when at a gas pump--just remember to turn the fridge back on once you've left the pump.

2) Nope don't need the engine on at all to start the genny. Especially if you've been driving all day and your coach is wired correctly (typically the alternator will charge both the chassis and the house batteries).
This is correct however most tunnels and some bridges will ask you to close it. You're free to open again once cleared.

I never close at the gas pump but it's a VERY good idea. Open flame.
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Old 08-25-2019, 09:27 PM   #4
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What JamieGeek said. I have been running our refrigerators on propane in all of the MH s we have owned. When I was a whippersnapper my dad would run his TT fridges on propane and shut down at the pump. In those days a relight required a match no auto lighters on those old fridges.
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Old 08-25-2019, 09:31 PM   #5
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We never turn ours off, run with it all the time.
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Old 08-25-2019, 09:35 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by JamieGeek View Post
1) You're going to get answers all over the place here. Yes you can leave the propane on so you can keep the fridge cold (in reality you could turn off the fridge and, as long as you don't open it, your food will still be reasonably cold after a 3-5 hour drive). Many people will say leave the propane off while on the road period and others will say drive it without issue. Personally: We use the propane while on the road and turn off the fridge when at a gas pump--just remember to turn the fridge back on once you've left the pump.

2) Nope don't need the engine on at all to start the genny. Especially if you've been driving all day and your coach is wired correctly (typically the alternator will charge both the chassis and the house batteries).
Thank you very much for the reply, all answers help.
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Old 08-25-2019, 09:36 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by The_Breeze View Post
This is correct however most tunnels and some bridges will ask you to close it. You're free to open again once cleared.

I never close at the gas pump but it's a VERY good idea. Open flame.
Thank you very much for the reply, all answers help.
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Old 08-25-2019, 09:50 PM   #8
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We never turn ours off, run with it all the time.
Same here. I hope that I can find the propane tank: should the need ever arise!
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Old 08-25-2019, 10:22 PM   #9
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Ferry crossings require the propane tank to be shut off and some tunnels will not let you through, even with the propane turned off. The Baltimore tunnel is one. Best to check first. Ever seen an idiot put the pump handle on auto and walk away? If it doesn’t shut off and the gas goes under your RV with the fridge running ......
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Old 08-25-2019, 10:26 PM   #10
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On our prior Class C we would run with the propane on for the fridge unless we were running the generator for the house AC.

When we stopped for gas the DW's job was to turn off the fridge so it didn't fire up while fueling and then turn it back on again before we departed the gas station. Got to be second nature for her.
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Old 08-25-2019, 10:27 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Oneilkeys View Post
Ferry crossings require the propane tank to be shut off and some tunnels will not let you through, even with the propane turned off. The Baltimore tunnel is one. Best to check first. Ever seen an idiot put the pump handle on auto and walk away? If it doesn’t shut off and the gas goes under your RV with the fridge running ......
not a great ending. Thanks
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Old 08-25-2019, 10:58 PM   #12
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Gee, you could always get an inexpensive inverter (pure sine wave!) to run your fridge if you are more comfortable with electricity than propane. Many folks have done that. The inverter would not run down your batteries while driving, they charge during the drive.
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Old 08-25-2019, 10:59 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by pavemike View Post
Gee, you could always get an inexpensive inverter (pure sine wave!) to run your fridge if you are more comfortable with electricity than propane. Many folks have done that. The inverter would not run down your batteries while driving, they charge during the drive.
Good to know. Thanks
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Old 08-25-2019, 11:02 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Oneilkeys View Post
The Baltimore tunnel is one. Best to check first.
To bypass the two Baltimore tunnels, use I-695 and the Key Bridge over the Patapsco River.
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Old 08-25-2019, 11:47 PM   #15
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We always keep ours open to keep the frig cool. Never even thought about it while fueling
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Old 08-25-2019, 11:50 PM   #16
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We always keep ours open to keep the frig cool. Never even thought about it while fueling
I know, you learn so much in this Forum. Love it
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Old 08-26-2019, 12:28 AM   #17
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We always keep ours open to keep the frig cool. Never even thought about it while fueling
During fueling you donít have to close the propane valve - like you do thru a tunnel or on a ferry - just turn off the fridge and your hot water heater if you left it on propane last night and/or your furnace. If either ignited with gas fumes under your RV, you could have a small (or very large) bang.
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Old 08-26-2019, 03:13 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by pavemike View Post
Gee, you could always get an inexpensive inverter (pure sine wave!) to run your fridge if you are more comfortable with electricity than propane. Many folks have done that. The inverter would not run down your batteries while driving, they charge during the drive.


I drove with the propane on for years until I researched propane fueled RV fires. Then I bought an older but unused 800W inverter on EBay for $55. Itís modified sine wave and works just fine running my fridge. Spent another $45 for an automatic transfer switch so my fridge will always be on electric power unless for some special reason I want to use propane. Also gives me another power source without starting the generator - if I should ever want one. Easy installation and why not run on the alternator while driving?!
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Old 08-26-2019, 03:19 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by JamieGeek View Post
1) You're going to get answers all over the place here.
Truer words were never spoken.
I adhere to propane fridge recommendations to keep the tilt of the fridge under 3 degrees from side to side (for driving a sideways installed fridge, that means front/rear RV incline on hills.) Because I typically drive in hilly areas, this means I turn the fridge off when driving. If you look at how a propane fridge is engineered, youíll see that operating it out of spec can cause the fridge to overheat, stress the absorption tube, rupture, and possibly catch fire. If you have time to kill and are brave, search the archives here for all those discussions. Suffice to say, I find it a small inconvenience for peace of mind- as the fridge stays plenty cold as long as you pre-chill or freeze things and donít open it up on the road. Others will think it overly cautious. Ymmv. (and itís all about the hills. Driving on the plains, fire it up!)
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Old 08-26-2019, 09:33 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Kickstand View Post
Truer words were never spoken.
I adhere to propane fridge recommendations to keep the tilt of the fridge under 3 degrees from side to side (for driving a sideways installed fridge, that means front/rear RV incline on hills.) Because I typically drive in hilly areas, this means I turn the fridge off when driving. If you look at how a propane fridge is engineered, youíll see that operating it out of spec can cause the fridge to overheat, stress the absorption tube, rupture, and possibly catch fire. If you have time to kill and are brave, search the archives here for all those discussions. Suffice to say, I find it a small inconvenience for peace of mind- as the fridge stays plenty cold as long as you pre-chill or freeze things and donít open it up on the road. Others will think it overly cautious. Ymmv. (and itís all about the hills. Driving on the plains, fire it up!)

As expected, answers from all sides.
I run the fridge on propane while traveling. Turn off when fueling.
I donít see Ďhillsí as an issue, as it would have to be an extended time that the fridge was actually running to have an issue... perhaps if I were climbing or descending a mountain for extended period I might think about it, but normal hills shouldnít cause any issue in my opinion.
Like most things, do what makes you feel comfortable - and enjoy the ride!
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