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Old 01-17-2024, 12:14 AM   #1
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THOR #31641
Thor Sequence/Tellaro in cold weather

Hi all,

Question to owners I'm in the process of getting an RV and specifically a 20J. I've heard mix reviews with the Re-Liable Lithium system. I do plan to use the van for the winter times in the mountains. My first gut feeling was the get a standard AGM with gas generator. I have heard that the Lithium does not hold up well in cold weather. Recently our weather has been as low as the teens. I assume the AGM with generator would preform better in extreme cold? I am new to the Lithium world so I only know what I can read up on.

I also assume it is more costly to convert AGM to Lithium?
Is it easier to add a generator to Lithium van?

I appreciate all the input.

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Old 01-17-2024, 04:20 AM   #2
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: 2022 Tellaro 20L
State: Vermont
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Quote:
Originally Posted by velox003 View Post
Hi all,

Question to owners I'm in the process of getting an RV and specifically a 20J. I've heard mix reviews with the Re-Liable Lithium system. I do plan to use the van for the winter times in the mountains. My first gut feeling was the get a standard AGM with gas generator. I have heard that the Lithium does not hold up well in cold weather. Recently our weather has been as low as the teens. I assume the AGM with generator would preform better in extreme cold? I am new to the Lithium world so I only know what I can read up on.

I also assume it is more costly to convert AGM to Lithium?
Is it easier to add a generator to Lithium van?

I appreciate all the input.
I have a tellaro 20L, and will suggest that the Thor is not a good choice for winter use-

1- It is not well insulated- in fact in that regard, it's a joke- scraps of fibreglass thrown inside the cavities- bare wheel wells and a thin layer of reflectix for the ceiling from that I have seen after tearing mine apart to a degree.

2- The Tellaro has the batteries underneath, which is the dumbest thing I have ever seen- I moved mine up inside and upraded to 600Ah. (Lithium - unheated)
The ReLions are heated (RB100LT- low temp) - aside from that are nice batteries, just not enough at 200Ah. They are good to -4 deg F.supposedly, as the heaters will bring them to 32deg. to charge, You'd be using the generator (or UHG in my case) a lot.

See specs at:https://www.relionbattery.com/products/lithium/rb100-lt


I would suggest a Coachmen RV for best insulated RV, and interior location for batteries, and "UHG" (Under-hood generator) vs. Onan.
The UHG is way more reliable, and uses the van's emission system vs. the lawn mower engine of the Onan. Also is a 2nd alternator, driven by the engine, instead of being a 2nd engine to take care of.

I love the Fiat Ducato (Ram Promaster) chassis but if you''re winter driving to get a Ford AWD chassis for best control and really good winter tires.

If you have never had an RV, the Thor is the last I would suggest unless you are super handy and like fixing and modding. I have over 40 mods on mine now- I got the 20L b/c it had all I wanted, just not the way I wanted it, and I can fix most anything... keeps me busy!


Not sure about AGMs in cold weather, but I can tell you that they need to be at 50-100% as much as possible in cold temps, and converting from AGM to Lithium means changing many components inside. Lithium needs 14.6V vs. 13.6V to charge over lead-acid or AGM.

Hope that helps!
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2022 Thor Tellaro 20L, 600Ah LFP/ Balmar UHG, 380W solar.
Former: 2001 Rialta QD, (full refit), 2021 Tellaro 20AT ( 3mos)
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Old 01-17-2024, 01:14 PM   #3
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Hi thank you for your response.

I should clarify a few things. First off is that I only intend to use it during the winter for daily ski trips. I do not intend to sleep in it during the winter months. This would be used as a home base and where I live I think I can get by with 2WD and studded tires due to passes being cleared. During the summer this would be a weekend camper.

Thanks for directing me to the coachmen Nova. I believe that is a good RV my main issues I'm finding is 6 seat belts and pop-top. Hence is why I landed with the 20J floorplan. Insulation would be a concern, but just day use I think it should be fine.

I'm hearing that the Lithium should not be an issue? I did read where others were having issues keeping the UHG keep up with the AC unit. Have you ever had cold weather issues with Lithium? I have read that if they drop too low they can go in sleep mode?

I'm pretty handy and can fix most things in the house/car. This would be my first RV, and I tend to mod things heavily. I read the Thors are not the best of quality compared to the other brands. Unfortunately Thor is the only camper I have found with the 20J floorplan and pop-top.

Anyone with the AGM and Onin use during the winter? How does it hold up and how much run time?
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Old 01-17-2024, 01:52 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by velox003 View Post
Hi thank you for your response.

I should clarify a few things. First off is that I only intend to use it during the winter for daily ski trips. I do not intend to sleep in it during the winter months. This would be used as a home base and where I live I think I can get by with 2WD and studded tires due to passes being cleared. During the summer this would be a weekend camper.

Thanks for directing me to the coachmen Nova. I believe that is a good RV my main issues I'm finding is 6 seat belts and pop-top. Hence is why I landed with the 20J floorplan. Insulation would be a concern, but just day use I think it should be fine.

I'm hearing that the Lithium should not be an issue? I did read where others were having issues keeping the UHG keep up with the AC unit. Have you ever had cold weather issues with Lithium? I have read that if they drop too low they can go in sleep mode?

I'm pretty handy and can fix most things in the house/car. This would be my first RV, and I tend to mod things heavily. I read the Thors are not the best of quality compared to the other brands. Unfortunately Thor is the only camper I have found with the 20J floorplan and pop-top.

Anyone with the AGM and Onin use during the winter? How does it hold up and how much run time?
You should be fine then with the PM chassis- as for the UHG or Onan keeping up with AC- as long as it's running it's ok, but to leave an engine running at any campground is impracticable, and you'll just use a lot of gas.
Warning about the pop-tops- hard to use and often leak. The skylight in the Tellaro leaks air and tends to not stay closed. My 20A was like that and many complained about it. Dealers cannot fix things like I can either. They take too long, and lack the experience/ background I have.

You sound like me and can do most anything to a car or RV- so if you're up for an adventure, the Thor price is ok, but be ready to fix practically everything they built- my shade assy's fell off on the way off the lot and it began there. New curtains,mattresses, re-worked the electrics, filled the mouse access holes (many), and on and on.

Keep in mind this is a FWD chassis. In VT, the hills would be a challenge in the winter.... weight transfers to rear end of course. Not as bad as the Rialta that gets stuck on level wet grass.

Even of only using in the summer, insulation is important.
I am also changing out the roof AC to a Mabru 12VDC unit that is much quieter and uses about 1/3 the watts. I should be able to run on my 600Ah system for about 4-5 days on low cool.

The ReLions will go into sleep mode if it gets really cold. Takes a lot of energy to wake them up.
I will never own an Onan generator- I call them "O-man!" b/c they need a lot of attention, and Cummins service centers are too far away, and I just don;t want a 2nd engine to care for. The UHG is great- can probably get away with using at campgrounds during 'quiet' hours, but I have not tested that yet.

As mentioned, I had the 20A (charcoal one in pic) and was appalled at the QC, or lack thereof- so I decided to go with price and get the components I liked- UHG, Lithium, rear bath, twin beds of the 20L, and rebuild it as I went along.
Getting close to being done now- battery move was the biggie- took me 5 days- making new cables, adding two 300Ah batteries inside, and removing abount 40# of excess cables and battery cages. Before that, I removed about 30' of excess wire. Rat's nest!

Now I can remove and maintain the batteries inside my home, and store outside under my solar canopy. I changed out my solar controller and made a new control panel this winter. I can now tinker on it and not worry about someone bumping into it at the storage facility. PM me if you want to know more. I rebuilt a 2001 Rialta coach before owning this rig.
If I was younger, and thought to build my garage 2' taller, I would start with a bare chassis and make my own RV- I have a full cabinet shop, and know AC and DC electrics.

My next mod is changing out the useless 'submarine torpedo door' windows... already did the slider w/ T-window. The oem ones cannot be left open if it's raining. The double awning unit w/ built in screens, is going up front, driver's side forward. from Van Windows Direct, RAWD003L unit.

Where's that time machine when you need it?
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Old 01-17-2024, 11:12 PM   #5
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THOR #31641
Thanks for your reply and your pictures.

Since you are Lithium, have you had any cold weather issues? I'm now learning towards Lithium due to this conversation. Would it last a full day using regular amount of energy? Thors do not have the batteries with built in heaters correct?

I'm still fixed on the 20J due to seating configuration. I know its not an ideal RV, but seating/sleeping is my issue with a family of 4+1.

I will probably take it apart as much as possible to insulate and sound deaden. Have you done this yourself, was it hard?

Another thought for the AC is what if I brought along a Honda 2200 generator and have that connected? Might be enough for an AC.

Did you document or have a thread about your battery relocation/add on?
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Old 01-18-2024, 12:26 AM   #6
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We have been using the luno cab mattress for an extra bed. They make them for promaster, sprinter, and ford chassis. Not cheap but good quality and easy to put up and take down. Great for small kids and adults. Also have pop top but we just got back from 4000 miles cross country in cold weather and would most likely froze in the pop top. At least the wife would have. I believe Winnebago provides a luno cab mattress with the solis and travato models. We have a 2023 Scope. Mixed feelings about pop top and Thor.
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Old 01-18-2024, 12:44 AM   #7
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Also got vanmade gear window covers. They are fantastic for insulation and blackout purposes. Trouble is they don't make covers for all of the Scope/Tellaro windows. I made our own to cover the 3 windows that vanmade gear doesn't make and the large skylight. Spent a lot of time insulating what I could get to with Havelock wool. Others are right about how poorly Thor insulated after installing wiring, plumbing, etc. Drain lines and valves hang below floor in open air. We just used gallon water jugs and our model came with porta potti which worked out well. There was no insulation over rear wheel wells and under kitchen sink. Bathroom wall insulation was also bad. Could only get to what you can get to. The van stayed warm while driving with the window covers on using the cab heat only. Had 12 degree weather in Wyoming and heated up the van making coffee in the morning. We never did run the propane heater. Sleeping bags were used.
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Old 01-18-2024, 01:29 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by velox003 View Post
Thanks for your reply and your pictures.

Since you are Lithium, have you had any cold weather issues? I'm now learning towards Lithium due to this conversation. Would it last a full day using regular amount of energy? Thors do not have the batteries with built in heaters correct?

I'm still fixed on the 20J due to seating configuration. I know its not an ideal RV, but seating/sleeping is my issue with a family of 4+1.

I will probably take it apart as much as possible to insulate and sound deaden. Have you done this yourself, was it hard?

Another thought for the AC is what if I brought along a Honda 2200 generator and have that connected? Might be enough for an AC.

Did you document or have a thread about your battery relocation/add on?
I'll PM my email so I can share the re-wire pdf I made. Took me 5 days working alone!

As for insulation, I replaced the fibreglass with Havelock wool on the lower parts, but rear bath and ceiling will be up to custom van place that is installing the Mabru 12Vroof AC.

They might section the ceiling panal, and stuff wool in above the cabinets that way.

Also I would not bother carrying an external generator as the UHG is a better alternative since it is included, no 2nd engine to care for, more reliable, and 1/40 the emissions.

I also have the VanMade inserts for the windows and they are great to help insulate. Last I looked they do not have the side window covers, just the rear doors, slider, front cab and windscreen. I use home made ones made from Smartsheild, which is betetr than reflectix.
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Old 01-18-2024, 01:38 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by velox003 View Post
Thanks for your reply and your pictures.

Since you are Lithium, have you had any cold weather issues? I'm now learning towards Lithium due to this conversation. Would it last a full day using regular amount of energy? Thors do not have the batteries with built in heaters correct?

I'm still fixed on the 20J due to seating configuration. I know its not an ideal RV, but seating/sleeping is my issue with a family of 4+1.

I will probably take it apart as much as possible to insulate and sound deaden. Have you done this yourself, was it hard?

Another thought for the AC is what if I brought along a Honda 2200 generator and have that connected? Might be enough for an AC.

Did you document or have a thread about your battery relocation/add on?
PS- No issues in cold weather with my new LFP batteries since they are inside now- they are not heated either. I also do not use in cold weather.

The RB100LT's are heated, so if you move those up, you're covered for cold weather, but you only have 2400Wh, so you might want to add two more. 4800Wh will run any 1000W device for 4.8 hrs, and is why I went to 600AH, or 7200Wh. Then I can run a small (750-1000W) heater for 7+ hrs.
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Old 01-18-2024, 02:15 PM   #10
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Velox003:
PM sent- check your inbox for my email address and for much more info.
Mark
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Old 01-18-2024, 02:34 PM   #11
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We have had a 2022 Thor Tellaro with Lithium for a couple of years and our cold weather experience with this setup is not very good. We are in North Carolina. We are in the teens today and for about a week but normal temperatures in the winter are in the 20-30's. Our Tellaro is not typical because we have the 2800 watt Onan instead of the under hood generator.

Personally, we like having the separate generator and have not had any issues with it. The batteries which are located underneath the van have not caused any issues but agree with Mark that inside would be much better. You will sacrifice some storage space however if you move them inside.

The Relion battery system is "heated" but we have had a few problems with the computer shutting them down instead of heating the batteries as they should. When the batteries shut down you are stuck with a van with no electrical power. Does not effect the chassis system but no power to lights/inverter/refrigerator water pump etc. The generator and inverter/charger will also not work correctly if the house batteries are shut down by the BMS (Battery Management System).

Insulation in these vans is not good. The Trauma system relies on water for heating the van or water so this can also be troublesome if you are in very cold conditions. We have found that in moderately cold weather we can get by using a space heater when we are able to plug in or run the generator and not have to use any propane. The Trauma system does work as it should however and have had no problems with it. Actually prefer it to the furnace style of heater which is more difficult to regulate IMO.

Winterization is pretty simple and can be completed in about 15 minutes at least in our area. Our procedure is just to blow out the lines and empty all the water. We also add a small space heater to keep temperatures in the van above freezing when stored as a backup. You would need to be near an AC plug to do this however.

Would not want to use this van for camping in a very cold climate. In our case, we only camp in warmer climate and use the van more for travel than camping.

Would not want to convert an AGM to Lithium unless you fully understand what you are doing. Not as simple as just replacing the AGM with Lithium batteries. Would actually prefer an AGM system if camping in cold areas frequently.

You asked about adding a generator. The Onan can be added to these but it would be somewhat expensive. Thor charged $2800 for the upgrade as I recall and only made a few set up this way from the factory. It does fit underneath but reduces ground clearance by a few inches but has not been a problem for us. Personally would not want to carry a portable generator because of storage reasons. These vans are very limited as it is for space etc.

Good Luck in your purchase and hope this helps!
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Old 01-18-2024, 10:27 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Campguy21 View Post
We have had a 2022 Thor Tellaro with Lithium for a couple of years and our cold weather experience with this setup is not very good. We are in North Carolina. We are in the teens today and for about a week but normal temperatures in the winter are in the 20-30's. Our Tellaro is not typical because we have the 2800 watt Onan instead of the under hood generator.

Personally, we like having the separate generator and have not had any issues with it. The batteries which are located underneath the van have not caused any issues but agree with Mark that inside would be much better. You will sacrifice some storage space however if you move them inside.

The Relion battery system is "heated" but we have had a few problems with the computer shutting them down instead of heating the batteries as they should. When the batteries shut down you are stuck with a van with no electrical power. Does not effect the chassis system but no power to lights/inverter/refrigerator water pump etc. The generator and inverter/charger will also not work correctly if the house batteries are shut down by the BMS (Battery Management System).

Insulation in these vans is not good. The Trauma system relies on water for heating the van or water so this can also be troublesome if you are in very cold conditions. We have found that in moderately cold weather we can get by using a space heater when we are able to plug in or run the generator and not have to use any propane. The Trauma system does work as it should however and have had no problems with it. Actually prefer it to the furnace style of heater which is more difficult to regulate IMO.

Winterization is pretty simple and can be completed in about 15 minutes at least in our area. Our procedure is just to blow out the lines and empty all the water. We also add a small space heater to keep temperatures in the van above freezing when stored as a backup. You would need to be near an AC plug to do this however.

Would not want to use this van for camping in a very cold climate. In our case, we only camp in warmer climate and use the van more for travel than camping.

Would not want to convert an AGM to Lithium unless you fully understand what you are doing. Not as simple as just replacing the AGM with Lithium batteries. Would actually prefer an AGM system if camping in cold areas frequently.

You asked about adding a generator. The Onan can be added to these but it would be somewhat expensive. Thor charged $2800 for the upgrade as I recall and only made a few set up this way from the factory. It does fit underneath but reduces ground clearance by a few inches but has not been a problem for us. Personally would not want to carry a portable generator because of storage reasons. These vans are very limited as it is for space etc.

Good Luck in your purchase and hope this helps!
This is really helpful as it explains and confirms my concerns. Like I stated before I'm really looking to use this as a Ski basecamp (day use only) and weekend/weeklong camping road trips during the summer. My biggest fear is being in the mountains and the Lithium shutting down and no power.

Thor I have concerns about the lack of insulation, exterior Lithium and cold weather performance.

My options:

1) Initially I was thinking Thor 20J pop top with AGM with Onan. Mark listed some concerns with this combo. Then I was re-thinking Thor 20J with Lithium, but relocate the battery inside and add insulation. Thor would be the cheapest with most required aftermarket mods.

2 )Another option which Mark pointed out is the Coachmen Nova 20c. The only issue is that it is impossible to find with a pop-top. I'm fixed on pop-top due to kids and also a front facing sofa with 5 seat belts. Lithium on these are inside in the rear.

3) There is the Roadtrek Zion Slumber with sofa and pop top. Those are pretty rare also, but can be found with ugly colors. The lithium on these are underneath outside.

4) Winnebago 59P pop top and sofa. This one has no AC, and no Lithium as far as I know. Also they are shorter and less space in the rear cabin.

Let me know if I missed another option. I'll be going to an RV show this weekend to see if there is anything else.

I really appreciate all the feedback as it is helping me narrow down my choices!
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Old 01-18-2024, 10:29 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by jonv View Post
Also got vanmade gear window covers. They are fantastic for insulation and blackout purposes. Trouble is they don't make covers for all of the Scope/Tellaro windows. I made our own to cover the 3 windows that vanmade gear doesn't make and the large skylight. Spent a lot of time insulating what I could get to with Havelock wool. Others are right about how poorly Thor insulated after installing wiring, plumbing, etc. Drain lines and valves hang below floor in open air. We just used gallon water jugs and our model came with porta potti which worked out well. There was no insulation over rear wheel wells and under kitchen sink. Bathroom wall insulation was also bad. Could only get to what you can get to. The van stayed warm while driving with the window covers on using the cab heat only. Had 12 degree weather in Wyoming and heated up the van making coffee in the morning. We never did run the propane heater. Sleeping bags were used.
Maybe I'm better off steering towards Coachmen or Roadtrek and paying the premium for pre-insulated?
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Old 01-19-2024, 12:23 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by velox003 View Post
Maybe I'm better off steering towards Coachmen or Roadtrek and paying the premium for pre-insulated?
I would agree with that assessment- the insulation is something I overlooked, and am having to pay a custom van place to rectify the oversight.. if you can get a well insulated rig, that will save $$$.

Also beware of extended warranties. My dealer tried to sell me one for $10k!!! I said no way, and they said my work would not be as good if I tried to fix myself. Uh huh. My wife almost fell out of her chair on that comment...

As downeast humorist Francis Colburn once said to a graduating class in Maine- "I have just one word of advice to you... "DON'T".
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Old 01-19-2024, 10:54 PM   #15
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Sounds like you have done your research and are headed in the right direction.

One correction I would like to make on the Truma system is that it can produce heat without water and winterized but no hot water of course.

I know you are sold on the "pop up" because of kids and space but my hesitation with one of those would just be potential for leaks. No experience with those and may not be a problem at all.

I might add that my wife and I camp alone but have a very large dog who travels with us and the van can be a very small place for actual camping with the three of us in there. Will definitely test a marriage. If we were going to use a vehicle for frequent camping/extended stays would definitely consider a B+ or larger. Some really nice vehicles with cab over for extra kid sleeping etc.

We sold a 40 ft Class A which was just too much work and definitely had the space but we didn't use as often. Lots of moving parts on those and always something to be repaired and overall like the van better!

Totally agree with Mark on the idea of the extended warranty which is always "pushed" by the finance guy. Huge waste of money imo.

Not trying to sway you in any direction and just passing on information that are my thoughts. Good luck and you are smart to do your research before the purchase instead of after like I have done in times past.
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Old 01-22-2024, 07:13 PM   #16
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Hi all,

Thanks for everyone's feedback as it has greatly helped. I tend to sway back and forth but I'm now concluding that I will only use the Thor for spring skiing and not deal with the frigid temps and worry about Lithium. Primary use will be for summer camping. That being said I am still heavily leaning towards to 20J due to the floor plan. I do understand that it can be cramped, but our family is not wanting to go towards a class C. This is already an upgrade from our tents!

I'll be searching for the 20J now and see if we can get the right specs. Will keep everyone posted and again appreciate the advice and feedback.
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Old 01-22-2024, 08:00 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by velox003 View Post
Hi thank you for your response.

I should clarify a few things. First off is that I only intend to use it during the winter for daily ski trips. I do not intend to sleep in it during the winter months. This would be used as a home base and where I live I think I can get by with 2WD and studded tires due to passes being cleared. During the summer this would be a weekend camper.

Thanks for directing me to the coachmen Nova. I believe that is a good RV my main issues I'm finding is 6 seat belts and pop-top. Hence is why I landed with the 20J floorplan. Insulation would be a concern, but just day use I think it should be fine.

I'm hearing that the Lithium should not be an issue? I did read where others were having issues keeping the UHG keep up with the AC unit. Have you ever had cold weather issues with Lithium? I have read that if they drop too low they can go in sleep mode?

I'm pretty handy and can fix most things in the house/car. This would be my first RV, and I tend to mod things heavily. I read the Thors are not the best of quality compared to the other brands. Unfortunately Thor is the only camper I have found with the 20J floorplan and pop-top.

Anyone with the AGM and Onin use during the winter? How does it hold up and how much run time?

Was in montana and traveled to 25 states in the winter. AGMs 125 AH and Onan 4000 gas..NEVER an issue
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Old 01-23-2024, 12:34 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Scubawise View Post
Was in montana and traveled to 25 states in the winter. AGMs 125 AH and Onan 4000 gas..NEVER an issue
Thanks do you know how much run time you would get with the AGM on its own? Do you think it would last a day?
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Old 01-23-2024, 01:42 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by velox003 View Post
Thanks do you know how much run time you would get with the AGM on its own? Do you think it would last a day?
250 AH AGM with 180 w solar using microwave and TV all day. At night AGM only with heater TV watching lights all night into morning. Morning sun quickly does full charge.

If NO sun still fine in morning including coffee maker and generator for 2 hours all good

Good luck

The folks here helped me 200%
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LAS CRUCES 2020 Thor Vegas 25.6
Lora & George. Golden Retriever & Multi-Gen Australian labradoodle & new ALD in March. Happy Campers!! E Biking, Hiking, Tennis, Scuba,Fishing,Cross Country Skiing, Snowshoeing. Retired H.S. Principal, Sr. IT Engineer, Life & Health Insurance Agent
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Old 01-24-2024, 03:26 PM   #20
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THOR #31687
Got down to -6 in Indiana. Lost 120 volt. 2023 PM Tellaro 20L went down to O%. Awakened batteries and charging while driving, now up to 30%. SOH still showing 0. Lost 120 volt, so no receptacles, microwave etc. will it just come back on when fully charged? Fuses and breakers seem okay. On shore power using house 20 amp… slow charge (if any) on shore power. Best charge is by driving. Haven’t gotten it back up to 100% yet—-plan to drive more to fully charge.
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