Thinking about a Bus/RV

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by Ted, Jul 17, 2020.

  1. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    The issue with engine oil is that water gets in it as a biproduct of combustion. So, oil must be hot enough to boil that water out. That temp doesn’t necessarily need to be above boiling at the sensor since oil touches hot items (pistons, turbos, etc) and will get the water boiled out that way.

    Transmissions don’t have that issue. I’ve not seen a spec on a min trans temp, but I think so long as it’s above 100F it’s fine. My Allison in the bus behaves the same at all temperatures until it gets too hot, then I’ll notice in the shifts. Since doing the cooling modifications to it, it’s been under perfect control and no issues.

    My engine oil cooler upgrades will require a bit more work but are working well. Today involved driving on Arizona 77 which is quite mountainous and lots of hard climbs. The cooling all worked great.
     
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  2. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Touchdown! Greaser!

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    how does it shift differently?
     
  3. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    If it’s too hot it’ll slip a hair on the upshift. Doesn’t ever do that when the temperatures are in check.

    Also, the Allison works a bit different from automotive automatics. In second gear it locks the torque converter which stays locked in every gear. If you manually hold first, it’ll lock up the torque converter in first as well.
     
  4. tmyers

    tmyers En-Route

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    I will have to watch that, I don't think my 2500 locks up till 3rd

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  5. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    Mine normally does first, second, lockup in second, then 3-6 all locked up.
     
  6. tmyers

    tmyers En-Route

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    Mine works the same switching from 2C to 2L then 4L and 5L, the 2500 has no 6th

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  7. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    For those interested, here’s the video on the work of doing the electric fan conversion. Next video (probably in a week or two) will be impressions.

     
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  8. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    I am continuing to think about the high intake temps for an acceleration run. It seems like that’s really the only time that the intake temps get high enough to get my attention. I figure I have two potential options to address it. First one is I could add a boost sensor to the control system and then just turn the fans on full above a certain boost level. The other option would be doing something else like water/methanol injection, which would both cool intake temps and also reduce EGTs. I generally don’t like having extra tanks to locate, fill and refill, and that can run out. Then again windshield washer fluid (the cheapest and “good enough”est water/meth solution) is cheap and available everywhere, and I don’t think it would be that hard locating a 3-5 gallon cell which would probably last well enough. I need to think on it a bit more and will probably work on other items first while I keep on mulling it over.
     
  9. tmyers

    tmyers En-Route

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    At what temp do you start to get concerned and is it an absolute number ot an intake, ambient split?

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  10. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    So diesels don’t care quite as much about the intake temps like gas engines, since detonation isn’t a concern on them. But a hotter intake charge does reduce air density to the engine for a given manifold pressure and thus reduce power. Before I did all this work; the hottest intake temp I ever saw was about 175-180, and it was more normally running in the 130s and 140s. Without the big fan running constantly, the normal temps seem to be in the 160-170s. On the hard acceleration from a stop (when the fans aren’t running at all since it doesn’t seem to need them at idle much) I see it go above 200, and I’ve had it max out at 230F (which is the highest the Cat ECU will read).

    Older big diesels tended to have water to air intercoolers rather than air to air, and in those these sorts of temps would be normal. So I don’t think any of it is necessarily concerning. On the other hand, while the thing is definitely peppier without that huge fan horsepower draw, I suspect I’m giving up a decent bit of horsepower from those temps on highway accel. And if I’m flooring it to get on the highway, I want to accelerate faster.

    It’s a lower priority item compared to getting the fans to run at 100% without the controllers overheating and getting the oil cooler perfected. But it might also be a good excuse to mess with water/meth injection, something I’ve never done before.
     
  11. charheep

    charheep Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    This sounds easier to set up than water injection. Just move some electrons around at the right time and done.
     
  12. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down PoA Supporter

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    It was!
     
  13. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    Yeah, it also requires adding another sensor of some sort. Of course that’s not a big deal to do. I’m going to continue to mull it over. There are some decent water injection kits out there and of course it’s simple to do DIY as well.

    Another option to research would be propane injection. I already have an 80 gallon propane tank and we consume it at an exceedingly slow rate normally.
     
  14. Everskyward

    Everskyward Experimenter

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    Now I'm embarrassed. I lived in Colorado for 30+ years and assumed the Johnson was Lyndon, since he was also a President. :oops:
     
  15. ColoPilot

    ColoPilot Line Up and Wait

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    It wasn't the engineer Johnson or the President Johnson, the tunnel was named after Edwin Johnson, the senator and governor of Colorado from the 1930s through the 1950s.
     
  16. Albany Tom

    Albany Tom Pattern Altitude

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    Ohhhhh...... well that makes sense.
     
  17. Everskyward

    Everskyward Experimenter

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    Too many Johnsons!
     
  18. murphey

    murphey Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Wait until New Years weekend. High in Denver is forecast to be 19F.
     
  19. murphey

    murphey Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Much more interesting climbing the west side to the tunnel.
     
  20. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    I’ve done that with the bus, too. :)
     
  21. Bill

    Bill Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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  22. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    Yesterday I finally got a level stretch of highway with no headwind, for the first time on this trip. I was able to set the cruise at 80 and the engine wasn't stressed at all. EGTs were right around 1000, which is low for this in cruise. With the mechanical fan it wouldn't do that, it basically hit a wall at 75 and going any faster required full throttle.

    When you look at horsepower required to push a brick through the air it’s based off speed cubed, and to turn a fan is based on RPM cubed. So it takes 1.7x the horsepower to turn the fan at 2400 RPM vs 2000, and it seemed above 2000 (roughly 72 in top gear) was where the engine just ran out of steam even though peak HP was 2400.

    Uphill or with a headwind, physics of the weight and drag of the bus take over. No getting around that. But now the engine speed portion of it is vastly reduced. This is a huge improvement, no doubt.
     
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  23. charheep

    charheep Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    And I am assuming also MPG's go up?
     
  24. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    Yes, no doubt. Prevost claims a 4% mpg improvement with their electric setup. I think 5-10% is more in line with what I’m seeing. Of course their baseline was a hydraulic clutched fan and it’s a side mount radiator so a few differences.
     
  25. CJones

    CJones Final Approach

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    Get some MagnaFlow or CherryBomb stickers on that thing and you'll get another 10% easily! Put a full back-window Cummins sticker and you're looking at 25%+ increase in HP!
     
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  26. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    We got home last night, a day earlier than intended but that let us beat the winter weather that showed up today (perfect weather to go pick up a motorcycle). I haven't crawled under the RV, we just unpacked it and stuffed it back in the shop before the weather dropped to below freezing and ice. With that said, I made a lot of observations of the results of work over the 2500+ miles driven, and am really pleased overall.

    The oil leak I was having from the oil filter housing is now fixe, as is the leak from the oil pan. No oil dripping there at all, at least not that I noticed from the side. And that's a good thing.

    The remote oil cooler definitely is helping. The hottest oil temp I saw on the trip was about 215. However, the single cooler is a bit more of a restriction than I'd like it to be, and I think that in the summer when temps are hotter it won't cool as well as I'd like. So I'm going to do like I did for the transmission and run a second cooler in parallel. That will reduce the restriction and increase summer cooling. The oil didn't "overcool", even with OATs in the range of 13F so the system seems to work well.

    Before this trip I'd installed a new fan-forced heater in the bedroom with a solenoid to shut of coolant flow when it's not turned on. It was cold enough that we were running that heater for more than 50% of the trip, and also running the heater up front. I'd insulated the hoses going from the engine up front so as to help that coolant stay hotter. Even in at night in sub-freezing temperatures, we were plenty comfortable in the RV - something that was just not the case before. We'd need to be running the generator and electric heaters.

    Now, the big one - the electric fan cooling. I definitely learned a lot about the bus's cooling system on this trip. The short version is that the electric fan cooling absolutely works, and I have little doubt that it will work in the summer. OATs ranged from 13F up to about 65F. On our first leg leaving Kansas, it was in the low 20s/high teens and the fans didn't run at all. Natural airflow kept the coolant temps at 195 or so. As an added benefit, this helped the engine heater work better since the coolant was warmer than the <190 it would run with the giant fan running.

    However the next morning heading towards Denver, the fans were working, and I would notice some odd behavior. The fans would seem to be doing just fine, and then all of a sudden the engine temp would climb and I would have a hard time getting it to cool back off. Pull over, temps would go back down to 195F or so very quickly (normally at idle the fans don't run at all I've found). Repeat process. After the second or third time this happened, I managed to catch what was occurring after I pulled over. The fan controllers were overheating and then shutting the fans off. Then they would ramp them up and back down again. When pulled over, it didn't take long for things to cool off and then it would go back to normal. I experimented a bit and found that if I limited the PWM to a max of 70% (so max 70% fan capacity) this wouldn't happen. I managed to figure this out before heading west from Denver, and it worked for the rest of the trip.

    When I climbed up from Denver to the Eisenhower Tunnel it was 60-65 or so in Denver, and about 45 at the tunnel. That's far from worst case, but it wasn't frigid winter temps (like we then had in Grand Junction the next morning when we woke up). The fans didn't have trouble keeping the engine cool. The same was the case for any of the other numerous climbs I did on this trip. This was a mountainous, high altitude trip. In normal cruise, the engine mostly ran at around 200-205F (which is where Cat says it's most efficient), and extended higher throttle runs would get it to 210F (which is where the thermostats are fully open) and it would come back down after that. Since I did this all with 70% maximum fan PWM (which should theoretically be around 70% of max airflow), that gives me some extra margin.

    One thing I was concerned about was reduced engine braking efficiency since the fan is no longer there to absorb all that horsepower. And the engine braking is worse. However, not as much worse as I had expected it to be. I'm still able to keep things plenty controlled. The Teton Pass is the only time I've felt that engine braking was marginal, and so I might be more worried there. But for everything else, it's fine.

    Is it faster? Yes, absolutely. It's a 30,000 lbish bus with the Rover in tow, and makes 330 HP rated. It will not be fast. But the engine is definitely more responsive, and there is a lot more reserve horsepower. Acceleration is better. Before, above 2,000 RPM it felt like it would hit a wall. 75 MPH cruise was very strained. Now on level ground without a headwind, 75 isn't a strain on the engine. Heading home I had the cruise set at 80 for a while, and the engine felt unstressed and EGTs were even below 1000F (which is quite low for cruise on this engine).

    Mileage? Way better. With the cruise set at 70-80 on level ground I was seeing 9+ MPG, something I'd never seen before. The worst I saw was still 7 or better, which is a far cry from the 5.5 I had previously gotten as my worst fuel economy.

    The intercooler is one area where I may need to think about this some more. The engine basically doesn't need the fans at all at idle. Sit there and there's enough natural convection and airflow in most cases that it seems that it will keep it at 195 or so on its own. Maybe it'll run at the lowest setting for 30 seconds and shut the fans back off. What that ends up meaning is that if you floor it getting on the highway, the intercooler has no cooling and the induction air post-turbo gets really hot. I found out that the highest the ECU can read is 230F. Previously, the highest I'd ever seen was 175F, and now normal with lower fan airflow seems to be in the range of 160-170F. The higher temps in normal cruise aren't an issue as far as I'm concerned, but at full throttle if nothing else that means I'm giving up a good amount of horsepower (even though it's still faster). So, I have to decide what to do there. I'd be really curious to try water/methanol injection. I've never messed with it before and it seems well suited for the use case of cooling for shorter duration high boost runs. However probably the more logical option is to add a boost sensor to the Arduino and set in a loop to put the fans to full when boost gets above a certain amount.

    So, there are some tweaks I need to do. Addressing induction air temps (at least for full throttle highway acceleration) is one. Another is fixing the overheating fan controllers. I have a few tests I want to do before moving them and redoing wiring, but I think this overall isn't insurmountable. If the controllers themselves can't handle the current, I may need to try to make something work with different (higher power) controllers. Now that I know how to make the general idea work, that wouldn't be too difficult.

    When I add in the second oil cooler, I am also thinking about adding in a logic to ground (turn on) the oil cooler fans if the engine temp is above a certain value, since that will help cool the engine. However I think that the oil cooler fan likely naturally turns on anyway at that point.

    I also want to seal up some of the air gaps around the radiator. There clearly is a level of natural airflow, and I think that will help force a bit more air through the radiator. I had figured I'd do that after I proved out the basic system.

    All in all, for engineering multiple new systems, getting all this back together, doing one 20 minute test drive, and then driving it 2,500 miles, I'd say it went pretty damn well.
     
  27. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    That’s a big experiment you have rolling down the highway. Pretty neat.

    If the fan controllers overheat and shut down (I know you worked around it for now), maybe a fail-safe relay that puts power to the fan if the controller fails to hold it open?
     
  28. Albany Tom

    Albany Tom Pattern Altitude

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    Yep, I'd say that's a win by any measure. Just quick on the water/alcohol...stating again my thing is electric/computer, not mech or chemical, but I'd wonder about long term use on either the materials or lubrication of cylinder walls. No idea of that would be a thing, just basing it on a change in chemistry, and my limited understanding that it's a technique for limited use in high performance engines for racing or extra take-off performance. I don't know if it's used routinely for any production engines in normal service.
     
  29. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach

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    It's part of the reason electro-mechanical fan clutches were used. ECU controls the clutch engagement and they fail in a way that essentially resorts back to a pure mechanical fan.
     
  30. GeorgeC

    GeorgeC Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    Sounds like you need fans for your fan controllers, and a fan controller fan controller.
     
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  31. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    That's part of what I really enjoy about the RV trips. It scratches a lot of itches. RVing itself is fun. Every trip so far I've made significant system improvements, and it's fun to see what those do. I view it as a rolling engineering proof of concept.

    Note: I was careful to not say "rolling lab" given the connotation that goes with that for anyone who's watched Breaking Bad. :)

    My work-around really is a bandaid. Since I'm not getting 100% fan capacity out of the fans, this is not a long term solution. Come summer, I'll definitely want that extra capacity. But yes, I'd had the idea of limiting the controller to 70% and then putting relays in that would just run full power to the fans otherwise. After I do some testing I'll get a better idea of what I need to do.

    I agree that for many reasons, I wouldn't want it to be part of routine use. But that said, I also have what essentially amounts to a single use case where I'd want it to be turned on - full throttle on an onramp. The problem with doing a pure boost reference is that the cruise control will take the engine to max boost/full power on its own. And when I have the cruise control on, I'm less concerned about it anyway. What's come to my mind as one potential option would be (if I went with adding water/meth injection), having a boost pressure switch AND a throttle position microswitch in series. In other words, I'd have to be flooring it and the boost would have to be up for it to engage. That would limit the consumption significantly, would give me that extra boost of power when I really needed it, and I think would handle other use cases just fine.

    Another option (once I figure out getting the fans to 100% PWM reliably) would be to use a microswitch to activate the fans to maximum whenever I'm flooring it, thus giving me max intercooling. Or I could just try increasing intercooling capacity. To be honest, I'm surprised at how little this intercooler seems to do for how big it is without that massive fan forcing tons of air over it (especially when the radiator is doing such a good job) with minimal airflow), but with a clean and less leaky intercooler I am still seeing boost rise quicker so it's a benefit.

    Anyway, this is really more of a smaller end case that I'm less concerned about but that does need to be addressed at some point. I can noodle on it while I make progress on other areas that I know need work.

    Insert "Yo Dawg" meme :)

    [​IMG]
     
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  32. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    Oh, another area that will need some more work (as I expected) is heat for the water system. I'd installed heating pads on all 3 tanks. However it was clear by the time we hit our first nightly stop that this was not going to do enough to prevent freezing. We were never below freezing for too long so the system didn't get damaged any, but the lines did get slushed up in the bays and the fresh water tank froze enough that some water started to come out the gravity fill port. No doubt, for how we use it, we need to do better.

    The fresh water tank has poor insulation so that's an easy one to attack. But it also needs more heat. So, I came up with the idea of doing something similar to what I did for the aux fan heater. Basically put in a thermostatic switch that turns on at 45F and off at 65F (give or take), and then have a solenoid valve with restriction that will run water from the water heater back into the fresh tank. That would use an existing system, keep water running through the lines, and then be pumping heat into the fresh water tank at an appropriate level. It's worth a shot and won't cost much to do.
     
  33. Bill

    Bill Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Maybe something as simple as a rotary switch on the dash that goes to 11? When see the need for full power coming up, manually put the fans to max?
     
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  34. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    Before the trip I'd thought about putting in some kind of manual control for the fans for that sort of reason. Semis also have manual control for the fans that lets you turn the big clutch on if it's needed. So that might be an option, but my thought is that I'd rather keep in something that's more automatic since the logic that is required for it is pretty simple and, from what I've seen on this trip, really doesn't need to be particularly adaptive or variable. Going into the trip, I'd expected to end up wanting to make more tweaks than I now think is necessary.
     
  35. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I hadn’t thought about the Breaking Bad aspect. I wonder what the R value of bundles of hundreds is?

    Vehicle environments are about as tough as it gets for controllers like you have. I haven’t looked at them closely yet to see if they have the ability to mount to a good heat sink. Are they inside the vehicle or in one of bays?


    Edit: should have added - That last trip sounds like a good engineering test. You found some new limits and nothing catastrophic happened.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2022
  36. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    If you look at the picture of the rear of the bus you’ll see where I mounted them. They’re behind the fans, attached to the shrouds. So they have awful cooling air, as in they’re being cooled with air that’s already gone through the radiator and intercooler and is hot enough that it makes me stand away if I’m behind it.

    My test plan is to run the fan at full power with the engine off for a while, and see if the controller overheats. If not, I should be able to relocate them to a better area and have that work.

    Also, they do have built in heat sinks. But I could add some more heat sinks for additional cooling.

    I agree. Knowing our plans for this trip was part of why I wanted to get the system together and working before we left. I figured I would get good data from which I could extrapolate whether or not I’d gotten it right or struck out. It really was a good test. Sometimes I wish I’d gone to Detroit to be an engineering test driver.
     
  37. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    Today I performed my test of seeing if the fans or controllers would overheat on their own with the fans going full blast. The way these controllers work is that if the signal pin is open, they ramp up to full speed. This makes testing easy, since it means I was able to just pull the signal pin and have the fans ramp up.

    Doing all 4 fans at once wasn't necessary, but I did two separate tests. The first one was having a fan run that had controllers behind it. After 30 minutes, the controller was cool, the fan was cool, and still running.

    Then I ran a fan that didn't have controllers behind it (so the controller was simply exposed to ambient air, no active cooling). The controller did get a bit warmer after 30 minutes, but it was still running fine, and it wasn't much warmer. 5-10 degrees max maybe.

    The condition that this doesn't test for is the fan running on full blast with the fan motor therefore being cooled/heated by air that's passed through a 200+ degree radiator. In other words, are the fans pulling more current when the motors get hot, and is that causing the overload of the controller instead of the controller getting too hot?

    Given my findings, I'm thinking that my best bet is probably to move the fan controllers inside the bus to see if that fixes the problem. And if not, I'll probably need to do something with some relays for full speed when that's warranted. I have an area where I can put them that has no active airflow, but will definitely be cooler than the engine bay. Then reevaluate from there.
     
  38. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    On our last trip, we found that we needed some more than the heater pads to keep the tanks from freezing. Of course then when I looked at it closer, it turned out that there was a bad ground and those pads weren't really doing anything. However, we want to do more (and colder) winter trips, and so I wanted a system in place that would help keep the fresh tank going, and ideally also something that would keep some water circulating through the pex lines that aren't inside so that they wouldn't freeze.

    What I ended up doing is adding a ball valve for the water heater tank drain. I used an adjustable thermostatic switch to control when it opens (the temp sensor is attached to the fresh water tank). So essentially, at 45 degrees it will open the valve, and run hot water into it until it gets up to 60 degrees. The controller is adjustable so I can move the temperature around however I need to. Here's the video:



    I've started cutting up metal for the permanent griddle mount. Hopefully I can get that done before the next trip.
     
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  39. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    Oct 9, 2007
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    28,880

    Display name:
    iFlyNothing
    I'm sitting here thinking a few things.

    1) I hate my generator
    2) I really hate my generator
    3) See items 1 and 2 above

    Ok, let me clarify that a bit. Our RV has an Onan QuietDiesel 7500. It's not an awful generator. It starts every time I push the button, starts easily at that. I've started it below 0F and other than the glow plugs needing longer to preheat before it engages the starter, it really is just fine. It's a bit undersized for this RV and will blow the breaker on the generator itself depending on what we're running. That's not the generator's fault, unless you want to blame it for only being a 7500W generator instead of a 10k or 12k unit.

    However, it's loud. Anyone who's been around some of the newer portable generators that most people use will understand that you can barely hear those. This, you really hear.

    So, I'm thinking about ways I can try to make it quieter. A few things have come to mind.

    1) Obviously, the exhaust could be muffled more. I think this is something I'll need to do
    2) The generator itself makes some level of noise inherently, and because it's in an enclosure box, I can put some sound deadening around the outside as well as on the front fiberglass panel to try to absorb some of the sound coming this way
    3) However as I walk around the generator, it seems like a large portion of the noise is coming from the cooling fan, which has quite a bit of airflow. So...

    #teddoingtedthings

    The generator has its own cooling system, which is something that I don't fully understand the logic behind. It's not very efficient for it to have its own system when the engine has more than enough capacity, and also runs hoses right next to/past the generator for the forward heater (which I replaced). The current setup has several issues, noise being the most obvious one for this post, but the other thing that comes to mind is that the generator and the main RV engine aren't able to preheat eachother for cold weather ops.

    I want to look at this some, but I'm thinking that I want to see if there's away to combine the cooling systems into a single one, and then disconnect the factory cooling fan so that I can save that noise.

    I'm also back to thinking about solar panels and/or better house batteries, but I think getting the generator quieter is something that I want regardless of any of that.
     
    TCABM likes this.
  40. charheep

    charheep Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2013
    Messages:
    1,140
    Location:
    Aurora, IL

    Display name:
    charheep
    How can it be loud? It has Quiet literally in its name...