First, let me say that I really love this forum. There is a tremendous amount of good, solid information on it for rehabbing vintage Shastas. And the love of these old trailers is really apparent among the members. I have a 1969 Compact currently being resurrected, and have a blog at kd8cbv-shastacompactressurection.blogspot.com/ which I have already posted on this forum. Because I value your opinions, I pose this question:
"Should I remove the propane tanks, line, and appliances from this Compact?"
Here's my thinking.....My compact will be completely gutted and most of the framing replaced. I will not install a range, will use an electric dorm-type refrigerator, and will not install a furnace. I am considering using a portable propane camp stove rather than installing a cook-top in the galley. This would allow me to cook outside whenever possible. A microwave oven will be installed in the space previously occupied by the oven. Camping will be primarily at campgrounds with electric hookups and shower facilities. No camping is planned for severely cold weather, although cold snaps occur, and a small propane heater with a small bottle or an electric heater would heat such a small space enough for overnight comfort. In addition, I would not have to worry about propane leaks into the trailer. The space on the tongue currently holding a propane tank would be fitted with a battery box.
Do I really need propane piped into the trailer? Am I thinking straight, or am I missing something?
Do not, not, not use a portable propane heater in a camper. Ever. Please. An electric one (especially with ceramic disks) is much safer.
I really don't have an opinion on your question - I wouldn't do it, but that's because I plan on camping where there is no electricity and will need propane for the fridge, lights and possibly heater if I decide to keep it in the trailer. I also use the big tanks on the front to fuel my outdoor cooktop/grill, so it's convenient to carry them there. It sounds like you have a different experience planned and I believe you should rebuild/refit to your needs. Enjoy your trailer either way ... but no propane space heater
Thanks for your input, effierover. The propane heater I was considering is an Olympian Catalytic Wave 3 from Vintage Trailer Supply. Is this catalytic type safe, in your opinion, or do I need to avoid it also?
Post by hastashasta on Dec 23, 2010 2:04:25 GMT -5
I'm considering the same Olympian Wave 3 heater. I understand that it is convertible and can be used free-standing (with optional legs) or built into a wall (with optional trim kit, I assume). Anyone have an opinion/experience with this particular unit or brand?
Hey kd8cbv, don't forget to leave room for the radio! ke5bee.
Thanks, Hastashasta. No problem about the radio. I initially got interested in small trailers after reading an article in QST about a "canned ham" teardrop trailer. I didn't realize at the time that vintage Shasta Compacts were also referred to as canned hams!
Pertaining to the heater, though, from what I have read, the Wave 3 cannot be built in. We would have to go to the Wave 6 to use a recessing kit.........Bob (kd8cbv)
A propane system would be nice to have in the boondocks, I agree. Would you leave the gas lines and cap them? That would give the option of having propane in the future.
I have a lot of experience with Olympian Wave heaters; lived with a Wave 6 as my only source of heat for five years. It was incredibly efficient and never once set the CO detector off. Each Wave has a certain square inch vent required; listed in the installation instructions.
Wave 3s are not built into a wall, no kit available. (yes on Wave 6s) The factory states that a Wave 3 should not be built in. Legs are available and handy, altho it takes only 3 sturdy screws to hang the wave on the side of a closet or cabinet. I always mount mine on the wall to keep it out of the way.
Olympian Wave heaters are very safe. They are 99% efficient and have been around long enough to be thoroughly tested. I like them better than the portable Little Buddy for several reasons; the main one being that the Buddy's are greedy on fuel. Buddy's also do not like altitude and the "safety" tends to shut them off at odd times. A CO detector is recommended in any trailer with propane appliances.
Buddys run on the little throwaway bottles which are high pressure. Olympian Wave Heaters must have the gas regulated, such as the tank with regulator on the tongue. So you would need the LP system in your trailer to use a Wave 3.
Post by hastashasta on Dec 27, 2010 3:53:27 GMT -5
kd8cbv, I assumed wall-mountable meant recess-able, like the Wave 6 and 8. I did go ahead and order the Wave 3 from adventurerv.net for $186. I see they are going for $265 at vintagetrailersupply.com.
Regarding catalytic heater safety, I've seen where a few people on other sites have expressed a fear of using them. I wonder if they understand that they don't produce carbon monoxide like a traditional fired RV heater. Their output, besides heat, consists of equal parts water and carbon dioxide. Since the carbon dioxide does displace air, some ventilation is required. The rule of thumb is one square inch of open window per 1000BTU. Crack a couple of windows and rest easy. That said, they are illegal in Massachusetts and Canada (Olympians at least).
I'm torn about whether it's best in your case to install appliances and run permanent gas lines or to keep everything portable. On the plus side for permanent, I believe everything will take less space. You won't have any fuel tanks/cylinders inside the trailer and no portable appliances to stow in what may be valuable cargo space. Also, I think your battery may do better inside than out. Just make sure it's sealed/AGM.
On the plus side for portable, you can bring only what appliances you need on a particular trip, and you can move your stove and/or heater outside for the real outdoor experience. ke5bee.
Thanks vickx and hastashasta for your insights. It seems that I would be wise to have a tank (or tanks) with regulator and lines into the trailer, if for no other reason than for a Wave heater. Thanks for the input and photos, vickx. It is very helpful. And you are undoubtedly right about the battery doing better inside, ke5bee. I'm still undecided, though, about permanent or portable cook-stove though. If I put a permanent cook-top in, I would still be likely to pack along a portable just to keep cooking heat out of the little trailer in the summer. But if I have permanent propane lines in place, I may as well have a permanent stove also. Either way, I win!
No problem. I really can't say enough good about the Wave heaters. They are tough and heat up our trailers very nicely.
One thing-if you decide to test the propane lines with air pressure, disconnect the appliances and plug the lines. Appliance valves are not set up for high pressure (over 11" water column) and could be ruined. A "manometer" can be used with appliances connected, it is a low pressure tester. Any RV shop can do the test. Soap and water at the fittings is cheaper.
I have thought about this as well. I ended up keeping my propane. The reason is I installed a quick disconnect at Therese so that I can run my "camping / tailgating" grill off of it. Now I don't have to worry about this little propane bottles that only last 2 hrs. Just my 2 cents
Am about to take the plunge and purchase a 69 Compact. Am also thinking of ditching the gas. would probably just cap it off and leave lines in place. also want to ditch the heavy oven / stove. I too would use a hot plate inside or a portable coleman gas stove outside. also want to pull the icebox that takes up part of the closet space in order to put a porta potty in closet. not really sure how good the old ice boxes retain ice compared to a modern Yetti type ice chest. Basically wanting to lighten it up as much as possible for long distance runs back home to visit family and run a electric cord out from any relatives home we are parked in front of for lights & space heater.
Last Edit: Apr 13, 2011 18:43:23 GMT -5 by skittles
I don't know if this is a consideration for anyone but I would think for resale value completely getting rid of the option of using propane may not be the best move? One of the reasons I loved my particular shasta so much is it has all original working appliances even though I am much more likely to just cook outside. For me it is exciting to look around inside that camper and know it looked pretty much the same back in 1972 when the first owners hit the road for a trip.