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Travelling in winter


Fred Skura

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Hellow     1st post of many to come      i have a 42 dynasty and will be doing some winter driving soon  Never drove a coach under any blistering conditions.  I would like advice from people who have done it and what the issues they experienced       Thank You

 

 

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12 minutes ago, Fred Skura said:

Hellow     1st post of many to come      i have a 42 dynasty and will be doing some winter driving soon  Never drove a coach under any blistering conditions.  I would like advice from people who have done it and what the issues they experienced       Thank You

 

 

Driving may not be the issue.  It is "stopping" or overnighting.  The first issue that comes to mind is the Hydraulic Fluid.  Don't know what the extremes will be.  However, your MH MAY (never sure with Monaco.....as well as what they publish in the owner's manual) have standard AW46 Hydraulic Fluid in the system.  The easy way to tell is to open the reservoir and let a few drops of the fluid "drip" on a clean paper towel.  If it is REDDISH, then you have Automatic Transmission Fluid.  If it is yellowish or straw or light tan, you have AW46 Hydraulic fluid.  If you get into single digits there is the potential for the AW46 to FREEZE and the result can be catastrophic.  The oil cooler section of the radiator assembly or the hoses and such will split and it is a mess....plus costly to repair.  There is NO ONE temperature that is OK....unless it is above maybe 10 DF.  Monaco was very erratic in what fluid went in.  Mine was printed as AW46.  But Monaco (the original PRE Bankruptcy) tech support swore that they had started using ATF in the mid to early 2000's.  BUT, we have a member here with a 2007 that has the AW46.  He lives in a cold climate but has the MH in a semi controlled closed environment.  Monaco switched to ATF due to this freezing and bursting issue.  

If you are going to be camping or spending the night along the way in temperature approaching zero, then you MIGHT want to have the system drained and replaced with ATF.  If you do that, I would recommend Allison Transynd or the equivalent Mobil Delvac ATF that meets the 295 specs.  That is what TRW told me to use when I did a filter and partial drain of my system....and it was RED.

Others may have more specific info on the critical temperature.  I remember maybe 5 or so occurrences in the past 13 years.  One recently (in my mind....that is within 5 years).  

Others will have to chime in about "Driving" as well as "Camping" in extreme temperatures.  Obviously using the Block Heater will be critical.  Some folks put up Mobile Home skirting to keep the winds out and retain the heat.  No one has ever commented on the use of a portable electric heater, which could be run off the block heater circuit....without the Block Heater being plugged in and then erecting a skirting system.  I can NOT recall if there were issues with the upfront steering box.  I can only say that my Yukon blew out a rack and pinion system in NC when we hit zero a few years ago.  It is UGLY....to say the least.  

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Chains for the tires may be necessary. You may also not move if the weather is bad  

Also make sure the windshield washer fluid is cold rated.  

We plan around storms and don’t move if roads are not completely dry in winter. Also winter is the only time I prefer interstates - usually I prefer smaller roads. 

Good Luck!

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I try not to drive during winter weather. One early May on our way to Alaska we encountered a snow storm as we climbed elevation after leaving Haines Junction heading to Kulane Lake. Had 6 inches of snow on the road and no where safe to pull off. Towing a 30 foot trailer too. Luckily after about 50 miles we eventually drove out of it. However, if there happened to be a downgrade I would not have been able to stop or even slow down using the brakes in fear of the trailer jack-knifing. Thank God there wasn't any.

Bottom line, I will do anything to avoid driving in snow ever again. It was the most nerve-wracking experience while driving my coach.

Edited by Dr4Film
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I watch the weather very close on my trip route and will lay over somewhere safe if bad weather is predictided on my route. I have been in temps in the low teens for a few days with no problems. I run the tank and bay heaters and make sure I have plenty of propane for the furnace. Items that will freeze in an unheated cargo bay could be a problem. If temps are below freezing I always turn on the block heater a couple hours or more before I start the engine to leave.

Frank O

2001 Endeavor

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I've driven up / down a couple of mountain passes in the snow with toad.

I was surprised at the amount of traction I had! Luckily didn't have to come to a stop on the steeper sections. Nice and slow on the downgrades!

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22 minutes ago, 96 EVO said:

I've driven up / down a couple of mountain passes in the snow with toad.

I was surprised at the amount of traction I had! Luckily didn't have to come to a stop on the steeper sections. Nice and slow on the downgrades!

I’ve done snow with class 6-8 trucks and just tried to avoid it. I’ve spoke with a few tag axle owner coaches and they remarked that they would lift the tag up to get weight on the drive axle for traction. Anyone have experience with this ? 

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Your overloading your drive axle, and tires with the tag raised. The tag automatically lowers when you reach a speed of about 10 or 12mph.

Probably help if you were stuck spinning your drive tires at a standstill, but that's about it.

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Haven't done much winter driving in my coach.  In 2011 I went to Northern Michigan in late March, this was right after a big snow even so there were areas where the road was covered with black ice.  Sometimes you can easily see it and other times not so much.  Because of that I drove slower then what I normally do and did not use my brakes anytime I saw the black ice.  No sudden turns either, just had to look ahead and go into the curves easy. 

I had to lay over one night and stayed at a Walmart parking lot in northern Wisconsin.  There were 10' high snowbanks all around the parking lot, it was literally an ice box.  Cold, ran my generator all night and had a 120 volt heater (no aquahot) in the basement secured to the top of a heavy tool box.  Didn't have any problems but had prepared for the weather as I was going to live in the coach.  April was cold and snowy, got 2' of snow and temps usually in the teens. 

I stayed at a small campground, no real hookups or dump. but they did have the shower house open.  I had to use 2 extension cords plugged into 20 amp circuits, one for the coach and the other in the basement for the 120 volt heater.   I used my propane furnace sparingly trying to conserve the propane.  Some mornings it would be low 30's in the coach.  Just had to tough it out. 

At one point after a pretty good snow a smaller class A came in to spend the night, The next day they tried to leave and couldn't get out of the parking lot, too much snow and no traction, so they spent another night. 

Ah, memories.

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2 hours ago, 96 EVO said:

Your overloading your drive axle, and tires with the tag raised. The tag automatically lowers when you reach a speed of about 10 or 12mph.

Probably help if you were stuck spinning your drive tires at a standstill, but that's about it.

Obviously it would weigh more, the idea is to get you over the ice/snow. 

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13 hours ago, Tom Cherry said:

Driving may not be the issue.  It is "stopping" or overnighting.  The first issue that comes to mind is the Hydraulic Fluid.  Don't know what the extremes will be.  However, your MH MAY (never sure with Monaco.....as well as what they publish in the owner's manual) have standard AW46 Hydraulic Fluid in the system.  The easy way to tell is to open the reservoir and let a few drops of the fluid "drip" on a clean paper towel.  If it is REDDISH, then you have Automatic Transmission Fluid.  If it is yellowish or straw or light tan, you have AW46 Hydraulic fluid.  If you get into single digits there is the potential for the AW46 to FREEZE and the result can be catastrophic.  The oil cooler section of the radiator assembly or the hoses and such will split and it is a mess....plus costly to repair.  There is NO ONE temperature that is OK....unless it is above maybe 10 DF.  Monaco was very erratic in what fluid went in.  Mine was printed as AW46.  But Monaco (the original PRE Bankruptcy) tech support swore that they had started using ATF in the mid to early 2000's.  BUT, we have a member here with a 2007 that has the AW46.  He lives in a cold climate but has the MH in a semi controlled closed environment.  Monaco switched to ATF due to this freezing and bursting issue.  

 

The issue with AW46 is high viscosity.  At low temperatures the viscosity is so high that the pressure will blow out the oil cooler.  This is a know problem back in the day.  If you are going to be driving the freezing weather, change out the hydraulic fluid to ATF.

In cold weather you will find all the interior air leaks.  On my coach there were huge air leaks where the front fiberglass cap meets the dash - big enough for my fingers to fit through the gap.  I used spray foam sealant to fill these gaps and those where the electrical wiring enter on the drivers side below the window.

Be aware that your awning canvas will freeze and you can easily damage toppers if you extend or retract slides if canvas toppers are frozen.

In freezing weather, condensation is a huge issue inside the coach.  Be sure all your window weep hole vents are working and where possible, vent or limit activities that generate moisture.

Add remote wifi temperature sensors to your water service bay.  This will allow you to remotely monitor the bay temperatures to be sure the heater is working.

My other advice is to be careful what using the coach steps.  Just a bit of freezing rail is all that you need for steps to be covered with ice! (Ask me how I know...)

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10 hours ago, Frank McElroy said:

The issue with AW46 is high viscosity.  At low temperatures the viscosity is so high that the pressure will blow out the oil cooler.  This is a know problem back in the day.  If you are going to be driving the freezing weather, change out the hydraulic fluid to ATF.

In cold weather you will find all the interior air leaks.  On my coach there were huge air leaks where the front fiberglass cap meets the dash - big enough for my fingers to fit through the gap.  I used spray foam sealant to fill these gaps and those where the electrical wiring enter on the drivers side below the window.

Be aware that your awning canvas will freeze and you can easily damage toppers if you extend or retract slides if canvas toppers are frozen.

In freezing weather, condensation is a huge issue inside the coach.  Be sure all your window weep hole vents are working and where possible, vent or limit activities that generate moisture.

Add remote wifi temperature sensors to your water service bay.  This will allow you to remotely monitor the bay temperatures to be sure the heater is working.

My other advice is to be careful what using the coach steps.  Just a bit of freezing rail is all that you need for steps to be covered with ice! (Ask me how I know...)

Thanks for the technical explanation on the AW46.  Bottom line, it does not work well in extreme cold and that is why Monaco switched.

To clarify my ATF Yukon zero temp failure, it was a reman unit installed after the OEM failed.  The dealer could not determine the cause.  The replacement unit also failed.  Both those units, the “frozen” one and the replacement lasted around 15 K, each. Then the next was replaced and included a new pump and hoses.  The bulk ATF supplier and oil company contributed the cost of replacement.  Whether the “frozen” one had enough moisture to freeze or it was a seal issue, the result mirrored the Monaco Viscosity failures.  Thus, GM, the oil company and the dealer funded the next replacement.  I do get skittish at zero temps….

And the recommendation to verify ATF in the MH Hydraulic system for near zero operations is critical.  Many have experienced this…so not some internet myth….

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28 minutes ago, Paul A. said:

Line the basement doors with https://www.reflectixinc.com/

Handy stuff.

Yes it is handy stuff. What continues to amaze me is how well built our Monaco’s are. My basement door latch broke, so I replaced it yesterday. The plastic panel was pop-riveted in place and then it was glued. In the door cavity was fiberglass insulation. So the doors have some insulation- but more is better. 

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