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Old 03-26-2005, 08:18 AM   #1
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We're looking at inventories of 2005 40' FDQS and can't find any with Hydro Hot installed. We're being told that we can no longer order a 2005. We don't particularly want to order a 2006, since the BASE PRICE is approximately $20,000 higher than the '05. Yikes!
Do you have Hydro Hot? If so, what is your experience with it? If not, do you wish you had it?
We've read other reviews on the feature and, not surprisignly, they are mixed, but seem positive overall. We would like to hear first-hand from Alpine owners their thoughts on this feature.
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Old 03-26-2005, 08:18 AM   #2
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We're looking at inventories of 2005 40' FDQS and can't find any with Hydro Hot installed. We're being told that we can no longer order a 2005. We don't particularly want to order a 2006, since the BASE PRICE is approximately $20,000 higher than the '05. Yikes!
Do you have Hydro Hot? If so, what is your experience with it? If not, do you wish you had it?
We've read other reviews on the feature and, not surprisignly, they are mixed, but seem positive overall. We would like to hear first-hand from Alpine owners their thoughts on this feature.
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Old 03-26-2005, 11:26 AM   #3
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After reading about the Hydro Hot I was quite intrigued. It was quite an expensive option on the Newmar and Tiffin rigs we were looking at so I ran some numbers on it to see how it would pay off. In our case I find that it would take a long time to pay off so I should just consider it another one of those "convenience" options, like in-motion satellite domes and stuff like that, which never "pays for itself" but is just plain nice to have.

Hydronic heating offers a number of advantages over conventional heating. First, you are using diesel fuel, not propane. There is more BTU per gallon of diesel fuel than propane so you'll get more heating per gallon with the diesel burner. From a cost standpoint this isn't major but a 150 gallon of diesel fuel will run the Hydro Hot a whole lot longer than a 32 gallon propane tank ever will. Plus, when it's time to refuel, you don't have to make a separate stop at the propane tank and flag down someone to pump LP for you. You automatically refuel your furnace every time you refuel your engine.

You can also run the system of of a 50 amp shore power cord so you don't even need the diesel burner.

You also have separate heating zones, including the basement, for better heat distribution.

Another advantage is that you get instant hot water. No more waiting for the water heater to heat up and no more running out of hot water during long showers. However, the instant hot water feature won't quite cut it when running on AC so most users run the heat on AC and just flip on the burner when it's shower time.

I was pretty impressed and thinking about the longer run times I could get when boondocking and winter camping and was leaning heavily towards it.

However, I did hear a few negative responses on other forums regarding burner maintenance issues, excessive noise, and burner smell.

Then I test drove an Allegro Bus that had the hydronic heat option in it and decided I'd "road test" the hydronic system as well.

I found that the burner lit right up but that the exhaust was routed through a small tailpipe, similar to a generator tailpipe, out the driver's side of the coach. This made for a pretty loud resonating roar when running. I couldn't imagine my fellow campers being parked next to this coach and having to listen to this. It also left a pungent unburnt diesel smell out that exhaust. Again, I couldn't put my fellow campers through that so I was getting turned off.

The clincher came just before I ordered my Bus. I attended my dealer's open house and met Bob Tiffin there. We talked at great length about the various features of the Bus and when it came to the hydronics we expressed our reservations about the noise and smell and he did allow as how he was was asked to move when using that system in a campground. So we ditched the hydronic heat and went with the dual zoned LP furnaces in the Bus.

However, if you do a lot of winter camping and boondocking and don't have any nearby RVers, the system can really offer some benefits.
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Old 03-26-2005, 02:53 PM   #4
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My 05 has hydro hot, I like the quietness of the unit and the continuous Hot water. I don't like the diesel fumes and smell. The unit exhaust pipe is just below the bedroom slide. It also blows diesel fumes into the adjacent campsite in tight campgrounds. I am looking at installing something like the Gen-Turi to exhaust the fumes up over the roof. Mine also is plumbed to the diesel tank in a manner that allows it to suck the tank dry. I know because I parked for 2months and to my surprise when I fired up to leave the fuel warning light was on. I did make it to the nearest fuel stop, it took 97 gallons of fuel. I find this unit to be much easier to live with than the gas furnace in our 2000 Alpine. Unless it is really cold we get by on electricity just fine. We usually turn the diesel side on in the morning for showering and initial warm up of the coach. I find it much easier to sleep with the hydro hot going than running one of the heat pumps or the gas furnace in the 2000.

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Old 03-28-2005, 06:45 AM   #5
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Wayne Routhier:
Mine also is plumbed to the diesel tank in a manner that allows it to suck the tank dry. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Do all the factory units plumb to the main fuel tank??? So you are paying road taxes to heat your water? Kinda makes me glad that we decided to build our own Webasto system (that what the Hydro- & Aqua-Hot sytems are) and use a dedicated fuel tank for it (and our diesel genny). Well, that and the fact that we can build one for half the cost of an Aqua-Hot plus modify it to suit our needs.

I love a bus conversion!!
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Old 03-28-2005, 07:09 AM   #6
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A good friend of mine did the same thing. If I had kept my 2000 Alpine I was planning on installing a unit myself.
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Old 03-29-2005, 03:17 PM   #7
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Here is a 2005 40ft with 4 slides that also has the hydro hot: http://motorhomespecialist.rvusa.com....asp?id=163054

They have two: http://motorhomespecialist.rvusa.com....asp?id=164276

Last December they were advertised around 27% off MSRP but now this dealer is saying $3000 above dealer cost - so the deal must be even better.

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Old 03-29-2005, 07:00 PM   #8
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I haven't read the entire thread and don't know if this has been mentioned, but if you are installing a system yourself, you might want to think about installing a separate fuel tank for the hyro/aqua hot. That way you can fill up with un-taxed fuel rather than pay highway taxes to heat your coach. Matter of fact, perhaps the manufacturers should think about this.
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Old 03-30-2005, 06:06 AM   #9
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Steve,
Currently the heating fuel (Kerosine, Heating oil) here in NC is higher than road fuel. Who knows why... Why is diesel higher than regular gas... Why are fuel prices for autos so high when autos use only 3% of the nations fuel consumption (according to one of the recent news channels). But the big thing is that when you find the heating fuel cheaper you can take advantage of it IF you have the seperate tanks. The rumours are that if you get caught with untaxed fuel in your engine tanks, then you can loose your RV. Like I said, it's rumour, but I'm sure the penalty is pretty
hefty. Also you can get a "home heating oil" delivery truck to deliver to you in a park.
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Old 03-30-2005, 09:11 AM   #10
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It seems to me the expense of a separate tank and the loss of space would not be worth the savings avoiding the road tax for probably 50 gallons a year. If I was installing a unit from scratch it might make sense.
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Old 03-30-2005, 03:58 PM   #11
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Does anybody know if you get the HydroHot as OEM installation, whether you get the (loud) propane furnace too?
Seems like if I had the AC/heat pump option, and hydrohot, that 2 heating systems would suffice, and the space killed by the LP furnace could be reclaimed to a better use.
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Old 03-30-2005, 04:25 PM   #12
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No propane furnace with Hydro Hot option and mine did come with heat pumps. You still get a 40 gallon propane tank which should fuel the cook top for about 10 years since it is the only propane device on board.
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Old 03-31-2005, 07:21 PM   #13
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They could install a smaller propane tank as the units with a gas/propane refrigerator still don't use that much propane.

Now I would like to add my two cents on the Hyro-hot from a camper who parked next to one. They are real noisy if you park next the guy who runs his all night. It sounds like a jet plane taking of every fifteen minutes. If you are unfortunate enough to be down wind of a Hydro-hot, you don't have to worry about the noise keeping you up all night because the diesel smell will take care of that!

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Old 04-01-2005, 05:37 PM   #14
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I talked to WRV today on the installation.
In a 34 or 36 footer, you lose storage space on the driver side at the rear of the pass-thru. If you are getting the Glendinning cord reel, the HHot goes rearward of the reel, & since both are right next to the storage door, you lose that much access from that side.
In a 38 or 40 footer, HHot goes in another space, so you don't lose storage.
In any case, the propane furnace is not installed, but the space for it (under the fridge) is not reclaimed (i.e. it is simply dead space).
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