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Old 11-30-2013, 10:09 AM   #1
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Best insulated 5er?

This cold spell has me wonderering what is the better insulated unit. A DRV Mobile Suits or an Excel Limited. The 5er I am in is really not insulated that well. The furnace will run about 50% of the time w/o supplemental electric heaters. Recently on a 20 degree night my 5er was not comfortable as it was down right chilly inside.

Are there any other 5ers that are insulated well enough to be warm inside when the temp drops into the high teens or low 20's?
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Old 11-30-2013, 02:25 PM   #2
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Excel is guaranteed not to freeze down to -10 . I have a new Winslow 31 IKE and just the fireplace is keeping us warm when the nights are getting down to the low 30's here at Gulf State Park this week.
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Old 11-30-2013, 03:51 PM   #3
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Drv has 31/4" thick walls full of wool batten insulation. Don't know of anyone else that does. Go to their website and there is a picture of one covered with insulation. Very impressive. Also use 15" chassis which allows more insulation. Is good in -10 and less. been there done that.
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Old 11-30-2013, 06:36 PM   #4
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I'd go for the thicker walls in the DRV.

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Old 11-30-2013, 07:04 PM   #5
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Drv's even have the 3 1/4" walls on the slides. They are very well insulated. Guess you could go to the websites and compare "R" values. There's an owners' forum for Drv owners, www.suitesowners.com, you can sign up and post any question as a prospective owner. There's probably an Excel owners site that you could ask actual owners what they think.
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Old 12-01-2013, 01:10 PM   #6
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There are a number of considerations to properly answer this question. Simply "not freezing" is not enough of a definition. Comfort would be my definition of well insulated. That has to consider factors other than pure R value. For example - air movement is areal issue in RVs with their poor windows and many slides. Slide seal and window seal factors are MORE important than insulation in my experience, with an understanding that "reasonable" levels of insulation are required. Air movement in an RV will contribute a LOT to the feeling of cold. I find that the newer "frameless" windows make a very significant difference in the amount of air movement inside - especially in windy conditions. Frameless windows seal far better than the sliders, since the window goes down on a gasket, and sliders only have the "hair" to block wind and air infiltration.

Also, use of fiberglass batt insulation is really a bad strategy in an RV, IMO. And I stress - IMO. The reason is that over time it WILL collapse in the wall cavity, no matter how well it is attached. An RV moving down the road is in constant vibration/motion - unlike a house. So it is VERY difficult to keep the insulation in place. I have seen several Mobile Suites - for instance - with the exterior wall removed that had collapsed insulation. I'm not picking on the DRV - The Excel likely has the same thing...it is just that I have seen the DRV with my own eyes. There are things that can be done to mitigate this....but you are fighting a battle.

If you want to build a custom 5er Spacecraft will build you a unit with 2" walls of blue polystyrene and 6 inches of high quality spray foam in the roof. And frameless windows, with basement AC/heat pump, and heated floors. It will be warm.And you will pay for it...
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Old 12-01-2013, 01:33 PM   #7
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I'm pretty sure our Winslow is constructed the same way as the Limited's with the exception of the roof. The Limited has the fiberglass and the Winslow is rubber. Both have the -10 guarantee. We recently spent 10 days in Branson and several nights were in the 20's and one was 18. I have an electric heater I run in the living area and for the most part it kept the coach comfortable and the gas heat from running. We set the thermostat on 68 and it would run some but not a lot. What I really like about running the gas heat is it gets the bathroom nice and toasty. I will say the slide floor was a bit colder than the interior floor but I would expect that. We were never uncomfortable.

We started the year with 2 full tanks of propane and had spent about 2 months in it prior to going to Branson, which is our last outing of the year. It was still working off the first tank when we left. Granted, we don't have a gas oven and our fridge is a residential Samsung, so we don't use much to begin with.
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Old 12-01-2013, 03:45 PM   #8
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Thanks for everyone's input. I wish I knew more when I bought my 5er. But as I think back I realized this was a learning experience. My 5er has an 'All Season' sticker on the side. What a joke. As soon as the temps drop near 40 it starts to get cool inside. At 25 the furnace hardly shuts off. With the fireplace and two electric heaters running the furnace will cycle like I would expect w/o electric heat supplementing the furnace.

I don't think you can go wrong with either an Excel or DRV. I will be looking for a real nice clean 2 or 3 year unit.

Again Thanks
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Old 12-01-2013, 04:08 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tuffr2 View Post
Thanks for everyone's input. I wish I knew more when I bought my 5er. But as I think back I realized this was a learning experience. My 5er has an 'All Season' sticker on the side. What a joke. As soon as the temps drop near 40 it starts to get cool inside. At 25 the furnace hardly shuts off. With the fireplace and two electric heaters running the furnace will cycle like I would expect w/o electric heat supplementing the furnace.

I don't think you can go wrong with either an Excel or DRV. I will be looking for a real nice clean 2 or 3 year unit.

Again Thanks
Both are excellent units. If you are happy with a less than 38' unit you shouldn't have a problem with Excel. I was researching them and discovered they just starting making larger units.
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Old 12-03-2013, 12:29 AM   #10
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When it gets to 0 and below, heating gets tough. I noticed on my rig from the outside you can see the entire aluminum frame and windows are frost free while all the insulated areas of the walls have frost on them. Heat is being lost through the aluminum frame from inside walls to outside walls. I have a skylight and even stuffed with batts and topped with 1 1/2 inch styrafoam it is still a heat looser. I updated all my furnace ducts from 3 inch to 4 inch dryer vent ducting. Prior to that mod, I could measure 125f at duct outlet to living room. After the mod , I measure 165f at the same spot. Heater is a lot more efficient with no duct restrictions.
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Old 12-03-2013, 08:54 PM   #11
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Just a note Excels are wood frame, DRV aluminum. You can use that in comparison.
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Old 12-03-2013, 10:10 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Mayer View Post

Also, use of fiberglass batt insulation is really a bad strategy in an RV, IMO. And I stress - IMO. The reason is that over time it WILL collapse in the wall cavity, no matter how well it is attached. An RV moving down the road is in constant vibration/motion - unlike a house. So it is VERY difficult to keep the insulation in place. I have seen several Mobile Suites - for instance - with the exterior wall removed that had collapsed insulation. I'm not picking on the DRV - The Excel likely has the same thing...it is just that I have seen the DRV with my own eyes. There are things that can be done to mitigate this....but you are fighting a battle.
I cannot agree. The hung wall construction is fine if done properly. The batt insulation has to be installed and secured correctly.

Several manufacturers throw rocks at the competition using batt insulation when they use the vacuum bag or roller inched wall construction for a laminated walls with rigid foam. They do not tell you about the problems with a wall that is not properly laminated. These walls depend on the complete lamination for the wall to have the proper structural rigidity. The big problem these walls have is delamination due to water intrusion. It deteriorates the Luann backer under the Filon or fiberglass exterior.

So both types wall construction can have a problem if not applied properly.

Additionally wood framing is better for a wall with less thermal heat leak through the ribs. Aluminum is more conductive than wood. The problem is when you get a water leak, the wood will rot.

Ken
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Old 12-03-2013, 10:52 PM   #13
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IMHO all manufactures are doing a very poor job of insulating. Using fiberglass is such 1940's. When will they come into the 21st century and use spray foam. It does not mold, fall, sweat, hold water or anything else poorly, the near worthless fiberglass does. Foam fills the space 100% and plugs all air filtration areas.

For those that purchase RV's where they allow the owner to dictate changes to construction should insist of spray foam. Accept no excuses. Foam will also make it quieter inside.

At least some SB builders are spraying foam now. I had it sprayed on my house roof and walls during construction. Now when temps dip near or to freezing I have a heavy coat of frost on my roof due to no heat escaping. All my neighbors have no frost on roof due to house heat escaping through fiberglass and keeping the frost melted. My attic in Houston, Tx area is only 10-15 degrees warmer in the summer than the inside of house. Love the low electric bills 1/3 of neighbors.

Just saying.
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Old 12-04-2013, 11:09 AM   #14
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Ken, I agree that there are issues with all types of wall construction. But my experience with the fiberglass batt walls has been "iffy" at best. In almost every case where I have been present when a wall was opened up - and it is not just a "few" cases, but more than a dozen - I have seen varying amounts of fiberglass droop. I'm not saying that it can not be done successfully - they may be able to. But it is a bad idea in my mind given the forces that the coach is subject to.

ON the laminated walls, I could not agree more. Bad lamination is a serious issue that EVERY manufacturer of laminated walls has seen in varying degrees. Spacecraft is the only manuf. that I know of that has not seen a major delam - at least according to them. But bad glue, bad manuf. process, or bad underlayment prep can cause a delam. So it is something to be aware of. On the water infiltration issue, there are products that are non-organic (not wood) that can and are used instead of luan. So at least in theory you can produce a lamination that is impervious to water damage, assuming you so not use a water based glue. Spacecraft, for one, still uses a non-water based glue - partially for that reason. The other thing that they "could" do is to put seal tape under the window edges, wrapping the side walls so that water leaks in windows would have no path to penetrate the lamination. Some custom manufacturers will do that for an extra charge.

As to the amount of "cold" that infiltrates "through" the aluminum, it is more than zero but less than you would think. Take a temp gun sometime and shoot an aluminum stud area and then shoot the same area on a wood wall. You will find less than 1* difference in almost every case. I've done it extensively. In only one case did I find more than 1.5* in over 100 shots in varying conditions. Some manufacturers will fill the aluminum with foam, if asked (and paid) Spacecraft is one such manufacturer. They will also use 2" walls.

Spacecraft has and will put spray foam in the ceiling as well. I suppose they will do the walls too - they have for some Canadian specialty trailers - but to my knowledge they have not done a conventional 5er or their RV Semi. That is MY knowledge and I could be incorrect on that last point.
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