Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Spring 2018 Get Together Tech Session

We were blessed by having a Winnebago Representative come to our Spring 2018 Get Together.  There were lots of questions and answers from both sides.  This was looked at as a dialog.  Lots of back and forth so the users could pass on things they were seeing and things they would like to see.  Winnebago took many questions and ideas back to Forrest City to see how to address the suggestions.concerns.   

There are no commitments on a couple of things but I am glad to see that Winnebago takes our input seriously.  Most companies don't.

Q: How many Fuses are on the road ?
A: 800 Winnebago Fuses are on the road out of roughly 1300 built.  The mix is roughly 55% 23As and 45% 23Ts.  Not selling as fast as they want but not too bad either.

Q: How about having the Transit stereo connect to the house audio?
A: Stereo not able to have 2 outputs 

Q:  How about a slide for the batteries?
A:  The lack of a slide for the batteries is all about weight.  Not Gross Vehicle Weight but something called "Curb Weight". This is a weight and balance requirement from Ford.  There is also a balance issue on how much weight is on the front vs rear Axel.

Q:  When is the next model year Fuse coming out?
A: Winnebago is looking at June for next model year.  Most of the things they are looking at doing are to save weight.

Q: Can something be done to overcome the noise and placement of the generator?
A: - Ross Fisher @ Onan is working with Winnebago on improvements to the generator.  A new generator circuit breaker that won’t trip on a new design generator is about a year to 18 months out.  There is a possibility of adding an energy management system to the Fuse like they do to the Class Bs.  This would prevent too much load at any time to happen.

Q: Issues with vibration of generator:
A: New Fuses have new rubber mounts .   The exhaust in some cases was hitting the mount.  Basically the hole for the exhaust through the mount was too small or not aligned perfectly. The rubber isolaters are available on new units coming in June and can be retrofitted to older units.

Q: Most common failure of the generator:
A: There is a cummins service bulletin that ground wire comes loose and burning out the ignition coil

Q: How about an exit window in the rear on the 23T?
A: Exit window is not on rear of the T because of the bike rack option would block it

Q: Wheel simulators coming off.  The caps coming loose.
A: Taking the question back to the factory

Q: How about steel extensions for the tires?
A: Took question back to the factory

Q: How about the special tires required by the Fuse?
A: Took question back to the factory

Q: Why no spare tire?
A: No spare tire. - spare went away when A could not have it.  There was not enough room underneath.  There is a space on the T underneath that could possible hold a spare.   Winnebago marketing did not want the two units to be different spare vs non spare.

Q:  Would the group like TPMS standard/ What TPMS would the group like to have.  
A: Various.  Several would like Ford factory TPMS

Q:  How about an accordion door for the bathroom on the 23T
A: NO.  Was done in several units before and feedback was super negative.

Q:  What about drawers and latches:
A:  Moving to 10lbs latches on everything in the Fuse.  Could go to a positive latching solution if problems are big

Q: Batteries and the lack of a sliding tray.
A:. Maybe Winnebago will move to using AGM batteries.  Problem is with the expense.  Winnebago is also looking a lithium option (straight replacement for the existing batteries, not a whole motorhome inverter setup like the Travato L models)

Q:  Do people use the Flex Bed in the 23A
A: Only about 20% of the people present use the Flexbed.  

Q: How about a smaller/lighter table
A: Size needed for the flexbed but latest table is much lighter in weight.
A: One of the most wide spread mods is people building smaller tables.

Q: On the 23A the hole for the front table can not be used with the slide in
A: Looking at fixing this with a second table socket.

Q:  How about changing the mount so the TV can be viewed from the right or left?
A: Swinging TV mount in 23A in June

Q: How about Fuse branded gear?
A: Taking suggestion back to marketing

Q: How about an over cab bed in the Fuse. (Winnebago asked question)
A: Not many people who were here would be interested.  Maybe others.

Q: What about 5000lbs hitch on oldest Fuses 
A: Winnebago had to to beef up frame to make a 5000lbs hitch work on later Fuses.  Winnebago does not weld things to the Frame and only blots on stuff.

Q: Could Winnebago move the engine exhaust 
A: This is a Ford thing.  Winnebago leaves the Ford stuff to Ford on the cutaway chassis

Q: What about a 3rd break light?
A: Not a requirement  but added to list

Q: Some people are getting water in their exterior lights:
A: Yes -  Winnebago is looking into the issues.

Q:  Something causing glow in tail lights when off
A: Taking this back to the factory with them

Q: How about cup holders on 23a sofa
A: Will take this back to the factory

Q: Seating improvements in A and T

Q: License plate light and holder are problematic.  Tag does not fit right.
A: License plate light fixes in production now

Q:  Lots of questions on quieting down and improving cooling on the Air Conditioner 
A: Possible change  to an Air Command air conditioner.  This is out of Australia.  Also possible upgrade to 15,000 BTU.  Both of these can retrofitted by the owner.  FitRV has video doing this on a Travato.

Q:  We don't need 3 burners on the T stove/cooktop
A: Looking into cooking improvements.  Possible a 1 lp/1 induction cooktop like on larger Winnebago motorhomes.   (Winnebago was very interested in how people were cooking/using the kitchen in their Fuses)

Q: How about a drop leaf on the 23T table
A: Taking back as suggestion

Q: How about an induction burner to avoid the heat of an LP burner
A: 1 LP and 1 Induction  maybe

Q: Heat issues - for folks in hot environments heat intrusion is an issue. Skylight in shower and heat coming in from the front cap seem to be biggest culprits.
A:  Looking into front cap heat issue.

Q: Can T table detach easily from the wall
A:  No

Q: Improving Clearance: and ride?
A: Sumosprings - Supersprings - 2 inches - Winnebago recommends - easy install - better ride- Some formal testing required before Winnebago will do it as an option.  Clearance has improved in general since the 2017  Fuses were released

Q: How about a Curtain for the front to block as opposed to hard covers one over the windows
A: Should be in future Fuses.  Can be retrofitted since it will be a hook and eye setup.

Q: Lithium battery option?
A: Probably will offer one from Lithionics.  Costly.

Q:  How about building on the longer wheelbase Transit
A: Winnebago has explored this.  Places lots of weight on front axel - Not interested - 60/40 balance today and needs to stay that way

Q: What about wind noise from around door ?
A: Developed a hinge screw cap assembly that fixes this for the Lippart door.   Complaints about them coming unpainted.  Some people are still having issues.  Winnebago thought the problems are only on A but members has issues on Ts as well.  

Q; Has Paseo been taken out of production
A: Yes.  Production suspended on Paseo.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Having a Get Together

Our next Winnebago Fuse Get Together is  April 27-29, 2018  in Nashville.  We are holding it at the Grand Ole RV Resort and Market.  Let us know if you are coming in the Facebook group.  (End of shameless plug even though it is free)

Ever since we announced the first Get Together  I have had people asking me about having Get Togethers in other places.   My response is pretty simple.  Go for it!

I really don't mean to be flippant, but it really goes to what a Get Together is.  All a Get Together is is two or more Fuse enthusiasts getting together and talking motorhomes.   It is just that simple.   

I have had several un-announced Get Togethers.   I don't feel bad stalking other Fuse owners, so if you see me coming up to your camp site don't be surprised.  Ask Norbert.   I saw he was at Ft. Wilderness the same time I was in Orlando (without the Fuse).  I trekked over on a combination of Boats and Buses and then walked the campground until I found him.    This was the First Get Together.

I have done several other small things I consider Get Togethers including eating lunch with folks when I take the Fuse out for exercise.  If you are close to Tallahassee on a weekend I will try and get up with you for a mini Get Together (though I do have some matters that take precedence,  permission from Sonya is required).

But then there is the request to do something along the lines of the big Spring and Fall Get Togethers Sonya has arranged over the last year (and the one coming up).    Anyone can put one of these on as well.   

We live in Florida.  Doing things on the East Coast is pretty easy for us.  Doing the Colorado Get Together was more of a challenge, but was worth it to meet some of our Western members.  Doing one really out west is something I want to do, but is hard while I am still working.  So I hope someone out in the Pacific Time Zone takes up the challenge.

First, a couple of things about putting on a Get Together.

There are a couple of rules that define a Get Together.  In the spirit of everyone getting together, there should not be a charge to attend.   It should be open to anyone who wants to talk about Fuses.   We even invite those who have not bought yet, but are still looking and deciding.  I figure once you are part of our Fuse community you will buy the motorhome just to be part of the family. We have had them on the weekends so people who work can attend.   Those are the only ground rules.

If you want to do something different, call it a Rally or Caravan or something else.  But still feel free to go for it.

Now for the lessons Sonya and I have learned:

The hardest part is finding a time and a place.   No matter what you decide,  someone is going to be disappointed and not be able to come.  With over 1000 members scattered from the East coast to the West coast and up in Canada there will never be a perfect time and place.   

We have chosen a general time first. A two or 3 week window.  We try to avoid the busy seasons.   This is hard since many campgrounds close on the off seasons.  But once you have picked a date or two you can start finding campgrounds.   As a matter of fact a one or two week difference in when you hold the event might make a $10.00 a night difference in the camping charge.

The next step is the campground.  This is actually harder than you think.  Where is a central location that people can meet up at? There are Fuses all over and picking a convienent location is really a hard task. Pick a general location and then draw a 100-200 mile circle around it.   Then start with the campground guides.

If you are setting up something small like 4-5 rigs, finding a campground is not a problem.  Finding a campground where you can get 20-30 Fuses is much more difficult.  Finding a campground with a covered area or even better an indoor meeting area is even harder to hold 50-60 people is tough.  Its even harder to find one that won't charge (or charge much) for the shelter.

But here is where being part of our large community helps.  Once you have narrowed it down to 3-4 places ask for some help in the group.  We have members all around and you can get some local Fuse owner to scout the campground to see if is nice and has the amenities we need.  Even if they are not coming, or spending the night at a prospective location, a little bit of scouting goes a long way.   The photos on the web site don't always match current reality.

We also look for a place where everyone makes their own reservations.  I don't want to collect any money or sign a contract, and remember this is an informal gathering.  I don't want to be on the hook if people have to cancel or show up late.  I also want to reinforce that concept that this is informal so my liability is minimized.

Now that we have a time and a place then there is the question on what to do.  The best piece of advice we received is not to plan it too tight.  Just let it happen with a few milestones to get it down the path.  Everyone is there to have a good time and everyone seems to pitch in. 

So with the advice of those in the group who were more experienced Sonya and I  have done the following schedule:
  • Friday Night we have a pot luck/get to know everyone -  As people rolling in Thursday and Friday everyone meets everyone anyhow, but this has been the first social event.
  • Saturday AM at the first one we did breakfast (and will be doing breakfast again in April). 
  • Saturday Morning we have a technical session -  We have had Winnebago and Ford talk.  We did Q&A at the second one (we have experienced folks in the group) when Winnebago had to cancel.
  • Saturday at Lunch we ate leftovers
  • Saturday Afternoon we toured everyone's coach and saw modifications and got tips
  • Saturday Night we did a pizza party (and ate leftovers,  there is lots of food).
  • We waved goodby on Sunday Morning though some stayed longer
Nothing says a Get Together has to follow this schedule.  It has worked well so far but it does not have to stay that way.   I have invited speakers from Winnebago.  If it went longer or I could not arrange that I would look for someone else to talk.  But just sitting around and doing a roundtable worked really well.  It just depends on what you want to do. 

I would love to hear from the SumoSprings folks, Atwood, Zamp, Progressive Dynamics, Onan and all of the other component manufacturers.  You might want to get a local dealer to give instructions on winterizing/maintenance/some other general RV topic.  It is just a question on what the group wants to hear about. Going back to the initial advice we got before the first Get Together, don't plan too much.   Maybe sometime we should do a Fuse Tech conference,  but that would not be a Get Together.

I have been lucky to be able to get Winnebago to send technical folks. Winnebago has been super supportive and that has worked out great for both us and Winnebago. The conversation has been bi-directional. We got real lucky and had Ford come as well to the first one.  Again super supportive and wonderful to get first hand information from them.

Now that there is a time and a place and an agenda -  publish the event in the Facebook group.  Post a message, create an event and go for it.  Remember that we have new members joining all of the time so re-post every so often.

Now you should start getting some folks saying that they are going.  Keep a list.  This is important to know how many folks are coming.  You need to talk every few weeks to see who has made reservations.  You will have some folks who are in one list but not the other.  Don't get concerned some people will make their arrangements late.  Some people will have to cancel.  After a little bit you will get an idea of how many are coming.

You will also need to get on a first name basis with the camp ground manager.  Check with him every few weeks up to the event. He can tell you how many reservations he has gotten.   The manager can also help you with local logistics and tell you where the best pizza is (we try for local).  If you have a large group they have helped us with other local issues and questions.   20 camp sights off season is blessing for all.

For the first Get Together I was over prepared.  The second one I was under prepared.   The best advise is not to worry.  It won't be perfect and everyone won't be happy, but don't sweat it.  Everyone who is coming is family.

Now it is family reunion time.   Just sit back and enjoy.

Here are a couple of other things I will share from our checklist.   (Like we are experts after doing two of these):

  • Bring copies of the agenda
  • Bring copies of the attendee list
  • Remember to take the group photo
  • You do need to do a little coordinating of the pot luck.  Most people say what they are bringing but people will ask.  If you know you are short in some area let people know.
  • When people ask what to bring - ask someone to bring water.  Beer seems to show up without prodding.
  • Bring some extra serving spoons/forks/etc.   
  • Someone needs to bring paper goods.
Our Fuse family is always helpful and friendly, everyone always pitches in with set-up and clean-up, so enjoy!

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Instant Pot

Instant Pot

One of the hottest items for the last year or so on the RV boards I read has been the Instant Pot.  What is an Instant Pot?  No sales pitch here, it is an intelligent electric pressure cooker.  You can cook one pot meals, rice, stews, pretty much anything you can cook in a pot.  As a pressure cooker, it can cook things faster, and since it is intelligent (monitors pressure, temperature and time) you can set it and then walk away.  Seems like a winner.

So my In-laws gave me one for Christmas.  I do try and limit what I carry in the Fuse.  Not just because space is at a little premium, but if you were to look at my kitchen at home you would see every gadget known to man in one of the cabinets.  Yet, I still find myself using the same several pots 90% of the time.  So I have been testing the Instant Pot since Christmas.

So what have I been experimenting with.  One thing it says is that it is a rice cooker.  So I decided to try that first.  It will cook rice.   Pretty easy.  Stick 2 cups of rice with 3 cups of water in the stainless steel cooking pot.  Close the lid, make sure the steam vent is closed, hit the rice button and stand back.  It will beep when it gets to pressure and beep again when it is finished cooking.   Once it is finished cooking, wait 10 minutes and then open the steam vent.  In a minute or so you can open the lid (once all of the pressure is released) and you have rice.  Takes about 30 minutes.   Not so bad until I tell you that with my normal pot I can do the same thing in the same amount of time.   The Instant Pot cooks rice fine.  It is just not any improvement over the traditional method.

The next thing I have been experimenting with is Chicken and Rice or as known in some places Chicken Purleu.  A full meal in a pot.  So the recipe is:

  • 3 cups of Water
  • 2 cups of Jasime Rice
  • 1 tablespoon of dried onion flakes
  • 2 tablespoons of Chicken Bullion (or Chicken Soup base)
  • 4-6 Chicken Thighs (de-boned)
Jasmine RiceBroth Base

Mix the water and bullion together until dissolved in the cooking pot.  Add the onion and then stir in the rice so it is even in the bottom of the pot.   Now place the chicken on top of this.  You might want to cut the thighs in half so you have a nice even layer.

Chicken and Rice Instant Pot Before

Put the Instant Pot lid on.  Make sure the vent is closed and press the rice button.  Then it will start cooking.  In about 30 minutes it will stop pressure cooking and go to low, it will beep to let you know.  Then wait 10 min and release the pressure by opening the steam vent.   When the steam is finished coming out you can take off the lid and you are done.  The chicken will fall apart and you can mix it with the rice.   Takes from start to finish about 45 min.

Chicken and Rice Instant Pot After

A big hint is to take the pot out of the cooker.  Otherwise the rice will burn on bottom since the cooking element in the cooker stays hot for a while after it is turned off.

Chicken and Rice

This recipe is a winner.   I have tried the same approach with turkey and thin cut steak.  Both were pretty good but not as good as the chicken.  You will probably want to add some salt and pepper but it is not needed depending on the bullion you use.

I have still not decided if it is going to be a part of the Fuse or not.   On the ease of use front, it is still easier to use the microwave.  I am not sure how much time it actually saves.  Taste wise, I can make some real good Chicken and Rice in the Instant Pot.   I am going to try several more things.   It will for sure be a part of the home kitchen lineup.  I am not sure it is going to be a fixture in the Motorhome. Time will tell.

Friday, January 19, 2018

2018.5 Fuse Inverter

A new option for the 2018.5 model year is a 1000w Inverter.   The inverter will allow you to use some of your household appliances while not plugged in to shore power or using the generator.  But it won't power your air conditioner or microwave.

It is a Magnum CSW1012 pure sine wave inverter with a remote on/off switch and a CSWTS-15 transfer switch.  It has a 1000w capacity (or 8.3 110v amps per the specs) and can surge to 2000w for 1 second.    It is a pure sine wave inverter so it should work well with everything and not harm any of your delicate electronics.

You can get lots of information from the manufacturer at: http://www.magnum-dimensions.com/product-inverter/1000w-12vdc-pure-sine-inverter-csw-series.   The manuals and the spec sheet are located in the downloads section there as well.

The inverter is turned on and off with a switch located next to your ONEPLACE control panel.  When turned on, the green light will be on.

Which receptacles are connected to the inverter?  Not all of them are.

On the 24A-
The 110v plugs next to both the front and rear TVs are connected to the inverter.  In addition, the receptacle under the passenger side bed is connected to the inverter as well.

On the 24T-
The 110v plugs next to both the Front and Rear TVs are connected to the inverter.  The 110v receptacle in the front overhead cabinet and the receptacle on the front wall of the bedroom are also on this circuit.

One tip to I want to point out for curious folks,  Winnebago publishes the electrical diagrams/ plumbing diagrams/ manuals and other interesting information.  You can go to http://winnebagoind.com/resources/manuals/ and all of that information is there.

I do want to remind everyone that the inverter is not magic.  It puts out 1000 watts.  Your 1500 watt hair dryer will have a problem using the inverter since it will want more than the 1000 watts that inverter has to supply.   If you have the TVs on they will be consuming some of the power from the inverter as well.  Your single serve coffee maker uses around 600 watts and will be fine.

When the inverter is not in use, you should turn it off.  It consumes power when on even if nothing is plugged into it.  The manual says 1.2 DC amps with no load connected.   This is like leaving the lights on in the coach as far as current draw.  It will not kill you, but it will run the battery down if you are not careful.

One last thing I think that you should store away in a back corner of your mind,  the output plug for the inverter is a GFCI.  If you have a problem with all of the receptacles on the circuit not working and nothing else you try to do works the GFCI on the inverter might need to be reset.  Make sure you know how to get to the inverter since it is hidden in behind the pantry in the 23T and under the bed in the 23A.  You will need to pull out a drawer to get to it.   The CSWTS-15 transfer switch will probably keep this from ever happening, but you you should keep this in the back of your head.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

My New Table

Dons Fuse Table

I have a Fuse 23A and I keep looking for the right replacement for the table.    Don't get me wrong, the tables that Winnebago supplies are super sturdy. They are actually made to sleep on as part of the Flex-bed solution.  They are never going to break.

But they are big, unwieldy, and heavy.   Not the easiest thing to put up and take down.  And getting around the table when set up to get back and forth to the bathroom is problematic.

I have the Porta-Legs Solution.   I have tried using the Foot Stool.  We still have and use both of these, but they are just not a perfect solution when we stop for lunch at a rest stop.

Most ideas I point out are never mine.  I am just not that creative.  Several months ago in one of the Winnebago groups I saw a person had built  a tabletop out of a wine barrel lid.   I thought that was a great idea.  Then my hopes were dashed when I saw the price for the lid alone was $150.00.   Though very pretty, it was not in the right price range. But it got me to thinking.

I wanted to solve several problems.

  • The current tabletop is too heavy.  Designed to hold the weight of a human it was way overbuilt just to put a couple of plates and glasses on.   I want light.
  • I wanted to make it easy to get around.  The square tabletop gets in the way of my stomach when I try and scoot by.  If it was round, it would not get in the way so much
  • I wanted to be able to move it out of aisle as we were getting ready to sit down.  Winnebago had done this on the small table by offsetting the pole adapter so I would take their idea as well.

Dons Fuse Table bottom

So I started looking for a top.  Not being a master craftsman I needed something mostly finished and I found it.   Home Depot had 1x24" edge glued round blanks for  $11.00.  I wish it was a harder wood than pine but it should work.  Definitely in the budget.  Strong enough to hold dinner.  Not too big or too small.  And most importantly, if it did not work out, it would not be much of a loss.

Dons Fuse Table Base

I also needed a base for the table.  Amazon comes through again.  I ordered  a SurFit High Polymer Table Base.   Why polymer rather than aluminum?  It got better ratings and I was somewhat obsessed by weight.

Now on to how I built it.   First thing I did was to decide which face of the wood was the nicest.  Once I did that  I sanded it with a fine sandpaper.  The blank was already sanded very smooth so it just needed a little touchup.   Pretty easy task where the hard part was cleaning up the saw dust.

Dons Fuse Table Base Distance From Edge

Then I attached the base.  Like I said above I wanted it offset so I placed it a couple of inches from the edge.   I marked where the holes should be by placing the base on the wood round and marking where the holes were. I used a drill to create some pilot holes.  The secret here is to put a piece of tape a half inch from the tip of the drill bit so you do not drill too deep and punch a hole through the top.  (I have learned this lesson in the past when I was in a hurry).   I secured it with some screws (#8 x 3/4") and I had a tabletop.

Dons Fuse Table centered

Now for staining it and finishing it with some polyurethane. Not my strongest suite but it came out fine.  A pro could have done much better but it looks fine.  Sonya got to pick the color so you can ask her why so grey (consultations over the color probably was the most difficult part of this project.  (Sonya's note:  Some folks don't believe in blending colors so flat grey is what we ended up with.)).

Dons Fuse Table Aisle

Dons Fuse Table Sitting twistedDons Fuse Table Sitting Centered

It works well.   It can twist out of the aisle and you can walk by.   Twisted into the center it is easy to sit at.

So for a $20.00 project we now have a better tabletop.  We will leave one of the original tabletops at the house on our next trip and store the round one in its place.  We will try it out for a while and see how well it works.   It is definitely lighter, easier to set up/take down and much more comfortable to get around.   And if I find something better on our travels, it won't hurt to replace it.

Winnebago Fuse Compressor Refrigerators

This biggest change for the 2018.5 model year for the Winnebago Fuse is the change to a compressor refrigerator.

23T Compressor Refrigerator

This is a big deal!  The refrigerator now operates the same way as the one in your house.  A compressor circulates refrigerant around the refrigerator to keep it cool.  The main advantage to this is that the refrigerator no longer has to be level to operate.  It will also cool down much faster so you no longer have to turn the refrigerator on the night before you leave to have it usable.  It is also more or less maintenance free (at least as maintenance free as the one at home, keep the dust bunnies away).   But this is not a residential refrigerator.  It uses much less electricity.

Fuse 23a Outside refrigerator vents
Fuse 23A Refrigerator Vents
The older absorption refrigerator used ammonia as a refrigerant and if the unit was not level (or bouncing about) it would break.  On the positive side it would run off of LP gas.  The LP gas creates the heat to cause the ammonia to circulate.  Since there is a flame involved it has to be vented to the outside.  Another hole in side of the Fuse that could let hot and cold air into the motorhome.  You will not see the customary refrigerator vents on the outside of the new Fuse 2018.5.

Compressor refrigerators need electricity to operate.  Some people have expressed concerns about  this thinking that the Fuse does not have enough battery capacity to make this work for several days.   They are right to a certain extent, but Winnebago has gone to some lengths to alleviate these concerns.

Winnebago Fuse Batteries

First off,  2 Group 24 batteries are now standard.  That should provide enough power to run the refrigerator for a day or more sitting still.  They are also making 2-100w solar panels standard as well.  These will add juice to the batteries as the refrigerator sucks it out.  But what if the sun is not out?  Well if you are travelers like Sonya and I, if you drive down the road for an hour or two you will fully charge the batteries.  And if all else fails, if your batteries are getting low you can run the generator and charge them up.   For those that are really going out in the boondocks and staying for a while, Winnebago has made the battery trays bigger and they now can accommodate Group 31 batteries so you can store even more amp hours.  Not that I think it would be necessary for the way I use the Fuse, but it is always good to have the option.

2018.5 Winnebago Fuse 23T refrigerator2018.5 Winnebago Fuse 23T refrigerator control

2018.5 Winnebago Fuse 23T freezer2018.5 Winnebago Fuse 23T refrigerator open

The 23T has a Norcold/NovaCool model DE0061R.  It looks like a normal everyday refrigerator.  Freezer on top, refrigerator on bottom.  It runs on 12 or 110v automatically switching as necessary.  It is nice and large.  There should be no intimidation with this appliance.

One thing to note that this is not a frost free refrigerator.  If/when ice builds up you will need to defrost the unit.  

The manufacturer information for the refrigerator is at http://www.thetford.com/product/de-0061ev-0061/

2018.5 Winnebago Fuse 23A refrigerator2018.5 Winnebago Fuse 23A refrigerator open

The Fuse 23A has a Nova Kool model RFU6209 DC.   This one is 12v only.  It really does not matter since if you are plugged into 110v current, the converter in the Fuse will convert to 12v anyhow simplifying everything.  I like this since it keeps with the approach of keeping everything DC powered for efficiency.

2018.5 Winnebago Fuse 23A freezer

The different thing about this refrigerator is that the freezer is on bottom instead of on top.  Why would Winnebago do this?  Easy, with the 23A drivers side bed extension out for a tall person the refrigerator door is blocked.  By putting the freezer on bottom, the bed can be made out and you can still have access to the refrigerator.   A pretty decent design tradeoff if you ask me.

2018.5 Winnebago Fuse 23A refrigerator vent

Compressor refrigerators still have to vent the heat that they remove from the inside.  For the new refrigerator they vent the heat to the inside.  On the 23A, the vent is next to the couch.  

Both of these refrigerators use 4-5 amps when running (from Nova Cool manual).  Even in hot weather they should run about half the time.  This means these refrigerators will use 2-3 amp hours of electricity per hour.  Assuming 3 amp hours that is 72 amp hours/day which is pretty much worse case.    The capacity of the 2 type 24 batteries is about 160 amp hours which 80-100 is usable.  So you should be good for a day.  Now if you drive for an hour down the road your batteries will recharge.  The 200w solar should add back in 10 amps/hour if you are in a sunny spot which should mean you are better than even.  Upgrade your battery bank to Group 31s and you should be fine to boondock.

2018.5 Winnebago Fuse Refrigerator Measurements2018.5 Winnebago Fuse Refrigerator Measurements width

Now for the last question that is out there.  Can I retrofit my older Fuse with one of these compressor refrigerators.   I can only measure the 2017 23A vs the 2018.5 23A.   The refrigerator in the 2018.5 is 50" x 20".   The 2017 is 49.5 x 20.5.   It is close enough so it probably will but I would measure twice and use the refrigerators installation guide for exact measurements.   You would need to cap off the LP gas supply as well and re-do the 12v supply since on the 2017 the 12v supply is only active when the ignition for the Transit portion is on.

Monday, December 18, 2017

DEF Usage

Winnebago Fuse / Ford Transit Information screen

One of the things I do as I drive the Fuse is to check the Transit Information Messages when we start out in the morning.  I also check it after I fill up with diesel.   As we were coming home from our latest trip to Disney, I checked the info screen and I saw the "DEF level under 1/2 full" message.    No panic, but since we were only a couple hundred miles from the house I put "add DEF to the Fuse" on my to do list.

If you are interested in what DEF is or how to add it to your Fuse, I wrote an article on adding DEF a while back.  But basically it is a fluid that is used by the diesel engine for emissions treatment.

A number of new diesel owners get nervous about DEF and ask numerous questions.  To put people at ease, here are some of my observations after 15,000+miles on my Fuse.

Winnebago Fuse / Ford Transit Add DEF Screen

I only add DEF to the DEF tank when the Fuse tells me to.   I do it when the Information screen says "DEF Level under 1/2 full".

When I see this in the info screen I add a 2.5 gallon container to the DEF tank.  The DEF tank holds 5.5 gallons so this is about perfect.

Supertech DEF

Walmart sells DEF in a 2.5 gallon container with a fill nozzle.  This meets the SAE requirements so everything is good and it costs less than $10.00.  But DEF is DEF like diesel is diesel so use the DEF you are comfortable with.

I do not carry extra DEF in the FUSE.  DEF goes bad over time (several years) and the heat in Florida makes the breakdown go faster.  I buy fresh when I need it.  You can find DEF almost everywhere.  Given the preponderance of big diesel trucks in rural areas it is easier to find out in the boonies than in big cities.  You can find it at truck stops, Walmarts, auto parts stores and most any gas stations that have diesel fuel.  Just get some that is fresh.   Truck stops have DEF pumps if you want to go that route.

Winnebago Fuse / Ford Transit DEF Fill

The big question is how often do you have to add more DEF to the Fuse?  Well in 15,000 miles I have added DEF 4 times.   I added within a couple hundred miles of seeing the DEF message.  I added at:

  • 4,083 miles
  • 7,728 miles
  • 11,856 miles 
  • 15,358 miles
So roughly I added 2.5 gallons every 4,000 miles.   Make sure to use the info center and not what I just told you.  The engine will need different amounts of DEF depending on conditions just like with fuel.

Winnebago Fuse / Ford Transit DEF Level Okay

And once you add the DEF.  Wait a couple on minutes.  You get a different message.  DEF level Okay.