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Thread: CheapHeat Installation - 2011 Landmark Rushmore

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    Moderator danemayer's Avatar
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    CheapHeat Installation - 2011 Landmark Rushmore

    Finished installing CheapHeat in our 2011 Landmark Rushmore. Total time about 15 hours, not including shopping for Romex, circuit breakers, and a disconnect box. On some trailers, I'm sure the install would go quite a bit faster, but as I'll explain, there were some challenges.

    The install breaks down into a number of steps:

    • installing the switch in the living area to change between electric furnace operation and propane operation. There's a cable provided that runs from that switch, through the area to the rear of the basement wall, and to the outside of the furnace.
    • Connecting 10-3 Romex to the transfer switch shore power connection to power the electric operation. If you don't have a transfer switch, there are other potential connection points identified in the instructions. We have a transfer switch.
    • Installing an electrical disconnect box with two 30 amp circuit breakers and connecting the Romex from the transfer switch to the disconnect box. If you have space in your main circuit breaker panel for 2 more breakers, you could use that as the disconnect box. Our breaker panel is already full, so I installed the separate box.
    • Mounting the CheapHeat Control Box in an appropriate location.
    • Run Romex from the disconnect box circuit breakers to the CheapHeat Control Box.
    • Install the provided cabinet extension onto the existing furnace cabinet and relocate the ducts to the new cabinet.
    • Run Romex from the CheapHeat Control Box to the heating coils that go into the furnace.
    • Install the heating coils into the new cabinet extension.
    • Run the 2nd provided cable from the CheapHeat Control Box to the outside of the furnace.
    • Make a number of wiring changes and connections between the cable from the inside switch, and the cable from the Control Box, and the existing furnace wiring.


    Installing the switch in the living area posed two immediate problems. The control panel is already full. Installing the additional switch would have been challenging. Also, fishing the cable from that area would have been challenging on our rig because of the way the wires are routed. I also looked at placing the switch near the thermostat, but again ran into difficulty fishing the cable through. I already had an extra outlet on a dedicated breaker near the inside steps which we've used for a space heater. I decided to install the switch just above that outlet. With the circuit breaker panel pulled out, the cable routing was simple.

    Connecting the Romex to the transfer switch was straightforward and easy. I've replaced the transfer switch and am comfortable working on it. Because of the high current inside, it's something that requires care.

    Putting together the disconnect box with circuit breakers was also straightforward. I mounted a scrap piece of wood to the existing framing and mounted the box to that board. Running the Romex in and out of the disconnect box was also straightforward.

    I elected to mount the CheapHeat Control Box next to the disconnect box, with a short Romex run to connect the boxes. The screw holes in the box looked like they would make mounting the box challenging. The box is deep and the driver bit would have to be at an angle to clear the corners of the box. I decided to mount the box to furring strips and mount the furring strips to the existing framework. After attaching the furring strips, but before mounting to the framework, I connected the Romex from the disconnect box, and connected a long piece of Romex to the other terminals (to go to the heating coils). I also connected the provided control cable to the Control Box and the other end was routed out to the outside of the furnace.

    Working on the furnace cabinet was one of the more challenging parts of the project. Our rig has 6 ducts coming off the furnace. Two on the front surface, three on the inside surface, and one on the rear surface. The ducts have to be removed. The plate on the end of the original furnace cabinet has to be removed (2 screws), and the new cabinet extension mounted on the furnace. The duct openings on front and rear surfaces need to be sealed. The ducts have to be connected to the new cabinet extension. The joint between the new cabinet extension and old furnace cabinet has to be taped with high temperature aluminum tape. In our rig, there's not a lot of room to get to many of these areas. I elected to remove the furnace and take it into the garage to work on it. Good decision. The instructions note that on some furnaces, the existing sheet metal cabinet flanges may have to be folded down flat in order to mount the cabinet extension. Yep. That's ours. Also had to drill 4 holes to mount the new cabinet extension. I used the duct knockouts from the new cabinet extension, along with the high temp aluminum tape to seal the old openings on front and rear surfaces. I checked the installation of the heating coils and also had to drill a couple of holes to mount it.

    Naturally, it's not possible to reinstall the furnace with the cabinet extension attached. Instead, the cabinet extension had to be installed first and ducts connected. Then came a balancing act to connect the extension to the furnace and put in the mounting screws. Then tape the joint. Much more complex than I had expected. And because the available space varies from one trailer to the next, on some it's possible to do this all with much less effort. Not so much for me.

    I connected the long piece of Romex to the heating coils and went to slide the coil assembly into the cabinet extension. Ran into another problem. The water heater was in the way. Had to slide the water heater out about 1.5" to get a straight shot. Also had to disconnect the water outlet at the top of the water heater to make room.

    The last piece of the puzzle was to hook up the two cables to the furnace wires. I found the instructions a bit confusing and had to call Larry at CheapHeat. He walked me through the connections, which was tricky in part because prior repairs done on the furnace had changed the color of one of the wires. But with a volt meter in hand, I was able to sort it out. Had to correct an installation error back at the control box.

    But after 15 hours of body contortions, it's installed and working. At the flip of the a switch, the furnace will now run off electric, or off propane. The thermostat still controls the furnace, regardless of which power source is being used.

    In conclusion, it's possible to self-install the CheapHeat unit. Talking to Larry, it seems our Landmark had every conceivable problem contributing to a lengthy installation. Most units will probably be somewhat easier. Someone else just posted about a self-install a few days ago and his install went much faster.

    You have to be comfortable working on both the electric and propane connections. Neither are very forgiving if you make a mistake. And of course, when I was 25, I didn't get aches and pains from doing work like this. These days it's a little different.

    The attached pictures show 1) the disconnect box and control box, 2) the disconnect box, 3) the control box, 4) the Romex connection to the heating coils that are installed in the cabinet extension, and 5) the clearance issue with the water heater.
    Attached Images Attached Images


    Dan and Ann Mayer & fur baby Callie the Rally Dog
    2011 Landmark Rushmore
    • MorRyde 8K Independent Suspension
    • 8K Kodiak Disc Brakes
    • RV Comfort Systems Cheap Heat
    • MorRyde 33x90 Sliding Cargo Tray
    • Torklift Glowstep Revolution Aluminum Steps & Dirt Destroyer

    2014 RAM 3500 Laramie
    • Cummins 6.7 Diesel, AISIN Transmission
    • 4x4, Long box, Crew Cab, DRW 3.73
    • Hensley BD3 TrailerSaver Hitch
    • Garmin RV760 GPS


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    Senior Member MTPockets's Avatar
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    Re: CheapHeat Installation - 2011 Landmark Rushmore

    Dan, sounds like a lot of work, but a labor of love so to speak.. I personally would be a bit nervous to have a dealer install. They may not be as meticulous and careful in making proper seals, wire routing, etc... Nice work.
    Terry & June

    Rallys/Campouts
    2013: Williston, FL: Montgomery, TX: Elephant Butte, NM: Colorado Springs, CO: Chatham, IL
    2014: Rifle, CO: Huachuca City, AZ
    2015: Quartzite, AZ: Moab, UT: Heber City, UT: Central City, CO: Camp Verde, AZ
    2016: Tucson, AZ

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    Re: CheapHeat Installation - 2011 Landmark Rushmore

    Congrats Dan! Sounds like some real work.

    I feel a bit guilty as my 2016 Bighorn 3160EL was easier to work on for my CheapHeat install than what you described below.

    It's always the little things that seem to slow you down the most. I must have spent 45 minutes trying to bend a couple little flanges out of the way at the rear of the furnace and install four screws through the add-on plenum.

    Hope you enjoy your system as much as we do. We camped most of last week and the CheapHeat was absolutely wonderful. My favorite mod so far.

    Kurt

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    Senior Member Jesstruckn/Jesstalkn's Avatar
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    Re: CheapHeat Installation - 2011 Landmark Rushmore

    Very nice job Dan. Looks like quit a task, but I'm sure all of your hard work will pay off this winter. Luckily for us living here in sunny California My fire place heater seems to be plenty of heat for us. Enjoy and thanks for sharing your project with us.
    The Jess's
    Jerrod & Rhonda
    Zoey (Our Princess of the Palace)
    2015 Landmark 365 Ashland (Project LM 365)
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    Southeast Region Director, HOC Nabo's Avatar
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    Re: CheapHeat Installation - 2011 Landmark Rushmore

    We have had CheapHeat on our last 2 coaches and would do it again. We had our dealership install it both time which took them about 6-8 hours, at least one day. Haven't had any problems with it.
    Nathan & Byrd
    BamBam (toy poodle)
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    Moderator danemayer's Avatar
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    Re: CheapHeat Installation - 2011 Landmark Rushmore

    Quote Originally Posted by kdubinwa View Post
    Congrats Dan! Sounds like some real work.

    I feel a bit guilty as my 2016 Bighorn 3160EL was easier to work on for my CheapHeat install than what you described below.

    It's always the little things that seem to slow you down the most. I must have spent 45 minutes trying to bend a couple little flanges out of the way at the rear of the furnace and install four screws through the add-on plenum.

    Hope you enjoy your system as much as we do. We camped most of last week and the CheapHeat was absolutely wonderful. My favorite mod so far.

    Kurt
    Kurt, it's all your fault! I was planning on a dealer install later this year but your post tilted me the other way.


    Dan and Ann Mayer & fur baby Callie the Rally Dog
    2011 Landmark Rushmore
    • MorRyde 8K Independent Suspension
    • 8K Kodiak Disc Brakes
    • RV Comfort Systems Cheap Heat
    • MorRyde 33x90 Sliding Cargo Tray
    • Torklift Glowstep Revolution Aluminum Steps & Dirt Destroyer

    2014 RAM 3500 Laramie
    • Cummins 6.7 Diesel, AISIN Transmission
    • 4x4, Long box, Crew Cab, DRW 3.73
    • Hensley BD3 TrailerSaver Hitch
    • Garmin RV760 GPS


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    Heartland: Director of Owners Interests jbeletti's Avatar
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    Re: CheapHeat Installation - 2011 Landmark Rushmore

    Great write up Dan. You'll have to circle back after the first camping trip using it to give us a sense of how you like the electric forced air system versus propane. I'm sure you won't miss humping 40# tanks or renting a big tank in Breckenridge
    Jim Beletti
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    Re: CheapHeat Installation - 2011 Landmark Rushmore

    I sure hope I didn't mislead you, but either way I'm glad I could be of help!

    If I hadn't first relocated my water pump and a drain pipe I probably would still be stuck behind the UDC struggling to perform the install. Hopefully you won't be sore much longer.

    Quote Originally Posted by danemayer View Post
    Kurt, it's all your fault! I was planning on a dealer install later this year but your post tilted me the other way.

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    Senior Member Bones's Avatar
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    Re: CheapHeat Installation - 2011 Landmark Rushmore

    looks good Nice job



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    Senior Member Az_Ernie's Avatar
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    Re: CheapHeat Installation - 2011 Landmark Rushmore

    Quote Originally Posted by Nabo View Post
    We have had CheapHeat on our last 2 coaches and would do it again. We had our dealership install it both time which took them about 6-8 hours, at least one day. Haven't had any problems with it.
    Our local dealer's labor rate is $130 PH. (8 x $130=$1040) - Yikes!
    Ernie and Marie
    2015 Bighorn 3160EL
    2014 Chev 2500HD, Duramax, CC, 4X4
    [SIGPIC]

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