Post your tips and recommendations on how you winterize your rv here! Thanks!

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Winterizing your Vintage Trailer

Many of us have small vintage trailers with a fairly simple water system. They lack toilets and water heaters but the principal is the same for newer rigs as well:

All trailers must be winterized to protect water lines, pumps, faucets and tanks. This is accomplished by air blowing the system and pumping rv antifreeze thru the system.

First, drain the tank(s), open the faucet(s), and set the hand pump to release pressure. The hand pump handle position does this.

To blow the lines and faucets, purchase a “blow out plug” that will screw into your garden hose inlet. It has an air fitting to allow air to be pumped thru the trailer water system. Using a bicycle pump or compressor, blow the lines. The open faucet should spray air when you’re done. If you have multiple faucets, do one at a time. Never go above 45 PSI pressure on a trailer water system.

RV antifreeze should be pumped thru the system. It can be done with a hand pump thru the hose inlet or by using the 12 volt water pump. Attach a flexible line to the pump or hose inlet, inserting the other end into a gallon of rv antifreeze. Pump thru the faucet and lines. As the pink antifreeze flows, it is also protecting your sink trap from freezing! Every trap must have antifreeze.

The above will protect your trailer down to 20 below. Always blow the system and pump pink before winter begins.

VK
Do you think we need to put antifreeze in when we have done the blow out and have no water?

I put some down the drains just in case.

Jim
Hi Jim! That ought to do it; particularly with nontoxic antifreeze in all the drain "traps", shower and toilet. One year i did, however, have my waterpump burst since a little water stayed in it even after a low pressure blowing out. Maybe some day wel'll be down in texas where we won't have to winterize! Keep on rvin. pat

It got colder than I had thought the past couple nights, with last night getting down into the 20s. I'm hoping nothing froze. I had planned on squeezing in one last outing to I hadn't winterized yet. When I got back from our trip the weekend before last, I opened up all the drains and faucets to let gravity do its thing. I also held the terlet pedal down to let water drain out of it. Dometic says that the valve is particularly prone to freezing so they don't cover it under their warranty (new terlet). 

The good news, sort of, is that I hadn't shut the rear thermostat off completely. It was trying to maintain about 40 degrees inside which it had some success in doing (the rear furnace is the smaller of the two).

Things will be warming up this week so I'll pressurize the system while I'm pumping antifreeze through it. Hopefully no problems....

  Jim, Unfortunately (its been my experience) regardless if you blew water out of the RV plumbing, condensation and tiny residues that remained will flow by gravity to the lowest point and enough can accumulate to freeze and burst the pipes in ALWAYS the absolute worse and hardest place to get to grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr lol

 Im NOT saying that's usually the case, ONLY that it can still happen if you merely blow out the lines. Theres a very very good chance blowing out will remove enough water and a freeze and burst wont happen..

 I don't rest or sleep until I get the red/pink RV AFZ out all the faucets and then pour more down all the drains and traps. Sure my method requires more AFZ but I consider it cheaper then risking a busted pipe.

 To each their own however, no problem

 John T

I have a 77 Dodge Lindy. My 1st year I tried just blowing the line and antifreeze in the traps. I guess some water was left in the lines and I cracked 2 water lines. My 2nd year I pumped antifreeze in through my pump, as stated above, and no problems. Good luck to everyone this winter.

So that's how I do it!!! No water tank on this trailer. Do have a water heater. I want bypass that.
Thanks Vik! :)
What winterize? We use our motorhome as much or more in the winter. No crowds in the campgrounds, of course you have to find campgrounds that are open in the winter. That is our favorite time to camp.
That being said, we do have many things that we do to make sure that we don't have frozen pipes and the like. When we were remodeling our motorhome we made the under bed area accessable to the inside. So when it is really cold outside we lift the bed access and the warm air circulates into the back compartment and water tank area. We keep either an electric heater or the furnace on at all times in the winter. The hot water heater and furnace are in the same under bench compartment in the front of the motorhome. We also open all of the interior compartments and doors when not in use so the motorhome does not sweat. In addition to the furnace being used, we use the a/c to dry the air in the motorhome. Our motorhome never smells like an old motorhome. We keep the black water tank empty do make sure that it does not freeze. As always, keep good antifreeze in your engine, replacing it every year or two at the most. You can also use a water dispersant in your fuel. Our elevation is 2500 ft. so we do get snow occasionally. If it is not snowing we are ready to roll.
Marty

i miss my 79 airstream with the "ALASKA" package! The Landau has a 10gal W/H and i need to make up a bypass bfr winterizing. We have a few months here still but TIC TIC TIC LOL!

I just bought a 2001 Pleasure Way Excel TD yesterday, with only 9k miles on it, for 18k dollars, which I thought was a deal as did people in the PW Yahoo group on line. I live in Rhode Island, and it will be getting to freezing nights here soon, so question, when should I winterize (dealer will do it for $75) and what if I decide to take a Florida trip..do I 'de-winterize'? It's going back to the service center at the dealer's this wednesday, although I bought it 'as is' after checking it, to save on the 30day warrantee cost.
Driving it home it had an oil leak that dripped onto the hot engine and smoked...mechanic thought it was a valve cover gasket that had dried as the rig sat quite a bit and was used infrequently. The Onan generator, too, had to have the carb cleaned before it would start, but I intend to have a full tune-up done on before I go South. Bill
hi Bill! Since you and the rig are "new" to each other I'd just have the dealer winterize it for now. It's now big deal really and you can do it yourself on the way back up from Florida. yep, you've got to "dewinterize" it when you go down to florida which is very simple. We just hook up the hose and pressure reducer on the hose, turn the water on and let it run opening all the faucets one at a time until each runs "clear", ie. no pink from the antifreeze and 3 or 4 minutes more to make sure all the antifreeze is out (ALWAYS use "nontoxic rv antifreeze,by the way. costs no more and won't poison you your any pets if it leaks of has some residual in the lines or water tank). OK, so now your lines are clean, take a gallon bucket of clean potable water, add 10% or 2 cups of clorox to your water tank... we use an old short piece of hose and funnel to fill the tank. Tavel for half a day or until you reach and rv park or dump station that evening, and pump out the solution. You've just disenfected your tank. So now add a few "traveling" gallons of fresh potable water to your fresh water tank and keep heading south to Florida. We usually only put about 6 or 8 gallons in our water tank when traveling to keep down on weight and save on fuel.
When we go home from Florida we just reverse the process, i.e. drain our fresh water and add pink nontoxic antifreeze to the water tank and pump it through ALL systems. We also add 3 to 4 cups of straight antifreeze to ever sink drain (for the trap) and the Shower. Dump your blackwater and grew water tanks too to get ride of waste water that will freeze and burst tanks otherwise. That way, you can just park your rv already winterized when you arrive home.

Three points I forgot to mention:
A. When you turn on the faucet inside the rv make sure someone is inside watching to make sure nothing leaks or ... like we did, left a drain plug in and almost flooded the bathroom! So we now always use one person inside and one outside.
B. Hot water heater. It has about 6 gallons usually of fresh water that WILL freeze too. Most have a "bypass" hose so you can winterize the house water system "bypassing" the water heater tank. Go outside, open the water heater cover. pull up the pressure lever and then take a good wrench and CAREFULLY remove the water heater drain plug on the outside bottom of the water heater. Since there is no water left in the water heater tank it won't free. Be real careful with the plus, however. It is very sensative and you definately don't want to strip the threads on the water heater tank. When you retighten it put some of that anti leak tape on it and just tighten enough so that it does not leak... no more.
C. We carry a few gallons of fresh water in some nifty florida orange juice containers with nice handles for pouring when we are winterized. Some for drinking and some for flushing until we have reached warm climates and have flushed everything out of the system. Comes in handy.

Winterizing, unwinterizing and then reversing the process is a pain, but necessary. Once you do it it becomes kinda "automatic", but it was pretty intimidating for us the first time.

By the way, we have posted here in our blogs some of our favorite Florida campgrounds like Cedar Key, Upriver, etc. Just go to the Search box on the top right and type in Florida blogs.

E-mail anytime. We've made sooo many mistakes I guess we now know like we really know something... or have at least "learned" from them. Having fun rving is what it is all about anyway.

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