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Old 12-05-2011, 01:36 PM   #1
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Dan S's Avatar
1975 Argosy 26
Normandy Park , Washington
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 281
Winterizing an Argosy

I've never "winterized" the Argosy and paid for it this spring with several splits in the copper tubes (post hot water tank).

I do not own a air compressor and am curious as to what at a minimum I should do. I've seen some RV anti-freeze additives that you pour into the water tank and assume you just cycle it through all your lines....

Any advice is appreciated.


Seattle, WA

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Old 12-05-2011, 02:01 PM   #2
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1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre
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Winterizing an Argosy

Greetings Dan!

Originally Posted by Dan S View Post
I've never "winterized" the Argosy and paid for it this spring with several splits in the copper tubes (post hot water tank).

I do not own a air compressor and am curious as to what at a minimum I should do. I've seen some RV anti-freeze additives that you pour into the water tank and assume you just cycle it through all your lines....

Any advice is appreciated.


Seattle, WA

There isn't a genuinely simple answer to your question. Your Minuet may (or might not) have a water heater bypass installed for winterizing -- this is an assessment that will need to be made prior to identifying the best procedure for winterization. The general preferences for winterization have changed slightly over the years, but the principles remain the same . . . . protecting the plumbing supply lines from freezing. In the absence of a water heater bypass, I suspect that you may find the following procedure as one possibility:
  • Open all of your coaches drain valaves
    • Fresh Water Tank Drain Valve
    • Water Heater Tank Drain Valve
    • Below Kitchen Sink Low Point Drain Valve
    • Below Bathroom Vanity Low Point Drain Valve
  • Change forward to rearward pitch of coach by alternately lowering or raising tongue jack to change angle of coach to coax water to find its way to low point drains.
The above process was one that I was taught to utilize early on when an air compressor wasn't available . . . . while not absolutely effective it can be a stop gap in an emergency. At the conclusion of the above procedure, I would then add RV Antifreeze to my freshwater tank and circulate it through the system . . . . the downside is that without a water heater bypass, you are looking at between 7 and 11 gallons of RV Antifreeze depending upon the size of your water heater . . . Since the Minuets typically have a 6-gallon water heater, you would likely be looking at closer to the 7 gallons of RV Antifreeze. With the cost of RV Antifreeze, once through with this process would come close to paying for a small compressor that could serve as a pressure source for blowing out your water supply lines. Beginning about ten years ago, my typical winterization was simply to drain the lines then blow them out with compressed air . . . and have been trouble-free thus far. The previous owner of my Minuet had added a water heater bypass so it is a simple process to add about a gallon of RV Antifreeze to the lines once the blow-out is completed . . . and since its water supply lines are more difficult to reach for service/replacement, it makes sense to add the antifreeze. With the water heater bypass, it is a simple matter to disconnect the suction hose on the water pump and insert that hose into the Antifreeze to draw antifreeze into the system . . . with the water heater bypassed it typically takes only about one gallon to fill the water supply lines.

Good luck with your research and investigation!


P.S.: The usual recommendation is to also pour about one cup of RV Antifreeze down each of your coach's drains to keep the traps from freezing.

Kevin D. Allen
WBCCI (Lifetime Member)/VAC/Free Wheelers #6359
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1964 Overlander International/1999 GMC K2500 Suburban (7400 VORTEC/4.11 Differentials)
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
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Old 12-05-2011, 05:34 PM   #3
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I use a Camco Pump Converter Winterizing Kit, installed on the trailer's fresh water pump. I needed one additional ell fitting that was not included in the kit. It takes less than an hour to install. Once it is in it takes around an hour to open the low point drains, blow out lines, and fill the water lines and traps with antifreeze. If you have a bypass valve on the water heater you will use only 2 to 3 gallons of antifreeze each time you winterize. People talk about after taste after using antifreeze, but I do not notice any after I flush out the lines. Just make sure you get the right kind of antifreeze, specifically for RV water lines.
2014 Silverado 1500 Crew Cab 5.3L maximum trailering package (yes, I'm towing the 34')
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Old 12-05-2011, 06:47 PM   #4
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2011 30' Classic
Ridgefield , Washington
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Winterizing factoid:
We live in a fairly temperate climate, but lately we have had below freezing weather. We plan to head south this two weeks. I have run the furnace in our AS twice daily during this cold snap, but we were told today by the local AS service manager that running the furnace will protect the plumbing down to about 25 degrees! Below that, the plumbing is at risk, so our options were to winterize or to garage the AS in a heated shed...not possible. So we winterized. (temps down to 24)

I was not aware of that arbitrary "cutoff" for safe temp. zones. Opinions? Zigi

Ps...when asked about full timers, the manager's response was that they have to "skirt" the unit and possibly add a heater under the unit to protect the plumbing in very cold temps.
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Old 12-05-2011, 09:06 PM   #5
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Morrill , Nebraska
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That's one thing about. AS's and many other RV's. They don't do cold weather really well. I am currently modifying the plumbing in our trailer to better handle the colder weather. As I see it, the fresh water (hot&cold) is the main concern as the holding tanks can be drained or have anti freeze incorporated, antifreeze can be added to the traps in the sinks and tub. Instead of expensive RV antifreeze, one can use windshield washer fluid in the traps.
It was 2 degrees above zero today when I opened the door of the trailer. With 2 ceramic heaters running on the 1200 watt setting the temp inside is right at 60 degrees. The problem is the routing of the waterlines near the outside walls and behind cabinets etc. They are prone to icing up. I had replaced all of the copper with PEX about 18 months ago. While I have experienced frozen lines twice since the PEX installation, nothing has broken.
The area of greatest concern is where the line from the pump passes behind the refer. In this area it is exposed to the outside temps because of the refer intake vent. My first attempt to resolve this problem is to route the water line about 30" above the floor where it runs behind the refer. My thought is that I can take advantage of the heat produced by the refer when it is in operation whether it be on gas or electric.
There is only the one line from the pump to the rear of the trailer, the remainder of the lines run in spaces that can be heated with forced air. One option would be install a second furnace specifically to heat the plumbing. The furnace would only be fired up when the outside temp drops to 26 or below. When on shore power the heat could be provided by electric space heaters. If the cold spell lasts more than a couple of days, I will have to drain the fresh water tank or come up with a way to keep it from freezing. There area areas under the dinette seat where the fresh water tank has exposure and could be heated. I may tackle that problem if I solve the other issues.
I will post my progress.
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