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Old 10-14-2008, 08:08 AM   #1
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Advice on winterizing a 25SS please...

Hi All!

I'll be winterizing our 2001 Safari 25SS for the first time in the near future and am wondering if Airstream hid a convenient T-connection for the antifreeze somewhere I that I don't know about. I checked out the waterpump area in the base of the closet and didn't notice anything.

I did notice a valve and PEX hose that leads to nowhere in the side storage compartment right beside the water heater -- kind of looks like it might provide a connection for an antifreeze intake. (It's not part of the HWT bypass -- I have that figured out.)

Also, can anyone confirm the location of the low-point drains?

Thanks!
Gary
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Old 10-14-2008, 08:30 AM   #2
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I typically blow out the water lines with air from the city water connection on the street side with one of these:

Blow-out Plug - Item - Camping World

I typically use about 30 to 45 psi and go faucet to faucet, then the low drain valves.

Later, after the water is mostly out, I follow up with standard RV antifreeze. Under the curb side closet, there are two square pieces of wood. One has a CO detector in the middle and the other has a heat vent opening. These squares are actually doors and give you access to the pump. I bought a fitting from the local hardware store and attached a hose to it. From there, I disconnect the pump intake line, connect the fitting with hose I got from the local hardware store, and place the hose into a gallon jug of RV antifreeze. Bleed the hose, then open faucets one at a time (including the water heater, toilet and shower). After all faucets have had the antifreeze put through them, I pour a bit down each drain trap. Reconnect the water pump, and yer done.

A few side notes, I drain the low point valves during blowout and cycling antifreeze. These are located between the curb side wheels. Also if your Safari came with a kitchen sink water filter, remove it before putting antifreeze through it or it will be shot.

I realize some is a bit overkill, but IMHO an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure. Replacing busted out lines (supply or waste) is a major PITA. My unit, though never really getting very cold in indoor storage could be fine up to 50 below based on the antifreeze not being diluted with any water. Some folks only blow out the lines, some only put antifreeze in..me I do both. Cheap and doesn't take more than an hour or so.
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Old 10-14-2008, 08:30 AM   #3
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Gary,
The low point drains on my '06 are under the pan that covers the potable water, gray, and black water on the curb side. They are radiator style drain plugs with left hand threads.

As for the anti-freeze question...I don't believe Airstream puts them on from the factory. It is another "add-on" that you have to purchase and attach to the "in" side of the on-board water pump and use the pump to distribite the anti-freeze to the water system. Just remember to bypass the water heater or you're gonna' use a lot of anti-freeze.

I also have a fitting I attach to the city water inlet so I can use my air compressor to purge the water before adding the anti-freeze. You can never be too careful with these Airstream investments.
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Old 10-14-2008, 08:33 AM   #4
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Hi Gary and or Deb.

Someone will probably post you links on winterizing. But I will try to give you some food for thought. The pex hose you spoke of MIGHT be a place to hook up an air compressor to blow the water from your lines. If it is a
place to load ( possibly after market modification ) antifreeze, try to locate where it is is connected. ( ie after the fresh water tank, after the water pump ). I have to disconnect the hose clamp and hose in between the fresh water tank and the pump. I then insert the end of the hose directly into the antifreeze container. I want antifreeze in the pump but not in the fresh water tank. ( I turn on the water pump and wait for pink to come out of all of the outlets , INCLUDING the toilet wand)You will also want to set the water heater bypass into normal mode and run some antifreeze into the water heater for a few seconds.
One of my methods for winterizing is opening up all drains and faucets,
and driving up and down some hills. Hope that I helped more than I confused. Dave
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Old 10-14-2008, 09:12 AM   #5
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Use your shower line

Gary,

After you bypass and drain your water heater, you should fill the remaining system with RV antifreeze.

The threaded fitting on the inlet of your water pump is a match to the threaded fitting on the handheld shower hose that came with your trailer. Attach on end to the pump inlet and use the hose as a pickup into the antifreeze bottle. There is no need to buy anything extra from a hardware store.

Draining the entire system ahead of time is a good idea too as it will minimize the chance that a corner somewhere will be water filled.

Don't forget the drain traps.

Jim
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Old 10-14-2008, 09:23 AM   #6
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Mysterious Drain

Garfield,

The drain that you mention in your post is a way to drain the Hot Water Heater. It is not a way to add antifreeze - if you tried to add antifreeze through this valve you would suceed in filling up the hot water heater (6 gal)!
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Old 10-14-2008, 03:54 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvertwinkie View Post
I typically blow out the water lines with air from the city water connection on the street side with one of these:

Blow-out Plug - Item - Camping World

I typically use about 30 to 45 psi and go faucet to faucet, then the low drain valves.

Later, after the water is mostly out, I follow up with standard RV antifreeze. Under the curb side closet, there are two square pieces of wood. One has a CO detector in the middle and the other has a heat vent opening. These squares are actually doors and give you access to the pump. I bought a fitting from the local hardware store and attached a hose to it. From there, I disconnect the pump intake line, connect the fitting with hose I got from the local hardware store, and place the hose into a gallon jug of RV antifreeze. Bleed the hose, then open faucets one at a time (including the water heater, toilet and shower). After all faucets have had the antifreeze put through them, I pour a bit down each drain trap. Reconnect the water pump, and yer done.

A few side notes, I drain the low point valves during blowout and cycling antifreeze. These are located between the curb side wheels. Also if your Safari came with a kitchen sink water filter, remove it before putting antifreeze through it or it will be shot.

I realize some is a bit overkill, but IMHO an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure. Replacing busted out lines (supply or waste) is a major PITA. My unit, though never really getting very cold in indoor storage could be fine up to 50 below based on the antifreeze not being diluted with any water. Some folks only blow out the lines, some only put antifreeze in..me I do both. Cheap and doesn't take more than an hour or so.
Thanks Silver. Sounds like you have winterizing down to a science! Unfortunately I don't have an air compressor. With our former SOB I got by just fine by gravity draining and charging the water lines with antifreeze, and am hoping to do the same thing here.

It's interesting that in our 2001 access to the water pump is through the floor of the closet, which has a thumb hole and simply lifts up. I'm pretty sure the side panels are screwed shut, but will take a closer look.

My concern is that the water pump is really jambed in -- no room to insert a "T" fitting like I had with our former trailer. I guess I need to take a closer look at that.

Thanks for the notes!

Gary
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Old 10-14-2008, 03:57 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DEITZ645 View Post
Gary,
As for the anti-freeze question...I don't believe Airstream puts them on from the factory. It is another "add-on" that you have to purchase and attach to the "in" side of the on-board water pump and use the pump to distribite the anti-freeze to the water system. Just remember to bypass the water heater or you're gonna' use a lot of anti-freeze.
Yeah, I kind of figured that. Don't worry, I at least have the HWT bypass figured out. Just need to find a way to tap into and charge the system with antifreeze.

Thanks for the comments!

Gary
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Old 10-14-2008, 04:04 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gator1 View Post
Gary,
The threaded fitting on the inlet of your water pump is a match to the threaded fitting on the handheld shower hose that came with your trailer. Attach on end to the pump inlet and use the hose as a pickup into the antifreeze bottle. There is no need to buy anything extra from a hardware store.

Draining the entire system ahead of time is a good idea too as it will minimize the chance that a corner somewhere will be water filled.

Don't forget the drain traps.

Jim
Well Jim, that's frugal ... but interesting LOL! I'll remember that trick. I only wish I had the room to connect to my water pump -- it's really jambed inbetween the closet wall and wheel cover -- I'd have to completely unmount the pump to get access to it.

I'm beginning to think I might have to get the dealer to splice in a "T" fitting in-line somewhere ahead of the pump to make this work.

Kind of ticks me off that for the money Airstream charges they don't provide a simple solution -- like I had in my former SOB that was like 1/3 the cost!

Gary
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Old 10-14-2008, 04:09 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kamadeca View Post
Garfield,

The drain that you mention in your post is a way to drain the Hot Water Heater. It is not a way to add antifreeze - if you tried to add antifreeze through this valve you would suceed in filling up the hot water heater (6 gal)!
That makes sense since it seems to be connected to the HWH plumbing but didn't seem to "go" anywere. Normally I would just unscrew the HWT plug to drain the tank -- this might be a more elegant way of doing that, but I still have to find a hose that fits the PEX tubing.

Unforunately my main problem is that I haven't found a convenient way to introduce the antifreeze. Guess I'll just have to get my toolbox out and head to the hardware store or pay the dealer to install a "T" fitting.

Gary
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Old 10-14-2008, 04:28 PM   #11
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Hey Gary;
If you have the owners manual it will give you a step by step process for winterizing your unit. My 98 unit was a mistery because I could intruduce the aintifreeze in my 71 model manually with a hand pump. The valves that you drain the tanks with can be opened and turn your pump on and it will drain them that much faster. Be sure to shut them when you introduce the A/F or it will end up on the ground. That happened to me the first time I tried it. There should be 2 bypass valves next to your hot water heater that you shut off and one that you turn on. That allows the A/F to circulate through the system w/o going into the H/W tank. You can then drain the H/W heater.
Check your owners manual before going out and buying a lot of extra "stuff"
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Old 10-18-2008, 03:13 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dogpound View Post
Hey Gary;
If you have the owners manual it will give you a step by step process for winterizing your unit. My 98 unit was a mistery because I could intruduce the aintifreeze in my 71 model manually with a hand pump. T


Check your owners manual before going out and buying a lot of extra "stuff"
Good Luck.
Bob
Thanks Bob. I took your advice and read the manual! (go figure!)

Only problem is that it made the assumption that I owned or had access to an air pressure source. My former SOB didn't make that assumption. It provided a nice "T" connection just before the water pump so I could easily infuse antifreeze into the plumbing just like you could with your '71 model.

I guess Airstream dropped the ball (once again) on this one. So I'll have no choice but to pull the connection off at the pump or install a "T" fitting somewhere along the intake line to infuse the antifreeze. Great.

Thanks everyone for the advice...

Gary
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Old 10-26-2008, 07:41 AM   #13
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Hi All!

Well, I thought I'd let you know how the winterizing went. I finally read the instructions that came with my Safari (go figure! ) which indicated the lines should be blown out with compressed air and then RV antifreeze poured into the drain traps.

To me, that isn't sufficient as residual water can settle at low points in the system and still freeze potentially causing damage. Also, leaving the lines empty leaves the possiblity of mould forming. Instead, I drained the water tank and open all valves including the low point drains and let the system gravity drain, then close the low point drains, connect a custom hose attachment I made (pic) to the intake side of the water pump and charge the whole system with RV antifreeze by turning on each faucet.

There's no need to blow the system out and there's no chance of any water settling and potentially freezing.

The attachment I made to introduce RV antifreeze into the system consists of a copper elbow with 1/2" ID screw cap that attaches directly to the water pump intake (filter side). To that I press fitted a 3 foot section of 3/8" ID low pressure vinyl tubing (with the help of a heat gun -- no pipe clamp requried). Now all I have to do is unscrew the intake from the water pump and screw on the attachment, insert the hose into the jug of RV antifreeze and turn the pump on.

I had to do this because my Safari didn't come with a "T" valve, and there's little room in the water pump compartment to install one.

BTW I tried to use the alternate HTH drain but nothing happened, so I just unscrewed the tank plug and opened the bypass valves.

I think everything worked well, but I'll know for certain next spring!

Thanks again for the comments and suggestions!

Gary


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