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Old 03-05-2014, 09:52 AM   #15
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That is quite a story. I do have to admit I smiled a little while reading it, mostly cause I've been in similar situations. Funny how troubles seem to cascade!

I'm an AS newbie. Protag, I'm wondering if you'd care to outline the 'last minute forecast change' winterizing steps one should take if caught camping in similar circumstances. I'm thinking drain the fresh water tank and hose, and pour safe a/f down the toilet/sink. Probably no way to blow the lines in the 'field'.

Anything else?
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Old 03-05-2014, 10:10 AM   #16
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I second that. Would love to know what we should be doing if faced with potential freezing temps.
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Old 03-05-2014, 10:27 AM   #17
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Protag, is your last name Murphy?
I think we all have camping problems at some point. I left the pump on while traveling and the faucet on the sink came on. I had almost 30 gal of water in the trailer when I arrived. I had full tanks due to water at the park smelled of rotten eggs.
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Old 03-05-2014, 10:31 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by TinTin View Post
That is quite a story. I do have to admit I smiled a little while reading it, mostly cause I've been in similar situations. Funny how troubles seem to cascade!

I'm an AS newbie. Protag, I'm wondering if you'd care to outline the 'last minute forecast change' winterizing steps one should take if caught camping in similar circumstances. I'm thinking drain the fresh water tank and hose, and pour safe a/f down the toilet/sink. Probably no way to blow the lines in the 'field'.

Anything else?
You don't need to winterize if you are out in your rig and freezing temps are predicted.

The basic rule of thumb is..."if it is warm enough for you inside, it is warm enough to prevent internal freezing". We learned this early on, right here, and it has never led us astray.

Even when the hose and filter froze and burst during an 18 degree overnight in AZ, nothing froze inside.

Fill your fresh water and disconnect, leave your cabinet doors open at night.

Doug always runs the tank heater for a bit before dumping, when we have had serious cold. Slushy, sludgy black water just doesn't move too well.


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Old 03-05-2014, 10:53 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by TinTin View Post
That is quite a story. I do have to admit I smiled a little while reading it, mostly cause I've been in similar situations. Funny how troubles seem to cascade!

I'm an AS newbie. Protag, I'm wondering if you'd care to outline the 'last minute forecast change' winterizing steps one should take if caught camping in similar circumstances. I'm thinking drain the fresh water tank and hose, and pour safe a/f down the toilet/sink. Probably no way to blow the lines in the 'field'.

Anything else?
Actually, if you're camping in the trailer and are pretty sure you'll have power and propane for the furnace, you'd want to make sure there's water IN the fresh water tank and disconnect the hose from city water. The furnace will keep the tanks from freezing, and then you'll have water for use in the trailer.

Depending on how cold it gets and how long it stays cold, you may freeze the dump valves. If you're keeping it comfy temperatures inside your Airstream using the furnace, the internal lines and tanks should be OK.
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Old 03-05-2014, 11:19 AM   #20
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I'm an AS newbie. Protag, I'm wondering if you'd care to outline the 'last minute forecast change' winterizing steps one should take if caught camping in similar circumstances. I'm thinking drain the fresh water tank and hose, and pour safe a/f down the toilet/sink. Probably no way to blow the lines in the 'field'.

Anything else?
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Originally Posted by weirdstuff View Post
I second that. Would love to know what we should be doing if faced with potential freezing temps.
I've given the matter some thought, but bear in mind that doing it wrong once doesn't make me an expert on doing it right…

First, if you've got heat, all of your interior plumbing is safe. In the case of an Interstate, the freshwater tank and graywater tank are below the floor, and there's no belly pan on an Interstate to trap heat. But as long as you have power to your tank heaters you're good there, too.

Rather than draining the freshwater system, fill it before the freeze, and make sure your freshwater pump works. Remember what I wrote about the water heater boiling when it was turned on but wasn't completely full. A boiling water heater is not a good thing, for the heater or for you. Plus the freshwater pump on an Interstate is conveniently close to the furnace so it's not likely to freeze while you're camping.

Of course, you'll want to disconnect your water hose and store it inside to keep it from freezing.

The things most at risk are the macerator pump, municipal water inlet, and external shower connection.

Macerator pump: Dump your holding tanks before the freeze, and run the pump until it's sucking air. That covers you two ways. (1) if the pump does freeze, there's not enough water in it to damage the pump. But don't try to run the pump during the freeze, either, or you'll blow the fuse at a minimum when the motor tries to crank a pump that won't turn. (2) if you start the freeze with empty tanks, you've got longer until you have to move to warmer climes to dump again. Folks with older-model Interstates that still use a slinky have an advantage here; no macerator pump to freeze.

Side note, when emptying your holding tanks before the freeze, unreel all twenty-something feet of the discharge hose so that you can drain the entire hose, too. That's one thing I did right, at least. I already had my hose laid out, and it was empty end-to-end. If I had left it coiled up on the reel, it might have had water trapped in the coils and it might have burst as well.

For the municipal water inlet and external shower connection, it may help to have a high-wattage blow dryer and an extension cord handy so that you can at least blow-dry the connections even though you can't blow them out. A dry connector won't freeze. Obviously with my poor old bald (and recently dented) head I don't need a blow-dryer for my hair, but I may buy a blow-dryer for my Interstate before next winter anyway. It would have helped to thaw my macerator pump as well and would have made the frozen connections on my hose easier to undo.
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Old 03-05-2014, 11:46 AM   #21
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We keep our outside shower winterized until all threat of freezing temps are long past.

Had to replace this last year. It froze at some point, cracked and.......you know the rest.


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Old 03-05-2014, 11:59 AM   #22
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We keep our outside shower winterized until all threat of freezing temps are long past.
That's the smart thing to do, but it has been far too long since anyone ever accused me of being smart. I find that my external shower is just the thing for cleaning my Cobb grill between uses, so I used it a couple of times this last trip before the freeze hit.
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Old 03-05-2014, 12:25 PM   #23
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This is one of those stories you tell for a long time! Also thanks for the tip - a roll of quarters!
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Old 03-05-2014, 12:46 PM   #24
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I can understand keeping the overhead lockers closed at all times.
What do I do about bashing my head on the stove vent hood?
Maybe do the styrofoam pool noodle trick like the awning arms...
Too bad the Weather Channel steered you wrong. When camping in sub-freezing temperatures I don't bother hooking up the water-
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Old 03-05-2014, 12:52 PM   #25
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I can understand keeping the overhead lockers closed at all times.
What do I do about bashing my head on the stove vent hood?
Maybe do the styrofoam pool noodle trick like the awning arms…
You're on your own there; Interstates don't have stove vent hoods. You might try an idea I've tossed around (but not seriously), wearing a bicycle helmet when I'm cooking. Since I can't put Styrofoam pads on the locker doors, why not put a Styrofoam pad on my head instead?
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Old 03-05-2014, 01:26 PM   #26
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I guess because of limited space it is lower and closer to the front of the stove/counter.
I have never hit my head on a vent hood in a house. They are higher and further back in a house.
Yes, it has happened more than a couple of times. Maybe if I were a little taller or s little shorter...
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Old 03-05-2014, 01:32 PM   #27
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"That was a problem because the Weather Channel and the other sources I consulted before the trip all agreed that the low temperature for the entire trip would be 37°F Sunday night....."

"....a roll of quarters."

Take those quarters, buy a Frosty, and throw at those "sources."

In case you don't know what I'm talking about, go to You Tube and type The Weatherman - Hit With a Frosty into the search engine.

I'd post the clip, but it contains profanity.

Sorry to read that your trip was such a bummer -
but it was entertaining - in a quasi-masochistic sort of way!
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Old 03-05-2014, 01:57 PM   #28
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Sorry to read that your trip was such a bummer -
but it was entertaining - in a quasi-masochistic sort of way!
No masochism involved. Anyone who watches action/adventure movies knows, the only difference between a disaster and an adventure is how you tell the story afterwards. So my philosophy is, anytime something bad happens, find a way to tell a good story about it! Thus I had an adventure, not a disaster.

Of course, anyone who watches action/adventure movies also knows, plan A never works. That's what I forgot in my haste to get out of town for some camping instead of sticking around for the madness that is Mardi Gras. Normally I'll formulate plan A and then immediately discard it in favor of plan B, saving myself a whole lot of aggravation. This time I went with plan A and had no plan B until it was too late.

But if I had gone straight to plan B without passing plan A first as I usually do, this thread wouldn't exist, and you guys wouldn't have been entertained by my misfortunes. So it's a mixed blessing.
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