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Old 08-10-2015, 06:29 AM   #1
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Dealership Winterizing

Wondering if any RV Service Center can do winterizing and dewinterizing on an AS. We are newbies of a 19' FC. Very nervous about doing it ourselves first time and would like to have someone qualified. There are no AS dealerships in Indiana and can't find anything on searching a qualified AS tech.
Any suggestions of hands on classes out there would be appreciated as well.
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Old 08-10-2015, 06:38 AM   #2
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Perhaps consider taking it over to the factory service center at Jackson Center about 40 miles North of Dayton.
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Old 08-10-2015, 07:12 AM   #3
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Hypothetically any RV service center should be able to do this. However, it all comes down to the competence of the person assigned to your rig. Given that, and if it were me, I would spend the time reviewing the manual and Youtube videos to learn how to do it properly myself. It's not that hard and will take you less than an hour. You might also see if there are any Airstream owners in your area who would be willing to show you how to do it.
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Old 08-10-2015, 07:14 AM   #4
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If allowed become a fly over the techs shoulder, take notes and video. I have not had to winterize and have to admit it makes me nervous doing it the first time. I have not looked but suspect there are videos on YouTube detailing the procedure.
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Old 08-10-2015, 07:25 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AWCHIEF View Post
I have not had to winterize and have to admit it makes me nervous doing it the first time.
One year I winterized five times, because I'd go camping in a winter month, and come back to predicted below-freezing temperatures, then go out again later. And again, and again…

I was nervous the first time I winterized. But having done it successfully the first time, by the second time I had to winterize the nervousness was gone. Now I have to remind myself not to get complacent and careless.
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Old 08-10-2015, 07:39 AM   #6
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Learn to do it yourself

It's not that hard to learn to do it yourself. After all, you have the motivation to do it right. It's still summer, so you have time to learn. The day might come when you need to winterize while on the road, so the knowledge is a good thing to have. It also lets you check the technician's work if you have the job done at an RV center. Not all are familiar with Airstreams, or with your particular model.

First learn how your trailer's fresh water system works--where the lines go, where the pump is located, and (most important) where the drain valves are. Your owner's manual should help, but also poke around the trailer until you really know. Do this well before the weatherman says a hard freeze is coming.

Learn how to drain all the tanks, fresh, gray, black, and water heater. Learn how to bypass the water heater, unless you have a tankless one.

The basic ideas are these:

If there's no water in there (or very little) then freezing won't hurt it. This one works for empty tanks and drained water heater.

If the water has been replaced by RV antifreeze (the pink stuff) then it won't freeze. Use this for water lines and pour some in the drains to protect the traps.

Use the valves to bypass your water heater so it doesn't fill with antifreeze. Cost savings for six to ten gallons of antifreeze.

Open the drains for your water lines and get all the water you can out that way. Some will be trapped in the middle of a pipe somewhere, so don't trust this to do the entire job. Close the drains before you add antifreeze.

A lot of folks use an air compressor to blow out the water lines before putting in the antifreeze. They sell adapters with an air line fitting on one end and a water hose fitting on the other, or it's easy to make one with hardware store parts. Use fairly low air pressure--no more than the water pressure would be. Open each faucet until there's nothing coming out of it but a hiss. The job can be done without this step, but it does make the antifreeze more efficient by avoiding dilution. It also clears out your fresh water inlet.

You can get antifreeze into the water lines by pouring it into your empty fresh water tank, water pump on, and then opening each faucet until it runs pink. Don't forget the toilet--flush until it turns pink. This takes several gallons of antifreeze, and the residual water in the tank dilutes it a little.

Some (me included) have installed a valve just ahead of the water pump so antifreeze can be drawn in directly from the bottle. Amazon.com has the valves. Using this method after the air compressor, I can winterize our Safari with only two gallons of antifreeze.

Of course, there will be others on the forum who will add to or suggest changes to my procedure. Shared knowledge is a great thing, and I certainly don't know it all.

Also, be aware that I live in North Texas, so our trailer doesn't have to spend the winter in the frozen North. It has, so far, survived the occasional cold front where that frozen North comes down to visit us with temps in the teens.

Good luck, and have a great time with your Airstream.
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Old 08-10-2015, 08:00 AM   #7
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Cautionary tale. My 2006 Safari spent the first 8 years of its life in upstate Wisconsin owned by long time and very experienced Airstream owners. After many years of proper winterizing they made a mistake. The winter before my acquiring the trailer they left one valve in the wrong position during the winterizing process. The water tank and associated Pex lines were not properly drained. The tank and lines froze and ruptured. Upside is that I bought the trailer with a new water heater and lines. The work was performed by Jackson Center. This resulted in the PO (a lawyer) writing out a very detailed process and checklist to be followed for winterizing and de winterizing. Every valve and procedure is labeled by numbers to follow sequentially.
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Old 08-10-2015, 08:02 AM   #8
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Maybe you could share those instructions on-line. Would be a good reference for everybody.
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Old 08-10-2015, 09:09 AM   #9
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Winterization can be tricky ...
Either the most recent PO of ours couldn't read (the instructions are in the owners manual), didn't care, didn't know - not sure - but in the pile of paper that came with it were multiple receipts, a couple from the same winter, totalling over $2,000 for plastic hose and clamp repairs (which all leaked when we got it).
I replaced all of the original copper with PEX and put in new faucets for roughly $500.
The biggest thing I noted doing the demo was there was no real high spot, and multiple low spots like a roller coaster. So naturally water would be difficult to remove. With the PEX it was easier to create one high area with no roller coaster.
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Old 08-10-2015, 09:58 AM   #10
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I used to live up the road there in Painted Hills. If was still there, I would gladly come over and help. But, now that I live in California, the drive would be a little longer. Follow the tips provided here. It's not rocket science. You just need to follow a logical process to clear your water tanks and lines of water and you're done.
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