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Old 10-02-2003, 08:16 AM   #1
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Question Help New Owner Winterize Her Airstream

After much searching I purchased by first Airstream, a restored 1968 Overlander, less than a month ago. I don't feel that I know the trailer very well yet, and already it's time to winterize. Living in Minnesota, I have to get this right or I'll have major problems next spring. I understand that I need to drain the system, put RV antifreeze in the fresh water tank and pump through, then put the RV antifreeze in each drain and leave everything open. I do not have a by-pass on my water heater. Do I drain the water heater and close the water heater before pumping the RV fluid? What about the valve for city water? How do I get the antifreeze through the city water pipes? Does this also happen when I turn on the pump? What about the hot and cold water valves in the back by the black water tank? Should they be open or closed when I'm pumping the system? Should the black water tank be emptied, then closed for the pumping process? Sorry for all the questions, but I want to get this right. Any help is appreciated!

LaVonne
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Old 10-02-2003, 09:01 AM   #2
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Congratulations on your new AS and welcome to the forum!

We don't winterize here in FL, but we did live in WI for a few years. We took our AS to an RV repair shop and paid them to winterize for us.

That means I still don't know exactly how to do it. So I ran a search for "winterize" here on the forum, and these are some of the threads I came up with.

Winterizing - Adding Antifreeze

Winterizing in Alberta

Winterize Now!

There are many other interesting threads that came up with that search, but this will get you started.
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Old 10-02-2003, 09:35 AM   #3
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for some ideas and more links on winterizing, see

http://sierranevadaairstreams.org/ow...nterizing.html

several step-by-step guides, how-to's, and 'what not to miss' suggestions
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Old 10-02-2003, 10:58 AM   #4
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Winterizing

(I thought as all the leaves fell off the ash tree in about 15 minutes after the hard freeze last night) - thank goodness my airstream is completely gutted and I don't need to winterize it.
Here is a tip sheet from Airstream. If you need more help, send me a PM. I live nearby.
. . . Sorry, it appears this appl. will not let me add a .txt file. Send me an email and I will forward the instruction sheet via regular e-mail.
Attached Files
File Type: txt winterizing.txt (3.5 KB, 203 views)
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Old 10-02-2003, 12:06 PM   #5
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Winterizing in Minnesota

Don,

Your text attached OK and I was able to open it.

LaVonne,

I too am a new vintage Airstream owner in Minnesota. Fortunately (or unfortunately?) I get a bye this winter because I took it over batteryless and empty of all fluids from the previous owner that basically had it sit as a lawn ornament for about the past 8 years. I spent so much time prepping my adjacent garage with power and 30 amp outlet, and extending and building a level parking pad for it that I hadn't got it up to road tripping.

I'll be bedding my pontoon boat in a couple of weeks and then settling down to cocooning for the winter.
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Old 10-02-2003, 12:36 PM   #6
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Hello LaVonne,

What is it about Minnesotans keeping such a thorough eye on winterizing? And yes, Don, this morning's leaf fall after the hard freeze was unique!

My bibliography also points out these threads. Each one probably throws in a few different useful angles.

Extending wet camping season
Travel in freezing weather
Chicago area help needed please
Winterizing
Winterizing BooBoo
Spring preparation for travel season
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Old 10-02-2003, 04:19 PM   #7
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Newbie takes easy way out....

Hello LaVonne,

What is it about Minnesotans keeping such a thorough eye on winterizing?

Hello Bob,

Gee I don't know--we must have some sort of obsession. Thanks for the links. I'll be printing them off and incorporating them into my extremely limited but admittedly growing knowledge base.

I've decided to take the easy way out and hire someone to winterize this year. Next time I'll be brave enough to do it myself. I found someone close to where my Airstream is located. His charges are reasonable, he sounds like he knows what he's doing, he's been winterizing in the area for years, and he loves vintage trailers, including Airstreams.

LaVonne
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Old 10-02-2003, 04:48 PM   #8
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Re: Winterizing in Minnesota

Davydd,

Considering the fact that I have only owned my Airstream for about a month and now I need to winterize, I'd say not getting around to using yours was rather fortunate. You don't have to winterize and maybe you can work on the restorations over the winter!

LaVonne
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Old 10-02-2003, 04:55 PM   #9
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Smile Thanks everyone!

Thanks for all the suggestions and the wonderful resources. This newbie is taking the easy way out this year hiring someone who is reputable. Next year I'll be brave enough to do this myself.

LaVonne
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Old 10-02-2003, 05:21 PM   #10
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Winterize NOW

We northerners usually block out a few days each fall the the annual rites of 'winterizing"
1. Drain the motor and lower unit on the boat. Add gas stabilizer, fog the engine, erect the cover, jack it up, remove the trailer tongue. (I keep hitting it with the snowblower).
2. Pull all the dock pipes, remove the dock and store the sections on shore.
3. Blow out the irrigation system with compressed air. Drain the pump and remove the inlet screens.
4. Clean out the garden. Carve the pumpkins and mulch the roses.
5. Drain and invert the birdbath. Remove the fountain pump.
6. Capture and move the Koi into 55 gal. drums in the basement.
7. Remove the mower deck and mount the snowblade on the tractor.
8. Put all the deck furniture and umbrellas in the shed. Put away the gas grill. Clean the shotgun.

This is why being a full timer is such an appealing idea.
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Old 10-02-2003, 07:12 PM   #11
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9. Drain the garden hose and put it away.
10. Take in the lawn chairs and hammock.
11. Clean out and straighten up the garage in order to park cars in it again.
12. Rake the leaves before the first snowfall.

Still a working stiff. I'm here for the winter.
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Old 10-02-2003, 07:50 PM   #12
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Easy way out?

Heh heh,
Mine was winterized when I bought it last spring.
So I never used any of the plumbing.
Well mostly anyway. I did use the sink for a few dishes (used water from a jug and heated it on the stove) but I just opened the graywater dump valve and allowed the DW to drain onto the ground.
I'm going up to the lake tomorrow and will bring a gallon of RV anti-freeze to pour some down the sink. Should be the end of it for this year.
Maybe next year I'll get around to seeing if all the plumbing actually works.
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Old 10-02-2003, 09:37 PM   #13
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Our new 16 will be coming into Vancouver in late October, then we haul it up the Alcan. I am hoping I can open the drains and that will do it (yes?). I will probably try to keep the furnace on low. Lately I've seen a lot of posts of peoples extreme efforts to avoid road salt. What are these, trailers or snails? I assume a quick wash of the undercarriage after the trip is wise....
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Old 10-03-2003, 07:50 AM   #14
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Aluminum LOVES salt!

Quote:
Originally posted by frozen chosen
Our new 16 will be coming into Vancouver in late October, then we haul it up the Alcan. I am hoping I can open the drains and that will do it (yes?). I will probably try to keep the furnace on low. Lately I've seen a lot of posts of peoples extreme efforts to avoid road salt. What are these, trailers or snails? I assume a quick wash of the undercarriage after the trip is wise....
Aluminum LOVES salt and will JUMP at the opportunity to bond with it! Just look at any car with alloy wheels that has lived in the snow belt... The aluminum will turn into the most awful ugly white corrosion and pitting; particularly at joints and rivets. Of course, the joints and rivets are the weakest points anyway, so a little corrosion around them will only make them weaker.

It doesn't take long either for Aluminum to corrode. If you MUST travel in salt conditions, wash your trailer thoroughly with warm soapy water using a soft-bristle brush, especially the underbelly and wheel wells, and do it daily if possible. Saline solution is insidious stuff.

I don't think that merely opening the drains will be sufficient either, particularly if you're in constant sub-freezing temps. You'll still have water in the lines in places, and certainly in your sink p-traps. I'd try to blow your lines out with a compressor and put anti-freeze in the p-traps. Then, of course, you still have the 6 gallons of water in the water heater to deal with!

I've not had any experience using the furnace while travelling. Don't know whether that's wise or not... but the biggest issue might be that if the pilot blows out, you won't know it and you'll be pushing cold air around your pipes and tanks; exactly what you DON'T want!

Roger
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