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Old 10-27-2009, 10:54 PM   #1
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1992 21' Sovereign
Albuquerque , New Mexico
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Help with Winterizing

Hi,

This is my first winter with the Airstream, and have been told I should be able to winterize it--instead of paying the dealer to do this. I did call Holiday, and their approach is to blow out all lines, to be sure there is no water in the trailer. They're happy to winterize it for me.

I have read many posts and thought I'd see if I could following handn's post, which I list here in " ". Seemed straightforward.

"The "tool" for blowing out the lines is simple and inexpensive. It scews into the city water inlet hose fitting and has a fitting for a standard (tire) airpump on the other side. I use a simple, cheap tire pump inflator to supply air pressure. The kind that uses a.c. is easier to use as a 12 volt supply is often not handy. I think this little pump is less risky than a bigger compressor because it takes much longer with the little pump to build up enough pressure to potentially damage the lines. If you use a big compressor, set it so pressure is less than 40 pounds."

OK--I have a small compressor and the fitting and compressor. Had to go to Walmart tonight and found the fitting.

"My proceedure for winterizing is as follows:
1. Drain fresh and hot water tanks as well as grey and black water tanks. You will have to close the hotwater tank after it is drained to get enough air pressure to purge the system."

OK, have drained the tanks and hotwater tank. Have run the pump until no more water comes out. I have removed the water filter from under the sink. BUT I'm not sure, does "close" mean put the plug back in, or do something with the by-pass valves people mention????

"2. Hook up air pump and let it run for a few moments to build up pressure. Then, turn on each faucet until only air comes out of the faucet. Do the same for the toilet. Then, I open all the faucets and valves again to make sure the water is out of the low spots. Take your time, you want minimal water in the lines. Turn off air pump. I open the hot water tank again to remove any water that has blown back into the tank"

OK, can do that tomorrow AM now that I have the attachment.


"3. Pour RV antifreeze into all the traps and into the grey and black water holding tanks. A gallon total is enough."

OK, have the pink stuff.


"4. Find the fresh water pump. In my 25 foot Safari the pump lives in a hinged cabinet underneath the street side closet. Take the lines off the pump. You will get a little water so have a paper towell handy. Run the pump briefly to make sure all the water is evacuated. I hook everything back up so I am good to go when I want to use the trailer. "


Here are my questions:
1. I have found the pump. I'll need to disconnect the copper attachments on either side of the pump, and run it to flush out the water, correct?

2. I'm not sure how to find the "low point drains"??? I never found the "gray nylon material" line drain valve shown in the manual.

3. There are two grey valves in the area where the "Drain Valves" are indicated in the manual. This is near the water pump, under the closet by the bathroom vanity. They both have an oval handle type thing that you can turn. Are these the low point drains? Where does the water drain to?

Sorry if these are dumb questions, and thanks for the help.
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Old 10-28-2009, 05:48 AM   #2
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Hi Barbara4rb,
I have not found the "Low Point" drain in my classic either. I do go under the trailer and open the drain plug on the fresh water tank and let all the water out. I assume that is a "Low Point" drain, but I am as confused as you.
Your proceedures look good, I do one other thing that everyone gives me stuff about. I take 2 half gallons of cheap vodka and with an adapter line I put it in the lines right at the pump. Open each faucet in turn til the smell is there. The alcohol absorbs any water that did not blow out. In the spring the alcohol leaves no after taste or residue.
Your owners manual has information on winterzing as well.
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Old 10-28-2009, 06:17 AM   #3
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A "Pump Converter Winterizing Kit" from Camping World will make the winterizing process a dream that can be accomplished in less than thirty minutes. It will take longer to drain the water heater than complete the process. Once you purchase this kit, permanently install it in the water line adjacent to the pump. Once installed, isolate your water heater by shutting off the water lines with the valves near the water tank. This will allow you to drain the tank and not fill it with antifreeze. Attach the siphon hose supplied with the "Kit" and drop it into a gallon of RV water antifreeze. Remove your drinking water filter as you won't want antifreeze inside of that unit. Turn on your pump and open each faucet, shower head, WC spray unit etc. until you see the pink anitfreeze in each. Remove the sipon hose and cap the "Kit" with the hardware provided. Pour the remaining antifreeze into your "P" traps and toilet bowl and you're finished. Too easy. Don't forget to empty your fresh water tank and don't leave the water tank pitcock valves open when pumping the antifreeze or the stuff will just flow into the tank. I used to blow out my lines but this is a much better method in my opinion. Good luck.
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Old 10-28-2009, 06:19 AM   #4
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Barbara4rb,

Quote:
Here are my questions:
1. I have found the pump. I'll need to disconnect the copper attachments on either side of the pump, and run it to flush out the water, correct?
You can purchase an RV Converter Pump Kit at most of your RV stores. Install it and it will make winterizing and charging your water system with antifreeze very easy. If you use this kit there is no need to drain the pump, because it will be filled with antifreeze after you finish winterizing.

Quote:
2. I'm not sure how to find the "low point drains"??? I never found the "gray nylon material" line drain valve shown in the manual.

3. There are two grey valves in the area where the "Drain Valves" are indicated in the manual. This is near the water pump, under the closet by the bathroom vanity. They both have an oval handle type thing that you can turn. Are these the low point drains? Where does the water drain to?
The gray pipe and valves you speak of is called polybutylene pipe and we have it in our '87. Here is a picture of the valves you may encounter. The #2 picture is representative of the ones found in our '87. You open them by bulling up firmly on the "T" handle until you feel it click or move. It will only move maybe 1/8" then rotate the "T" handle counter clockwise 3-4 turns. Reverse this process to close the valves.



Something else that will make winterizing your coach easier is if there is a water heater tank bypass on your water heater.

And the low point drains drain out the bottom of the trailer belly pan. If you look under the trailer in the location where you have the valves you will see little subs of the gray tubing prodtruding from the belly pan

Winterizing is pretty simple and only takes me 1/2 an hour at the most. It goes quicker of you have a helper.
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Old 10-28-2009, 10:42 AM   #5
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Your trailer may be very different, but, if it has a kitchen sprayer, make sure you blow that out too. Also, blow out the pipe to the toilet. You probably need 2 people to do this. If you have an outside shower, make sure you get the water out of it too.

If you get the pump bypass kit, make sure antifreeze gets through all of those lines. Also put a cup or two of antifreeze in the grey and black tanks to keep the seals lubricated and leave a cup in the toilet for the same reason.

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Old 10-28-2009, 11:12 AM   #6
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2006 25' Classic
New Hyde Park , New York
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Prior to my first winterization of my AS I installed a pump bypass kit. I would blow out all the lines with air, then winterize with RV antifreeze. When I was getting the trailer ready for spring I noticed that the water lines going across the trailer to the bathroom/shower were bagging very loudly, much more than before. My system also had an loop of water line(from the factory) coming off the water pump to help reduce the bagging. My dealer changed the water pump to a ShurFlo(3gpm), but the noise continued. The dealer attempted to an insulation around the offending pipes, it helped. While at Jackson Center, the factory discovered that the addition of the by pump bypass kit was causing some of the problems. They removed the kit, replaced the water pump with a different ShurFlo. All the banging is gone. All done under warranty. Why the by pass kit was one of the factors causing the banging of the pipe is up to the sages to explain.
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Old 10-28-2009, 11:42 AM   #7
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I recently saw an episode of "Ask This Old House", and the home owner was having a problem with a banging pipe due to having a large diameter water supply feeding into a reduced opening, and then going to a larger pipe again. This is what caused the racket.

I think that if you have 3/8 pex going into the winterizing valve, the actual valve opening/pass-thru is smaller than 3/8, and then it goes back to 3/8, that could be a source of the problem.

A plumber among us could confirm or correct me on this.

Cheers.

Jonathan
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Old 10-28-2009, 11:58 AM   #8
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The low point drains are under the trailer and may look like the pitcocks on a radiator - mine do but my AS is newer so yours may be different.
Remember to CLOSE them after draining the water before you pump pink-stuff into the lines or it will all drain right out.
And remember to follow the procedure in your manual for by-passing the water heater or you'll use 8 gallons of pink-stuff.
The pump bypass kit for winterizing is a HUGE help!
And btw, there are NO dumb questions here - ask away!
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Old 10-28-2009, 12:01 PM   #9
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On a new trailer you will find those low water drains outside in the area of the fresh water tank drain. Looks like two flat wing nuts. Once I've blown out the lines I'll open these drains last.

The problem with the 12 volt pumps is the fact that they will not completely evacuate the water in the pipes. Any moisture in the lines will drain back to a low point which could freeze. To protect against that I do pump RV antifreeze through the system. Since I don't have a winterizing kit, I essentially open up the connection that is the feed for the fresh water tank into the pump. I hook up a longer hose which is inserted into the RV antifreeze bottle. I turn on the pump which begins pumping antifreeze into the system. I go to each valve and first turn on cold then hot and make sure I'm getting pink out of each side. When doing the toilet, don't forget the flush hose (if you have one). Also on the kitchen sink don't forget the sprayer hose (again if you have one). Don't forget to pull the water filter out if you happen to have one of those in your line. Once that's done I go back to the low water drains and open each to make sure I see pink coming out. Then the final step is to go back and pour more antifreeze back into the traps.

Jack
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Old 10-29-2009, 09:57 PM   #10
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1992 21' Sovereign
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Thanks to all of you for your information!

I called the service manager (?) at the AS dealer and asked about the drain valves. He confirmed that the valves in the gray lines were indeed the drain lines. They were in the location that the manual showed, but had different valves than described. (They are the #3 valves in the picture posted here by DEITZ645 in #4 )There are two tubes sticking out underneath the AS too.

I had trouble blowing the lines out as I didn't have the tire-stem adapter on my little compressor (purchased originally for bikes). I had the little cone adapter jammed into the Walmart fitting, and when it would build up pressure, it blew itself out. (No helper around!) I'll borrow a different compressor this weekend--that has the tire adapter, and try it again.

I will get the RV Converter Kit. WOW that sounds like just the ticket!

More questions. I don't think I have water heater by-pass valves, unless they're under the bed or somewhere? I don't see any valves at all in the water heater compartment. Nothing mentioned in the owner's manual. Are the by-pass valves a "newer" feature?

Our weather turned cold (suddenly!) and we're down to ~26-28? last night and tonight, then warming again. My AS is outside, in the sun, and I'm hoping it was warm enough inside to maintain some heat throughout the night. (Wishful thinking? Any ideas? ) I have the AS stored at my property (not at my house), otherwise I'd have turned on the furnace.

We're going to the 4CU New years rally in AZ in Dec, so will be getting it ready around Xmas and going through this procedure again when we return. Also, will have the dealer install two new fans in Dec, and will let him check it over, too. The AS will come back to the house for the holidays (it takes up 1/2 the driveway) and I'll keep the heat on. HEY I can put Xmas light on it!
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Old 10-31-2009, 11:53 AM   #11
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1997 28' Excella
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Winterizing Pain

Ok, I want to do this winterizing thing right as it could really cost a bunch in the Spring if I screwed up somewhere, but It is becoming a P.I.A.

I must have the only Airstream that still runs water into the Hot Water Tank even when I have turn all the valves the correct way. As outlined in the owners manual I closed the valves going in and out of the hot water heater and opened the bypass valve between the two. Access to the valves is under the bathroom sink and instead of being right there where I can easily turn them they put them on the side, clear to the back of the cabinet where it would be hard for little hands to get into. The valves are a large plastic wing nut and are difficult to turn, they're not the nice easy to turn brass valves that I have seen demonstrated at out local RV store. It takes two hands in there to get them to shut and they still won't close off the water to the Hot water tank. I'm afraid that if I turn any harder on the valves they will break, in fact one of the valves started leaking antifreeze out of it when I tried to turn it a little harder than normal. One of the valves will not line up at a 90* angle to the water line no matter how hard I turn it.

The Conversion Kit is another mistery to me. I hooked up the kit as outlined and tried to suck liquid out of the 1 gallon container of Antifreeze, but it won't suck it out. I turned the valve back to the Water Tank and it began sucking again, turned valve back open to the 1 gal. container and "no suck", what gives here?

I thinking it might just be easier for me to buy 8 gallons of antifreeze, pour it in the storage tank, run it through the system, then drain it out, blow out any remaining antifreeze with a portable air tank, save the antifreeze for next year and use it again.

Not looking forward to winter,

Hank
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Old 10-31-2009, 01:18 PM   #12
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I have a 23' newer model and the HW bypass is under the bed (i lift the mattress and see a small hole). I acually didn't buy anything to winterize other than antifreeze. I opened the drain valves at the bottom and blew into the fresh water intake line with my mouth, also opened all faucets and blew into them to clear most of the water lines. Drained the HW tank and flipped the bypass valves.

Removed the output connection from pump, turned it on to drain it. Reconnected the output and disconnected the intake. Connected the exterior shower hose to the water pump intake and put the other end in the antifreeze. Turned the pump on and ran hot and cold to each faucet, toilet, exterior shower, etc. until steady pink. Then cracked all three HW bypass valves to get antifreeze to flow through the HW tank (plug was still out so it drained right out).

Next I opened all faucets, left all three HW valves half open to let some of the antifreeze drain out. I'm sure there's some risks with skipping the step of using an air-compressor but not sure what that risk is.
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Old 10-31-2009, 05:43 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1cericks1 View Post
I opened the drain valves at the bottom and blew into the fresh water intake line with my mouth

I'm sure there's some risks with skipping the step of using an air-compressor but not sure what that risk is.
Depends whether you're a blowhard.

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Old 11-02-2009, 07:44 PM   #14
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Winterizing

Guess what, The conversion kit works. You just need to read the instructions. I thought installing it was straight forward, but I apparently put the thing in backwards which for some reason won't let it suck. I also needed to prime the pump to make it work, but I tried priming before and it would not work. I also found better access to the hot water heater under the roadside twin bed, which 1cericks1 described his was located. The easier access allowed me to get some more leverage on the valve and I was able to close it completely. It actually works now and I don't hear any antifreeze going into the tank.

Bring on Winter,

Hank
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