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Old 11-26-2003, 11:44 PM   #15
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I read that long thread but still don't get it. Where are the drain valves? According to my manual, I have 3 line drains - 2 (Triple Wardrobe), 1 (water heater, exterior). If there are in the wardrobe, where does the water come out of?

What about the fresh water tank, how do I get the water out of it? Do I have to? I plan to be using the unit in a couple of weeks, but am afraid we will get into teens or low 20's and something will freeze.

Do I have to fill my fresh water tank with RV antifreeze - I have some of that pink stuff, but then how do I flush it out completely? Or do I have to put that antifreeze somewhere else?

And, that long list by nickcrowhurst -- do I have to do all 60 items of that? What are just the essentials? I looked under the sink but didn't see anything that looked like a drain valve.

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Airstream laying-up procedure
1 Wash, dry, and Walbernize exterior of trailer
2 Have LP tank re-filled if one is empty.
3 Buy 3 gallons of potable anti-freeze.
4 Store load distribution bars and sway control in transverse underbody storage on kerbside.
5 Ensure trailer tire pressures are 50 psi
6 Fit wheel covers for UV protection.
7 Store outside chairs and table in rear roadside locker .
8 Lower aerials.
9 Remove all clothing, food, bedding, and "stuff", that will not be kept in trailer.
10 Fit sun protection cards in front and rear windows.
11 Turn off water heater in rear outside compartment.Heater has permanent bugscreen.
12 Remove battery from water heater re-lighter and store in trailer.
13 Turn off refrigerator, empty, and wipe interior clean. Carton of baking soda on shelf, leave door ajar.
14 Fit bug screen to outside refigerator access flap.
15 Turn funace thermostat (on wall) to "off", and remove batteries. Furnace has permanent bugscreens.
16 Turn off both gas bottles on A-frame by turning knobs clockwise.
17 Fit sun screen round gas bottle cover and A-frame.(Use old tablecloth from rear streetside locker.)
18 Ensure battery is fully charged, topped up, and clean on top.
19 Drain grey water tank and close dump valve.
20 Drain black tank,half fill with clean water, and dump again. Cl;ose dump valve.
21 Put a gallon of clean water in black tank via WC, and add a capfull of Eco-Save.
22 Remove sewage hose, wash out, and store in transverse under-body storage on streetside.
23 Turn off mains water supply at outside tap, remove hose from source and trailer.
24 Empty hose,clean exterior, join ends together, store in rear hatch.
25 Drain cold water tank by removing drain bolt in kerbside wheel arch.Replace drain bolt.
26 Add table-spoon of baking soda in a pint of water to tank. Insert plug in air vent by filler cap.
27 Open all faucets and shower head. Jam WC open with Leatherman tool above pedals.
28 Open two drain valves under flap below cupboard under sink.
29 Open drain valve in rear roadside locker. (lift handle, then 5 turns anti-clockwise.)
30 Press on valve on WC spray head for a few seconds to drain this line.
31 Turn water heater lever to by-pass. (access via rear roadside locker.)
32 Open pressure-relief valve at top of water heater, remove nylon drain plug (box wrench), drain tank.
33 Replace plug, close valve.
34 Tank water filter is under flap at base of left wardrobe. Remove top, drain, clean, and replace top.
35 Retract corner scissor jacks.
36 Lower front of trailer using front power jack until water ceases to drain from valves.
37 Lower rear of trailer using front power jack until water ceases to drain from valves.
38 Level trailer, and support with corner scissor jacks.
39 Close all valves and faucets, WC, spray head and shower.
40 Open cold water faucet in kitchen, attach tire pump to city water inlet using adapter and pump air.
41 When water stops coming from faucet, open another, then close the first.
42 Continue with all valves, faucets, spray head, and WC until all have been blown through.
43 Ensure one of these is always open, so as not to risk a burst pipe through excess pressure.
44 Stop the air pump. Close the final open valve/faucet.
45 Between the tank filter and the tank pump is a T-joint with an either/or switch. Switch to T supply.
46 Connect the attached pipe into a gallon of potable anti-freeze.
47 Switch on the pump via the rocker switch in the kitchen or bathroom.
48 Open one faucet, drain valve, WC, spray head at a time until pink anti-freeze runs steadily out.
49 Replace the anti-freeze containers as necessary.Return T switch to normal position.
50 Pour a cup of anti-freeze into each drain trap (3) and a capfull of cooking oil to prevent evaporation.
51 Dry all surfaces of sink, shower and WC.
52 Open WC bowl valve, apply silicon grease to dry valve surfaces, then close valve.
53 Place containers of drying agent at both ends of trailer, and one in sink.
54 Remove batteries from smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector.
55 Switch off LP gas detector by exit door near floor.
56 Switch off all interior and exterior lights and radio.
57 Disconnect city electric supply,store cable in rear hatch.
58 Turn off electic master switch behind sofa.
59 Disconnect cables from battery. Connect solar battery maintainer.
60 Clean interior and sweep floor.
61 Close windows, curtains and lower blinds.
62 Close both roof vents, and extractor vent in bathroom.
63 Lock all exterior storage lockers, water flap and battery locker. Replace these keys in inside drawer.
64 Lock exit door and raise step.
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Old 11-27-2003, 12:08 AM   #16
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"Where are the drain valves...I looked under the sink but didn't see anything that looked like a drain valve."

Under the kitchen sink, below the floor, there should be three valves - hot water low point drain, cold water low point drain, and fresh water drain. There should be an access of some kind to get you BELOW the bottom shelf of the sink cabinet.

The 64 point list seems to be directed at those who put their coach away for the winter.

"Do I have to fill my fresh water tank with RV antifreeze"

No, no, a thousand times no! It takes forever to get the taste out of the tank. Empty tanks do not freeze. Just drain the fresh water tank. The anti freeze is for two areas - the drain traps, and the water lines. Many people fit a inlet tube through a valve on the intake side of the water pump so they can pump it through the system. There are also hot water bypass kits at RV stores that allow you to drain the hot water tank, but bypass it when running antifreeze through the lines. Otherwise you will fill the hot water tank with six gallons of antifreeze!

Personally, I use compressed air (Delta oil-less compressor - no oil to get into the lines) and blow the lines out - but this really is a lot easier with an assistent to open and close each of the faucets in turn. I use the antifreeze only in the drain traps.

"What about the fresh water tank, how do I get the water out of it? Do I have to? I plan to be using the unit in a couple of weeks, but am afraid we will get into teens or low 20's and something will freeze."

When the furnace is on, the fresh water tank is heated by the furnace, and so kept from freezing. Of course, if you are connected to city water, you need not have any water in your fresh water tank anyway. But you will need heat tape to keep the inlet line from freezing.

Mark
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Old 11-27-2003, 05:39 AM   #17
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Re: .....I can and will fix stuff, all it takes it time..........

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Originally posted by 87MH
Reality Check.



....and money.....wheelbarrows of it.
I was thinking more along the lines of truckloads but at least I control the cash outflow Unlike a regular payment where for some strange reason they expect their money on time every month and get a little peeved if they don't get it.

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Old 11-27-2003, 09:50 AM   #18
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Ipso,

The list looks intimidating but quite honestly that's pretty much the procedure most of us go through. The issue of the drain valves varies based on the year and model of your Airstream. I personally can only speak from my experience with the newer units such as the Safari. In those Airstream has centered the drains in the area between the tandem axles on the curb side of the trailer. There you will find a plastic valve which when turned allows the fresh water tank to drain. Also there are two metal valves which when unscrewed allows the water pipes to drain in the same area. These sometimes refered to as the low water points. When opened up and with some air pressure in your water system the balance of the water still in your system should drain.

Quite honestly as much as folks say don't put RV anti-freeze in your fresh water tank, it is an easy way to pump the anti-freeze through your system. In my case the water pump in the Safari is unreachable without cutting the wood trim that frames the panel where the pump is stored. That precluded me from installing a valve assembly in the pump area. My new Classic has easy access to the pump so I will be putting an inlet valve there for anti-freeze input.

I never had problems getting rid of the anti-freeze in the fresh water tank. It just was a matter of flushing it a few times in the spring. Maybe those left with tastes are using a different brand anti-freeze than I did. Personally I think there is a difference in brands based on deterioriation of rubber valves I noticed in my old Hi-Lo trailer. After having to replace the flush valve on the toilet which had turned into a mushy mess I switched over to Prestone RV anti-freeze. It costs a $1 more than the no name brands but I never had that problem again and never had a problem flushing it out of the fresh water tank.

The only downside of the fresh water tank method is the fact that some drains for the tanks may not be the low point of the tank. Any water left in that tank that isn't drained will surely dilute the strength of the anti-freeze. I usually made sure the tank was empty and also ran the water pump to make sure I pumped out every thing that the pump could pick up. I'd pour in a couple of gallons into the tank, blow out the lines and drain the hot water tank, close off the hot water bypass and turn on the pump. I also had a third gallon which I would use to pour directly down the drains to make sure they were protected.

Hope some of this insite helps you.

Regards,

Jack
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Old 11-30-2003, 05:01 PM   #19
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Under the kitchen sink, below the floor, there should be three valves - hot water low point drain, cold water low point drain, and fresh water drain. There should be an access of some kind to get you BELOW the bottom shelf of the sink cabinet.

I looked and looked and there does not appear to be a way to remove the bottom shelf of the sink cabinet. It appears to be bolted.

Here is what the owner's manual has to say on the matter. My comments are in italic .


DRAIN VALVE

The fresh water tank may be emptied by pumping the water cut with the self-contained water pump. Simply turn on the pump switch and open a couple of faucets until the water will no longer come out. I did that, but less water came out than I put in there On all models there is also a petcock type drain valve located in the roadside wheel well (curbside on 25 ft. models) between the tires that may be used to drain the fresh water tank.
I extensively looked for it and was not able to find it. What are they talking about?

All models have a drain plug or petcock on the water heater. Access is from exterior.
That tells me absolutely nothing. Where exactly is it? And this does not explain if I should drain it

Rear bath models have two line drain valves located in the rear access compartments.
Not applicable to me

The Sovereign side bath models the line drains in the wardrobe down in the water tank well. The valve or valves are below floor level and are difficult to see without a flashlight.
Even though it is not applicable, I looked there anyway

Limited and Excella models have an additional (3 total) valve in the tank well, plus one under the rear bed behind the water heater.

The drain valves do not have stops. Pull up and turn about 3 times to open. Push down and turn to close.
Doesn't say where it is, but according to the diagram, they are under the microwave cabinet. I found them, at least I think I have, 2 narrow pipes which looked like 3/8" in size. I tried to turn them and not sure what that was supposed to accomplish. Don't know.

Anyway, I ended up opening up two fauces and watching the water come out, but it wasn't a real strong flow and not for very long. I thought I put more water in the fresh water tank that that. Hm. Doesn't leave me with a comfortable feeling, I think something is going to freeze one of these days.

This owner's manual is wholly inadequate and poorly, cryptically written. At least I am having problems comprehending it.


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Old 11-30-2003, 09:35 PM   #20
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The "petcock" drain valve is between the tires - mine is white plastic - turn it an water drains slowly out of the fresh water tank.

My hot water tank plug is white plastic about 1" in diameter with a hex head on the lower left side of the water heater when looking through the exterior access door. Remove the plug to drain 6 gallons of water from the heater.

Line drain valves are in the lowest (?) part of the water supply pipes and can be used to partially drain them. When you open them some water will pass through drain lines and out the bottom of the trailer to the ground below.

Your water heater probably also has bypass pipes and valves - which will allow you to run antifreeze through the supply lines, bypass the water heater, and up through the lines and faucets. Bypassing the water heater will save you 6 gallons of antifreeze that otherwise would refill your drained water heater.

Given the problems you are having I recommend that you get help winterizing your unit - either a dealer or a knowledgable owner. Do this NOW, as it doesn't help AFTER the unit has frozen and everything is broken! It will be easier next year when you know where everything is.
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Old 11-30-2003, 10:46 PM   #21
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Ipso,

Obviously things change from model year to model year so all many of us can do is tell you where these things are located on our trailer. As they say with automobiles, your mileage may differ.

The water heater is pretty clear in the fact that once you open the outside access door you will find a removable plug that when removed will empty the water heater.

Keep in mind that fresh water tank pickups will not drain a tank completely. Its very realistic to expect that there could be up to a gallon of water in the tank that the pump cannot remove.

That petcock drain valve is inboard of the curb side tires, between the two tandem axle wheels. It will probably be more behind the forward wheel than exactly between the tires.

Sounds like you did find the low point drains for hot and cold water. These sound more like plugs than screw type valves. I used to have these on my Hi-Lo. Its a matter of pulling up on them which opens the valves. Then you add some air pressure into your lines via a compressor. If you are outside after that point you will see any water still in the lines exiting from the bottom of the trailer via those valves.

If you can't figure this out I would strongly advise you to get your trailer to an RV dealer (preferably an A/S dealer) who can properly take care of this for you. From your description from what you have done so far, there is probably water still left in your system that can cause damage once you drop below freezing.

Jack
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Old 11-30-2003, 11:06 PM   #22
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It might be simpler to adopt first principles rather than try to decipher the factory manual - which will not take into account any alterations made by previous owners anyway.

You have to get the fresh water out of the system before it freezes. Period. A little water in the fresh or holding tanks is not necessarily a killer as it has the whole tank to expand into. A little in one of those tiny nylon (or whatever than stuff was that was used with polybutylene) valves will demolish it.

But Jack is right, it is not a good idea to rely on the pump to drain the fresh water tank. Even a gallon could end up in some crevice somewhere (remember, these tanks have baffles), and cause damage.

So, where are the drains? Right above the drain lines. They all protude through the tank pans somewhere. Fresh water out the side, low point drains out the bottom. My '85 appears to have had three drains at one time, judging by the holes in the pan. One hot water low point, one cold water low point, and ??? When I got the coach, there were NO low point drains at all.

Don't get confused by the condensate drain line from the air conditioner - it is unique in exiting directly below the wall, just about where the lower wrap meets the belly skin.

In re: water heater drains. The water heater may well have an exterior drain plug. My '85 also had a drain right next to the water heater tank, accessible through an exterior storage door.

Fresh water tanks and hot water tanks do not drain well without ventilation. Open the filler cap for the fresh water tank. Open the pressure relief valve for the hot water tank.

Mark
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Old 12-03-2003, 01:26 AM   #23
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Update -

I drained the fresh water tank after finally finding the drain for it (standing in front of the front wheel on the right side, looking behind it - not visible while looking between the wheels)

And I drained the water heater, the petcock for the drain valve is inside the storage compartment door.

And I made sure the petcocks for the drain valves under the microwave cabinet were open, the first time I didn't fully open them. It is written on them - pull and twist - counterclockwise to open. Okay.

That's all I am going to do for now, although I am contemplating if I should put a few gallons of that pink anti-freeze stuff I have into the fresh water tank, then open the faucets until it comes out.
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Old 12-03-2003, 09:22 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally posted by ipso_facto
Update -

I drained the fresh water tank
Great news to hear! I knew if you looked hard enough you would eventually find things. Now did you blow out the water lines? If you did and used enough pressure to drive out all the droplets out of each faucet, sprayer, toilet, etc. you should be good. At the minimum you will need to get RV anti-freeze into the drain traps. For people paranoid like me, I used to take my shop vac, reverse the hose and actually blow air into the drain, effectively purging the water from the traps. Then I'd pour in my antifreeze.

The real question on pumping antifreeze through the freshwater tank is whether the tank is now dry or whether water left in the tank not drained will dilute the anti-freeze.

You also have to make sure that your water pump is either protected or is purged of water. Blowing air through the system will not take care of that.

Keep us posted!

Regards,

Jack
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Old 12-03-2003, 11:51 AM   #25
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Anti-freeze in the drain traps - check.

Now where do I get the compressor to blow out the air? How do I make sure the fittings are of the right size for that city water inlet?
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Old 12-03-2003, 01:28 PM   #26
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"Now where do I get the compressor to blow out the air? How do I make sure the fittings are of the right size for that city water inlet?"

An RV dealer will have a fitting with a schraeder valve made for just that purpose. The compressor is another matter altogether. I found a nominally 2 hp. oil-less Delta with two gallon tank at Lowes that fits below the wardrobe, allowing me to take it with me. In theory, it lacks sufficient capacity. In practice, it works fine.

Mark
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Old 12-03-2003, 01:42 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally posted by j54mark
" The compressor is another matter altogether. I found a nominally 2 hp. oil-less Delta with two gallon tank at Lowes that fits below the wardrobe, allowing me to take it with me. In theory, it lacks sufficient capacity. In practice, it works fine.

Mark
I use a 12volt compressor, something you can find at Walmart. Note that this unit will not dry out the lines like the unit described above. That's why I pump antifreeze through the system. Too much chance of the dropplets not expelled to fall back to a low spot and freeze.

Jack
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Old 12-03-2003, 05:56 PM   #28
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I looked in Walmart but they ones they had were too big and lots of horsepower. I need to get the 12v compact one.

Also, I got that pink RV antifreeze, 6 gallons and put about 3-4 in the fresh water tank because I wanted to pump it through the system seeing that as the simplest solution. Problem is, my pump isn't working. And hasn't worked for the last few months, before the cold. I located it under the closet, it is running, getting warm but no water or anti-freeze comes out from faucets. (I have no problems when connected to the city water).

So my alternative is to turn the heat on. The suburban furnace turned on on the usual 3rd try. I am also running the catalytic heater I have right by the door. The inside temperature is close to 40F but at night it is supposed to drop to high teens, 7PM and already 30F outside.

the water pump thread here
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