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Old 12-05-2018, 11:29 AM   #1
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2017 30' Classic
The Panhandle , Idaho
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Winterized, De-Winterize, Then Winterize Again

Hi All,
Our first winter ever living in the North. I knew I had to winterize and got that done about a month ago. Good thing as overnight lows have been down in the 20s lately.

Winterizing is a challenge as getting a bypass installed proved to be impossible for me to accomplish. AS put the water pump in a small cubby behind a pull-out drawer under the refrigerator. Not enough room in there for me to squeeze myself in there.

Side Note: I'm a bit disgusted that AS doesn't factory-install a bypass kit. There was one installed as part of the basic package in our 2006 Starcraft Hybrid, a trailer with a price tag about 1/5 that of our Classic. Then again, the water pump in that trailer was under the bathroom sink, totally accessible. Nice engineering decision AS.

Anyway, after blowing out the lines I ended up pumping anti-freeze from the fresh water tank. I know many will say this is not the preferred solution, but I was out of options. Taking the trailer to the local dealer was not feasible.

Saturday we are heading south for holiday work and to visit family. One week in Southern California. Then a few days over to Phoenix and then up to the Flagstaff area. Then back to SoCal for a few more days before heading back to Northern Idaho.

My plan it to drain and blow out the tank and lines before leaving on Saturday. We will then use bottled water until we get to the first CG with full hookups where I can fill and flush the water system a few times. I plan on using a water tank sanitizing agent as well. By the time we get to SoCal I hope to be able to use the system for our water needs.

When we head to Northern AZ, I was thinking if I keep the tank heaters on, and only fill the tank when daytime temps come up, I should be okay. Should I stuff some insulation in the outside shower cabinet, and tuck some around the water hookup point and drain valves?

When we leave SoCal to head back North in one of the CGs we stop in I'll blow out the lines again before we get to far into the colder latitudes. Hopefully while we are in SoCal I can get the bypass kit installed. Then I can also pump anti-freeze through the system without putting it in the water tank again.

Comments? Suggestions? Any ideas or similar experience would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
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Old 12-05-2018, 11:51 AM   #2
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On my trailer there isn’t room to install the antifreeze winterization kit either, but it is simple to undo the pex on the inlet side of the pump and thread on the siphon hose from the kit, stick it in a jug of antifreeze and pump it through the system. It might actually be easier than using the valve in the kit. I’m not sure if you can by the hose and threaded coupler separately.

P.S. Also drain the antifreeze as soon as you pumped it through the lines and blow them out again to avoid having to flush multiple times. I save the drained antifreeze to put into the traps and holding tanks.
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Old 12-05-2018, 12:44 PM   #3
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No bypass on te water heater is a real hard one to justify. We are talking about $10.00 to $15.00 in parts and maybe 15 minutes to install.

That is not poor engineering that is just "Cheapskate" is the only term I can use here to describe that one.

They install a black water flush valve that has no useful purpose, is equal to spitting into the wind, and is a known failure point for leaking. Someone should stop for 5 minutes and rethink the engineering.
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Old 12-05-2018, 03:44 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HowieE View Post
No bypass on te water heater is a real hard one to justify. We are talking about $10.00 to $15.00 in parts and maybe 15 minutes to install.

That is not poor engineering that is just "Cheapskate" is the only term I can use here to describe that one.

They install a black water flush valve that has no useful purpose, is equal to spitting into the wind, and is a known failure point for leaking. Someone should stop for 5 minutes and rethink the engineering.
I don't the OP was talking about the hot water tank bypass, but misapplied that description to a winterizing kit to put antifreeze into the system through the water pump, bypassing the fresh water tank.
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Old 12-06-2018, 10:21 AM   #5
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2x Adventure.AS. Next spring, I am going to put in a new water pump and expansion tank. I plan on making the inlet side of the pump much more accessible with extra tubing and couplers! I can reach mine now, but it is a PITA!



Quote:
Originally Posted by Adventure.AS View Post
On my trailer there isn’t room to install the antifreeze winterization kit either, but it is simple to undo the pex on the inlet side of the pump and thread on the siphon hose from the kit, stick it in a jug of antifreeze and pump it through the system. It might actually be easier than using the valve in the kit. I’m not sure if you can by the hose and threaded coupler separately.
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Old 12-06-2018, 11:27 AM   #6
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The way the pump was installed on our 19'FC there wasn't room for a bypass kit either. But like Adventure.AS stated above, it was easy to simply unscrew the pump inlet from the water tank and attach the hose that goes into the RV antifreeze jug.

Actually, if you do a good job of blowing out the lines (including the city water inlet, black tank rinse, and the water pump itself, many folks will tell you the antifreeze isn't really necessary except in sink and shower drain P-traps. I do it mainly for peace of mind.
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Old 12-06-2018, 12:15 PM   #7
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We live in the PNW but except for our first year of ownership we leave our 23 FB in Orange County during the winter to allow winter trips w/o the winterizing issues.

If you plan on having work done in SoCal be advised that it is likely much more expensive there. I usually pay about $200 in the PNW at Les Schwab for annual wheel bearing repacking. Last year the AS desler in Orange County charged over $400 for identical service. And they took all day (even with an appointment) as opposed to 90 minutes while I waited at Les Schwab in Redmond WA.

AS dealers vary widely in their service attitude and don’t compete well on price.
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Old 12-06-2018, 01:24 PM   #8
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A simple solution that, once done, makes the process a snap:

https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/D1-cNZCb62S.mp4
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Old 12-06-2018, 02:15 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeeMore View Post
A simple solution that, once done, makes the process a snap:

https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/D1-cNZCb62S.mp4
The OP stated that his water pump was located in such a place/position that he was unable to gain sufficient access to install a kit such as this. I bought one of these kits and ran into a similar situation. The way my pump is bolted to my water tank the only way I could install this would be to move my pump to a different location. However, it was very simply to just unscrew the pump inlet from the water tank and attach the hose that came with this kit, insert it into the antifreeze bottle and turn the pump on.
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Old 12-06-2018, 03:55 PM   #10
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Hi

Coming back to the original idea of a quick "de-winterization" .... If you have put anti-freeze in the fresh water tank, it will take a *long* time to rinse it out. Plan on bottled water for quite a while ....

Bob
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Old 12-06-2018, 04:54 PM   #11
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I blew the system out several times the way it is described in the owners manual then put some antifreeze in the drains and that's all I am going to do. Airstream says that is all we need so we will see?
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Old 12-07-2018, 08:00 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Airhead2018 View Post
I blew the system out several times the way it is described in the owners manual then put some antifreeze in the drains and that's all I am going to do. Airstream says that is all we need so we will see?
Hi

The key question always is - just how much is "enough" blowing out the lines? You can put air through the various lines for quite a while and still get a bit of water when you start back around the cycle.

Bob
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Old 12-07-2018, 10:05 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by uncle_bob View Post
Hi

The key question always is - just how much is "enough" blowing out the lines? You can put air through the various lines for quite a while and still get a bit of water when you start back around the cycle.

Bob
That's exactly right Bob and it took me several times and days to complete the task. I also raised and lowered the trailer (front to back) a few times as well. it has been in the mid 20's here overnight so we hope I got it right. Of course the proof will be when we go to use the unit again. In the meantime if we are expecting a long stretch of below freezing temps I might plug it in to keep it above freezing. The reason I wanted to try this is because we were planning on going to Florida for a few months and didn't want the antifreeze in the system. Unfortunately we have to delay that trip for a month or so.
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Old 12-07-2018, 10:20 AM   #14
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You should be fine. That is all I have ever done for winterization.


The critical piece is the toilet valve as it seems to take the longest to get the water out. That is usually the one that gets most people. I use a piece of 1/2 inch PVC to hold the valve open so I can let the air flow until it is dry.
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