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Old 03-23-2002, 11:27 PM   #1
2 Rivet Member
, Alaska
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 58
Smile Airstreams in winter??

I bought my MH in California (Oct 2000), promptly drove to Seattle and stored the MH there for the winter. After driving to Seattle, I thought the MH was just too nice for a life in Alaska, but my family wants to drive it here and keep it.

I am wondering about a couple of things: What low temperatures would you avoid with an Airstream motorhome?? Can an Airstream MH function in low temperatures such as 10 degrees F? Would it be problematic to use it for snow machine/ ice fishing outings during winter? Can it stay "winterized" yet be functional during winter outings?
During the summer there are many dusty/gravel roads here in Alaska, is my MH going to be able to handle the gravel and dust? How well is an AS MH sealed from dust entering where the plumbing/ wires/ etc. are?
Currently my motorhome is in Seattle and I have very little experience with it.
Any suggestions would be so very helpful.
I would hate to torture my Airstream by bringing it to Alaska (there are times Alaska has made me feel tortured!!!)
Thanks in advance and cheers to everyone that makes this forum happen. It is so exciting.
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Old 03-24-2002, 07:51 AM   #2
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1994 30' Excella
1992 35' Airstream 350
Austin , Texas
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 5,145
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Your story is very remarkable and i hope you will consider keeping the members of this forum up to date on your endeavor.
Other members have more experience, winterizing a MH, like using air pressure to completely remove all the water.
I like to share some 79 specific things with you for your consideration:
Many of the seals (some putty stuff) used for the plumbing and gas lines, have become hard and pulled away from the openings. They would have to be resealed with plumbers putty or polyurethane caulking.
The two rubber seals in the firewall for the heater core hose should be replaced or resealed.
The power converter is located next to the passenger seat under the square box. If it is original, its vented to the outside, with one opening to side and one to the bottom. Closing the vents of and cutting openings in the box would keep dirt (and moisture!!) out of the converter.
The refer door could be sealed by inserting a piece of wood inside, during dusty travel and non use.
Lumber stores sell 1/8 " galvanized mesh, which I would mount to the entire front grill. It will protect your radiator, condenser etc from small rocks and bugs.
I know there is more, but this is a start.
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Old 03-24-2002, 11:15 AM   #3
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Charleston , West Virginia
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Assuming 'use' means using the restroom, you will need to think about the tanks. I think you can get heaters for the black, gray, and white water tanks. I think a hose is out of the question. You will need to fill the white water tank and use the pump. My pump is in the left rear corner and would need added insulation.

I know that at 16 degrees, the discharge chute freezes and the old white hose breaks. The hose is a whole other subject. PETER - I take the Dremel to the reel on Monday!

LP should not be an issue. Using both furnaces will keep it warm. Inside moisture might be an issue.

I would insulate the battery compartment to keep them from getting too cold. A solar panel adding a slow charge would help keep them warmer.

I am from Florida so consider that when reading my 'input'.
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Old 03-24-2002, 12:26 PM   #4
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1983 27' Excella
Airstreamville , Kansas
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 410
There is a company called Ultra-Heat ( that makes tank heaters, pipe heaters, and elbow heaters. They can operate on 12v and/or 120v. It would give extra protection that an AS already provides. Worth checking out.

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Old 02-26-2006, 11:41 AM   #5
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1956 26' Cruiser/Overlander
1967 17' Caravel
Newport , New Hampshire
Join Date: Oct 2003
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I have an article on some simple tips for winter camping having done quite a bit myself. We re-wrote this for our Winter Campers in our Unit.

Preparing Your Rig for Winter Camping

Winter camping can be as enjoyable, in some cases
more enjoyable, than summer camping. No bugs,
quiet, uncrowned campgrounds with choice of sites,
available during this time of the year. Preventing
damage and mishaps do to freezing is the primary
concern in winter camping.

What to Expect

Many campgrounds turn off their water and drain
lines during the winter. Be prepared to carry a
water container to bring potable water from within
heated campground buildings.

Water Piper and Connections

Flat heat tape with electrical wires encased easily
wraps around pipes and exposed connections. Both
110-volt and 12 volts are available but the 12-volt
is not recommended due to battery drain.

Water pipes exposed to the elements need to be
protected with heat tape. Inside while the heat is on
interior pipes are protected. In very low
temperatures cabinet doors slightly open, will allow
for heat circulation. Carry a small hair dryer to thaw any pipes.

Holding Tanks

Adding antifreeze to the septic holding tank and
insulating around the tank will prevent freeze up.
You can use your septic tank in the winter

Locks, Hinges and Handles

Moisture blows into locks, hinges and crank handles
then freezes. Powdered graphite instead of petroleum
lubricants, sprayed into these crevices will keep these
working properly.


Insulated battery boxes are available from auto
supply houses. Also there are electric heated battery
warmers. You can warp your own battery or have
this done professionally.

This was an article in Woodall's Travel Trailer 1978 part of our Vintage Camping Collection.

Is this what you were looking for?
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Old 02-26-2006, 02:51 PM   #6
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1994 30' Excella
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Milwaukee , Wisconsin
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,935
We have camped in our motor home in 10 degree weather and lived to tell the story. In fact you will read about one of them in next month's forum newsletter. The motor home is remarkably warm and does not take much to heat. The placement of the water lines, water heater and grey tank are another matter. I would suggest a heater for those as well as the black tank. Also when it really gets cold we just stop using the plumbing and camp close to the facilities, watch late night liquid intake and wake up quick when you hit that cold air on the way to the potty.
As for the dust these things are incredibly leaky. Good luck trying to seal it up for frequent trips on gravel roads I do not know where you would even start on a project like that.
Chaplain Kent
Forest River Forester 2501TS
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Old 03-27-2006, 12:58 PM   #7
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1983 31' Airstream310
Iwerne Minster , Dorset. UK
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 274
You must have air!

I would be very careful about making a MH TOTALLY airtight. We camp regularly in the colder climates here in the UK. Many times –4 to –6 degrees centigrade, But we still have some form of ventilation. When the stove is in use, it is giving off dangerous fumes, just the act of breathing is generating condensation, and that we have found, is almost impossible to get rid of in the Airstream. There are the weep holes that will allow a bit of air but not much.

We are used to campers, both trailers and motor homes with a fair degree of ventilation, intended or otherwise, and it is difficult to manage without it.

For your own health’s sake please treat fresh air with respect, you need it!

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