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Old 01-14-2022, 12:25 PM   #21
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If you have your water lines blown out with an air compressor, that should be fine for them.

I'm not sure how to truly empty the macerator pump and hose system, so I would probably dump the black and grey tanks, then pour a gallon of antifreeze into each of those tanks, and finally run that through the macerator pump until pink comes out. That should protect both valves, the line from the tanks to the pump, the pump itself, and the hose. Someone may have a better idea, but that's what I'd try after having the water lines blown out with compressed air.
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Old 01-14-2022, 12:57 PM   #22
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Hi

The gotcha this time of year is that you never really know what the temperature is going to be a week or four from now at this or that location. Both the "cold snap of the century" and "insanely high temperatures" are on the list these days.

Wind chill is a number calculated based on how your skin reacts to being exposed to cold plus wind. Water freezes based on the thermometer temperature. You will hear folks talk about camping at 20 degrees and how they had no issues and can't see why people worry. After a 30 minute chat, you find that the thermometer never went below 34F and they have been talking about wind chill the whole time.

Does wind matter? Sure it does. If it blows from exactly *this* direction and bounces off *that* wall it will hit some vulnerable piece of stuff just right. The 31 degree air will freeze that part solid faster with 60 MPH of wind pushing it past that gizmo than it will in still air. Indeed in still air, the underside of the vehicle (parked over unfrozen ground) may be *much* warmer than what the thermometer leads you to believe.

Lots of variables and lots of grubby details.

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Old 01-14-2022, 04:22 PM   #23
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Some suggested winterizing. Does that protect macerator?

We are going to Yosemite later this month. The temperature drops to low 20s at night. I plan to winterize my camper for the trip.

This may be a dumb question - can I leave the tanks and pipes empty (no water) rather than fill them with antifreeze?
The tanks and sewer line pipes are never completely empty, especially the macerator. Best to add some RV anti-freeze to both the grey and black tanks. Then open one of the dump valves and make sure you get the pink stuff (anti-freeze) all the way out the macerator hose. I just do it into a 5-gallon bucket when I winterize at home. Then I use anti-freeze to flush the toilet during winter freezing conditions.

Enjoy Yosemite - I'm planning to visit there in February if possible.
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Old 01-14-2022, 07:53 PM   #24
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That's how I keep mine. I just used an air compressor (with a regulator on it) to blow out the pipes. I do pour some antifreeze in the drain pipe traps to prevent them from freezing and breaking.
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Old 01-15-2022, 01:25 AM   #25
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According to user's manual, the battery lasts about 4 hours without hookup, if you have 200Ah. The heaters have sensors for tank contents that switch them on below 44F and off above 64F.


So the funny thing is that this is the exact same thing the owners manuals have said for Interstates since at least 2015… and in 2015 Interstates only had 2 regular AGM batteries. The new lithium batteries should have at least 2 times the usable power. Wondering if anyone has had any experience operating heating pads from battery power in a 2020-2022 Interstate?

Of course, the heating pads aren’t the only consumption, as the furnace takes a fair amount of power also.

Assuming we stay at least in the high 20s overnight (and well above temps during day) I don’t think the holding tanks are at much risk… but maybe using heating pads before bed, turning off overnight, and then turning them on first thing in the morning just to be safe. Assume otherwise all pipes/water lines are safe with the furnace (with the exceptions of outside shower and macerator).
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Old 01-15-2022, 09:36 AM   #26
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In newer Interstates with lithium batteries, is there enough power to run tank heaters and furnace overnight? We are planning to boondock some nights in Moab area (Canyonlands, Arches, Capitol Reef) in mid-March. Average highs/lows in that area appear to be upper 50s/mid-30s. I’m assuming we should be fine if it dips not too far below freezing overnight even without tank heaters on… but if they were needed, curious whether anyone has any experience with stock lithium batteries’s ability to power them for a night.
Moab itself sits in a small valley along the Colorado River, and is in a pocket of warmer weather than its surroundings. You can be a lot higher and colder once you are out of that zone. Then you've got your routes to and from these places. March is still winter in the high country.

There is an RV service shop (Red Rock) in town who could blow out your lines for you (prior appointment recommended) if you want to do that. You could skip the antifreeze.
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Old 01-15-2022, 01:15 PM   #27
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Moab itself sits in a small valley along the Colorado River, and is in a pocket of warmer weather than its surroundings. You can be a lot higher and colder once you are out of that zone. Then you've got your routes to and from these places. March is still winter in the high country.



There is an RV service shop (Red Rock) in town who could blow out your lines for you (prior appointment recommended) if you want to do that. You could skip the antifreeze.

My plan was to make sure I had hookups at campgrounds en route and operate heating pads otherwise, including while driving, at/through any colder areas. But really want to stay at dry national park campgrounds at Arches and Capitol Reef.
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Old 01-16-2022, 08:27 PM   #28
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Great. It's a wonderful area and we hope you have a memorable trip.

If you know all this already, please just ignore the unnecessary advice in this post.

Please be ready for snow. You may not encounter it, but then again..... (Ask me how we know.) Depending on your route, if you take I-70 directly from or to Tennessee, you have to go over Loveland and Vail Passes in Colorado which are non-trivial, and are wintery through April.

I hope you have reservations for the Arches CG as they tend to fill up and then they have length limits on RVs, depending on the specific campsite. They do not allow boondocking, in the sense of camping outside the CG. However, there are many designated boondocking sites along the Colorado River maintained by the BLM. Also near Dead Horse Point State Park, but up a lot higher in elevation.

Also, the issue is not so much the average night time lows, as presumably half of the low temperatures will be somewhat below that.

It looks like the Fruita CG in Capitol Reef CG now takes reservations in March. Revs also highly recommended. There is limited "primitive" camping possible at Capitol Reef, but then these places are accessible by unmaintained dirt roads. My recollection is that these are up higher than Fruita.

When in doubt, I would suggest you phone these national parks and get the staff members' advice. These parks are a lot more popular than they used to be.
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Old 01-16-2022, 10:09 PM   #29
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Great. It's a wonderful area and we hope you have a memorable trip.

If you know all this already, please just ignore the unnecessary advice in this post.

I love advice! Thank you.

Looking at the route I was thinking we might see some snow coming over the mountains once we get past Denver, but hoping major interstate will be kept reasonably clear. And we opted for 4x4 on our new Interstate so that gives us a bit of extra confidence. I drove our 2017 2WD Interstate through some pretty heavy snow once and it handled it exceptionally well. But have never driven in freezing weather without being winterized.

We have reservations - 1 night Arches (Devils Garden), 3 nights Dead Horse Point SP (Wingate) and 2 nights Capitol Reef (Fruita) in that order. Still watching for a cancellation to maybe get a night at Needles campground in Canyonlands. Dead Horse has electric only, the rest are no hookups.
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Old 01-17-2022, 10:16 AM   #30
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I love advice! Thank you.

Looking at the route I was thinking we might see some snow coming over the mountains once we get past Denver, but hoping major interstate will be kept reasonably clear. And we opted for 4x4 on our new Interstate so that gives us a bit of extra confidence. I drove our 2017 2WD Interstate through some pretty heavy snow once and it handled it exceptionally well. But have never driven in freezing weather without being winterized.

......
Hi

I guess it depends on your definition of "reasonably clear". Even in the summer, I-70 through Denver and on west can be / is a zoo. You may run into a "chains needed" requirement, so at least have them along. Getting stuck in a storm is rare, but it even happens out east. It's a bit more common out west ( at least based on what we've been caught in over the years).

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Old 01-17-2022, 12:31 PM   #31
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Hi



I guess it depends on your definition of "reasonably clear". Even in the summer, I-70 through Denver and on west can be / is a zoo. You may run into a "chains needed" requirement, so at least have them along. Getting stuck in a storm is rare, but it even happens out east. It's a bit more common out west ( at least based on what we've been caught in over the years).



Bob


Thanks for the advice Bob. Just did a bit of reading and, in addition to heavy snow in March, there’s also terrible spring break traffic on I-70 west of Denver. Now definitely thinking maybe better idea to take slightly longer southern route on I-40 through Albuquerque.
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Old 01-18-2022, 02:17 AM   #32
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We went to CA and back from WV right before Xmas. I took the Southern route. Water in the holding tank for the toilet and the black tank. It hit 26 one night on the way out with no issues. On the way back it was going down to 14 in Northern AZ so I kept driving into 2am and stopped in NM where it was going to be around 30. We stayed in a rest area with the propane furnace running so it was very warm and again no issues.
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Old 01-18-2022, 08:12 AM   #33
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Hi

The risk with the southern route is that you are out in the plains a bit longer. That means more days with the risk of high winds. Yes, you can get them a lot of places (we lived in Kansas for a while ....) so nothing is ever guaranteed ....

Bob
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Old 01-18-2022, 08:50 AM   #34
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Hi

The risk with the southern route is that you are out in the plains a bit longer. That means more days with the risk of high winds. Yes, you can get them a lot of places (we lived in Kansas for a while ....) so nothing is ever guaranteed ....

Bob


True, but at least with wind you can just slow down. Better than risking icy roads, tire chain requirements, stopped traffic in freezing weather, etc. And anyway if there was no risk, where’s the adventure?!
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Old 01-18-2022, 08:50 AM   #35
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We went to CA and back from WV right before Xmas. I took the Southern route. Water in the holding tank for the toilet and the black tank. It hit 26 one night on the way out with no issues. On the way back it was going down to 14 in Northern AZ so I kept driving into 2am and stopped in NM where it was going to be around 30. We stayed in a rest area with the propane furnace running so it was very warm and again no issues.


Thanks, this is reassuring!
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Old 01-18-2022, 12:33 PM   #36
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Thanks, this is reassuring!
You and I have the same model. I wonder if you feel that the headlights are too dim? I have trouble seeing far enough at night and don't feel comfortable at all. I mentioned it to the Mercedes Sprinter service but was told everything checked out fine. My previous Sprinter van had much brighter headlights I remember. I'm looking into different bulbs.
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Old 01-18-2022, 02:02 PM   #37
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You and I have the same model. I wonder if you feel that the headlights are too dim? I have trouble seeing far enough at night and don't feel comfortable at all. I mentioned it to the Mercedes Sprinter service but was told everything checked out fine. My previous Sprinter van had much brighter headlights I remember. I'm looking into different bulbs.


I haven’t noticed that being an issue. The bright lights seem very good to me, low beam average. Overall my perception is that headlights improved over our 2017 AI (2016 Sprinter).
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Old 01-18-2022, 10:18 PM   #38
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So the funny thing is that this is the exact same thing the owners manuals have said for Interstates since at least 2015… and in 2015 Interstates only had 2 regular AGM batteries. The new lithium batteries should have at least 2 times the usable power. Wondering if anyone has had any experience operating heating pads from battery power in a 2020-2022 Interstate?

Of course, the heating pads aren’t the only consumption, as the furnace takes a fair amount of power also.
Yep, will volunteer my experience. On one of my first trips in the van, before I really understood battery management, Temp was high teens, low 20's. Slept with the furnace and tank heaters on but woke up to a completely dead van. However, it wasn't because the Lithium BattleBorns were drained, I believe it was because the LBCO (Low battery voltage cutoff) was still set from the factory to a higher cutoff for AGM (am guessing around 12.4 volts), instead of a lower LBCO for lithium (~11 volts) to maximize the lithium capacity. Since then I've added a Victron shunt to monitor projected battery hours remaining based on actual loads, have changed the LBCO settings to allow the BBs to drain to 10% instead of only 50% for AGMs, and for general boondocking purposes, added two more BattleBorns and upgraded the inverter.

In short, I believe the 2 BattleBorns would have made it through the cold night if not for the LBCO.
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Old 01-19-2022, 09:24 AM   #39
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True, but at least with wind you can just slow down. Better than risking icy roads, tire chain requirements, stopped traffic in freezing weather, etc. And anyway if there was no risk, where’s the adventure?!
Hi

The answer for both is pretty much the same. When the warnings go up, you pull over and hunker down someplace safe. A few days later when they say it's clear, you take off again. Yes this means watching the weather forecasts. That's part of the process ....

Bob
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