Airstream Forums

Airstream Forums (
-   Our Community (
-   -   white knuckle newbie trip update and winterizing questions (

beckys 10-21-2020 11:10 PM

white knuckle newbie trip update and winterizing questions
Post trip update!

Thanks to many of you for weighing in before we left on our 3 week newbie adventure from Seattle to Montana to Utah and back - your suggestions were super helpful. Here’s our post trip update with a few questions.

1. Many many humble rv newbie moments occurred - in case it helps other newbies, I will list them here: a) if you ever have a hard time figuring out why your coupler isn’t sitting correctly on your hitch ball, perhaps unlock the coupler lock - just a friendly suggestion. :D we forgot to do just that when we had to check out at 11 and could not for the life of us figure out why it wouldn’t seat properly. b) make sure to pull over to the left lane if you pass a stopped vehicle on the shoulder even if you’re a newbie and it’s scary at first to change lanes quickly. We got pulled over and ticketed) c) when you inevitably go over a curb and you hear a loud beeping, definitely explore further and you might find an rv covered in wine and olive oil and the propane leak detector very very offended it got a snoot full of Malbec. Just hypothetically speaking… d) make sure your hands stay completely off that tongue jack until you’ve lifted your stabilizer feet. We didn’t do that 2 times and luckily realized it before we crushed them. e) if you feel super super lucky because you got the very last spot at Dead Horse State Park in Moab, make sure you check that you didn’t accidentally get reservations at the *other* Dead Horse State Park in Arizona cause that’s not where you wanted to go. Apparently we didn't notice that there is a Dead Horse Ranch State park and a Dead Horse Point State Park - not the same and I just realized now one of you beautiful people mentioned that on our initial post and we missed the reply. Whoops!
2. Many many things failed or broke or went sideways - is this normal? Did we get a lemon? Is this how we learn how to be flexible zen masters? The day we picked up our used Airstream (certified preowned!) at the dealer the converter failed and had to be replaced and then a tire seized when we were testing the braking. That got fixed then we were on our trip, 4 hours later than planned. One day in…. a) the lift motor on our fantastic fan crapped out and kept blowing fuses. there are no new lift motors to be had and Airstream is backordered. We used the manual override to get the lid up so we could use it. b) our water pump makes a holy racket and our lights flicker when it’s on (off shore power). we had a mobile rv repair guy come look and he checked the wires (fine) and he checked the pump (looked fine) but he noticed that our Zamp solar controller box was broken and he guessed that off shore power our batteries didn’t have enough juice to run the water pump without affecting the lights. We later replaced the controller box and …. still have a clanging water pump and flickering LEDs. c) we sprung a leak! Luckily over our toilet, which seemed lucky in a string of unlucky. Different repair guy in Utah sealed the bathroom vent but left the lowest side of it unsealed to “let any water inside out” this made sense at the time and now doesn’t make any sense at all.
3. So now we are home and are putting the rig on Whidbey Island for the winter but we will be going to stay in it one weekend a month or maybe two — What do you all think about winterizing for a Pacific Northwest winter where it sometimes goes below freezing? Should we put antifreeze in the pipes then flush it for the weekend we are there and then re-antifreeze? Any other winterizing that is necessary when we will be there every few weeks? And we won’t have hook ups where it’s being housed - do any of you have suggestions for mobile black and gray dump containers that we can put in our truck and take to a dump station? Last question — we don’t yet have electricity where it will be housed and it’s the PNW so the solar panels might not be charging the battery - should we get a trickle charger for the batteries?
thanks for any advice and help!

BigSxyWhtGuy 10-22-2020 10:10 AM

Wow. A lot to unpack here. Here are some of my general thoughts.

Re: travel and things breaking. It happens, although it sounds like your shake down has a few more items on it than normal. Is everything under warranty? We full time in ours and took us about two years to shake everything out. We have occasional items break but no longer add to the honey do list after every trip.
Re: Your leak. Did he seal the roof???? Gotta find where the water is penetrating the exterior first before sealing the inside. If he didn’t, you’ll still get water inside but instead of dripping out that vent it will go somewhere else. Worst case it goes all the way to the ground and starts to rot out your floor. Long term no good comes from this.

Wintering in WA. We lived up there for awhile pre airstream life. Someone with more winter experience should jump in here but winterizing will depend on your use age and weather conditions. Freezing pipes usually only happen with multiple days in freezing temps. Likely hood of you experiencing that up there is slim.

I would minimally drain the water lines and disconnect any exterior hoses. If you’re gonna use it every weekend, I wouldn’t do the antifreeze.

Re: batteries, solar likely won’t keep up your batteries. A tender would be ideal. This can be done by uninstalling the batteries and bringing them with you. If you’re close enough to an outlet where you can do it connected to the trailer, then you may also want to look into the options of having step down adapters for your main power cord? We have a 50a cord that can step down to 30a and one more attachment that can plug into a standard house outlet. This is only to maintain batteries, we cant really run electric on it like this.

Camper Crazy 10-22-2020 10:41 AM

Wow! It was an adventure filled trip; but look at how much you learned! Each trip will get easier and as you relax, you will feel more confident in your ability to handle whatever comes along; that's life. If nobody moves, nobody gets hurt; but look at what you will miss. You did it; congratulations, good job!
As far as winterizing, I know the lines etc can take a small amount of below freezing; better safe than sorry.

ROBERT CROSS 10-22-2020 10:56 AM

Welcome Aboard 👍
Our first AS was 'used'.
Our 1st trip was pretty much the same, although the "Frantic Banana" was 23yrs older.:wally:


Woosch 10-22-2020 11:11 AM

1 Attachment(s)
I live in the Portland/Vancouver area and I winterize every winter. Normally I drain and blow out the lines and just add RV antifreeze to the P traps. It doesn't take long so I suppose you could wait until some forecast freezing temps were on the way and then do it. I also take the batteries out and have them on a trickle charge. If this is your first time winterizing, I would recommend hiring someone to do it and watch. You will be surprised at how much water is in the unit! Long long Honeymoon did a video on winterizing. It's not what I do but could be an option. Im attaching the instructions that I use.
Hope next year goes smoother for you!

NoResults 10-22-2020 11:49 AM

Weather says first freeze minor (32) this weekend. Just blew out lines yesterday.

Don't forget to by pass water heater, drain then reinstall plug. Make sure you have some white plumber tape for plug. Also don't forget the outside shower.


beckys 10-22-2020 03:51 PM

Can you explain whAt you mean to bypass water heater?

djb75 10-22-2020 05:08 PM

There should be a bypass valve on the line that leads into your water heater. On our GT, it is yellow. Shutting this valve off allows you to load antifreeze into your water system and not have to pump gallons of it into the water heater. If you are going to just blow out your lines but forego the antifreeze, then you can disregard this.

beckys 10-26-2020 05:12 AM

Love the support and friendly encouragement! thank you!

majorairhead 10-26-2020 06:58 PM

Uh, your original post is indicative of our experience the first time out, hence, my screen name :)

If you're not mechanically inclined when you purchase a travel trailer, including airstreams, you will be in short order.

Imagine my surprise when I realized everybody's awning wasn't broken, they had 'em tilted for a REASON! Thank God when I got around to dumping a ton of water off ours, it wasn't damaged in any way!

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 12:29 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.