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Old 11-16-2014, 12:24 AM   #1
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Default Winterizing wo Antifreeze: RoadTrek Pop Dodge '94

I would like to develop a procedure for winterizing circa 1994 RoadTreks by forcing out ALL the water (antifreeze only in P-traps and waste tanks). Is this possible?

I object to using the standard antifreeze method because of the bade taste it imparts, but also because it is inconvenient. If I have a van full of antifreeze and want to do an overnight trip during a warm spell, I have to flush ALL the antifreeze out, and flush it numerous times to try to reduce the taste. It's not worth the trouble. If the system has been thoroughly purged of water by using the drains and air pressure, it is easy to fill up and go at short notice.

Another reason is that we have extremely hard water, and I don't want it sitting in the lines all winter depositing caliche, and corroding any metals it can find. Now I drain after every trip. (I have particular trouble with serious corrosion of the water heater threads because with or without teflon tape, water finds its way into them. Draining at least the water heater between trips might be sufficient to avoid this problem.

I doubt draining and purging with compressed air takes much longer that the antifreeze method, once I have an efficient sequence of steps, if in fact the method can be thorough.

I have read numerous threads on the subject, mostly using antifreeze, and saw a couple of hints that some have successfully used the air method. But I have not seen anything systematic on procedure.

Here is what I have done so far:

1. Parked slightly nose-up, tilted to left.

2. Drained the water tank (stopper forward of sewer line, opened low point drains (I hope they really ARE low points), opened valve from hose inlet to water tank and released the valve on the inlet fitting by pushing it up.

3. Drained the water heater and temporarily replaced plug (no bypass or cut-off).

4. Ran the pump under various conditions (e.g. each faucet, toilet, opened in turn). I got virtually no water from the faucet.

5. Attached a compressor to the hose inlet, made sure I had stable pressure at 30 psi under each condition, and repeated all of the above. (I think for this step to work, the valve to the water tank must be open.) Opened low point drains and only small amounts of water were blown out.

6. Finished by opening all drains and removing water heater plug.

I think I must have squeezed all the water from this thing. I live in a mountainous area and plan to drive the van up and down some steep grades in an excess of caution. Maybe I'll blow out again after that.

Anything I have missed: there could well be things I am unaware of. Critique and suggestions much appreciated!
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Old 11-16-2014, 02:20 PM   #2
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Default Re: Winterizing wo Antifreeze: RoadTrek Pop Dodge '94

How cold does it get in S New Mexico? Having had experience in draining the water lines in houses in Alaska, I don't believe you can remove all the water by compressed air. There will always be some water left in the lines somewhere, usually at a spot that makes a sharp bend. I suppose if the temps are not cold for extended periods of time it may be ok. As long as the water has a place to expand when it freezes things may be ok. It seems like that every compressor I have owned puts out foul air and stuff that I think it is worse than the anti freeze.
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Old 11-16-2014, 09:08 PM   #3
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Default Re: Winterizing wo Antifreeze: RoadTrek Pop Dodge '94

I have only ever used compressed air from a cheap tire-inflation compressor for the last 8 years in Pennsylvania. Works fine. You don't have to get every drop of water out, just significant accumulations in critical places such as pumps or valves. This is not difficult. Just take your time and do it carefully. You should open up one valve at a time, starting with the ones closest to the source of pressure and working outward. I do it twice to make sure.

Putting antifreeze in your fresh water system is a waste of time and money.
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Old 11-16-2014, 10:15 PM   #4
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Default Re: Winterizing wo Antifreeze: RoadTrek Pop Dodge '94

Fortunately it is not a worry this winter as we sold our GWVan. Over 9 years with our Pleasure-way and GWVan I only tried the anti-freeze once and didn't like it. It took at least two good flushes to get the pink tint out though it should not hurt you. Most of the time I did not blow out the lines either and with the Pleasure-way, never. I just opened all the drain points and drove around for awhile after getting it as empty as possible. Over the winter I leave all the drains and faucets in the open position. In Minnesota our temperatures in the winter get colder than a minus 20 below 0 F.

If you are able it would be better to drive some place safe rather than winterize. It might be OK in southern New Mexico if you temperatures go above freezing every day and not much lower than 28F at night. We have encountered down to 20F in those conditions in the Rocky Mountains with no problems. Of course once winterized you can use your B like a steel tent and not use your plumbing. The toilet could still be used for #1 with a little antifreeze and bottled water for flushing.
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Old 11-17-2014, 04:48 PM   #5
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Default Re: Winterizing wo Antifreeze: RoadTrek Pop Dodge '94

Quote:
Originally Posted by avanti
Putting antifreeze in your fresh water system is a waste of time and money.
Ditto.
I would agree with every poster on this thread. Everyone has mentioned everything that needed mentioning to purge water from the system.
What you've done is fine, bordering on overkill, imo. Once you're satisfied that you've done as much water purging from the system as possible, just leave all the access points open. You might want to stuff a scrunched up piece of screen door screen into the lowest openings to allow air in but keep critter traffic to a minimum, but that's up to you. I might also add some vaseline to the water heater plug threads if you're leaving it open. On mine they will get rusty with the anode plug out.
Also, did you open your inside/outside shower taps? I'm assuming yes.
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Old 11-17-2014, 06:39 PM   #6
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Default Re: Winterizing wo Antifreeze: RoadTrek Pop Dodge '94

How do you make sure there is no water in the pump? I blow the lines out but always use the pump to pull some antifreeze into it. That is my main concern.

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Old 11-17-2014, 07:39 PM   #7
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Default Re: Winterizing wo Antifreeze: RoadTrek Pop Dodge '94

Run it for a while after you've opened up the access points and done as much as you can to empty the tanks, traps, and lines. They're designed to run dry for a while during priming. Consider it reverse priming. I've used the open it up , drain it as best you can, and leave it open method for 6 years without any negative effects and I live where it's below freezing regularly for weeks at a time in the winter months. I tried running a small compressor into the external hose fitting for about 20 minutes as the final blow out about 2 weeks ago, but I have no idea if it made any real difference. Didn't see much additional water at the taps and so on.
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Old 11-18-2014, 01:47 AM   #8
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Default Winterizing Roadtreks wo Antifreeze is possible! ['95 Pop/Do

Wow, great replies: just what I needed! Thanks!

It can get very cold in the desert SW, down to low teens at night for several days at a time, sometimes; we saw much colder about 3 years ago when everyone lost their outdoor plumbing, often in spite of insulation (now I have water line heaters!) So that is why I was concerned to be thorough.

Nevertheless, we get a lot of snowbirds in this area because of a lot of beautiful dry sunny days in the winter. Can't go any further S without entering Mexico. The mild winters in the S. U.S. occur on the long Atlantic and Pacific coastlines where the ocean moderates temperatures.

Pete, I know of no way to ASSURE there is no water left in the pump, but I applied air pressure to it many times while running it during my procedure and it produced nothing. It's doubtless a good precaution to draw in just a little antifreeze, using one of the kits made for that purpose. I never had any problem with the blown-out pump on my camping trailer after draining: but pump designs and installation orientation can differ....

Mike, yes, all faucets are open. I will install critter screens on the open valves and I will adopt your excellent tip of applying vaseline to the open water heater (and anode) threads, unless I use teflon paste instead: I have been thinking of using it to prevent corrosion when the water heater is in use.

You are most reassuring Mike: "I've used the open it up , drain it as best you can, and leave it open method for 6 years without any negative effects and I live where it's below freezing regularly for weeks at a time". What I hoped to hear!

Davydd, I'm sorry to learn you no longer have your van. I'd like to thank you for all the generous advice you have offered, and I hope you hang in here: we benefit greatly from your experience.

I have received a lot of advice here in the short time I have owned a RoadTrek, and I plan to revisit those threads and summarize the outcome, when appropriate. I think members who offered help should have the opportunity to know the resolution. This thread appears to be about wrapped up!
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Old 11-18-2014, 02:11 AM   #9
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Default Re: Winterizing wo Antifreeze: RoadTrek Pop Dodge '94

Crank,

No need to feel sorry for me. All will be well in two months. It has been a long process but it will be worth it I hope.

It is all right here: Advancing Alvar
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Old 11-19-2014, 02:00 PM   #10
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Default Re: Winterizing wo Antifreeze: RoadTrek Pop Dodge '94

I wasn't worrying, Davydd. However, I missed your reference to Advanced Alvar until now: hence revised post. You are going to have a VERY classy customized B, lucky dog!

I'm looking forward to details and pics.
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Old 10-12-2015, 04:44 PM   #11
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Default Winterizing using air mattress inflator pump.

Has anyone tried using a high volume/low pressure pump (air mattress inflator) connected to the fresh water fill to winterize? The idea being that the low pressure would not harm any seals, the air is passing through the water pump in the right direction, and the higher volume might be more effective at clearing out the last few drops. If it worked it would be very convenient to complete quick fresh water winterizing while travelling in and out of areas that might freeze at night.
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Old 10-12-2015, 05:41 PM   #12
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I don't know enough about that type of pump to know if it would work.

I only used air in the supply side of the water system last winter (2014/2015). I don't have a Roadtrek. (I think they still warn against using air)

I'm only using air again this year. Air is set at around 30psi. My procedure:
0. emptied waste tanks previously
1. drain fresh water tank
2. drain water heater
3. purge water from pipes using air one tap at a time also toilet
4. temporarily put plug back in water heater
5. run water pump for a few seconds (caution, it's running dry by now)
6. purge water from pipes using air again one tap at a time also toilet
7. turn bypass valves on water heater to bypass positions
8. run water pump for a few seconds (caution, it's running dry by now)
9. purge water from pipes using air again one tap at a time also toilet
10. shop vac'd residual water from water heater (probably not necessary)
11. put anode plug back in water heater
12. shop vac'd water out of grey water plumbing (because of my peculiar/unique shower drain plumbing)
13. poured pink RV antifreeze in drains and toilet

An extra step on macerator equipped RV's would be to let some RV antifreeze to pass through it.

It appears to be a lot of steps but it is quick. I'm pretty much in constant motion.

It worked last year so I just did it yesterday for this coming winter.

It helps if you know the peculiarities of your particular RV. Mine needs the front of the van to be higher that the rear to get the most water out of the fresh water tank when draining for example.
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Old 10-12-2015, 06:22 PM   #13
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Two tips:

--If you have any removable fixtures (shower heads, etc), unscrew them and take them indoors. Very difficult to get the last of the water out of them and they are quite fragile. Only freeze damage I've ever had was here.

--If you have a Keurig coffeemaker, be aware that they retain water and there is no practical way to drain them. They go indoors, too.
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Old 10-12-2015, 06:59 PM   #14
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If you have ever watched them blow out sprinklers you know they move a lot of air, and for a long time, to pick up the water laying in the lines, same is true in the van. Doing one faucet or connection at a time works best as it concentrates the airflow. You can actually hold a cool glass up to the faucet and get moisture on it to help tell when you are done. It is also beneficial to stop the air for a while and then put it back on after the water has congregated in low spots and will be easier for the air to pick up.

We did have our water pump fail one year after the blowout use, but can't say for sure it was related. I have read that the pump manufacturers don't like the air going through the valves and checkvalves as it can make them flutter and stretch or tear. I have not used air since, with the new pump, but we are stored inside and heated, so a drain only is fine unless we need to park it outside for a while.

I think at least the later Roadtreks on Chevies have more low spots that don't drain well compared to some of the older models.
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Old 10-12-2015, 07:06 PM   #15
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Thank you for the reply. The method that you describe is exactly how I winterized my Trail-Lite every year for a decade...worked perfectly and I never had a problem. I expect Roadtrek is just being cautious by not recommending this method, but it would be great to chat with someone that has used air only a late model Roadtrek.
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Old 10-14-2015, 03:18 PM   #16
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His van is done and he's been traveling the heck out of it.I think he's just having Advanced tweak some things.Go on the YouTube Advanced rv channel and you can see his van and him.State of the art in Class B building.
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