Prepping the Airstream for Winter

It’s that time of year, again.
You southerners might say: “Winterize, what’s that?”; and to you I say: having four seasons reflects the right order of things.  Birth in spring, the summer of youth, followed too quickly by the golden fall, and lastly the winter of your inevitable death.  All you guys have is ‘summer’ all the time.  

Oh, wait.

Er, let’s get back on topic.
Winterizing- there’s two methods: ‘wet’ or ‘dry’.

With a ‘wet’ winterize, you simply drain all three holding tanks, and pump non-toxic anti-freeze through the system at the water pump. The RV ‘pink’ stuff is supposed to be non-toxic, and odor-free. I’ve heard it definitely leaves an odor. Never done it that way, and I’m not interested in finding out for myself; plus, you have to pump it all out come spring.

I’ll cover the ‘dry’ method, which is what I do. Never had an ounce of trouble surviving these Michigan winters.

Here’s my process:

1. Dump grey and black tanks. I give the black tank a good flushing using the water jet port. I typically use Thetford Aqua-Kem throughout the camping season, so flushing usually isn’t a problem for either.  The real problem is finding a dump station around here.  It would be great if we could just make it home without using the bathroom, after dumping at the campground, but of course, it never works out that way.  It’s like the whole family senses a completely empty black tank, and the need to create something to fill the void is too great.  Anyway, there was a nearby RV dealer that provided a dump station, for a modest fee, but they went belly up few years back.  Next closest station is the Detroit wastewater treatment plant.  

2. Drain fresh water at holding tank spigot. The Classic’s drain is located off the side of the tank, directly behind the curb side front tire. Leave the kitchen faucet open, it will help it drain.  Also want to hit that nylon valve with some silicone spray lube, it tends to get sticky.

3. Bypass the water pump.  A short utility connector with some male/male fittings on either end works great. 

4. Open all fixtures, and hook up the air compressor to the fresh water service. I use this handy little device shown above. The ball valve makes regulating the air a little more convenient. Also, be sure to regulate the pressure. Typically, I set to 60psi. This gives plenty of pressure to evacuate all the lines and fixtures, without blowing any connections. Don’t forget to open the outside service spigot!
5. Remove hot water heater drain plug. Close all the fixtures, before turning on the air pressure. The HWH drain isn’t exactly at the lowest point, so you’ll need to spend some time evacuating this one. I will ‘rock’ the trailer back and forth (just push on the side rear) while evacuating, to help get the water out.

6. Pour anti-freeze in all the traps, and toilet.

7. Pull the batteries.

8. Responsibly enjoy your favorite adult beverage.
See You Down the Road!

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