Practical RV Information
Whilst the following is standard for all RV’s I have described what we did for our Cruise America Four Winds 27G with pictures (the 28A is the same as well).
I suggest that for the first time you do not leave it until the day you have to carry it out due to problems you may find! When we prepared our 27G for winterizing we took the opportunity to carry out other work as it required lifting the mattress and removing a cover board over the tank! This was the last time we had to do this after the modifications carried out for future ease of access.
Fill the tank up fully and add a fuel stabiliser which is very important when using ethanonol fuel. Moisture in the fuel tank is water and fuel will float on top of it meaning that your fuel pump will sit in the moisture (water) at the bottom of the tank damaging it! Add the additive at your local petrol station ensuring a good mix from the drive to your storage place. Run the engine and generator long enough to ensure that the new fuel mixture will have run through to the engine.
Foot note. Whilst renewing a fuel pump would not be very expensive there has been no thought in the design for access and it requires the fuel being pumped out and the tank lowered! Modern cars (or at least non American ones) are designed to have a bolted sealed cover over the fuel tank in the vehicle for access to remove the fuel pump easily -something RV designers need to do!
Modification made to water system for winterising
Lift the mattress up and unscrew the end panel which is above the water tank. If one person lifts the mattress end up the second can push under it as far as possible a suitable object to keep it up so you work on the end. The alternative is to tip the mattress off the end of the bed and there is just enough height for this and then move it down the corridor past the toilet (mind the lights!)
Connection as fitted by Four Winds for antifreeze
Water tank and pump from above with new valve
Close up of new isolating valve fitted
End panel cut out for ease of access. Note storage tank valve handle end cut off one side otherwise it would not turn in the space to drain tank.
Fit an antifreeze kit which comes with a isolating valve. It was fitted by removing the black blank plug in picture above. The picture immediatly above shows this. My normal easy routine now is as follows –
A. Empty your black and grey tanks.
B. Stop the water pump.
C. Open the drain valve on your water storage tank (Blue valve in pthe last picture above).
D. Ensure the hot water heater is turned off.
E. Close the inlet and outlet valves for the hot water heater.
F. Open the bypass valve for the water heater. Be careful that there is no sharp edge sticking up on the housing surround!
G. Open the drain for the water heater which is in an outside compartment. It may be a blank plug, but you can buy and fit a plug that has a valve in it for future which is easier to use. Leave this valve open all winter to ensure it is stays drained.
H. Open the drain valves in the side cupboard outside which also contains a air connection for blowing air through
Drain valves and air connection
Drain is the white plug on the left near the bottom by the red wire.
I. Open the drain valves and wait until all the water has drained out. Due to the poor design/build the manufactures do not seem to run pipes that auto drain 🙁 As an engineer I find this very frustrating, but typical of people not thinking about maintenance procedures in all walks of life)
J. Use the air connection to blow low pressure air through the lines and check each pipe is clear by having someone else open each tap/shower head/toilet in turn and let you know when water has stopped coming out. I use my portable air compressor which I carry in the RV for tyre pressure. You MUST ensure you do not use high pressure due to the risk of damaging your pipes which are designed for low pressure – my air compressor allows me to reduce the pressure on a outlet regulator.
K. Make sure all taps/shower heads etc are closed.
L. Connect the clear flexible pipe that came with the antifreeze kit and put the open end into your RV drinking water antifreeze bottle.
N. Close the valve from the water tank to the pressure pump inlet ( in 4th picture above this is the small black valve to the right of the big blue valve.)
O. Open the valve from the antifreeze flexible pipe to the pressure pump.
P. So as to minimise the amount of antifreeze you use get a one person to stand by the bottle of antifreeze and check it does not empty (you will need more than 1 bottle) and the second to open the taps etc.
Q. Switch on the 12V house water pump and open each tap/shower head/toilet in turn until the antifreeze comes out. It will come out pushing air out of the pipes and appear to bubble. When you have a flow shut the tap etc off. the drain traps will have by this time filled with the first of the antifreeze coming out and you should not need to tip extra down as many people recommend.
There are more photograths of this in our book.