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Old 10-13-2017, 11:14 AM   #1
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How cold can it get before I must winterize?

We may be leaving at the end of October to Arizona for the winter and I have not winterized my 5th wheel.

Tonight the temperature is supposed to get down to 30-31 degrees from midnight to 9:00am.

I don't have an issue winterizing, but will need to hook up the trailer to the pickup and take it to a drain station to drain just a little (approx. 7 gallons) from the black tank. The gray tanks appear to be empty, The rest of the trailer just has residual water and can be drained at home. I thought I had a tank heater, but not 100% sure on our 2016 FR 286RL.

I'm curious how low the temperature can go before I must winterize.

Thanks in advance.....

JR
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Old 10-13-2017, 12:17 PM   #2
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I generally don't winterize until temps are forecast to be below 32 for at least 24 hours. If you have upper 20's overnight and at least 40's during the day you should be good.
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Old 10-13-2017, 12:54 PM   #3
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All I do if the temps are going to be at or below freezing for a few hours or more is drain and blow the water lines since most of mine run outside along the frame. In fact all I do to fully winterize is this along with anti-freeze in the traps and draining the pump.
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Old 10-14-2017, 11:58 AM   #4
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I appreciate the replies from all of you. I forgot which section of the forum I had posted the question.

I spoke with the RV dealer we bought our 5th wheel from. He said not to worry about it until the temperatures stay at freezing or below for 24 hours. We are not there yet, but are getting close.

I am going to re-install the receiver in the pickup and take the trailer down to the public park which has a very nice dump station on Monday. I have less than 10 gallons in the black holding tank, none in the two gray tanks.

After emptying, I am going to winterize. A decision whether to travel from south eastern Washington state to Mesa, Arizona will be made by October 25.

Now the only issue I will have is how big of an issue will it be traveling over several mountain passes that will surely have snow, like Cabbage Hill and Meacham, Oregon. Will be towing the 34 foot 5th wheel with our 2017 Chevy Silverado LTZ HD 2500 4x4, Duramax/Allison.

Anyone see any issues?
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Old 10-14-2017, 01:11 PM   #5
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A short term solution if you are worried is to add a bottle of Isopropyl alcohol and flush it into the black tank/grey.

Assuming normal human bowel movements and fluid passage. The freezing temp of urine is -5 degree centigrade. The added pint of IPA should ensure the black or grey tank do not freeze unless you have a constant temp of 23F
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Old 10-14-2017, 02:16 PM   #6
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Agreed on that it needs about 24 hrs. below freezing or a deep freeze of 15-20 degrees for 8 hrs. or so approx. Did you check all your buttons for one called "Artic Pac?" That is for the tank heaters if possibly you have it. I myself do alot of back and forth between LA and my home in mtns. at 7,100 ft. elevation. If I'm concerned and haven't winterized yet; I leave my water heater turned on, leave on a small heater with a thermastat and cabinet doors open that have plumbing inside. I also pour a little rv antifreeze down all of the drains and into the toilet. Fortunately I do have Arctic Pac heaters and most of my plumbing runs inside. For the small section running outside; I have wrapped in foam insulation. I also insulate my windows, skylights and vents with pillow foam inserts or foam core board cut to size.
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Old 10-14-2017, 02:25 PM   #7
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Ps- I would probably carry some snow chains for the 5er if the weather report says it will be snowing or driving it early am. Unless you are going over the passes around noon time or so and the sun is out, which will have given the roads time for the ice to melt.
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Old 10-14-2017, 03:41 PM   #8
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In the Air Force we had a general guideline for most of the aircraft I flew: at or below 28 degrees for over three hours. That time limit goes up proportionately as the temperature rises. Of course, there are the other factors, e.g. RV inside starting temperature, amount of insulation, and enclosed undercarriage. With our 37.5’ Class A, we’ve found even a small electric space heater can hold off freezing quite a bit longer.
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Old 10-14-2017, 06:39 PM   #9
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The added pint of IPA should ensure the black or grey tank do not freeze unless you have a constant temp of 23F
You might want to mention this is after you have drunk the IPA but that a Lager would work just as well.
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Old 10-14-2017, 09:46 PM   #10
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We tow an already winterized TT down to Southern Utah and AZ in March from Alberta. We carry a 5 gallon jug of fresh water, and an extra gallon of RV antifreeze. We don't use much in the way of water during the 2 1/2 days driving, except for flushing toilet and making coffee. I pour some pink stuff in the black tank every time it is flushed. I have heard that you should always try to put equal amount of pink stuff to any other liquids going into any tank until you are into plus temps. I also leave the dirty dishes in the sink until it is warm enough to de-winterize and sanitize fresh water tank. Avoid mountain passes in the morning because it can take a while for the frost and ice to melt, and keep an eye on the forecast. We have had to pull over mid-day and hunker down during a few unexpected storms. Never thought I'd watch DVD's while camping, but on Snow Days I do. Our biggest problem is wind through Montana and Idaho, and it can cause the temp on the trailer to drop pretty fast. I will use the tank heaters while towing. Not really sure if they actually do anything but we haven't had any problems with drains cracking. At night we make sure we are stopped somewhere we can plug into shore power, and use a small ceramic space heater and tank heaters instead of the furnace. Furnace fan is noisy, and wakes me up every time it cycles on and off. I also don't like having to have a window open when it's raining /hailing/snowing. My luxury purchase has been a heated mattress pad which we can use at the same time as the ceramic heater. I have to turn off the heater while the kettle is boiling, but my french press coffee is a priority in the morning.
We usually have to winterize once we are heading home because we can't count on consistent above zero temps until late May.
If you have any doubts about the temperature, better safe than sorry. One less thing to worry about when you are traveling. I winterize with 2 gallons of RV anti-freeze and a 10 year old helping me. Some goes down each train and into the toilet as well.
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Old 10-14-2017, 10:37 PM   #11
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Good advice.
I had a toilet coupling crack after only one night of slightly below freezing.
Now I winterize at the first mention of frost and just bring a jug of water for coffee and tea, flushing with pink, if needed.
It's a lot cheaper than replacing couplings and pipes.
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Old 10-14-2017, 11:00 PM   #12
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I have heard of people, when they have just a few gallons in the black tank, that just run it into a bucket and dump it in t o there toilet in the house. I imagine a little air freshener is needed afterwards. Have fun in Arizona. I'm heading for Texas myself.
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Old 10-15-2017, 06:19 AM   #13
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It looks like we only experienced one day of freezing weather, 31 degrees for 9 hours and the rest of the week overnight temps won't go below 36.

I did empty both gray tanks and fresh water tank, wasn't more than 1/2 gallon combined. I also have the furnace set at 60 degrees for now. Tomorrow, I will take it to a dump station then bring it home and winterize.

I'm still concerned about driving over a couple of mountain passes in the snow. One of the passes when it starts snowing, it just continues and the road crews can't keep up. I guess there is a reason it is called "Deadman Pass." In April of 2003, we drove through there on our way home from Las Vegas and I've never been in a snow storm like that in my life. That's why I have the concern, lots of driving in snow experience, but none with a trailer attached.

Thanks everyone for the advice and tips on my question, it's much appreciated.
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Old 10-15-2017, 09:29 AM   #14
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I wouldn't be as concerned about the grey and black water tanks as I would the clean water system and it's pipes and couplings.
If the waste water, (if not a full tank) ,starts to freeze for a little while, it will have room to expand upwards, in the tank. The clean water, in pipes etc. has little or no room to expand.
It's only when liquids are trapped with no room to expand that things start to get expen$ive.
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Old 10-15-2017, 09:33 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Bnrc73 View Post
I have heard of people, when they have just a few gallons in the black tank, that just run it into a bucket and dump it in t o there toilet in the house. I imagine a little air freshener is needed afterwards. Have fun in Arizona. I'm heading for Texas myself.
A number of years ago, when I first started RV'ing, I saw some kind of portable sewer waste collector on wheels. A person could empty their tank into it and roll the entire thing to a dump location.
Never used it myself, but at least everything seemed to be contained until the valve was opened to empty it.
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Old 10-15-2017, 11:14 AM   #16
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I have heard of people, when they have just a few gallons in the black tank, that just run it into a bucket and dump it in t o there toilet in the house. I imagine a little air freshener is needed afterwards. Have fun in Arizona. I'm heading for Texas myself.

I used to do that when we had our house. It isnít nearly as awful as you can imagine.
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Old 10-15-2017, 03:03 PM   #17
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I have one of those 37gallon tanks on wheels. Surprisingly, it fits up under the back of my 2015 GT between the two frame rails. I use two ratchet straps to hold it in place. It has come in very handy in lots of situations like parking at someone else’s home or a campground with remote dump station. They are available at CW and other places.
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Old 10-15-2017, 05:47 PM   #18
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You might want to mention this is after you have drunk the IPA but that a Lager would work just as well.
I hope your joking. You do know Isopropyl alcohol (IPA) is toxic if swallowed.
I think you have it confused with ethyl alcohol (ethanol).
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Old 10-15-2017, 06:36 PM   #19
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I hope your joking. You do know Isopropyl alcohol (IPA) is toxic if swallowed.
I think you have it confused with ethyl alcohol (ethanol).
I do believe he is joking. The IPA he's referring to is an India Pale Ale!
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Old 10-15-2017, 08:13 PM   #20
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I hope your joking. You do know Isopropyl alcohol (IPA) is toxic if swallowed.
I think you have it confused with ethyl alcohol (ethanol).
Quote:
Originally Posted by russhd1997 View Post
I do believe he is joking. The IPA he's referring to is an India Pale Ale!
What Russ said. A joke. With the number of beer drinkers here I figured they would get the association with IPA.
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