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 Post subject: Winter travel
PostPosted: January 2nd, 2018, 5:26 pm 
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Joined: November 3rd, 2017, 4:03 pm
Posts: 8
Anyone have tips for traveling in winter? Bought my 1999 concourse, drove it home to Va, had it inspected, bought new batteries. Haven't actually been camping. Intend to drive west via interstate 10. This cold snap in the south has me wondering what I need to do to be sure all systems are still good when I get to Az. Thanks


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 Post subject: Re: Winter travel
PostPosted: January 2nd, 2018, 7:13 pm 
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Joined: July 31st, 2014, 1:01 am
Posts: 1974
Location: 1999 Concourse
A question: How do you plan to spend the nights when you stop enroute? Reason I ask is that I'd prepare differently if I were going to stop and plug in to power every night, vs. staying in Walmart/rest area/dry camping where you won't be plugged in. Might as well tailor the reply to your actual plans.

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 Post subject: Re: Winter travel
PostPosted: January 2nd, 2018, 8:05 pm 
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Joined: November 3rd, 2017, 4:03 pm
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My plan is to do some of both. Will take 2 days max to reach friends near new orleans. intend to do overnight parking until I get there. not sure if I will be able to plug in anywhere until my next stop which is excapee park in livingston,tx. stops to AZ are mostly just overnight stops with only one rv park. was not going to fill my freshwater tank until I reached TX. Just take jugs of water for drinking and flushing.


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 Post subject: Re: Winter travel
PostPosted: January 2nd, 2018, 9:35 pm 
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Joined: July 31st, 2014, 1:01 am
Posts: 1974
Location: 1999 Concourse
OldDragon wrote:
...was not going to fill my freshwater tank until I reached TX. Just take jugs of water for drinking and flushing.


I find that it's more relaxing to have things winterized so that I don't have to worry about deciding to spend a night someplace that ends up being cold, or some other happenstance.

So as it sounds like you intend, I'd likely go with the water supply system drained (water pump, 1/2" supply lines, including outdoor shower and water heater).. Actually, the potable water tank is unlikely to freeze (being large and inside), but the supply lines can -- especially those that run from the sink to the toilet/shower area, as they go behind the shower where it's hard to get heat (especially if not plugged in).

On the other hand, you could consider using some of your drain plumbing and grey and black tanks. If I were going to do that I'd choose to use just the kitchen sink and the toilet, and keep anti-freeze in the bathroom sink and shower traps for the duration. This is dependent on whether your conditions are borderline or "truly cold." The waste tanks themselves are unlikely to freeze in borderline conditions, and if you don't try to open the dump valves when they are really cold they seem to fare pretty well. The reason I would keep anti-freeze in the bathroom sink and shower traps is that they are in colder areas and especially the shower would be a bear to have to repair.

When I say "truly cold" I mean not just dipping down to, say, a low of 28º at 6 a.m. then warming up in the sun; but rather the type of weather where it's in the 20's for 10 hours or more. But all of that is just a judgement call, and you can't go wrong just having things completely winterized and using jugs and a bucket in the sink (just don't drive with any water in it because it WILL slosh out). You could drain the bucket into a 5 gallon jug with a cap or something like that. If you don't want to worry about the grey system traps but feel comfortable with the black tank being used (that's just essentially a hole like a fancy outhouse, no trap) then you could empty your sink bucket into the toilet.

And then giddy-up south and west! :D

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 Post subject: Re: Winter travel
PostPosted: January 3rd, 2018, 6:10 am 
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Joined: November 3rd, 2017, 4:03 pm
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Thanks Blue.


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 Post subject: Re: Winter travel
PostPosted: January 3rd, 2018, 9:52 am 
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Joined: February 17th, 2015, 1:57 pm
Posts: 262
Location: Marysville, WA
I still have an old camping porta potty when I want to use the Chinook in the winter for a day or two and don't want to de-winterize. Image

I always put RV antifreeze in all the p traps so I tend not to use the sink just for a day or two and have a dedicated pan instead.

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2004 Premier V10


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 Post subject: Re: Winter travel
PostPosted: January 3rd, 2018, 9:49 pm 
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Joined: June 26th, 2017, 9:38 pm
Posts: 125
Location: Southern CA
If you are going to flush the toilet, mind as well fill the fresh water tank and use it. As others said, the only problematic area is the bathroom sink and the outdoor shower. However, it really depends on where you are going to stay enroute, and for me, I can't stand touching the bathroom door without washing my hands after doing my businesses. I guess you can tell me to keep the door open, but that's another peeve so it is not going to work for me.

The plumbing to the outdoor shower is insulated, but I won't trust it. I wish there is a way to install a circulation pump for the outdoor shower to keep the water from freezing, or a shutoff valve that isolate the plumbing after the toilet to make it easier to empty/drain the water out, but I guess the benefit is not going to be that great for majority of owner.

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2000 Concourse dinette, on 2000 6.8L Ford E350 Triton V-10 Chassis (built in 1999)


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 Post subject: Re: Winter travel
PostPosted: January 4th, 2018, 7:17 am 
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Joined: July 31st, 2014, 1:01 am
Posts: 1974
Location: 1999 Concourse
A couple of notes:

1) is that there is no trap in the toilet (other than the small amount of water in the bowl inside the Chinook) so it can't secretly freeze. Also you can "flush" the toilet without having the fresh water supply system in use. Just carry a jug of water and pour some into the toilet. I was completely surprised when I first saw how most RV toilets work. Ha, just an outhouse in disguise! (i.e. a hole with a seat over it). But this works to advantage in freezing weather.

2) is that PEX is pretty much a dream to work with. Tinkertoys! So much easier than old-fashioned "real" plumbing. So you could perhaps engineer in a special low point drain for the shower. (Mine has a shut off, but there would still be water in the pipes behind the shower).

I find it reasonably convenient to live without the supply side of the plumbing (water pump and small pipes). I carry a few gallon jugs in lieu of that. But for me, being without drains is much more inconvenient (especially when on the move when a slop bucket will slosh and spill). So, draining the supply system and then only using the toilet and kitchen sink (and their drains) works pretty well (if it's going to be really cold I carry a jug of anti-freeze and pour a little in the kitchen sink trap overnight - plus open those doors). Everyone has their own way though.

chin_k: I'm chuckling to myself here because I solved your problem in another way but I can almost hear you gasping as you read it: I removed the bathroom door :o :mrgreen: Main reason is I like the extra light, elbow room, and floor space when going in and out of the Chinook (can set something down on bathroom floor and then not have to leap over it). I realize that wouldn't suit many people though. (I'm used to the "illusion of privacy" on boats; and in an RV it's even easier to ask another person to step outside for a moment if I really want some privacy.)

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 Post subject: Re: Winter travel
PostPosted: January 4th, 2018, 7:41 am 
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Joined: November 3rd, 2017, 4:03 pm
Posts: 8
Thanks guys. I'll do the simplest. Plumbing and "machinery "of any type is a mystery to me. Will have to learn. LOL


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 Post subject: Re: Winter travel
PostPosted: January 4th, 2018, 11:57 am 
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Joined: August 5th, 2016, 6:21 am
Posts: 65
Location: Front Range, Colorado
BTW, nobody really touched on staying warm.

I don't like to run the furnace. Too much battery drain from the fan since I have an older single battery setup. Honestly, I don't even know if my furnace still works. If it's not going below 25 degrees or so overnight, I just use a zero degree sleeping bag and wear a hat. The wife likes it a bit warmer. We also carry several blankets including a down comforter. Making my coffee and oatmeal on the stove in the morning helps warm the space up. If it's in the teens, I have a Mr. Heater portable Buddy heater that I use with a couple of small propane cans. You can plumb it to your onboard propane tank if you like but I haven't gotten around to it. It definitely has it's drawbacks though. Some worry about oxygen depletion. It adds humidity to the air, so your windows will probably fog. Also, there's no real thermostat, so it's high or low ( I haven't needed high).

I had a hard time deciding where it could go that I wasn't scared of lighting anything on fire, but it works well sitting on the floor in front of the oven aimed toward the cab. I've used it up to around 9,500 feet in elevation and it worked fine. You could go a nicer way and buy the olympic wave heater, but my cheap solution works just fine and I never worry about killing my batteries overnight.

If I can plug in, I keep a little ceramic cube heater that runs off of AC. It's the easiest, lowest resource-intensive option.

It really comes down to how much you're willing to rough it vs the fact that you bought an RV so you wouldn't have to rough it. I'm ok with the cold. It's an adventure.

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"Harvey" - 1994 Chinook Premier, 7.5L V8


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