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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Winterization - 2014 Plateau TS

Fall is coming to a close, so it is time to winterize the coach. We took photos this year and are sharing them for people that want to do it themselves.  We are not professionals, so follow our instructions at your own risk.

While we could take the van to a dealer for winterizing, it isn't that hard and we believe that no one cares more about how throughly and carefully it is done than the owners!

Lighten Your Load
We empty and rinse our black and grey tanks at a campsite dump station on the last day of our trip.

Once we're home, we empty any water remaining in the fresh water tank. The fresh water tank is underneath the van, directly below the water fill door.

Drain any remaining fresh water by opening the valve in the corner of the tank.

Release the pressure!  Before proceeding to the next step, open both the cold and hot water valves to relieve any pressure in the system.
 Remove the exterior access panel to the water heater.
Find the anode plug at the bottom in the center.
Get out your 1 1/16" socket, or drive to the hardware store and get one to add to your collection. While you're there, pick up a socket extension. An extension makes it easier to clear the brass pipe just above the anode.

1) Double check to insure you have relieved the pressure, especially to the hot water, by opening the hot and cold water spigots.

2) Stand to the side of the anode so it can't hit you and/or spray residue all over you* if it is still under pressure.

*Don't ask me how I know these things ;-)
If done right, a gentle flow of water will come out the anode hole.
 Pull out the anode.
Inspect the anode it to see if it needs replacing. This isn't terrible, but we will replace it anyway.

Here's a link to the part on Amazon: Suburban 232767
Residual sediment from comes out with the remaining water. We bought a rinsing wand this year to flush our the tank more thoroughly.

When all the water has stopped running out of the tank we flush all the sediment from the tray, then dry it, and the side of the van, with a soft towel.

Then reinstall or replace the anode.  Use teflon tape to lubricate the threads. Only cover about half the threads to insure electrical connectivity between the rod and the van.
 The Hingeless Cabinet

Back inside, we need to reveal the bypass pluming. A phillips screwdriver allows removal of this panel.
With the panel removed, three valves are revealed. The picture shows the "in use" setting. We want to bypass the water heater, so need to shut the top and bottom valves, and open the middle valve.

Reverse the process in the spring.

The reason to bypass the water tank is so you don't have to fill it with anti-freeze.

RV & Marine potable antifreeze is available at auto parts stores, Wal-mart and other retailers.  Make sure it is potable anti-freeze!

One gallon is enough to winterize our system.

It really helps to have two people for this part. One to add the anti-freeze and the other to open and close faucets.
 We use a short piece of hose attached to an elbow that matches the input to our pump. Buying this fitting makes it much easier and avoids leaks.
 Unscrew the fitting before the intake filter.
 Insert and tighten the anti-freeze hose at the intake filter.
Make Everything Run Pink

Now we are going to make sure all of the plumbing contains anti-freeze instead of water.

Make sure all your faucets are turned off.

Turn on the fresh water pump.

Start in the bathroom.
Open the hot water tap and run it until the water turns pink, then close it. Repeat for the cold water tap. Also run the shower head until pink.

The goal is to run every tap until you see pink, then stop so you don't waste anti-freeze.

Run the faucet in the galley, turning it to both hot and cold until you see pink from both.
 Depress the toilet foot pedal until pink comes into the bowl.

We also pour some Thetford lube and conditioner in to help the seal last longer.

Don't forget to run the outside shower hot and cold to insure pink comes out there too.
When all goes well, we have a little bit of anti-freeze remaining. It is just enough to winterize the kitchen sink and shower drains.

Our plumbing system is now safe from freezing!

In addition to the plumbing system, we like to winterize any devices that contain batteries. Removing batteries from the TV and DVD player remote controls avoids battery leaks that can ruin remotes.
We replaced the furnace thermostat with a digital model that runs on a battery, so we remove that battery each fall.
Protecting the "big" house battery is also important. Small loads can wear down the battery especially over a long period of storage.
Turn the battery key and remove it so it will be disconneted from any loads.

We also clean out all the cupboards and vacuum to make sure any crumbs are gone.

Don't forget to remove "freezable" cleaning supplies and food. (contributed by Wes, owner of a 2010 Excel)

That's it for our winterizing methods.  Please post comments if there are things you would add, or clarify, to make it better or easier.

Note: Our van is a 2014 Pleasure-Way Plateau TS, built on a 2013 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Van platform. Please consult your manufacturer and owner's manual for winterizing procedures for your particular model.

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