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Old 03-11-2018, 08:38 PM   #1
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Snow and cold temperatures advice for Newbie

I will be flying out to Minnesota to bring my Essex back to Montana and being a Newbie I thought I would reach out of some advice.
1) Do I keep it winterized and stay in Hotels?
2) Is there a problem keeping snow from building up on windshield?
3) What to expect if we get snow on the highway
4) Any other input or suggestions would be appreciated.
Thanks Tom
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Old 03-11-2018, 08:55 PM   #2
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Is there some reason why you couldnít wait for better weather conditions? Lynn and I would hold up for better road conditions.The internal systems will most likely be fine as we are routinely camped in temperatures around 10 degrees. In the winter, we use the heated floors on medium heat. That will pull the batteries down pretty fast.
Between Minnesota and Montana, I would think most campgrounds are closed for the winter. Just some thoughts!
All the best to you

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Old 03-11-2018, 08:58 PM   #3
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1) I would recommend pacing yourself. It is better to wait for good weather than risk the drive
2) donít drive in snow if it is sticking.if you must do not use the engine brake system. Slick roads and cross winds do not mix.
3) hotels and dewintering is more of a personal choice
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Old 03-11-2018, 09:26 PM   #4
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Tom -- Others will have different opinions and I am sure you will hear some of then here, but here are my suggestions . I just spent Jan-Feb-Mar driving between Atlanta, Houston and Little Rock. Not a lot of snow, but more than enough for me. Note that I have a Tiffin Allegro bus with propane heat that heats the bays an the living area. One tank of propane last about 1 week in 20 degree weather.

1 - I never winterize my rig. I have not done so in the 5 years I have owned her. I hate the taste of antifreeze. I suspect the Newmar also has the capability to keep the bays heated and run in the winter as well, but ask to be sure.

Others in this situation have left it winterized and carried milk jugs or other canisters of water with them. The toilet will flush by pouring water in the top. Add antifreeze to to the tank and you should be ok. Carry water to drink. This way you can stay in the rig, and leave it winterized.

If it is snowing, I suggest not leaving the slides extended for any period of time. The snow and ice buildup can keep the slide from retracting without a lot of work.

2 - The windshield should be just fine. Turn on the defroster and the windshield should stay warm enough to keep the show off. Your mirrors may be a problem, but most newer rigs have heated mirrors. Ask to be sure. Be sure you have wiper blades that are not dry rotted. Replace if necessary. It is a moderate cost for the added ability to see and make sure your wiper fluid is rated for freezing weather. The cheep stuff will freeze at 32 just like water.

I do not recommend driving in heavy snow. If a large storm comes up, I recommend looking for a place to stop until it passes. Others drive along slowly.

Please do NOT use the cruise control on wet or icy roads. That is a recipe for disaster. Even the expert Freightliner chassis trainer learned that lesson the hard way. Fortunately for him it just caused a 360 degree spin and the need to clean out his pants. The rig stayed upright.

3 - Show on the highway is the same as in a car except you will not be familiar with the response of the heavier vehicle. The most dangerous part is black ice. It usually occurs on shaded portions of the road way, just over the hill away from the sun, and on bridges. If you hit a patch you will continue going in the direction you were traveling until you leave the ice. There is no traction. This is why many states require tire chains on the driving wheels in icy conditions. Putting chains on a motor home is no fun even if you can find the right size. Prepare to lay in the ice slush. Then lower you speed to 35-40mph max.

This kind of trip is where a CB radio can be a great comfort. While the chatter on Chan 19 is sometime rough, those guys travel the road in all kinds of weather and know how it is done. All the ones I have met, and there have been plenty, are willing to help anyone in need, except perhaps those that perviously treated them poorly. I always try to make friend with the truckers. It came in handy when my rig caught fire and the tiny fire extinguisher I carried ran out before the fire did. I stepped back and watched as 3 large extinguishers appeared and the fire was no more. - Thanks guys, whoever you are!

Again, my recommendation is stay parked until the roads get better if you run into any kind of storm. Better to be late arriving than never arriving at all.

Above all remember it is an adventure. Keep a good attitude, and take your time and the necessary precaution, you will be fine.

Oh, And have fun. That is the reason you spent all that money was it not?:-)


- Jerry
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Old 03-11-2018, 11:48 PM   #5
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You are probably going to Steinbring. Great dealer. We live in MN. I agree mostly with the Wizard. If it snows or is fore as to snow, find a Walmart to park and wait it out. There is a handy app by All Stays that shows you the close test Walmarts and which allow overnight parking (90% plus). To me if you are driving a rig as nice as an Essex, use it, winterization is easy and there is little reason to rough it. Fill your water tank up and if you need to hunker down for a few days, live like a king. You will be in much better shape if you do run into weather. Finally, it only snows about 10% of the days here so a two day trip should be none eventful. 10% chance itís a three day trip.
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Old 03-12-2018, 08:13 AM   #6
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I would have a couple immediate concerns. They will probably deliver your coach with a full tank of fuel. I would add some anti gel if your expected temps are headed toward zero. New coach so who is to say how fast those fuel filters could freeze. Not likely in a rear engine diesel but better to be safe than sorry.

For the holding tanks (black & gray). I would have a couple gallons of RV pink on board. Every few flushes run some of it into your black. Same with the gray since you will be keeping it closed with no open CGs to use for most of that trip. This will help your gate valves from freezing shut if you need to dump a time or two before making it home.

As others have indicated, I certainly would not drive in slick conditions. Not worth the risk IMHO.

Congrats on new coach!!!!
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Old 03-12-2018, 09:56 AM   #7
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Hi Tbeau1957,
The item that may mean the most in all the above mentioned posts is RV antifreeze in the grey and black tanks. Buy the stuff where you are getting the coach. This will save you your first horrible experience with your new coach.

Use the coach. Fill with water and food. Keep the fuel tank at least 1/2 full. Enjoy the ride.
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Old 03-12-2018, 09:43 PM   #8
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I agree with the suggestions to hunker down if there is snow on the road. We take several trips along the front range of the Rockies and out to the west coast in the winter. You will find most of the time (except for I70) the roads are clear most times. If you have to go around weather do it. I40 is in our experience a good east-west road. On our last trip we drove the distance to I40 instead of taking a chance on I70. We did have the alternate to go all the way to I10. In my opinion if you arenít willing to go around weather then I suggest not driving in winter.

As far as winterizing, if you are in the coach with heaters (oasis) on you do not need to winterize. Have been in -17 degrees and no problem. We are in a VTDP.


On thing I learned is if there is snow forecast, close you slides so snow does not accumulate in the slide covers. Got stuck in Loveland 2 extra days waiting for snow/ice to melt enough to close slides.


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Old 03-12-2018, 10:56 PM   #9
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Worst thing about driving with snow on the road is the chemicals that are put down. Salt and calcium are my biggest worries. The bottom of the coach is still rust free and I hope to keep it that way.
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Old 03-13-2018, 04:47 PM   #10
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We have been FT just over a year and never intended to spend time in extreme cold/snow but found ourselves in TN when the big cold snap hit in December and then spent three weeks in Nappanee in January.

What I learned/did:
-Did not winterize as we were living in it. Found the Oasis system to be excellent and kept the basement from freezing.
-Added white bottle anti gel to the fuel. This is the only brand approved by Cummins: https://powerservice.com/psp_product...-cetane-boost/
-Bought spray deicer and a snow broom/scraper
-Do not leave slides out during snow/ice. Had mine freeze and was a PITA to defrost.
-Did not drive in packed snow; waited until roads were reasonably clear.
-Windshield washer antifreeze to the coach and toad.
-If you have the Oasis system and will be parked a few weeks make sure the fuel is as full as possible. The Oasis furnace works fantastic but burns fuel when it is constantly chugging along. It is no fun filling fuel cans and then the coach in below freezing windy weather.
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