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Old 07-22-2009, 07:16 AM   #15
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+1 for dirko. know your RV's limitations, and your own. I spend about 50% of my RV time in the winter, ski areas and the like. from Colorado to NH and Maine, we have many adventures in the snow (It does not take much to make an adventure out of a winter trip!)

if you have a 3+ season RV (heated tanks is mainly the feature on this option), you should be able to do some light winter trekking (none of that -20 stuff talked about above, save that for us folk with 4 season rigs. been there in a 3 season, not the best for the rig). tires are a concern, especially for a 3 season, they might not have the cold weather grip. Just be prepared and know what you and your rig can do. stuff will freeze, you might break some stuff. Things are more prone to happen when its cold.

Have fun!
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Old 07-22-2009, 07:24 AM   #16
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What about starting your diesel engine in the winter? At home you can plug the block heater, but on the road, while you overnight at a Wal-Mart what do you do?
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Old 07-22-2009, 08:15 AM   #17
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We had a lot of advice when we went to Breckenridge in Colorado.
See this link Driving the Dip in snow

We travel in cold weather in general although we try to avoid the snow. If we have a 50 amp hookup we can normally get by with 2 silent electric heaters (the gas heating makes so much noise). We have been using a cargo heater for the tanks and water, but will next time be installing a 60 watt bulb to keep things from freezing.

You can get electrically heated "jackets" for your water and sewer connection and that should mean that you can leave them connected overnight when it freezes. These are pricy if you buy them ready made, but you can make them yourself if you are a bit of a handyman. We don't use these "jackets" ourselves - we disconnect everything and just use our tanks, and then fill/dump when required.
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Old 07-23-2009, 10:52 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by The Danes Are Coming View Post
You can get electrically heated "jackets" for your water and sewer connection and that should mean that you can leave them connected overnight when it freezes. These are pricy if you buy them ready made, but you can make them yourself if you are a bit of a handyman. We don't use these "jackets" ourselves - we disconnect everything and just use our tanks, and then fill/dump when required.
I think you misunderstand the "blankets". these exist to keep your sewer outlet pipe from freezing. when you drop water or other material into your tanks, some of that stuff goes into the outlet pipe, right up against the valve. if this stuff is outside of the RV, it WILL freeze, and it could make the valve stick in place, not letting you open and drain the tanks. 4 season rigs have this outlet pipe INSIDE the RV with heater vents blowing in the area to keep it warm and thawed. without the outlet pipe being dealt with, it will be a frozen block of you know what, and you will not be able to dump until it thaws. been there, done that. Worse, your joints will expand and will crack the pipes, unseal the glue, and cause leaks. Winter takes its tolls on your rig.
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Old 07-23-2009, 11:17 AM   #19
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I think you misunderstand the "blankets". these exist to keep your sewer outlet pipe from freezing. when you drop water or other material into your tanks, some of that stuff goes into the outlet pipe, right up against the valve. if this stuff is outside of the RV, it WILL freeze, and it could make the valve stick in place, not letting you open and drain the tanks. 4 season rigs have this outlet pipe INSIDE the RV with heater vents blowing in the area to keep it warm and thawed. without the outlet pipe being dealt with, it will be a frozen block of you know what, and you will not be able to dump until it thaws. been there, done that. Worse, your joints will expand and will crack the pipes, unseal the glue, and cause leaks. Winter takes its tolls on your rig.
Bill - all due respect, but I don't believe that I have misunderstood this. Maybe I just didn't explain myself to clearly.

Check out this link and look for Step 1 under Instructions.

Also check this "No freeze hose".

For a "do it yourself" person I am talking about using foam pipe insulation and electric tape.

This is the idea I was trying to get across.
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Old 07-23-2009, 12:50 PM   #20
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those are interesting DIY tips. didnt mean to flog "you" on that comment. there is just so much info on the net, and this winter camping thing can cost you some big bucks to recover from if you misunderstand someone's comment (like I did with yours) especially for someone not used to ice and snow (outside of the freezer).
I have been to the campground in Breck (great by the way), and been caught in freezing temps with a 3 season whinnie that turned into a block of ice in the middle of nowhere, and blew up my hot water tank when the propane ran out in my 4 season (and didn't promptly drain the tank to accomodate for the freezing water expansion). Winter camping can cost you (quickly) when you are a rookie at it.

I was referring to step 3 on that how to. I personally never put a sewer or water hose on in the winter unattended. one less thing to fail while sleeping (power outage, breaker trip). to each his own there. I have seen the power of water and I heed its warnings!

Thanks for the clarifications and additional tips!

bk
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Old 07-23-2009, 02:20 PM   #21
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How will the snow affect the roof, ac's, etc. How about plumbing, will everything freeze ?
Snow on the roof -- the main problem may be if you have slide topper awnings. I know for sure that they don't retract well with frozen stuff on them. The other issue with snow/ice on the roof comes after you start down the highway and chunks of it come loose to fly off the rear of the rig onto your toad or other vehicles following.

As for freezing up, much depends on your particular rig. Many have some limited heat in the basement compartments. Our LP furnaces have one or more vents in the basement area, inside the sealed area where the water tanks are. Frankly, even without basement heat, I would have little concern about the tanks freezing on my rig due to their being enclosed and due to their mass. I do carry an auto "trouble light" and a small shop work light with metal hood -- in event of really cold weather I can place one in the basement waterpump compartment and one in the water service bay. The water service bay is the area most at risk in my rig due to the thin plastic floor. A normal light bulb will put out a good bit of heat in a small enclosed area like that. I also sprayed the outside of that compartment floor with a thick undercoat material. In order to know what is going on in the basement temperature-wise, I bought a thermometer with three remote sensors. In very cold weather, one sensor is in the water pump compartment and one in the water service bay. I can easily monitor temperature from inside the rig, and put one of the lights into use if needed.

We have been in weather to 15 below zero at night, maybe as much as 15 above during the daytime, for as long as a week. We did not put out water or sewer hose except when needed for refill or dump tanks, and I made sure I used the sewer hose only during the sunny part of the day if at all possible. Sewer hose gets very brittle when cold, and can simply shatter into pieces. The other precaution we had to take was to avoid walking on the tile floor with bare feet!!

Driving and/or towing on snowy roads is something I would absolutely avoid if at all possible. That sounds like time to park it and snuggle up until the roads are cleared!!
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Old 07-23-2009, 03:15 PM   #22
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Old 08-23-2009, 05:02 PM   #23
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There are a number of people on here that use their rigs a lot in the winter in the northern half of the country. We spend all winter using our Class A as a mobile ski lodge. After a number of years here are a few things to note.
  1. Water Tanks - Most class A and some class B and C rigs have their tanks in heated compartments. If this is the case for youe rig you are most likely good down to 0f or there abouts. A word of caution with this. The tank compartments are usualy heated by your propane coach furnace. The use of small electric heaters will save on propane but may impact the amount of heat in the holding tank bays. If your tanks are not in a heated bay there are options that run from heat pads to heat tape. A light bulb next to the pump is also a good idea if it is not in a heated area. It doesn't take much to freeze up the pump.
  2. Slides - if you have slides you need to have a slide cover to use them in the snow. Without a slide cover you will get a layer of ice on top of the slide that may prevent it from being retracted.
  3. Snow on Roof and Slide covers - If you are in the snow you will need a shovel and a stiff push broom to clear snow off the roof and slide covers. This can be done by climbing up on the roof or from a ladder. If you have a rubber roof be careful with a shovel. I have found that a good stiff push broom works well for this and is easier on the slide cover fabric. Not clearing snow will cause issues with slide retraction and is dangerous to those following you on the road. The snow will come off in big slabs.
  4. Tires and Traction Devices - Most class A rigs run tires that are not good in snow. Despite what some on here will tell you chains can be used on a motorhome. If a winter trip with a chance of snow is an infequent event buy a set of chains to fit your current tires. It is cheap insurance. Put the chains on at least once at home before you head out to make sure they fit and that you can get them on. Most class C's come with a all season tire that combined with chains will give you surprising traction. Going up hill is pretty easy just keep the momentum going. Down hill has a much higher pucker factor. I will chain up front and rear for trips down a bad pass in the snow. Slower is better.
  5. Vent covers are a good thing in snowy conditions, they will give you a ventilation option.
  6. Use your tanks not water and sewer hookups - if you are in a park with hookups do not leave your hoses hooked up. Fill your fresh water tank and run off it until it needs to be refilled. Same with black and gray tanks. Use the tanks until full. Then empty the tank, clean up the hoses and put them away. Leaving the hoses hooked up will lead to them freezing up.
With proper care and planning an RV can just as much fun in the winter as it is in the summer.

Seattle Skier and winter RVer.
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Old 08-24-2009, 07:30 AM   #24
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one more hint ...

When I park in freezing temps I either

a) do not extend my jacks

OR

b) put something disposable under each jack pad

I learned (from the school of hard knocks) that your jack pads can freeze to the ground they may not retract when you want to move ... it is not fun to dislodge frozen jack pads ... during the winter, I take scraps from my workshop along ... if they freeze to the ground I can whack them with a hammer after I vacate my site ...
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