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Old 10-17-2015, 10:57 AM   #1
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Winter fuel

Is it best to have a full fuel tank for diesel mh going into winter? Are additives necessary? I live in lower Michigan and store my mh with out the ability to keep it connected to power. I know that starting and driving the mh is important for batteries and tires but we have snow on the roads much of the winter, would I be better off to pull the batteries?
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Old 10-17-2015, 11:05 AM   #2
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Don't know about your area but the Winter Fuel usually comes in about mid Nov. around here. That means it's treated to not gel. I wait till it's in and then fuel up. Didn't wait last year and just used additives and we jelled up in Iowa on our way south in Feb.

I always try to have a full tank when stored. Less condensation. I also try to start up and run the engine till warm every month. Sometimes I have to used the Genset to run the block heater an hour or two to get it started. Doing that usually keeps the batteries charged up.
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Old 10-17-2015, 11:23 AM   #3
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Full tank would be best to prevent condensation in the tank. I add fuel stabilizer with anti- algae additive. If your filling up and not getting winter fuel, you run the risk of the fuel waxing and stalling you out in cold weather.
JMHO; With the risks of cold weather driving, and picking up road salt during any driving in winter, remove the batteries, store them in a warm place, charge monthly if possible, and leave the coach sit till spring.
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Old 10-17-2015, 11:39 AM   #4
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I wait until winter fuel is at the pumps before filling up the tank. I ensure that the fuel and propane tanks are all topped off, just in case we need to move into the MH during the winter. The MH stays plugged into shore power also, so the batteries are charged. We have a large car port next to our shop so the MH also stays out of the snow.
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Old 10-17-2015, 01:34 PM   #5
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You might add some anti-Gel.. I'm not an expert on Diesel but when I dispatched Tow trucks we had an issue with gelling of fuel in the winter.

On Gasoline engines the major difference is Winter Gas evaporates easier.. So the engine won't run on summer gas.. But this does not apply to diesel fuel.
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Old 10-18-2015, 08:51 AM   #6
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Agreed, in a perfect world, batteries would be stored and trickle charges in a warm, dry environment.

In my world, if the batteries are fully charged and in good shape, they'll store fine where they're at - IF - there is no drain on them. If I needed to store for the winter months, I would disconnect the positive or negative battery terminals. Do not trust master disconnects. There is almost always a parasitic load present when those are turned off. That small load is all it takes to drain a set of batteries over a period of time.

I wouldn't be too concerned about leaving the engine without starting for a few months either. I would avoid driving on salty roads at all costs....
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Old 10-18-2015, 09:04 AM   #7
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Starting an engine in adverse conditions every month and idling it until it gets warm is surely going to do more damage than just letting it sit. Batteries are the main consideration - house AND chassis batteries so they need to be kept in a reasonable state of charge to make sure they don't freeze. Fully charge and then disconnect is one way to achieve that, but still best to use a digital multimeter to check the open-circuit voltage of each battery every month or so to make sure.
Trouble is, subjecting the entire motorhome to a long-term deep freeze always involves a risk of some damage, but the only alternative is to keep it in a heated enclosure or on shore power with all systems livened up and that isn't always that practical or affordable.
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Old 10-18-2015, 07:38 PM   #8
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Hello -
We are no experts but this will be our sixth winter with a motorhome to winterize and exercise. Since we go to Florida in February, we want to be sure there are no issues come departure time so:
  • Check with your favorite fueling station to see if the winter additives are in the fuel yet. If not, purchase some Sta-Bil and be sure.
  • There are always a few days each month when the sun is shining, the roads are dry, and it works out that we can take a drive. Just don't rule it out.
  • The switches at the door are not enough. We also have a two master kill switches that literally disconnect both battery banks. We installed them on our last coach. This one came with them already installed.
  • So far, so good and it has been very cold the last two winters, as you know!
You know what will work for you - just wanted to let you know that we've been able to work through it easily with outdoor storage and no power to the unit.
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Old 10-19-2015, 07:00 AM   #9
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If your motorhome is a late model, how do you go about dealing with it so the DEF does not freeze.
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Old 10-19-2015, 05:07 PM   #10
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We do take into account the expansion factor but since we need to warm up the engine before we take off, it has not been an issue.

DEF Freezing

We went by this info to determine we were okay.
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Old 10-19-2015, 06:21 PM   #11
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Diesel or gas one advantage of a full tank is this.

In days of old it was not uncommon for the power company to be reliable most all winters.. Took a really nasty winter to black you out.

Today.. That's no longer the case in much of the country.. And when the lights go out in ____your town here_____ it's nice to have that full tank of fuel for ye old generator.

My Class A has an added 30 amp outlet (or 3) that can feed a 30 amp INLET (one of 'em) on the sticks and bricks for when that happened.. Now it can not run everything (Cloths dryer for example was 240 volt and RV can not drive that. But it did handle the furnace, Fridge, Freezer, Microwave, Lights, computers and accessories, TV's and accessories.
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Old 10-20-2015, 06:29 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fencebuster View Post
We do take into account the expansion factor but since we need to warm up the engine before we take off, it has not been an issue.

DEF Freezing

We went by this info to determine we were okay.
Thanks Fencebuster: So to be safe leave 10% of you DEF tank empty to be safe for the expansion. Thanks again.
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Old 10-21-2015, 06:54 PM   #13
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Quote:
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So to be safe leave 10% of you DEF tank empty to be safe for the expansion. Thanks again.
Yes - a little north of 3/4 full just for extra assurance. It can be fun to get out on a dry highway in the middle of winter. Always find something I want to do to the coach come Spring.
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Old 10-22-2015, 10:39 PM   #14
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A full tank helps prevent condensation in the fuel tank during storage. No additive is required; perhaps anti-gel if you plan to use the RV this winter for a quick skiing trip or something. All modern diesel engines have a fuel pre-heater, but that does not guarantee the fuel filter will not gel-up in sub-freezing weather without anti-gel additive. Biodiesel gels at warmer temperatures than dino-diesel fuel too.

Tony Lee is right. A diesel engine will never reach normal operating temperature at low idle. It must be driven OR not started. In cold weather it normally takes at least 10 miles of driving for a diesel engine to reach normal operating temperature. And don't forget the crankcase, cold weather causes moisture condensation in the crankcase, and unless the oil too reaches normal operating temperature, water in the crankcase will not evaporate and be evacuated either to the outside or recirculated into the intake system for re-burning.
A fully-charged battery with no drains should hold adequate charge for at least 3 months-BUT, a partially-discharged, unused battery, is sulfating internally and being slowly damaged. Thus Tony Lee's advice to check them with a multimeter monthly and guide charging by this table:
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