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Old 09-20-2020, 06:55 PM   #1
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Unhappy Winter Storage

We won't be heading to Arizona this winter so we will be storing our coach outside in Northern Ontario...Brrrrrr. We are unable to find indoor storage anywhere in central or Northeastern Ontario so I purchased a 30x50 ft. tarp that will completely envelop the coach. Does anyone have any suggestions or recommendations concerning my decision to using a tarp. Also, I want to leave the jacks fully retracted and just dump the air and I was wondering if that would harm the air bags. There could be considerable snow build-up. One other thing, would it benefit or be a detriment to the batteries if I hooked up a 2 amp charger and timed it to charge for, say, 10 min. a day?

I appreciate and thank you for your input.
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Old 09-20-2020, 08:23 PM   #2
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The charger idea sounds good. Maybe even more time on it. As for the tarp, wind is going to be the problem, both keeping it on and in tact, and the possibility of damaging the paint or other exterior items. I’ve stored my coach in the snow and had a couple feet on it for a couple weeks at a time and didn’t have any problems. But it was probably pushing it so covering it somehow is definitely best and you probably get a lot more snow for longer periods. Since you can run power to it you should consider a small heater inside to prevent too much condensation.
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Old 09-21-2020, 07:01 AM   #3
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Dump air bags (so snow load does not put stress on them - they will likely deflate on their own anyway)

Charger on the batteries is a great idea. As stated, 10 min per day might not be enough. Any reason you canít use a battery minder and just keep it on full time?

Of course, winterize water system and dump all tanks

Inflate tires to max allowed pressure (to compensate for leakage losses and to handle snow load)

Fill fuel tank, and if diesel add a biocide

Cover outside heater ports with magnetic sheets from Home Depot (mice can get in through them :-(. )

Tarp is a question - I have heard that movement from the wind can mar the finish on the coach

Stay warm!
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Old 09-21-2020, 07:31 AM   #4
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Good advise above. I too, would be concerned about keeping the tarp secure to prevent movement. Why not just hookup a smart charger to the batteries and let it do the thinking? We leave our car in WI for six months with a small smart charger hooked up for the entire time. It will bring the batteries back up when they drop to a certain level and then goes into float mode. I do the same for our Acadia that we leave in AZ for five months. Batteries are always charged, but never over charged.
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Old 09-21-2020, 07:35 AM   #5
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Battery storage

Lead acid flooded cell batteries in good condition can be stored fully charged and disconnected for 6 months. They must be charged 14 to 18 hours for a full clean charge. Monitor the voltage at battery terminals. Recharge 14 hours before voltage drops to 12.4 volts static.

Disconnect at battery terminals or use a user installed disconnect switch near the battery. Manufacturer installed switches usually do not disconnect everything. In that case, the remaining parasitic draw usually will pull batteries down in 1 to 2 weeks.

That said the coach battery charger will probably keep the batteries charged when plugged into shore power. Usually a 15 amp outlet through an adapter is enough. Turn everything else "off" to limit current when using a 15 amp outlet.

Battery terminal voltage should be 13.6 volts to 12.7 volts for storage. 13.2 is optimal. Charging consumes water. Higher voltages will consume more water. Monitor water levels in the batteries periodically. Decrease water level checking as you become familiar with your RV's water consumption.

AGM batteries should be stored at 13.4 to 12.7 volts. Above 13.6 may cause venting which is permanent capacity loss. Water cannot be added back. AGM's can probably be stored for 12 months when fully charged and disconnected.

A 2 amp charger/maintainer may be adequate or it may over or undercharge your battery bank. Monitor the battery terminal voltage for a while to be sure.

Parasitic draw may exceed maintainer capacity. If terminal voltage drops below 12.7, it is not up to the task. If voltage raises above 13.6 the maintainer will be consuming water. Monitor water levels periodically. AGM batteries will vent and loose capacity. 13.2 volts is optimal.

I wish you good luck and happy trails ahead!
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Old 09-21-2020, 08:23 AM   #6
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My cheap gas motorhome has a Progressive Dynamics converter. This is a built in smart charger that maintains batteries at an optimum level.

I would think your motorhome has something similar. Plugging in your shore power should activate the charger automatically. Check your battery water level a couple times during the winter.

On the tarp...as others have observed...wind may be a problem in keeping the tarp on. In addition wind can cause the tarp to rub against finish damaging it.

Sunshine is much harder on your motorhome than snow and cold.

The biggest issue I see is the potential snow load sitting on the coach. That can be a LOT of weight. The motorhome experiences this weight regardless of whether you have a cover or not. Here in Colorado I get up there and shovel it off if it exceeds about 12" 30 centimeters in Canada talk . Fortunately I've had to do that twice in about 30 years.
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Old 09-23-2020, 06:19 AM   #7
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I'm in Northern Ontario and use a tarp to cover my motorhome for the winter. The tarp is big enough to cover the sides as well. I use a ladder with a couple of towels wrapped around the end to get up to the roof and use a broom remove the snow after around 6" of snow accumulates. I keep the roof vents open as well as a couple of windows for air circulation.

I make sure my batteries are fully charged , then disconnect them for the winter. They will be good for at least 6 months before you need to charge them.
Make sure to drain the hot water tank and winterize the plumbing.
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Old 09-23-2020, 07:23 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2 Peeps View Post
We won't be heading to Arizona this winter so we will be storing our coach outside in Northern Ontario...Brrrrrr. We are unable to find indoor storage anywhere in central or Northeastern Ontario so I purchased a 30x50 ft. tarp that will completely envelop the coach. Does anyone have any suggestions or recommendations concerning my decision to using a tarp. Also, I want to leave the jacks fully retracted and just dump the air and I was wondering if that would harm the air bags. There could be considerable snow build-up. One other thing, would it benefit or be a detriment to the batteries if I hooked up a 2 amp charger and timed it to charge for, say, 10 min. a day?

I appreciate and thank you for your input.
Tarp is not a good idea. It will trap moisture in the coach and can lead to mold, or at minimum bad smell. RVs have vents. Moisture needs to migrate in and out of the RV as the weather changes. Tarp is a vapour barrier, which is not good. Buy a good RV cover instead made of Sunbrella. There are companies which will make one for you if you can't fit a standard one on.
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Old 09-23-2020, 07:30 AM   #9
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I kept "George" in an outdoor storage location last winter. It's in Southern Ontario, so definitely not N.Ontario cold, but it's snowy.

First, I did not use a tarp but found this breathable fabric RV cover at a decent price:

https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B07XFP6PWZ/ref=dp_prsubs_1

It was a windy winter, and there were no issues with rips or tears. I think the key is to tight all the ties and straps as snuggly as possible.

I stored it with a full tank of gas, adding fuel stabilizer before the drive from our home to the storage place, to make sure it ran through all the lines. Ditto for the generator.

Like it was mentioned, winterize all the lines properly, making sure to blow empty the water heater and closing the bypass valve to the heater before adding the pink antifreeze.

I removed the deep cycle coach batteries and kept them at home charged with a smart trickle charger (to avoid overcharge). The chassis battery was fully charged and just disconnected the negative terminal at the end.
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Old 09-23-2020, 07:43 AM   #10
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Before we built our RV garage we stored our 40' 5er outside. I covered it with a cheap plastic farm tarp from Harbor Freight, secured with double the original amount of strap holes in the tarp. I used bungee cords to secure the tarp all around. I NEVER found any wear marks on the gel-coat the following spring.
I did not open any roof vents, I did place inflated beach balls under the tarp between the air conditioners to provide some slope for water and snow to drain away.


These tarps lasted 3 years, then sun rot destroyed them.
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Old 09-23-2020, 07:49 AM   #11
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Lead-acid batteries self-discharge slower as it gets colder. I don't bother with a full-time maintainer usually, especially since I disconnect the chassis battery during the winter, and the maintainer is plugged into the 12V power port in the dash.

I'll put the maintainer on it for a few days a month, then disconnect it again. Both the battery disconnect, and the 120V plug for the maintainer, are accessible from the driver's door while standing in the snow, so I don't crap up the interior by going inside.

Tarps can mess up the finish, which I can attest to through first-hand experience with boats, so I don't use one. I'd really like indoor storage, though. I'd better get on that, but it's probably already too late.
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