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Author Topic: winterizing  (Read 1324 times)
skihor
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« on: September 15, 2011, 05:37:36 PM »

We have to travel to Williston North Dakota. One of the thing the boss wants me to do is "winterize" the company motorhome for the upcoming winter. The motorhome is "home" to up to three instructors. We train people to drive semi trucks. So how should I "skirt" around the whole rig, and, with what would be the best material and how would I retain it/protect it from the ravages of N.D. winters. Winds over 50 and temps down to -40 F.

Don & Sheila
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Tevo
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« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2011, 06:06:44 PM »

We have to travel to Williston North Dakota. One of the thing the boss wants me to do is "winterize" the company motorhome for the upcoming winter. The motorhome is "home" to up to three instructors. We train people to drive semi trucks. So how should I "skirt" around the whole rig, and, with what would be the best material and how would I retain it/protect it from the ravages of N.D. winters. Winds over 50 and temps down to -40 F.

Don & Sheila

Last winter in South Dakota I skirted my travel trailer with the blue foam insulating boards. I cut it to fit and for aesthetics I cut up a brown tarp and covered the foam boards with it. If you cut them to fit very closely they'll wedge up underneath nice and tight. Because I'm paranoid, I also screwed in some brackets at the seams to give some extra support, and also drove a couple rebar stakes in the ground at the corners and attached them to the board. The big thing is keep the seams tight to keep out the wind. The tarp covering also served to keep the wind out of any cracks too.
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belfert
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« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2011, 06:25:05 PM »

I hope you're going to have a large external propane tank or regular deliveries of diesel to keep that motorhome warm at those temps.  Electric heaters will help too.  Does the motorhome have a heated basement to keep the waste and water tanks from freezing?  I would fill the fresh water tank as necessary instead of trying to keep a hose for city water warm.

If possible I would cover the windows and windshield with the Reflectix bubble insulation.  Unfortunately, doing this will make it seem like a cave inside.  You might also put insulation in the basement if it isn't already insulated.

Keeping a normal house warm at -40 is not necessarily easy.  A motorhome makes it even tougher.  My house is 10 years old and extremely air tight with lots of insulation, but even it starts to feel a little cold at -15 to -20 degrees.  The slightest air leak at those temps is noticeable.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2011, 06:25:34 AM »

the best way is to take it to Florida.    i think don is saying it will be unoccupied during the winter? i would empty all the water out of everything, all the poop and would rinse the poop tank. i would then pump antifreeze throughout the whole system. the foam boards sound like a good idea too. i would also park it on a hard surface away from trees.
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belfert
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« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2011, 06:46:12 AM »

I don't know why you would want to skirt the motorhome if it wasn't being used and the water was winterized.  The only time I hear of RVs being skirted is if somoene is living in it over the winter.  I don't know anybody here in Minnesota that skirts their RV if it is winterized, but our temps aren't quite as severe.

I had assumed because the OP had mentioned skirting that they would be staying in it for the winter.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2011, 07:46:05 AM »

I have heard that good old straw bales deployed along with some tarping does a nice, simple job.

And is easily recycled through the closest chewing mouth.

happy coaching!
buswarrior
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Ed Hackenbruch
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« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2011, 07:55:12 AM »

Only trouble with straw or hay bales is that you may have little critters that take up residence there and then later on decide to move inside the rv.
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bobofthenorth
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« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2011, 08:21:55 AM »

The guys that live year round in RVs in Grande Prairie (where it is a LOT colder than the Dakotas) use rigid foam board for insulation.  One thing that they do which looks like a really good idea to me is to build some kind of a semi-permanent porch around the entry.  If you think about winter access and exit you are letting a lot of heat out every time you open that door.  Putting even a very small enclosure around the entry keeps the wind away and protects that precious interior heat.  It doesn't need to be fancy - just something to shield the entry from the wind.

You'll also want to think about keeping the water supply working.  How you do that will depend on what the campground provides.  A lot of winter campgrounds have frostproof hydrants which require you to fill your rig and then run off your storage tank.  The other option is a heated supply, usually wrapped with insulation and using heat tape to keep the lines open.  In that case, if you want to stay hooked up, you will also need heat tape on your water hose.  My advice is to run off your storage tank and only fill it as necessary but I've seen both methods used in winter campgrounds.

The biggest issue will be condensation.  You'll either need surplus heating capacity so you can keep some ventilation open or you will need some dehumidifiers.

A lot of campgrounds won't let you use bales for skirting because of the rodent problem.  I wouldn't go there for exactly that reason.  The foam board won't cost much and it won't look like the Clampetts are living in your rig.
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R.J.(Bob) Evans
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belfert
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« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2011, 08:32:04 AM »

Only trouble with straw or hay bales is that you may have little critters that take up residence there and then later on decide to move inside the rv.

I know someone who tried this with a cabin and they had no end of mice that winter.  I don't think they ever did that again.  As Ed says I wouldn't so this.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
happycamperbrat
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« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2011, 11:15:50 AM »

Instead of hay bales (because of rodents), how about sand bags filled with dirt, gravel, sand or whatever and stacked like brick with barbed wire in between? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earthbag_construction
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skihor
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« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2011, 12:49:27 PM »

I think I talked "the boss" out of trying to keep it available in those conditions. It was to house instructors while training there and several stated they would rather quit that share a motorhome with 2 or three guys.
Thanks for all the replies guys...

Don & Sheila
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bobofthenorth
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« Reply #11 on: September 16, 2011, 01:02:29 PM »

Sound like pretty smart guys.
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R.J.(Bob) Evans
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Jriddle
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« Reply #12 on: September 16, 2011, 02:32:12 PM »

You could have a tarp made out of some kind of vinyl like material. They will install snaps on the bottom of motorhome and have a pocket sewn in the bottom of the trap to put a chain to keep it on the ground during the wind. I have seen them for around thousand bucks or more.  Keep the wind out and you will have gotten most of the problems solved. I lived in 5th wheel in Montana one winter many years ago and used straw bales. I let gray water go to sewer and held the black tank. I used rock salt to keep it from freezing in between dumping.
I did have one freeze up on the sewer when the puppies got to playing underneath and goofed up my sewer hose. I had 30 gallon block of ice to thaw out when it was around 30 below F. Had to do some plumbing after that and found RV stuff is different.
We made good use of the electric heat that winter.
John
« Last Edit: September 16, 2011, 02:43:27 PM by Jriddle » Logged

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