View Full Version : Winter Storage

09-10-2009, 03:17 PM
Regretfully, I have to put my coach in a heated facility for the winter starting October 1st. It gets too darn cold here in the winter to keep it outside. I don't have a building big enough to house it (yet). I will not be able to keep it plugged in. The only advantage is that the building will be kept at 45-50 degrees all winter. I can access the coach during business hours and do any work on it I want and can plug it in while I'm there. The building will also have other wintered vehicles in it and has a concrete floor. I am going to shut off both batteries. Do a little mouse proofing...what else should I do? Thanks, Jennifer

09-10-2009, 04:26 PM
Hi Jennifer.....the biggest issue you face in Montana in the winter is freezing water in your pipes, and you have taken care of that with your storage choice. I would recommend draining the water out of your water heater. Are you able to start up your coach and genset and run them inside the building? These need to be run at least once a month. You should add some sort of fuel stabilizer. Others may have additional suggestions, but these are the ones that come to mind for me. Living in Southern California eliminates a lot of these issues for me as I take my coach out at least once a month....there aren't many silver linings left in California, but the ability to camp year round is one of them.

09-10-2009, 06:04 PM
Hi Jennifer,
I have stored my Newell in a similar situation.
I have done nothing special with the water system except turn the water pump off. My opinion is that it is better if the inside of the water heater is not exposed to air..I try to have soft water in my water system to reduce mineral build-up. If you do drain the water heater I would put a piece of tape over the water heater switch and/or turn it off at the breaker to prevent it from being turned on while empty. My '78 has a steel waste tank so I periodically add a pint of vegetable oil to reduce corrosion on the inside of the tank... Not recommended or necessary if you have a poly tank. A top quality lubricating fuel conditioner with an algecide would be beneficial. Central Petroleum Company is not mass marketed but they have top quality products for the farm and industrial market. I have used their products for 30 years. Here's a link:


You should also turn your LP gas off at the tank. The storage facility should require that all LP tanks be shut off. If they don't I would ask them to do that. I'd shut the batt's off as well. Leave the 'fridge door propped open to prevent mold inside if you have to turn it off.

09-10-2009, 06:38 PM
Thanks for the ideas! I have an Aqua-hot system in my coach. Do I need to still drain the aqua-hot? I'm not sure if I can fire up the engines once a month or not...I will look into that. I will miss the coach this winter.

Clarke, how do you like your Cannondale? I just ordered a 2010 Cannondale tandem...and am waiting patiently for it's arrival. Does it fit in the basement of your coach?

Thanks again, Jennifer

09-10-2009, 07:47 PM
Jennifer, we love the Cannondale Tandem....we've had it for 4 years now. It would fit in the basement storage if I didn't have so much other "stuff" in there. My coach is only 36' long so my through storage compartment is about 1/2 as wide as others I have seen on 38' and 40' coaches. If I had the extra 24" of width I would put the tandem in there. I have a rack that slides into my receiver hitch, and a cover for the tandem, and that is how I transport it. Cannondale makes a wonderful product. We also have individual Cannondale bikes (Bad Boy for me, and an F600 for Elaine), which have the patented Headshok.

We'll be taking it on our long trip in November/December. I would recommend getting headsets for communicating. We tried it without for a year, or so, and then I bought the wired headsets and no longer had to turn over my shoulder to talk to Elaine, which takes your eyes off the road. You can also plug your IPOD in to it and listen to music while riding, if you like. As soon as you start talking it interupts the music. I got it here:



09-10-2009, 08:22 PM
Jennifer, it is desirable to drive your coach monthly and run the generator while you are driving with a load on it. However, if you can't actually drive the coach far enough to actually get the fluids all up to normal operating temperature, it is best to just leave it without starting it.

Try to fill the diesel tanks before you store it to reduce algae and mold formation.

If you KNOW that the heat will not go off at the facility and allow the coaches to drop below freezing, I would not drain the water heater although draining the fresh and waste hold tanks would be appropriate.

Give the coach a good run of at least 20-30 miles and run the generator with at least a 1/2 load on it before putting it in storage. That will be good for the engine, transmission, differential, generator, tires, brakes, the whole works.

Many diesel tractors sit all winter without starting.

To be the most confident that the batteries will not run down, remove the ground wires if you are not going to be there for months at a time. At the least, turn off both the chassis and house battery switches as you mentioned.

If your batteries are sealed, no problem, otherwise, make sure that they are topped off with distilled water before your last 20-30 mile run so they can be fully charged up.

I hate even the thought of putting a coach away for the winter but then I have always lived in areas where there were nice days/weeks during the winter also. One of the advantages of living south of the 35th parallel.

Richard and Rhonda
09-11-2009, 06:01 PM
Hi Jennifer,

Welcome back. Allow me to chime in on a couple of things. I am thinking that I would not want to depend upon the building staying above freezing in Montana. If you are 100% sure it will stay at 40 then don't worry about any of the water issues.

The are two ways to protect the water lines from freezing. One is to fill them with RV water line antifreeze. It's the pink stuff which consists of propylene glycol. It tastes awful, but will not kill you if you ingest it. The other antifreeze that we put in our engines, ethylene glycol is deadly. OR, you can remover the water from the lines. The easiest way to do that is to blow the water out with compressed air. I hook my compressed air line to my city water intake. The only big issue here is that if you use your coach air it will be around 120 psi. The water system was not designed to take that kind of pressure, so to be on the safe side the air pressure needs to be reduced to about 35 psi. My coach has an internal water pressure regulator that is set at 35 so I can hook the air line directly to the city water intake. You can buy a fitting to do this or make one by mating a male garden hose fitting to a air line quick disconnect. Pressurize the water system with air and can open the faucets one by one and blow almost all the water out of the lines. I make two full circuits of the coach when doing this to allow small amounts of water to settle in crooks and crannies. However some water will be left in the traps for the sinks and shower. You really don't want to blow the water out of the traps or the waste tank smell has a direct path into the coach. Pour some of the RV antifreeze propylene glycol in all of your drains and the toilet.

The aquahot heats water and circulates it to the heat vents. That fluid should be a 50/50 mixture of water and ethylene glycol. You don't need to drain the ethylene glycol side of the AquaHot, but I would use coolant test strips to make sure I had a 50/50 mixture of EG and Water. The hot potable water side of the aquahot will be blown out with the air procedure above.

Cranking the gennie and running it at load is to drive the moisture out of the windings.

If you want to crank and run the chassis engine, by all means drive it 20 or 30 miles to get all the temps up and drive out any moisture. Otherwise, let it sit. Do not crank and idle in place. That does more harm than good.

I would disconnect the negatives on the batteries. And charge them when I had the chance.

And Rhonda and I have a CoMotion tandem, and we love it. C'dale makes a nice ride, but a wee stiff for me. I guess I'm a wimp. I do get the tandem in the basement, but I drop both wheels and turn the stoker bars sideways.

09-11-2009, 06:34 PM
Thanks Richard, as savy as I may be with electrical and some mechanical...your response is almost like speaking a foreign language! I'm not sure how to do exactly what you are describing. Perhaps we should talk on the phone about this. The space I am renting is heated. I would imagine by adding anti-freeze to the system, is a precautionary measure. Blowing air out of the lines, regulators adapters etc...that process, I don't exactly understand how to do that but understand why that should be done.

As far as tandems go, I wanted a CoMotion Pilot but didn't want to pay the $$ for one so I ordered a Cannondale through the bike shop I used to work at in NH. We are patiently waiting for it arrival....Winter is imminent!

Thanks for chiming in on the coach winterizing project. Jennifer

Richard and Rhonda
09-11-2009, 10:58 PM
oops,sorry, my cell number is in your private mail

I will edit my post and hopefully it will make sense this time.