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Old 09-30-2023, 08:03 PM   #1
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New Guy rolling with 2017 Kodiak by Dutchmen Express Series M-172E

Hi Everyone, I'm looking forward to participating in this community. I'm completely new to camper camping, having just purchased a 2017 Kodiak by Dutchmen Express Series M-172E. My daughter is 8 and I needed to get going on camping before she adopted the attitudes of her mother.

Anyhow, I'm here for some answers (please and thank you) and will post those wherever I figure out is appropriate. But a quick overview in case someone has comments:

- I just winterized (Colorado) via compressed air blow out and poured some antifreeze down the drains for extra prudence and drained the excess. I'm in CO. 4 lower drains + water heater thing. Any comments on my approach.

- I would like advice over wintering the battery. Just leave it plugged into shore power or pull it out and trickle charge? I'm concerned about overcharge - not sure how the battery charging is handled via extension cord plugin.

- Is there a way I can just take the camper to have the propane topped off for the coming year rather than waiting for the tanks to go empty and replace them?


Thanks all and God Bless - G
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Old 10-01-2023, 01:17 PM   #2
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I can address the last two but being from So Cal I can’t help with winterization.

If easy enough I would remove the batteries and store in a heated garage or if not heated then wrap in an old blanket. Freezing cold is the enemy of batteries.

I would also pick up a battery maintainer which is a very low amperage charger that monitors the battery and tops it off without a constant charge so no risk of overcharging. If you have two batteries you could move the charger back and forth every week or two in seconds or if you prefer just buy two. I think the maintainers will also help keep the batteries warmer which should help them in the long run too.

As far as propane goes just remover both tanks and have them filled at a propane fill location. Those places usually have a minimum charge so as long as you need 5 pounds or so you will hit the minimum and then pay less for the additional amount you need. Do not wait for them to run out as it will be a major pain if you have no propane while out camping. You will lose your fridge and heating ability not to mention stove and oven too.
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Old 10-01-2023, 03:11 PM   #3
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I bought a 40 watt solar battery maintainer. It seems to work ok and is enough to fight off the vampires. IMO, having a battery with a full charge is the best way to keep it healthy in cold weather. As far as blowing the lines out, make sure you don’t forget the spray port and the low point drains (they always accumulate some water after you close them, so leave them open! The pump should pump itself dry. Manually drain the hot water heater.
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Old 10-01-2023, 03:53 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by franktafl View Post
I bought a 40 watt solar battery maintainer. It seems to work ok and is enough to fight off the vampires. IMO, having a battery with a full charge is the best way to keep it healthy in cold weather. As far as blowing the lines out, make sure you don’t forget the spray port and the low point drains (they always accumulate some water after you close them, so leave them open! The pump should pump itself dry. Manually drain the hot water heater.
Thanks for these pro tips! I already have the battery maintainer so will plan to pull the battery once we have significant weather.
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Old 10-01-2023, 04:03 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by franktafl View Post
I bought a 40 watt solar battery maintainer. It seems to work ok and is enough to fight off the vampires. IMO, having a battery with a full charge is the best way to keep it healthy in cold weather. As far as blowing the lines out, make sure you don’t forget the spray port and the low point drains (they always accumulate some water after you close them, so leave them open! The pump should pump itself dry. Manually drain the hot water heater.
Thank you Frank. I pulled all my drain plugs yesterday and left them open after blowing the lines. I did pull a furnace plug on the side but not underneath so will double-check for an additional drain there.
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Old 10-03-2023, 03:25 PM   #6
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Regarding your winterization blowout - DO NOT FORGET: toilet, outdoor shower/spray port, any other tap that uses water. Also run your water pump dry for a bit to push any water out of it. If it sounds like it moved some water, you may have to blow out again to push that water out of the plumbing.

I like to disconnect my inside shower hose from the tap as well so no water in there causes trouble. I let water run out of the hose and leave it disconnected for the winter. If you have an outdoor shower hose, do this there as well as a precaution.

Hopefully you drained your black and gray tanks before you blew out the fresh. If not, make sure you do!

I don't hear this mentioned often, but it is something I fret about. Be liberal with how much RV antifreeze you dumped down interior drains for P tap protection. The overflow will go into the gray tank and help keep any residual water in there from causing a problem over winter. A little standing water in the tank is fine because there is plenty of room to expand when it freezes, but the lowest point is at the dump valves and you don't want that stuff bursting from being full of water that freezes. And dump a fair part of a jug of anti freeze down the toilet into the black tank for the same reason.

As far as batteries, leaving your TT plugged in should be fine as long as your converter has a float mode then it won't overcharge. Most modern ones do. Freezing temperatures are no problem with a fully charged battery. But a depleted battery will freeze and burst.
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Old 10-04-2023, 11:19 PM   #7
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Thanks for confirming these details. I poured antifreeze down all drains and then confirmed it was coming out of the grey and black systems, draining pink. I didn't realize there was a p-trap involved but assumed complications with a system I couldn't examine with my eyes.

BTW, I'm very interested in your boondocking set up: "470 watts of solar on the roof | 2x6V GC batteries | 1500 watt PSW inverter | Micro Air on A/C | so far strictly boondocking." Can I ask away here or should I start a new thread? Still learning...

Greg
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Old 10-05-2023, 11:41 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by GDMatthews View Post
Thanks for confirming these details. I poured antifreeze down all drains and then confirmed it was coming out of the grey and black systems, draining pink. I didn't realize there was a p-trap involved but assumed complications with a system I couldn't examine with my eyes.

BTW, I'm very interested in your boondocking set up: "470 watts of solar on the roof | 2x6V GC batteries | 1500 watt PSW inverter | Micro Air on A/C | so far strictly boondocking." Can I ask away here or should I start a new thread? Still learning...

Greg
Start a new thread. We have some super knowledgeable solar folks here.
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Old 10-05-2023, 01:21 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GDMatthews View Post
Thanks for confirming these details. I poured antifreeze down all drains and then confirmed it was coming out of the grey and black systems, draining pink. I didn't realize there was a p-trap involved but assumed complications with a system I couldn't examine with my eyes.

BTW, I'm very interested in your boondocking set up: "470 watts of solar on the roof | 2x6V GC batteries | 1500 watt PSW inverter | Micro Air on A/C | so far strictly boondocking." Can I ask away here or should I start a new thread? Still learning...

Greg
Each sink or shower drain has a P-trap, just like in a house. Some use a different type of device, but my camper uses p-traps. The reason for pouring antifreeze down the sink drains is to displace the water out of the p-trap and replace it with antifreeze so you don't experience frozen water in the p-trap which could burst it. From there, the pipes lead to the gray tank.

Also, pour antifreeze into your toilet bowl so that the flapper is covered with a couple inches depth of antifreeze. It is slow to evaporate and will help keep the flapper seal lubricated all winter so that it works properly when put back into service. It also helps keep the black tank odors in their place instead of making their way past a dried up seal and into the camper living space.

If you've got your black and gray tank dump valves open and are observing anti freeze coming out, then you probably don't have to worry about the situation I described in my original post about residual black/gray water collecting there. But once you start using those tanks, I doubt you'll want to be opening those dump valves without a sewer hose attached and draining to a proper RV dump or sewer hookup. At least for the black tank anyway. So in that instance, I like to be liberal with how much antifreeze I put down the sink drains so that the excess gets into the gray tank and collects at the lowest point. Same with toilet and black tank. Dump valves are closed at this point so I imagine any antifreeze that went down there is collecting upstream of the dump valves.

I don't mind you asking solar or boondocking questions, but a new post under a relevant title will help keep the discussions on topic and helpful for others browsing the forum. :-)
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