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Text and photos: Jon Winge
Motorhome and Caravan magazine, No. 5 October

Teknikkhjørnet: Motorhome care for the winter

Our rolling holiday homes rarely break down. They are rather broken. Especially in winter.

After living both with and by boat for more than thirty years, we have gone ashore. Life with a motorhome is now just as wonderful. The boat winter is full of problems and anxiety. Riding barrels on wheels is easier. Much easier, actually. Those who are winter campers are especially skilled people - they have learned the rules of winter and follow them. They know more than most campers. That was not the case with us. With age, we become comfortable. Then we may feel better in front of the fireplace in the dark season.

Happy winter anyway

So we end the rolling phantom life when the frost begins to approach, perhaps even sooner. And comfortably sets off when it comes alive again in the groves. Man what do we do in the meantime? It's not just pulling to the handbrake and waiting for warmer brighter times, but not so far away. Now, I'm not talking about all those who store the donning frost-proof under cover. Delicious, safe, and virtually hassle-free. The downside is that it costs quite a bit, and storage often happens far away.

Storing outdoors

It is usually perfectly fine to leave the boathouse outside in the winter, as we do ourselves. It's good to have it nearby. Frost protection of motorhomes and caravans is relatively simple.

The donation must not is level. Arrange the roller shutter so that one of the two rear corners is lowest. Then the water does not flow down over the windscreen with wipers and air intakes. The motorhome can be left uncovered throughout the winter, provided that it is tight, that you keep an eye on it and remove snow if there is too much. It is not dangerous with snow on the roof, it is nothing but water, but the weight can be great.

Frostbite

A newer, well-maintained stroller is waterproof, but do not blindly trust it. Cracks can occur, and let the water in first, the ice is there and bursts in freezing temperatures. Roof hatches should in principle be tight. The hatch itself can be decent, but what about mounting / fastening? Holes are cut in a tight construction, and even though modern donuts are never so well built, leaks can occur. It is without a doubt best to cover it. Then you are reasonably safe from water intrusion. On the other hand: Covering itself presents challenges. Also look carefully at the joining of roofs and sides. If the water is drawn in between the cladding and the insulation, you can be sure of mold, and it is almost impossible to get rid of it. Penetrations, for example for antenna and solar panel, mean that an entire surface is pierced. Most leaks occur in such places.

The tarpaulin

You get many types. The thin, green film screen is useful in itself, and it is cheap. This is good, because it has poor durability and usually needs to be replaced often (a littering problem). It must be fastened well, because it does not take much wind before it flutters to pieces. More solid fabric is heavy and stiff, but once it is in place, it lies properly. A natural choice, if you can bear to bake with it. Here you get a good tip: Buy thin barges, eg 3x3 cm and screw two and two together with the cloth edge in between. Roll up from both sides and place it along the roof in the middle. Then you can just drop the rollers out on each side. The battens are nice to attach strings in to get it all in place.

Shaped

Shaped, solid tarpaulin can easily become too tight, and poor ventilation can cause moisture and mold. It is almost better with one or more flakes, as well as shaped front cover. It is not necessary to pack the entire rolling shed. A little over a meter down each side is sufficient. If you use the trick with the barges, you insert Styrofoam which gives some distance. Then you get air, but you also avoid black gutters from dripping and warping. It is extra smart to polish the entire donning before the winter edition. Then manure from precipitation and leaves etc. does not attach so easily. They are just a wash that needs to be done in the spring.

Frost protection

An important chapter. Perhaps the safest way is to let the dealer do the work. It takes an hour, and therefore does not cost much, and then you have a guarantee. They can be a little complicated to do yourself. We have followed all the rules to the letter, but there is always something or other that is not mentioned in the instruction manual.

  • Empty fresh water tank and greywater tank. Rinse them and leave them open.
  • All fresh water must be away from pipes, taps and pumps.
  • The water heater has its own tap.
  • Open all taps.
  • Run the water pump until it no longer delivers.
  • This is not enough: Blow the taps empty. It can be heavy with the mouth, but you can use an air pump or an inflated balloon.
  • When you think everything is out, repeat the blowing, because sometimes water can backfire.
  • Take care of the toilet pump (flushing pump). Open the nut above the inlet (White, plastic bypass nut) and run this pump.

 

Frostbags

This was the old, fairly safe method. Now, however, you get non-toxic antifreeze. Most can be mixed. Read the operating instructions.

  • Pour the mixture directly into the water tank and run the pump until only forest liquid comes out of all the taps.
  • Leave the taps open and in the hot water position, because there is no antifreeze like that without further ado. Blow for safety.
  • If you do not want to pour antifreeze into the tank, you can disconnect the inlet to the pressure pump and let it get the mixture in there. There is a separate valve for the use (Spot-On)

 

Air-air-air!

The value of aeration can not be exaggerated.

  • Cold air is dry. If warmer air enters the cold carriage, there will be condensation. Provide ventilation. Squeeze the sunroofs, if possible.
  • Squeeze the side windows in the innermost air position and the side windows on the wheelhouse.
  • Insert a small heat source if you have electricity. There should not be a large temperature difference until the air inside is drier than the outside.
  • If it is kept dry, it is not necessary to remove mattresses. Just set them upright.
  • Open all doors, cabinets and drawers. Keep the refrigerator / freezer doors open.

 

Dehumidification

A soaking dehumidifier which, for example, Muther's MG50 draws in air from the inside of the carriage, removes moisture and sends out drier air again. In order to work, the exhaust air must be replaced through the openings you have already provided. That air is usually colder - that is, a win-win situation. "Dry ball" is a cheap and effective dehumidification method, but requires maintenance. There is nothing that beats a proper dehumidifier. Then it gets really dry all winter long, and it's a joy to breathe in the nice air when you open in the spring. You can even leave the beds made and just jump up next spring.

Engine and gear

With a diesel engine, it is not so important to change the oil before winter storage, but check the antifreeze for safety. The engine really likes you to warm it up a couple of times during the winter. Then you also put it in reverse (R) and in gear (D) so that you get oil pressure in the gearbox.

The battery

Not much to say about it, other than that you fully charge it before winter storage and disconnect one of the poles. The colder it is, the better the battery. An ordinary lead / acid battery loses capacity due to self-discharge. It would like to have maintenance charging with an intelligent battery charger throughout the winter, or you warm up the engine every other month. If you have installed a modern lithium battery, the self-discharge is so low that it stays strong throughout the winter.

Gass

Disconnect the bottles, that's all.

The wheels

Rubber is a "living" material that can deform over time. You can get an impression of the track if the wheels are in the same place for a long time. It usually works for you after a bit of humping, but it is smart to move the roller shack a few decimetres from time to time - preferably in connection with warm running the engine. The wheel bearings also like to move a little. An old and good piece of advice is to increase the air pressure in the tires by about 50 percent, but it is easy to forget in the spring.

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