New to Hardside-couple questions

dfrank

Observer
After three years and 100+ nights (mostly winter skiing) in the pop top Skamper, we just got an Arctic Fox 990.

Planning to use this over the winter and contemplate what is the right compromise between these two extremes, and hoping to do a custom build of some sort before too long.

It is a huge increase in space and comfort and a huge trade off in weight and handling. (2500 dodge with air bags)

Right now we are just using the potty for liquid waste. What should I add to prevent freezing? Salt? Antifreeze? If its just liquid, can I just open the valve on a field somewhere, or will it still need an RV dump?

I hear I have a heated basement. Is it remotely reasonable to try to use the water system during winter, or is this just asking for frozen pipes?

The generator (generac Propane) is hard to start. seems like it needs to be primed or something. Any tips. Ether?

What service might this need beside an oil change? I can't see a number on the oil filter. Anyone know what that might be? Is there a fuel filter too?

If I use the sink drains, can I just purge the P traps with a plunger to prevent free up, or is anti freeze flushing the ticket? Is wiper fluid a good option for this? What is special about the RV antifreeze? Is it more environmentally friendly?

The slide seems out of square. IT does not close all the way up top, and is a little out of line on the side. Good space that the bottom to tight in the top rear- about an inch out of line up. It scrapes a bit and is wearing the gasket. Is that adjustable or just beat up?

It is an '01 with lots of heavy winter use by previous owner(s). Has some cracks in the skin, some delaminated skin as well as sagging in the cabover bed from a leaking front window.

Does this thing have a steel skeleton, or is it all wood framing?

The wardrobes up in the cabover get condensation. I was considering cutting some vent holes and putting something like wire racks on the bottom so clothes aren't just sitting on the wet (frozen) bottom. Any tips on this issue?

Thanks.
 
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back woods

Observer
Not sure if it will have a wooden or aluminum frame. Being that it is an 01 it has a better chance of being wood. If it has a sag in the nose and some delamination you may have a serious problem. I recently bought 2011 Travel lite that had some sag in the floor and delamination in the nose, didnt look too bad from the outside. It ended up costing me $6000 to get the camper back up to snuff. The problem is if there is a little bit of damage visible on the exterior it could be 10x worse on the inside. You dont know until you peal it apart, at that point you will probably need to replace the roof also.

Good luck.
 

dfrank

Observer
Thanks back woods, lets hope its not that bad. I suppose I should have broken this into several different posts to get some answers regarding using the drains in winter. What are people adding to keep urine from freezing and how much?

Will the black tank get damaged if it freezes? I assume this could mess up the drain valve.
 

trail-explorer

Adventurer
Right now we are just using the potty for liquid waste. What should I add to prevent freezing? Salt? Antifreeze? If its just liquid, can I just open the valve on a field somewhere, or will it still need an RV dump?
Yes, you need to dump the black tank contents at an RV waste dump, not in a field somewhere.

RV Antifreeze is what you can use in the tank.

The generator (generac Propane) is hard to start. seems like it needs to be primed or something. Any tips. Ether?

What service might this need beside an oil change? I can't see a number on the oil filter. Anyone know what that might be? Is there a fuel filter too?
Air filter, Spark Plug.

An Onan Service center should be able to tell you the oil filter part number based on the model. Many RV dealers may be able to look it up as well.
 

wirenut

Adventurer
You should be able to use the camper year around. The furnace should be ducted into the basement. This should keep your tanks from freezing with no need for anti-freeze. The furnace will use lots of battery power if you're camping without a hook-up. If you are plugged into shore power I would supplement with a small electric heater.
All black tank contents must go into a proper dump station or sewer.
Generac never got the market share of RV units that Onan did. I don't think they're in it at all anymore. Just about everyone I've ever heard from that has a Generac in an RV has had lots of problems with it. Do you have a manual? I would bet that it tells you to run the generator under at least a 1/2 load for an hour or 2 every month or maybe every other month. This serves several purposes, one of which is to create heat in the alternator and dry the moisture out of the windings.
An '01 should be a wood frame. They went to aluminum several years later.
 

Kelly 4x4

Adventurer
Hello. As with all propane gens when you shut off the tank it will bleed off then there is air in the line the same with your stove / heater it will take a couple of treys to start until the air is out of the line...kelly
 

Dustytires

New member
No the black tank will not be damaged if it freezes as there is room for ice to expand, unlike in a small closed fresh water pipe. I have had everything freeze up repeatedly in a camper with unheated tanks, and the fresh would freeze, and worst that has happened is that we have no water. the fresh piping was probably empty as the line from fresh tank froze so nothing was ever damaged. Your results may vary! If you're connected to shore power and using a little electric heater your basement will not be heated, that is the job of the furnace ducting. Kelly makes a good point, anytime the propane lines are unused they go 'dry', and it takes a few grinds to get it to catch. Make sure you don't run starter too long or it will over heat, so grind it, then rest a bit if it does not catch. A new plug and fresh air filter could make a big difference, fuel, spark air bang.
 

incognito

Adventurer
hy

look at this thread that guy did some interesting winter mods in order to live in the camper on the daily basis in winter
you may have wooden aluminium structure so check for cracks in silicon joints EVERY YEAR. use dicor sealant if needed

http://www.4scf.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=3415

this is the thread with artic fox winter mods
hope this helps
incognito
 

java

Expedition Leader
I winter camp in my RV too. I don't bother with the water, just too much of a PITA.

Antifreeze to flush with for the potty as said. I use a couple gallons a week or so, it will still freeze if really cold. #2 is fine too.

Generators are like anything, they don't like cold starts. Im not familiar with your model, but mine takes a couple tries too, although its gas, not propane.

My RV has some de-lam also. I fixed the worst spot by peeling the fiberglass back and pouring epoxy in and clamping the skin back on. Its holding so far, i just fixed the leaks on the smaller ones and called it good.
 

IdaSHO

IDACAMPER
I pre-mix RV antifreeze with toilet chemicals for our chemical toilet.

And never worry about freezing fresh water.

I have a 12v heater that runs under the sink (water pump and tank near) when the engine is running.
Propane furnace is lit the moment we park it for the evening.

Keeping the water fairly full helps too.
More mass = less likely to freeze

Just worry about the pump and fittings. If froze, those will crack first.


Only answer to condensation is ventilation.

Even my very well insulated camper gets some, but keeping one or two windows cracked helps a ton.
 

deminimis

Explorer
Another vote for not hassling with the fresh water system in Winter. For showers, we store water (the usual Wal-Hell 2 gal jugs) in front of a heating duct. Warms the water plenty for basic showers. We keep three jugs going (one for showers (warmed), one for drinking and one for flushing). Like others said, RV antifreeze for black tank, grey and traps. Had to replace a pump this Fall when some unseasonably cold weather hit us before I Winterized. Pumps are pricey buggers.
 
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