How-To De-Winterize and Prepare for the Upcoming RV Season

May 6, 2014 chucker

If you haven’t already done so, no is the time to get started on preparing your RV for the camping season. Unusually warm weather has caused many to get a head-start on the process. How about you? 

Here is a fairly comprehensive list of basic tasks. You will likely have to modify slightly depending upon the type of rig you own:

OUTSIDE
Remove Cover Straps
Remove Cover (guess who forgot to undo the straps last year!)
Inspect Cover for Rips and Tears, Repair if Needed/Possible
Roll and Fold Cover and Store.
Inspect Outside
Inspect Underneath For Leaks, Puddles, Dry Rotted Hoses, Excessive Rust, Gas Pipe Joints,Frame, etc.
Inspect Tires and Inflate to proper pressure (Check Dates!)
Wash RV and Inspect for cracks, chips, glass breaks, leaks, etc.
Repair if needed.
Open Outside Engine Compartment, Check for Leaks and Nests.
Open Storage Compartments and Inspect (leaks, bugs, critters, etc.)
Clean Outside Refrigerator Compartment (Spiderwebs, Leaves, Nests, etc.)
Clean Outside Furnace Compartment (Spiderwebs, Leaves, Nests, etc.)
Clean Outside Water Heater Compartment (Spiderwebs, Leaves, Nests, etc.)
Replace Water Heater Drain Plug and/or Anode.
Clean Battery and Terminals if Needed. (Chassis, House and Generator)
Check Coach and Chassis Battery Water Level, Refill if needed. (Distilled Water ONLY!)

INSIDE
Open Door(s) Test Operation
Turn On Lights, Replace Any Bad Bulbs
Open Vents, Test Seal and Operation
Open Windows, Test Seals and Operation. Check Locking Mechanisms
Open Cabinets (Upper and Lower)
Check for Leaks, Roof, Doors, etc.
Check for Critters. (Bugs, Mammals, Gremlins, etc.)
Clean Interior (Carpets, Walls, Floors, Cabinets, Fridge, etc.)
Check LP/Propane/CO Detector Operation
Check Smoke Detector Battery and Operation
Check Monitor Panel, Tanks and Propane
Check Converter/Charger For 12 Volt Output
Check All Fuses and Breakers (12V and 120V)
Confirm Solar Charging System Voltage and Amperage
Check Bathroom Skylight for leaks and cracks.
Check and Tighten ALL screws and fasteners Everywhere!

MECHANICAL
Check Oil Level, Fill if Needed
Check Coolant Level, Fill if Needed
Check Brake Fluid Level, Fill if Needed
Check Power Steering Fluid Level, Fill if Needed
Check Transmission Fluid Level, Fill if Needed
Check Windshield Fluid Level, Fill if Needed
Check All Hoses and Tighten Clamps
Check Airbag Compressor for operation and leaks.
Check Air Bag System Pressure
Check Air bag System for Leaks

START-UP CHECKLIST
Check Fuel Levels
Check Battery Volts
Start Engine
Check for Oil Pressure Rise
Listen to Idle (Sound OK?)
Check Idle Speed RPM
Check for Battery Charging (Volts/Amps)
Check Temperature Gauge for Rise
Listen for “strange” noises. Clangs, Bonks, Whistles, Squeals, Chattering, Rattles, Clunks etc.
Shift Into Each Gear (Foot on Brake!!)
Switch On Dash Air Conditioner (Got Cold Air?)
Select Dash Heat and Defrost (Got Hot Air?)
Shutdown After Everything Warms Up to Operating Temperature
Re-Check Oil Level, Fill if Needed
Re-Check Transmission Fluid Level, Fill if Needed

GENERATOR CHECKLIST
Check Generator Compartment for Oil Leaks
Check generator and Wiring for Obvious Problems
Check Oil Level, Fill if Needed (Coolant too! If you have it)
Start Generator
Check for leaks
Check for Transfer Switch Operation
Run for 30 minutes (or so)
Check Voltage at Sockets without Load
Check Voltage at Sockets with Load
Shutdown Generator
Turn On Inverter
Check AC Power From Inverter

PROPANE SYSTEM
Turn On Gas at Main Tank Valve
Listen and Check for Leaks (Use handheld detector)
Check for leaks in Refrigerator, Furnace and Water heater Compartments
Check for leaks Inside (Stove, Water Heater, Furnace, Refrigerator)
Light 1 Burner, Check for Blue Flame and Even Burn
Turn Off
Check Other Burners.
Turn Off Stove Valves
Set Thermostat to Heat
Confirm Furnace Ignition
Confirm Heater Vent Airflow and Temperature
Shut Off Thermostat
Confirm No Leaks from Valves in the OFF Position

APPLIANCE CHECKS (On Both Shore Power AND Generator/Inverter)
Attach Shore Power (or use Generator)
Turn on Air Conditioner, Wait for it to engage
Check for Cool Air
Check for Heat Strip Operation (if installed)
Shutdown Air Conditioner
Inspect Microwave
Set Clock
Run for 1 Minute (heat something up!)
Check Coffee Maker Operation (VERY Important!)
Check Fridge DC Control Panel Operation
Turn On Refrigerator (on AC Power)
Confirm Refrigerator Heating Element is Warming Boiler Outside)
Switch Refrigerator to Propane (LP Gas)
Confirm Flame Ignition (By Sound AND Visually Outside)
Switch Back to Electric (or AUTO)
Check Refrigerator Door Seals and Lock(s)
Turn On Entertainment System
Check Inputs (Antenna/VCR/DVD/Satellite/VGA)
Check Sound
Raise/Lower TV/Satellite Antenna
Turn Everything Off.

WATER SYSTEM (without Sanitize) 
Re-Connect Water Pump to Tank
Set Valves to Tank Fill
Re-Insert Water Heater Drain Plug
Close Low Point Hot and Cold Water Drains
Check All Fittings
Close Faucets
Partially Fill Water Tank (Hose or Connect City Water)
Set Valves To Operating Position
Pressurize System (Pump and City Water, One at a time)
Check For Leaks
Open Each Faucet Until It Runs (to Remove Antifreeze and Air)
Check Toilet Main Drain. (Holding Antifreeze?)
Check Flush Fill and Drain
Fill Fresh Water Tank (and/or Use City Water)
Check For Leaks (Look in All Cabinets! Under Coach as Well!)
Open Faucets and Run Water until Clear
Check For Leaks AGAIN!!
Turn On Water Heater (Propane)
Check for Ignition
Confirm Hot Water and Flow
Check For Leaks (Inside Hot Side Plumbing AND Outside Water Heater Compartment)
Switch Water Heater to Electric
Confirm Hot Water and Flow
Shut Everything Down

LAST
Close All Windows
Shut Off All Appliances
Shut Down Propane Gas Flow
Turn Off Lights
Close and lock Doors.

After completing the steps, it is hopeful you will find a little more peace of mind knowing you were thorough in your preparation. Good RVing!