Cold Enough To Freeze Your Winnebago

This Christmas found us taking Muddlin’ Through back to the midwest for the holidays. The trip out went really well.
Driving was a pleasure, the scenery was great, and we stayed in a couple decent RV parks. One was actually quite nice – the USA RV Park in Gallup New Mexico. Friendly staff and nice level pull-through spots.

As we got further east, and further north, things became less smooth. The cold was starting to make its presence known. Two of our tire sensors stopped reporting. We were pretty sure this was just the year-old batteries not having sufficient remaining capacity at the low temperatues we were encountering. (This was later confirmed when we replaced the batteries and all was well.)

At one point I noticed the black tank had started reading as “Full”. I doubted that, but was cautious anyway – if there is one thing I never want to experience, it is an overflow of the black tank!

Here I should recap. Last year, we picked up our RV at Licthsinn in northern Iowa and spent a week or so running around in some of the surrounding states. Winter to be sure, and the Paseo handled it well. The Truma kept everything nice and warm even when just running on electricity.

Ok, now back to _this_ year. A different year altogether. It was cold last year, but nothing compared to this year. While the core temperatue in the RV was reasonable (between 60 and 70), the edges were beginning to get a bit too cold…

By the time we realized that we were not going to be able to keep things warm enough, we were already in trouble. Ok, we weren’t, but the Paseo was. Things were starting to freeze. We purchased a lot of RV system antifreeze and attempted to do a partial winterization, but alas once some lines are frozen, that’s no longer an option. And lines were frozen.

By judicious application of our hairdryer, we thawed the water tank drain and emptied all of the non-frozen water, which was most of it. We were also able to get antifreeze to at least the galley sink cold-water line, but that’s as far as we got.

So at that point all we could do is let things freeze (or in many cases, stay frozen). The interior core temperature never got below about 35 degrees, but at the edges it was as cold as 15 or 20.

On electricity it appears that the Truma was able to mainain a 30 to 35 degree differential between ambient and internal air temperature. Plenty if the ambient is, say, 25 degrees. Not enough when the ambient hits zero or a few degrees below.

A few days passed, and it was time to head home.

Once we had gotten to warmer temperatures, the black tank started reading properly, as expected 1/3. My guess is that some water had sloshed up and frozen on the tank right where the sensors read.

Once back in San Diego, it was time to assess the damage. With everything thawed, and the water pump switched back to draw from the tank, we hit the pump switch. The pump ran, and it was obvious that something was leaking since it ran longer than required to pressurize the lines. First leak – the outlet for the outside spray hose at the back of the passenger side bench. Upon removing the connector, the fitting had obvious cracks.

Since that is flexible hose, I was able to bend it over and hold it crimped with vice-grips. It still weeped a bit, but was sealed enough to resume testing.

Amazingly, that appears to be the only issue! Everything else seems to have either been kept just warm enough, had little enough water, or was flexible enough to come through ok.
The fact that Pex tubing has enough flex to not burst when it freezes was undoubtedly a huge factor.

The Truma was protected by the fact that the heat was on full time.

So between a little emergency winterizing, the Truma running 24/7, and a lot of luck I think we learned a good lesson quite cheaply.

Seriously hoping that although further trips may see freezing temperatures for a brief period (e.g. overnight in the desert), that we have done our last foray into days of time in conditions hovering around zero!

What We Did Right

  • Filled the pump with RV antifreeze, and as much of the cold water lines as we could.
  • Kept the Truma running (on electricity).
  • Opened up the benches, drawers, and cabinet doors to get as much warmth to the plumbing as possible.
  • Kept the tank heaters on.
  • Opened faucets and bled as much pressure and water from the lines as possible.

What We Did Wrong

  • Did not anticipate just how cold it was going to get, and how long it was going to stay that cold.
  • We should have winterized as much as possible much earlier in our trip. There was probably a point where we had already enjoyed the full use of the RV and could have winterized while it was still warm enough to do so completely before continuing our trip.
  • Forgot to remove the under-sink water filter before running antifreeze through it. Doh! Oh well, we had planned to replace it after this trip anyway, but still a bonehead move.
  • Did not deal with things before we were both fatigued and hurried.  That led to things like the water filter mistake.
  • Left San Diego.  😉



A Few Things Breaking

Been a rough trip for us failure-wise!

The glass door falling out issue finally bit us. The outer pane came out of the track. Inner pane stayed put.

All the fasteners are still in place, and the glass looks to be firmly held when in the forward closed position. More gap aft, so when it vibrated open as we travelled, it apparently had enough clearance to fall out.

Need to brace the lower track up just a bit to prevent this from happening again.

Second issue, more serious is our bathroom sink. Two of the four rivets, the two on the left came loose. Sink is now unusable. Good thing we have one in the galley! 🙂

Hoping I still have my pop rivet tool somewhere, and time to visit the hardware store to but some rivets.

And last but certainly least, both entertainment system remotes fell off their velcro mounting points on the wall. Guess it got hot enough for the adhesive to fail on the remote part of the strips. Now we have two remotes with sticky patches on their backs.

Oh well, have decided that is the perfect location to mount small fan anyway!

Curtains and Warm Fridges


Some follow-up on previous posts

Ordered the new door for the dump hose storage tube from Arrived quickly, and was easy to install. So no more need for the zip-ties!
Actually I ordered two just in case…

Our One-Place display that had decided we had 4 waste water tanks is now fixed. Did a reset by holding all three lower buttons down for a few seconds until it went into what appears to be a setup mode. One option was “reset”, so with some small trepidation I made that choice. Now back to thinking we have 2 tanks.

New Stuff

Curtains for Privacy

One feature that is a fair amount of effort to set up and take down is the folding privacy panels that get placed in the cab on the inside of the windshield and the side windows.
They do a nice job of adding privacy and a bit of thermal insulation, but the installation and removal makes them less than ideal, especially for a brief stay. And we have to unstick our TPM from the windshield.
We purchased a small tension-style curtain rod and place it between the forward wall-edge for the bathroom and the area by the side door. (picture below)
We are pretty happy with the small curtain rod. (38.5″) We still need to get actual curtains, so in the interim we have used a couple of the beach towels we carry. They have worked great!
(Ok, one incident where it fell down about 5:00am, but I take the blame for that – the towels are heavy compared to actual curtains and I didn’t use quite enough tension.)
While this does not give us privacy for the cab, it works great for the rest of the RV. If one of us was using the passenger seat swiveled for the small desk, they would have to be removed, but in that could be done temporarily quite easily.


Hot Weather and the Fridge

One thing I’m noticing that concerns me is the rise in the temperature of our refrigerator and freezer when it is hot and sunny and the inside of the RV is hot also due to us being absent and the rig closed up.

On a sunny 84 degree day we were gone for the morning and most of the afternoon. When we got back the inside temperature was 97 degrees. We did have the rear windows open and the Maxx-Fan at 30%. Maybe that needs to be a little higher?

The fridge is normally about 35 degrees and the freezer around 5. However, after heat-soaking all day the fridge was 47 degrees and the freezer was 14 degrees.

I’m ok with that freezer temperature, but the fridge was 10 degrees higher than I’d like it to ever be.

One thing I noticed was that since WGO keeps the stock windows, there is a window behind the cabinetry the fridge/freezer is in. Between the window and the cabinet back is a few inches of open space. This acts as a nice little greenhouse on sunny days. I wish WGO had filled that space with insulation. It’s pretty hard to access now, but I’m pondering filling it with something.

Repairs Re-attempted Plus Beach

Today we decided to visit our beachfront cottage. As in, we parked our Paseo on the coast road hard up against the beach!

It was still cloudy due to the marine layer, so the first things we did were RV projects.

Before we actually left for the beach, I installed the now-modified ladder bracket. Dremel to the rescue! With the slightly longer slot, that was the 5 minute job it should have been in the first place.

And now with the right screws, the cushions magnets went fairly smoothly. Did discover that for 3 of the 4 holes, I was hitting steel instead of wood. So that made it a slightly larger challenge, but not too bad. Just a surprise.

So, jobs from the previous day finally done.

I had picked up some foam weatherstripping to address a few issues.

Added some foam tape (stacked up) at passenger side window where the factory insulation left a gap. This is just the stuff between the window with the screen and the one aft of it.

Found a couple spots around the screen door structure that would let bugs in, so addressed those as well.


One rear door panel was loose, so removing an appearance cap and tightening the loose screw solved that rattle. Also added some foam tape to keep the long horizontal expanse that lacks screws from rattling as well. I hope.

Taped down the non-skid matting under the benches, and added a little more.

Jobs done, we relaxed and began to just enjoy chilling out on the beach!

After getting all our feet (8 of them! Well, 50% feet and 50% paws) wet and sandy, we discovered a couple things. One is that the running boards make a good place to put wet shoes to dry. The second and more significant is the usefulness of the water outlet and sprayer inside the rear doors. That did a great job of cleaning up the dog’s paws as well as our feet. Nice work Winnebago!

Mods and Fixes

Today we visited Muddlin’ Through to fix a few things.

Item one was our rusting ladder bracket. This bracket looked to be defective from the factory. When we picked up our Paseo Linda noticed some rust on it. We mentioned it to the Lichtsinn folks, but never had any follow up. I contacted them a while back about that and a few other missing/defective parts and the replacement bracket arrived several weeks back.

So, off with the old one, which was incredibly rusty in many places. Removing this we discovered a bit of hopefully inconsequential damage to the rear door where the bracket tabs (with no rubber padding by the way) had removed some material from the inside door lip.

Then the unpleasant discovery that to make the bracket fit, the screw hole had been drilled out a bit. That hole is already slotted, but not enough for where the captive nut was installed on the door. So that job had to wait until I could modify the new bracket.



On to the second job – installing the magnets that help keep the side cushions in place. Apparently the very first batch didn’t have these installed. Our cushions have the tabs with their magnets, but their mates are missing from the wall.

The screws I had bought were too long (I overestimated the thickness of both the magnets and the wall). So there was the second job also unable to be completed.

We slunk home in defeat.

Oh, we also noticed that our One Place display had decided we have 4 waste tanks instead of two.


Solar Panel Musings

I did some measuring today. I think another solar panel would fit in the back if you delete the TV antenna. Looks tight, but just possible. It would also require turning the panel mounting brackets around, which looked possible but I haven’t done it. Would make dealing with the mounting bolts a challenge, but should be possible with the right tools and dexterous hands!

Disclaimer: Until I or someone else actually does this, please don’t count on it being feasible!

A narrower panel (the stock one is about 26″ wide not including the brackets which in the “outward” orientation take 2″ or 3″ on each side) would make installation easier, and might also fit forward next to the Maxx Fan..

Paseo solar panel

The mounting bracket. With it outward like this it makes the bolts to the rack easy to access. To conserve space on the rack, looks like you could probably turn it inward.

Playing a DVD

One of the Facebook forum folks had this question, so I figured I would answer here on our blog as well since it’s probably something other might wonder about.

To play a DVD:
* Turn on the receiver via its power button.
* Turn on the TV power switch on the wall below the TV.
* Press “TV” and then “Power” on the larger remote to turn on the TV.
* On that same remote, press “Source” and choose HDMI from the menu that appears. (Hilight HDMI and then press Enter)
* Insert a DVD

After a short time (15 seconds?) the DVD will start to display its menu and such on the TV.

If the DVD was already inserted and you had the receiver on another source, you will need to switch it to “Disc” by pressing the “Source” button on the receiver until it displays “Disc” and then pressing “Enter” on the receiver.

Some of the receiver steps can be done via the remote, I only listed the way to do it via the front-panel controls above.