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Winterisation - 'Continuing Winter Use' & 'Hibernation


Winter Hibernation;-   For vehicles not being actively used during the winter period - Request Ideas Sheet No. 219.   See Ideas Sheets

Winterisation - Continuing Winter Use

    The notes below are re-produced courtesy of the Auto~Sleeper Service Centre and are purely a guide to assist you in the winterisation of your Auto~Sleeper and to allay any fears that you may have.

    Basically, the only facility requiring winterisation is the water system. You should have no concern with regards to the freezing of the system other than the water heater, since the water tanks are manufactured in a material that can cope with the expansion caused by freezing, although, of course, if your vehicle is being left unused for several days in freezing conditions, it would be prudent to drain the system fully. Surface freezing of the water in both fresh and the waste water tank will not cause any damage to the tank. The operation of the fresh water system may be affected since the fresh water is drawn off the lower part of the water tank, underneath any layer of ice that may have formed.

    It is, important that during prolonged freezing conditions, and at times when your Auto Sleeper is left unused, the water system is drained including the water pump. To drain the system completely open all tank taps, dump valve/drain tap and all internal taps. When water has finished flowing turn the water pump on to rid any residue water from the pump, pipes, pump filter and taps then switch pump off and leave all taps open. Later Auto Sleeper models are fitted with either the Truma Ultrastore, or the Carver Cascade/Rapide and instructions for draining and isolating these units and Valliant water heaters, are as follows:

    Questions are often asked with regards to the winterisation of the Thetford cassette toilet. Since these are positioned well in-board on the van and are well insulated, under normal working use in winter conditions, no winterisation is required. If necessary you may wish to put into the flushing tank a small amount of Glycol or similar anti-freeze to allow the toilet to function in extreme conditions. This is available from Thetford on 02476 - 322700 who will give any further advice required.

    Other than those mentioned above there are no other precautions that need to be taken in respect of the conversion side of your Auto Sleeper. If your vehicle is being stored in the winter for prolonged periods it is always wise to remove any detachable cushions/scatter cushions and keep these in your home. The fixed ventilation in each Auto Sleeper will allow the vehicle to breathe over the winter months, although it would be sensible, perhaps fortnightly or three weekly, to thoroughly air your Auto Sleeper perhaps using the Ultraheat/Carver Fanmaster to heat the interior of the vehicle to evaporate any residual moisture.

    On the automotive side, advice should be taken from your local base vehicle commercial dealer with regards to any specific instructions or indeed from the automotive section of the Motorhome Service Centre, but of course, it is always wise to ensure that prior to the winter your coolant is checked for anti-freeze content and to make sure that the specific gravity is of the correct reading. This can of course be checked and rectified by the Motorhome Service Centre on the number shown above. The automotive section can also carry out a winterisation Service on your base vehicle at a cost of £45.00 + VAT and can also be contacted on the number shown above.

    Another sensible precaution would be to disconnect the 12-volt electric clock, if fitted and the base vehicle and conversion batteries should be charged periodically to maintain them in good condition.

    If using your Auto Sleeper in particularly harsh conditions, the Motorhome Service Centre always advises the use of Propane instead of Butane for the gas supply since this has superior low temperature performance.

    If you have any fears in respect of the winterisation of your vehicle do please contact the Motorhome Service Centre direct on 01386 853511. They are always happy to discuss any concerns that you have, together with the retro-fitting of a frostat - a 12-volt heater in your fresh tank, which is a popular option for some owners and they would be pleased to fit for the cost of £408.83 inclusive of VAT.

    Hopefully the above answers any questions that you may have - a call to the Motorhome Service Centre at any time will allay any other fears that may arise.

    Previously issued Dec 2004 by Charles Trevelyan and updated by Mark Burdett Nov 2010