Winterize your T@B 400 in 10 easy steps!
Our lifestyle tends to take us from one extreme to another in a short amount of time. It seems like just yesterday we were sweltering in mid-90’s down in Texas with our T@B 400 air conditioner running full-blast, but now we’re freezing in Flagstaff, Arizona where the temperatures our first few days were single digits. Now, here we are haphazardly trying to figure out how to winterize our T@B 400 for the first time, just like anyone else out there in a new camper.
Thanks to the expertise of Creed at nuCamp RV we had a good idea of where to start with the winterization process. Of course, we had to put our own little twist on things avoid putting any antifreeze into our fresh water system. Antifreeze is great for really low temperatures, but makes de-winterizing a bit more of a hassle since you have to thoroughly flush all of the antifreeze out of your fresh water system.
This is where dirt cheap vodka comes in handy. Vodka is a neutral spirit, which means it’s a mostly flavorless and odorless liquid that has a freezing point around -16 to -17 degrees Fahrenheit (assuming you use 80 proof vodka). OK, we’ll admit that the cheap stuff does taste and smell pretty awful, but it’s better than tasting antifreeze in your water after you de-winterize.
Here’s a quick outline of the steps for winterizing your T@B 400 (the same directions apply to the Avia and Cirrus trailers). You can us vodka like us or use RV antifreeze like most people. For more information on how to complete each step make sure to go watch our video on YouTube where we show a lot more detail.
Step 1: Drain fresh water tank
Drain the fresh water tank via the valve located underneath the camper near the driver’s side tire.
Step 2: Turn on pump, open all faucets
Turn on the water pump and open all faucets (kitchen sink, bathroom sink, indoor shower, outdoor shower) until water quits coming out.
Step 3: Empty low point valves
Open the low-point drain valves one at a time (order does not matter) until water quits coming out. These valves are located immediately inside the hatch door on the driver’s side of the T@B 400. The water will drain out of the bottom of the camper directly beneath the valves.
Step 4: Open Alde Pressure release valves
Open the Alde pressure relief valves one at a time (order does not matter) until water quits coming out. These valves are located a little farther inside the hatch door and are yellow. Again, the water will drain out of the bottom of the camper directly beneath the valves.
Step 5: Flush toilet
Flush the toilet to get as much water out as possible.
Step 6: Empty black & bray holding tanks
Drain the blank water tank, per normal procedure (RV dump station, etc.). Next, drain the gray water tank. We use biodegradable soap in our kitchen sink so that we can drain our gray water just about anywhere. Draining black first, then gray will allow the gray water to rinse out main drain line a little bit.
Step 7: Switch Alde to bypass mode
Set the Alde to bypass mode using the bypass valve located immediately upon opening the hatch door on the driver’s side of the T@B 400.
Step 8: Input anti-freeze or vodka
Introduce vodka (or RV antifreeze) into the water system. This can be done two different ways:
Insert vodka/antifreeze into the fresh water tank: Pour about 4-5 gallons of vodka or antifreeze directly into the fresh water tank via the tank inlet on the driver’s side of the T@B 400. Pros: This is easier to access since the fresh water tank fill connection is on the outside of the camper. Cons: This requires about 4-5 gallons of fluid (at least double versus inserting the fluid directly into the pump). When it’s time to de-winterize your fresh water tank will be contaminated with vodka or antifreeze and require a thorough flushing.
Insert vodka/antifreeze directly into the water pump: This is best done with a little teamwork. First, disconnect the pump inlet from the connection closest to the fresh water tank. Then have one person hold a container of vodka or antifreeze with the pump inlet hose dipped inside of it, while the other person turns on the pump. Leave the pump running until the fluid has all gone into the pump and lines (this will only take a few seconds). Repeat this a few times until there’s plenty of fluid in the pump and water lines. Pros: This requires only 1-2 gallons to get vodka pumped through the water lines. This method is easier to de-winterize since there’s no vodka or antifreeze in the fresh water tank. So, the flushing process is quicker and doesn’t waste as much water. Cons: The pump inlet is harder to reach than the fresh water inlet. This requires removing a few screws to remove the wood panel located underneath the refrigerator (for us) or the wardrobe in other floor plans. With the panel off, you’ll have to lay on the floor to access the pump inlet and insert the vodka/antifreeze.
Step 9: Open all faucets to fill pipes with anti-freeze/vodka
Get the vodka or antifreeze into your water lines. Repeat the same process as above a few more times, but with the water faucets and shower heads all open until vodka starts running out of them.
Step 10: Pour liquid into drains
Pour any leftover vodka or antifreeze down the drains. Antifreeze will work just fine here since the fluid will ultimately end up in your gray/black tanks and not contaminate the fresh water tank.
About ¼ gallon in the kitchen and bathroom sinks
About ½ gallon in the shower drain
About ½ gallon down the toilet
We prefer the vodka method for the ease of de-winterizing once we’re back in warm weather. Typically, we don’t stick around the cold for too long. So, we like being able to quickly de-winterize and get back to using our kitchen sink.
Winterizing your camper can be a little intimidating the first time or even the tenth time. It’s one of those things that most people only do once/year, which makes it pretty easy to forget all the steps and wonder if you did things right. Hopefully this video takes out some of the guesswork and lets you winterize your T@B 400! The process is essentially the same for the Cirrus truck campers and the new Avia that should all have the dedicated Alde bypass valve, too!
Here’s to happy camping all winter long…
Extra content now available on our Patreon page!