How to Winterize an Airstream Basecamp X: The Forced-Air Method
Updated: Jul 20, 2022
Winterizing your RV is necessary if you live in a part of the world that has temperatures below freezing for more than a few days at a time, or if you don’t have a heated place to store your rig during the winter. Winterizing isn’t hard to do on your own, and if you can figure it out, you save money, and you don’t have to worry about finding a reputable company close by to do the work. Bonus? If you like to travel during the winter, as I do, it’s easy enough to de-winterize and then re-winterize once you’ve returned home.
I have a 2020 Airstream Basecamp X with heated tanks. As with any winterization process, it’s best to consult your owner’s manual for help. My owner’s manual wasn’t exactly easy to follow, and the valves were almost impossible to locate in some areas, so I thought I’d share the process to help anyone who might be having similar issues.
Hopefully, my directions will be a Cliff Notes of sorts for your Airstream Owner’s Manual.
Tools needed: a bucket, Phillips-head screwdriver, flashlight, towel, rags, RV antifreeze, air compressor, air compressor adapter. Patience!
TIP: Before you begin, make sure your trailer is level from front to back and side to side. Also, make sure you’ve emptied your on-board water, and also ensure you are starting with an empty black/gray holding tank.
Open the city water intake valve for airflow and place a bucket under the freshwater low point drain valve and the Truma drain valves, which are located in the back of the trailer on the driver’s side. Open the valves to release the water. Turning on a faucet inside helps, too. I let the extra water from the sink empty into a bowl, so there isn’t water going back into the black and gray tank.
Open the Truma and water pump storage area located underneath the bench on the driver’s side of the rig. You will need a Phillips-head screwdriver to gain access to this area. The screws are hiding under the white plastic screw covers.
There isn’t an easy way to get a clear photo of the valve. It’s hard to get to. Lift up the black tubing and feel around for the valve. It's yellow!
Open up the pressure relief drain valve (by lifting the valve up). The yellow-colored valve is located underneath the black insulated heating tube. You will need to push the black tubing out of the way to locate the valve. Look underneath the heating tube closer to the wall of the bench that faces the inside of the trailer. The valve is approximately halfway between the two ends of the Truma.
Step 4 (a)
Close the valve that goes into the water tank.
Step 4 (b)
Close the valve that goes out of the water tank.
Step 4 (c)
Open the valve that allows the hot water and cold water to mix.
Place a towel underneath the water pump waterlines. Unscrew the inlet and outlet water lines from the water pump. Let the water drain out. Turn on the water pump for 3-4 seconds to have the pump sputter out any water. Turn off the pump. Reconnect the inlet and outlet water lines
Close the drain valves you opened outside of the rig in step 1 to help build up pressure.
Use an air compressor adaptor for the city water connection. Place the adapter on the city water connection. Hook up the air compressor and make sure you keep the output PSI under 50.
While the compressor is on, go inside of the rig and open up the different water faucets to clear out any remaining water. Once the water stops sputtering from the open faucet, turn it off. Kitchen sink: hot water. Kitchen sink: cold water. Shower: hot water. Shower: cold water. Toilet: flush the toilet until no water runs through the toilet.
Reopen the low point drain and Truma valves (that you closed in step 6) outside of the rig once more to ensure any water that was forced through the lines during step 8 drains one last time.
Turn off the compressor and remove the adapter. Put the cap back on the city water connector.
Return to the low point drain area and close both the fresh water valve and the Truma drain valves.
(Keep a rag handy to remove any antifreeze splatter). Pour RV antifreeze into the p-traps. Fill up the toilet halfway and flush. Refill the toilet again, so at least the seal is covered. Pour several cups down the shower drain. Pour several cups into the sink.
Final Things to Consider: Depending on where you store your Basecamp should determine what you do with your batteries. We either keep our RV plugged in, or we remove the batteries and use a trickle charger. Whatever you do, make sure you don’t keep the battery connection switch on and leave the batteries to drain. Some people like to remove the shower head and store it until the RV season starts up again. If you live in a place where you can get rodents, make sure you don’t have any open points for mice to get inside. Cover any openings with copper wool. I like to use an old sock stuffed with copper wool,* and I wrap the sock around the small opening inside where the pipes lead from the Truma to the drain valves.
It’s always sad when we have to put our campers away for the winter, but taking care of your RV is the best way to ensure you start out the spring season ready to roll! Good luck with your winterization, and may the warm weather return quickly!
*I used to use steel wool, since it’s a proven rodent deterrent. Since steel wool is flammable, I switched to copper wool. The Truma and the entire Truma storage compartment gets hot!