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Old 03-10-2015, 02:35 PM   #1
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THOR #1469
De-winterizing a Challenger

Question for all you folks with the residential refrigerators (Whirlpool) in a Challenger, how many days does it take to de-winterize the ice maker? My unit was winterized by the factory or dealer and I have had the ice maker running for 24 hours. It is just now getting to the point where the cubes are coming out semi solid and I am starting to see a fade in the pink color.

Based on the way it is going, my estimate is that this operation is going to take somewhere around three days.

For future reference if someone has a better method I'm open to suggestion. My thought is to disconnect the ice make line, allow gravity to remove as much anti-freeze as possible and crack the valve open to bleed the line to the valve. I think this will still require time to get out the stuff inside the ice maker through the slush, dilution and freeze method.

Again, I'm open to suggestions for the future.
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Old 03-10-2015, 06:03 PM   #2
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THOR #531
When I had my last boat, before I installed a water heater bypass kit on it, you had to fill it with anti-freeze to winterize it.

And in the spring time, I had to run water through it for about 30 minutes before it was clean enough for my satisfaction.

Even now, I run water through the lines for a good 20 minutes to ensure they are clear.

So, yea, for the little amount of water the ice maker uses for each load, I think you would be making ice for a month before the lines are fully purged.

You can buy one of those Antifreeze Refractometers and test the water as you purge the lines to see how much antifreeze is left in the lines. You can buy them on Amazon for as little as $25, all the way up to $150.

Get one that can measure Propylene Glycol (the pink RV stuff). Many of these refractometers will measure both Propylene Glycol, Ethylene Glycol (the normal green engine antifreeze), battery and brake fluid.

Like this one:

http://www.amazon.com/Antifreeze-Ref...2EAJMWC0454QR6

I plan on buying one in the near future. Since these are basically used to measure protection rather than residual antifreeze, the scale is calibrated in degrees of protection rather than PPM, but the bottom of the scale is 0% (no protection) I would think means no antifreeze remains.

Camco makes a refractometer, but it's over $100. And since some of the the $20 ones can measure Propylene Glycol, seems the cheap one should do the trick.

I see this could be useful not only for winterization to make sure you have enough antifreeze in the system, but also for spring commissioning to make sure all of it has been purged.

Anyway, seems yet another handy tool RV'ers should have.
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Old 03-10-2015, 06:35 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by FW28z View Post
... You can buy one of those Antifreeze Refractometers and test the water as you purge the lines to see how much antifreeze is left in the lines. You can buy them on Amazon for as little as $25, all the way up to $150.

Get one that can measure Propylene Glycol (the pink RV stuff). Many of these refractometers will measure both Propylene Glycol, Ethylene Glycol (the normal green engine antifreeze), battery and brake fluid.

Like this one:

Antifreeze/battery Refractometer Rha-200atc with Automatic Temperature Compensation - Multi Testers - Amazon.com

... Anyway, seems yet another handy tool RV'ers should have.

The one you listed also measures battery fluids. In my automotive days we used them to determine the strength of battery acid in lead acid batteries. A low reading was an indication a battery was ready to go belly up and not worth the time to try charging. They kind of lost favor with "maintenance free" batteries but seem to be making a comeback now.
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Old 03-10-2015, 08:55 PM   #4
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I think it might be a good tool to measure residual antifreeze in the system as you are flushing the fresh water system for spring commissioning.

At any rate, I am going to buy one to throw into my tool box as they are not all that expensive.
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Old 03-10-2015, 09:17 PM   #5
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THOR #1469
I agree with checking residual anti-freeze, I just mentioned the other possible use of the tool. I need to purchase one that reads RV anti-freeze as well.

My ice is still coming out pink, however, it is getting a little more solid with each cycle which tells me the level of anti-freeze in the ice maker system is being reduced.

On my class C I never ran anti-freeze through the ice maker. I turned off the ice maker water supply valve and then disconnected the water line going to the ice-maker so it could gravity drain for a day or two. After 1 or 2 days I reconnected the line and I have never had an ice maker line freeze even with temps below zero. On my class C the ice maker water supply line was behind a plastic access panel on the outside wall of the coach rather than under a sink drawer as in the Challenger.

Not sure if something is wrong with my logic but I believe what is inside the freezer is built to be frozen and as long as the lines outside the freezer are empty there shouldn't be a problem. Although there is always a first time, this logic hasn't failed me yet.
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Old 03-10-2015, 09:28 PM   #6
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I bet it is simply a valve that is outside of the "freeze zone" that fills the ice maker; you are right that the water line would freeze if it has non-running water inside of the freezer.

Seems if you could add a valve to gravity drain it, it would be OK.

Have you contacted Whirlpool and ask how they recommend winterizing it?
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Old 03-10-2015, 11:35 PM   #7
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Have you contacted Whirlpool and ask how they recommend winterizing it?
The answer is turn off the water supply at least one day in advance. After the last load of cubes drops turn off the ice maker by raising the wire. Turn off the refrigerator, wipe the inside down, use blocks of wood or Styrofoam to block the doors open for air circulation while the unit is in storage. No mention of pumping antifreeze through the ice maker.

I believe I will add the step of disconnecting the water feed line to allow for additional drainage for a day or two after the last cubes drop.

I have an old food storage hand operated vacuum pump that I may try to rig up to suck any excess water from the line. In fact, thinking about this, I may try rigging that vacuum pump tomorrow to suck out any additional antifreeze if I don't see clear cubes by morning.
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Old 03-11-2015, 01:18 PM   #8
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THOR #1469
Looks like it takes approx. 48 hours to clear the ice maker system of anti-freeze. Sometime overnight the ice maker started dropping what appear to be clear cubes. I plan to run it for another day to make sure all is well and clear.
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Old 03-11-2015, 02:33 PM   #9
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Just "thinking out loud"....
but perhaps you could shorten the time by pressurizing the lines with air, and letting the icemaker cycle once or maybe twice, then run through the flushing like you have done....
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Old 03-13-2015, 02:06 AM   #10
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Just "thinking out loud"....
but perhaps you could shorten the time by pressurizing the lines with air, and letting the icemaker cycle once or maybe twice, then run through the flushing like you have done....
That would more than likely work, however, I believe the better idea is, in the future, to winterize the refrigerator per Whirlpool's instructions, which does not include putting anti-freeze in the icemaker. I'm not sure if this was done by Thor or the dealer.
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