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trainjunkie 09-10-2012 03:23 PM

Bigfoot outdoor winter storage
So I'm just about finished with my work in Alaska for the season and will be heading home to California in a couple weeks. I was originally going to take my 17' Bigfoot with me but I just found out that I will be recalled to work here in January instead of the customary recall in May.

Since I'll only be away for three months, and I have to drive back here in January, I decided to leave the Bigfoot here. I really don't want to tow a TT 4,500 miles on the Alaska Highway in January. It's too cold that time of year to actually use it so it would pretty much just be dead weight. But I will need it here in the Spring and Summer next year for a work assignment in a remote part of the State so in order to make sure I have access to it, I decided to store it here.

I only have an outdoor space in a storage lot. I plan to do the normal winterization and cover it but what else do I need to consider before storing it? My checklist at this point is:

- Winterize plumbing and tanks
- Remove battery and propane tanks and store indoors (shed)
- Use stabilizing jacks under rear of frame
- Lubricate locks and hinges with lock de-icer
- Cover with one of those trailer covers sold on eBay

I'm not concerned with the tires since they will be replaced in the spring before I use it again. The old gray polybutylene plumbing is already shot so I will be replacing it with PEX, as well as replacing the water heater, in the spring.

There is nothing else in the trailer except for dishes and utensils.

Am I overlooking anything? What about snow load on the roof? Is that an issue? Should I do something to prop the ceiling up from the inside to give the roof some added strength?

Any ideas/suggestions welcomed. Thanks!


Carol H 09-10-2012 06:27 PM

Mike in areas of high snow load I know that some folks put in a 2 x 4 braces in the middle of the floor areas - one 2 x 4 on the floor and one across the roof and one tapped into place between the two running from the floor to the roof. The ones on the roof and the floor are normally a few feet long in order to spread out the load.

trainjunkie 09-10-2012 06:46 PM

Hi Carol,

That is exactly what I was thinking about doing to "shore up" the roof. Thanks for confirming my thoughts on this. Seems like the prudent thing to do.



Donna D. 09-10-2012 07:03 PM

I completely agree with Carol. This is a prevention issue and I think it's better to put in the brace(s) and not need it than have regrets you didn't!


cpaharley2008 09-10-2012 07:30 PM

You also may want to keep a tilt on your unit to facilitate run off.

trainjunkie 09-28-2012 03:42 PM

2 Attachment(s)
Thanks to everyone for their suggestions. Thought I'd share a couple pix of the roof support I made.

Because the ceiling isn't completely flat, nor parallel to the floor, and with the roof vent intruding on the ceiling plane, I got some thick, high density foam strips and glued them to the top of the upper 2x4 supporting the ceiling. The foam serves two purposes. One, it protects the ceiling from getting dented or scratched by the lumber (especially later when the weight of the snow is on the roof). And two, it fills in the irregular gaps across the length of the ceiling where the support is.

I used thick pieces of foam where the lumber meets the ceiling, and thin pieces under the vent frame. The foam is compressed quite a bit already because I cut the upright 2x4s to a length that required them to be tapped into place so they are tightly wedged between the upper and lower 2x4s. The ceiling and floor pieces are 6-feet long in case anyone is wondering.

I added some metal "L" brackets to one side of all the joints just to keep it from possibly popping apart unexpectedly. The whole project only took about 20 minutes to do and I suspect it will do the job even if we get a large snowfall this winter here like we did last winter.

Again, thanks for all the suggestions. I'm heading out of Anchorage tomorrow for California but when I return I'll be bringing a bunch of goodies with me to repair and update my Bigfoot so it's in perfect working order for the spring and summer.



cpaharley2008 09-28-2012 04:52 PM

that should do it!!!

kirkman 09-28-2012 06:13 PM

Looks good!!!!

Donna D. 09-28-2012 06:21 PM

:thumb Looks like the ticket!

Carol H 09-28-2012 09:25 PM

Thats it! Now you will be sure to have the lowest snow fall recorded in history this winter :D

trainjunkie 09-28-2012 11:14 PM


Originally Posted by Carol H (Post 336661)
Thats it! Now you will be sure to have the lowest snow fall recorded in history this winter :D

That would be a-ok with me. I have to drive back here in JANUARY! :omy

rick.a 10-02-2012 09:34 AM

You have already left for CA by now but I just want to mention your battery and propane tank. You said that these would be stored in a shed. Maybe someone staying in the area can deal with these items for you if required.

The propane tank is best stored outside or in a well vented location because the tank expells gas when it warms up and internal gas pressure increases. If the shed has any airflow it should be OK, but if it is sealed the tank should be put outside.

The battery if left to discharge and then freeze will be toast by Spring. But if kept on a "conditioning" charger it will be fine. I have left these batteries in an unheated shed on a conditioning charger for several winters in MA where it gets cold. When the internal temp of the battery goes down, the voltage decreases and the charger kicks in and brings the charge up and prevents the bat from freezing.

Have a good trip,

trainjunkie 10-07-2012 09:13 AM


Thanks for the tips. I'm back in California but I'm happy to report that the propane tanks are in a shed that is not very air tight. I will be back in Anchorage in January before the place warms up at all anyway so I'll put the tanks outside as soon as I see the temps finally climbing up.

I ended up putting the battery in the house. It would have frozen in the shed plus there is no power in the shed. It's in a large well ventilated room with no open flames and I have it on a Battery Tender. I suspect it will be fine over the winter where it is.

Thanks again for the insight.


SilverGhost 10-07-2012 01:38 PM

I just want to add one thing. Battery manufacturers store new batteries by freezing them. Of course they are fully charged and probably does not mean a hard freeze.


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