Texomaland Springtime: Dewinterization

The bass spawning season is upon Texomaland, and the rain is pouring down rivers, so it must be springtime at Lake Texoma. It is time for busy season when the tourists will be at Lake Texoma in droves. Hagerman’s wildflowers will soon put on their yearly array. The bluebonnets will grow thick on the banks of our highways, we hope. The birds will be migrating in and out, but the TPWD reported bird action on fish has been slow, today, March 8, 2023.

What else do we have to do in the springtime? Oh, check our lawn maintenance equipment, or better yet, find a great lawn mowing service. And we have to dewinterize our RVs and boats.  Hopefully for your boat, you drained all the water from your engine components, ballast pumps, and heaters, even if you have a closed-cooled engine before the freezes in the winter.

Dewinterize Your Boat

We know there are hard core boaters and fishing guides that boat year-round at Lake Texoma. There are marine services that will dewinterize your boat, but they really like you to have both their winterization and dewinterization services. Some of these services offer guarantees on certain mechanical failures if you have them perform both services. If you dewinterize your boat yourself, these are a few important things to remember. 

Inspecting your boat before putting it back in the water can save you a lot of money and leave you more prepared for unexpected problems throughout the boating season. If you covered your boat, first be cautious when rolling back the cover and check for damage from pests. The main things to do are clean and inspect if there is damage to the battery, belts, engine, fuel filters, fuel lines, hoses, and propeller. 

Look for cracks in hoses and worn belts. If you did not change your oil before winter, now is the time to change it. Clean the distributor, carburetor, and plugs, and inspect your thermostat and water pumps. Check the engine impeller, the rubber piece that pumps the raw water to the engine components, for dryness. Water entering the bilge pump activates the switch, so check your bilge pump to make sure it is working correctly. Replace the antifreeze in your cooling system 

Check your battery and make sure it does not need replacing. It is a good precaution to keep a trickle charge on your battery over the winter. If the battery is in good shape, charge it before your first launch. Make sure all your navigational lights are in working order and all your safety gear is ready. Check the expiration date on the fire extinguisher, and inspect your horns and flares. Then, powerwash your boat to get rid of any mildew and dirt build-up. 

Dewinterize Your RV Or Motorhome

You may have parked your RV in your yard, under a topper, in a storage shed, or you may have covered it. You can check for all kinds of issues you do not want to arise while you are on that first campout of the year or anytime. The first thing is to check the exterior for cracks, leaks, and dried out caulk. Seal them because this keeps water from entering your RV and causing mold.

For extra mold protection, set up a small dehumidifier, or two if you have a large RV, and check the water collection tank every few hours, and in the mornings. Inspect your tire pressure and tread. Tires can develop flat spots when sitting on grass, dirt, or asphalt for long periods of time, which cause vibrations, handling difficulties, or thumping noises while driving. Buy a new tire if you have a flat spot; they are not worth the risk.

Make sure your engine’s fluid levels are full, such as coolant, oil, power steering fluid, transmission fluid, and windshield washer fluid. If your engine is diesel, look at your diesel exhaust fluid. Start your engine and ensure the gauges, lights-inside and outside, and systems in the cab are working properly. Inspect your batteries and put a charger on them because they lose their charge when sitting. Make sure their fluids are full and add distilled water to lead-acid batteries if needed. 

If your RV uses propane, look for cracks and dryness in the propane hoses, fill the propane tanks, and then check all the propane appliances. Look at your hot water heater tanks and clean them thoroughly of antifreeze, and then they are ready to fill with potable water. Manufacturers advise against using antifreeze in hot water heater tanks because it can harm the anode rod.

An anode rod is a magnesium or aluminum rod that stretches through the hot water tank’s interior to attract particles of iron and different minerals in the water using an electrochemical process. The anode rod takes on the erosion instead of the tank. If your RV has a generator, look for debris or corrosion on the exhaust system, check the oil level, and put fuel in it, unless it is solar. Oil can sludge, so also make sure the oil is clean.  

If your RV has solar panels, inspect them for hail or snow damage. Birds and small animals may have taken cover under them, so clean that debris out. Then, make sure your solar panels are completely charged before moving on to test the appliances and electrical system. Make sure all your inside and outside lights are working, plus speakers, awnings, and appliances.

Test your jacks and hydraulic jacks if you use them. Extend slideouts and check for any damage or water leaks. The slide seals are important and if you can see sunlight through them, replace them. Check your owner’s manual for lubricating your slides. Flush and sanitize your plumbing system. If you want to flush it through your water tank, heat up the hot water tank, and turn on the water pump so you can check each water source and make sure the hot water is hot and the cold water is cold. 

Or you can use a water hose to flush out the plumbing system, but you will not be able to check the hot water, so you need to fill its tank and heat the water up. If you put antifreeze in your plumbing system, some RVs have low-point drains, a small valve at the lowest point in your RV, so open it to help flush the antifreeze out of the pipes. And check each water source. 

Check your owner’s manual for dewinterizing dishwashers, icemakers, and washing machines because they have special instructions. Empty black and grey water tanks. Now you are ready to sanitize the water system to clean out bacteria that may be growing in the lines. Check your owner’s manual to make sure what products you can use and if you can sanitize your hot water heater. Some brands can become damaged.  

Next, replace the water filters if you have them. Check your air filters, and you should check them often throughout the season as you use your RV. Dirty air filters can use more energy, reduce airflow, and even damage the AC system. You can wash some air filters, but others need replacement. 

Check your fire extinguishers’ expiration dates, and put new batteries in the carbon, LP, and smoke detectors. Awnings tend to grow mildew. Extend the awning, wash it, and let it dry thoroughly. Check the window screens and look for holes bugs can crawl through.  It is a good idea to wash and wax your RV. Then all you have to do is clear the dust out of the interior, refresh anything that needs it, and check all your camping gear and grills.  

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Fishing Report from TPWD (Nov. 29)

GOOD. Water normal stained; 65 degrees; 2.55 feet below pool. Striped bass fishing is good with gulls working active fish around main lake river ledges in 60-70 feet of water. Drift live shad or flukes suspended 30-40 feet down. Largemouth and smallmouth bass are fair on live shad along the bluffs, and the main lake points off the banks. Swimbaits are landing catches off the boulders and on the clay banks. Catfish are good, drifting large cut shad chunks along deep flats off the river channels in 50-60 feet of water. Bigger fish will start to move shallower with colder water temperatures. Crappie are slow on jigs and minnows fishing brush in 10-15 feet of water and around docks. Report by Jacob Orr, Lake Texoma Guaranteed Guide Service. Striped bass are good with daily limits under the birds. Fish midlake schools with slabs, swimbaits and live bait. There is some deadstick action. Report by John Blasingame, Adventure Texoma Outdoors.

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