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Old 04-04-2010, 05:06 PM   #1
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I have a leak somewhere????

Hey everybody hope everyone is doing well, I have been working 18 hours a day for weeks now but finally got the weekend off and thought I would check out the plumbing system on the sunline Saturn, and like everything else on the camper, this to has a small problem but maybe a big solution.
After I filled my fresh water tank up and let the pump get the system pressurized, I thought I had got lucky but no, the pump would come one and run for 3 or 4 seconds at a time every minuet or so. So after checking every plumbing joint in the camper twice without finding a leak I realized the leak is between the galvanized tin on the bottom of the camper and the floor. My question is what is the best way to reseal the tin after I cut it to gain access to the leak?
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Old 04-04-2010, 07:26 PM   #2
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Hi Paul

Since it seems like you checked all fittings you can see, there may be one other cause to making your pump cycle like you describe. And before you tear into the bottom of the camper, hunting may want to check.

The pump itself may be a problem. There are internal check valves that set when the pump shuts down to stop backflow into the fresh tank. If there is dirt in those valves you can get blow by and be leaking inside the system.

To help trouble shoot this, if you have access to compressed air, unhook the pump on either the downstream or upstream side. Attach in the order of 40 to max 50psi air pressure and ideally a gage in the temporary hookup plumbing. Once the system is charged, valve (seal) off the compressed air supply and watch the gage. If the pressure drops much over 5 to 10 minutes, then you are leaking out of the system somewhere. If there is no leak of pressure;

Unhook the pump suction hose and pump discharge hose. Pressurize the downstream side of the pump with the suction port open. Again use no more then 40 psi for this check. If the check valves in the pump are leaking, you can hear it, and or valve the supply off and watch the gage.

If you have no compressed air, then attach a temporary suction hose to your pump and put it in a bucket of water. Turn the pump on, let it charge the system. Then pull the hose out of the bucket and hold it up above the inlet to the pump. If you are getting blow by water will be backing out of the hose.

If the leak is in the down stream piping, well you have to trace that out however you get to it. If it is in the pump, I assume you may have a Shurflo standard pump. If it is not too old they do sell rebuild kits. Or a whole new pump as a new pump can be about the same as the kit some times. Cleaning the pump is a 50/50 chance at it working. I had one drive me nuts, gave up and bought a new variable speed pump and never looked back.

Sunline did not seem to put inlet filters on pumps. At least on my 2, 2004’s did not have any but I added them. 1 small piece of dirt can cause a lot of grief in that type of pump. Either it will not catch prime or you get blow by.

I am not familiar with the bottom of your camper sheet metal. If no one else has any ideas, take a few pics and we can give you some options. If you can drop the entire underbelly, then you do not have to do a patch. If it is 100% sealed into the sides of the camper, well then a patch may be the way to go.

Good luck and please report back once you find the problem.

Hope this helps

John
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Old 04-05-2010, 07:20 AM   #3
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Thanks johnb, when I get home from work I will try and pressurize the system with air. I hope it's just dirt because the tin on the bottom of the camper sits on top of the frame and under the floor so there is no way of just dropping the whole sheet of tin, I will post pics this evening, have a great day.
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Old 04-05-2010, 06:34 PM   #4
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Well, I do have a leak, I tied my compressor in after the pump and I slowly lost pressure now I have to try and find it without being able to see it or hear it. Here's a pic of the tin under the sunline, Im still scratching my head as to how locate a leak I can't see.
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Old 04-05-2010, 07:42 PM   #5
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Paul,

Sorry to hear you have a leak. "IF" I am thinking correctly, you should NOT have to look for water lines between the floor and the tin underbelly. The water lines are run above the floor on the inside of your trailer. You need to look for them, they can/will go thru walls & cabinets, usually around the perimeter walls. Start at the pump and work your way towards the faucets & toilet. Good Luck.

Kitty
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Old 04-07-2010, 05:34 PM   #6
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Well kanyonkitty your right, turns out I don't have any plumbing between the tin and floor, me thinking there were was just my camper inexperience talking, I remember thinking to myself, "self that don't make much sense, putting plumbing where you can't get to it to fix it" and like always I ignored my self and opened my mouth and proved I should learn to be a better listener. On the subject of the darn leak I can't seem to find, well wouldn't you know it my wife found it ( I wont live that down for a while ) and not only did she find it but she found it in about 3 minutes ( it will be even longer before I live THAT down ). Seems that while I thought checking the same joints over and over again, as by some magical property of pex tubing, the leak would show up only after I looked at it for the 3rd time, my wife, who is much smarter than me, knew that if I had already checked all the joints then the leak must be as she put it " somewhere else " and then as if by some physic ability, she opened the cabinet that has the water heater tank in it and sticks her hand in by the tank and feels around for a bit and then calmly says " well here's your problem, the tank has a hole in it", and sure enough it does but in my defense I was only checking plumbing joints and not the underside of tanks!
So now looks like I have to change out the water heater, well if I want hot water that is, but maybe the hole can be fixed in the tank, I am not sure how bad it is but I will take it out friday if I get the time and have a better look and will post pics of the endeavor, or maybe I will let my wife do it, that way it will get done in half the time!
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Old 04-07-2010, 09:15 PM   #7
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Paul

Glad you found your leak! And I must admit your story brought a reality chuckle to me. From experience, I can tell you this will not have been the 1st time or the last time….

Just think if you had taken up the floor looking for the pipes.... I missed telling you that. Glad Kitty reminded you.

Good luck with the HW heater.

John
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Old 04-07-2010, 11:52 PM   #8
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If you do find a way to patch it without pulling it, I'd love to hear it. Mine has a small split on the bottom too...
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Old 04-08-2010, 09:31 AM   #9
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Just my personal opinion on "repairing" a WH. The biggest problem with ANY trailer is water intrusion. So I personally would not attempt to repair a WH, as I would never trust the repair, especially on your older WH. Yeah, I know new WH's aren't cheap, but neither is discovering that the leak repair has failed and been doing damage to your rig for any length of time. Water IS NOT your rigs friend. Gary wanted to repair a WH that we have here instead of getting a new one, but I knew I would NEVER trust is, so we bit the bullet and ordered a new one.

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Old 04-09-2010, 06:36 PM   #10
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kitty, your 100% correct on water being the worst thing ever for a camper, seems the number one thing on older campers ( and some newer ones ) is rot, and I agree about repairing an old water heater but if the tank is welded by someone who knows how to weld then the repair would be just as strong as the rest of the water heater but if you don't know a welder that will do it for free then you will have more in the repair than an old water would be worth, doesn't make much sense to spend 50.00 on a weld when a brand new updated water heater is only 280.00. well for my model of water heater, but if I had a 1000.00 water heater, then a welded repair would look more attractive.
As a side note here is a company that will fix your water heater tank for 50.00 + shipping but if you know a local welder I think you could get a better deal.
http://www.americanweldinginc.com/al...ank-repair.php

Also I have no experience with this company, so I can't say if they can do what they say they can.
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Old 04-10-2010, 12:14 PM   #11
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This may be advice like “Closing the barn door after the horse got out".

When I winterize the very last thing I do is to take a 2ft 3/8 plastic hose and siphon out the remaining water in the hot water tank via the drain hole. You would be surprised just how much water is left and the amount of scale and sludge that can siphoned out.

I have heard of hot water tanks splitting because either not enough or no anti freeze was in the remaining water.
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Old 04-10-2010, 12:23 PM   #12
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Well in my case it was like buying a barn that was supposed to have horses but later finding out there was no horses because there were no doors. Its always a bad feeling to find out you didn't buy what you thought you did but on the + side, if the camper would have been in good working order I would not have tried to remodel it and would not have first hand experience on how campers are put together, so I am glad for that.
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Old 04-10-2010, 07:06 PM   #13
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It is certainly a good idea to flush out the water heater at least once a year. I can't find a picture, but Camco--I believe--makes about a foot long small diameter wand that attaches to a garden hose. JohnB used a picture recently, but I can't find it now. It creates a lot of pressure when stuck in the drain hole and does a good job flushing. Some of us who do most of our camping on long trips will also drain the hot water tank in between trips rather than have the water sit uncirculated for weeks on end.

While siphoning the last bit of water out of the hot water tank may make us feel better, leaving it in absolutely has nothing to do with a tank freezing and rupturing. RV water tanks are mounted horizontally. The water below the drain hole will freeze up the sides of the tank expanding into that ever increasing space. However forgetting to drain the hot water tank is a serious oversight and will almost certainly cause the tank to rupture creating a major mess by the time it is discovered in spring.

Hot water tanks should have a winterizing bypass. It is not a good idea to run any antifreeze into them. The antifreeze will be difficult to flush out and could taint the water for at least a weekend's worth of camping. I have also heard, anecdotally, that heating an antifreeze solution in the tank will create permanent odor problems.

So, summer is coming. If you don't have a hot water tank bypass put it on your to do list along with a winterizing kit for the water pump.

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Old 04-11-2010, 09:51 PM   #14
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Here is the flush tool HenryJ was describing




Options for a cracked tank is a new tank. However with the cost of a new tank one wants to have a new system as replacing just the tank on a old system still leaves all the controls just as old.

Here is a new tank for the vintage I have in my camper.

http://www.rvdealership.com/rvdstore...inner-kit.aspx

For that kind of pricing, I will get an entire new one

Good luck and hope this helps

John
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