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Old 10-27-2013, 10:12 PM   #1
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more water found in a scary place

if i don't launch my camper down the hill, i will need to look into this wetness i found in the subfloor insulation. i noticed it while underneath the camper by sticking my fingers up the hole where the fresh water tank plug sticks out the bottom of the camper--see pic.

all i could think was that maybe the fresh water tank has a leak? i haven't filled it up yet, but there is a back drip from the line coming from the hot water heater. (don't know why and don't really care about that right now, but i do want to be able to use the fresh tank if possible. if i can't and it has a leak, then i probably need to close off that line and end that back drip from the hot water line.) how does water get into the subfloor??

suggestions? sugar coating welcome!! i'm in the mountains alone now, without my handyman dad to help with these fixes. was hoping to have all this taken care of, but new stuff showed up since i arrived. this water has me nervous.
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Old 10-29-2013, 01:07 PM   #2
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Sugar coating, eh? Well, could be that someone flushed it from beneath and got the insulation wet/ or it got wet from running through puddles or deep water. That's the sugar coating... Any visible leaks around the connection to the tank? That area immediately to the right of the connection into the tank in the photo looks a little suspicious. If you can, look/ feel around the flooring inside of the trailer for telltale signs of leakage also...warping of tiles/wood...or water stained carpet. If you can find the leak, you can drain the tank and patch it with some epoxy...there are even some products that will adhere and stick to a wet surface....but you really need to find the source of the leak. Also see that that connection to the bottom of the tank isn't leaking. Good luck.
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Old 10-29-2013, 08:47 PM   #3
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i remembered that when i was packing to move the camper was on a slant, and water started to pour out the corners.

today, i felt the subfloor at the point where the roof vent (black pipe from the black/grey tank to the roof). i could fit my fingers down the hole and into the insulation there. the pipe is next to the toilet, at the opposite side of the camper from the fresh tank plug (in the picture above). the toilet has had a small leak (i'm getting a new one next week). but i'm not sure that could be the source of so much water, for it to pour out the way it did while camper was slanted. or to saturate the insulation like it is.


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Sugar coating, eh? Well, could be that someone flushed it from beneath and got the insulation wet/ or it got wet from running through puddles or deep water. That's the sugar coating... Any visible leaks around the connection to the tank? That area immediately to the right of the connection into the tank in the photo looks a little suspicious. If you can, look/ feel around the flooring inside of the trailer for telltale signs of leakage also...warping of tiles/wood...or water stained carpet. If you can find the leak, you can drain the tank and patch it with some epoxy...there are even some products that will adhere and stick to a wet surface....but you really need to find the source of the leak. Also see that that connection to the bottom of the tank isn't leaking. Good luck.
Drake, I don't think it's from puddles or deep water, especially since i remembered about what happened on the slant. and i don't see any visible leaks next to the tank. like i mentioned, i think, i haven't filled the fresh tank yet, so there hasn't been a substantial amount of water in there (only a tiny bit from the backdrip of the water heater). and the floor inside the camper has no soft spots or signs of water damage. it is a vinyl floor, so is there another sign of wetness i should look for? maybe it's all from the toilet leak, but it's contained now and just such a small amount. i don't see how it could do so much damage.

next, i will fill the water tank and maybe there will be a visible leak so that i'll know what to fix! and replace the toilet. i think that the smell that has been a nuisance (i thought it was the black or grey tank) that i have another thread about is from mildew coming from under the bathroom floor. so, maybe it is all from the toilet leak, and over time it has molded out the insulation down there. i'm still working on getting that smell out.
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Old 10-30-2013, 07:42 AM   #4
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Noralee, they say yellowing of the vinyl floor is an indication of a leak/damaged floor.
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Old 10-30-2013, 01:17 PM   #5
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Trust me when I say the toilet "CAN BE" a source of such a leak! The switch for the water pump was on, ball valve on toilet ruptured; in a crack in valve wall. Fine spray....but boy did the water keep coming and coming. About 3 gals or so before I noticed water on the driveway.

At first I thought it was the left over rain water we had earlier in the day until I noticed a) everything about the driveway was dry from the rain and b) a drip coming from the bottom edge of trailer.

Oh, by the way. Do you need a new toilet or just replacement parts. Where is the leak?

I just order a ball valve assembly. $26.00. Easy to replace. Remove toilet first, which is easy also.
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Old 10-30-2013, 01:41 PM   #6
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Yes...over time the leak from the toilet could have been plenty to cause the damage you speak of. Did you examined the water fittings to the toilet and the seal of the toilet itself prior to deciding to buy a new one. There is a connection to the toilet from the flush pedal and a line that goes from the vacuum release ( a plastic thingy located in the back of the porcelain toilet itself) that hook up to the toilet. The pedal flush line hooks to the bottom of the toilet base area and the line from the vacuum release hooks up to the toilet bowl at the rear of the toilet. Also the porcelain toilet sets on a pedestal with a rubber seal between. That seal could also be leaking. That seal is made water-tight by tightening the radiator clamp type band around the pedestal top and the porcelain toilet bottom. If you haven't bought the toilet yet, I'd try tightening those prior to replacing the toilet.
Regarding the water pouring out of the corners....I am hoping this was on the outside of the trailer!!! If so, then because the trailer was parked on a slant, water could have collected in various spots and simply poured out when the trailer assumed a level posture. If the trailer hadn't set too long so that the water seeped through gaps somewhere, it should be okay.
The mildew is a problem...and can play havoc with any allergies you may have. If you can remove the source...wet insulation... do it...that is the best solution ...if not fix the leak and seal off the area where the smell emanates. My wife bought some sachets at Bed Bath and Beyond that are really powerful, yet not overwhelming.
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Old 10-30-2013, 05:55 PM   #7
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Drake,

I'm betting she has the Thetford Aqua Magic IV low profile hand flush ABS toilet like I have in my '83 T-1550.

If so and the leak is up near the in line connector, then it is very possible it is the ball valve assembly. If near the parting line of the seat area, then the seal there or internal lines (flush/rinse). If at the floor at sides, front, back, etc. the flange seal. If it is the flange seal, it may be that the hold down nuts (1/2" open end wrench) can be used to see if tightening will seal.

If she does have the same unit I have,make sure the pump switch is off first. Then just disconnect the in line at back of toilet. Undo the 1/2" hold down nuts and washer. Lift toilet off flange and flange seal. Take toilet outside and turn upside down. Water will drain out of rinse area. Phillips head screwdriver will remove two screws holding valve assembly. One screw holds the ball lever with metal connector. One screw holds the top back seat area where the metal connector connects to the rinse lever arm.

That is for the ball valve assembly [item #13168]. Do remove toilet otherwise you will play he** for no good reason or success. Been there tried it with machinist mirror, small lights, 3 packs of cigarettes, two bottles of Jack Daniels and no luck. Did get out and repaired but couldn't get back together. Removing toilet, turn-around and reinstall time under 2 minutes.

If problem is in the rinse/flush area, then there are a number of screws to be removed and careful separation of the sealant.

All in all this toilet is easy to work on once you understand what needs to be done and the right sequence they need to be done in.
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Old 10-30-2013, 07:22 PM   #8
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Thetford 13168 Aqua Magic IV Water Valve : Amazon.com : Automotive
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Old 10-30-2013, 09:35 PM   #9
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bunjin...good info...noralee.. I hope, between the two of us, you can conjure up a fix.
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Old 11-01-2013, 12:29 AM   #10
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oy, my message was just erased when i tried to quote something but all in all we replaced the old toilet. it was the aqua magic but when i turned it upside down all the screws were stripped but 1. i guess my dad had difficulty with it when he made the original fix in FL, the screws were rusted and hard to get out the first time. we fixed it the way the RV store repair guy had instructed (should've come here first!). can't remember exactly now, but i think it was when flushed water would come up through the valve under the seats (when it was flushed, water would spray up through valve but from what i could tell there wasn't a constant drip...) we were told that the toilets weren't made with the open valves anymore and to just plug that pipe to block the water. we thought it was fixed after that, but it was still leaking and now there was a constant drip --not from the back hose because the water was coming from above that, and not from the flange because we replaced that. i should add that the constant drip wasn't going on long enough to have filled the floor insulation with so much water, so not sure why the sub floor there is already moldy. but as i'm typing, i'm remembering that the kitchen faucet did have a leak and since it's next to the bathroom maybe it was the source of the insulation mildew. the faucet has been fixed for a while, but who knows before that, before i was the owner.

could have been the toilet fix we did wasn't good enough, or the new drip is from an entirely diffferent place. but i couldnt' even get inside to check things out again. the toilet was 30 yrs old, so it had a long life. and i'm on my own now and still have so many other things to fix. too many posts in the repairs and maintenance section! i'd like to spend some time in the other more fun sections i'm' very ready to move on.

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Regarding the water pouring out of the corners....I am hoping this was on the outside of the trailer!!! If so, then because the trailer was parked on a slant, water could have collected in various spots and simply poured out when the trailer assumed a level posture. If the trailer hadn't set too long so that the water seeped through gaps somewhere, it should be okay.

The mildew is a problem...and can play havoc with any allergies you may have. If you can remove the source...wet insulation... do it...that is the best solution ...if not fix the leak and seal off the area where the smell emanates. My wife bought some sachets at Bed Bath and Beyond that are really powerful, yet not overwhelming.
yes, the water was pouring out from the back corners of the camper to the ground. but it WAS parked on level ground for a several months, then when we were packing last things it was on a slant only for 2hrs or so, when the water came out. not sure what you mean by "If the trailer hadn't set too long so that the water seeped through gaps somewhere..."

yes, the mildew is a problem for me. and now this is coming together to make some sense. what are the optins to remove the insulation? i can't very well remove the whole floor! at some point where it is worst, under the bathroom, it seems like i will have to remove the shower pan and remove the insulation underneath. but i can patch it enclosed until then and with winter maybe it won't be as bad as if it were warmer. maybe when my dad comes to visit next.

it appears that the fresh water intake (inside) has been leaking very very slowly, so slowly that when i checked it last i didn't think it was leaking at all. but now for some reason when i checked it there is a slow slow drip. i am going to repair it when i put in the toilet. i was thinking that this together with the toilet leak (although the constant drip is only very recent, like a couple weeks and couldn't be the source of the mildew under the bathroom because of that. unless there was a constant internal leak that i couldn't see from before i bought it...) could have molded the insulation, but now i'm not sure again.

there's the old kitchen sink leak, main water line slow drips--not sure how long--, a new constant drip in toilet, and maybe water got into the subfloor other ways before i got it. there was current wet wood in the bathroom wall from water leak in the side molding that i had to repair. water could have leaked down to the floor from there and molded the insulation that way. so, these older things could have caused the mildew, and with the new leaks could be enough to collect enough water that it would drain out on a slant like i described. does this sound right to you ?

the only other thing i need to do still is check the fresh water tank and see if there is any leaking over there. i'm hoping that will all these fixes, the insulation over time will dry out on the opposite bathroom side, and probably like i said insulation under the bathroom will need to be sealed until it can be taken out because it's already molded. LOTS TO DO THIS WEEKEND! trying to get these things wrapped up before the cold sets in!!

thanks for sticking with me to work out this problem. couldn't get through all this (think i've had 1-3 repair posts going on for the last 6months!) without you and this forum. i got so freaked out when i was packing to live on my own and water was pouring out the corners of the camper. SH*T!
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Old 11-01-2013, 08:21 AM   #11
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Noralee... hang in there...while all these leaky things are problems...if you are warm and sheltered; you will be okay. Having the new toilet will be great and solve at least one of your problems. For now, locate the source of the leak and put a rag around the area to soak up the water until your dad comes to help find the leak if you choose to wait for his help. Also, having a tube of silicone caulk to seal off edges between linoleum, subfloors and fixtures is a good thing to have on hand...the sink leak could be due to a cracked plastic trap...the U in the drain line...this happens if folks don't put antifreeze in the drains and ice freezes in them and cracks the plastic, or it could be any and all of the connections from the sink faucets where the pipe exits the trailer need tightening... Get some plumbers putty to have on hand for minor leaks...it's not a permanent solution, but it will work temporarily.

The mildew...if you can access the area in any way, try to treat as much of the area as possible with some anti-mildew agent, then try to eliminate the smell with whatever works..baking soda, mothballs, those sachets I mentioned. Get this solved, as too much exposure to that stuff can cause serious allergy problems.
You are right...removing the leaked on flooring and the mildewed insulation beneath it is the best solution, but impractical for you at this time...so perhaps when you replace the toilet you can get a better look at what you are dealing with if that is the mildewed area. If possible, pull out any insulation you can, treat the area, and put in new insulation. If you cant access anything, then look for places where the smell can easily drift up around the fixtures, walls, and cabinetry...and caulk it.

The water running out of the trailer.... this one is a mystery to me... exactly where in relation to "the corners of the trailer" is important and what it ran out of...was the black or gray tank valve left open ?...or maybe out of the back bumper...in many Sunlines this is hollow allowing for flexible sewer line storage...sometime they can collect water if the bumper end cap is missing or improperly positioned. I can't think that the trailer interior held the water or you would have noticed sagging/stained/rotten wood on the floor/ceiling/walls.

Hoping for a productive week with your dad stemming the flow...
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