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Old 10-02-2019, 02:30 PM   #1
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Water inlet leaks

Hi, I noticed a leak at my water inlet pressure regulator AND at the camper frame directly below and to the left of it. Does that mean the inlet valve has gone bad from the inside? Should I replace both the regulator and the inlet valve?

Many thanks, noralee
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Old 10-03-2019, 09:17 AM   #2
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I re-read your post a few times to try and make sure I'm understanding the parts your are referring to.

You mentioned "water inlet pressure regulator" as all one word sort of indicting one item.

Then mentioned " Should I replace both the regulator and the inlet valve?" sort of indicating 2 seperate devices.

I'm going on the assumption this is what you mean.

On the side of the camper, provided by Sunline with the camper, is a garden hose female fitting that you screw a fresh water hose onto to pressuring the water system with fresh water. This is often called the "city water" hook up. It is the fresh water inlet valve that has a check valve inside it. It looks something like this. This is mine, yours may look a little different. Mine right now has a dust cap screwed in it as I'm not using it.


That inlet valve and fitting has 2 different gaskets in it that have been known to get old, brittle and leak. The easier one to replace is the hose gasket washer that you can see from the outside. Some have a screen molded in the washer. The screen helps keep dirt etc out.

The screen ones look like this
https://www.etrailer.com/RV-Fresh-Wa.../CAM20183.html

The non screen ones like this.
https://www.amazon.com/Camco-20153-G.../dp/B003GC96OU

The only thing I can caution about is the rubber itself. Since you are using them in a fresh water system, they should be rated for potable water applications.

You can find either of these at your local hardware store. And you can buy them by the piece usually. Just tell them it needs to be potable water rated.

To change it, pick out the old one, and then press in flat a new one.

If that hose washer leaks, it can leak between your pressure regulator and the city water fitting at the camper.

The other washer seal on the city water connection is inside the camper behind the city water inlet valve. Many of these use a PEX cone washer to seal the inlet valve to the PEX piping. The washer is between the PEX water hose inside the camper and the city water inlet check valve. Sometimes the nut on the end of the PEX swivel hose is loose and you can tighten it to stop the drip. Other times you need to replace the cone washer. They do get over compressed, hard and brittle over time and then leak.

On some floor plans, you can reach the back side of the city water inlet valve fitting from inside the camper as it is inside a cabinet etc. Other times you have to pull the inlet valve out from the outside.

This is the cone washer I'm referring too. Amazon use to sell these, but are now called out as "unavailable" https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I have found them online from Dryers RV
https://www.dyersonline.com/flair-it...vel-seals.html

You can go to your local hardware store and buy a 1/2" PEX swivel fitting and take the washer out of the fitting. The whole fitting might cost $3 to $5 to just take out the washer. But its fast and available. The only place I have been able to find just the cone washers for sale as a part, is from Flair-it. All the other brands do not list just the washer as a spare part.

The pressure regulator you spoke of, take a pic and post. There are many brand and types. Do not know which one you have.

Bottom line, if there is a water leak, yes for sure get it fixed, sooner is better. Or turn off the water while your not using it until you an get it fixed. Especially if the water has a path to going inside the camper walls etc.

Hope this helps

John
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Old 10-04-2019, 02:54 PM   #3
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John. Thanks a lot for your detailed troubleshooting. Yes, I can reach the interior of the city hookup from inside the camper. And yes, there are 2 separate issues going on. One with the hookup provided by the camper. The other from the regulator attached on the outside.

I will have to check the cone washer from inside the camper. There is definitely water leaking from the wall area of the inlet vave. And I will post a pic shortly of the regulator. That leak at least is only outside.
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Old 10-04-2019, 06:08 PM   #4
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They are all garden hose type of washers any hardware store will have them. The regulator and the city water points will have those type of washers they often fall out and you won't notice them missing.
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Old 10-07-2019, 04:13 PM   #5
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John, I'm posting pics of the outside regulator as well as the inside fittings. I'm not sure what to inspect/take apart from the inside. There is no visible dripping so guessing that it's coming from inside the inlet valve (white plastic part from pic). Is it possible it's condensation? The spring water is very cold.

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The other washer seal on the city water connection is inside the camper behind the city water inlet valve. Many of these use a PEX cone washer to seal the inlet valve to the PEX piping. The washer is between the PEX water hose inside the camper and the city water inlet check valve. Sometimes the nut on the end of the PEX swivel hose is loose and you can tighten it to stop the drip. Other times you need to replace the cone washer. They do get over compressed, hard and brittle over time and then leak.

On some floor plans, you can reach the back side of the city water inlet valve fitting from inside the camper as it is inside a cabinet etc. Other times you have to pull the inlet valve out from the outside.

This is the cone washer I'm referring too. Amazon use to sell these, but are now called out as "unavailable" https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I have found them online from Dryers RV
https://www.dyersonline.com/flair-it...vel-seals.html

You can go to your local hardware store and buy a 1/2" PEX swivel fitting and take the washer out of the fitting. The whole fitting might cost $3 to $5 to just take out the washer. But its fast and available. The only place I have been able to find just the cone washers for sale as a part, is from Flair-it. All the other brands do not list just the washer as a spare part.

The pressure regulator you spoke of, take a pic and post. There are many brand and types. Do not know which one you have.

Bottom line, if there is a water leak, yes for sure get it fixed, sooner is better. Or turn off the water while your not using it until you an get it fixed. Especially if the water has a path to going inside the camper walls etc.

Hope this helps

John
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Old 10-07-2019, 04:45 PM   #6
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Ok here is what maybe causing your leak, the water inlet behind your pressure regulator appears to have teflon tape on it it does not need tape there the round rubber gasket is what seals it. The tape is made for tapered fittings the inlet is not tapered I believe it's leaking around the tape. Where the outer brass fittings are that's fine but not where it fits to the camper. Frankly if it were mine I would buy a 90* fitting for your water supply inlet so it points straight down that way there would be a lot less stress on all of the water parts
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Old 10-07-2019, 05:13 PM   #7
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Hi Mainah, thx. I just put that tape on to troubleshoot. It hasn't been on there.

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Originally Posted by mainah View Post
Ok here is what maybe causing your leak, the water inlet behind your pressure regulator appears to have teflon tape on it it does not need tape there the round rubber gasket is what seals it. The tape is made for tapered fittings the inlet is not tapered I believe it's leaking around the tape. Where the outer brass fittings are that's fine but not where it fits to the camper. Frankly if it were mine I would buy a 90* fitting for your water supply inlet so it points straight down that way there would be a lot less stress on all of the water parts
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Old 10-07-2019, 05:25 PM   #8
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Agree with the suggestion of using a 90 fitting. While teflon tape on the male connection to the inlet is unnecessary, it does no harm and makes it a tad easier to screw the fitting tight. The rubber washer does need to be in good shape, and the teflon shouldn't be wrapped in a manner that could interfere with that rubber seal.

Noralee:

Quote:
AND at the camper frame directly below and to the left of it.
According to your latest post, you're not seeing any leakage actually inside the camper wall, right? So the "camper frame" you refer to is as seen from the outside?
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Old 10-07-2019, 08:32 PM   #9
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I cannot see a drip, correct. I do see evidence of moisture in the cutout hole in the wall where the inlet is, FROM THE INSIDE. See pic, it is dark and damp in that cutout space. That is why I wondered if I should go ahead and replace the whole inlet piece. The drip IS visible from the outside right below and to left of inlet.

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Originally Posted by Tinstaafl View Post
According to your latest post, you're not seeing any leakage actually inside the camper wall, right? So the "camper frame" you refer to is as seen from the outside?
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Old 10-07-2019, 10:51 PM   #10
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Good discussion going on. And good info back already from Noralee.

I agree with Mainah and tinstaafl on not needing the Teflon tape on the water regulator and the city water inlet valve. If too much tape is put on, the threads can bind up and not compress the hose washer like it should.

This pic needs more investigation to rule in or out if there is a leak at the Tee fitting.



The concern being, it does look like dark colored wood that can come from wet wood in the wall. I know it's hard to see in there. Maybe try this to help confirm. Press a dry paper towel against the wood if you can reach in there. Even use a screwdriver etc. to press the towel to the wood. If it comes back wet/damp, then water is in this area. The unknown is, did it wick in from outside the camper or come from inside the camper, or both. The brass inlet valve may not be sealed well to the outer white flange allowing water to wick in and or wick out.

There may be 2 issues going on at the same time. The easiest to correct is the outside connection between the water pressure reducer and the city water inlet. Have you tried putting a new hose washer in that fitting? If not, this is simple to do and should be done to eliminate it from the mix. Once installed, turn on the water to the system and again using a paper towel outside, feel for wetness behind the city water inlet outside the camper. See if you can determine that area outside is now sealed up or not. The hope is, water is not wicking out from the inside. You won’t know until you try it.

Next is, to the inside.

There is also something that does not look good with the gray fittings used in the white tee. The gray adapter fitting from the gray PEX nut to the white tee may be using straight running thread into a tapered fitting tee. Sunline has done this before, I just do not know if they did it on the really old campers, but for sure do it on the newer ones. You can see the gray pipe fitting hex is about bottomed out into the tee as it will not bind tight like tapered thread does.

Maybe try this to see if the inside is leaking. Using a few dry paper towels folded over, slide them under the white T fitting and the brass city water inlet up into the wall pocket. All 3 fittings on the white tee need to have a dry paper towel under them. Then look for a wet towel with the water pressure on.

If the wood is wet to start with, odds are high it is, try putting a piece of aluminum foil, or plastic zip lock bag etc. under the paper towel so the wet wood does draw water into the paper towel by accident. And if it still does, if the towels are thick enough you might see water on the top and bottom, but dry in the middle. You are going to have to try it and see what you can find out.



I "suspect" the grey fittings they used to the white tee could be an issue as I have seen this before. Since your camper is so old, it is hard to tell if this setup is completely original. Those PEX gray straight fittings are normally straight running thread, yet the tee is tapered thread.

This pic shows just this on a 2005 T2363 water heater that was leaking at the gray fitting going into the bottom of the tank.


Here is the fitting out next to the check valve and the 2 new all brass tapered fittings that replaced both. Point of this pic is to show the gray straight running thread PEX adapter nipple.


Sunline used those same grey PEX pipe nipples between the water heater, (tapered thread) and the plastic Flair-it fittings attached. They would put silicone on the threads and bottom out the straight threaded pipe nipple into the water heater. Most times it would seal, but not always. You just cannot create a good seal using plastic straight running thread into an tapered thread hole. You run out of plastic straight running thread trying to bind it up in the taper.

See if you can find which of the tee fittings are weeping. From there we can help on how to correct this.
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Old 10-08-2019, 07:00 AM   #11
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The fitting on the hose connection is free to turn, the ideal is to draw the hose connection tight to the washer inside. Where the threads are is not a sealing ring there is no taper. If the adapter end is not sealing to the washer it's going to leak behind the ring and follow the inlet pipe towards the camper. From the looks of your pictures there does not seem to be any inside leak. Some of the foreign made brass stuff is not of the best quality it is possible the regulator end where it seals is not particularly flat. Another issue is the weight of all of the parts hose, regulator, water and adapters all pulling downwards on the fitting at an angle this is why I suggest a 90* fitting on the water inlet.
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Old 10-08-2019, 01:07 PM   #12
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I will have to come back to this post again, and any following. But i can confirm that the dark colored wood inside i know is wet. So there is water inside. Where it is coming from is still unknown.

The plumbing inside is original, or how I received it (except at the hot water heater, which I replaced). So, I can't say for sure if the interior T with grey fittings is original from manufact. Both of these grey fittings, nor do any of the fittings inside show any sign of weepage/leakage. That is why I suspect the water is being siphoned back inside the inlet or from the inlet itself.

Yes, I believe we did replace the washer at the regulator area and it still leaked. i have a plastic regulator, but i hesitate to try this given that winter is coming. That is why i've stuck with brass.

To reiterate for clarity, there ARE 2 things going on here, the regulator has a steady leak. AND there is water coming back/leaking from the inside @inlet valve.



Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnB View Post
The concern being, it does look like dark colored wood that can come from wet wood in the wall. I know it's hard to see in there. Maybe try this to help confirm. Press a dry paper towel against the wood if you can reach in there. Even use a screwdriver etc. to press the towel to the wood. If it comes back wet/damp, then water is in this area. The unknown is, did it wick in from outside the camper or come from inside the camper, or both. The brass inlet valve may not be sealed well to the outer white flange allowing water to wick in and or wick out.
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Old 10-08-2019, 04:47 PM   #13
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I agree with you I too think it's coming from outside. Now because of the weight and leverage of all the hardware you have there hanging off the end of the inlet fitting it may make it impossible to seal properly into your city water port. This is what I'm talking about https://www.homedepot.com/p/Camco-1-...2505/205518934
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Old 10-08-2019, 06:17 PM   #14
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Standard troubleshooting: Fix the most obvious problem first, then re-evaluate. Often, you will find that once the first step is done, secondary symptoms disappear.
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Old 10-08-2019, 11:34 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noralee View Post

Yes, I believe we did replace the washer at the regulator area and it still leaked. i have a plastic regulator, but i hesitate to try this given that winter is coming. That is why i've stuck with brass.

To reiterate for clarity, there ARE 2 things going on here, the regulator has a steady leak. AND there is water coming back/leaking from the inside @inlet valve.
This may help as least move the regulator leak away from the camper to not get the camper any wetter if it is contributing to the issue. This does not require anything to be bought, just unscrew and re-attach in a different order.

1. Take the pressure regulator out of the camper city water inlet.
2. Screw the fresh water hose directly into the city water inlet.
3. Put the pressure regulator at the start of the fresh water hose. (the other end of the fresh water hose)

The regulator may still leak, but it will not be leaking at the camper. Using the fresh water hose into the city water inlet will also lower some of the overhung load on the fitting as it does not hang out as long. This can help until you can get a 90 deg fitting like Mainah linked. If the fresh water hose seals up at the city water inlet, then it can point to an issue with the regulator sealing off. You will for sure learn something by moving the regulator away from the camper. That may help shed more light on the problem.

Hope this helps

John
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Old 10-09-2019, 07:01 AM   #16
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Yes that would work and a standard hose tap does point down at about a 45 it would be a good test of the fittings and the weight factor. I'm still wondering what is before the regulator there is yet another brass fitting. I still would put a 90 at the camper regardless if nothing else it would make it harder to get tangled up in the hose.
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Old 10-09-2019, 01:39 PM   #17
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Just wanted to point out something about plastic fittings with pipe threads. I was pipefitter for 12 years and never new this about PVC. I learned this after I got into an engineering group as a system designer. You should not use Teflon tape on any plastic pipe thread fittings. Teflon tape was designed more like a lubricant to allow smooth easy assembly if metal threads. The small end threads are what make the seal. The tape prevents galling of metal (tearing or kind of like welding together). We found many installations in our facility that had Teflon tape on PVC fittings and the threads were buried (bottomed out) and the female fitting cracked. Typically there will only be 3-4 threads of engagement on a new threads. The Teflon lubricates to well on the plastic and it gets over tightened. You also have to be careful of pipe dopes and sealants, they can cause the same issue. Any Teflon paste is not good. Most reputable pipe sealant manufacturers will tell you if there sealants are good for plastic. These sealants don't add any lubrication qualities so the fitting can go together without getting over tightened.
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Old 10-09-2019, 02:26 PM   #18
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Unfortunately, i have a semi permanent setup so it is not possible to put the regulator at the other end. My connection is via pex.

More responding later.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnB View Post
This may help as least move the regulator leak away from the camper to not get the camper any wetter if it is contributing to the issue. This does not require anything to be bought, just unscrew and re-attach in a different order.
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Old 10-09-2019, 04:38 PM   #19
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Quote:
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Unfortunately, i have a semi permanent setup so it is not possible to put the regulator at the other end. My connection is via pex.

More responding later.
Even worse you need something in there that can move with temp changes and movement inside the camper.
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Old 10-09-2019, 11:48 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noralee View Post
Unfortunately, i have a semi permanent setup so it is not possible to put the regulator at the other end. My connection is via pex.
Oh, a PEX connection setup, that may add a new dynamic to this. Any chance of posting a pic of the PEX setup? Try to get as much of the Pex piping routing in the pic. so we can see how it is routed to the water regulator connection.

The concern is, it may be too rigid pending how the piping was run. If it is too rigid, excess stress can be put on the water regulator and the city water inlet fitting trying to seal off. Normally these setups have a flex connection to deal with ground movements and temp changes. Your setup may be OK, or not. It all depends on how the PEX was run if it can flex enough. You may have been OK for a long time, but things may have shifted slightly enough to no longer be OK.
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