The Trouble With Water

The Trouble With Water

RV’s are not always as carefree as we would like.  Problems may crop up from time to time.  Some of these problems are owner created and others might be maintenance related.  It seems unusual for this many unrelated problems to occur so close together and all having water as a theme.

The Kitchen Window

Durant Choctaw Casino at Night
Durant Choctaw Casino at Night

The window water leak was the first problem.  While at the Durant/Choctaw Casino KOA (blog post), it rained especially heavy  overnight.  In the morning, we noticed water pooling by the kitchen sink window.

Kitchen Window Water Leak
Kitchen Window Water Leak

After the initial panic subsided, Linda carefully examined the window.  She observed that water was dripping out of the window frame near the middle of the bottom window.  We decided the best course of action would be to apply outdoor silicone sealer around the window which we did when we arrived at the Springfield/Route 66 KOA Holiday (blog post).

Kitchen Window Caulk Job
Kitchen Window Caulk Job

I thought I had done a neat and tidy job of sealing around the window.  I was horrified while taking a picture of the window for this blog post how bad the sealing job really was.   The picture was taken more than two weeks after the fix.  The dirt is just road grime but it does nicely highlight the unevenness of the sealant application.

It hasn’t rained as hard as it did in Durant Oklahoma since I sealed the window  so we can’t tell if this really fixed the leak problem.  Not knowing if water problems were truly solved or not seems like a common experience.

Key Learning – Clean areas before applying sealer.  Tape off areas so the sealer doesn’t end up all over the place.

The Black Tank

Every RV’er that has been camping for years develops a routine for setting up their campsite.  We are no different.  I was following my standard campsite set up routine at Lake Arrowhead State Park (blog post).  After leveling, if required, the first thing is always electricity and the second thing is always water.

Truck Camper Fresh Water Hookup
Truck Camper Fresh Water Hookup

When staying in parks with sewer, I had been also hooking up a non-potable water hose to the black tank clean-out/flush inlet.  The tank flush sprays water on the inside of the black tank encouraging  the sticky little poop devils and toilet paper blobs to break free from the sides of the tank and flow onward to their ultimate sewer destiny.

Water Distribution After Pressure Regulator
Water Distribution After Pressure Regulator

Everything was going well with the campsite setup process.  Then, just as I was getting ready to put out the awnings, disaster strikes.  Linda discovers poo water flowing out the bottom of the toilet.  Panic time!

Artists Rendition of Poo Flowing From Toilet
Artists Rendition of Poo Flowing From Toilet Base

Linda shouted “Turn off the water!  Turn off the water!”  Immediately, I stopped what I was doing and poked my head inside the camper door.  “What’s going on?” I asked.  Apparently, I should have just turned off the water as ordered.  Quickly I turned off the water.  Poo water was still flowing.  It took a moment to realize that the black tank was pressurized.  Poo water was spewing out of the toilet base.  The campsite reeked of sewer.  OH MY GOD!  What could be causing this!

Waste Water Valves
Waste Water Valves

I quickly got out the sewer hose and connected it.  Then I yanked open the black tank valve.  The hose surged and then twitched a few times as the black tank began to drain with a vengeance.  It has never taken this long to drain before.  It was a full tank!

Once the black tank drained, I reached over to turn the on the valve to send water through the black tank flush inlet.  I got this sick feeling in my stomach.  The valve was already open.  I must have accidentally left the valve open after connecting up the black water flush hose.  Tank flush water had slowly and quietly overfilled the black tank.

We had a bit of cleaning up to do.  The camper’s wet bath floor was coated with poo water.  The poo water had headed straight for the shower drain and ended up in the gray tank.  The gray tank needed a bit of cleaning.

I confessed that I was at fault for leaving the water valve open that caused this whole problem.  What a crappy day.  It was just plain dumb luck that the roof vent hadn’t turned into a poo geyser.

Key Learning – Don’t connect the flush hose until it is needed for flushing.  Immediately disconnect the flush hose after flushing.

Fresh Water Tank

At Abilene State Park (blog post), fresh water was leaking from the fresh water tank inlet access door.  More than the drips shown below.

Fresh Water Tank Inlet Access Door Leak
Fresh Water Tank Inlet Access Door Leak

Behind this access door is the only way to fill the fresh water tank.  Could the water have become warm enough to expand, raise the tank water level and then drain out through the overflow drain? Not a chance!

Fresh Water Tank Inlet Access
Fresh Water Tank Inlet Access

With the access door open, water could be seen pouring out of the overflow port.  The next step was to turn off the water and then use the water pump to pump down the fresh water tank.  After pumping several gallons of water out of the tank, the pump was turned off and the shore water was turned on.  After a short while, water started flowing out from the fresh water tank again.

After some discussion, Linda started doing Internet searches.  Then came the dreaded question: “Do we have a Shurflo water pump?”  “Why?” I asked.  Apparently the Shurflo water pump valve keeping shore  water from flowing through the pump into the fresh water tank gets stuck sometimes.  Like right now!

The search for the pump began.  The pump wasn’t in the wet bath accessible through the toilet paper access door.  The pump wasn’t under the dinette cushions.  However, there is a dandy storage compartment in the dinette that we weren’t aware of before.   Nice to know.

Shurflo Water Pump Located Under Sink
Shurflo Water Pump Located Under Sink

Kitchen sink?   Found it under the kitchen sink and it was a Shurflo.  What does the Internet say about Shurflo pumps?  Backflow valve failures are common and result in over filling fresh water tanks.  Valve failures are caused by turning the pump on while connected to shore/city water.  In most but not all cases, the valve can be reset by running the pump for an indeterminate amount of time.

After running the pump for five minutes, we turned off the pump and then turned on the shore/city  water.  The valve had reset and the fresh water tank was no longer (over) filling.  However, while looking at the pump, I discovered a drip coming from the filter screen assembly.  The screen cap (on the backside of the assembly) was loose.  After tightening that and each of the pump’s hose connectors, the dripping stopped.

Newly Found Dinette Storage With New In The Box Shurflo Replacement Water Pump
Newly Found Dinette Storage With New In The Box Shurflo Replacement Water Pump

We thought this might be a good time to start carrying a spare water pump.  You know, just in case…

Key Learning – After accidentally running water pump with city water connected, disconnect city water and run the pump with open faucets for 5 minutes or more to reset stupid valve.  Carry extra water pump just in case.   Regularly inspect water pump connectors and tighten as necessary.

Hope to see you on the road ahead!

 

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