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Old 11-01-2015, 03:31 PM   #1
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paranoia helps discover a leak, suggestions?

Reading these forums does help one become a bit paranoid about leaks, especially in the north west.

I just discovered a leak, under the closet. It looks like the leak is coming possibly from the city water inlet, but since I cannot see behind the closet, it could be the black water rinse inlet, or a leak from somewhere above that is coming through the wall.

There is a tuft of fur (insulation) that is coming out from around one of the inlets (guessing it is the city water since there is not another inlet below). That fur is wet. It seems that the water the drips down the pipe onto the wheel well, then down the curve to the floor. However, still hard to tell, it could also be coming down the interior wall and onto the floor.

There was a second leak out of the water pump (haven't used), but the connection was easily turned a half turn, I think that dealt with that leak.

So...does anyone know a knowledgeable Airstream repair person near Vancouver BC or Bellingham WA area? My schedule makes it very difficult to get down to the Seattle dealership (along with an unknown time frame).

Are there any good suggestions for the interim? It's been raining good here and we live in the airstream full time (no house) which makes it hard to just stick into dry storage or something like that.
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Old 11-02-2015, 06:13 AM   #2
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You may have a leaky vacuum breaker between the inlet for the black water flush water, and the black water tank, where the water line goes higher in a loop. My 2014 FC has a plastic one, which the dealer told me recently has been replaced by an all-brass one because of leak issues. I think it leaked, and like yours apparently, my access is limited (though removing the rear dinette seat may give me access).

Have you used this flush system recently? If it is leaking up high, will you be able to see water dripping where you have visibility? Maybe try it and see quickly, with towels to catch the drips?

Here is a photo of my vacuum breaker, which I was able to get by holding my phone in the hidden space, with flash ON, and shooting multiple shots until I got a good one. At least I now know what is up there:

Click image for larger version

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My dealer shipped me a new brass vacuum breaker, but I don't have time to take the dinette seat out to make the swap, and the dealer is 500 hard miles of driving away, with the NYC urban snarl in between. No thanks. For now I don't use the black water flush, and can deal with it.

Here is an older thread on the issue, if this is what your problem is:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f396...-oh-50633.html

There are other older threads, one of which is linked in the thread above.

Sorry, I am on the east coast, but with all the AS owners in the Northwest here, you should get some advice on a good shop to take her to.

Good luck.

PS -- edit -- the line coming through the wall, with the yellow trim ring around it, is actually the main city fresh water feed into the trailer FYI. The inlet for the black water flush is lower out of the shot -- FYI to make some sense of this photo. I was also able to feel wet insulation in the wall where the fresh city water feed comes through.

I am also going to caulk the tops of the exterior trim where both water feeds come in. IMO the rubber gaskets do not fit perfectly.
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Old 11-02-2015, 12:21 PM   #3
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I have repaired or replaced the freshwater inlet and the black tank flush inlet and the vacuum breaker (as Otra15 shows) in our 27fb. Not all at the same time, but all have leaked. I also had like you discovered a loose fitting near the water pump. Our new years' weekend '15 leak while camped in St. Augustine showed wet insulation around the wall inlet area for the fresh input, and dripped onto the wheel well and floor just like yours. That one turned out to only be a loose pex pipe connection to the back of the inlet. Start there.

If your 2011 is just like our 2014 (and I bet it is), and if you are relatively handy, you can repair/replace any or all of those yourself. Take off the large closet doors and open the lower access doors to the area. Them empty the closet completely and remove the rear "shelf/step-up/doo-hicky" along the wall edge bottom of the closet floor for more access. Tighten or repair or replace all that you must to cure the leaks. And while you're at it, check every pex threaded connection to every plumbing fixture in the coach........ I don't know if they are not torqued very tight at the factory or if they loosen with time and miles, but I had several that could have leaked.

Hope this helps!
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Old 11-02-2015, 01:49 PM   #4
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Thanks for the info. My expectations were higher for AS than what I have seen.
The Quality Control has room for improvement. We have. owned 3 SOB TTs prior to this. We never had to return any of them.
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Old 11-02-2015, 09:17 PM   #5
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Awesome feedback!

I was able, with some effort, to get pictures up behind the closet. That gave me a good idea of how everything is hooked up. It doesn't appear that the black water flush is the culprit. There is no moisture on the pipe coming down from the vacuum breaker, whereas I can see drops of water siting in some of the sections of the yellow plastic on the city inlet. Looks like I should be able to remove that "step" in the back of the closet to get a better look at things. That whole area is crazy tight
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Old 11-03-2015, 11:05 AM   #6
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Sigh. More leaks, this trailer is a leaky barge. Last night we got into the mid 30s I think (5am was 37). Using a combination of electric and furnace, keeping inside up to 60 at night. Started opening cabinet doors as well.

This morning:

- water pump leaked again (same connector place)
- hot water pipe connection under sink leaked
- something in cabinet under sink leaked, water out into the galley (could not trace from the hot water pipe)
- another puddle caught my eye behind the water pump, but cannot figure out where it came from

How tight should the pex threaded connections be turned? I've found two now that turned about a half turn easily
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Old 11-03-2015, 01:20 PM   #7
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Fresh Water Inlet Leak

Quote:
Originally Posted by mixedpuppy View Post
Awesome feedback!

I was able, with some effort, to get pictures up behind the closet. That gave me a good idea of how everything is hooked up. It doesn't appear that the black water flush is the culprit. There is no moisture on the pipe coming down from the vacuum breaker, whereas I can see drops of water siting in some of the sections of the yellow plastic on the city inlet. Looks like I should be able to remove that "step" in the back of the closet to get a better look at things. That whole area is crazy tight
I had a similar situation and discovered a crack in the Fresh Water Inlet assembly. Contacted manufacturer and was advised it was not uncommon that the back flow valve in the assembly will crack as a result of vibration in the plumbing. I removed the closet backing and had total access to all of the plumbing. (Don't just take the top off of the "shelf", remove the piece the "shelf " is sitting on.) Disconnected the water line going into the water inlet, go outside and removed inlet assembly. Sure enough there was a crack. I replaced the assembly with a new one (Camping World ) and have not had a problem since. The vacuum breaker on the black water flush is also susceptible to cracking or sticking (plastic one) and I have replace it once.

If the trailer is on the road the connections to water fixtures, and waste traps can loosen from vibration and I check them on a regular basis. I do not put wrenches on them to tighten just as tight as I can get them by hand. I think a wrench might strip the plastic threads.

Hope this helps.
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Old 11-03-2015, 04:47 PM   #8
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Take a breath........... This can be resolved. As bugdoc said, I tightened our pex connectors as snug as possible by hand, no tools. There is a rubber gasket/washer in the pex connectors that needs to seat. As to a leak under the sink (kitchen?), did you check the water filter connectors?

Also, I had another thought this afternoon after you mentioned Hot Water.......... The water heaters in the newer coaches make the water really, really hot, and can sometimes "pressurize" the supply lines as the unit heats, causing leaks from normally non-leaking things like pex connectors and the pressure valve on the water heater itself. Check your manual or google how to set the "air cushion" in your water heater, as this can often correct "pressurizing" situations. I have also found leaks while camped in certain rv parks where they had serious water pressure. Despite the fact that your city water inlet is a pressure limiter, it can happen, and the next place you connect.......no leaks.

As to "other brand" campers' plumbing never leaking......yeah right. I've spent a bunch of time on sob units we and camping buddies have had and now own, and it ain't pretty. Unfortunately, most of those leaks soak the particle board and wood in the glue lam walls and you never know it until your walls bubble or the floor buckles........ I'll take quickly identifying leaks and fixing them any day.
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Old 11-03-2015, 07:51 PM   #9
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@ShinyPete: interesting, I'll look into the "air cushion". It was definitely the hot water connection (which also tightened easily) and not the water filter. Given the angle of the hot water pex, it could also have dripped down the pipe, behind then under and out of the cabinet. We'll see if it is resolved. I also have an external 50psi pressure valve outside between the hookup and hose.

update:

I replaced the city water inlet, it didn't look damaged, but it was certainly wet with drops of water all over it. Keeping an eye on it via closet till I'm comfortable it is no longer leaking.

The second puddle I mentioned was coming off the wheel well as well, so is a result of the city water inlet (am hoping).

Found yet another leak...I noticed what almost looks like tree sap coming down the screen for the back window. I'm not sure what that is, we're not under sap producing trees. I think it may be something inside the walls from the construction of the trailer, and water is getting in and carrying it down the screen. Removed screen, can see where it is coming from. Not sure how/why. Have an awning over that window, thinking that is probably the source.

My first learning experience was electrical (preping for solar, lithium batteries, etc etc). Learning a lot about the water system and leaks now or ?

Appreciate all the responses here, has really helped!
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Old 11-04-2015, 05:28 AM   #10
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Adding an air accumulator has been discussed in many threads. I am familiar with TCwheels's comment in the 20-footers thread, but the concept is universal:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f516...ml#post1698620

dkottum discusses his accumulator later in the same thread.

Good luck!

PS -- And thanks to bugdoc for the mention of the cracked city water inlet. Gonna check mine! That is where my wet insulation was, and I had assumed (for reasons not worth discussing here right now) that it was from the vacuum breaker leaking. Maybe not . . .
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Old 11-08-2015, 03:17 PM   #11
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Resolved...hopefully.

I think that the city water inlet was not the problem (though we already replaced it), but the pressure changes discussed in the air accumulator threads. The problems didn't show up until we got into the low 40s upper 30s at night in combination with never having bled the hot water tank to restore the air bubble. Once I restored the air bubble, I haven't had any sign of leak since. For extra insurance, I added the sureflo air accumulator anyway, but now I know I need to deal with the air bubble in the hot water tank on occasion.

Still gotta deal with window leaks...
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Old 11-08-2015, 11:13 PM   #12
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Those window "leaks" are from condensation bringing out something used in the walls. Get a dehumidifier and or just wipe it up.
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Old 11-09-2015, 05:52 AM   #13
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PS -- FYI a follow-up on my city water inlet, which I checked and it is fine, so the leak noted earlier must have been from the vacuum breaker high up in the black water flush supply line. One more variable off the list . . .
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Old 11-09-2015, 06:36 AM   #14
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OTRA15 - Do you have a part number or description for the new brass vacuum maker. I ordered a new vacuum breaker last week from Out of Doors Mart. The dealer charged me $50 for cheap plastic part. The parts department didn't tell me a brass model is available.
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