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Old 03-19-2014, 09:50 PM   #1
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water hooked up, turned on, but not flowing inside!

I just bought a 1968 Ambassador. I hooked up the hose the valve at the rear of the trailer and turned on the water. No water will flow inside the trailer. I've tried everything, thinking there must be a valve that was shut off, but can't get it working! So frustrating! There are two valves in back (red circular faucet handles) and these do nothing. I can't find anything under the sink in the bathroom (rear bathroom)
Any ideas on what could be blocking the water?
Please help!
Thanks,
Jim
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Old 03-19-2014, 10:11 PM   #2
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My experience only goes back to a 1973 Safari, but before you get to the valves you mention you should have a pressure regulator and/or a check valve. They may be one and the same. If stuck, no water would be able to enter the trailer. They should be located just inside of where the exterior water hook up is. Jeff
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Old 03-20-2014, 06:49 AM   #3
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Check at water connection for a screen, might be plugged up.
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Old 03-20-2014, 07:38 AM   #4
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When we bought our 2002 we had the same problem. As strange as it may seem, water would only flow through the toilet flush valve. I was baffled. I believed the seller when he told me that all the systems had just been checked out. It turned out the strainers and the faucets were all plugged with debris. I had to remove all of the strainers and disassemble all of the faucets and blow out the dirt. In some cases the valves had to be cleaned and re-cleaned as they replugged with dirt from the water system. I have no idea how so much stuff was in all of the valves and faucets to totally block flow. I always use a water filter on the hose to the trailer to attempt to prevent a repeat to this type of problem.
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Old 03-20-2014, 08:16 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by jimblacker View Post
I just bought a 1968 Ambassador. I hooked up the hose the valve at the rear of the trailer and turned on the water. No water will flow inside the trailer. I've tried everything, thinking there must be a valve that was shut off, but can't get it working! So frustrating! There are two valves in back (red circular faucet handles) and these do nothing. I can't find anything under the sink in the bathroom (rear bathroom)
Any ideas on what could be blocking the water?
Please help!
Thanks,
Jim
There is an in line "check valve" in the rear compartment that is stuck closed.

It allows water to flow inward, but not outward, when it's working OK.

When it's stuck, it will not allow water to flow in either direction.

Andy
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Old 03-20-2014, 08:33 AM   #6
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It turned out the strainers and the faucets were all plugged with debris.
I replaced the washer on the female end of my water hose with a washer-plus-strainer, to catch any sediment or debris before it gets into the hose, filter, or my Interstate. That way I don't clog up my filter, either, and it can better do its job of removing biological contaminants, bad tastes, and bad odors, which is what Granual Activated Carbon filters do best.

With the strainer right there on the end of the hose, it's also very easy to clean the strainer every time I disconnect the hose to roll it up as I break camp.
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Old 03-23-2014, 01:26 AM   #7
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I've had to replace the check valve on my '87 32-ft Excella 3 times in the past 2 years. It seems that some small debris causes the valve not to close completely, so that when the street water hose is disconnected and the fresh water pump turned on water spews from the outside connection. Since the check valve is easily accessible (it is in the same compartment as my fresh water hoses), I'm seriously considering replacing it with a ball valve. I can easily blow compressed air through the 3 feet or so of pipe between the street connection and the detached check valve. Oh, I am also using a washer with a strainer to catch small debris.
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Old 03-27-2014, 10:21 PM   #8
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The connector just before the check valve (which wasn't doing its job of preventing backflow) quietly leaked all night and we had water on the bathroom floor and in the storage compartment. We were leaving Deming NM, so I removed the check valve and replaced it with a ball valve. However, I didn't have the necessary fittings on hand to complete the job - it did, however, stop the leak. When we got into Boerne TX, I was able to get the fittings I needed and with the help of a good friend and fellow AS owner completed the replacement of the check valve with a ball valve.

Problem solved!
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Old 03-28-2014, 06:20 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by blkmagikca View Post
The connector just before the check valve (which wasn't doing its job of preventing backflow) quietly leaked all night and we had water on the bathroom floor and in the storage compartment. We were leaving Deming NM, so I removed the check valve and replaced it with a ball valve. However, I didn't have the necessary fittings on hand to complete the job - it did, however, stop the leak. When we got into Boerne TX, I was able to get the fittings I needed and with the help of a good friend and fellow AS owner completed the replacement of the check valve with a ball valve.

Problem solved!
It solves your leakage and flow problems. But the purpose of a check valve is so that when you're hooked up to a municipal water supply, a loss of municipal water pressure doesn't create a siphon that would suck the water from your onboard plumbing back into the municipal system. Your new manual valve does nothing to prevent that.

If you're okay with that, great. But since a check valve is required equipment according to RVIA regulations, you may want to buy an external check valve that you can insert between your hose and your water intake. RVIA requires a check valve, but it doesn't require the valve to be internal.
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Old 03-29-2014, 12:11 AM   #10
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Actually, I have had to replace the check valve three times in the past 2 months, as they failed. While it is admirable that the RVIA mandates protection to municipal water sources, they obviously fail at mandating a properly manufactured valve for that purpose. I have no issues with the use of an external valve - my issue is that the inline check valve didn't check the flow, resulting in water flowing from my street connection. In the course of multiple changing out that valve (once by an RV dealer and twice by me), the conical seal failed resulting in a flood in my trailer. The ball valve solves that problem.

I should point out that I do a fair bit of boondocking, so the failure of the check valve can have serious repercussions - naturally, that failure would go unnoticed when connected to a municipal water supply.

As for the protection to the municipal water system, I believe what you are referring to is the back flow preventer that should be attached to the water spigot valves - they are inexpensive brass fittings that I have attached to my water hoses.
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Old 03-29-2014, 09:37 AM   #11
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What you are referring to as a check valve is in fact a pressure regulator designed to maintain a lower water pressure in the trailer than some city systems might supply.

While the primary function of a pressure regulator is as noted that the valve has to be able to close off the city water pressure once the regulated pressure is met within the trailer. These valves are used on every hydronic hot water heating system in the world. In that usage they remain in the closed position for years on end once the heating system is charged with water, opening only if the system loses water. Sticking and or back flow are highly unlikely.

If you have one of the valves you replaced I would open it up and look for any contamination on the valve seat that may have allowed it to pass water when closed. If you find something on the valve seat you may want to flush the trailer system. One possible source would be the sediment that collects in the hot water heater.
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Old 03-29-2014, 10:40 AM   #12
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What you are referring to as a check valve is in fact a pressure regulator designed to maintain a lower water pressure in the trailer than some city systems might supply.

While the primary function of a pressure regulator is as noted that the valve has to be able to close off the city water pressure once the regulated pressure is met within the trailer. These valves are used on every hydronic hot water heating system in the world. In that usage they remain in the closed position for years on end once the heating system is charged with water, opening only if the system loses water. Sticking and or back flow are highly unlikely.

If you have one of the valves you replaced I would open it up and look for any contamination on the valve seat that may have allowed it to pass water when closed. If you find something on the valve seat you may want to flush the trailer system. One possible source would be the sediment that collects in the hot water heater.
HowieE, it was the check valve, not the regulator. I'm attaching the photo taken before the modification which can be compared with the previously posted one taken after the modification. The first time it failed was when I went to the Hobo Rally in Blythe, CA. We called in an RV repair tech and he swapped out the check valve. I suspect that some sand-like debris was the culprit. A month later I had the same issue - I had, BTW, used a screened washer on the street water connection, but likely some had made it into the supply line past the check valve. When I swapped out the second valve, it, too, leaked, and the conical washer also quietly leaked and in the morning we had a wet floor in the bathroom which is just on the other side of the HW tank. Neither Lowes nor Home Depot sells the conical washers separately. A side issue is that the last 4 inches of the street water line is outside of the trailer, so it is very important in cold weather that the water line from the check valve to the street connection be drained of water. Last winter when I overnighted in Deming NM enroute to Casa Grande AZ, the temperature dropped to the point that the last bit of fresh water line froze - which caused the nylon plug at the end to be pushed out - no other damage and the plug was easily replaced. With this last repair/modification, I did backflush the fresh water line to remove any debris (just switched on the water pump and opened the ball valve).

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Old 03-30-2014, 09:18 AM   #13
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I am not sure what your have pictured there. I have never seen a brass check valve that did not clearly show the hinge point of the clapper in the body of the valve or a body large enough to encase a ball check.

What don't you just install the city water connection used on the newer Airstreams? That connection is flush with the side of the trailer, eliminating the overhang problem, has a built in pressure regulator, and functions as a check valve.

That type of valve is can be opened up and repaired if necessary. Mine leaked once, and yes it dripped outside the trailer when it did, and I cleared it.
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Old 03-30-2014, 05:21 PM   #14
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The picture in #8 is the final assembly. The picture in #12 shows what it had been before the modification. To summarize: The street water connection is attached at the lower left pipe, just outside of the picture, as the actual connection is attached to the bumper frame using a brass street elbow (installed that way by Airstream - remember it is a 1987 model). The original assembly photo shows a brass check valve just before the pressure regulator - as was installed by AS.

Anytime any minute debris comes in from the street water supply, it can and does prevent the check valve from closing completely, thus causing water to spurt out the street connection when the water pump is activated. After changing the check valve 3 times in the past 2 months, I realized that the solution was to replace the check valve, which operates automatically, with a plain ball valve, operated manually. That is precisely what I did.

I previously had a 34-ft LY diesel pusher, and had had a similar issue with the combination check valve (plastic one) and street water entry. It too failed on me and was left scurrying to find a way of capping the pipe to prevent water loss when dry camping (as in Walmart-ing).

Fortunately, the trailer has a nice access/storage compartment door two feet from the outside street water connection and is also the place I keep my fresh water hoses. So it is a no-brainer. When I attach the hose to a water supply, I flip the valve and vise versa.

You mention a hinge point for the clapper valve - that is not the kind of check valve used in the RV industry. Instead it has a small spring-loaded piston. On the models that have an integrated check valve entry point, you can see the back part of the mechanism, usually made of white plastic. I had, at one time, asked AS service about using a valve with a clapper, and they told me it wasn't done in the industry.

Because of the numerous times this happened to me, I felt it would be of value to post this so that others who have this problem can avail themselves of the fix.

Lastly, a small vacuum-breaker costing $6 from Home Depot or Lowes provides the protection to the municipal water supply by preventing backflow contamination. I attach these to my water supply hose.
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