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Old 09-22-2016, 08:09 AM   #1
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Fresh Water Loss From Overflow Siphon Effect

This has been touched on a few times on other forums and I'm ready to apply a suggested fix. However, I would like to "measure twice" before I do this. We have a 2013 Free Spirit SS that has exceeded expectations, with one minor exception. When I fill the fresh water tank to 100% just before it hits the overflow and then drive down our somewhat steep driveway, there is a significant loss of water.

This is the result of the overflow tube being too low. I have confirmed this design flaw with the manufacturer, as well as a few dealers. Here's the rub, I'm getting mixed signals on the fix. One of the service managers at a certified dealer said, "put an extension on the overflow tube and route it up above the tank.

The factory doesn't like this approach as they feel it may create a P Trap. They suggested that I should remove some of the insulation around the hose, try to get to the top and create a new drain at a higher point. This approach is darn near impossible as getting to the top of the overflow tube is more than difficult. As the conversation with factory ensued, they reassessed this concern about the P Trap and suggested I might want to give this easier approach a try.

Through my research I have also discovered that some owners have simply "closed off" their overflow tubes while in transit and then removed the device when they arrive at their destination. My concern with this is, does the tank build any pressure while the vehicle is moving?

Bottom line, I hate unintended consequences! As such, I want to research this fix before I move forward. I'm hoping that there are some pearls of wisdom out there to give me some direction.

Thanks in advance...

Dave
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Old 09-22-2016, 08:22 AM   #2
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The experts on here will try to answer your question but this is a airstream forum, is your trailer an airstream.?
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Old 09-22-2016, 08:30 AM   #3
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Installing a shutoff would work, as long as you NEVER forget to open it, otherwise the pressure of whatever you connect to to fill up could cause BIG problems. Otherwise, it's a fresh water system, the water just sloshes around and there isn't ANY pressure in it (we're still before the pump) so no problem there.

IMO you best bet is to route the drain so that it is beyond your tank level, this will vary depending upon your hill grade and then depending on if your coming or going. So long as you ensure you don't have an "S" configuration in the line you won't have a p-trap, you could push the tube all the way up the wall cavity and the water would still either be in the tank or on the ground. Even if you do have a p-trap in the line, it would only eliminate air from getting to your tank, until you ran your pump, the vacuum created would pull the water back into the tank and as for filling, the pressure coming in would always be enough to push the excess out, as it is supposed to. (unlike forgetting to open the valve)

So I would go with extending the line
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Old 09-22-2016, 08:32 AM   #4
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OH, it's a bvan.
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Old 09-22-2016, 08:33 AM   #5
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I think you will have to route it above the overflow port, not the top of the tank, to solve your problem. The only consequence I can envision is you could trap water between the overflow port and the p-trap which might freeze. I'd suggest creating that p-trap on the wall at and above the overflow opening to avoid creating a low spot between the overflow port and the tank. If you mount it that way, after filling some water will drain out the port and the rest will go to the tank.

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Old 09-22-2016, 09:35 AM   #6
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Tahoe Dave,

With a little practice, you'll learn to IGNORE the "GET OF MY LAWN" crowd. Don't let them dissuade you from asking the questions you need answers to, the moderators here are good enough that if THEY think it should be in a different section they'll move it and let you know and they are the ones that matter. Every topic has its ****** (insert your own term) responders that need to NOT be encouraged but most of the replies will hopefully be the good ones.
Let us know which way you go and how it works out, I'm sure everyone has an overflow tube and just might go up or down a hill and might find their answer from your resolution.
Thanks
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Old 09-22-2016, 10:02 AM   #7
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As if it matters what he owns. He asked a very well thought out solution based question. Come on non Airstream owner give him a break.

Tahoe Dave good question . You are more than welcome.
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Old 09-22-2016, 11:41 AM   #8
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I don't perceive that anyone meant anything bad or unfriendly by asking to confirm the OP's unit. I had to go look it up on the internet myself.

I don't have a clear sense of the tank configuration, but if it were me, the first question I would ask is this: Is an overflow really needed at all? We don't have one in our B-van. Nor do I see a need for one. It appears that there might be various ways to jury-rig such a thing as a workaround to the stated limitation, but some of those approaches could precipitate secondary challenges (e.g., freeze issues).
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Old 09-22-2016, 12:23 PM   #9
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My T1N Interstate has an overflow next to the onboard filler pipe and also allows air pressure in so no vacuum is created by water pump. AEW
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Old 09-22-2016, 02:49 PM   #10
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My overflow was the same as where the water went in. When it started coming out there, I knew it was time to pull the hose out of the fill port.
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Old 09-22-2016, 03:32 PM   #11
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Fresh Water Loss From Overflow Siphon Effect

If it were me, I would elevate the vent/overflow pipe.

Simple, easy, and done, without the hazard of forgetting to open the valve.

In fact, this is exactly what I did with my trailer.

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Old 09-22-2016, 03:55 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 73shark View Post
My overflow was the same as where the water went in. When it started coming out there, I knew it was time to pull the hose out of the fill port.
I haven't looked closely, but I always assumed that's the way ours is constructed. It'll fill right up to the neck and come shooting back out. Woe to the person who leaves their keys in the hanging door hatch, because those all-important electronic fobs will get soaked.

Logically there has to be some means of equalizing air pressure, but I always assumed that the cap wasn't totally air tight, and that was enough to get the job done.

But you know what is said about the word "assume", what it makes out of "u" and "me".
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Old 09-22-2016, 04:56 PM   #13
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It's hard to comment without knowing the exact configuration but I don't like the idea of closing off the overflow line since that would result in a negative pressure in the tank once you start pumping water out of it. And I can't imagine anyone designed for those types of negative pressures.

If the water is actually being siphoned from the tank and not draining, the solution is to install a vent line between the tank and the overflow outlet to break the siphon.
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Old 09-22-2016, 05:59 PM   #14
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The experts on here will try to answer your question but this is a airstream forum, is your trailer an airstream.?
Just as I said the experts on here would help you and have. I don't know why all the flack because I asked if you had an AS?
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