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Old 07-11-2014, 09:57 AM   #1
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Fresh Water low drain leak

I am camping in the Yukon and need some advice. The two low drain brass valves on the fresh water tank are leaking. It started when I had a full fresh water tank and hooked up to city water. After disconnecting from city water the leak stopped. I checked to make sure the the fittings were tight. I noticed that the water was seaping/leaking from the tank where the brass valves enter the tank. After continuing our journey, I tried hooking up to city water again and the leak started again. After disconnecting from city water the leak continues. I am in the process of draining the tank. This started as a seap of of 3-4 drips a minute. It now is just less then a steady stream leak.

My plan is to drain, dry the fittings, check fitting tightness, then apply JB weld. I also have Rectorseal EP -200 Epoxy putty, that hardens in 15-20 minutes and has a good rep for marine applications.

Any ideas, help is greatly appreciated.
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Old 07-11-2014, 12:53 PM   #2
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We have the same model trailer as you. Those two brass valves are to drain the hot and cold water lines such as when winterizing. The fresh water drain is a plastic valve nearby.
The plastic container where they emerge is not the fresh water tank, but a cover for it (as I understand this system).

I'm understanding the leak is not from inside the valves, but from around the fittings where they go into the cover? Sounds like the fresh water tank is overfilled or cracked filling this cover and the cover draining wherever it can.

Use the plastic drain valve to drain some of water out of the fresh water tank and see if it eventually stops.

When filling the fresh water tank there isn't much room for the air inside to escape so fill it slowly and without high pressure to keep from damaging the tank.

They could be other causes of course, but if it's leaking from a cracked tank, the crack may be near the top so the tank can still hold some water and be usable until you return from your trip.
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Old 07-11-2014, 01:23 PM   #3
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What he said.
Look for a white plastic valve a little further forward of those 2 brass valves.
Get down under the trailer in front of the front tire on the curb side and like behind the tire/wheel.


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Old 07-12-2014, 11:02 AM   #4
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Thanks guys...what I found out is the 2 brass valves are connected to the hot/cold lines and not the tank, ( a cover like Doug said ) even though the stick out of the tank. As you both mentioned, they are for draining the lines not the tank. After draining the tank, I decided not to apply any putty/epoxy. For the remainder of our 3+ months on the road, we will not hook up to city water and just use the water pump and fill tanks as needed. Now that tanks are filled, the drip is very minimal and only when pump is on. My big concern was losing fresh water, and seems now that is not as problematic.

It sure helps to understand the systems, so thank you very much for your info and replies.

John
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Old 07-12-2014, 11:23 AM   #5
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This is a little off topic, but do you guys know why AS used a sheet metal cover over the grey and black tanks but a black plastic cover around the fresh water tank?


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Old 07-12-2014, 02:01 PM   #6
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When you put the access plates back, put some sealant around the edge. The tanks are heated with forced air and you want to keep the hot air from escaping.

Our pan had a hole cut in it when the dealer cleaned the sensors for the tanks. They never made an access cover to close the hole they cut and we were heating the atmosphere. I made a plate out of aluminum flashing, sealed it and screwed it on.

To work on this area, the space is tight. I jacked up the trailer about 4" so I could fit. I also added a jack stand with wood blocking in case the floor jack failed. Blocking (scrap lumber) distributes the weight more on the small top of the jack stand and makes it harder to miss the steel beam—if you miss it, it can punch a hole in the belly pan. I stopped working on it so I could eat lunch and when I came back, it seemed a lot harder to fit under there. Did I eat too much? I finally realized the jacks were both sinking into the ground.

A plastic cover may be cheaper than a metal one. It is quicker to drill holes in it for screws and quicker to cut it out to size. All our access covers are metal, but they may be changing that on newer models.

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Old 07-12-2014, 02:02 PM   #7
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The low point drain taps on our trailer used to drip. The threads on the taps were somewhat corroded so you didn't really know if you were shutting the valve tight enough. I cleaned up the tap threads and now, every now and then give the threads a spray with WD-40 and they have been fine ever since.

I do generally use a pair of pliers to snug them up tight and again to open them when needed to drain the trailer next time. Not too tight, just enough!

Mine were dripping from the actual tap outlets though, and it sounds as though your leak is different?

Brian.
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Old 07-12-2014, 03:52 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverEagle6 View Post
Thanks guys...what I found out is the 2 brass valves are connected to the hot/cold lines and not the tank, ( a cover like Doug said ) even though the stick out of the tank. As you both mentioned, they are for draining the lines not the tank. After draining the tank, I decided not to apply any putty/epoxy. For the remainder of our 3+ months on the road, we will not hook up to city water and just use the water pump and fill tanks as needed. Now that tanks are filled, the drip is very minimal and only when pump is on. My big concern was losing fresh water, and seems now that is not as problematic.

It sure helps to understand the systems, so thank you very much for your info and replies.

John
John, see if your water pump stays off for a couple of hours without turning on. If so your water system is okay for normal water pressure and there should be no reason not to hook up to city water.

BUT it's okay for NORMAL water pressure, not abnormally high pressure. A very, very common problem with these newer combination electric/propane water heaters is they can get extremely hot if the electric is left on all the time.

This causes a great deal of thermal expansion in the water system (both hot and cold are connected to each other in these trailers). The factory protection for this is an air space in the top of the water heater, which is supposed to compress and take up this water thermal expansion. It's not enough, and they often leak at the weakest fitting, or blow excess out the temperature and pressure relief valve, or both.

This compounds the problem because then the air space is lost, and the thermal expansion has a greater problem. The air space in the water heater can be restored and here's Airstream customer service method, see "Excess T&P Pressure":

http://wbcci.org/general-information...-november-2013

Then turn the water heater off when not being used, especially the electric mode.
Leave it off overnight, there will still be plenty of hot water in the morning.

So, see if the plumbing holds when the water pump is on for a couple of hours, restore the air space in your water heater, leave the water heater off when not needed, and try the city water again.

Some of us have added a Water Pressure Accumulator to the water system to help take up some of this expansion pressure. It's an easy, easy addition. Some earlier Airstreams had it standard, yours doesn't.
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Old 07-14-2014, 09:30 PM   #9
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Here is another update...but first, Doug just saw your post and I am now in Dawson CIty YT and have email. Back to the update...we traveled further up the Klondike HWY and took a side trip to Mayo and Keno. The drip was back and now a steady stream with no hookup. Decided to see if I could tighten the fitting. My wrench barely touched the fitting and it fell off. The cause of the leak revealed. The fitting had cracked and no pun intended...was hanging by a thread. I had a tube of epoxy putty and applied it to the open fitting. I let it cure overnight and tested it with just the water pump and it was holding. After arriving at Dawson City today, we hooked up to city water and still holding...so far so good. We decided to turn the city water on only when we need it...a nuisance but we can deal with it,, really only need it to shower as we like the better pressure. Doug, if I uderstand your last response, I have left the water off all day, hot water still hot...will see tomorrow.

Thanks to all.

John
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Old 07-15-2014, 12:30 AM   #10
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I replaced mine.

Here is a link of what I did to replace mine.
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f443...ml#post1240309
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