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Old 10-19-2007, 09:20 AM   #1
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Question How to check plumbing for leaks? newbie

Hello there! I have a 1960 Airstream Overlander series & I would like to check all the plumbing to make sure there aren't any leaks. How can I do that without leaving water in the trailer? I don't want it to freeze over the winter. Is there a hook up I can attach a garden hose to or something? As you can see I have no idea what I am doing and need all the help I can. Thank you in advance for your help.
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Old 10-19-2007, 10:26 AM   #2
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Starting Point

A good start would be to turn on your waterpump and leave on. After it pressurized it should turn off. If you have a leak it will either continue to cycle or cycle when pressure drops. When I turn mine on it takes about 10-15 second to cut off then does not turn back on until I open a faucet.
good luck
James
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Old 10-19-2007, 10:42 AM   #3
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Make up an adapter to fit the hose connection on you trailer and accept an a tire air valve. Hose to 1/2 in female adapter, 1/2 in male to 1/4 in bushing, and a 1/4 male air valve.

Bleed off some of the water in the system, open a drain and and several faucets. The more water you can get out of the system the better for this test, consider draining the hot water heater also. You can now pressurize the system with a hand pump or compressor, be careful if using a compressor. Take a guage reading once you have added pressure, about 40 lbs would be a good start. Let the trailer set over night and take another reading. A slight drop in pressure may be the result of temperature changes.

If the pressure has dropped more than 5 lbs I would look for a leak. If you only see a slight drop I would let it set for another day or so just to make. If the pressure continues to drop you have a leak. If it remains close to the original and without a big change in temperature you should be OK.

I use the above adapter and a compressor to blow the system down each winter. If you do this just make sure you have at least one faucet open before you apply high pressure gto the system.
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Old 10-20-2007, 10:49 PM   #4
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Fresh Water Tank Leak

We aparently have a leak from our fresh water tank. There are drips coming from under trailer, 1994 Sovereign, only when the city water faucet is turned on. when looking under trailer it seems that system is very difficult to get to. Any suggestions on how to work on repair?
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Old 10-21-2007, 07:07 AM   #5
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[quote]We aparently have a leak from our fresh water tank. There are drips coming from under trailer, 1994 Sovereign, only when the city water faucet is turned on. when looking under trailer it seems that system is very difficult to get to. Any suggestions on how to work on repair?[/quote

The leak could be from the connection where the tank connects to the plumbing or a drain valve or the plumbing itself. The origin of leaks are not necessarily where they drip from.

If the leak is only when hooked up to city water this sounds like it is not from the tank as they are 2 separate, although connected, systems ( at least on my 70s ASs)
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Old 10-21-2007, 10:07 AM   #6
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There are two ways you could have a leak from you fresh water tank while hooked up to the city system. One is if your trailer has an Auto Fill System and that systemn is either On or the valve is leaking back to the tank. The second is if the pump valve assembley is leaking back. Less likely.

To check these drain the tank, leave the drain open, and then hook up to the city. If after an hour or so you see water coming out of the drain valve itself the Auto Filler System is leaking back to the tank or the pump valve is leaking


However before this test. Charge the water system from the fresh water tank. Leave the pump on and watch the system for and hour or so. If the pump cycles you have a big leak. That could be a pump valve failure or a plumbing leak. To check the pump charge the system and while it is charged disconnect the input line from the pump. If the pump is leaking back because of a valve failure you will see water coming out of the pump input port, not a likely problem but you have to be sure the pump is good before going to the next step. A small amount of water will come out just when you disconnect the line to the pump, once that has drained look for additional water over the next 5 mins. or so indicating a leak. If the pump is OK. Put things back togeather and charge the system again and turn the pump off and leave it over night. Next day turn the pump on and if it cycles form or than a second or so you have a small leak in the plumbing. The reason I mention a short cycle is OK is that temperature changes may effect the pressure in the system.

The system should be able to hold pressure for a long period of time with out cycling the pump if there is not a leak.
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Old 10-21-2007, 09:20 PM   #7
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When we use the the fresh water tank, the pump does not switch on, unless of course a faucet or toilet is used.
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Old 10-21-2007, 09:26 PM   #8
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Correction to issue

My husband corrected me on what the issue is.
When we are hooked up to city water there is a water leak coming from under trailer. We are not, when this occurs, using the fresh water tank. So where do we start to look for the problem as there is a cover which looks pretty challenging to remove.
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Old 10-22-2007, 10:05 AM   #9
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If you are stisfied that it is not the tank being overfilled as per the test noted above, which I question because a plumbing leak should cause the pump to cycle when you are using it. Did you do the overnight test?

The tank is the only part of the system below the floor. If it is not a problem with the tank you have to start rummaging around under the cabinets and looking for a wet spot in the carpeting. You will have to cut away the construction plastic that is over the rug to get to the carpeting.

The first place I would start in under the hot water heater. If you have a winter bypass valve on the heater I have seen then act as a pendelum while traveing and loosen the compresion nut that attaches it. If there is water under the heater tank charge the system and look at the valve and other plumbing in that area before you just assume the tank is leaking.

If this leak has been present for some time you may have a floor issue because the Flake Board Airstream uses for flooring will not hold up to water so find this problem ASAP.
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Old 10-22-2007, 10:30 PM   #10
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Thank you for your advice. We will take a good look at the system this weekend. I'll let you know what we find.
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