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Old 10-11-2007, 01:11 AM   #1
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1966 30' Sovereign
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Plumbing 101 for dummies.

Hi folks,
I really appreciate all the information available in this forum. I am new to this but hope to be a veteran one day, passing on the learned lessons to the newcomers. I recently bought a 1966 Sovereign for $5,000 in supposed "fantastic condition, everything works". Back at home I learned that nothing worked, and the seller never mailed me the title he promised. The skin and cabinets were in good shape. By then I was in love with the airstream and had the urge to start fixing it. I added a new floor, new astradome, and new water heater and hoped to salvage as much as possible of the rest (for ecological and nostalgic reasons). The new astradome was 1 mm smaller than the hole. According the the astradome maker, it is my trailer's fault so I shrunk the trailer hole with a hammer. The copper pipes had freeze damage in many places so I replaced all the damaged parts with PEX tubing. The furnace is now working, fridge is lighting but not getting cold, electrical is good.

Plumbing has been a war of who is more persistent, water, tight spaces, or me. After several flooding events, and lectures from annoyed OSH staff about my confusion with internal and external diameter, I fixed some things and am stuck on others. The pump connection to the water tank is a mistery (see pics). On the pump, there isn't just a line coming in from the tank and another going out to the trailer. There is another smaller line with a valve crossing the 2 lines. When I turn the pump on, which I accidentally learned how by trying to turn a light on, the original pump works (lowdly) but water does not move in or out of it. Do I need a new pump? The tank had a hole and I patched with epoxy. The copper lines has holes between the fittings so I re-made the whole system with PEX (and it still leaks).

The second plumbing mess was in the back, where the toilet is. The city water comes in the trailer to a 1/2 copper tubing and then there is a pressure valve. Right after the pressure valve, there is a cilinder with a fitting to a 3/8" tubing that goes nowhere. I don't know what this is for (see pic). Then there is a connection to the toilet, with a vacuum breaker. I removed the vacuum breaker because it was for a hand sprayer that was no longer there and capped the tubing. When I push the pedal in the toilet, water does not go in there. Why not? The water finds all my tinny leaks but will not find the toilet. Even my chickens found the toilet to lay eggs in it. Do I need a new toilet?

A few more plumbing questions:
1) if I turn the city water on, does the tank automatically fills? Does the tank know when to stop from overflowing?
2) Could someone tell me all the valves that I need in a nutshell?
I can make an squematic diagram of the plumbing if it helps. The manual does not have the details.
Thank you so much.
Cris
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Old 10-11-2007, 01:31 AM   #2
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Looking at the before and after pictures that you posted it looks like you have the hoses to the pump reversed. The water from the tank to the pump does not go into the same spot as it did before. One of the two valve that you have might be a drain valve, the other is ??? It also looks like you have a check valve after the two manual valves and before the pump, it should be marked with an arrow showing the direction of flow. Make sure that it is pointing towards the pump.

Your question about the ank filling should be no. City water should not fill the tank. You need to fill the tank from the filler located on the outside of the trailer.

Sorry, I can't help you much more then this. I think the reversed lines to the pump is why it is not working....

Good luck.
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Old 10-11-2007, 07:21 AM   #3
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Cris,

It looks like you've done a really good job with the pex. I agree with richard that the inlet and outlet to the pump appear to be reversed from the original setup.

Ditto Richard's note about the check valve. The check valve should prevent water from backflowing through the pump and into the tank when you are hooked up to city water.

The left hand stop valve is for when you want to manually refill the tank from city water. It is a bypass around the pump and check valve. You open this valve to refill the tank when on city water, but it must be closed when you are using the pump, otherwise you are just pumping the water in a loop around the pump.

The right hand valve is one probably a drain line. It's difficult to tell in the original picture where it went.

When you get the pump inlet and outlet sorted out, make sure you don't have a kink in the inlet line. It looks like the line is very close to being pinched. That will starve the pump and cause poor pumping.

I'm not familiar with the toilet you show, but when you say you removed the vaccuum breaker, I get very concerned. I recommend you take that up with a real, licenced professional. You could conceivably sicken a whole campground.
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Old 10-11-2007, 08:34 AM   #4
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Could be that the pump is bad?

Cris:

The repairs you made to the plumbing look first class.

It looks as if you have an old PAR water pump. There are rubber parts internal to the pump that may be bad. If you have a rubber part which is bad internally that may be preventing the pump from performing properly. You might consider pulling the pump and going through the works to inspect for interior damage.

I think parts are still available for the PAR pumps.

Please let us know what you find.

The pictures you posted are great - it sure helps understanding what you are explaining if we have something to look at.
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Old 10-11-2007, 10:46 AM   #5
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Is the garden hose a replacement or being replaced? The tank should not fill from city water unless rigged to be that way. If this is happeneing then the in and out on the pump are reveresed, or the input check valve in the pump is bad.
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Old 10-11-2007, 09:49 PM   #6
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1966 30' Sovereign
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Thank you all. Here is an update. I reversed the pump lines but have not yet tested the pump. I tested the system with city water. There is no more leaks. I replaced all connections that had teflon tape with the teflon goo. That worked.
The check valve shown in the pictures puzzles me. Under city water and no pump, if I leave the valve open, water comes out of the faucets and I can hear it going into the tank as well. If I close the valve, the water stops going into the tank but also stops in the faucets. I wonder if the valve was placed in the wrong place. Where should it be?

Cris
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Old 10-11-2007, 09:58 PM   #7
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Cris,

It's possible the check valve is still backwards. You won't know until you turn the pump on. If you turn the pump on after repiping it and you still get nothing (with city water off) then the check is reversed.

You can move the check valve to the outlet side of the pump without affecting the operation. It's function is to stop city water from backfilling the pump and tank.

Mounting the check valve on the suction side of the pump is less than optimal because it restricts flow to the pump.
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Old 10-11-2007, 10:20 PM   #8
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1966 30' Sovereign
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The check valve I have is a regular on and off valve. Should the check valve be something different, like a one-way flow? I am wondering since you said the valve might be reversed.
Thanks,
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Old 10-11-2007, 11:42 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cristina1966
The check valve I have is a regular on and off valve. Should the check valve be something different, like a one-way flow? I am wondering since you said the valve might be reversed.
Thanks,
Yeah. I guess Richard and I both thought the brass fitting just to the left of the second valve was a check valve. It kinda looked like one at first glance, but on closer inspection it looks like it's just a coupling.

So you could put in a check valve (one way flow valve) to prevent city water from backing up through the pump into the water tank. I would put it somewhere in the loop on the discharge side of the pump. Then if you open the left hand valve while you are hooked up to city water, water would flow through the smaller diameter tubing from the Tee, through the valve, and into the tank, bypassing around the pump. You would do this if you want to fill the tank without needing to stick a hose into the tank filler neck.
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Old 10-13-2007, 01:56 PM   #10
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Update: everything works beautifully. Thank you all for the explanations and suggestions. Mark, thank you specially for explaining how the check valve and tank fill option works. Now it all makes sense. Next I have to figure out why I suddenly lost power on the line to the pump. Only there, no place else. I test the pump and the pump is good, so it must be the wire. I am realy hoping to not have to remove cabinets and panels to discover where is the faulty wire. Maybe I can have add a new wire inside of the trailer, from the univolt to the pump switch? (and abandon the one wire inside of the panels)
Cris
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Old 10-15-2007, 08:31 PM   #11
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Fuse?

First check your fuse. I still use the fuse plate from my univolt though I replaced the univolt with a WFCO. Check your power on both sides of the pump switch. If the power is good on the battery side of the switch and nothing on the other side then replace the switch. If you have power on the pump side of the switch and not at the pump then it is a much shorter run and you may be able to pull a new wire through. I have found some 35 year old switches in mine that were bad but only one short wire run had a problem and that was on a running light. The wire quality in the AS seems to be very good. I find electrical glitches were fairly easy to run down (so far).
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