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Old 01-24-2014, 04:25 PM   #1
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Pressurized Water Line Drain Petcocks

I'm sure that someone has had this problem before, but I've tried searching the forum threads without luck.

My 2008 25 SE FB has two low-point drain petcocks for the pressurized hot and cold water lines.

My cold water line drain petcock is leaking no matter how much I tighten it. I've tried opening it fully and allowing system pressure to flush it with no luck. When the water system is pressurized, it makes an annoying sound and leaks all over the ground.

I discussed this with my dealer and they said a petcock replacement might involve several hours and require removing cabinets inside the trailer. This doesn't sound inexpensive.

Anyone have experience with a repair/replacement of these petcocks?

Thanks,

Phil
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Old 01-24-2014, 04:51 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Phil&Sher View Post
I'm sure that someone has had this problem before, but I've tried searching the forum threads without luck.

My 2008 25 SE FB has two low-point drain petcocks for the pressurized hot and cold water lines.

My cold water line drain petcock is leaking no matter how much I tighten it. I've tried opening it fully and allowing system pressure to flush it with no luck. When the water system is pressurized, it makes an annoying sound and leaks all over the ground.

I discussed this with my dealer and they said a petcock replacement might involve several hours and require removing cabinets inside the trailer. This doesn't sound inexpensive.

Anyone have experience with a repair/replacement of these petcocks?

Thanks,

Phil
There's a quick-and-dirty possible fix to tide you over until a more permanent fix can be obtained. Where the drain line in question comes out through the belly pan, put another valve right on the end. If the first valve won't seal, the second one will. It's quick-and-dirty because the second valve would be exposed to whatever road debris comes along and should not be considered a permanent fix.

If it was just a drip, and not pressurized water, I'd recommend jamming a golf tee into the end of the line to plug it up temporarily, but that's not really practical for a line that's under pressure, as your drain would be with the petcock stuck open. The second valve I suggested is the same concept, but more robust to hold up to pressure.
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Old 01-24-2014, 07:17 PM   #3
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Thanks... both great ideas for a temp fix.

Actually, I'll have the dealer fix it permanently later on, but we have a winter trip planned soon and it isn't really convenient to take it to the dealer prior.

The last time we had the system pressurized a few weeks ago it was a bit more than a drip, but I'll try a golf tee first.

As for the idea of an additional valve, I presume you have in mind something like a small ball valve with a female thread the same size as the threaded portion of the petcock when fully open?
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Old 01-24-2014, 10:16 PM   #4
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The valves on mine are threaded outlets. So I would thread a pipe cap on them and seal them up.
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Old 01-25-2014, 08:08 AM   #5
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The valves on mine are threaded outlets. So I would thread a pipe cap on them and seal them up.
I've got small radiator petcocks with threaded barrels that are, perhaps 1/4 to 5/16th inch - haven't yet measured them. Is this what you have?

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Old 01-25-2014, 08:35 AM   #6
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Where the drain line in question comes out through the belly pan, put another valve right on the end.
Re-reading this and looking at the petcock more closely, I don't think this is a possibility.

I can't get to the backside of the petcock from underneath without cutting out the belly pan and the only threaded portion below the belly pan is the inner barrel with the wing nut attached when the petcock is closed.

I don't dare try to unscrew the entire petcock without knowing how it's attached to the water line. Rather than threading into a female fitting inside the belly pan, the backside of the petcocks may simply have a smooth barrel to which the water lines are clamped.
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Old 01-25-2014, 08:51 AM   #7
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Pressurized Water Line Drain Petcocks

Judging from my experience with my 72, these campers were not exactly "service friendly" out of the factory.

IDK, as a quick and dirty fix, you might clean and scuff/sand inside the barrel (sand well, you have one shot at this) and fill the whole thing with epoxy.

If done well it would stop the leak, probably forever, but of course the valve would never drain again.

Oh, if you do this, use more than enough epoxy, held in with tape til it dries.
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Old 01-25-2014, 08:56 AM   #8
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If that is what is on there, I assume the dealer's labor is to remove enough body work to get an open ended wrench on the hex fitting.

The big IF is: is the fitting it is screwed into solid, so it will not twist and turn. This is important to know before trying anything I suggest.
Otherwise you need to put another wrench on the fitting the petcock is screwed into.

I'll also assume there is not enough room for a crow's foot wrench or the dealer would do it. But you might just see of one of these would squeeze in:


The seal mechanism looks like a metal-to-metal taper, so it is either pitted from corrosion or has some debris trapped in it. If the latter, opening it fully under water full pressure could dislodge the debris.

If that does not work I see some possible ways to remove it that you might try in this order. I've had to resort to these before on radiator and manifold drains with buggered hex faces or slipping handles. First, open the petcock fully.

1) Get an easy-out (screw extractor) that fits into the hole in the tabbed handle. If it comes out put lots of sealant or teflon tape on the threads of a new one, tighten it by hand and then use a small crescent wrench on the tabbed handle to tighten it enough that it does not weep around the threads.

2) Get an old 3/8 socket large enough to fit around the small threaded valve shank and cut two slots in it that fit over the handle tabs. Kinda like this:


That should work nicely to remove it and to install the new one. It looks like taper pipe threads so do not over tighten.

3) If it is too tight to get out using options 1 or 2, use a Dremel or other rotary cutoff tool to cut off the two handle tabs and then put a deep socket over it to remove. To install the new one, see options 1 or 2.
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Old 01-25-2014, 09:07 AM   #9
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Judging from my experience with my 72, these campers were not exactly "service friendly" out of the factory.

IDK, as a quick and dirty fix, you might clean and scuff/sand inside the barrel and fill the whole thing with epoxy.

If done well it would stop the leak, but of course the valve would never drain again.
Well, I was just wondering out loud to my wife if it's possible to do something like that. I keep non-toxic RV anti-freeze in the lines when the trailer is stored in the coldest parts of the (Florida) winter, so I really don't care if the valve doesn't drain. Even if I have the dealer replace it, they'll probably just use the same type petcock and I don't think I'd ever want to open it again anyway.

What type of epoxy/glue would you recommend trying? I'm thinking an automotive radiator sealant?
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Old 01-25-2014, 09:17 AM   #10
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What type of epoxy/glue would you recommend trying? I'm thinking an automotive radiator sealant?
Grey colored MarineTex. You can get it in a marina or hardware stores. I have also seen it in Lowes.

As J. Morgan says. it must be corrosion free and completely dry.
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Old 01-25-2014, 09:25 AM   #11
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Here is a photo of the valves off a 2010 model. This photo shows the fittings from a freshwater tank replacement when I had them all off the trailer a few weeks back. Note that the valves are female threaded. The drain valves are attached to a PEX Ell that is sandwiched to the shroud and holds them in place.

So on my 2010 model, the valves are on the exterior of the freshwater tank shroud. I suspect that you may be able to remove the handles and stems from the valves and then change them without having to drop the shroud, tank, etc. I am not certain on this however. If you have to drop the shroud and tank, it requires cutting the PEX piping, jacking the trailer up and dropping it all out, and that becomes a big job. If you have to go this sort of route you will learn a lot about how your Twinkie is cobbled together.
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Old 01-25-2014, 09:27 AM   #12
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If that is what is on there, I assume the dealer's labor is to remove enough body work to get an open ended wrench on the hex fitting.

The big IF is: is the fitting it is screwed into solid, so it will not twist and turn. This is important to know before trying anything I suggest.
Otherwise you need to put another wrench on the fitting the petcock is screwed into.
Thanks, but as you say, I don't know what the other end of the petcock is attached to. I can get a thin crow's foot up against the belly pan, but I'm really hesitant to turn on it.

When I called the dealer's service manager he said they might get lucky, or they might have to remove the interior closet to get to the water line attachment at the top of the petcock. This suggests that turning the petcock from underneath the belly pan might not turn out too well (no pun).

On my 25 FB, the water pump is under the hanging closet between the fridge and the shower stall, so I presume somewhere down in there is where the water lines attach to the top of the petcocks on the inside.

I've tried several times to open the valve and use system pressure to flush the drain with no luck. In fact, when closed, what was once a steady drip has progressed to actual pressure that I can barely stop with my fingertip pressed as hard as possible against the bottom of the petcock, so I presume the seating surface has become galled.
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Old 01-25-2014, 09:29 AM   #13
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Before epoxying it you might see if a piece of copper tubing or brass plug would slide in there with a tight fit. You could sweat solder a plug or another valve in.
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Old 01-25-2014, 09:41 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Alphonse View Post
Here is a photo of the valves off a 2010 model. Note that the valves are female threaded. The drain valves are attached to a PEX Ell that is sandwiched to the shroud and holds them in place.

If you have to go this sort of route you will learn a lot about how your Twinkie is cobbled together.
Wow... nice pic. I wish mine was like that: brass PEX ells and female threaded ball valves.

I've apparently got a couple of 1948 Ford radiator petcocks (now made in China, since the wings are barely thick enough to operate the petcock without deforming). Who knows what they used for the PEX attachments?

I think this is why the dealer doesn't know how mine are attached until they actually look at it. Airstream seems to change things so often on the line that one built before lunch and one after lunch might not be the same
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