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Old 08-10-2012, 03:55 AM   #1
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1964 26' Overlander
Toronto , Ontario
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 76
More leaking shower issues.

The original shower in my 64 Overlander drips, drips, drips. The one and only plumber in the area says "the leak could be anywhere" and doesn't want to do the work of finding it. I've tried adjusting the various valves, using plumber's tape to fix any bad seals, but I don't know ANYTHING about plumbing!
The dripping shower head is not only an annoyance but results in a major waste of water, and since I'm dependent on a well that can go dry (especially during summers like this one!), I really want to solve this problem. Could it be washers? Does anyone know what size washers are needed for different joints in the shower?
My Airstream is in such a remote area that I have to be equipped with supplies when I visit.
What do I need?

In a related plumbing problem, I've been told my hot water heater isn't
working. I rent my Airstream out for part of the summer, so I get these reports via email. The heater worked fine last summer. The renters know about the on/off switch. No hot water! Any advice on where I should start?

Thanks loads.
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Old 08-10-2012, 07:45 AM   #2
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Roblin , MB.
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My opinion would be that the cause of a drippimg shower head would be control valve(s) that are defective and not shutting down the water supply.
However I know nothing about a 64 Overlander. With our 74 International I exnded up putting a new control unit in.
Someone on the forums will probably advise you if you can purchase a repair kit for your controls or if you should be purchasing a new one. Having your A/S in a remote location makes it difficult because with plumbing issues a person usually has to run to the hardware store several times getting misc pieces.
Hard to respond to your hot water heater concern. You mention on/off switch. Has it been changed up to an electric hot water heater? Original heater would probably have been propane fired.
I'm sure someone familiar with a 64 Overlander will respond to your inquiry and help you out.
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Old 08-10-2012, 09:27 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wigwag View Post
The original shower in my 64 Overlander drips, drips, drips. The one and only plumber in the area says "the leak could be anywhere" and doesn't want to do the work of finding it. I've tried adjusting the various valves, using plumber's tape to fix any bad seals, but I don't know ANYTHING about plumbing!
The dripping shower head is not only an annoyance but results in a major waste of water, and since I'm dependent on a well that can go dry (especially during summers like this one!), I really want to solve this problem. Could it be washers? Does anyone know what size washers are needed for different joints in the shower?
My Airstream is in such a remote area that I have to be equipped with supplies when I visit.
What do I need?

In a related plumbing problem, I've been told my hot water heater isn't
working. I rent my Airstream out for part of the summer, so I get these reports via email. The heater worked fine last summer. The renters know about the on/off switch. No hot water! Any advice on where I should start?

Thanks loads.
Easy way to track down the cause of the leak, if it's dripping from the shower head, remove the shower head and clean it thoroughly. It's possible that debris has gotten into the system and built up in the shower head to trap water while in use, which then drips out slowly when not in use.

If that doesn't solve the problem, next step is the hot and cold taps. You may very well have washers in the taps. Easy way, disconnect the water (shut off the pump or disconnect the inlet hose) so water doesn't spray everywhere. Remove the handle. This exposes the top of the valve. Unscrew the top of the valve and remove the valve body. If it has a washer, remove the washer, and take it to a hardware store. They should be able to find a new one to match. Get spares while you're at it.

If there are no washers (they do make washerless models, but I don't think they had them in the 60's) you've got a more complex job. Call up that lazybones plumber and tell him he doesn't have to track down a leak, he just needs to rebuilt your shower taps.

As long as the drip is from the shower head itself, and not through a pipe joint, the shower head and the taps are the only possible sources.

Water heater is a more difficult proposition to troubleshoot by post. So, some questions…
Is it propane, electric, or both?
If propane, does it have a pilot light, or does it have a spark to light the flame?

If propane, is the propane tank empty? (Yeah, I know that's a no-brainer, but I have to ask).

If it's got a pilot light, and it's not out of propane, then a failure of the pilot light is the most dangerous situation; it means that when the heater is supposed to come on, it's just spraying propane with no fire. So that's what to check first.

If it's got a piezoelectric ignition (electric spark) then is it actually sparking when it's supposed to? Same thing, if the propane is coming on but there's no spark, you're just spraying propane and that's dangerous.

So, if the pilot light isn't working, or the piezoelectric ignition isn't working, shut off the propane until you get that fixed.

Find the water heater fuse. Is it burned out? No fuse means no spark. It also means the thermostat isn't getting power, either. If it's all-electric, a burned out fuse also means no heat. So obviously once you've made sure the dangerous things are okay, the fuse is the next thing to check. Should be somewhere on your 12v fuse panel.

Is there a bypass valve on the hot water tank? If you don't know, turn on the galley sink hot tap by itself. Does water come out? If so, your water heater will have water in it. If not, find the bypass valve and open it, then open the hot tap again and let water run until it comes out the faucet. This fills the water heater. This should also be a no-brainer, but if you rent out your trailer, don't rely on your tenants having brains.

If it's got propane, and the propane ignites when it's supposed to, and it's full of water, and the fuse is good, then the next thing is the thermostat. If you're not familiar with them, best to leave that one to the professionals.

If you've gone through all of those steps and still haven't solved the problem, then make sure the propane is off, get out your trusty Smith & Wesson, and put the water heater out of your misery.
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Old 08-11-2012, 06:54 AM   #4
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1964 26' Overlander
Toronto , Ontario
Join Date: Jan 2010
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Wow, Protagonist... Thanks! You've covered it all.

The heater is an electric one, and there is water coming out of the hot water tap, so you're right, it may just be the fuse! I'll have my friendly, but slightly ailing, neighbour go over and have a look.

As for the leaks, yes, my instinct is that it's just going to be an issue with washers. Surely my "lazy-bones" plumber can handle that! Though, in his defense I should say he's also a lobster and crab fisherman, so he's often busy with his traps, and general boat stuff. He ain't really lazy.

I'll make calls to my guys and hopefully they can fix things for me this weekend. Sounds easy enough for me to do myself, if I weren't 1000 miles away!

Thanks again.
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