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Old 03-07-2014, 04:21 PM   #85
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Ok - so a trip to the trailer today (because I just needed to see it! ) and I thought I'd snap some pics of the shut off valves under my bathroom sink. Earlier in this thread, I said it looked like some pink stuff got in to the water heater and then leaked out while I was driving it back from the dealer (down on to the trim which brought pink drops to the spot behind the propane tanks - I know - long story...).

At any rate, here are the pics. I THINK this means the water to the water heater is bypassed, however, note the white (not pink) color of the water line - and there's no telling WHEN these valves were put on this position? I'm slightly cornfused - not the first time - what do y'all see here??



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Old 03-08-2014, 03:57 PM   #86
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I'll try. The first photo shows that the cold water intake to the HWH is closed. The white pipe is going to be white regardless of its contents. Sometimes, when winterizing, the check valve at the top, sticks, and antifreeze can enter the HWH. When mine did this, the "fix" was to tap the valve with an implement. Same as when I fix the Television. It has worked ok since but I am pretty sure that it will stick another day. So the only thing you have to do to fill the HWH, is open the one inline valve and you are good to go. Jim
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Old 03-08-2014, 09:00 PM   #87
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I'll try. The first photo shows that the cold water intake to the HWH is closed. The white pipe is going to be white regardless of its contents. Sometimes, when winterizing, the check valve at the top, sticks, and antifreeze can enter the HWH. When mine did this, the "fix" was to tap the valve with an implement. Same as when I fix the Television. It has worked ok since but I am pretty sure that it will stick another day. So the only thing you have to do to fill the HWH, is open the one inline valve and you are good to go. Jim
Ok thanks, Jim. Let me make some guesses here.

The area behind the styrofoam must be the actual water heater. The silver-ish canister with the white flexible hose must be where the hot water made in the heater flows back to the plumbing. This would explain why that hose is white - there's nothing in it - no water and no antifreeze (unlike the same type hose under the kitchen sink which is pink with fluid inside.

The second level down with the yellow valve must be the propane going in to the heater. Is that yellow valve also in "shut off" or "bypass" position?

The bottom plastic/PVC pipes must be the cold water in to the water heater. That's in "shut off" or "bypass" mode and will be turned to go with the pipe when ready (and I'm assuming I run the water through all the sinks/shower/toilet until they're clear before opening this valve to the water heater).

Can anyone confirm or disconfirm that understanding?

Then you can see a lot of pink stains on that bottom pipe and on the styrofoam itself suggesting there was some antifreeze in the area (how I'm not sure...).

Any thoughts there? Thanks muchly!
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Old 03-08-2014, 10:02 PM   #88
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Winterizing

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Originally Posted by SteveSueMac View Post
... The second level down with the yellow valve must be the propane going in to the heater. Is that yellow valve also in "shut off" or "bypass" position? ...

This yellow valve is the cold water inlet to the WH. It is in the closed (bypass mode) position. The propane line is a copper line on the outboard side of the WH. The white valve on the pipe attached to the floor is also closed. The valve in that location on mine is a low point drain for the cold water line supplying the WH, but without a better view I can't say for sure what that valve does on yours. Connect your water hose and allow it to pressurize the system, open the white valve and if water streams out a short pipe extending below the trailer, it is one of the low point drains. There are a total of 3 on mine in addition to the FW tank drain.

BTW, These red and white pipes and the white braided hoses are opaque, you can't tell what's in them. The faucet lines under the sink may be transparent and you might see pink there.
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Old 03-09-2014, 07:10 AM   #89
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Ok - thanks, Silver. So much to learn! I had assumed the flexible hose there was the same as under the sink - that's why I hot a little panicked to not see pink in the line.

I'm wondering if that pipe on the floor goes to the toilet? That might be it, but I'll check for the low point drain when de-winterizing.

So 2 questions remain:

1) I believe I flush all the antifreeze out BEFORE opening the bypass valve to the water heater (otherwise, I'd be pushing antifreeze in to it). Is that correct?

2) any thoughts on why you can see pink stuff on the styrofoam and outside of the pipes on the floor? They shouldn't have had the bottle of it in the bathroom (doesn't it get sucked in to the pump? ) so it makes me wonder if it leaked somewhere or they did something wrong. That might explain the earlier pictures I posted of antifreeze on the outside of the trailer at the water heater.

Thanks for all your help!
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Old 03-09-2014, 08:48 PM   #90
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Originally Posted by SteveSueMac View Post
Ok - thanks, Silver. So much to learn! I had assumed the flexible hose there was the same as under the sink - that's why I hot a little panicked to not see pink in the line.

I'm wondering if that pipe on the floor goes to the toilet? That might be it, but I'll check for the low point drain when de-winterizing.

So 2 questions remain:

1) I believe I flush all the antifreeze out BEFORE opening the bypass valve to the water heater (otherwise, I'd be pushing antifreeze in to it). Is that correct?

2) any thoughts on why you can see pink stuff on the styrofoam and outside of the pipes on the floor? They shouldn't have had the bottle of it in the bathroom (doesn't it get sucked in to the pump? ) so it makes me wonder if it leaked somewhere or they did something wrong. That might explain the earlier pictures I posted of antifreeze on the outside of the trailer at the water heater.

Thanks for all your help!

1) yes and I think you will have to do it again after you open the yellow bypass valve.
2) When winterizing, antifreeze is poured into the sink and head traps right out of the bottle. It is possible the service person simply spilled some. Antifreeze on the outside of the WH confirms my suspicion that the gate valve (shiny contraption at the hot water intake) was stuck and some antifreeze entered the HWH and dribbled out of the drain valve or pressure relief valve. Follow Silvers advise and you will be OK. Jim
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Old 03-10-2014, 08:30 AM   #91
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... So 2 questions remain:

1) I believe I flush all the antifreeze out BEFORE opening the bypass valve to the water heater (otherwise, I'd be pushing antifreeze in to it). Is that correct?
2) any thoughts on why you can see pink stuff on the styrofoam and outside of the pipes on the floor? They shouldn't have had the bottle of it in the bathroom (doesn't it get sucked in to the pump? ) so it makes me wonder if it leaked somewhere or they did something wrong. That might explain the earlier pictures I posted of antifreeze on the outside of the trailer at the water heater.

Antifreeze in the WH is not a problem. The reason for the bypass valves is to save the expense of 6 additional gallons of the pink stuff. It takes approximately 2 gallons of the stuff to flood the lines, internal passages in toilet and traps.

The basic springtime routine is to drain as much of the pink stuff as you reasonably can, connect the water hose and flush out each line by opening one faucet at a time. Some foaming will persist from the tiny amount that never seems to flush through, but it will dissipate before you need to winterize again 😉. It is not toxic but many can taste it, so carry some bottled water if that is an issue for you. Once you've flushed as much as you can out, open a hot water faucet and then open the bypass valve to allow the WH to fill. Once the faucet stops spitting and sputtering, it is safe to turn the WH on.

An alternative to flooding the lines with antifreeze is to use compressed air to blow out all the lines and then use the antifreeze only in the traps. Either way works provided attention is paid to doing a thorough job.

I noticed some pink speckles in your photo on the white pipes below the WH. That and the amount you saw on the outside of the trailer makes me suspicious of a leak. Once you get your water back in under pressure, look and feel around the pipes and fittings around the water heater as well as those going to the sink. Much of the time it is simply a hand tightened connection that just needs to be a bit tighter. This also is true of the fittings on the traps. Hopefully it was just a spill, but wet spots always need to be investigated.
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Old 03-15-2014, 12:48 PM   #92
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To check for leaks, I find a feeling of wetness on my fingers can be deceptive. So I use a paper towel. A single small drip will show up on paper towel and help you determine where the leak is. If you have a leaking connection, take it apart and clean it thoroughly. An almost invisible amount of dirt can provide a path for water to leak. Don't tighten too much because that can crush a washer or seal or crack a plastic fitting. Of course, it is hard to know how much is too much until you crack the fitting or crush and distort a washer or seal. Don't ask how I know that. When you think the connection is getting very tight, just turn it slightly (1/8 turn maybe) each time and check for leaks. Sometimes it seems fine and an hour later you find a drip. Then tighten slightly again, repeat process Plumbing is not fun and once you do your own, you start to understand why plumbers charge so much.

Since every model is a bit different and the owners' manuals don't always keep up with reality, locating which valve does what can be difficult. Having winterized and summerized for years now, I just reverse the 3 valves each season, but the first time I didn't know what was going on. You can get arrows that stick on pipes to show which way the water flows (once you figure it out and place the arrow in the right direction). You might be able to get red and blue ones to show what is hot and cold too. That can be helpful, but I haven't gone that far. You could make them out of craft paper and use clear packing tape. I think you can buy blue and red Pex of you re-plumb a trailer.

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Old 03-15-2014, 02:42 PM   #93
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Gene makes very good points, I neglected to mention the paper towel earlier, but a minuscule drop that us hard to detect by touch will be evident on a dry paper towel. Some fittings are intended to be hand tightened, but folks have different grip and hand strength, so as Gene suggests an additional 1/8 turn once or twice is often sufficient to stop the slight drip regardless of what type fitting it is. If no change is noted, something may be cross threaded or if there is a gasket of some sort in there that may be cracked or deformed.

Just as lug nuts have been known to work loose after mounting a wheel, plumbing fittings on RVs can do the same after some miles down the road. It has been my experience that once those have been found that need additional tightening are addressed, they usually don't come loose again for a long time. A trailer or motorhome is subject to nearly constant earthquake like motion as it travels down the road. For the most part, RVs and component parts seem to do fairly well considering the environment. Anyone who has seen Lucy try to make dinner for Ricky as he towed their trailer down the road in The Long Long Trailer can appreciate what goes on back there.

While sometimes it seems like valve location and function seem somewhat random, Airstream offers a variety of floor plans that alters the placement of things like the water heater and sinks, etc. It is not unusual for a given model to undergo production changes during the year. I don't know when it happened, but it appears that in the last few years, they went from the traditional 3-valve bypass design to a single valve that combined with some back flow preventers accomplishes the same function with 1 knob instead of 3.
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Old 04-08-2014, 09:19 AM   #94
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So the petcocks/low point drains under the trailer - are both for the fresh water tank? I opened one the other night and a mixture with pink stuff came out. But my dealer said they did NOT winterize the FW tank. I didn't open the other one - but will. I'm assuming if the did put antifreeze in the FW tank, I'm going to want to fill it and drain through those drains to get rid of the antifreeze.

There are 2 brass ones and then there's the white plastic one on the side of the tank. Not sure why the FW tank would need 3 drains? The manual was a little vague but I got the impression all 3 are for that tank. What do you think?

It's a 2012 27FB Flying Cloud. Thx!
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Old 04-08-2014, 09:31 AM   #95
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So the petcocks/low point drains under the trailer - are both for the fresh water tank? I opened one the other night and a mixture with pink stuff came out. But my dealer said they did NOT winterize the FW tank. I didn't open the other one - but will. I'm assuming if the did put antifreeze in the FW tank, I'm going to want to fill it and drain through those drains to get rid of the antifreeze.

There are 2 brass ones and then there's the white plastic one on the side of the tank. Not sure why the FW tank would need 3 drains? The manual was a little vague but I got the impression all 3 are for that tank. What do you think?

It's a 2012 27FB Flying Cloud. Thx!
If I had to guess, one drains the hot water line between the water heater and the faucets. One drains the cold water line between the pump and the faucets. One drains the tank.

The cold water line includes a check valve to keep water from flowing back into the tank, and another to keep water from flowing back out of the municipal water inlet. So any water in the lines below the level of the faucets would never drain unless you open the drain valves at the low points of the system. When draining pink stuff, open the faucets to let air in first, then open the low point drains.
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Old 04-09-2014, 04:11 PM   #96
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I know on my Classic the two brass petcocks are the low point for the hot and cold water lines. The white valve is the drain for the fresh water tank. I remember one year when I dewinterized I failed to open the two brass low water valves as I was flushing out the lines with fresh water. Later when I was winterizing and blew out the lines, a small amount of antifreeze come out as I opened each valve. That small amount of antifreeze laid at the bottom of those lines all season and never was diluted by the water in the lines.

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Old 04-09-2014, 06:07 PM   #97
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Hi, pretty soon I will be de-winterizing my trailer for the first time ever. I shall see if I messed up and damaged anything on my very first winterizing. At almost totally done winterizing, my water pump died. I had to quickly buy and install a new water pump and more anti-freeze.
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Old 04-11-2014, 11:50 AM   #98
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Wellllllll


Ok - hitched up last night to get the trailer to a local campground. Since I had to be in work this morning, the plan was - get it to the campground, flush out the pink stuff, head home and then go back for the weekend.

Hitching worked perfectly and connected on first attempt. I haven't lost it. Good to know!

We start to leave the storage lot and I go to give the brake controller a "pinch" to test the brakes. Nothing. Hmmm - get out, futz around, looked like the extension on my umbilical is funky. "Un-funk" it and it works. For a few feet. So thankfully, there's an RV store a few hundred yards from us an I go in to get a 1-2 foot extension for my umbilical. They're out. We find, however, a plug for the TV side in a 7-4 conversion kit and an 8' kit from the trailer side. Combined $70. Should have been $15. But - hey - we're camping right? The store is closing but they send me to another building to see Joe their service guy to connect the parts so I have a functional extension. Meanwhile, DW is sitting in the truck wondering what hole I fell in to. But - we're camping.

Ok - plug finished, applied to trailer. Good to go. Of course now, we're deep in to rush hour traffic and another hour to the local campground. But, we're camping right?

Get to the campground after they've closed. So - a few minutes of figuring out how to solve that problem, a spare card reader to get past the gate and we're in!

Get to our spot and start the hookup process. Flushing out lines. Seems to be going ok. Was confused about when to change the WH bypass because I don't want pink stuff in there - but cold water ran fine - hot didn't so I flip the bypass thinking that has something to do with it. There's also a white pipe under the WH that I now know drains through the floor to the outside. The water pump wasn't shutting off and that kind of drainage explained that. But, we're camping...

Closed that. Checked outside and there's a little drip at the drain plug. So I try to tighten it but it feels weird. By the way - getting to it past the burner was a challenge. Fat fingers, lack of space, wrong socket all conspired against me. Finally got a deep 15/16 I could get on it and turn with my hands. Still leaking a bit so I decided to pull it out, clean it (there was gunk on it) and re-insert it. FYI - even though the WH wasn't on yet, there is quite a bit of pressure there when the city water is hooked up. Ha ha ha - just ask me how I know. And hey, we're camping RIGHT?!?!

Ok - took care of that (with now 6 gallons of water under the trailer from the WH and another 5 or more from turning that valve in the bathroom - it's a little messy but - well, you know...).

Start running water again to be real site that WH is filled before trying it out and eventually we got there. By now it's almost 8:30 pm, we're still an hour from home with Daisy patiently waiting there for us (having thought we'd have been home an hour ago...) and there just wasn't any time to try things out. I did turn on the electric WH switch, got the quick red flash and no permanent light so assume I'm good. Shut it off just in case. Will try again tonight with electric and propane and actually GO CAMPING.

Some of you may remember the phrase DW coined for our experience - we call it Clown Camping :-)

You can almost hear the circus music when we pull in to a site....will keep you posted. Thankfully, if anything blows up, we're headed to the mothership starting next weekend and should be off to a great start to the season!

Thanks for listening...
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