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Old 09-28-2016, 03:54 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by VTSmitty View Post
We had the same problem, and among other things installed an accumulator (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1). This will also reduce the length of time your water pump comes on each time, especially if you're just using a little bit of water. We put our accumulator in the same place as the water pump, which left more room under the sink. Note that the addition of the accumulator shouldn't be the only thing you do: make sure your city water fitting/pressure regulator isn't leaking, and check the integrity of the crimp bands and fittings under and behind the sink. Unfortunately, the white back panel under the sink restricts your ability to see the plumping; we had ours modified so that we could remove a section and check things out.
VT Smitty: Thanks for your response. Do you have directions or a photo of the modification of the white back panel under the sink of your trailer? The Airstream factory suggests removing a panel of aluminum sheeting from the exterior. That won't happen on my watch. See my other responses. Robere
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Old 09-28-2016, 04:02 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by jackwest View Post
I have the same model AS. If your leak occurs when hooked up to city water source only, it may be at the hose connection. I have been dealing with such a leak for over a year, but only when hooked up to city water and very rarely. Your water heater is curbside, so likely not involved in a drivers side leak.
The trailer has not been hooked to city water during the time I've noticed the leak. The common ground is (1) heater on (2) slow intermittent leak on driver side just aft of the tires under the sink windows on our 23' FB FC. Thanks Jack West for your response. I'll get there eventually. The big problem is access to the plumbing fittings under the sink. Stay tuned. Robere
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Old 09-28-2016, 04:14 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Robere View Post
OTRA15: Thanks for your response. The valve spotted behind the sink is in fact a check valve for the black water clean-out plumbing. Robere
And can you see water coming out from this valve? Does it have a plastic housing or the newer brass one? Our plastic one leaked but is hidden, so we have not replaced it yet.

This valve is not connected to the regular plumbing in the trailer, but only to its dedicated hose connection on the exterior, so it does not seem logical that it would leak depending on the action of the water heater IMO.

Thanks

Edit -- OK I see your other posts. This valve is not leaking apparently. I will hold off and let you clarify things. You might need to restore the head of air in the water heater per Post #2 and dkottum's Post#10.
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Old 09-28-2016, 07:41 PM   #18
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We had the same problem with our 2011 23FB FC. It is repaired now, and this describes what is likely the problem with yours.

The city water inlet was leaking under the higher pressure of the hot water heater running without relief. Keep in mind that when the water heater causes an increase in pressure, it is seen on both hot and cold lines.

The city water inlet is a two piece plastic housing that is screwed together. Airstream connects to this inlet with a stiff section of PEX that pulls downward on the inlet, causing a slight separation of the castings. With pressure in the line (and the separation of the castings), a leak occurs.

The solution is to replace the city water inlet, and connect it with a section of flexible appliance hose (like you'd find under a sink). Provide strain relief to the casting and the problem will go away. Any plumbing supplier will have a hose with proper connections (use right angle to the water inlet).

If you carefully pull the four screws of the inlet and pull it out, you will probably find that the side of the castings is wet, as is the insulation in the wall below the inlet. Mine became obvious.

-John
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Old 09-28-2016, 08:08 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Radio Ranch View Post
We had the same problem with our 2011 23FB FC. It is repaired now, and this describes what is likely the problem with yours.

The city water inlet was leaking under the higher pressure of the hot water heater running without relief. Keep in mind that when the water heater causes an increase in pressure, it is seen on both hot and cold lines.

The city water inlet is a two piece plastic housing that is screwed together. Airstream connects to this inlet with a stiff section of PEX that pulls downward on the inlet, causing a slight separation of the castings. With pressure in the line (and the separation of the castings), a leak occurs.

The solution is to replace the city water inlet, and connect it with a section of flexible appliance hose (like you'd find under a sink). Provide strain relief to the casting and the problem will go away. Any plumbing supplier will have a hose with proper connections (use right angle to the water inlet).

If you carefully pull the four screws of the inlet and pull it out, you will probably find that the side of the castings is wet, as is the insulation in the wall below the inlet. Mine became obvious.

-John
Thanks John. Since the trailer has not been hooked up to city water for more than a month and the problem persists when the water heater is on I'm trying to visualize what you have written. I'll pull off the city inlet water fitting and post what I find. Lots of good brains helping out here, including yours. Don't you just love plumbing challenges? Robere

Just checked the area within the opening to the city water connection and the adjacent insulation. No moisture present. Now to plan B.
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Old 09-28-2016, 11:03 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by dkottum View Post
Your leak is most probably caused by expansion of the water in the water plumbing from turning on the water heater. There is a weak connection somewhere behind the sink, at the faucets perhaps, water filter, or possibly a weakly crimped pex fitting. The hot water expansion is forcing the leak, which will cause subfloor rot over time. Try to find the weak connection, the source of the leak.

The plumbing system is designed to have an air bubble to absorb the expansion of the water heater. The bubble is easily lost or absorbed by the water over time. An easy way to restore the bubble is hook up your drained external water supply hose to a city water spigot and the Airstream, then open a hot water faucet inside the airstream and then open the city water spigot. The column of air in the hose will go into the top of the water heater, and water will flow out the bottom of the water heater and out the open hot water faucet. The bubble is restored. If you drain the hose each time you break camp you will have the opportunity to restore the bubble at each new campground.

Turn off the water heater when not being used, such as overnight or when you don't need it, as a matter of routine. It's not desirable to have this excess pressure in the system.

An easy way to permanently take up some of this hot water expansion is to install a water pressure accumulator (on a cold water line). We put one under the bath sink, very easy to do. Screw it to the wall, take off the supply line below the cold water side of the faucet and put it on the accumulator. Then go to the hardware store and get a new line to fit from the accumulator to the bottom of the faucet. Clamp the lines as needed, if flopping around in there.
After consideration and further investigation I feel that your resolution may be of the highest probability Doug. Now to gain access to the plumbing. That may be a bit challenging. Robere
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Old 09-29-2016, 12:13 AM   #21
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Yes, the leak didn't occur when connected to city water. It occurred when the water heater caused the pressure on the pex lines to increase to over 100 PSI (pressure that can be relieved by briefly opening a faucet). I measured pressures as high as 140 PSI on the water line in the trailer when running the water heater. This is why the heater has a 150 PSI pressure relief.

The pex side of the city water inlet has whatever pressure the water lines within the trailer has. The city water inlet has a check valve to keep trailer water from spurting out the inlet when not connected to city water. The water pressure on the cold water line will approximate that of the hot water line as they are contiguous through the heater.

I hope that this helps. In any case it is something to watch for since it is a likely failure point. The inlet manual says to avoid using rigid tubing (which Pex is).

-John
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Old 09-29-2016, 04:27 PM   #22
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Water leak resolved

After revisiting the city water input port for indications of a leak with the water heater turned-on, I discovered moisture on the inside plastic connector accessible under the kitchen sink. Tightening the connector did not help so I removed the entire assembly and wrapped the plastic threads with teflon tape. VOILA! End of leak. An accumulator sounds like a great idea so I'll purchase and install one as well. Thank you everyone and especially those of you that kept me focused on the city water input port. I learn more from this forum than from anyone at the dealer or factory. You guys (and gals) ARE the A team.
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Old 09-29-2016, 06:18 PM   #23
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I wish I had found this thread last week! I had the exact same thing happen on my 30' serenity and I ended up having to tow it several hours back to the dealer for them to diagnose. Glad you got yours fixed easily!
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Old 09-29-2016, 07:24 PM   #24
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Once again the value of the Airstream owners forum. The dealers seem to feel that we like towing our rigs hundreds of miles for five minute repairs.
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Old 09-30-2016, 06:22 AM   #25
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Great news that the leak is fixed. Thanks for the follow up. The water line at the back of the city water inlet is of course also pressurized when using the pump only [not city water], so the leak makes sense in either case. May I also repeat the suggestion that you consider ensuring that the head of air, trapped at the top of the water heater, is up to specs? In a sense this trapped air is in effect a little accumulator built in to the design of all water heaters to prevent water pressure from getting too high as the water heats.

Thanks again for the update and happy trails!

Peter


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Once again the value of the Airstream owners forum. The dealers seem to feel that we like towing our rigs hundreds of miles for five minute repairs.
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Old 09-30-2016, 07:09 AM   #26
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We put in the Shurflo accumulator because the air bubble in the top of the water heater would not stay there in either of our two Airstreams. Turning the water heater off at night or when not used helps, but the air would sooner or later be expelled out the pressure relief valve.

The important difference of the accumulator is a rubber membrane separates the air cushion from the water. The air cannot be lost. The accumulator also makes the water system operate more smoothly, and when the water pump is turned off it keeps a little reserve water under pressure so a short opening of a faucet does not kick the pump on immediately.

It's an easy, trouble-free and worthwhile improvement.
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Old 09-30-2016, 07:18 AM   #27
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Belts and suspenders IMO. If the air head trapped inside at the top of the water heater, as designed by the mfg., is gone entirely, that is not good, so folks should endeavor to maintain it, even with an accumulator installed inline.

Good insurance to have both IMO.
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Old 09-30-2016, 10:36 AM   #28
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Do you have directions or a photo of the modification of the white back panel under the sink of your trailer? Robere
Robere,

Glad to hear that you got the problem fixed! One thing I learned from this thread was the idea of putting a flexible hose on the city water connector; I don't like how tight and difficult it is to get to from the outside, and that idea should help. Also, when we had the problem we talked to Airstream, and they felt that as long as the problem hadn't been going on for too long (more than a season or two), and was intermittent, there should be no floor damage. We checked that out when we fixed the fitting, and everything looked fine.

Here are pictures of the accumulator in the same space as the water pump (again, works for a 23FB only), and how we got access to the plumbing under the sink. That picture shows the drawers removed, and the removable panel we created.

Dan
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