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Old 11-19-2017, 10:05 AM   #1
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1980 31' International
Nashville , Tennessee
Join Date: Nov 2017
Posts: 11
Smile How do I test the water system?

1980 International - Center Bath / Rear Bed - 31'

I'm just diving in on my first Airstream. I've just received a copy of the service manual.

I'm not sure how to test the water system or where I should start.

The pipes under the sink in the kitchen and in the bathroom look clean and solid. The sewer pipe exiting the trailer looks clean and solid. The water intake door is clean and free of debris.

Condition of storage tank - unknown
Condition of water heater - unknown
Condition of water pump - unknown

I connected the house water hose to the intake pipe next to the sewer pipe on the outside. Both sinks worked, but there was also a black 1/4"? pipe in the bathroom that wasn't connected to anything and just spewing water. I pointed it into the shower and just let it drain through.

Kind regards,

1980 Airstream International 31'

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Old 11-19-2017, 10:11 AM   #2
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On the "pipe spewing water" part - is there anything in the trailer that *should* get water that is not getting it? Toilet would be one candidate, the hot water heater might be another, an outside shower or faucet would also be on that list, low point drain maybe ... .

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Old 11-19-2017, 10:58 AM   #3
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Quarter-inch is about right for the line to the toilet, but small for anything else. So the toilet would be my guess.

As for the condition of the fresh tank, start with sanitizing according to the manual, which also allows you to fill the fresh tank.

Once you fill the tank with chlorinated water, allow it to sit for the recommended time. But before you do anything else, check the water level to make sure the tank is still full. If it's not, then you have a leak. If it is, the tank is not only intact, but now sanitized, too.

Then run the pump (opening each faucet in turn on both hot and cold) to put some of the chlorinated water into the plumbing and water heater. Make sure the water heater isn't bypassed. If you leave the cap off the municipal water inlet while running the pump, water should not come back out the water inlet. If it does, then your backflow preventer/check valve is malfunctioning.

When you're satisfied that you're getting chlorinated water through all plumbing (water from the hot tap flows freely without spitting, indicating water heater is full, though at this point the water is still cold), then turn on the water heater to confirm that the heater works. After about 15 minutes, the hot water taps should produce hot water.

Then turn off the water heater, drain everything to get rid of the chlorinated water, and refill with fresh water from a trusted source.
I thought getting old would take longer!
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Old 12-17-2017, 04:38 AM   #4
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1980 31' International
Nashville , Tennessee
Join Date: Nov 2017
Posts: 11
Thank you both for this information! I apologize for the late reply.

This weekend I moved the trailer to its final resting place. I may have damaged something in the move as it was leaking a bit once we finally placed it..my guess is the sewer pipe, but I'll have to give it a look in the day light. Once I have her jacked up I'll revert back to my plan to test all he water systems.

So, next up is figuring out how to safely jack up my trailer for permanent living.
1980 Airstream International 31'

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Old 12-17-2017, 05:38 AM   #5
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Testing the water system, the fresh water correct?

I made an adapter that uses regulated compressed air to pressure test the system, like new home construction. You apply air, pressurize to maybe 40 PSI and then close the valve that locks the applied pressure to the system. I watch the pressure Gage on the adapter and check for loss of PSI.

Air leaks don't make big messes like water.

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Old 12-18-2017, 04:28 PM   #6
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Some heads included a wash down spray head.

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Old 12-18-2017, 05:29 PM   #7
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^ ^ ^
What he said.

If it is not the actual water supply to the toilet, it could be the toilet sprayer. On a 1980 trailer there originally was a sprayer that is similar to most kitchen sink sprayers. Some people plug the line. If you decide to repair it, I suggest you add a valve so that the flexible line of the sprayer is not always under pressure.

Thetford calls this sprayer a water saver, so you might try Google searching "Thetford Water Saver"

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this is the one
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