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Old 08-20-2012, 11:17 AM   #1
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1974 Airstream Sovereign filling freshwater tank

Okay so here is my dillema. I'm totally new to airstreams and "RV" lifestyle alltogether. I purchased my airstream two weeks ago, and during the testing of the systems everything appeared to be functioning with the water tank system. Here is what is happening now:

Water tank is empty, so I fill it up 1/4 full according to the control panel. At first it was all just coming out the hose in the bottom, so I found the "close" handle under the sink to prevent the tank from emptying while I was filling.

At 1/4 full, I turned off the water and returned to turn on the water pump and test the system. Both shutoff handles were opened (i assume these goto different parts of the trailer/hot water tank). With the water pump running (let it run for about 5 minutes and still didn't stop), I tried turning on the sink water and got nothing...same in the bathroom.

At this point I realized water was again dripping from that hose (i presume it is the drain hose) under the trailer.

I inspected around the tank for any leaks, and it was all dry. Somehow water is still flowing out the bottom and my faucets aren't working.

Any ideas?

Thanks,
Leo
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Old 08-20-2012, 11:37 AM   #2
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In my '74 31' Sov, there are three taps in a well in the floor in a cupboard between the sink and the furnace.

They are "low point" drains, and are meant to be used to drain the system for cold-weather storage only.

When you want to use the trailer's water system, make sure all three are closed, otherwise your fresh tank will be empty, and your grey tank (and black tank too) won't hold water.

ps: welcome to Airforums! Take your time, and don't worry about doing stuff wrong too much. Get either the Owners Manual or the Service Manual, and study them. In fact, get both, you'll be happy you did!
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Old 08-20-2012, 11:38 AM   #3
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There could be several reasons for this. There should be a valve for draining the tank which it sounds like you found. In the same area there should be 2 additional valves for draining the hot and cold water lines. There could be another two of these in another location of the trailer as well. Look in the area that the water is exiting the trailer and see if you can find another valve.
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Old 08-20-2012, 01:31 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aage View Post
In my '74 31' Sov, there are three taps in a well in the floor in a cupboard between the sink and the furnace.

They are "low point" drains, and are meant to be used to drain the system for cold-weather storage only.

When you want to use the trailer's water system, make sure all three are closed, otherwise your fresh tank will be empty, and your grey tank (and black tank too) won't hold water.

ps: welcome to Airforums! Take your time, and don't worry about doing stuff wrong too much. Get either the Owners Manual or the Service Manual, and study them. In fact, get both, you'll be happy you did!

Thanks for the reply! Running out to test that now. Wnat to know how unafraid I am at doing things wrong? I just went to down breaking out the inner panes of my vista views since the water tank issue popped up! :P

Check it out on my blog ismelltexas's Blog | A great WordPress.com site

Did you remove your vistas? I dont know which tint remover to get... going to run down to Oreilys auto parts and see what they have.
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Old 08-20-2012, 02:02 PM   #5
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Thanks for the reply! Running out to test that now. Wnat to know how unafraid I am at doing things wrong? I just went to down breaking out the inner panes of my vista views since the water tank issue popped up! :P

Check it out on my blog ismelltexas's Blog | A great WordPress.com site

Did you remove your vistas? I dont know which tint remover to get... going to run down to Oreilys auto parts and see what they have.
Hope it all works out for you. I guess I may have overstated the "don't be afraid" thing, because I sure didn't mean for you to go breaking our windows! My VVs are dual pane (some, newer ones, I think, are only single), but luckily, the inner one is plastic.

There are several good thread on here about treating them, and the search function will help you find them. And no, I didn't do anything to them yet, just have not gotten around to looking too closely at (through?) them. The slider covers / shades are all off their tracks, so to do the whole job right isn't perhaps as simple as it might seem...

Next I need to re-do my stove, as my DW and her sister complain that it smells of LP gas. I got into the habit of leaving the shut-off in the off position, but that won't work for long.
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Old 08-20-2012, 03:39 PM   #6
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Aage,

The plumbing tips worked! I was missing the two shut off in the back that were "open" from the PO draining the tank I believe. Once I closed those two, I had pressure in kitchen and bath with no draining underneath. Thanks again!

I am currently on the original copper plumbing... it seems like PEX upgrade is the way to go, but I'm not so sure I need to? Our "big trip" is going to be from Seattle area down 101 in oregon and cali to Sandy Eggo...then we will cut across and make to key west, FL remaining on the gulf as much as possible. Our ETD is october, so I dont know that freezing will be an issue since we will be living in the trailer and heading south.

There are SO many other projects I have going right now, I don't know that I want to tackle PEX. What are your thoughts?

Leo
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Old 08-20-2012, 04:23 PM   #7
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If the copper isn't leaking and isn't compromised from prior freezes anywhere you can find (expanded where water froze inside a pipe) there's no reason to do the work right now.

Most people who go to PEX do so either when repairing freeze damage to copper, or in the process of doing a full-blown restoration when they have everything else removed so rebuilding the plumbing is relatively easy. It seems that you already have low-point drains installed in the copper, so it'll be easy for you to winterize if that becomes necessary.
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Old 08-20-2012, 04:34 PM   #8
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Welcome to the forum! Glad you got this figured out, nice to see another Bothell air streamer!
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Old 08-20-2012, 06:14 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by DKB_SATX View Post
If the copper isn't leaking and isn't compromised from prior freezes anywhere you can find (expanded where water froze inside a pipe) there's no reason to do the work right now.

Most people who go to PEX do so either when repairing freeze damage to copper, or in the process of doing a full-blown restoration when they have everything else removed so rebuilding the plumbing is relatively easy. It seems that you already have low-point drains installed in the copper, so it'll be easy for you to winterize if that becomes necessary.
Thanks for the tip! I'm pretty sure the PO before the one I purchased the trailer from kept it inside... but yes it has the drains which is a plus. I'll wait on the PEX.
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Old 08-20-2012, 06:15 PM   #10
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Welcome to the forum! Glad you got this figured out, nice to see another Bothell air streamer!
Uzzah,

Where abouts are you in Bothell? I'm up Nike hill off Damson Road (almost Lynnwood).

Have you done a full restoral on your 31'? Would like you to come check mine out sometime and give me some tips!

Leo
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Old 08-20-2012, 06:31 PM   #11
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I'm down in king county right down the hill from the high school. We did not fully restore, just got it comfortable so we could use it. I'd love to take a look at your TT. I have a 76, so they are likely different, but I have the original owners manual, and it has a lot of good info in it, like where the water valves are all at, lol
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Old 08-20-2012, 10:35 PM   #12
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texasbound,

Glad to hear that the plumbing was that easy for you to get in gear. And I agree, if it wors, don`t fix it. PEX is great, but if you don`t need it, don`t go there.

I`m not a plumber, but last summer I was able to buy a cheap copper soldering kit and replace a busted (yeah it froze, doh!) 5`piece of copper behind the tub wall. No biggie, and it gave me a chance to really clean up the whole tub area.

Hey! Where are the photos of your trailer!
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Old 08-20-2012, 11:05 PM   #13
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texasbound,

Glad to hear that the plumbing was that easy for you to get in gear. And I agree, if it wors, don`t fix it. PEX is great, but if you don`t need it, don`t go there.

I`m not a plumber, but last summer I was able to buy a cheap copper soldering kit and replace a busted (yeah it froze, doh!) 5`piece of copper behind the tub wall. No biggie, and it gave me a chance to really clean up the whole tub area.

Hey! Where are the photos of your trailer!
Got it. I will wait on the pex. Nice to pospone that one on the checklist!

I'll upload a bunch of photos to my blog, but here is an HD video I took right before buying her. Let me know what you think!
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Old 08-20-2012, 11:27 PM   #14
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Got it. I will wait on the pex. Nice to pospone that one on the checklist!

I'll upload a bunch of photos to my blog, but here is an HD video I took right before buying her. Let me know what you think!
Hey, nice walkthrough! We have exactly the same interior, except our fridge and gaucho were replaced by the PO with non-AS types.Yes, your TT looks pretty good! I would have a really close look around that dent in the rear streetside corner, looks as if it could allow water in maybe.

Really, the first (and it will be ongoing) job is to make sure nothing leaks. Water inside is your worst enemy. Get up on the roof at the rear, I betcha the three vents need red-doing (new screens, remove old caulk and re-caulk).

The only other thing I noticed is that your tires appear to be too low. A lot of people now like to run trailer tires at their stated max pressure, which is often 65 lbs. I keep mine over that when I'm not travelling, but I travel with it at 60 lbs. And I can't remember why! LOL!

Loved the video, great way to show it all!
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Old 08-20-2012, 11:50 PM   #15
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It occurred to me that I needed to be more clear about what this meant:

"Get up on the roof at the rear, I betcha the three vents need re-doing (new screens, remove old caulk and re-caulk)."

I meant the three plumbing vents: all near the rear, 2 on the curbside, 1 on the streetside. They allow your plumbing to drain properly, and if debris, or dead mice or birds are blocking them, they won't work well. Plus, the caulking works itself loose there every few years, and if not attended to, will let water down into your two closets, plus behind the tub/sink area.

You'll need to try somebody like Out-Of-Doors Mart to get the little kits they sell,or make yourself one. There's a rubber gasket made of rubber like an inner tube that has a hole in the middle to pull over the black ABS pipe of the vent, a square piece of screen to stop leaves,bugs, and any other detritus to enter, plus Vulkem caulking. Vulkem has a new name which I can't remember at the moment, but you'll find it.

The vent is all contained in a chromed cast unit about 5"X5" at the base (guessing on the measurement) and it's held on by Phillips head screws. Not a difficult job to do, but an important one, part of the Battle Against Water Ingress!

You'll be up on the roof doing this, so if you have time, use the same Vulkem, and go check around the seams of the three air vents, to make sure that they aren't going to leak on you either. In fact, everything that pierces the roof is a potential threat, and needs to be inspected.

And lastly, always remember: no silicon caulking on the exterior! It is heck* to get off after it goes black (which it always seems to do), and it actually attacks aluminum. The only area you are instructed to use it is on the seams of the bathtub.

Have fun!

*Heck is for those who don't believe in Gosh
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Old 08-21-2012, 09:38 AM   #16
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Thanks Aage! The first thing I did when I got the trailer out of there (after putting air in them) was goto Les Schwab and get 5 new tires. :P

I also just got my axles ordered yesterday. Should be here in 2-3 weeks! Very excited about making it completely road worth, and getting rid of the low-rider affect.

The rear dent concerned me too, but another forum member that helped me inspect it looked very carefully in the rear compartment, and thankfully the floor looks solid. I'm going to continue to monitor and seal as needed. Not really sure what to do with that big old dent.....
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Old 04-16-2013, 08:39 PM   #17
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New owner also, I've just purchased a 1974 sovereign and I'm experiencing the exact same problem and was wondering where you found the valves. I found two under the stove in a well and one under the bathroom sink. Any info would help.
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Old 04-17-2013, 07:11 AM   #18
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New owner also, I've just purchased a 1974 sovereign and I'm experiencing the exact same problem and was wondering where you found the valves. I found two under the stove in a well and one under the bathroom sink. Any info would help.
Hey there! Would love to see she pictures if your 74. We are in Austin, where are you?

As for the valves, the answer was the two valves back by the gray and black water dump valves. Once I closed this, I could fill her up! Also be careful not to continue filling when full.... mine will leak under the stove if I do that.

Good luck!
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Old 04-19-2013, 04:24 PM   #19
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I'm currently in Oklahoma City but will be relocating soon. I'll get pics up soon. Do you need a working water pump to have water flow?
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Old 04-19-2013, 11:14 PM   #20
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I'm currently in Oklahoma City but will be relocating soon. I'll get pics up soon. Do you need a working water pump to have water flow?
You do unless you are connected to "city" or hose water for pressure.
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