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Old 05-25-2020, 05:58 PM   #1
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Seem to be getting air in FW line

Evening everyone. I been doing work on our '76 ILY Ambassador again. Replaced all the original copper lines out for pex, everything good there. But I did notice when I run the pump and am looking at the debri filter before the pump, I can see what looks to be air bubbles in it. Is this normal or am I sucking in air from somewhere between the tank and the filter? I pulled the access panel down and replaced a few of the clamps at the "T" where my FW drain is but it still does it. Also even after emptying the tank gauge will still show a 1/4 of a tank. That mystery was part of the reason I went underneath. And I solved that is by finding out that there was about a 1/4 of tank still in it. I pulled the bottom sensor out and got water coming out. Two years ago I replaced the FW line from the tank to the pump do to the old one being brittle. Any Ideas of why I seem to be getting air bubbles in the sediment filter and ideas how to fix it would be very helpful. Going on our first camping trip for 3 nights next Sunday.
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Old 05-25-2020, 07:01 PM   #2
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If the strainer is upright, it can accumulate a bit of air in the high spot just from the dissolved oxygen and nitrogen even if their is no leak between it and the tank. It will definitely fill with air if the tank empties to the suction level. Since your tank does not fully empty, it sounds like the suction is a bit high in your tank.

to confirm there is no leak, rotate the strainer 180 degrees so the cap is on the bottom and the air will pass through, the you can more easily observe if more air is being sucked in or if it was just trapped.
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Old 05-25-2020, 07:10 PM   #3
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I have the clear part facing downward, When we got this AS it was pointed up and was told it should point down. Either way it points I see air bubbles. As for tank not completely draining, I think maybe when I reinstalled the tank to years ago I might have not got it quite right and it is leaning to the curbside just enough to leave water on that side. That or the trailer is leaning to the curbside where I have it parked. Drain is on the road side of the square hole in the middle.
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Old 05-25-2020, 08:23 PM   #4
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Okay, the fittings upstream of the strainer will be the most likely. Since they are always in slight vacuum they won't leak water out, but they will suck air in. Can you get to all the fittings back to the tank?
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Old 05-25-2020, 09:28 PM   #5
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Last week I had the 8x8 steel plate on the belly pan off, while it was off I put new clamps on the "T" I installed to have a FW drain. I put 2 clamps on each leg of the "T". Only spot under there I did not replace with new clamps is at the tank fitting it self. You know the barb coming from the tank the hose slides on to( with some force). I admit I did forget to check that clamp. The clear braided hose from the tank to strainer to pump is only 2 yrs old, I personally replaced then do to the old one being brittle and cracked. Also which way it the clear "globe" of the strainer point? Up or DOWN? Mine is the one with a phillips head screw in the middle if that helps. Thinking about replacing it with a new one here in the next month or 2. Next camping weekend we are planning might be at a State Park that does not have full hook ups so I don't want to be sucking air if I can stop it. This next weekend's trip will be at a State Park with full hook ups which will be a first for me cause I has always done primitive (boondock) or electric only.
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Old 05-26-2020, 06:04 AM   #6
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If you have an air compressor, even a small tire inflator will due, you can apply some positive pressure to the tank by stuffing the hose in the inlet and plugging the vent and inlet with some tape or a rag. don't worry if the seal is not perfect you don't want too much pressure in the tank, maybe 3-7 psi at the most. Now see if some water starts dripping out.
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Old 05-26-2020, 03:38 PM   #7
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LOL, I have two air compressors. I will try that tomorrow. Today I flipped the strainer upside down, clear part facing up. Noticed it does not fill all the way up with water, only about 1/4 to 1/2 way full. Volume seemed to be a bit better but not much. But with it like that I can not see if it is still getting air into it since it is not totally full of water. I did notice before turning it upside down it appeared to be empty and it had water in it accouple days ago. I went a couple days not using the water pump and was doing some cleaning instead. Thank you for all your help trying to figure out my issue with this and will be trying any and all suggestions between tomorrow and Saturday, if still not resolved by Saturday will start back on it next Thursday and just deal with it from Sunday to Wendsday.
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Old 05-27-2020, 05:17 PM   #8
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Alright Brian,
I did the pressure test like you suggested this morning. To my amazement I did not find a leak any where. So where in the crap is it getting air from? I am beginning to think this might a normal thing and just never knew it or noticed it before.
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Old 05-27-2020, 06:33 PM   #9
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I think the air has to be coming from a leak somewhere. With the tank pressured up, run the pump and see if there are still bubbles, with positive pressure it can't suck in any air.
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Old 05-27-2020, 07:24 PM   #10
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Will try in this in the morning then. Actually thought about trying it today but thought it might mess the pump up, but apparently not or why advise doing it. Hard part is seeing the strainer while applying the air. My FW port is behind the door when it is open and the strainer is just inside the door behind the stove.
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Old 05-27-2020, 07:28 PM   #11
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You didn't give a time frame on how long to keep it pressurized so I held it for about two - three minutes each time. Tried 3x to find a leak.
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Old 05-27-2020, 07:39 PM   #12
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I'm thinking the a leak will be slight so I figure 15-30 minutes depending on how much pressure you manage to generate. 3 psi 30 min for sure. 15 psi might show a leak a bit faster. but try running the pump that will at least tell you if you should keep looking for a leak.

For reference when we do pressure tests at only a few psi above atmospheric we go hours.
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Old 05-27-2020, 07:48 PM   #13
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Ah so I need to figure out a way to keep the air in it for some time then. I have one of those bladder drain cleaner things that swell to create a seal for unclogging drains in the Brick and mortar. Might try using it with my Air compressor regulator turned down to about 5-10 psi and let it set throughout the day. will just have to figure out how to plug the 1/2" vent line, or with that kind of pressure would I have to plug it
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Old 05-27-2020, 07:57 PM   #14
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you will surly have to plug the vent line, perhaps it is flexible and you can access it from the inside and fold it on itself use a zip tie to keep it creased. Another Idea is to attach the compressor hose to the tank drain and keep the cap on the inlet if it is sealed.

for reference, the tank can handle in the range of 25-40 psi and the fittings about 100 psi.
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Old 05-27-2020, 08:08 PM   #15
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My inlet does not have a screw on cap. it is the one you use a key to open and angles outward. You slide your hose end down into the fill hose. Right now I wish it was the type that screws on to the end of the hose but it's not. Do kind of like my setup cause it does not stick out from the trailer wall unless you are filling the tank.
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Old 05-27-2020, 08:16 PM   #16
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Sorry the image is sideways, but my FW fill is right above the battery storage door beside the furnace vent. between the furnace vent and the main door. Forgot I have pictures of our AS in my gallery



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Old 05-28-2020, 12:48 PM   #17
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I did the pressurization for awhile (about 1.5 hours) at about 15 PSI, still no sign of a leak. Starting to wonder if it might be the rubber seal on the strainer sucking air and when I pressurized the tank it sealed it up. I didn't see anything dripping underneath, and with the rain couldn't tell if anything was dripping on the ground. Disadvantage of not having a building to park inside of. Tank was pressurized to the point I heard the tank pan creaking
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Old 05-28-2020, 07:02 PM   #18
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Interesting. Can't be to large a leak if it's still around. did you happen to have run the pump while pressured up? I think I would have given up by now....
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Old 05-28-2020, 11:59 PM   #19
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Yes I did turn the [ump on and also turned on the galley faucet. Strainer never got more than half full, which is where it started at. I am about to say heck with it and just deal with the air bubbles in the strainer. I will replace the strainer mainly because I have no idea how old it is and want a newer one that screws on instead of having a screw to hold it together.
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Old 05-29-2020, 03:51 PM   #20
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Ok, Today while I was working on the camper I moved the sediment bowl part of the strainer. When I did this I seen air and it stopped pumping water. I turned it back the other way and it reprimed and had water again. So I believe I found my air leak, so going to have to put a new strainer in and go from there. Thank you for helping me figure this out with your suggestions on what to do.
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