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Old 03-03-2021, 05:45 PM   #1
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2016 16' Sport
seattle , Washington
Join Date: Jun 2020
Posts: 6
Hot water issue with 2016 Bambi 16

The Case of the Droopy Drippy Bambi (a Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew mystery).

Evidence:
Just a little bit of hot water from tap (runs hot/cold/hot/cold)
Pump activates often
Water heater light will light up periodically for a second or two (can hear it light as well)
Dripping at and around exterior red handled valves (under water heater)
Problem has apparently increased over last three trips (tank-only), with noticeable loss of on-board water supply

Background:
We got the 2016 Bambi last fall and have camped a handful of times using city water without issue.
Issues appeared once we started been camping with water from our tank (although there may not be a causal relationship there). It seems that the hot water heater does not entirely fill, and on the most recent trip, the pump switched on often, whether the faucet was open or not.
Looked outside and water was dripping from the pressure valve(s) (exterior, under water heater) as well as from around them, which would explain why the pump was constantly trying to restore pressure. I hand tightened one of the brass valves and that lessened the dripping but it did not stop. No visible water on the inside (from a cursory look of putting my head in the closet and trying to see around the heater).

Any suggestions? Best course of action from here, as far as troubleshooting and quick fixes?

Thanks!

(The trailer is stored 60 miles away, so hoping to gather info before doing a dedicated maintenance trip)
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Old 03-03-2021, 05:57 PM   #2
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2007 30' Classic S/O
Somewhere , South Carolina
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Was trailer exposed to sub freezing temps un-winterized?
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Old 03-03-2021, 06:05 PM   #3
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2016 16' Sport
seattle , Washington
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GCinSC2 View Post
Was trailer exposed to sub freezing temps un-winterized?
Good question. It was exposed to sub freezing temps a few weeks back but we had blown out the lines. I had run the hot water tank empty, but I did not do anything with the exterior pressure valves. (It was our first "winterization" and potentially done incorrectly).

There may be more than one issue, as the lack of consistent hot water predated the freeze. I noticed the dripping after the snow, but it could have also been a pre-existing issue.
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Old 03-04-2021, 04:47 AM   #4
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2007 30' Classic S/O
Somewhere , South Carolina
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Pics can help. Each trailer model has different layouts to go from A to B see if there is a panel or cover over the water pump and see if that opens up access, take pics if you see the lines going down to the low point drains.

There are several threads right now containing oops it froze up topics and pics of simple to make tool to test the water lines for leaks using regulated compressed air.
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Old 03-04-2021, 09:23 AM   #5
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1996 25' Excella
Tillsonburg , Ontario
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 1,185
Your hot water tank is completely full of water. There should be an air head space that allows for some pressure fluctuation at the pump. The leaking relief valve likely let the air escape and now your pump is seeing the slightest drop from its shut off pressure because water is not compressible. You need the air in the head space.
Shut off the water supply. Try popping the relief valve to see if it will stop leaking when the water supply is back on. If it stops, open a HW tap and then drain some water from the tank....unscrew the drain plug. Then put it back tightly, and then turn on the water to see if it works properly.
If you can't get the relief valve to stop leaking, then you will need to replace it.
Hope this gives you some insight as to how it works
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Old 03-04-2021, 10:23 AM   #6
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1977 31' Sovereign
2017 26' Flying Cloud
Bartlett , TN
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The tank can't be run empty. Water enters at the bottom and exits at the top. The only way to empty the tank is to remove the drain plug usually at the lower left (from the outside) The tank may be freeze damaged. Start by eliminating all leaks that can be seen. Then if still leaking observe from inside the trailer. I don't know about the Bambi, but inside access (at least to get a look with a flashlight) can be found inside. The tank is usually sitting on the floor. A tank leak will probably be obvious.
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Old 03-04-2021, 11:46 AM   #7
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1988 32' Excella
Robbinsville , New Jersey
Join Date: May 2012
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The pressure relief valve is near the top of the water heater.
You said under, are you talking about the white drain plug?
The only way to empty the water heater (as required to prevent freeze damage) is to remove the drain plug.
Intermittent hot water is likely caused by clogged mixing valve.
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Old 03-08-2021, 10:51 AM   #8
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2016 16' Sport
seattle , Washington
Join Date: Jun 2020
Posts: 6
Thanks for the advice. We went down and did some work on it yesterday, with some success.

1. Hot water consistency issue solved. The resetting the air cushion worked, per the manual. (Atwood MPD 93756). And, more embarrassingly, the bypass valve for the water heater had also been turned down at some point, and turning it on/off got the mix right.
2. There was some leaking from the plastic drain valve. There did not appear to be (significantly) leaking through the brass valves under the heater this time (at least on city water in our tests). I'll keep an eye on those and add plumber's tape in the future if an issue.

Thanks for the advice to an admitted newbie. (I may be able to troubleshoot electric guitar issues with a cool head in front of a crowd (usually: is something unplugged?), but this is all new territory and I still have lots to learn)
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