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Old 04-12-2023, 12:04 PM   #1
Al Denty
 
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2023 30' Flying Cloud
Livingston , Texas
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Low Water Pressure = No Hot Water!

Hi all.

After 3 weeks on the road with the new Flying Cloud, we've run into a water pressure issue that is driving us crazy. The TL;DR is that, in most cases, even when hooked up to an external water source with good pressure, the tankless hot water heater will not activate unless we use the water pump to boost the pressure. We also find that the pressure and flow rate from the sinks and shower are fairly low unless we use the pump (note: these are subjective comments, no actual pressure or flow readings have been taken). So I am coming to you all for some wise counsel. Read on for details...

We originally thought that it might be the ClearSource Ultra that we have been using, but when we remove the ClearSource from the system we still sometimes find that we need to use the water pump. Besides, the ClearSource website says that the Ultra is rated at 4.5 gal/min output which is significantly higher than the 0.6 gal/min required by our Girard GSWH-2 tankless hot water heater. The folks at ClearSource have been great to work with as we've tried to troubleshoot this issue, so they get big props for that!

I called Airstream Support and they suggested that the issue might be the ShurFlo water pressure inlet and regulator. They sent me a new one, but when I removed the four screws holding the original onto the trailer I found that there was no slack on the plumbing connection to the trailer so I could not get my fingers or a wrench inside to remove the original (not to mention the sharp aluminum edges surrounding the water connection). I was also concerned that if I was able to successfully remove the original I would not be able to adequately tighten the plumbing connection to the back of the new one. I asked Airstream to tell me how to remove the old one and install the new one, but they had no advice because these are installed on new units on the assembly line before the interior walls are put on. They pointed me to some YouTube videos that were also totally unhelpful.

By the way, I noted in the manual that the Girard hot water heater needs water pressure of "45 PSI or greater" to activate, and we know that the ShurFlo limits the pressure to 50 PSI. Seems like a thin margin to me, but what do I know?

So this leads me to all of you. Are any of you experiencing the same issues? Has anyone found a solution so that we don't need to run the water pump while hooked up? Does anyone have any ideas on how to remove the ShurFlo and install a new one?

Any and all advice and tips would be GREATLY appreciated!

Thanks in advance!!

David
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Old 04-12-2023, 12:38 PM   #2
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That definitely stinks. We haven't had the hot water problem with our 2023 23FC, but we've only had it out twice - once using full hookup (city water), and once from the tanks with the pump. The water pressure at the full hookup was pretty low, and I was afraid that we were going to have the issue, but fortunately, we did not.

We do not use an external pressure regulator. We do, however, use the Blue Tech water filters and a blue tech water softener for conditioning the water, as well as all Blue Tech hoses and quick connects.

What hoses are you using? Are they large enough diameter to provide the volume to build the pressure?

Also, our salesman said to "set the water temp to the temp you want, and open the valve 100% on hot to make sure all water coming from the shower head or faucets are going through the water heater." So, if you like a shower at 110 degrees, set the water heater temp at 110, and turn it all the way to high. This makes sure that 100% of the flow is going through the heater.
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Old 04-12-2023, 12:50 PM   #3
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Sureflo: I have replaced mine due to low pressure concerns. Replacing didn’t solve the issue. If you really feel the need to replace it, you’re going to need to access the backside. It requires removing kitchen drawers and slides to get my hands on the backside to remove and replace.

Pressure: if you are using an outside pressure regulator up line from your ClearSource filter, be sure to set the pressure high enough. My goal was to protect my ClearSource and On-the-go water softener, the sureflo will protect the trailer.
Set it while the water is flowing. 90psi will end up at 60psi while open. If you set it to a max of 60, flow is going to be in the 20-30 range which seems to conflict with the sureflo.

ClearSource (double check) disconnect your line from the trailer and crank it open to ensure you have good flow from your ClearSource.

Park low pressure: the park might have really low pressure. We are currently at Sun Outdoors San Diego, the water flows at around 15-20psi. In this situation, fill the tank and run solely off the pump.
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Old 04-12-2023, 02:08 PM   #4
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Stewart: Thanks for your detailed and helpful response!

SureFlo: I am sorry to hear that replacing yours didn't help. I have a feeling it won't help us either, but I am going to do it anyway just to rule out that part as the issue. THANK YOU for pointing me in the right direction, though. I pulled out those kitchen drawers and I see where it comes in. This should be relatively easy to do. I just don't understand why Airstream Support couldn't have told me the same thing.

Pressure: We are not using an external water pressure regulator.

ClearSource: I will definitely try disconnecting and checking the actual flow from the ClearSource. I have new filters to try, just in case.

Park low pressure: I do not think this is the issue. We've been in 4 or 5 different parks in the past few weeks and had this issue at each.
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Old 04-12-2023, 02:13 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbreech View Post
What hoses are you using? Are they large enough diameter to provide the volume to build the pressure?

Also, our salesman said to "set the water temp to the temp you want, and open the valve 100% on hot to make sure all water coming from the shower head or faucets are going through the water heater." So, if you like a shower at 110 degrees, set the water heater temp at 110, and turn it all the way to high. This makes sure that 100% of the flow is going through the heater.
Hoses: Great question because this is one of the things I have been considering as a potential issue. I am using a Camco ⅝" 4' drinking water hose from the park to the ClearSource and a " 50' Zero-G hose from the ClearSource to the rig. Think the Zero G could be an issue? I notice that the AirGear store's premium water hose is ⅜", so... ?

Settings: Great tip, but we always open full hot every time since it takes so long for the water heater to do its thing anyway.
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Old 04-12-2023, 02:25 PM   #6
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The Girard doesn't have a sensor to determine water pressure, only flow rate. According to the service manual, it requires .8 GPM to activate.

https://www.rvupgradestore.com/v/vsp...e%20Manual.pdf

As far as troubleshooting, I'd start outside with a bucket that has a 1 gallon mark. Disconnect the hose from the side of the trailer and put it in the bucket. Turn on the water and time 1 minute. You should have well over a gallon in the bucket. If not, it's either the park water pressure, your regulator, or your filter.

Next, I'd reconnect the hose and head inside. Do the same test at the kitchen sink. If you're getting less than a gallon per minute, your ShurFlo inlet/regulator or some kind of restriction in your plumbing is slowing the flow.

At least you'll know for sure where to focus your efforts. Like s1000pre mentioned, getting to the back of the ShurFlo is a hassle, but not that bad if that turns out to be the issue.

If you're getting good flow inside and out, I'd look to the flow sensor. It can fail or just get gunked up with hard water deposits or other stuff that keeps them from functioning properly. The manual linked above has some troubleshooting steps if you have a multi-meter.

Hope you get it figured out.
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Old 04-12-2023, 02:28 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Al Denty View Post
Hoses: Great question because this is one of the things I have been considering as a potential issue. I am using a Camco ⅝" 4' drinking water hose from the park to the ClearSource and a " 50' Zero-G hose from the ClearSource to the rig. Think the Zero G could be an issue? I notice that the AirGear store's premium water hose is ⅜", so... ?

Settings: Great tip, but we always open full hot every time since it takes so long for the water heater to do its thing anyway.
I can't say it is or isn't the issue without actually giving it a try. A hose is an inexpensive test. I know that my electric pressure washer would NOT work with a hose that didn't flow enough water, so maybe you are experiencing the same thing. We use the same hose from spigot to filter to softener to camper. Every time you change diameter can affect the flow. The hoses we got from Blue Tech are braided stainless so they won't kink, but they're pretty expensive.

I'd suggest, first thing, taking your largest diameter, high quality hose and directly hook the spigot to the camper, spigot fully opened, all tank valves closed, and see if you get hot water.

I know it's a silly question, but is the hot water switch turned on water heater, and is the circuit breaker not popped and fuse still good?
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Old 04-12-2023, 02:31 PM   #8
Al Denty
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyler2you View Post
The Girard doesn't have a sensor to determine water pressure, only flow rate. According to the service manual, it requires .8 GPM to activate.

https://www.rvupgradestore.com/v/vsp...e%20Manual.pdf

As far as troubleshooting, I'd start outside with a bucket that has a 1 gallon mark. Disconnect the hose from the side of the trailer and put it in the bucket. Turn on the water and time 1 minute. You should have well over a gallon in the bucket. If not, it's either the park water pressure, your regulator, or your filter.

Next, I'd reconnect the hose and head inside. Do the same test at the kitchen sink. If you're getting less than a gallon per minute, your ShurFlo inlet/regulator or some kind of restriction in your plumbing is slowing the flow.

At least you'll know for sure where to focus your efforts. Like s1000pre mentioned, getting to the back of the ShurFlo is a hassle, but not that bad if that turns out to be the issue.

If you're getting good flow inside and out, I'd look to the flow sensor. It can fail or just get gunked up with hard water deposits or other stuff that keeps them from functioning properly. The manual linked above has some troubleshooting steps if you have a multi-meter.

Hope you get it figured out.
Wow! Excellent advice, including some simple steps at the beginning that I should have thought of so now you can just picture me face-palming.

As soon as we are back at a park with water I will try all of this advice and let you know how it goes.

THANKS AGAIN!
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Old 04-12-2023, 02:33 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbreech View Post
I know it's a silly question, but is the hot water switch turned on water heater, and is the circuit breaker not popped and fuse still good?
There are no silly questions, only silly answers! In this case, I am pleased to say that my answer is not silly. The switch is on and the breakers and fuses are just fine. I get hot water, just only with the water pump.

Everyone here is giving me some great, actionable advice so now I have my marching orders!
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Old 04-12-2023, 02:35 PM   #10
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Even look at your hose fitting if you are using any. I have some quick disconnects that really restrict the water flow. Ive had your issue a couple of times and have wondered if these fittings are to blame.

I got around it by turning the shower on full hot and the sink on full hot. Somehow that provided enough flow to kick the heater on. Once going I was able to turn the sink off and not have an issue. 🤷*♂️
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Old 04-12-2023, 05:10 PM   #11
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My 2018 Sport had low pressure caused by a bad check valve which would fill the fresh water tank when hooked up to city water.
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Old 04-12-2023, 06:22 PM   #12
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Im having the same issue on 2021 Caravel 22. There is not an issue with water pressure supplied to the trailer so my conclusion is the issue is inside the trailer somewhere.

I get hot water if I use the pump but not if I rely on city water so I think it is the sureflow pressure controller. Or it could be the shower control valve or some blockage in the shower.

I do get hot water from kitchen and bathroom faucets without using the pump, so city water pressure only.

I was camping in freezing conditions so maybe that has caused an issue somewhere. Planning on trying to figure it out this weekend.
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Old 04-13-2023, 10:51 AM   #13
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Like some others stated

Check pressure at the source
Check pressure w/regulator at source
Check pressure at hose w/regulator on end. This will give you pressure# at trailer connection.
Make sure your WATER HEATER bypass is in normal operation. Cycle the valves.
Bypass it and see if there is a change in pressure
Does the water pump by itself provide adequate pressure?

Where you find the pressure/flow drop, go back one step and that should be the issue.
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Old 04-13-2023, 10:58 AM   #14
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On our first trip in our 23' FBT 2023 Flying Cloud we experienced low flow at the galley sink. Ended up that behind all the stuff we had crammed under the galley sink, the retractable hose was pinched behind the bulkhead between the rear of the cabinet and the aluminum skin. Straightened hose out and solved the flow and pressure problem.

Hot water was another issue. So we installed a recirculating pump under the bathroom sink that pumps the standing water in the hot water line back down the cold water line. This triggers the tankless water heater and sends hot water to the sink and shower. Works great. Its wired into the 12volt system so I get a nice hot shower after getting out of the ocean when we are drydocking at the beach without wasting water nor filling our gray tank.
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Old 04-13-2023, 11:54 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BoatNutG2 View Post
We installed a recirculating pump under the bathroom sink that pumps the standing water in the hot water line back down the cold water line. This triggers the tankless water heater and sends hot water to the sink and shower. Works great. Its wired into the 12volt system so I get a nice hot shower after getting out of the ocean when we are drydocking at the beach without wasting water nor filling our gray tank.
This is such a great idea! Would you be willing to share photos, product info, and perhaps instructions? We prefer to boondock or stay in non-hookup campgrounds so right now we are using collapsible bins to capture the initial cold water that comes out of the sink and shower for use elsewhere, rather than sending it down the drain into the gray tank.
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Old 04-14-2023, 11:36 AM   #16
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Recirculating pump on amazon:

https://a.co/d/923qC5R



Pictures (sorry they are sideways)

Pump under sink

On/off switch and 12 V to 24 Volt converter

2023 FC 23 FBT
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Old 04-16-2023, 08:53 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BoatNutG2 View Post
Pictures (sorry they are sideways)

Pump under sink

On/off switch and 12 V to 24 Volt converter
Very cool idea! Thank you for posting the photos.
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Old 04-16-2023, 09:36 AM   #18
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Same issue on a 2023 FC Flying Cloud.

We have use our unit every weekend this winter at our fullhookup site.

Bad water pressure on city and pump both and a sputtering pump frequently. I have bled and bled with City only, pump only, City and pump

Love all the suggestions for diagnostics, but this is on Thor and they better fix it when I take it in for its shakedown next week.

Something isnt right in this water system. Bad valve, bad touting, bad regulator. I dont care. There are too many of these 23s with the same issue.

I had my 71 with copper pipes and many a piece of Pex spliced in running better than the new one.
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Old 04-19-2023, 09:07 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Al Denty View Post
Any and all advice and tips would be GREATLY appreciated!

Thanks in advance!!

David
The fix for low water pressure in my 2022 25' Globetrotter. Top inlet came with the trailer rated 50psi, bottom inlet from Amazon rated at 65psi. Problem solved.


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Old 04-19-2023, 10:52 AM   #20
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Bet its the hose

We had the same 1/2” zero G hose on our ‘22 PB. Initially on our first outing in it last summer I couldn’t figure out why our shower and sink pressure was so low and wouldn’t activate the water heater unless adding pump assistance. Straight out of the park spigot the water had very high flow and pressure. The front desk even warned us of the very high pressure. Decided to unhook the city water connection at the trailer and completely opened the spigot and then saw how thin the stream a 1/2” hose provides. Good looking pressure but overall low flow. Was luckily camping not too far from a Lowe’s and grabbed a 5/8” zero G and that instantly fixed the problem. Cheap and easy.

Edit: correction, bought a drinking water safe 3/4” version, not 5/8”.
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