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Old 11-08-2022, 08:30 PM   #1
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Water pump pulsates

Hey all.

I got an issue when using fresh water tank/pump (no city water connection).

Water will pulsate when coming out of the faucets. I bled the lines by turning off the pump, opening all faucets and opening the low point drains. I then closed the drains, turned off all faucets except the kitchen one and turned on the pump. I let the water run until the water flow was constant. Problem seemed solved.

All stayed fine until fine we took showers. Water started pulsating again, from all outlets. Thoughts on what could be causing this?

Tx in advance for your advice.
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Old 11-08-2022, 08:41 PM   #2
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Sounds like your accumulator tank isn't doing its job. Small tank which is supposed to hold a small amount of water under pressure to prevent the pulsation. Sometimes they lose pressure or fail. There should be a sticker on the tank with the instructions for proper pressure, which is set through a Schraeder valve on one end (under a cap). You might have instructions for it in your owner's info, or you can find them online.
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Old 11-09-2022, 07:18 AM   #3
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Thanks Richard. I could be wrong but I don’t believe I have an accumulator tank. There isn’t one on the plumbing diagram in my manual and there isn’t anything that looks like a tank in all the nooks and crannies I’ve looked in. Any idea where it would be? Other things to look for to diagnose a pulsating pump?
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Old 11-09-2022, 07:25 AM   #4
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I had a similar issue in my Caravel. I added an accumulator pump. Helped out quite a bit.

SHURflo 182-200 Pre-Pressurized Accumulator Tank,Black, 9.1" x 4.8" x 3.8" https://a.co/d/htEnr6u
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Old 11-09-2022, 07:56 AM   #5
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Surprised if you don't have one... I figured they were still installing accumulators. If not, as mentioned they are easy to install.

Mine is against the back wall under the kitchen sink.
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Old 11-09-2022, 08:07 AM   #6
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Accumulators are a relatively new addition but Airstream owners for decades operated just fine without one. Not a bad idea to install one if you want.


Your water is pulsating. Is the pump recycling too? There is an adjustment screw at the back that adjusts the pressure needed to start the pump. You can simply google, "rv water pump adjustments" to see one. I installed an on demand water system in my old tent trailer and it would go on and off almost every second. Read up, found the adjustment screw and everything was good.


The only other thing I can think of is the pump itself is failing.
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Old 11-09-2022, 09:14 AM   #7
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Quote:
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Accumulators are a relatively new addition but Airstream owners for decades operated just fine without one.. .
My 1994 has one which was factory installed. Figured they all did. These things have been around for decades.
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Old 11-09-2022, 01:17 PM   #8
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My 2015 doesn't have an accumulator tank. PO had replaced the pump, which I thought was too loud. (In hindsight, I should have installed an accumulator tank first, but...). I installed one of those IRVWPC setups, it really made ours a lot quieter, took most of the pulsing away. (I'm starting to think, adding an accumulator would make ours even more quiet, but... it's 'good enough' now, and if I went to the trouble of, and it didn't make it totally silent, I'd start stewing over it... so I've left it in the 'good enough for now' category.)
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Old 11-09-2022, 02:27 PM   #9
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Quote:
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Your water is pulsating. Is the pump recycling too?
Not sure. What do you mean by the pump recycling?
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Old 11-09-2022, 05:24 PM   #10
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Is the pump coming off and then shutting down. Off and on, off and on is what I was getting at. You should be able to hear this if it is happening.
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Old 11-09-2022, 07:48 PM   #11
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Is the pump coming off and then shutting down. Off and on, off and on is what I was getting at. You should be able to hear this if it is happening.
Got it. Yes, itís coming on and off rapidly when the water pulsates at the faucet. Itís not staying on continuously.
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Old 11-09-2022, 10:31 PM   #12
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Got it. Yes, itís coming on and off rapidly when the water pulsates at the faucet. Itís not staying on continuously.
Is this with the water on fully or only when it's opened up for just a trickle of water?

This does happen with very slow water flow if you don't have an accumulator.

Has the system done this since you've owned the trailer or is it something new?
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Old 11-10-2022, 07:04 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richard5933 View Post
Is this with the water on fully or only when it's opened up for just a trickle of water?

This does happen with very slow water flow if you don't have an accumulator.

Has the system done this since you've owned the trailer or is it something new?
This happens with the water on fully, yes.

Can’t remember if it’s always done this to be honest. New trailer from this year and most of our camping early on was with water connections. Our last few trips have been boondocking and that’s when we’ve started to notice it.

The other thing I’ve noticed is that it seems to be tied to shower use. If we clear the water lines by opening the low point drains and all faucets and then restart/reprime the pump, the kitchen and bathroom faucets work fine.

The moment we use the shower, it reintroduces the problem no matter which faucet we use, i.e. pump cycles on and off rapidly and water stream pulsates.

We’ve swapped the shower head for an Oxygenics one and also added a shut off valve but that couldn’t affect the other faucets could it? Like would it somehow introduce air in the system?

Thanks for your help solving this!
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Old 11-10-2022, 07:54 AM   #14
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Here is one of the available links that will talk about this and will show how to "adjust" your pump. Again, I did this many years ago to get the system to stop turning on and off while using it.


I hope this comes through.


https://www.dutchmen.com/resources/m...adjustment.pdf
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Old 11-10-2022, 08:44 AM   #15
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Are you sure that it's the pump that's pulsating? Any chance you have a broken cartridge in the shower with is causing the problem which is being felt throughout the system?

The other thing I can think of is that perhaps your pressure switch in the pump is dirty/failing. Adjustment might be the problem as noted already.

It's not that difficult to remove the pump head and give it a thorough cleaning. A single piece of mineral buildup in the pressure valve could cause all kinds of problems if it gets wedged in just right.
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Old 11-10-2022, 09:52 AM   #16
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The pump has a specific capacity (gallons per minute) and a pressure shutoff switch. If the demand for water is such that it is less than the pump provides, the pressure rises until the shutoff switch activates and turns off the pump. When the pressure drops to the turn on value, the pump turns on. Turning up the shutoff pressure on the pump may solve the problem (or may not) depending on the water demand at which the pulsating is occurring.


With the pressure turned up, the pump will run longer and more frequently which may be significant for boondockers.
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Old 11-10-2022, 01:50 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aftermath View Post
Here is one of the available links that will talk about this and will show how to "adjust" your pump. Again, I did this many years ago to get the system to stop turning on and off while using it.


I hope this comes through.


https://www.dutchmen.com/resources/m...adjustment.pdf
Thanks. My model is slightly different. Itís got two adjustment screws, the Allen type. Weíre boondocking right now and I donít have my Allen set with me. Will try when I get back home.
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Old 11-10-2022, 01:58 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richard5933 View Post
Are you sure that it's the pump that's pulsating? Any chance you have a broken cartridge in the shower with is causing the problem which is being felt throughout the system?

The other thing I can think of is that perhaps your pressure switch in the pump is dirty/failing. Adjustment might be the problem as noted already.

It's not that difficult to remove the pump head and give it a thorough cleaning. A single piece of mineral buildup in the pressure valve could cause all kinds of problems if it gets wedged in just right.
Pretty sure it’s the pump. No issue when on city water so unlikely there’s a problem with the cartridge.

With all the info kindly provided, I’m leaning towards needing to adjust the pump, or air in the lines. Will thoroughly flush the entire system when I’m back from my current trip and adjust the pump if the issue persists.

This whole conversation has also convinced me to add an accumulator tank. Ordered on Amazon already!
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Old 11-10-2022, 09:02 PM   #19
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Pretty sure itís the pump. No issue when on city water so unlikely thereís a problem with the cartridge.

With all the info kindly provided, Iím leaning towards needing to adjust the pump, or air in the lines. Will thoroughly flush the entire system when Iím back from my current trip and adjust the pump if the issue persists.

This whole conversation has also convinced me to add an accumulator tank. Ordered on Amazon already!
When you install the accumulator, keep in mind that while many are installed immediately adjacent to the pump it doesn't have to be there. Mine is about 6 feet away in the kitchen cabinet. As long as there is free flow of water between the tank and the pump it should work.
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Old 11-13-2022, 06:34 PM   #20
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When you install the accumulator, keep in mind that while many are installed immediately adjacent to the pump it doesn't have to be there. Mine is about 6 feet away in the kitchen cabinet. As long as there is free flow of water between the tank and the pump it should work.
Thanks. That’s helpful as I was gonna try and place it next to the pump but it’s a crowded spot. And I have decent amount of space on the other side of the aisle in the kitchen cabinet, near the sink. What do you mean by free flow exactly?
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