RV Plumbing Leak Troubleshooting & Repair – Practically For Free!

TheRVgeeks Plumbing, Repair 17 Comments

We demonstrate lots of RV repairs. This time, we’ll show you how we diagnose and repair a problem, saving ourselves a trip to the shop.

Special Bonus!! We’ll be answering your questions live on the air on The RV Show USA on November 1st! That’s right… we’ll once again be joining our friend Alan Warren “The RV Guy” on his nationally syndicated radio show – the only one about RVing in the country. Our topic this time will be this video and the tips and tricks we use to diagnose and repair things on our own RV.

CALL US LIVE ON THE AIR on The RV Show USA on Wednesday, 11/1/17 — (855) 296-7469. The show starts at 7 pm Central Time, and Alan will be opening up the phones for you to call in at about 7:30 (we’ll be on for the full hour). We’d love to hear your comments or questions!

We’d love to feature your questions! After watching the video, you can submit a question related to it in the comments section below, or on The RV Show USA Facebook page. Alan will then ask us as many of those viewer-submitted questions as we have time for live on the air next Wednesday evening, November 1, 2017.

We’ll be live at 8pm Eastern / 5pm Pacific. Visit The RV Show USA website to find out if your local station carries the show. You can also watch the live Facebook feed, broadcast from the show’s studios in Texas (or view it later on).

If you miss the live show on November 1, you can still hear the archived version at any of the following locations:

If you missed us on the October 18th broadcast of The RV Show USA,
you can listen to both of our segments on their podcast here.

This video is a great example of our very favorite type of DIY project. It was fun to sleuth out the problem, surprisingly easy to complete, incredibly inexpensive, and every bit as good (or better!) quality work than a shop would have done. Best of all, we took what could have been a really challenging problem to figure out, and made quick work of it. Talk about the satisfaction of doing the job ourselves… this is the very definition of it! smile

Some problems are actually easier to figure out on our own than by a trained tech. That’s because some things just take a bit of observation, time, research and thought to diagnose. The last thing you want your tech to have to do is take too much time to figure out the problem, since diagnosis time is charged at the same exorbitant hourly rate that the actual repairs go for.

In this particular case, there’s also a good chance that a tech could have gone for a quick, easy, seemingly obvious (but more expensive) fix…. the wrong fix!

Instead, we did the entire job ourselves, for free! The only costs we might have incurred were a replacement part and the special tool to install it. But since we already owned the tool, and had the small, inexpensive replacement part on hand in our parts bin, we literally got the job done for free!


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We're handy RVers, not professional technicians. We're happy with the techniques and products we use, but be sure to confirm that all methods and materials you use are compatible with your equipment and abilities. Regardless of what we recommend, consult a professional if you're unsure about working on your RV. Any task you perform or product you purchase based on any information we provide is strictly at your own risk.

We sometimes receive products for evaluation at no cost, but our opinions are our own and we only feature products we personally use, love and can recommend to friends with complete confidence. The RVgeeks participate in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.


Comments 17

  1. Hi Guys,

    As always this is another great video!
    I would like to know what tools you have in your assortment of tools. In the Favorite RV Gear page, there is a “Tools” link. Besides the usual assortment of wrenches, sockets, screwdrivers, do these tools represent the additional tools you carry?
    Also in the page there is a Locking Oil Filter pliers. Have you ever considered a strap wrench? They fit a very wide range of diameters. Good for taking off oil filters, water filters, pipes or anything round. The best kind to buy is the nylon strap type because of the strength of the nylon. However sometimes the nylon can slip. I went to my local bike store and got a discarded bicycle inner tube, cut off a small section and threaded the nylon strap through it. The rubber has provided a sticky grip on slippery items. Here’s a link to a typical strap wrench:
    https://www.amazon.com/Titan-Tools-21315-Strap-Wrench/dp/B00TU3UNW8/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1509584918&sr=8-4&keywords=strap+wrench&dpID=41dtRYkP1jL&preST=_SX300_QL70_&dpSrc=srch

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      Hi Allan! Thanks for the nice note. We do have a lot of miscellaneous tools that see a lot less use, so most of the more obscure ones haven’t make it onto our favorite gear page yet. We do have two strap wrenches (large & small), similar to the type you mentioned, except they’re rubber instead of nylon. They’re still very strong, and they work great for anything other than the most extreme situation. The only time the large one failed to do the job was removing our air dryer, which was stuck on like a rock! They’re similar to this one: http://amzn.to/2zYNBTp We don’t use the large one very often (we have a dedicated oil filter wrench for that purpose), and we keep the smaller one in the kitchen for opening jars. ;-)

  2. The next time the valve leaks, and I suspect it will, try cleaning out the valve. Do this by hooking to a fresh water supply and then opening and closing the valve a few times over and over again. This will clean out any debris that has gotten in the valve. It happens a lot. Yes, your valve may have been bad but I doubt it.

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      We did just that, but it didn’t fix the problem, which is why we didn’t show it in the video. Although debris in the line probably less likely for those of us using a whole-house sediment filter, we appreciate your pointing out that it could happen.

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          Got it! We specifically avoid using a carbon filter (using only a sediment filter) on the whole-house, as we don’t want to remove any chlorine from the water that goes into the fresh tank, to help protect it from bacteria while it’s in there. We only use carbon filters at the kitchen sink dispenser and ice maker to remove chlorine as we actually use the water (and improve taste, too). :)

  3. Ahhhh…being the son of a plumber and watching this clip brought back the days I worked helping my dad as he was doing his trade. Had has gone now to the big water faucet in the sky ( seems he could never fix those clouds from leaking) but dad would have said to you two men..”” fantastic job and good thinking on the problem. Well done ..time for a brewskis ! What you folks just accomplished for your viewing community is to give them a wealth of true and accurate info on how to take care of business with out going to bank! Your step by step instruction was very good as was the how to film! Just remember a plumber is not just someone picking plums folks! Good job but the guy who wanted the drink..woah dude you are soooo bad….ha!

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      Thanks so much! We appreciate your comments very much, especially coming from someone who grew up watching a professional in action. Thanks for taking the time. Your Dad raised you right. Now time for us to have that drink! :)

  4. How amazing is your timing! I have the very same snag – cycling water pump and fresh tank filling when on city supply.

    The only difference is that my water selector rotates 360°.
    Pointing up is: “Auto Tank Fill & Auto City Supply”
    Pointing right is: “City Supply (Auto Override)”
    Pointing down is: “Manual Tank Fill (Auto Override)”
    Pointing left is: blank.

    When I move the selector to the up position there is a recurring sound like a small hammer drill while the tank is filling- but it’s not the water pump and I’m thinking perhaps it’s a two way proportioning valve rapidly moving? I do not have a water system schematic for my coach.

    Normal ops when parked at source of ‘city water’ is to select the valve pointing right.

    I use the down selection to fill the tanks when going on a boondocking trip. (Or leaving BC for any trip.)

    Two months ago the water pump began cycling every 10 seconds. Because my selector valve is hard to get at I decided to try changing out the water pump – and first I thought I had solved the problem but after waiting about three minutes it cycled on for about 1.5 seconds.

    Now I think that my problem was two fold. One, the water pump did not hold pressure and, two, I did not have the valve pointing directly to the right. There is no gate to indicate the proper stop so perhaps I have a bit of flow to the “Manual tank fill (Auto Override)” selection when I was going for “City Supply (Auto Override)”.

    But a week ago we arrived in Coachella and I was careful to have the selector pointing to “City Supply (Auto Override)”. The fresh water tank is still slowly filling up (in 9 days filled up 90 gallons). If I turn the selector to the left (blank) and use the water pump it does not cycle.

    So I’m thinking that my selector valve has developed a slow leak. My next step is to source a three way selector valve and buy the PEX gear.

    Appreciate your videos and let me say that I’m VERY impressed how clean everything is behind the water panel.

    1. Update: I may be lucky and be able to replace a cartridge, not the whole valve. Stand by for further.

      (Is there a way to edit a post?)

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      Hi John! When we ordered our Mountain Aire in 2005, we made quite a few customization requests. One of them was to include the auto-tank-fill option, which was only available on the Essex (the only model above a Mtn Aire at the time). While Newmar was very good about customizing, including unique work that was not on any options list (like building our bathroom sink counter to kitchen counter height… one of the best decisions we ever made!), they had a policy of not allowing options from higher-level models onto lower-level models. I guess they figured if you wanted to have uniquely Essex gear, you should buy an Essex. They just wanted certain exclusive features exclusive. We get it. So we tried to get the auto-fill feature, but couldn’t.

      Based on everything you’re describing, we think you’re right about the valve being the issue, but have you called Newmar Service yet? We’re sure you already know this, but they are absolutely fantastic. We’ve called to get assistance/input so many times, we couldn’t count them. All we do is give them our 6-digit coach number, and they have every part in our rig at their fingertips. Again, we’re sure you already know this, but if you haven’t done so already, we’d call to bounce your symptoms off them, and see if they have any other thoughts.

      We went to get a replacement valve (this was before we did the Acuva installation, so we didn’t have any spares yet). We found that that valve was discontinued, so we bought a suitable, but different, replacement at Home Depot. We were spared from having to use it when we removed our old under-counter carbon filter to make way for the Acuva a short time later, recouping 3 of those valves in the process. But you may be in a similar situation…. valve discontinued. If so, there may be a substitute part specified now. Again, we’d call Newmar service.

      Also, if you don’t already know about ComNet, that’s Newmar’s parts system. You can provide your coach info, and identify parts for your rig right there: https://comnet2.newmarcorp.com/instance1/servlet/WebDispatcher?mode=logon&env=Env99&user=retail&psswd=retail

      At the top of the page, where it says “Search Catalog” either enter your 6-digit Newmar coach number, followed by the letters CS, OR enter the last 7 digits of your chassis VIN number, then press GO. That will give you a link to YOUR coach. The system then knows exactly which parts YOUR rig has on it. Then you can drill down to all the available parts. Sorry if we’re telling you something you already know about.

      1. Too bad the Newmar sales team could not accommodate your auto-tank-fill option but, as you point out, it is understandable.

        Good tips and yes, I had checked the Newmar site.

        I could not find the part on ComNet so sent them an email. Got back a bit of of a shock “THAT IS PART 72189 AND THE COST IS $283.33”. That’s when I sent the mfgr an email to see if (a) they have that valve in stock, (b) if it has a cartridge kit and (c) if they sell to consumers.

        I’ll take more photos when I do the repair but it looks like I can unbolt the valve and there is enough hose slack that I can pull it all down and work without bending under the ‘water distribution wall’. Also – the four hoses going into/out of the valve are attached to threaded connectors. On the other hand, if there IS a cartridge then it will be a two minute job.

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          $283.33?!?! What kind of highway robbery is that?! We recently needed two proximity switches for two of our slide-out lock arms (basically little magnetic switches), and we thought it was ridiculous that Newmar charged us about 90 bucks for the pair. But the kind of $ they’re quoting you is absurd. Let us know how you make out with alternate sources or options.

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