Electric Water Pump - Fiberglass RV

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Old 10-11-2006, 12:49 PM   #1
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I bought the 13' Eriba Puck that was linked to me here on the site. Since it's only partially fiberglass, I hope I still qualify on this site!?!

I used the Puck for the first time last weekend and am totally happy with it. Well, except for the fact that the hand pump for the kitchen sink won't hold prime. Since it wasn't original equipment, I've decided to replace it with a 12V pump.

Any suggestions?

I want it to be self-priming so I can just put the intake tube into one of those 6 gallon jerry cans.

It also has to NOT burn itself out when it pumps the jerry can dry.

I have pretty good space under the sink for the pump, water lines, etc.

The original water tank is long gone, I don't even know what one looks like. The jerry cans fit the under-sink cabinety perfectly, and by sitting side by side, keep each other from tipping over.

Thanks for any suggestions/comments,


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Old 10-11-2006, 05:43 PM   #2
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Name: Brian
Trailer: Boler (B1700RGH) 1979
Posts: 5,000
The usual RV water pumps are supposed to self-prime over a reasonable height; the ShurFlo in my Boler sits on top of the floor, and the tank is under the floor, so it's pulling the water up about 20 cm (8"), and it doesn't have a problem with that. I don't know if they can handle the height of the portable container.

Newer RV water pumps are available with variable-speed controls, so they run only as fast as they need to to match the water flow required - this means they don't cycle on and off annoying or need an accumulator; I'd get one of these if I had to buy a new one.

There are some small pumps which are submersible - they sit in the bottom of the water tank, lowered in through the opening trailing an output hose and a (waterproof) power cord. I use a larger version of this to pump water out of rain barrels. If you can get one small enough to go in the container opening yet strong enough for the desired water flow, this could eliminate any self-priming concerns and provide a place for the pump. Here's one I stumbled across on a web site: Whale Submersible 921, for an example; I've never seen this actual unit. Some FiberglassRV members have reported using submersible pumps for portable shower setups.

To avoid running dry and burning out, a float switch of some sort can be used. Sump pumps (regular hardware store stuff) usually include such a switch, so there's a source of possible inspiration. Nothing shuts off my Boler's pump when the tank runs dry, except me noticing the noise and turning off the switch.

If the pump is only to provide water to the sink faucet, I would consider a foot pump - it keeps your hands free, takes no power, and discourages wasting water by leaving it running. This is not commonly used in landlocked RVs, but is found as a marine item - I've only seen one on a sailboat. I found one at West Marine: Gusher MarkIII Cabinet Mount Foot Pump, but I don't know anything about this specific unit; it's just to show the type of device, although this one does seem to have about the same pumping rate as my Boler's electric pump. Here's the manufacturer's page for the same pump: Gusher Galley Mk 3; they have some other options in their Marine - Manual Pumps list. Maybe one of the more nautical members can provide more useful comments on this possible alternative.

1979 Boler B1700RGH, pulled by 2004 Toyota Sienna LE 2WD
Information is good. Lack of information is not so good, but misinformation is much worse. Check facts, and apply common sense liberally.
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Old 10-12-2006, 05:17 AM   #3
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Name: Steve
Trailer: 2003 Casita 16' SD
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I have the Gusher Mark III on my sailboat. It drives the cold water shower. Pretty slick device; pumps on both the down and up stroke. I wouldn't want to replace the luxury of my electric pump for the shower but it's plenty of water for a sink.

Obviously, the pedal does stick out into the living space (the pump itself is behind a bulkhead with a small opening cut to feed the pedal through). On the boat it's in a corner so it's unobstrusive.
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Old 10-12-2006, 08:19 AM   #4
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Thanks for all the input. I found that most RV pumps start at about $80 and go UP from there. After a bit of searching yesterday I found a neat setup on the JCWhitney site. It's a 12V pump and faucet, sold either together or separately. I got both. At $25 for the set plus $7 S&H, it looks like just the ticket. There were two reviews for that item, one was installed in a tent trailer and got rants and raves. The other was installed in a tent trailer and claimed that the pump couldn't move water downhill. I'm guessing that either the 2nd buyer got a bad pump or installed it where it couldn't pull the water up to the pump. I'm going to install mine on the floor with the Jerry cans sitting next to it. I may have to prime it when I first put the intake line into the jerry can - I'll just have to experiment. I'll be keeping in mind that small pumps are much better at pushing water than sucking air.

Using a submersible for an outdoor shower sounds like it would be worth a try. I already have a couple that I can experiment with.

Thanks again for the input.
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Old 10-12-2006, 08:36 AM   #5
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Name: james
Trailer: Boler 1984
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I have seen some rv owners that have gone to an automotive recycler and purchased a car window washer moter for a couple of bucks and have gotten good results.
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Old 11-03-2006, 08:57 PM   #6
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Name: Gina D.
Trailer: '77 Leocraft 17 & Former Burro owner and fan!
West Coast USA
Posts: 9,010
This trailer I have now is my first "RV", all I had were bare bones pop ups before.

A sink and a faucet were a mysterious luxury to me. In my driveway, I filled the water tank and switched on the pump.. I heard it whir and waited anxiously for the water to come flowing out.

No dice

I blew the lines, making sure there were no plugs, I did everything logical I could.

I gave in and asked my surly old neighbor with the giant motorhome what I was doing wrong.

He came over, grumping all the way, stuck his finger on the end of the faucet opening, turned on the pump and within 5 seconds, water pushed his finger out of the way.

I am sure I heard him grumbling something about "puppy" as he stepped out and worked his way back to his own yard.


Have you plugged the faucet end with your finger???

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