07-26-2010, 06:38 PM
Trailer: U-Haul VT16, Escape 19
Kitchen Faucet Swap for U-Haul VT-16
This post describes how I replaced a 3-way hand pump fixture with a conventional kitchen sink style faucet in my 1985 U-Haul VT-16.
This new fixture replaces the original 3-way hand pump fixture that was mounted at an odd angle and provided only cold water. Previously there wasn't really any easy way to get a pot under there. I am also taking advantage of a nearby hot water connection that was originally serving only the shower, so I'll have hot and cold running water.
I bought a Phoenix faucet at Home Depot for $17.50 and an aerator for about $3.50. I originally looked at bar-style faucets, but the spigot was fixed in place. This one is actually sold as an inexpensive laundry faucet. It's mostly plastic, but that does have the advantage of making it very light. There is a similar looking one in the Scamp Trailer Store for about the same price.
I began by removing the old 3-way faucet. It's held on by two screws from beneath. One was easy to get out, but the other was rusted and had to be drilled out. I was able to get rid of the 3/8" feed lines and the associated fixture pump and wiring. I have a single larger electrical pump serving the whole trailer.
Mark and locate the fixture
I positioned the fixture behind the sink, making sure to leave a little clearance in front for cleaning and to keep from creating a narrow unsupported area in the fiberglass. I marked the position of the center of the 13" wide sink and set it back about an inch. This puts the tap right above the drain. Checking underneath I confirmed that there was room for the anticipated connections. This fixture sits close above the water heater. I confirmed I could actually reach the underside of the counter without removing the sink.
Using the black faucet riser as a template I traced the position of the two supply connections on the fiberglass and marked the center of each.
Drilling the holes
I have been using arbor drills on these thin fiberglass panels rather than a spade drill bit. I drill a pilot hole the size of the arbor pilot so the bit can seat right down on the gel coat. I let the drill spin up and then press lightly to score away the gel coat down to the fiberglass. From that point it cuts quickly, almost too quickly.
I cleaned up the edge of the cut an abrasive stone.
Mounting the fixture
Positioning the fixture on the black spacer and installing the rubber washers, I tightly secured the plastic nuts by hand to secure the faucet. Then I hand threaded the brass hose barb fittings and tightened them a few turns by hand and then used a wrench until they get a little squeaky. It's easy to overtighten metal on plastic threads, so I find it best to stop and check for leaks. I added the hose with the hose clamp threaded on and used a 1/4" socket mounted on a driver to tighten the hose clamp. It's really tough to use a screwdriver where you can't see the clamp, let alone the alignment of the tip / adjustment screw!
Plumbing the fixture
I am using 1/2 supply lines for hot and cold, which requires the addition of some 1/2" female pipe to 1/2 barb adapters. I found these female fittings were only available in brass, between $4 and $5 each depending on whether you get them at Home Depot or West Marine. Unfortunately they have to be installed from under the counter because they go on after the washer and plastic nuts that secure the faucet fixture. I did go ahead and apply the teflon tape first, though.
After getting the cold connection made, I added a Tee to the hot water connection and brought in a service line to the hot. Securing it the same way. After turning on the water I found that the cold water hose clamp required some additional tightening.
The only remaining step is to fill the small void left by the original faucet. I did see that one VT-16 had an arrangement of ceramic tiles set up as a hotplate between the oven and sink. I now understand that the motivation for this feature may have been to hide the hole!
P.S. I added a picture showing the Female Pipe to Hose Barb adapters I used for this project.
Planning our next Escape!