Water Pump Not Working After Air Compressing - Fiberglass RV

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Old 10-28-2007, 08:59 PM   #1
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Trailer: Casita
Posts: 25
We ended our camping season today . One last weekend out and the thought of freezing pipes scared us into calling it quits for the year. So we brought it home, unloaded it and took it to my father's home where we applied an air compressor to the city water hookup. Here's the particulars:

1. We made sure the fresh water tank was empty
2. We released the pressure off the hot water tank but did NOT take out the annode (I know, I was supposed to, but learned that a little later in the afternoon)
3. I turned off the "on/off" switch for the hot water heater
4. We then put on the do-hickey thing Casita gave us to air compress the lines
5. My dad then ran the compressor (always less than 50 lbs psi) while I turn the cold valve then the warm valve in each of the 2 inner faucets, and the outside shower. We then air-compressed the toilet.

Ok, hopefully nothing done majorly wrong there. Then we put 4 gallons of the $4.98 per gallon Prestone in the fresh water tank, and flipped the pump switch. It hummed to life but when I turned the faucet...nothing. We moved the Casita around so the tank would be in all positions to assure that the level of the pink stuff was where it should be. Nothing.

We then took it to our very helpful/knowledgable friend Leo's house, who informed me that the bypass valve to the hot water tank should be switched so the pink stuff would bypass the tank. Then, he additionally took out the annode and released the water from the tank.

We then tried the pump again to the same result. So we added the last gallon of pink stuff I had, a total of 5, and still nothing. And that brings us now. Any suggestions as to what the issue might be? Thanks!! Oh, and by the water, the pump was working within the past two weeks, and has always worked since we picked it up in June.

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Old 10-29-2007, 12:14 AM   #2
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Trailer: 1996 13 ft Scamp
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I live in an area that does not require the total winterizing that you do in Maine.
Is there any possibility that you may have blown the diaphram out in your water pump with the compressed air?
I would try {slightly} pressurizing the water tank while a faucet is open and the pump is on in case you have an air lock in the line. This will also pump the antifreeze through the lines to the faucet and prime the pump. Once the antifreeze is at the fauet and the air pressure is released the pump should work. If it doesn't you may have blown the diaphram in the pump with the origianl air pressure.

Hope this helps,

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Old 10-29-2007, 08:05 AM   #3
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Name: Roger
Trailer: Y2K6 Born Free 32RQ on the Kodiak chassis, 1995 Coachmen 19' B-van and 1996 Precision 21' Sailboat
Posts: 5,000
Oh boy... first, there's a great winterizing tutorial with photos linked on the left of the page here. If your trailer doesn't have a water-heater bypass kit installed, this is an excellent time to do it. Your trailer should only need about a gallon of anti-freeze to do the whole thing with the water heater dry and by-passed.

Now, specifically to your issues... you really don't want to put any antifreeze in your freshwater tank, for a couple of reasons... first, it'll take a while in the spring to flush out, and secondly you'll have to drain it back out if your pump won't pump it out. And you don't need any in the tank itself for winterizing.

So... on to troubleshooting... it sounds like your pump is running, so you don't have an electrical problem.

The pump does have an internal backflow preventer that doesn't allow water from the city system to back up into the tank (for obvious reasons) when the system is charged with city pressure. It's possible that backflow preventer may be stuck. There's really no way to address that with the water pump in place, except perhaps to tap gently on the pump housing while it runs and see if you can get it to open up. Most of the pumps out there today have the backflow preventer as an integral part of the pump, and it's generally not replaceable or repairable. You'll have to check with your manufacturer to be sure. If it won't unstick, you're probably in for replacing the pump.

If that doesn't appear to open it, or it appears to be open (and you may have to pull the pump out anyway to find out) then there may be a blockage in the line from the tank to the pump. These pumps are self-priming, so if you have a faucet open where air can escape, they should eventually pump liquid. Checking for a blockage will, of course, mean removing the pump and checking the line for any gunk that may be blocking it. RV antifreeze running all over isn't a pretty sight, and isn't as easy to clean up as clear water. So, removing the pump (or even the line to the pump) will, of course, mean that you'll need to drain your fresh water tank of all of the anti-freeze you just put in there first unless there's a shut-off between the tank and the pump.

Good luck!

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Old 10-29-2007, 12:37 PM   #4
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Trailer: 86 Fiber Stream
Posts: 9
I had the same problem with the water pump in my trailer. I was able to put a clear plastic hose on the kitchen cold faucet, all other faucets turned off, and by sucking on the hose with the pump running it started pumping. It would be safer to use a wet dry vacuum to prime the pump if you had access to one.
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Old 10-29-2007, 01:22 PM   #5
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Trailer: Casita
Posts: 25
Thanks everyone for the info without the proper punishing!! . I took the out-take hose off and started the pump up to no avail. I tapped lightly on the hose connector with handle of a screwdriver to see if I could "bump" the what-cha-macallit free to allow for water flow, but had the same stellar results. I then called Casita, and after a minute or two of phone trouble-shooting, Johnathan said that they would send out today, a replacement pump for the "defective" one as he stated. I up-front disclosed that the faucets were all closed for a few seconds while the compressor was running, but that did not seem to shock him. But I do appreciate the info I received here!! I learned in both instances, both how the pump works and also to be sure to have a valve open at all times next year. Thanks again!!
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