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jayemright

Fresh Water Tank Leaking

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Hello Everyone, 

We are 2000 miles into a 3-month, 10000 mile trip to the US South and Southwest.  We started from our home in New Brunswick, Canada, and once we got to Mississippi, where it was above freezing, I went to fill the water system, and lo and behold, there was not as much anti freeze as I had added in the fall, and water started leaking out into the carpeting around the sink and from underneath the vehicle.  Any ideas on what the source of the leak could be?  I am afraid that perhaps some water had frozen in the tank prior to adding the anti-freeze and damaged it, or a fitting that didn't get anti-freeze in it, or what.  It is a massive tank, and to take it out would require removing the kitchen cabinets.  I am wondering if anyone else has had a similar problem and how they overcame it. Is there something one could add to the tank to seal it up from the inside?  Any advice anyone could give would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks in advance! 

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Open the cabinet doors, pour some water in the sink and look for leaks in the drain system. Sometime its just a joint that needs a bit of tightening. Next is to turn on the water pump and look at all the faucet plumbing.

Follow the pipes, they go through the cabinets and under bench storage areas. 

 

 

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Check your system drains.  They are located at the low point in your water and are meant to drain the system before storage.  My drains are located near the water heater and you have to remove a drawer to get to the drains.

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I would guess that your tank is not leaking even if it had an inch or so of plain water in it that might have frozen.  You probably have a cracked pipe somewhere in the system.  I would do as WME suggested and test the drains first, then pressurize the system by turning on the pump while looking at every inch of the plumbing from the pump all the way to the tank.  A bright flashlight helps and some patience, too.  You'll find the leak...

John

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I have your exact same camper, WME is right most likely your gear/belongings stuffed down there popped your pop drains. you will have 2 of them underneath the kitchen sink area they will look like grey pull tabs. they should be pushed all the way in not pulled up. pulling them up makes them dump on the road. also can check the ones under your small hatch under the coat closet and I think there's one next to the tank itself; these are all connected to the grey pex lines that service the faucets etc.

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Thanks for the info everyone.  I found the pop drain by the tank,  where the line runs to the pump, and it was down. I went and tightened all of the fittings, etc, put three gallons of water in it, and same thing: Water leaking through the floor and onto the ground and nicely soaking the rug right in front of the sink.  The carpet is wet and nasty in the area around the pump, but we can't seem to see it leaking and it leaks before we ever turn the pump on.  The water system looks quite simple, but I'll be darned if I can figure out what is going on there. Have followed all lines coming from the pump as well as the fill tubes, but no luck, everything dry.    Other than that, the camper is performing beautifully, getting between 12 and 14 mpg and we get lots of positive comments. Another few days in Cajun country and then we head for Texas.....

Edited by jayemright

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sorry for asking this but did you check all of the pop drains? there are much more than one.

there will be one between each service line. One at the pump, one at each sink and the one for hot water tank

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Spent a lot of time on this last night and this morning.  I only found the one pop drain right by the pump.  I took the hot water heater out last year.  The plumbing appears to have been re done since original.  I have traced everything back from the pump, and can't find anything else leaking.  It appears to be right around the pump and where the pump attaches to the tank.  I tightened the compression fitting where the pump draws water from the supply line, and thought that might do it, but no such luck.  It always leaks out from that area, where the pump is, right in front of the sink.  It is hard to pin point it though as it is leaking into the shag carpeting that is still under there.  It seems it is either where the supply line to the pump meets the tank, or it is at the bottom of the tank near the front.  Kind of feel like Charlie Brown and the football.  I find something not a hundred percent, tighten it all up, put some water in and then bingo, soaked carpeting again.  As Homer Simpson would say: "Doh" Next time I go past an RV place I will yank all of those lines out, and get them to replicate them..  If it's not that, then it has to be the tank, in which case, we'll have a water jug in the kitchen and a milk jug full of water in the bathroom.  I will rip it out when I get home.  Hopefully it is just the line......  As always, thanks for your advice.  I really appreciate it.  

 

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When you're tired of soaking your carpet, you might figure out a way to introduce a bit of AIR pressure into the system. Then you can search for leaks with some soapy water.

Low pressure though. A few psi should do it without blowing anything up. :)

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Schrader valves (like a tire air valve) come in many configurations and with a bit of imagination and fittings can be adapted to pressurize a water system.  I would not add more than 30 PSI to the system.  Should make a hiss to help find the leak?

You don't have to buy this valve, only used as an example,  likely NAPA or a good hardware store would have something like it.  Not Home Depot or Lowes. Tractor Supply might have them?

 

If you come by SW Florida, I have one!                            Jim

 

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Edited by jjrbus

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They make blowout plugs you screw into the city water connection and then pressurize the system...will work good up to the water pump, but not help if fresh water tank is leaking.

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Could a  schrader valve could be added to the gravity fill cap and pressurized?  I do not believe 30lbs is too much for an RV system.  Jim

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I am not fluent in all things Toyota.  Your fresh water tank may have an overflow or vent pipe.  This could be good or bad, if it is an accessible flexible hose it might be a good place to add air? If there is one it will need to be plugged.

Dereks inner-tube idea is a good one, I need to file that one away in the memory banks.                     Jim

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Went through all the connections, dried them with a hair dryer, put some water in and while all of the fittings stayed dry with no leakage, water seems to be coming from the bottom of the tank.  I am afraid I have a cracked tank.  Any ideas on how to fix that without totally tearing out my cabinets?  I never drink the water from the tank anyway, but use it mostly for washing dishes and flushing toilets.  Looks like we get a bigger jug.  I was wondering if there is something I can put down the tank that would seal up the bottom?  When my blackwater tank was leaking I poured some thinned out epoxy down the toilet, and It sealed the crack.  Anyone know of a similar substance I could use on the road for one last ditch effort? 

 

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I have never heard of a pour in sealant for holding tanks, does not mean they do not exist.  Every repair I have heard of involves pulling the tank, at which point might as well weld it instead of just patching.

There are some sealers available but not sure about using them in a polypropylene fresh water tank, they seem to be geared to fiberglass and PVC

http://www.spadepot.com/shop/Seal-a-Leak-Spa-Leak-Sealer-16-oz-P754C57.aspx?zmam=55673001&zmas=1&zmac=1&zmap=MT1018&gclid=CLiku46yissCFVZbhgodfeUBWQ

I have no experience with this, just heard of it, hopefully some have a better idea.                        Jim

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pull tank and replace or plastic weld crack with a polypropylene plastic welder from harbor freight 

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I'm not familiar with where the tank is located in your Sunrader so won't comment on how practical it is to pull it and fix it 'properly' while on the road 6000 miles from home.

If it's impractical to do so and you don't feel you can live without running water, would it be possible to cut into existing piping and have the original water pump draw from a 5 gallon plastic jerry can? You'd obviously have to refill relatively often.

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The tank is about 4 feet wide and runs along the entire width of the sink and cabinets.  The cabinet was installed after the tank was.  When it comes out, it will be with the assistance of a reciprocating saw.  I have thought about placing a small jug under there and routing the piping into it.  I think it would pull from the top and would not require an airtight seal from a fitting screwed into the bottom of it.  This would enable us to drink the water in there as well.  At present, considering that the tank is 30 years old, and I have only had it the last 8, we don't drink the water in there.  It would also keep the weight down, carrying 5 gallons instead of 30.  I have only ever worked with water pumps on my well at home in Canada.  Am I correct in assuming that this type of system just sucks water and is not as sensitive to having airtight connections like a domestic system?  

 

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Kill 2 birds with one stone, this will solve your current problem and be useful when winterizing in the future. Most RV stores have them

http://www.pplmotorhomes.com/parts/rv-pumps-water/rv-pump-converter.htm

Edited by WME

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Wow, that is perfect!  And if I can't find it at a local RV store, we drive right through Houston where the supplier is located the day after tomorrow (after the forecast winds let up)  Thanks very much!

Edited by jayemright

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