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Brand New Trailer and Need a New Water Pump?


JustOnePath

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Hey Folks!

New Full-Timer here...  and in my first and new Trailer...  a 27' Forest River 220RBS 2018 Sonoma...  I'm retiring and still have two weeks of work left... I've sold my Condo got the Trailer and am living in it close to town for the first two months while I get it ready and learn how to operate it..  so now is the shake down period.. 

Right off the bat I noticed my Black Water level indicator does not work.. My Hot Water Heater works with Gas but not Electric... and the most shocking I came home from work and found a steady drip coming from my Fresh Water Tank fill spout.. HUH??  I'm hooked up to City Water and know my fresh water tank was down to about half before I hooked up..

Long story short I called the dealer and right off the bat they told me I'd have to bring the trailer in to replace the Water Pump.. I asked how they could be so sure it needed to be replaced and I was told this was a very frequent issue that the pump was junk and needed to be replaced often.. 

Does this sound right?  have to say it makes me a bit nervous since this is now my home and I want to get on the road soon..  I'm not feeling to warm and fuzzy inside about being able to rely on my trailer..

Deborah

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Welcome!

Black water sensor- They are rarely accurate.. even if... they generally aren't for long. They aren't really necessary though. You'll pick up plenty quick the change in sound and behavior that'll be a much more reliable indicator of when it's time to dump. It's called the "burp affect".  ;) Don't sweat it.

Water heater- There is a switch accessible from the outside directly on your water heater that needs to be switched to the "on" position to enable 120v electric heating. It should be a black toggle type switch with a cotter pin holding it in the "off" position. You'll need to open the exterior vent cover to your water heater to get to it, remove the pin and flip the switch.

Water drip at fill port- If you're on city water then you likely didn't close (or have a faulty) the fresh water tank by-pass lever... overfilling your fresh water tank from the city supply line. A slow leak or improperly shut valve can cause a gradual overfill. Could be a fill vent siphon issue, but that would be a "next guess" issue.

There are a couple other issues that might be at play, but I would start there as it is the most common and most easily corrected.

Junk water pump? Not really. New pump failures are typically caused by construction junk/debris getting into the water lines and jamming up your check valve or water pump diaphram (preventing leakage)... all of which can be cleaned and flushed without the need for replacement. With a new unit, be prepared to have other construction debris related issues in your water systems and furnace duct operations.

Once they resolve... and they will... you're good to go.

My favorite is when a guy goes to do his first tank dump and only a dribble comes out... because when they cut the circle piece of plastic out of the top of their tank to make the pipe connection they let it fall into the tank and didn't remove it... which then floats to the dump out pipe and blocks it off when trying to dump. :D 

All of the above are considered "normal" growing pains with a new unit so don't let it deter you.

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Yarome...

Thanks for all the great info!

Best I can tell is that the check valve is in the Water Pump... hence why they want to replace it I believe..  I just found it odd and worrisome that before I really even used it it needed to be replaced...

Deborah

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Sometimes the water pump just needs to be run a bit to re-seat the check valve. I had it happen to me recently and that was all it took to stop the back-feeding into the fresh water tank. 

There are accurate tank monitoring systems on the market, but they use sensors that are external to the tank. The "SeeLeveL" system by Garnet Industries is the most common and works perfectly. But it costs a couple of hundred dollars and most mass-production RV manufacturers won't put them in.  I have one and like knowing what the level is in each tank.

Mark & Teri

2021 Grand Designs Imagine 2500RL, 2019 Ford F-350

Mark & Teri's Travels

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1 hour ago, JustOnePath said:

...the check valve is in the Water Pump... hence why they want to replace it I believe.

Nah... it's on the outside, but you're probably right. It's easier to just replace the entire assembly than it is to flush it. Besides... if they replace a "faulty" water pump then they can charge the mfg. for an entire pump instead of just the 15min's it takes to flush one out. ;)

As mptjelgin said though.. they will often clear all on their own once enough water passes through. It doesn't take but a fragment of cut plastic or such to interfere with full closure.

Personally, if it were me, I would turn off the shore water and run off the internal fresh water tank for a couple of days to help flush the system then switch back to shore water and re-evaluate. It doesn't hurt a thing to let it drip for awhile and see if it resolves on it's own, but that's entirely your decision.

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5 hours ago, JustOnePath said:

Right off the bat I noticed my Black Water level indicator does not work.

As the previous post has said, the waste tank level indicators seldom work for long on most RVs. There are two companies that build sensors that continue to work well after use for a time but those are expensive so most RV builders use the cheap ones that are unreliable. I could explain the reason, but that is a waste of time since it wouldn't solve anything. The gray is usually some better but likely will get unreliable in time and fresh water it typically works pretty well. If they never worked, they may be adjustable. I assume that you bought your RV new? If so when you take it in the tech should be able to answer questions about the level indicators for you but no dealers that I know of will send someone out to you. Just like a new car, you have to take them back to where you bought them.

5 hours ago, JustOnePath said:

My Hot Water Heater works with Gas but not Electric...

I suspect that Yarome is correct, assuming that you have a dual heat source water heater. Your RV should have come with a large stack of operator manuals and there should be one for your water heater. If in doubt, it is another question for the tech when you take it to the dealer.

5 hours ago, JustOnePath said:

I called the dealer and right off the bat they told me I'd have to bring the trailer in to replace the Water Pump.

That probably means that you do not have the tank fill valve mentioned above but most RV water pumps are designed to either supply water when running or to act as a check valve when not in operation. The most common ones are a diaphragm type of pump which does not have or need a separate check valve. While they can be rebuilt, if it is new under warranty the dealer will probably put in a new one and return the present one to the manufacturer. And if you were to use the pump from the tank and not use city water, another indication of the leak back problem is that the pump would run from time to time even when no water is being used because it is pressure in the water lines that causes the pump to turn off. If the pump loses its ability to act as a check valve the pressure in the system when the pump turns off will slowly leak back to the tank and cause the pump to turn on for a few seconds to build that pressure back up. A frequently cycling pump means either it don't hold as a check valve or that you have a water leak. 

6 hours ago, JustOnePath said:

I asked how they could be so sure it needed to be replaced and I was told this was a very frequent issue that the pump was junk and needed to be replaced often.

I guess that I would ask what pump your RV has as that was not a very brilliant thing for the dealer who sells that brand RV to say. In my experience, the most common RV water pumps are the Sureflo diaphragm type which are fairly inexpensive and can be easily rebuilt. I would have diagnosed your problem exactly the same as he did but only because I have more than 35 years of RV experience. I have had most of those I have used last for at least several years and even in constant use, they should last a couple of years. Remember that even the most expensive and highest quality components will on occasion fail. That is the reason that warranties exist. Forest River is not the highest RV in either quality or price but they have a reasonably good reputation as lower-priced RV go. But the water pump that you have can be found in hundreds of other RVs over a wide range of prices. 

5 hours ago, JustOnePath said:

Best I can tell is that the check valve is in the Water Pump... hence why they want to replace it I believe.. 

You are absolutely correct. I am positive that you have the diaphragm type of pump that also serves as a check valve. The fact that this one failed does not mean that the next will fail as quickly. 

 

Good travelin !...............Kirk

Full-time 11+ years...... Now seasonal travelers.
Kirk & Pam's Great RV Adventure

            images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQqFswi_bvvojaMvanTWAI

 

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Check the back of the water heater. If it works on gas but not electric odds are it has a master on off switch on the back that must be turned on for electric to flow. This is separate from a switch outside on a wall or counter sidewall. Look under your counter or inside access to the back of the water heater and you will see a switch. Throw it and voila Electric hot water. Go here  http://www.cardinalrvclub.org/pdf/Suburban hot water heater.pdf and scroll down to page 10, rear view and look at part number 7. That switch is directly on the back of the water heater. I ran into this a lot after a new install or now trailer. I just saw that some have it on the front look here:

http://www.loveyourrv.com/faulty-electrical-switch-suburban-sw6de-hot-water-heater/

Safe travels!

RV/Derek
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I had a 5er for five years and went thru 3 water pumps. The first 2 lasted just beyond the warranty. Go figure. The 3rd one had a bad check valve within 2 months. I called the manufacturer, Sureflo, and they said they would send me a new check valve but not a new pump. The pump cost $100,  I am handcaped and could not go under the 5er to get to the pump to install the check valve. I asked Sureflow if they would pay for the labor to install the check valve. They declined. It cost me $100 to have a Mobil machinic remove the pump install the check valve and reinstall the pump. 

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High water pressure can lead to quick and frequent failure of the check valve. Make sure you have a regulator on your hose. 

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A bit of an update...

First thank you everyone for sharing so much info it really is helping me to understand my Trailer better...

Soooo.. I had shut off the City Water and ran the water pump using my fresh water tank for a bit.. the pump was loud.. and as someone mentioned it would intermittently cycle on for a few seconds..  also I noticed when using the hot water tap it would pulse while running..

On the good side... low and behold I shut it off and turned the City Water back on and it hasn't back filled the fresh water tank again.. 

I'm thinking I should still have them replace it though?  it seems the pulsing and  cycling on and off when not being used is a bad sign even though the original issue seems to have corrected itself..  oh and yes I did put a pressure regulator on the camp faucet from the get go..

As for the Hot Water Heater when using Electric, still a mystery.. as mentioned by so many of you there is a switch in the compartment... the dealer had shown me this during my orientation of the trailer and I do have it on..  I've also checked fuses and CBs and all seems well there... so I guess I'll just let the dealer figure this one out..  :)

thanks so much for all the help I truly am happy to be entering this community I think it is just full of wonderful folks...

Deborah

 

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Pulsing/intermittent on/off- Not uncommon. Run all of your taps open to ensure all hose lines have been purged of air and have water in them (including the outdoor shower fixture, if so equipped). That may or may not correct the problem as there may still be a bit of debris stuck in the pump diaphram. I would still run it for awhile and let it settle before taking it in for a "fix".

For surging... the other option, which I do with all of my rigs, is to add an accumulator tank to your water pump. That not only "evens" out the surging but will also cut down on actual water pump run time. Installation is a snap and looks like Amazon has a really decent price on a size that would likely suit your needs (I paid more around $50 for the same one a couple years back). Never hurts to shop around, though.

WH- The other thing to check is to ensure it's actually plugged in. There should be a standard wall outlet in or near the WH compartment. Check to be sure the water heater cord is actually plugged into it. It's not uncommon to see that little detail overlooked by the MFG.

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When checking a breaker it is a good idea to turn it all the way off then back on.  Some breakers that are tripped won't reset until it is turned off and some may look like they are not tripped but they are. In general it is a good idea to derermine why one tripped. I am talking about the ac breakers in the panel.  I don't think this will be your problem but you never know. One other thing that is less likely is the GFI outlet normally in the bathroom. Your water heated should not be on that circuit but again you never  know and you can trip it on the outlet and then reset it on the outlet.  I sorta know what I'm doing but one time I did not consider the GFI outlet and ended up replacing a circuit breaker that wasn't bad. I could change it so it cost me about $15. back then.

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8 hours ago, JustOnePath said:

I'm thinking I should still have them replace it though?  it seems the pulsing and  cycling on and off when not being used is a bad sign even though the original issue seems to have corrected itself.. 

If the pump cycles on when no water is being used you have one of two problems. Either the pump is not acting as a good check valve and the pressure is leaking back to the tank or you are losing water somewhere, probably due to a leak. 

Good travelin !...............Kirk

Full-time 11+ years...... Now seasonal travelers.
Kirk & Pam's Great RV Adventure

            images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQqFswi_bvvojaMvanTWAI

 

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The check valve in the pump is a constant source of problems.  The best thing to do is to add a good separate inline check valve right after the pump.

 

Ken

Amateur radio operator, 2023 Cougar 22MLS, 2022 F150 Lariat 4x4 Off Road, Sport trim <br />Travel with 1 miniature schnauzer, 1 standard schnauzer and one African Gray parrot

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On your water heater on the outside there are little rubber covers that cover reset buttons. Just push on the rubber cover with your finger and it will reset and hopefully it will work on electric. Push gently, it doesn't take much and you cant even tell your resetting it,

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14 hours ago, TXiceman said:

The check valve in the pump is a constant source of problems. 

Interesting comment. Do you filter all water into your RV? I do and have wondered at this comment as I can only remember having that problem a few of times over the past 35 years.  I owned a travel trailer for part-time use when our boys were home and in 9 years never has a pump problem. The same can be said for our motorhome that we had first and it was owned for 8+ years and we used it a lot, spending many a weekend in an RV parking are at square dance festivals with no hookups. I did replace the pump once in 14 years on our last motorhome and it was used fulltime for 12 years, but we usually had hookups except when traveling. If you dry camp you would use the pump much more and we have never done a great deal of that since moving from our pop-up trailers. 

Good travelin !...............Kirk

Full-time 11+ years...... Now seasonal travelers.
Kirk & Pam's Great RV Adventure

            images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQqFswi_bvvojaMvanTWAI

 

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Kirk, we run a whole house sediment filter, carbon filter and a water softener on the RV.  On this one, the water pump has never had an issue with the water pump after 4 years.  Previous RVs did not get filtered water all of the time and we had issues.  So rather than replace the functioning water pump, I just placed a check valve in the pump outlet.

Ken

Amateur radio operator, 2023 Cougar 22MLS, 2022 F150 Lariat 4x4 Off Road, Sport trim <br />Travel with 1 miniature schnauzer, 1 standard schnauzer and one African Gray parrot

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