Sunday, September 29, 2013

Leak Fixed, BUT Why do Manufacturers Do What They Do?

Some of you will remember the post a week ago, Fort Bragg with a slight leak, well, now that we are back in Sacramento area, it was time to tackle that problem.  Since that posting I had not talked much about it in the blog….but we found that even under the pressure of the fresh water pump, we had a leak, just not as big….so we kept the pump off unless we needed to use it.  That got us by.  I also had discovered an access panel under the sink in the bathroom, which leads to a mass amount of water pipes or perhaps a better word is tubing. 

1a     1b

On the outside of the motorhome, these pipes/tubes are on the other side of this panel.


Above you can see some of the tubing behind the controls, some leading to the controls which are now tucked inside behind this panel.

1d     1e

The problem is that you can losing this inner panel board, but you cannot move it out of the way….it can only go a little up, a little down, very little left or right.  Big help this is.  Now, first question….why didn’t the manufacturer make this panel so that it breaks down into two or three smaller parts so it can be moved out of the way?  Seems it would not be that difficult to do…as it is, it is useless for trying to work behind it.


So this is inside the bathroom under the sink.  The door has been removed, the bottom floor of the cabinet under the sink has been removed, and the access panel has been removed.  Second thing, to remove the access panel there is a screw which is very easy to get, but then you have to bend the panel and reach “inside” to remove the next holding screw.  That was a very difficult screw to remove, why not have both screws facing the inside of the cabinet area where they are easy to get to?


The leak was the connection at the end of the arrow.  Thank goodness it was very close, and the tube is a flexible one…many of the tubes are very ridged and don’t bend.  After discovering all of this on my own, I brought Arny in on the project.  He got down on the floor, I had a flashlight behind him and I pointed to this area.  All he did was barely touch it, and it comes apart shooting water all over, but I quickly turned to the pump off and so it turned out to be a very minimal amount of water.  The original connection that the manufacturer did was not done right. 


Above is similar to the fitting we were dealing with.


Once you hook up the tubing, the clamp should be where the white arrow is….on this one it was where the red arrow was.  It was a disaster waiting to happen.  Now you would think this would be point number 3 with the manufacturer….but this is not a design flaw, it is poor workmanship on ONE connection.  But with a motorhome, it only takes one bad connection to create a disaster.  We try to remember to turn our pump off whenever we drive just in case one of these connections goes bad while we are on the road.  Just think if you have 50 gallons of fresh water, your pump on, your driving down the road and way in the back a connection comes loose?  You end up with 50 gallons of water inside your motorhome by the time you stop and find it.


So here is our fixed plumbing tube.  We used the conventional clamps….not the manufacturer clamp.  They use these other clamps because they are a bit faster to install….but they can only be used once.  Ok, that I can understand….that many connections times that many motorhomes being built, saves costs.  But when something goes wrong, makes it harder for us users to fix.


But to use black electric tape to hold pipes in place, that is inexcusable!  


Look at the red arrow…that is the “carpet” on the other side of the wall that the slide-in slides over.  Once the black tape broke, one of the three tubes, one which is more flexible, got into this area…when we brought the slide in, it put pressure on this pipe, which moved the tubing, which caused the leak.  Had they used tie downs, as shown in the picture to the right of the red arrow, this problem would not have magnified into this leak so early….but since they put the clamp on wrong, it was a time bomb waiting to go off.  But WHY does there have to be a gap here to the slide area anyway?  It should be a solid wall between the two areas.  Again, a design flaw which should not be there.  But you think I am done, oh no, not at all…….

5a    5aa

Look at this hole in the floor under the bathroom cabinet floor….look how big it is for these three small tubes to go through.


Above is the view from UNDER the motorhome.  Look how easy it is for a mouse, a rat, for dirt and dust from the roadway to come up through this hole.  Easy fix, and it should have been fixed at the manufacturers building facility when it was built.  An oversight perhaps?  But I have heard of too many fellow RV’ers who have had mice inside their motorhomes.  Lucky for us, no signs of mice in ours.

5c    5d

Arny suggested that since the hole was so big, to place a small bag (a doggie poop bag is what I used), put in the hole, fill the bag with this foam sealant (it comes out as a thick liquid and then expands and hardens) until it seems to fill up the hole, then seal up around the bag.  Now you have a filled hole without a large dripping mess under the hole to clean up afterward.  Now we have a fan running inside this cabinet to dry things out before I put in the access panel, the cabinet bottom, and the door.  It will also allow us a few days just to be sure there are no other leaks…although I am 99.9% sure there are no others.  We are running off the pump still tonight, will shift over to the city water system Sunday, and put things back together again on Monday unless the .1% shows up and bites us in the butt!

Now we love our most of the RVer's who we follow love their motorhome, 5th wheel, trailer, of van.  I just wish that all manufacturers would take more pride in what they put out, and think more about the end user instead of how much money they can save.  They do so much is just a shame when they fail in such easy areas like we have seen...and I know others have seen.   Ok, off my soap box, just glad to have things fixed....and I am sure glad we waited to work on until we got back here....had I pulled that tube off while we were in a remote area would have been a major disaster.


  1. You're a mechanical wizard! See, that's why I need a husband when I travel - to help with the multitude of RV issue that invariably come up when traveling. ;-)

    I *think* all of my RV issue are fixed for the moment (except for a short in my horn) and I'll "strike out" again near Thanksgiving.

    Missed reading your blog - now I'll go "catch up!"

    1. Missed reading your blog too....that's because YOU DID NOT POST ANY! lol

  2. I'm glad that was such an easy fix and that there wasn't any major damage.

    1. Yes, we caught it very early, and thank goodness it did not do any big damage, although getting the carpet dry under the slide out is not an easy task...just hope we get it dry before any mold or mildew sets in, but it looks like it is doing ok for now.

  3. Great work Dave, and Marcia. The pix are great and make it easy for us non-mechanical, or just plain women, to follow. I'll refer to this post if/when I get a leak like yours. Thanks again for your wonderful email. And, maybe Cheryl, Desert Diva, and I should get together and invent a mechanic's course for solo lady RV-ers. Hmmm!

  4. Thank you. It was not a hard fix, had it been the replacement of one of those ridged tubes I think we would have taken somewhere (depending upon how long of a run it would have been). I "should" have opened up that access panel much earlier, but I just never gave it much thought. There is another one under the shower, but I know that is only going to have the drain and two water lines, one hot and one cold, in it.

    I decided to post this type of detail in case someone else faces the same thing in the future with a motorhome laid out like this one. One problem is that thing vary so much from motorhome to motorhome....but the basic idea flows between all models.

  5. Amy's idea to fill the hole with expanding insulation trapped in a bag really caught me off-guard. Makes me wonder about other applications. Brilliant! I've seen foamed-in-place packaging like that once, but didn't carry the idea over to stuff like your repair.

    I can understand your laments about engineering and build issues. My TT's water tank was installed after hoses were attached and clamped to it. So, they're facing the wrong way to be removed or tightened. Then the bench seat was permanently installed over it. Impact: I wanted to replace the aged and brittle tank-to-pump hose since I was adding a screen filter anyway. Only way to do that is to tear out (not unscrew) the bench, then yank the tank out to get at the hose clamps. The area is too tight to try to Dremel grind them off. That hose will celebrate its 20th year next year.


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