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Old 06-01-2008, 03:04 PM   #1
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Just when I thought there wasn't any other fluid that could leak or any tank/reservoir/supply line for any fluid that hasn't been fixed on our Alpine, we got another one over the weekend.

This time the connection between the fresh water tank and the plastic pipe leading to the dump valve for that tank is leaking, right where the pipe screws into the water tank. The white plumbers-type putty sealant from the factory on that connection is soft and gooey.

I started to try tightening the pipe but noticed it has a connection to another flex-type water tube that I'm not sure where that tube goes to. If I turn the drain pipe to tighten it, the connection with the hose will rotate and I don't want that. It appears the pipe was threaded into the tank until it got to the right spot for this other tube and stopped, even if it needed to go a little tighter. And it looks like the hope was that the sealant would keep the pipe sealed to the threads in the tank.

Has anybody had this issue, and if so, what was the fix? Unscrew the pipe, add more plumber's putty, and turn it back until it's as tight as possible given the other tube connecttion? Or has somebody figured out a better solution on this pipe to keep it from leaking?
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Old 06-01-2008, 03:04 PM   #2
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Just when I thought there wasn't any other fluid that could leak or any tank/reservoir/supply line for any fluid that hasn't been fixed on our Alpine, we got another one over the weekend.

This time the connection between the fresh water tank and the plastic pipe leading to the dump valve for that tank is leaking, right where the pipe screws into the water tank. The white plumbers-type putty sealant from the factory on that connection is soft and gooey.

I started to try tightening the pipe but noticed it has a connection to another flex-type water tube that I'm not sure where that tube goes to. If I turn the drain pipe to tighten it, the connection with the hose will rotate and I don't want that. It appears the pipe was threaded into the tank until it got to the right spot for this other tube and stopped, even if it needed to go a little tighter. And it looks like the hope was that the sealant would keep the pipe sealed to the threads in the tank.

Has anybody had this issue, and if so, what was the fix? Unscrew the pipe, add more plumber's putty, and turn it back until it's as tight as possible given the other tube connecttion? Or has somebody figured out a better solution on this pipe to keep it from leaking?
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Old 06-01-2008, 07:01 PM   #3
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Very funny you should ask.....

I have worked through this problem with several "cures". Each requiring the tank to b e refilled to observe the joint under pressure.

I tried teflon tape, epoxy, three types of plumber's putting and a new male connector.

The answer was similar to the original. It was fixed by by using a plumber's putty that has a very high PSI rating.

The problem occurred, first, when I overfilled the tank and the pressure built up too much, causing the tank to flex. Since the male connector is ABS and the female connector is built into the tank (polyethylene?) they flex a bit differently. That is why the exopy didn't work, it just cracked after a while. The teflon would fill in the threads but would be "flexed" out with pressure and movement, since the threads didn't make direct contact anymore. (I tried various numbers of layers.)

The lighter weight plumber's putty work with the flexing but not with the pressure. Therefore the heavy weight plumber's putty did the job. It seems like it was 3000 psi.

The second tube you have, may be the pick up line for the pump. Though not there originally on mine, I had it moved there to pick up every last drop.

The angle of the connector was a problem for me, too. Since the putty solved the problem without changing the angle, I haven't changed it. If it ever leaks again, I'll rebuild that series of connectors and improve the angle. Note that if the connection is too tight, though, a flexing of the pipe will cause the threads to skip or cross thread and leak again. I'd make it barely hand tight, considering the two different types of material, and allow the putty to work.
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Old 06-02-2008, 09:59 AM   #4
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takepride,

Thanks a bunch for the information. I think that second hose is a pickup line for the water pump; just didn't follow it through.

The suggestion for the high psi plumber's putty is just what I was looking for. That joint gets a lot of weight from the water and I thought it probably also flexed differently from the pipe. I was thinking about teflon tape but now that you have tried it I won't even bother. I'll go see if I can find some of that high psi putty.

This will save me a lot of time; thanks again.
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Old 06-06-2008, 07:32 PM   #5
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A little follow=up on this. We had our dealer's mechanic help us with this issue because I was concerned about potential damaged threads in the freshwater tank. If it had them, my extended warranty would cover them. I did get some high pressure plumber's putty per TakePride's recommendation.

Our drain pipe had about a 20 degree angle between the connection to the tank and the hole in the bay floor, and it was coupled with a water-pump pickup hose that came in at about a 30 degree angle and put side pressure on the pipe. In addition, the tank threads were damaged. Our mechanic had done a number of these fixes in the past.

He enlarged the hole in the floor of the bay to get the drain pipe straight through the bay floor from the tank, put in a 90 degree angle connector to the fresh water pickup to relieve strain on the pipe, attached a bracket to the cable leading to the drain valve to keep it straight and not pulling sideways on the drain pipe, and cut a new plastic plate to exactly cover the enlarged hole in the floor and precisely fit the drain pipe going through it so there is a clean fit through the floor.

He used marine sealant on the connection of the drain pipe to the tank, and put a radiator hose connector around the threads from the tank to squeeze them up against the pipe.

He also checked the tank venting to make sure air was venting properly from the tank so pressure would not build up and force water out of the joint with the most slack.

So far the tank and drain pipe are performing well. The mechanic says he has never had one of these drain pipe/tank issues come back to him after doing this procedure for many years.

For what it's worth -- another fix on this issue. We will see how it goes.
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Old 06-10-2008, 07:15 PM   #6
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OldForester:

Mine too, has the drain at an angle to the floor, but maybe not quite as steep as yours. It obviously was a result of poor workmanship. However, the angle of the drain valve was straight on, without side stress and the cable held at the proper angle by a bracket.

The radiator clamp is a good idea, as well as some back-up silicone. however, I'd leave the putty to the threads as silicone has a fairly short life when exposed to water. It'd likely last a while, but with movement and time it will surely separate. But as a backup-over the joint, it sure can't hurt. I believe the reason the putty works is that it remains flexible in a joint that will always be flexible. Your mechanic's ideas to make the joint less flexible and less stressed are certainly helpful, and reduce the cause of the problem.

I do have a question about the venting. Did your coach ever suffer from "siphoning" the water out after being over-filled? If I filled mine to the top, it would then siphon off about 20 gallons before it would stop. This siphoning only happened through the front vent. There were myriad people with this problem and I found a working solution, but am concerned that even a few pounds of developed pressure from over-filling made my tank swell a bit (too much?). My "pressure relief" is set to 1-5 pounds, but I fear it may be too much (or is not functioning correctly). However, I now have a full 100 gallons of usable water instead of the 25 I used to have.
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Old 06-11-2008, 09:01 PM   #7
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TakePride,

I did not have a problem from "siphoning" the water out after over filling. Perhaps it's because I have never overfilled. I always watch the tank filling by checking on the level in the tank with a flashlight from the bay just in front of the sanitation compartment.

I have lost water out of the connection where the hose attaches, as mentioned earlier, but I bought a hose connection that attaches outside the existing fitting, with a shut off valve, and that stopped that problem, especially since the tank is venting properly. My mechanic tells me he has seen tanks in other coaches that didn't vent properly blow apart, or push up the floor of the coach and break the flooring. So making sure your venting is working is a big deal, and that your check valves are working. Those should keep you from having a major problem.
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Old 06-12-2008, 09:57 PM   #8
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Thanks OF, now I have a small project for the weekend. Either 5 minutes or 5 hours, depending if the venting is working well (or not).
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