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Old 03-15-2011, 03:09 PM   #1
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"Sucking Air" '99 TW Water Pump

Been having a heck of a problem getting the fresh water system to work since a line froze and broke. Pump was weak also, so I replaced it.

Anyway, at this point I have found that the pump is sucking air, even from a full tank. If I blow into the water fill line (which I was told was also the return line to the pump) I can hear gurgling, and air and water come out of the overflow drain pipe.

So, I'm thinking that the water in the fresh water tank froze (we had some very unusually cold weather here in the desert this winter) and broke part of the hose. What I mean is that it obviously isn't going all the way down to the "deep" water in the tank.

It looks like I'm gonna have to drop the tank to get to where the hose enters the tank. Does that sound correct?

Any information will be greatly appreciated.

BTW, and important, is the fact that the City Water works just fine from it's own pressure.

I don't know if it will help you help me, but the schematic of the plumbing panel is located here: Tradewinds Docs - Windows Live
tinyurl-dot-com/4rc9cpj

2/3 of the way down the page - plumbing variation 2.

Regards,

Jim
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Old 03-16-2011, 09:25 AM   #2
HRS
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I had a similar problem on my 2001 TW when the water lines and pump froze this winter. I removed the pump and allowed all the lines to thaw out. When I replaced the pump it was sucking air. I found that the inlet line was not fully tightened on and was the cause of the air getting in to the suction side of the pump. On my system there are rubber gaskets at the pump connection and if you did not get them back on and tight the pump would leek. Also if you have a system that has a section port on it I would try to see if the switching to that port allows the pump to work, if so then I would look at the line that goes from the fill side to the tank to see if it has a leek in it. Hope this helps.
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Old 03-17-2011, 06:01 PM   #3
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Jim

Your getting all you can handle over on the Yahoo Board so I'll put my thought in here.

This just screems of a check valve problem, either on the city water inlet or on the direct to the pump input on your panel. It's possible the direct to pump (antifreeze) input is even in backwards. I'd sure check the check valves before I pulled the tank.

Dick
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Old 03-20-2011, 10:51 PM   #4
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Jim, you've given the Yahoo Board all it will take so I'll put my thoughts in here, like Dick. I'm try'n ta help ya man...:

Yes, maybe Dick is correct and you have a check valve problem. But there are several other possibilites. Let's review things first. You reported your fresh water tank "froze solid" this winter and that you replaced the water pump and "fixed a leak." You said the new pump inlet line was firstly blocked, then later you said it was instead "sucking air."

Can you please tell us details about your "fixed leak", as to which line, where and what? Did you do the repairs or someone else where you don't know for sure what was done? This could be pertinent to your present problem.

As I recall you have a 1999 NationalRV Tradewinds model motorhome. Attached is its plumbing schematic (that you claimed you did not receive as an attachment from a respondent) that shows your tanks' fill line feeds into the *bottom* of these tanks. (See upper left-hand corner of dwg.) There is an 'equalizer line' that inter-connects your fresh water tanks (you have two) where the entry line (coming from the left) feeds this 'equalizer line' via a 'tee.' It is difficult to see but the drain line (with valve) for the tanks apparently also connects here via another 'tee' and discharges toward the bottom, like the two overflow lines. So you have 'no' dip-tube for a top-entry water tank inlet, it's again a *bottom-fill* arrangement.

This tank-fill bottom entry line also serves as the tank discharge line or suction line to your pump per your selected valve setup. See the plumbing schematic that you initally provided. So... if it were not for your 'frozen solid' comments I would say your tank drain valve is simply partly open, which allows air to be sucked in by your pump -- with maybe one end of the 'equalizer line' blocked to one of the tanks....? Just speculation at this point since you don't seem to know for certain whether one tank or the other are full or empty. You have never said what your tank(s)' level-monitor shows.

Another possibility is that your 'suction port inlet' connection at your 'Entrance Plate' in the service compartment is faulty, or the entry valve is bad (leaking) or set incorrectly. It seems this 'suction port' should be plugged or capped to prevent air leakage, as others have posted is necessary. This 'suction port' is primarily used for antifreeze winterizing.

Likewise, if your city water inlet valve were positioned incorrectly or damaged/leaking, this could conceivably allow air to enter the pump inlet depending on the valve setup.

However, the primary possibilities of damage/leakage involve your 'frozen solid' comments. You 'must' review all of the resulting possibilities and find the service compartment where removal of the back wall (screws) allows viewing-accessing the water tanks and their inlet piping and drain valve -- to inspect the condition/positioning and possible damage. It seems likely this compartment is the one where you found the "peephole" that allowed you to see the fresh water tank.

Please, *someone* (HRS? - Dick?) having a '99+/- NationalRV Tradewinds motorhome -- tell Jim how to access his fresh water tanks and their inlet/drainage plumbing... I'm sickothis as I know Jim must be.... Otherwise, maybe take it to a shop and 'pay the piper', Jim.......???

Thanks much,
--Mac
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Old 03-21-2011, 07:39 AM   #5
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Mac

It seems that since my 99 is a front door model and Jim's is a side door model the tanks are in a different place. At least Jim doesn't find them in his coach where I told him mine were. But National did provide a drain valve on my model albeit a little hard to find behind a small panel in the forward passengers side front bay..

Dick
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Old 03-21-2011, 09:09 AM   #6
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> Jim, you've given the Yahoo Board all it will take so I'll put my thoughts
> in here, like Dick. I'm try'n ta help ya man...:

It is sincerely appreciated, Mac..............and Dick. Yeah, no one knows the problem on the other board. One guy talked like he was "the god" of the National RVs and I didn't appreciate that. I may have ticked off everyone. And the "the god" was totally incorrect. Because I need help and ask for it, is no reason to play God. And I do appreciate all the folks who are willing to help. I just wish folks would read before they reply. It's getting just like customer service departments all over the world. "They just won't pay attention", lol.

> Yes, maybe Dick is correct and you have a check valve problem. But there are
> several other possibilites. Let's review things first. You reported your
> fresh water tank "froze solid" this winter and that you replaced the water
> pump and "fixed a leak." You said the new pump inlet line was firstly
> blocked, then later you said it was instead "sucking air."

I've ruled out a valve problem........unless, as someone said, there is one back where the line enters to the tank.

The leak was coming from where the outlet line entered the pump. The pump was replaced after it was found faulty.

I have no idea if it was frozen solid or not, but was only surmising what I thought could have happened if it had been. I didn't drain
anything. Never have. However, it was much colder than it had been in 50 years or so here.

I was in error about the line being blocked. My bad.

Currently, the the main water line is hooked directly to the pump and is sucking air.

> Can you please tell us details about your "fixed leak", as to which line,
> where and what? Did you do the repairs or someone else where you don't know
> for sure what was done? This could be pertinent to your present problem.

Explained above.

> As I recall you have a 1999 NationalRV Tradewinds model motorhome. Attached
> is its plumbing schematic (that you claimed you did not receive as an
> attachment from a respondent) that shows your tanks' fill line feeds into
> the *bottom* of these tanks. (See upper left-hand corner of dwg.) There is
> an 'equalizer line' that inter-connects your fresh water tanks (you have
> two) where the entry line (coming from the left) feeds this 'equalizer line'
> via a 'tee.' It is difficult to see but the drain line (with valve) for the
> tanks apparently also connects here via another 'tee' and discharges toward
> the bottom, like the two overflow lines. So you have 'no' dip-tube for a
> top-entry water tank inlet, it's again a *bottom-fill* arrangement.

I have been trying to acertain where the hose entered the tank. It being a bottom fill answered part of the question I had, but brings up the question: Why will the tank fill and why will the city water supply all the faucets without any leaks??? I just can't fathom that....unless there "is" a valve, as someone said, back where the line enters the tank. I'll have to enlarge the picture you attached (thanks, a bunch)
in order to see it well enough to tell me anything.

> This tank-fill bottom entry line also serves as the tank discharge line or
> suction line to your pump per your selected valve setup. See the plumbing
> schematic that you initally provided. So... if it were not for your 'frozen
> solid' comments I would say your tank drain valve is simply partly open,
> which allows air to be sucked in by your pump -- with maybe one end of the
> 'equalizer line' blocked to one of the tanks....? Just speculation at this
> point since you don't seem to know for certain whether one tank or the other
> are full or empty. You have never said what your tank(s)' level-monitor
> shows.

You bring up a great point here, Mac. I didn't even look at the indicator, since I have never been exactly sure how to read it anyway (smile) I just fill the tank until it overflows. Wouldn't ''that mean both tanks were filled? There are two tubes hanging down. I know that one of them is an overflow (near the entry steps on my side-entry unit).

Ok, what about the equalizer line?? No one has mentioned this at all.

Where is the drain valve? When I enlarge the attach pic large enough to see where the lines go, it's so blurred I can't see it.

BTW, there is a 2" Red handle in one of the water lines ON THE OTHER
SIDE in the basement under the kitchen sink? Don't know what it does, but for my problem, at the moment, it doesn't matter (remember, the pump is hooked directly to the pump).

> Another possibility is that your 'suction port inlet' connection at your

> 'Entrance Plate' in the service compartment is faulty, or the entry valve is
> bad (leaking) or set incorrectly. It seems this 'suction port' should be
> plugged or capped to prevent air leakage, as others have posted is
> necessary. This 'suction port' is primarily used for antifreeze winterizing.

Not applicable the way it is hooked up.

> Likewise, if your city water inlet valve were positioned incorrectly or
> damaged/leaking, this could conceivably allow air to enter the pump inlet
> depending on the valve setup.

Not applicable at the moment.

> However, the primary possibilities of damage/leakage involve your 'frozen
> solid' comments. You 'must' review all of the resulting possibilities and
> find the service compartment where removal of the back wall (screws) allows
> viewing-accessing the water tanks and their inlet piping and drain valve --
> to inspect the condition/positioning and possible damage. It seems likely
> this compartment is the one where you found the "peephole" that allowed you
> to see the fresh water tank.

The "peep hole" was about a 12x12 or 14x14 panel in the small front basement compartment behind the right front wheel. I could only "see" part of the tank......like looking out a window from an apartment
built right next to a brick wall <smile>. Couldn't see nor feel anything but the tank.

No one has told me how to get to the tank. Dick's is a front entry model, and, apparently they are different. My tanks seem to be mounted right on top (or above) the diesel tank, but I can be wrong
about anything (smile). Why do you think I have to wear a name tag all the time, lol??

> Please, *someone* (HRS? - Dick?) having a '99+/- NationalRV Tradewinds
> motorhome -- tell Jim how to access his fresh water tanks and their
> inlet/drainage plumbing... I'm sickothis as I know Jim must be....
> Otherwise, maybe take it to a shop and 'pay the piper', Jim.......???

Yeah, I'm paying enough pipers at the moment <smile>.

Thanks, Mac, for taking the time to point out all these possibilities.

How I have it hooked up will eliminate many of them, will it not?

I like to start at the most simple point, lol.

Regards,

Jim
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Old 03-28-2011, 08:13 PM   #7
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Hi All,

Someone reminded me that I hadn't reported that my problem had been resolved. I thought I had, but I'm in the middle of some things that has kept me pretty busy.

The solution was SIMPLE, once it was detected.

Remember me saying my fresh water tank was full and overflowing? Yet, the pump was "sucking air". Well, it was, even though I had the pump hooked directly to a line going into the tank.

REASON: My tank was empty, not full and overflowing as I had thought.

Somehow, while removing stuff from my basement the handle to the tank drain line had been turned to open, and my tank was draining, NOT overflowing. I had no idea what the valve handle was for and had tried the pump with the valve open and closed with the same results.

Anyway, Mac zeroed in on it and explained that it was the DRAIN valve. I closed it, filled my tank, and the water system is working as it should.

I want each of you to know that I appreciate your efforts. It's hard to communicate effectively via this media, hard as one may try, and sometimes the solution just isn't recognized.....and even the exact problem isn't always clear.

Again, many thanks.

Jim
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