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Old 08-27-2015, 08:12 PM   #1
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What would cause a fresh water sensor to go bad???

Well I've never really tested the fresh water tank sensor on my Dodge Fleetwood Tioga until my recent camping trip to Park City last month. Unfortunately I discovered the sensor just says empty all the time even though I filled up the fresh water tank. All my other sensors work with no trouble. The fresh water system including pump, tank and plumbing are all in very good condition run quite well. I'm not sure however what would cause the sensor to go bad. So I have just been doing guess work to figure out where the water level is and then been emptying the tank whenever I clean up camp and hit the road. Maybe sitting to long without use could have been the problem????(Former Owner) I never leave water in it when it's in storage. Like many of these Tioga class C RV's the fresh water tank is installed under the rear dinette seat. It would require removing a few screws to get to it. So is the sensor usually installed through the top of the tank??? Can the current sensor be repaired??? Or do I have to just find a replacement online???? If it is to much hassle I will probably not bother since the fresh water system works perfectly fine as is. If you need to see my RV layout, look at my YouTube video in the vintage RV's section "post your vintage photos here". Thanks for feedback in advance. 
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1979 Dodge Tioga Class C 24 foot. 1987 Fleetwood Bounder 34 Foot.
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Old 08-27-2015, 08:29 PM   #2
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Depends on the sensor type , can you see the sides of the tank ? Older units used multiple sensors in the side of the tank , 5 hook-ups.
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Old 08-27-2015, 10:34 PM   #3
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Could be something simple like a broken wire
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Old 08-28-2015, 09:24 AM   #4
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I agree with the broken wire

Most RV's have a very simple sensor.. Imagine a screw stuck in the side of the tank (And sealed) with a wire attached to it.. Yup, that's the sensor. That is all it is (Actually a metal rod not a screw) nothing possibly can go wrong with the sensor itself.

The wire runs to a "resistor pack" this is usually an orange thing has the number of wires equal to the number of "Sensors"

The bottom sensor however does not run to the resistor pack (it is a "Common" and runs back (As does one wire off the resistor pack) to the panel Which is a simple ohmmeter.

Possible problems include short (Will show full) or broken wire (Empty if it's between resistor pack and panel) Poor connection on panel (your guess is as good as mine (I lost a ground which messed up everything) and bad resistor pack.

IN other than fresh tanks slime coating the wall (Possible in a non-sanitized fresh tank as well) can "Fake" a full, or partially full tank.> This is why those sensors work once (When new) and never again.

There are two other types of sensors however.

Pneumatic. These are pressure switches, and work well unless the passage gets clogged

See Level Which is an external sensor and in theory so long as it's stuck to the tank it should work perfectly.
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Old 08-28-2015, 10:39 AM   #5
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As other mentioned, a broken wire would be my first guess, regardless of the type of sensor.

However, if you have a capacitive type sensor system (metal plates on the outside of the tank), I repaired the sensors on my Ole Toyhouse by gluing new pads to the side of the tank and soldering the wires to the new pads. (The old pads were completely rotted away and the wires were just hanging in the breeze)

Here is an old link to how I repaired the sensors.

http://toyotamotorhome.org/forums/in...showtopic=3844

..
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Old 08-28-2015, 10:52 AM   #6
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Cimplex,

The fact that it is 35 years old could not be part of the issue, could it?
It cold still be just a broken or loose wire. So check that first.

In that time frame, most of the tank level sensors were float and resistor types. They can be mounted from the top or the side. Either way, corrosion even if the tank is left empty can kill it.

A replacement in kind is actually probably available. If there is a big enough owners group, you can probably get a number to order. Otherwise you may have to remove it and shop. You will need to know, the mounting (five hole flange is very common), the maximum resistance and is that at full or empty, and the tank depth. Senders for fuel will not work long as they are not corrosion proof.

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Old 08-28-2015, 12:05 PM   #7
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What would cause a fresh water sensor to go bad???

It is in excellent shape for 35 year old. I have gone through the whole RV. Plumbing, wires, sensor all look like they were probably replaced in recent. This sensor is the only issue I have ever had with this rig. I wonder if the floating mechanism could be stuck???? 😕 If the sensor is is mounted in the top of the tank this will be fairly easy to fix. Many of the parts on my RV seem to be pretty standard to what is being used on many modern RV's. Dodge was really good about this. So the sensor is probably fairly easy to find.


1979 Dodge Tioga Class C 24 foot. 1987 Fleetwood Bounder 34 Foot.
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Old 08-28-2015, 12:20 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MattC View Post
Cimplex,

The fact that it is 35 years old could not be part of the issue, could it?
It cold still be just a broken or loose wire. So check that first.

In that time frame, most of the tank level sensors were float and resistor types. They can be mounted from the top or the side. Either way, corrosion even if the tank is left empty can kill it.

A replacement in kind is actually probably available. If there is a big enough owners group, you can probably get a number to order. Otherwise you may have to remove it and shop. You will need to know, the mounting (five hole flange is very common), the maximum resistance and is that at full or empty, and the tank depth. Senders for fuel will not work long as they are not corrosion proof.

Matt
Hey thanks Matt. I will check it out.


1979 Dodge Tioga Class C 24 foot. 1987 Fleetwood Bounder 34 Foot.
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Old 08-28-2015, 01:37 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cimplexsound View Post
Many of the parts on my RV seem to be pretty standard to what is being used on many modern RV's. Dodge was really good about this. So the sensor is probably fairly easy to find.


1979 Dodge Tioga Class C 24 foot. 1987 Fleetwood Bounder 34 Foot.
I'm fairly certain what you have is a Fleetwood Tioga, which is on a Dodge cab and chassis. That water sensor and other RV parts would have been installed by Fleetwood, not Dodge.
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Old 08-29-2015, 08:33 PM   #10
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Yes. It is Dodge that built the chassis, and Fleetwood that built the house part of the RV. I am assuming that's it's probably very easy and inexpensive to get a replacement since Fleetwood uses standard equipment on so many of their RV's. Not sure, but that is my guess anyway.


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Old 08-29-2015, 08:40 PM   #11
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What would cause a fresh water sensor to go bad???

Quote:
Originally Posted by Waiter21 View Post
As other mentioned, a broken wire would be my first guess, regardless of the type of sensor.

However, if you have a capacitive type sensor system (metal plates on the outside of the tank), I repaired the sensors on my Ole Toyhouse by gluing new pads to the side of the tank and soldering the wires to the new pads. (The old pads were completely rotted away and the wires were just hanging in the breeze)

Here is an old link to how I repaired the sensors.

http://toyotamotorhome.org/forums/in...showtopic=3844

..
The tank and wires look really good. This is a hard plastic tank, with a sensor that goes in through the top. Very modern rv for its age. This rv was babied by the former owner so everything was kept in tip top condition. So I am guessing this sensor is a float type system???? 😕 My first guess would have been hard water build up over time which can cause corrosion in electric sensors. The wires are hooked directly into the power inverter which controls both my display unit for all sensors and the sensors themselves including power to the sensor. If it is a wiring issue it looks like it will be easy to pinpoint. I will check out the video and see if there is a short in the wire. Thank You


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Old 08-29-2015, 09:10 PM   #12
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I could be wrong ,but it seems to Me that it is better to leave a water Tank Full of clean water rather than leaving it Empty! I know that is recommended for Water Heaters to avoid corrosion .
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Old 08-29-2015, 09:14 PM   #13
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What would cause a fresh water sensor to go bad???

Quote:
Originally Posted by wa8yxm View Post
I agree with the broken wire

Most RV's have a very simple sensor.. Imagine a screw stuck in the side of the tank (And sealed) with a wire attached to it.. Yup, that's the sensor. That is all it is (Actually a metal rod not a screw) nothing possibly can go wrong with the sensor itself.

The wire runs to a "resistor pack" this is usually an orange thing has the number of wires equal to the number of "Sensors"

The bottom sensor however does not run to the resistor pack (it is a "Common" and runs back (As does one wire off the resistor pack) to the panel Which is a simple ohmmeter.

Possible problems include short (Will show full) or broken wire (Empty if it's between resistor pack and panel) Poor connection on panel (your guess is as good as mine (I lost a ground which messed up everything) and bad resistor pack.

IN other than fresh tanks slime coating the wall (Possible in a non-sanitized fresh tank as well) can "Fake" a full, or partially full tank.> This is why those sensors work once (When new) and never again.

There are two other types of sensors however.

Pneumatic. These are pressure switches, and work well unless the passage gets clogged

See Level Which is an external sensor and in theory so long as it's stuck to the tank it should work perfectly.
From what you described it sounds like I have an external sensor. This is inserted into the top of what appears to be a 30 gallon plastic polyurethane tank. Very modern looking. This looks like a 2 wire sensor so there is no ground. It looks like a sealed sensor. The inverter is both breaker, GFI and fuse protected. I have accidentally run to ground before. The 12 volt side of the system shuts itself down automatically when this happens. Once I fixed the problem all electrical came back online. Before I had installed a house battery I had problems with the battery cables touching the metal sides of the battery box. The system shut down all the time. Since I installed a battery I have not had any problems for obvious reasons of course. I am guessing my RV was the year Fleetwood started changing the design of the Tioga. The technology they installed in this rig is very modern compared to earlier years.


1979 Dodge Tioga Class C 24 foot. 1987 Fleetwood Bounder 34 Foot.
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