Anyone here have any tips on fixing a leak on the supply line of a 2002 adventurer 32 v? The picture below is not mine but is pretty close to identical to what I am dealing with. The yellow arrow shows where the supply line goes behind the water heater and it is nearly impossible to access.
After de-winterizing last weekend I noticed my pump was coming on every 20-30 seconds. Then I noticed water dripping from the compartment immediately behind the hot water heater. This compartment has always had damp carpet and in retrospect I think I had a very slow leak at the supply line that got worse over the winter. The unit had been fully winterized and the hot water tank was drained and left open all winter. It is an Atwood 10gal tank.
Contorting my body and reaching behind the heater I could feel the drip coming out of a fitting on the supply line. After the line makes the elbow you can see in the picture it goes to a short (1.5") piece of Pex, then screws onto a brass 1/2" backflow preventer valve, then that goes into a female-female pvc coupling which then threads onto the elbow coming out of the the water heater. I could clearly feel and barely see (if I wedged my head all the way back) the drip coming ouf of where the coupling met the elbow.
With a lot of patience and turning some channellocks 1/64th of a turn at a time I was eventaully able to remove the fittings. The 1/2" coupling between the backflow valve and the elbow coming ouf of the heater was clearly cracked.
I ran entirely new Pex from the diversion valve to the elbow, around to the back of the heater, to the backflow preventer and bought a new brass 1/2" female to female connector to connect to the existing elbow. Trying to work on this is nearly impossible though and requires balancing on one knee, leaning entirely into the compartment, grabbing the coach with my right hand to balance and using my left hand to try to get my channellocks on the fittings to tighten them. After about an hour, many breaks and several cramps I turned the pump on and still have a slow drip. I don't think I have enough turns on the fittings.
My questions are; there has to be a better way to access these fittings. There is no way they installed these at the factory this way. I looked underneath hoping to find a removable access panel but there is nothing. I plan on removing the fittings this weekend and staring over, trying again, but am dreading the process. I also picked up a 1/2" female to female PVC fitting that I think I am going to use instead of the brass one I tried.
If I can't get it tight enough I'm thining my only two options are: 1-Pull the water heater out 6-8" to get to the fittings -or- 2: Remove the water pump and all the valves and tubing on the white panel pictured and it appears that 4-5 screws will let me remove this whole side panel, which may help a little.
Does anyone have any ideas or experience working on a unit like this? It is maddening that a fix worth less than $10 in parts and would take 5 minutes if I could get access to the connection.
Here is a pic of the compartment immediately behind my HW heater and what I am dealing with. The elbow coming out of the heater is a good 8-10" around the bend.