problem filling fresh water tank

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dan992

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Oct 4, 2006
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I hope someone has an answer for this. For some reason I can't add water to my freshwater tank. When I tried to put antifreeze in the tank..it comes back out almost as fast as I try to put it in. I tried bypassing the hot water tank with the valve and also had the pressure relief valve open. I thought maybe if I had all the faucets open I would be able to put in antifreeze that way. I started with 6 gallons and lost probably 2 gallons on the ground that forced itself back out of the filler hole. Once I had 4 gallons in..I closed all the faucets except one. Then I turned on the pump. I got some antifreeze in only that one faucet. I did try all the others...no luck. Another thing that happened was antifreeze was coming out where I connect my water hose on for city water. I estimate right now I will lose the toilet and bathroom sink due to freezing..and maybe all the hot water lines. This is a 2004 Prowler.
 

Steve CDN

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Do you have an owners manual for your Prowler that describes the procedure for winterizing?

Generally antifreeze is supplied to the plumbing system using them pump connected directly to the gallon of antifreeze, as opposed to pouring the anti freeze into the fresh water tank.

You need to disconnect the inlet hose from the pump and connect a longer length of hose so you can pump from the gallon jug.

Another option is to back feed the antifreeze from one of the faucets and fill the plumbing system using a hand pump available from RV supply stores.

You don't want to fill the hot water tank with antifreeze, but rather empty the tank and bypass the hot water heater completely.

When I tried to put antifreeze in the tank..it comes back out almost as fast as I try to put it in.

This is really peculiar and suggests there is a valve closed somewhere.  As I said before you don't want to pour anti freeze into the fresh water tank, but the fact that it backs up is interesting.  What happens if you connect a hose with pressurized city water to that inlet?

If the water goes in, but the antifreeze does not, I would check to see if there is check valve at the inlet connection.  Sometimes these check valves are behind the mounting plate of the inlet connection so you may have to remove the entire inlet plate.  These check valves become corroded and might resist gravity feed, but open to pressurized water.

That being said, use one of the two methods I described for your winterizing.

Most important place to empty the water is the plastic valve of the toilet, and  the solenoid of the refrigerator ice maker if you have one.  That solenoid is probably  activated by 110VAC and is accessed from the outside opening to your fridge.  Remove any water filters in your plumbing line.

Keep us posted on your progress.
 

dan992

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I didn't have the manual with me at the time. I have it here now and it does say to put the antifreeze into the fresh water holding tank. I'll bypass that and try the method of connecting a hose from the pump to a gallon of antifreeze. I tried a handpump to get some in the system first via the city water inlet...( I forgot to mention that originally) but that was unsuccessful. I had already drained the hot water tank and bypassed it. I'll go back up this weekend...with more antifreeze and then I'll let ya know how it worked out. Thanks !
 

Steve CDN

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Will be looking forward to hearing how it goes.

You may want to arrange a permanent setup with your hose using some plumbing fittings such as a Tee and a valve to leave your winterizing connections to the pump inlet in place for next year.

Then all you have to do is flip a valve or two on your modifications, put the hose into the jug and start pumping.

I forgot to mention, that in order to use less antifreeze, the plumbing system should be drained first and even blown with a compressor, before pumping in the antifreeze.  That way you won't be diluting what you pump in.

It's also a good idea to pout inti freeze into the various Pee traps in your coach, including the shower, and let some go into the black and grey holding tanks.  The antifreeze will protect your drain valves from freezing and from drying out.

 

dan992

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I almost forgot...hopefully when I go to pump in antifreeze through the onboard pump hose..that antifreeze doesn't blow out the city water inlet. No idea really how to fix that.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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I'm not familiar with the plumbing on recent Prowlers - it's been about 10 years since we owned any Fleetwood trailer - so this will be a bit vague.

There is a check valve in the fresh water inlet (where you connect the city water hose). Water can't come back outunless the check valve fails.  If you were trying to put the antifreeze in through the fresh water inlet, you have to pump it in, i.e. have enough external water pressure to force the check valve open so the antifreeze can push its way into the water lines. You may need an auxialiary pump (hand or powered) to do this.  Yes, you need to have water taps open to allow the antifreeze to feed through the lines.  It won't go into the water tank unless you also open the valve used for filling the water tank - it just into the water lines. [If you don't have a tank fill valve, your tank is probably filled via a gravity feedfrom another inlet somewhere].

Some water systems have an "inlet to pump" fitting, which allows you to connect a hose from a jug of antifreeze to this special inlet. If you have that, turning on the traler's water pump will suck antifreeze from the jug and pump it through the pipes.
 

Lou Schneider

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For some reason I can't add water to my freshwater tank. When I tried to put antifreeze in the tank..it comes back out almost as fast as I try to put it in.

Does your fill line run downhill into the tank?  Don't laugh - I owned a trailer that had the outside filler mounted over an inch LOWER than the tank's inlet so water had to run uphill to get into the tank.  Not a problem when I filled the tank from a water hose because the pressure just forced the water uphill into the tank, but it wouldn't let me fill the tank from a container.  This can happen if the tank is almost as high as the furniture it's under and there's supporting framework along the outside wall.  A lazy installer can cut the filler hole under the framework instead of taking the trouble to notch it out and raise the outside filler to the right height.

If you take a funnel with a long hose attached you can thread the hose through the filler tube into the tank itself.  As long as the funnel is higher than the tank inlet water will flow into the tank.

Another possibility is a plugged vent line so air pressure builds up as the tank fills, blowing water back when you shut off the hose.  But this usually shows up after a prolonged filling, not immediately after adding a small amount of fluid.

I almost forgot...hopefully when I go to pump in antifreeze through the onboard pump hose..that antifreeze doesn't blow out the city water inlet. No idea really how to fix that.

The antifreeze won't come out of the city water inlet any more than fresh water would when you're using the internal pump.  However, you DO want to let a small amount leak out of the city water inlet, to make sure you've displaced any water that may be trapped in that line.

Look inside the city water filler.  You should see a little pin that looks like what's in the middle of the Schraeder valve on your tires.  It works the same way.  Turn on the water pump so the system is pressurized with antifreeze, then press on the pin with a small stick or a pen and pressurized water will leak out.  Continue until you see antifreeze instead of clear water.
 

dan992

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Oct 4, 2006
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My freshwater holding is a gravity feed to fill set up. I tried a long neck funnel with a long hose on it. Not sure if that hose is long enough to go into the freshwater or not. I did inspect the line and it is somewhat level ..possibly a tad uphill in couple spots. I don't ever recall seeing a vent hole next to the filler cap though. I'll have to check that on Saturday.
THe next part I was doing all this by myself with no one to turn faucets on and off etc. At my disposal are 6 gallons of antifreeze and a handpump that definitely works. Here's a step by step as to what I did: First I closed the hot water heater bypass valve, opend the pressure relief valve,  and drained the hot water heater. I opened the cold water faucet in the bathtub.  Next I hooked one end of the hand pump to the city water inlet..other end to nothing. I pumped 40 times then went inside. Water present in tub. Repeating this process one faucet to the next....assuming it worked on all the faucets...and I left one faucet on in the bathtub for the next procedure.
THen I took the other end of the hand pump hose and put it in 1 gallon of antifreeze. I was able to get antifreeze to come out of the bathtub faucet. Same procedure worked in the kitchen sink. Then when I tried it in the bathroom sink..it did not work.
Next I decided to dump antifreeze into the freshwater holding tank. As previously stated most of that came back onto the ground. I was able to get a few gallons in. I put the freshwater holding tank cap back on. I went inside...hit the water pump switch. I went into the bathroom...turned on the sink faucet....could hear gurgling sounds there an inthe toilet. Nothng was coming out. I tried the toilet..nothing there either. I left the pump on....went outside to see if there was a leak someplace. Antifreeze was surging out of the city water inlet.  I shut off the pump. Then I checked the freshwater holding tank and it only had maybe 1/2" of antifreeze left in it. I left it at that for now.
I'll buy more antifreeze and follow the advice posted in replies. Thanks all !
 

Shayne

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There certainly has to be a shut off valve somewere near the pump that switches from the city water to the supply  water tank.  Sometimes they are hidden  Good example was myself at the Q last jan. when Dave corrected when I had the valve shut off instead of open.  Did things right many times but that 1 time I really screwed up  Many of us have done these senior things  sometime or another.
 

Hiller

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Sep 29, 2006
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The last 2 TT I had I filled by putting antifreeze in the fresh water tank and then punping it thru the system. What I did was connect a small hand pump like you buy to fill kerosene heaters. Obviously you use a new one that has not been used for fuel in the past. I put 4 or 5 gal ions of antifreezre in the holding tank and then pump to each fixture seperately. The deal is to make sure you replace water in the trap with antifreeze. For the water heater I remove the drain plug and open the pressure valve from the hot water heater and drain all water out and allow it to fill with some antifreze. My friends tell me that this is not the way to winterize a camper but it always seems to work.

As to your problem with the city water inlet my guess is that the check valve to prevent back flow is not sealing you should be able to to get the valve to seat or replace the valve.

Hiller
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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If anything comes out the city inlet, then the check valve has stuck open. Sometimes a grian of sand wedges it open, but the city inlet is usually easy to replace if need be. Just a couple screws to old it n place and a  simple conection to the water line.

But I cannot fathom why you could not pour water into your frsh tank via the gravity fill. Do you ever have trouble adding water to the tank that way?

 

dan992

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Oct 4, 2006
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I've never actually had water in the tank. Any place I go to I hook up to city water directly. I read in one of the replies that possibly there is a valve next to the pump that needs to be open. I don't beleive there is a vent for the freshwater holding tank but as I mentioned in an earlier post...I'l have to check that on Saturday.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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I read in one of the replies that possibly there is a valve next to the pump that needs to be open.

Typically there is a valve at the city inlet only if the tank can be filled from there.  This valve allows water to flow from the city inlet into the tank.  There generally is no need to open a valve to allow the pump to pull from the tank - in most all systems the pump always pulls from the tank and is permanently connected to it.

There is usually a vent on the top of the tank itself and no vent line runs back to the gravity fill inlet. An exception would be a pressurized tank, but I don't know of any RVs built in the last few decades that has a pressurized tank. The pump pressurizes the water lines but not the tank itself.

Since you always use city water supply, it is likely the check valve in your city inlet has been stuck open for some time and you never noticed it.  The check valve isn't needed when the city supply hose is connected - it's there to provide a stop when the pump is running and no hose connected.
 

fredethomas

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There has to be a vent in the freshwater tank system.  If there was no vent you could never get water in without blowing the tank and you could not pump water out.  There is an overflow and an air release for when it is filling.  If you fill when the temps have been below freezing and if the air release system is a tube that can hold some trapped water and that trapped water slug freezes - you will blow the tank.  Happened to a forum member a few years ago.

I will repeat.  When filling - stay there and watch.  S____ happens.
 

dan992

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Oct 4, 2006
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Today I went up to the camper again with everything I needed. There was a very small vent screen below and to the right of the freshwater filler tank cap. It was a light grey stain....apparently some mud dauber bees decided to cover it over. Problem solved with that. After examining the city water inlet the valve was open allowing antifreeze to blow out there. Problem solved. I was able to get antifreeze through every faucet and the toilet with my hand pump. Everything is just fine now. Thanks guys !
 

Shayne

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Jan 22, 2006
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Glad you got it worked out.  Now take the Anti freeze out and head on out the Arizona and enjoy some this beautiful weather out here.  So put that thing to use.
 

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