Water Pump issues in vintage trailer

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Lolinzolamas

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Mar 31, 2021
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Grass Valley, CA
Does anyone know what this pipe is intended for? I am trying to fill the fresh water tank in my (new to me) 1976 Skyline Layton 17' 9" travel trailer I am renovating, and whenever the water pump is turned on - as is necessary to fill and then use the water fixtures - it sends water out of this steel pipe to nowhere and into the compartment under the dinette. I was thinking that maybe it is some kind over overflow failsafe, but the the tank is empty and water doesn't seem to be getting to it. I have repaired all other known leaks in the copper piping. Do I need to have the hot water heater on to fill the tank, or some valve open I don't know about? Any guesses or insights would be greatly appreciated. TIA.

-Lindsey (RV Noob)
 

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Rene T

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1st, welcome to the forum.

The pump in not used to fill the tank. A trailer of that vintage will have a small access door on the outside of the trailer. Open that up and there should be a cap. Remove that cap then fill the tank through that gravity fill pipe with a garden hose. Once the tank is full, then you start the pump to draw water from the tank and presutrize the entire fresh water system.

As far as that pipe, I have no idea. It looks like a piece of galvanized pipe and to the best of my knowledge. Steel piping was not used in a RV except for possibly propane supply and that would have been out side the rv. You’re going to have to trace that pipe back to where it originates from.
 
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Lolinzolamas

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Joined
Mar 31, 2021
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Location
Grass Valley, CA
1st, welcome to the forum.

The pump in not used to fill the tank. A trailer of that vintage will have a small access door on the outside of the trailer. Open that up and there should be a cap. Remove that cap then fill the tank through that gravity fill pipe with a garden hose. Once the tank is full, then you start the pump to draw water from the tank and presutrize the entire fresh water system.

As far as that pipe, I have no idea. It looks like a piece of galvanized pipe and to the best of my knowledge. Steel piping was not used in a RV except for possibly propane supply and that would have been out side the rv. You’re going to have to trace that pipe back to where it originates from.
Thanks Rene,

I was able fill it using the city water valve. That's just not what the previous owner had told me to do...now I am wondering what the spigot under the trailer, that I was trying to feed water in through, is for. Maybe emptying the tank to winterize? So, I am still perplexed as to why that pipe spills water whenever the pump is on (I tried it again after I had filled the tank a little using that side valve...after I chiseled it open since it was painted shut). If only I could see where this dang pipe goes!
 
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Lolinzolamas

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Mar 31, 2021
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Location
Grass Valley, CA
I did some more troubleshooting: It seems like A. the grey water tank is not in use, so I'll have to collect the grey and dump on-site/take home to dump (as permitted), and B. the only thing that triggers that pipe to spill water is the pump being turned on. It doesn't seem to require the sink being turned on, or matter if the grey water drainage valve is open. If the pump is on, and there's water to flow through it, water will come out of that pipe. It was definitely added after-market, so I'm going to open up the patch on the bottom of the trailer that was put over the hole cut through it to do that work. Maybe I'll see more then. In the meantime, I've put a text chain into motion to get the contact information of the last-last owner, who likely did this work.

Update: opening up the patch on the bottom yielded very little information. Basically, it's just the shower pipe, and my mystery pipe (along with the other two copper ones) running back even further out of sight toward the rear. What I did learn is that it's sort of smelly and dirty in there, so I think it's safe to say that whatever water is draining into this area is either grey or black. Also, TBD on the grey tank not being in use as it does appear to have had some poor patch work done on it and is currently dripping water out of tiny cracks in that work. So, I am led to believe that at least some water may be traveling through that tank.
 
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Kirk

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Is the pipe you are speaking of is the one that is parallel to the outside wall and that was under the sprayed on foam? It looks to be a galvanized pipe?

I suspect that the two copper pipes are fresh water lines. Copper tubing was quite commonly used in RVs built in the years before pex came into common use (the 80's). That larger black pipe looks like a waste water drain line? Where in the trailer are the pipes in question located?
 

Lolinzolamas

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Joined
Mar 31, 2021
Posts
5
Location
Grass Valley, CA
Is the pipe you are speaking of is the one that is parallel to the outside wall and that was under the sprayed on foam? It looks to be a galvanized pipe?

I suspect that the two copper pipes are fresh water lines. Copper tubing was quite commonly used in RVs built in the years before pex came into common use (the 80's). That larger black pipe looks like a waste water drain line? Where in the trailer are the pipes in question located?
Yes, the galvanized one. This is all under the dinette on the left side of the trailer, not far from the grey and black tanks which are tucked under the lavatory in the rear.
 

Kirk

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I have to wonder if that pipe isn't something that was added by a previous owner as I have never seen galvanized pipe used in RV construction in many years of RVing. The only thing that I can think of to suggest is to trace the pipe to see what it is connected to.
 

Lolinzolamas

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Mar 31, 2021
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Location
Grass Valley, CA
Hi all! We solved it! A friend of mine with an electrician's snake camera came over and we followed the pipe into the area we could not see. Turns out it was really just loosely pushed under the shower to drain a general leak from one of the copper pipes under there (which I had already repaired in another visible location). I think what they did was redirect the leak to where it was accessible and likely attached a soft pipe to it and dumped it into a bucket or something. I can't imagine what else the plan would have been to redirect the water to under the dinette. We cut out the shower basin and found the burst pipe, and repaired it with new compression fittings. Now everything runs great, is much quieter, and (*knock on wood*) dry! Tomorrow the basin will go back in and I will mark "plumbing" off my list of repairs. Thank you all for weighing in. I really appreciate it.
 

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