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Old 05-27-2019, 05:48 PM   #1
ctfisher
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2012 Outback 279rb Water Leak

We have a travel trailer we've used stationary for the last few years as a weekend getaway. This last weekend we got caught with an unexpected freezing temp after charging the plumbing. This unfortunately resulted in a leak.

I've already found the water pump and verified the leak is not there, however with water in the fresh water tank and the pump turned on, it runs continuously and we have a small dribbling leak coming from near the forward grey water tank underneath the trailer, but I can't visually identify exactly where.

I've spoken with the service center of our local Camping World, and they indicated likely it is a fitting and that the water supply is in-line. I presume this means there are t or y fittings that supply water to the sinks, shower, toilet, etc along the way rather than some kind of distribution manifold.

My problem is I can't find an actual plumbing diagram anywhere that shows me where any 'L', 'T' or 'Y' fittings might be, and I'm hesitant to just start cutting the bottom cover willy-nilly to find the leak(s).

Has anyone had a similar issue with the Outback line and/or does anyone happen to have a plumbing diagram I can use as a map? Also, what type of tape would be sufficient to seal the cover back up? It looks like at some point a cut was made in the cover above the front axle on the driver's side and it looks for all the world like black duct tape was used to repair it, but I'm not for certain.
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Old 05-27-2019, 06:50 PM   #2
JRTJH
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If you locate the water pump, you'll see a 1/2" line "into the pump" (from the fresh water tank) and a 1/2" line "out of the pump" that goes through a wall, into a cupboard and then to "destinations in the trailer"....

Typically, water lines are "above the floor" (to protect them from freezing) so you should be able to open cupboards, pull out drawers and remove cushions/plywood platforms to access almost all of the fresh water lines and fittings.

As for finding a "plumbing diagram" or "schematic".... you might as well not waste your time looking. There simply isn't one and Keystone has chosen to not provide that information to customers, so you won't be able to "appeal with crying eyes" to Keystone to get any information.

It's pretty much a situation where you need to hire someone to find the leak or take the initiative to find it yourself. Either way, don't look to Keystone for any "technical help".... There are dozens of accounts on this forum posted by members who have tried to get help in the form of technical drawings, all of them have failed.
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Old 05-27-2019, 09:10 PM   #3
ctfisher
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Yeah, I've already gone through the plumbing under the sinks and couldn't find any water leak source, so I'll start cutting into that cover underneath.

Thanks for the quick reply.

Chris
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Old 05-28-2019, 07:47 AM   #4
Ken / Claudia
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Instead of cutting the cover up. This is a good time to seal up air leaks and other areas mice etc can get into the unit, fix duck work. Unscrew or remove the attachments holding the bottom cover on the unit. Fix the leak and do what you think is good to add insulation, seal up open areas etc. Put back together. Mine is screwed onto the frame, others might be rivets.
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Old 06-17-2019, 06:57 AM   #5
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Thank you all for your suggestions and ideas.

Turns out I made a couple of presumptions that led me down the wrong path. Hearing the pump running at what sounded like low operation and seeing the drip near the #2 grey water drain outlet, I immediately assumed it was a leak from inside the cover under the trailer because of what thought was water draining from the cover outside of the outlet. This turned out to be a false presumption.

My wife and I spent the better part of Saturday crawling through the trailer along with a friend and fellow RV owner looking for the leak.
We primed the water system and I put 40lbs of pressure from an air compressor to the city water inlet as well. The pressure never dropped over the course of about 10 minutes, so we're pretty certain there isn't a leak in the lines or fittings. We confirmed it was not near any of the sinks including the outside kitchen, the toilet or the shower.

I reinvestigated the leak I saw near the #2 grey tank outlet and found it was coming from *inside* the tank, not outside as I had previously thought. The cap was missing and it's possible we may have a bad seal in the tank drain flap/valve? I opened/closed the flap a couple of times and either that stopped the draining or the tank didn't have enough in it to flow out by then. Either way, I put a cap on it and we don't see the drainage now.

The pump did the same thing as before several times, it runs at a low speed as if it's just trying to build a little bit of pressure (at least to my novice estimation). We found that under normal operation the pump kicks on almost immediately when we open a faucet/shower/toilet suggesting it's triggered when the pressure in the line drops, and then shuts off within a few seconds of turning the faucet/shower/toilet off. When the pump is running at a low speed, we found that operating any of the faucets for example doesn't prompt that strong pump operation/sound, and it takes 10-15 seconds for the pump to fully engage. Eventually the pump sounds normal and fully shuts off a few seconds after turning the faucet off. Our friend indicated he's had that happen before and had to adjust a screw on the pump itself to change the pressure it activates at. We looked and couldn't find anything like that on our pump. While the trailer is 7 years old, we haven't used it *that* much and always winterize when the temps are starting to dip into the high 30s. During the summers at our property (9,000+ feet) it rarely gets up into the 50s at night.

Next, when I put the anode in the hot water tank and filled it, I found that under pressure there is a slight seep of water at/near the anode. I drained the tank, pulled the anode, put thread tape back on and reinstalled the anode. I repeated this process 4 times with the same result every time. Still a very slow seep.

Over the last couple of years I've found that a lot of crud has built up on the threads in the water heater which kept me from being able to seat the anode properly. A couple of trips ago I got a round wire brush for our Dremel and cleaned the threads at the water heater. I watched and didn't see any wear on the threads, felt them to make sure nothing was chipped, and installed the anode with the thread tape. The anode seats well and I can tighten it down properly with no play when screwing it in. At that time there didn't appear to be any seepage, but it's possible I just didn't notice because I wasn't looking closely enough until I was looking for a leak. When I pulled the access panel for the bypass inside the trailer, I did not notice any water indications under the tank. There appears to be a nut around the spot where I install the anode that has slots instead of something like a hex nut suggesting it needs a special tool to remove/install. Is it possible there may be a worn seal or crack under there causing the leak?

Any ideas/recommendations? I'm hoping to not have to replace the water heater, but unless it's cracked around the outside of the housing I can't think of anything other than the threads are just worn down enough to allow the seepage even with a generous layer of thread tape.
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Old 06-17-2019, 07:21 AM   #6
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Are you sure the water seaping is coming from the anode rod and not the pressure relief valve. Sometimes the water heater can lose its air pocket causing the pressure relief valve to seap water. This happened to me the first time I changed the anode rod and at first I thought it was the anode leaking.

To restore the air pocket turn off all of the water supply to the trailer, open a hot water faucet in the trailer, open the pressure relief valve until no more water is coming out then let it snap shut, close the hot water faucet inside the trailer, and turn the water supply back on. You may need to do that procedure more than once. Use caution if there is hot water in the tank.

It may be worth a try.
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Old 07-13-2019, 09:04 AM   #7
ctfisher
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That did the trick with the seepage. Lesson learned about keeping that release valve open while filling. Now I just have to figure out my thermostat issue. Seems like after it runs for a while, the furnace won't kick back on until I turn the heater switch off and back on.
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Old 07-16-2019, 10:29 AM   #8
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As a first time boondocker we noticed that our pump worked correctly when our fresh water tank (FWT) was at least 2/3 full. Anything less and it runs longer after using a faucet and occasionally turns on by itself w/o us using any water. There are no visible water leaks. Could it be possible that the level of water in the FWT has anything to do with it? I would also like to ask ctfisher what is meant by "Lesson learned about keeping that release valve open while filling"? To this point I do not pull the pressure relief valve when filling my FWT. Should I?
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Old 07-17-2019, 05:39 AM   #9
ctfisher
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[[Are you sure the water seaping is coming from the anode rod and not the pressure relief valve. Sometimes the water heater can lose its air pocket causing the pressure relief valve to seap water. This happened to me the first time I changed the anode rod and at first I thought it was the anode leaking.

To restore the air pocket turn off all of the water supply to the trailer, open a hot water faucet in the trailer, open the pressure relief valve until no more water is coming out then let it snap shut, close the hot water faucet inside the trailer, and turn the water supply back on. You may need to do that procedure more than once. Use caution if there is hot water in the tank. ]]


The pressure release valve on the hot water tank should *not* be opened during filling. I had the idea that it would allow the tank to fill faster, but as pointed out earlier in this thread by Logan, there needs to be an air pocket in the tank normally. I have not researched that elsewhere, but I did follow his instructions and my seepage problem was resolved.
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Old 07-17-2019, 07:12 AM   #10
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Thanks very much for the clarification. Sounds like I need to do a fair amount of experimentation to resolve my erratic pump issue.
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Old 07-17-2019, 09:07 AM   #11
ctfisher
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Irishman2014 View Post
Thanks very much for the clarification. Sounds like I need to do a fair amount of experimentation to resolve my erratic pump issue.
On your water pump, I'm having a similar issue where out of the blue our fresh water pump will start running at what sounds like a very low volume. This doesn't seem to matter whether it's full, half or nearly empty. In our case, turning a tap on at one of the sinks until the pump sounds normal again then shutting the tap off temporarily resolves the issue. I can't find any 'trigger' that causes it to start happening.

That said, our neighbor has had this issue before and he thinks the fresh water pump is wearing out. In his case he had some kind of pressure adjustment knob on his pump near the outlet to let him dial in where the pump activates, but I can't find anything like that on ours. Unless I can find more info on it, my plan is to buy a spare pump and have it handy in case turning the tap on/off eventually doesn't work.
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Old 07-17-2019, 09:59 AM   #12
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I need to locate my pump and this forum is leading me to believe that its contained within my carpeted nightstand. Unfortunately, my TT has to be keep in a storage facility and I don't have the convenience of working on it from my home (bummer). So, investigating this type of thing takes time. This forum also leads me to believe that the pump may not be that expensive so having a spare sounds like a good idea. Thanks again for the advice.
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Old 07-17-2019, 10:03 AM   #13
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Chris,

It sounds like the pump pressure switch is bad. It may be "internal leakage" in the diaphragm that's causing the pressure to drop or it may be a leak (unlikely) in your plumbing system. Anyway, when the pressure "creeps down" the pressure switch "slightly opens" (unlike when you turn on a faucet and it "fully opens"). That causes a small voltage to flow across the switch (probably overheating it so it will eventually fail) and causing the pump to run slowly. It never runs "fast enough" to increase the pressure enough to fully turn the pressure switch off.

Solution: Replace the pump head since the pressure switch is an integral part of the pump head or replace the pump. If you choose the OEM FloJet pump, it will probably be around $40-50 depending on where you buy it. If you "upgrade to a better pump, expect to spend $75-200, depending on where you buy it and which one you buy. I replaced my OEM pump with a similar one from Amazon a couple of years ago. The reason mine failed was a few pieces of plastic that were pulled from the fresh water tank and damaged the rubber diaphragm in the pump. I now have a strainer on my new pump and have had no problems since replacement.
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Old 07-17-2019, 10:13 AM   #14
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John - I'm somewhat handy with a wrench and can usually make repairs myself (but not always). Would you expect this to be a fairly simple project?
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Old 07-17-2019, 10:35 AM   #15
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Gerald,

Replacing the FloJet pump is a simple 2 clip/4 screw task. Just unclip the two water connections (they don't even need a wrench) and use a #2 Roberts screwdriver to remove the 4 screws that hold the pump to the floor. Cut the two wires and use a couple of twist on connectors to reconnect the new pump to the pos/neg 12 volt wires. That's all there is to it.

As for replacing/rebuilding the pump head, if you're handy with tools and can reassemble what you take apart, that is an easy job as well, but somewhat more complicated than just a simple pump replacement. The biggest hurdle is paying attention to how you take it apart so you can put it back together the same way.

Honestly, you'll spend probably two times as much effort to find the pump and access it as you will doing the actual replacement.
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