(Formally "Plan V: A Van Dwelling Blog", when I lived in a 1978 Dodge Xplorer 228 Class B motorhome van)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Water pump

I partly filled the water tank to check for leaks with the expensive PEX crap I bought.. and it was leaking bad at one of the connections. I pulled it all out and tipped it up to stop the leaking. Grabbed my small shop vac and sucked up as much water as I could from the carpet.

So much for that crap. Wasted about $30 on it. I may try to clean up some of it and return it if I can get away with it.

I went down the street and bought some cheap vinyl tubing and put that in. No leaks. But, it's too weak. I will have to get some reinforced hose so it doesn't collapse in under suction pressure from the pump.

I was able to get a water pump working. The one in the van was turning on but it wasn't pumping any water. A friend had given me an old one from his camper trailer that was almost identical to mine. It was identical enough i was able to interchange some of the parts from it with my pump. Now it's pumping water (not very well but it might be the collapsing hose that's causing it). But also, when the taps are closed, it doesn't stop running.

Normally when taps are closed, the pressure pushes on a diaphragm in the pump which triggers a switch that shuts off the pump. When the tap is opened again, the pressure is  relived, letting off of the switch and turning the pump on again. I fought with it for hours and just couldn't get it to shut off when the taps closed. I almost thought I did but then it totally screwed up again.

I'm not sure if it's a problem with the pump or if it's supposed to have a check valve between the tank and the pump. If so, it's back flowing into the tank making it lose pressure (therefore keeping the pump on). I will ask about that tomorrow when I go to an RV shop for some cam locks.

Seeing as how I will most likely be in RV parks/campgrounds most of the time, I think I can get by without a "properly" working pump for a while if the pump is the problem. I can always go back and put a new one in later if I feel the need. Two wires and two pipe connections.. not very hard to do.

When not in an RV park, I will mainly be using the kitchen sink which is right near the pump on/off switch so I can simply turn on the pump and then turn on the faucet. When I'm done, turn off the pump again. It''s loud enough and so close by, it's not hard to remember to shut off.

When hooked up to water at campgrounds, I won't even need to worry about the pump since it bypasses it.


  1. What type of PEX did you use? The grey stuff, is, as you say, crap...but the new white stuff is a dream to use. Cuts with a standard old fashioned copper cutter, bends 90° using a plastic guide, is freeze resistant, etc. I use the 'gator' type connectors and have never had a leak.

  2. It turns out I didnt use part of the fittings that go inside of the PEX. Since this post, I redid all of the plumbing with PEX using the cinch clamp system. No leaks so far.

  3. Yeah, I remember those inserts. All-in-all the old grey PEX system is crap. I would especially hate having to buy a special tool for $80 that only crimps PEX cinch clamps. If you had gotten the new white PEX you'd have loved it. Really an excellent system now, with many specs that are better then the grey stuff. And no special tools needed! I now carry some white PEX tubing and some fittings for emergencies.

  4. The old grey (or black in my case) was polybutylene (aka: Poly B, PB). PEX is "Cross-linked polyethylene". I used color coded PEX (red/blue) which is the same as white PEX, just colored differently. Poke around on this blog and you'll find the post(s) about my PEX installation.