Around-Oz: Living the Dream!

Winnebago Leisure Seeker
Hot Water Sensing Valve - Problems & Fixes

We have no idea if this is a common problem or not, but as it is a bit out of the ordinary in that you can't just go up the road and buy the faulty bit, the story is here for education and filing away in case it happens to you. Winnebago do a heck of a lot of excellent fine detail work on their motorhomes, and many of the features never get mentioned in reviews or in brochures. The battery charger for instance is absolutely the best money can buy! Unlike imported jobs the drains all drain, they use the fantastic Hepworth traps (zero odour on any road) and nothing ever overflows. Similarly they fit a temperature sensor/mixing valve to limit the temperature of hot water even before it reaches the hot water tap. It is normally mounted somewhere near the hot water service. This mixes cold water with the hot coming out of the tank and is set so as not to scald. So what happened in this case! Well, we had a very slow leak - pump gave a short pulse every 18 minutes or so. For those new to motorhoming this is an early warning sign that you have a tiny leak. Water leaks in any RV MUST BE CORRECTED PROMPTLY as extremely expensive repairs can easily result. In our case we actually had two leaks!

The factory failed to stop the valve assembly moving on the wall - see above left photo (the cold water inlet). The result was the ever so slight twisting motion on corrugated roads etc. wore a flat spot in the John Guest elbow fitting. We have never come across this actual fitting style before - one part was brass and it seems the valve comes from the factory with a JG elbow already fitted. This is rather odd, as the fittings on the opposite side and on the bottom of the valve are bog standard male all plastic BSP JG fittings. Why the difference? On re-assembly we fitted extra clamping saddles and solved this problem forever (we hope!!!!!!!!!)

However, as usual there is a low cost work-around. Simply buy an elbow and use the collet and O-ring from any other fitting (except the old one of course). Be certain to remove the old O-ring and collet from inside the brass fitting. We shortened ALL the hoses about 15 mm to ensure that a fresh surface was presented to the O-ring. The cutters above are made for plastic pipe and give a very clean cut. A Stanley knife however works just as well. This repair was done in CMCA member John Dadds workshop in Vicoria. Thanks to John he found us the fittings with Tony Larkin at Northern Caravan Accessories, 701 Plenty Road, Preston - (03) 9471 3844. We can't speak too highly of Tony and his excellent range of bits and pieces. He certainly saved our bacon!

On hot water fittings BE CERTAIN to use the white sleeve shown two photos above. Rather oddly these fittings (specified by John Guest for all hot water connections) were not to be found anywhere on our Winnebago. To there credit Winnebago ALWAYS use these rings - many others don't bother. Since our Winnie was made JG have developed a much neater locking ring than the red push on type - see photo above left of the new cup type. Be CERTAIN to fit it on the pipe before making the joint. The photo above right shows a new locking ring/cap in position - a beautiful piece of design! We have not come across these on any late model Winnies as yet. The valve shown below left isolates the hot water service. It also acts as a check valve to stop back flow. The photo below right shows the mechanism inside the sensor valve.

Our first two Winnies had zero water problems, however this present one has been a disaster area water wise! First up we had a leak up inside the Thetford toilet. This was a nightmare to fix as you needed to be an octopus! Next the 40mm drain from the sink leaked at the elbow INSIDE THE SEALED FLOOR. To gain access we cut another entry point - now used for shoe storage. Next the hot water supply to the sink tap leaked on the BSP part - found to be loose. Then the sensors in the water tanks leaked - still awaiting spares 9 months later. Then the fresh water tank inlet leaked - replaced smartly. It is so easy for manufacturers to detect if a vehicle has water leaks. All you do is fill up with water and leave the pump turned on. You need a recording device to indicate if the pump cycles and how often. Our toilet leak for instance was one cycle per night. In the case of this vehicle it did have water in the tank when delivered, so basic "see if it works" tests obviously had been done at the factory. Interestingly this vehicle was inspected whilst still at the factory by the RVMAA. They failed to detect any of the above.


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Last updated: March 30, 2006
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