Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 12-28-2009, 09:32 PM   #1
Junior Member
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 5
Help - pipes freezing

We are in Belen, NM (near Albuquerque) and are having problems with the water pipes freezing up in the Wildcat at night. We keep the thermostat for the furnace set at 70 degrees at night, but we are losing the water somewhere between 1 am and 6 am. The salesman told us the pipes would not freeze, because the lines were along the floor ducts, but they are freezing, apparently between the storage tank and the pump. The pump goes off in the middle of the night, straining to pump. When we get up and try the faucets, there is no water anywhere in the trailer, and we turn teh pump off to keep from burning it up. Whereever it is freezing, it does not thaw out until around noon to 2 pm. The pump itself and the lines leaving the pump and going to the sinks seem warm when we check them. The lows are getting down in to the teens outside at night. The storage tank and the lines leading from it to the pump seem to be in sealed compartments that we can't get to. We are living in the Wildcat year round, and do not have a water hookup, but fill the storage tank by hand with a gravity flow hose from a windmill every day or two. So far the only thing we found that prevented it was last night to get up every hour from 1 am to 6 am and run all the faucets and flush the toilet. The pump would strain for a few seconds with no water, and then the ice would apparently break lose, and water would get into the pump, and come out the faucets. We won't get much sleep this way. Anybody have any solutions?

wingsong56 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2009, 10:34 PM   #2
Senior Member
NWJeeper's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Enumclaw, WA
Posts: 2,617
Windsong, if the pipes are in an inaccessible area then you are going to have a hard time. Most of the pipes should be run inside the rig but there will be the few that aren't and in most cases you should be able to find them behind blank off panels meant to hide them. Forest River is really good at screwing panels in compartments to hide wiring and pipes. I hope you have shore power. If so, run to the local hardware store and pick up a regular set of the rope lights. They are water proof and put off some heat. Wrap the string of lights around your exposed pipes and plug in to an extension cord. A cheap and easy way of keeping your pipes heated.

Good luck and welcome to the forum...

"I can fix it, and if I can't fix it, I can fix it so no one can fix it!"
Ed & Wendy
2009 Georgetown 378TS | 1998 Jeep Wrangler | 1998 Skeeter ZX202C
Nights camped in 2009: 53 | Nights camped in 2010: 55
NWJeeper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-29-2009, 04:10 AM   #3
Senior Member
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 3,260
One other thing you can do is open your grey or galley tanks and open the cold water side of your faucet just a little and let the water run down the drain in the sink. Moving water will help keep it from freezing.
By the way......Welcome to FRF......
rockwood06 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-29-2009, 04:57 AM   #4
Senior Member
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 3,260
NWJeeper has a great Idea or you can buy this .....Heat Tape.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	heat tape.jpg
Views:	198
Size:	55.7 KB
ID:	2075  
rockwood06 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-29-2009, 08:38 AM   #5
Head Rambler
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Southwest Alabama
Posts: 3,280
I've read your description several times to better understand what's going on and it does seem like the pump suction line from the tank to the pump is what's freezing. The only way to combat that is to get some heat in there. The heat tape shown above is the best solution but requires you to access the piping. I'd try and remove a panel and apply the tape but barring that I'd place a small light bulb or small electric heater near the location in the basement to provide some heat in that area. If you could provide photo's of the area of the FW tank we might be able to provide better help.
Salem 29RKSS Pushing a 2500 Mega-Cab CTD!
Gotta go campin!
Bama Rambler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-29-2009, 08:15 PM   #6
Junior Member
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 5
This is a 27 foot 2009 Wildcat. I guess what I was hoping was that someone else might have some experience to know what part might be freezing, and where it might be located, or if/where there was a way to get to it with out taking apart the trailer piece by piece. We used heat tape and a space heater on a previous 5th wheel of a different brand that was not enclosed, and we could find the frozen parts. There does not seem to be a diagram of the plumbing in the owners manual materials that we got with the trailer, and we are reluctant to just start trying to undo the siding or bottom. That was why I was searching the internet for info, and found this sight.
wingsong56 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-29-2009, 08:16 PM   #7
Junior Member
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 5
PS The dealer has not been real helpful
wingsong56 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-29-2009, 10:40 PM   #8
Moderator Emeritus
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Winston-Salem, NC
Posts: 2,381
Start by elimination. When the water freezes, do you have water at any faucet or the toilet? If not, then the freeze is between the pump and the first faucet in line. See if you can logically figure out the water flow through the whole trailer, from the pump to the last fixture in line. If one fixture works, and others don't, the freeze is between the two. For a nights sleep. turn the pump off, and also for safety sake. Don't take a chance burning it up. Understand you don't want to leave water running when dry camping. If you think you are close to the freeze, use a 120 volt hair dryer to heat pipe and thaw. This will tell you if you're close. As for sleep. may have to take naps during the day when things are thawed. Good Luck.
2012 Ford F250 ext. Cab 4x4
2002 Jeep Wrangler Sahara
2008 Yamaha V-Star 650 Classic

2008 Work and Play 18LT
LadyWindrider is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-30-2009, 07:05 AM   #9
Commercial Member
huntr70's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: PA
Posts: 435
Pretty sure it is the feed line from the tank to the pump.

That is the only line that is below floor level. The easiest thing to do would be to drop the corrugated belly material to get at the feed line, then add your heat tape.

All the other lines are enclosed in either the storage area in the front, or cabinets and flooring.
Steve and Vicki
2 kids
2011 Dodge 3500 CTD Outdoorsman
2013 Columbus 320RS-ITS HERE!!
huntr70 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-30-2009, 09:05 PM   #10
Junior Member
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 5
Thanks Steve & Vicki. That is the kind of direction I was hoping for

wingsong56 is offline   Reply With Quote


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

» Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by is not in any way associated with Forest River, Inc. or its associated RV manufacturing divisions.

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities

Copyright 2002-2015 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:23 AM.