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Old 10-25-2009, 08:33 PM   #1
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Hot water bypass in 2004 Wildwood

Have a 2004, 27rls Wildwood fifth wheel and trying to find hot water heater bypass. Manual shows nothing. I've looked inside, outside, under and over trailer. Can't find anything. Does anyone know where it might be??? Also manual recommends filling fresh water tank with antifreeze, then pumping it into lines. Doesn't even mention bypassing heater. By my estimate, that would take about 47 gallons of antifreeze. Can't be true, can it??
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Old 10-25-2009, 09:24 PM   #2
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Ignore the manual. It is worthless. Filling a tank with antifreeze is just plain dumb. You can, however, put about 2 gallons in it if the pump will pick it up. That should be about all you need. Try putting about 2 gallons of water in first to see if the pump will pick it up and distribute it through the rig.

If there is a bypass on your water heater it will be very near the back of it. There should be one or two levers to turn to cut off the water supply to the heater. (Mine has only one, others have two). Mine came on the trailer when I bought it. Not all trailers come with them so you may have to purchase a bypass kit and either have it installed, or do it your self if you can. You may need to be somewhat of a contortionist to get this done.

My water pump has an additional open hose with a lever on it. I turn this lever and the water pump will suck the antifreeze out of the bottle and through the lines rather than from the fresh water tank. Again, this came on my trailer but I suspect a similar item is available at any Rv supply store or dealer.

You can also blow out the lines and only put antifreeze in the traps. Open your low point drains to so all of the water in the lines will drain. You will need a pretty decent air compressor to do this but it is a very acceptable alternative to running the antifreeze through the lines.
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Old 10-26-2009, 09:36 AM   #3
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Thanks very much! That will save me a great deal of money on antifreeze. I'll keep looking for the bypass, although I suspect I may have to have one put in.
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Old 10-26-2009, 09:56 AM   #4
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The bypass, if one exists, will be right on the back of the water heater as Kim said. It may have one, two or three valves.

Also for winterizing, a lot of RV's have a winterizing line connected to the suction of the pump. It's just a length of hose with a valve so you can place the hose in an antifreeze container, close the valve from the fresh water tank, open the winterizing valve (the one on the hose) and draw antifreeze straight from the jug.

P.S. Be sure to remove the water filter element from the housing before pumping any anitfreeze into the unit. Those filters wil remove the red dye from the antifreeze and you can't tell when you've gotten the lines full.
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Old 10-26-2009, 10:30 AM   #5
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If there is no bypass, you definitely want to blow out the lines rather than use antifreeze because the water heater will automatically fill up before anything else gets done, and that will be at least 6 gallons sitting there for no reason. So before running any through the lines, be sure there is a bypass first.
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Old 10-26-2009, 07:08 PM   #6
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Thanks for the tips

Thanks for the great advice. I finally found the valve this afternoon behind a piece of wall paneling underneath the pantry door. I'm calling it the "Zorro" Door cause it reminds me of that secret door that Zorro had in his dad's house in old California. You would never know it's there. It looks like the paneling is on there permanently. You have to look really close to see that it slides out. The back of the water heater has one valve that looks like it could do the job. Thanks also for the tips about sucking the antifreeze right out of the bottle and the one about removing the water filter element. Couldn't have done it without you. As I venture into that secret compartment, I'll let you know if I find any black horses, swords or a deaf-mute person named Bernardo.
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Old 10-26-2009, 07:13 PM   #7
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One more thing regarding the water filter housing. As stated, remove the filter, but you have to put the housing back. Well, it fills up with antifreeze, basically wasting at least a quart. I took a 20 oz plastic water bottle, filled it with sand, put the top back on tightly, and put it in the housing. It took up enough space that it only had a a few ounces of antifreeze in the housing.
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Old 10-27-2009, 07:09 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hokiehall View Post
I took a 20 oz plastic water bottle, filled it with sand, put the top back on tightly, and put it in the housing. It took up enough space that it only had a a few ounces of antifreeze in the housing.
Now THAT's a good idea!!
Unfortunately my water filter required me to crawl into
my thru storage area. Then I had to lay on my side and
remove/replace the filter housing all the time trying
not to pour water or antifreeze all over the place.
I took it out- bypassing it with a simple brass pipe
coupling.
Now I use a hose end whole house filter.
You gotta wonder if the folks who build these actually
use them on a regular basis
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Old 10-27-2009, 07:21 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by nestorg View Post
Thanks for the great advice. I finally found the valve this afternoon behind a piece of wall paneling underneath the pantry door. I'm calling it the "Zorro" Door cause it reminds me of that secret door that Zorro had in his dad's house in old California. You would never know it's there. It looks like the paneling is on there permanently. You have to look really close to see that it slides out. The back of the water heater has one valve that looks like it could do the job. Thanks also for the tips about sucking the antifreeze right out of the bottle and the one about removing the water filter element. Couldn't have done it without you. As I venture into that secret compartment, I'll let you know if I find any black horses, swords or a deaf-mute person named Bernardo.
Is the 1 valve a a 3 way unit?? I think that would be the only way something like that would work to bypass the water heater. There should be check valve on the outlet side of the water heater to prevent water from going back in that way. I had this kinda setup on my Trailmanor, and it worked great. But......you would also need to drain the short leg of pipe from the 3 way valve to the water heater, or that section could possibly freeze. Draining the water heater and blowing the lines before switching the valve over for antifreeze might solve that potential problem.
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Old 10-27-2009, 10:08 AM   #10
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Thanks, Kim, great tip on the sand in the bottle. Thanks, mtnguy. I was wondering about that short piece of pipe that still has water in it. Would definitely be a problem when it gets down to zero outside.
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