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Old 01-30-2020, 12:59 PM   #1
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water pump sucking air

We have a 2019 - 2109s Rockwood Mini Lite. We just got back from a week of dry camping and on the first day our water pump was sucking air. My husband and two other guys spent half the morning tightening every fitting they had access to, but it still sucked a lot of air so we rarely used the pump the whole trip.

To access the water pump, filter cartridge and water heater you have to crawl into the front storage area and it's behind a curved panel so it's a big pain!

The filter cartridge never filled up completely with water so there was always air in there. We checked the O-ring and it looks ok. The consensus among the guys though, is that is where the air is getting in.

Has anyone else had this problem? Any ideas? Do you agree it's the filter cartridge?

On every trip (12 so far) that we have taken in this brand new trailer, something has broken. It really puts a damper on our camping when we can't rely on our trailer to work (are you listening Forest River?). This week it went out of warranty so we are going to have to fix this issue ourselves. If anyone has any advice, it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 01-30-2020, 02:02 PM   #2
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If the filter cartridge you are talking about is the whole rig filter down stream of the pump I don't understand how that could cause the pump to suck air. If you are referring to the filter prior to the pump suction then I would say the cap is not sealing or you have a crack in the housing which can be hard to see. Running you system at home prior to going camping is one way to find problems before you are at the camp site. just a thought
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Old 01-30-2020, 02:06 PM   #3
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We did check all the systems at home like we always do and the pump was working fine. However that night at the campsite it started sucking air. Thank you for your reply.
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Old 01-30-2020, 02:25 PM   #4
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Another thing I forgot to mention is when we turned the pump on we could hear the water heater gurgling and filling up. We would bleed the air out of the water heater via the plug and the pressure relief valve and the pump would work for a few minutes then start spitting air again.

When we winterize we blow the system with air and put antifreeze in the sinks, toilet, and shower to fill the P traps. We don't fill the system with antifreeze and bypass the water heater because of the location of the water filter. You have to crawl into the front storage area and contort yourself to get to it which is very difficult. The water filter canister is installed in such a way that you can't unscrew it and get it out without spilling everything in it all over the pump and electrical wires. So, we have not moved the water heater valves to bypass it and the they are in the correct position.
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Old 01-30-2020, 02:25 PM   #5
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You May have just lost prime. I had that happen once. Just go around to every spigot and turn them on one by one. Let air come out of each for a minute then close if no water comes out. I did this to no avail until I realized I did not do it to the outside shower faucet. There was evidently an air lock in that line and my pump started pumping water. Give it a try to see if this is your issue...
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Old 01-30-2020, 03:05 PM   #6
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Thank you Dalford. I just tried what you said and no success. When the pump is on, we get a little water and a lot of air. I bypassed the water heater and that made no difference. We are now in the process of removing the water filter canister and bypassing it and see if that makes a difference.

We spoke to our dealer and we found out that the filter on the pump should be facing up and that is how they bleed the pump. Ours is facing down and we were only able to turn it about a 1/4 turn so now it's facing toward the side. We are going to have to uninstall the pump to screw it on so it's facing the up. I don't know if that has anything to do with air in the lines, but at this point I'll try anything.
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Old 01-30-2020, 03:15 PM   #7
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to prime a pump you need to "dead head" the discharge. Remove the fitting at the downstream side of the pump, put your thumb over the pump outlet and turn it on. That SHOULD pull the water from the tank and start it flowing, gently "bleed" the water until the inlet strainer is full or you get a good stream of water, then reinstall and see if it's good.


This is the normal procedure for any pump.
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Old 01-30-2020, 03:25 PM   #8
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Something to check is the antifreeze valve on the pump fully closed and shifted to potable water. One way to check this (without crawling into the storage area) is to use jug of water with a suction hose connected to the antifreeze connection and turn on the pump and see if it sucks water.
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Old 01-30-2020, 03:41 PM   #9
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Is your fresh tank full?

You wouldn't be the first to get to a campsite only to find your fresh tank siphoned itself empty during the trip from a misrouted vent hose.

Also, dont believe the indicator lights. (if equipped) They are notoriously incorrect.
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Old 01-30-2020, 04:52 PM   #10
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Quote:
Something to check is the antifreeze valve on the pump fully closed and shifted to potable water. One way to check this (without crawling into the storage area) is to use jug of water with a suction hose connected to the antifreeze connection and turn on the pump and see if it sucks water.
There isn't a valve to switch from antifreeze to water. There is a separate inlet on the outside of the trailer.

We re-primed the pump and bled all the water lines and the pump was pumping only water for about 3 minutes, then air started sputtering out again.

Next step is to take the pump off and out of the trailer to see if something is cracked on the intake to the pump. If that doesn't work, then I think the pump is going bad :-(
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Old 01-30-2020, 04:57 PM   #11
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Is your fresh tank full?
Well, it was full when we left LOL. As we were bleeding the lines we hooked the hose up to the city water inlet to fill all the lines because it's faster than using the pump so I'm pretty sure it was full.

At this point, I think something is wrong with the pump.
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Old 01-30-2020, 05:57 PM   #12
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There isn't a valve to switch from antifreeze to water. There is a separate inlet on the outside of the trailer.

We re-primed the pump and bled all the water lines and the pump was pumping only water for about 3 minutes, then air started sputtering out again.

Next step is to take the pump off and out of the trailer to see if something is cracked on the intake to the pump. If that doesn't work, then I think the pump is going bad :-(
There IS a valve to allow your pump to pump Anti-Freeze instead of Water from your holding tank! You just have NOT located it! If your unit has a Anti-Freeze inlet on the outside! Youroo!!
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Old 01-30-2020, 06:05 PM   #13
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There IS a valve to allow your pump to pump Anti-Freeze instead of Water from your holding tank! You just have NOT located it! If your unit has a Anti-Freeze inlet on the outside! Youroo!!
I'm thinking the same, if they have one. Our TT did not come with one, I had to install it.

OP, is your filter before or after the pump? Our filter is after the pump so it's pressurized and wouldn't be able to suck air like in your scenario.
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Old 01-30-2020, 06:24 PM   #14
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The filter is after the pump. We just took it out and added a piece of hose to bypass it because it was such a hassle to use but we still have air pumping through so that was not the problem.

I will look again for the valve from the antifreeze inlet. It so hard to get into the little 2' x 2' area where the pump and the valves are. We actually have to crawl into the storage bay in the front of the trailer and it's hard to maneuver around in there so we could have missed it. I'm going to look now. Neither myself, nor my husband remember turning any valve for the anti-freeze so I don't know how it got opened if that's the problem. We've had the trailer for a year and have dry-camped at least half a dozen times and never had an issue with the pump before.

I really appreciate everyone's help!
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Old 01-30-2020, 07:09 PM   #15
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If there is no valve to switch over to anti-freeze, how does it get in to the pump? If there is an outside connection to put in the anti-freeze I would be checking that very carefully.

It certainly sounds like you have an air leak someplace on the inlet side of the water pump, I don’t know of anything else that would match the symptoms you describe. It sounds like relocating the filter may be a good thing for you but the filter is most likely not going to be your problem. Keep in mind it takes a very very small leak on the suction side of the pump to cause a lot of air to get into the system. The plastic filter housing the screen on the inlet side of the pump seems to be the most frequent culprit in these situations.

I know it is a pain in the neck, but one way to find the leak would be to crawl in there with a good light and watch the inlet lines to the water pump while the pump is running and look for the bubbles. You might need to hold the light behind the water line to see them if the line is opaque.

If it is that difficult to get to the pump, I wonder if there is an access panel on the inside of the camper that would make getting to the pump easier, it would be nice if there were.
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Old 01-31-2020, 02:58 PM   #16
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If the winterize switch is turned on, air will be sucked from the winterize port into the pump. Plug the antifreeze inlet port (on my rig it is the fresh water fill inlet) and see what happens. You may also hear the sucking if you listen near the inlet port.
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Old 01-31-2020, 03:14 PM   #17
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Had the same issue last year with my 2020 2509 mimi lite. Tried lots of stuff and than I found we had bumped the water miser lever on the bathtub fauset. It was allowing air on. Hope it helps
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Old 01-31-2020, 03:22 PM   #18
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If you have an ANDERSON WATER SWITCH on your wet bay that you rotate for CITY, WATER PUMP, & FILL there is a common problem with the internal cartridge. Here's a link to an explanation and how to fix. I am awaiting for an ANDERSON REPAIR KIT
for my Isata 3 Series 24FW for $39.99
The vendor mentioned in the video is out of stock. I did a search and found Elk Mountain RV in Elkhart has them. I ordered two.

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q...VDRVRV&PC=APPL
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Old 01-31-2020, 05:50 PM   #19
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My 2017 Flagstaff 26RBWS will suck air if the water tank is below 1/3 full. I think that they did not stick the pickup hose into the tank far enough. My under belly is enclosed making it too difficult to try and see what is going on, and as long as I keep the tank above 1/3 full it will pump.
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Old 01-31-2020, 07:15 PM   #20
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There is a screen filter inside a clear twiston cap on the input side of the pump. its part of a removable fitting that the supply line from the FW tank connects to.. Check that clear cap for a crack. I chased the same issue this past spring. Did everything you have done. finally I pulled out the pump to go get another one, that's when I saw the very fine crack. Just enough to suck air and cause the pump not to prime.... Went to amazon and 10.00 later it was in my mailbox the next day. Issue solved.
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