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Randall
Randall, RVIA Certification
Category: RV
Satisfied Customers: 10733
Experience:  RVDA/RVIA Master Certified Technician with many years experience.
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I have a '99 36' Southwind RV. I had frozen broken water

Customer Question

Hi,
I have a '99 36' Southwind RV. I had frozen broken water pipes over the years and did the repair/replacements myself with many Sharkbite goodies and pipe (removing as much as the old crap pipe as I could.
The first time was at the water inlet areas.
The 2nd time was under the floor between the bathroom sink and (and under) the water heater. At that time, I had to remove some flooring in that area..... not a fun thing, but it was necessary and worked.
This time, the major breaks were in 3 areas - more under the kitchen sink, under the shower and bathroom sink and somewhere between the rear main city water inlet (after the water pump) and a 3-5' section going forward.
I was able to repair/replace the first 2 areas (kitchen sink and shower/bathroom sink), (thank goodness for some flexible Sharkbite pipe). but not sure how to get to the 1 or 2 pipes of my last mentioned break. Peeking under the floorboard near my bath sink, I can see the fore/aft pipes about a foot below the floor level, sitting in a narrow space between frame and tanks. Looking from the outside in the water pump area, I can see the pipes, but just in that immediate area. I'm not even sure which of the 2 or so pipes and exactly where they are broken. I may be able to thread some fresh pipe in that skinny trough, but it will be a bear to get them attached/slpiced.
So my question is this....
Should I cut some more floorboard out over those pipes and work from inside the RV (above them)? (Hoping that access is available - also lots if aluminum/insulation under that).... Or thread the replacement pipes through that trough and manage somehow to attach the to the water pump outlet area?
It would probably make it easier if I was able to remove the big section of the black and grey water pipes. I'm not to sure if they are glued at those connections. I do see that they are held down with 2 "U" shackles (about 1' inboard of the sewer gates) that I can unbolt from underneath. If they could be removed, or at least moved over a little, I may be able to get at those pipe elbows easier, removing the pump also.
So back to my basic question. What approach direction do you suggest?
Thanks,
Don
Submitted: 11 days ago.
Category: RV
Expert:  Randall replied 11 days ago.

Hi! My name is ***** ***** I can assist you with this. I may need some additional information from you first in order to give a complete answer.

Expert:  Randall replied 11 days ago.

It would have been better to replace all that bad plumbing with newer Pex style pipe and fittings and eliminate this problem. I think I would start by giving Fleetwood Customer Service a call at(###) ###-####and give them your FIN number and get a complete set of plumbing diagrams for this. I have done quite a few repairs to these systems over the years in my shop and I have never had to cut any of the floor out. They can be tough for sure and I don't recommend cutting any of the black pipe out either. Maybe get a local mobile tech to come and assist you or at least offer some advice once they look at the situation. Hope that gives you a place to start. Please get back to me if you need more here as all follow ups are included in our fee.

Customer: replied 11 days ago.
My previous repairs/pipe replacements over the past few years have been with the PEX/Sharkbite system. The freeze damages were always a surprise and that's why only sections were done at a time. This problem section is the latest. There's no reason anymore to get the plumbing diagrams, since I've already been through most of the plumbing. It's not that complicated. It's just that this last part is hard to see and harder to get at to replace.
I already called the Fleetwood Company and got a very knowledgeable tech guy. He also said that it wasn't a good idea to cut the floor. Since those big sewer pipes are all glued, I'll have to work around them somehow. After spending a while getting their rusted "U" shackles off, they only gave me about 1/2" of more space. After dropping the water pump, I may be able to get some flexible pipe through that channel. He also suggested that I may have to remove that whole water inlet area for access. We'll see.
BTW.... The first pipe freezing was my error from lack of preparation. The second and latest frozen pipe problems were from friends/family using it and not following the winter protocol. The original piping was crap, but I doubt if even the new stuff could hold up to that. I'll be ready next winter.... ready to air blow the lines and antifreeze them also.
I guess my question to you was to find out how the pros get access. It seems that everybody's answer is similar..... "It's a struggle".
Now that I struggled a little with it understand that it's not going to be easy, I guess that there's really no easy/practical answer that you could have given. I do appreciate your response, but I will have to request my money back. Is that fair with you?
Thank you,
Don G
Expert:  Randall replied 11 days ago.

N​ot a problem.........just submit that to Customer Service.