Another water disaster

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Another water disaster

Post by Gillyhar on Thu May 04, 2017 6:41 pm

After the Whale inlet system failed on our last trip to Spain we returned to Autosleeper to have a manual filler fitted, thinking all our problems were over. Alas, life is never straightforward. Got to Costa Brava and the submersible water pump has failed! What are the chances of that!? It is impossible to DIY fix on the move, so our homeward journey is, once again, dependent on bottled water.  I am not a happy camper at the moment.
My question is, has anyone converted to an external water pump? 

We are on the move again tomorrow, so will catch up with advice and recommendation when I next get wifi.

Yours, waterless and fed up,
Gill
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Re: Another water disaster

Post by kaspian on Thu May 04, 2017 7:08 pm

Hi Gill , it is an easy repair to replace the pump in the tank if you are able to crawl under the van. It took under 40 mins to partially drop the tank reach in from above and replace. I reversed the van onto 2 pieces of 6x2 wood to get enough clearance and rested the dropped tank on a cardboard box while working so nothing high tech required.  I am beginning to wonder if there was  a bad batch around 2014 as my pump failed too, see previous post on replacement . Note that the pump wiring on my van had been connected to the pump using crimped connectors which had been very poorly crimped and could easily have caused problems on their own. Poor quality again I'm afraid. What I cannot understand is in 20 plus years of caravanning we never had  a single problem with these submersible  pumps with some heavy use. It is quite easy to put an internal pump in the van but these can also fail leaving you filling sinks from a bottle!  Internal pumps are also not cheap so weigh up the pros and cons before making decision.

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Re: Another water disaster

Post by Gillyhar on Thu May 04, 2017 7:32 pm

Thanks For that Kaspian. 
Do you know if the whale 'bucket pump' supplied by AutoS is the same pump as is in the tank? We have one of those lying around spare. Nice to know its diy fixable, with the right tools etc.

We will tough it out now until we get home. But it is very annoying. 

C'est la vie, as they say in this neck of the woods. Time for another vin rouge and relax!
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Re: Another water disaster

Post by Gromit on Thu May 04, 2017 7:43 pm

Consider fitting a Shurflo.

They are vastly superior and I'm by no means alone in finding all the irritating problems solved at a stroke. They just work, and filling up after draining the system is no longer an annoying chore, and I've not had to adjust the pressure switch once.

If it did go wrong (and they have an excellent reputation for reliability) I just have to lift the bed base, take out four screws and a twin wire electrical connection to fit a new one. Dead easy, all done inside, and only a screw driver required.

There's plenty on here from quite a few members who have gone this route. The advice from Moggyminor is particularly interesting as he left his broken submersible pump in the tank and used it as a water pick-up. Here is his advice if you would like to read about it.


To anyone wanting to change the pump in the cold water tank for a pump inside here are details of the completed job together with an idiot's guide. 
This was done on a 2011 Nuevo II EK but may well apply to other models.

1. First job is to drain the freshwater tank and hot water tank then raise the van so I used a pair of Milenco Quattro ramps on the front wheels. This gives reasonable access underneath.

2. Make sure the 12V power is off on your control panel and then get underneath the freshwater tank with your legs facing the back of the van. This makes it easier to see and at the front of the tank coming from the top you will see a white cable which is from the pump in the tank. This white cable is connected to a pair of single cables encased in black insulation. Where they are joined with male and female spade connectors carefully remove the black insulation then you can simply disconnect the pump.
The wires to the pump I just taped these out the way as they are no longer required. Cut the terminals from the wires going towards the rear of the van. Carefully pull the cable back through the cable ties and plastic trunking until you can see it disappear up into the floor at the bottom of the wardrobe.

3. You are now finished underneath. Back inside the van remove the drawer under the wardrobe. Some may just tilt and pull out but on mine you have to remove 3 screws on each side of the drawer and it will come out. Remove the inspection cover inside the wardrobe.
Now if you look at the bottom of the wardrobe floor you will see a jumble of wires going through the floor. There are a few black covered sets of cables but I found that by tugging each set you soon find the pump cable which is loose under the van and pull it all through.

4. Now in my van the positive cable is coloured orange/white and the negative is coloured blue/green but to be safe test it with a 12V bulb tester. You could if you wish try to find the cables without going underneath but it is not easy as there are so many wires.

5. Unscrew the existing pressure switch on the right wardrobe inside wall by unscrewing the 2 screws underneath and then by holding the inside collar on the connectors pull up from the rigid pipe. You can keep the connectors as spares.

6. I screwed the Shurflo pump to the rear wall of the wardrobe as shown in the photo in the upright position. Left side where the filter is is the input from the water tank and the right side is the output to the taps. Use 4 1 1/4 X 8 pozi pan head stainless steel screws.

7. Next you need some 1/2 inch ID water quality high pressure flexible tubing.
Fortunately I had an old filling pipe from my previous van. It is nylon enforced. You also need 6 stainless steel Jubilee clips 11-16mm, 1/2in-5/8in. Connect the pump input to the rigid pipe that goes straight through the wardrobe floor and connect the pump output to the other rigid pipe which goes to a T connector on the wardrobe floor.

8. Next connect together the 2 blue/green wires which went to the pressure switch. I cut off the existing connectors and used a crimp connector to join them together. Now connect the red positive lead from the new pump to the orange/ white lead from the old pump and connect the black negative wire from the new pump to the blue/green wire from the old pump.

9. Now you can switch the 12V power and pump on briefly just to make sure it is working. The pump can run dry without damage so don't worry.

10. Lastly put some water in your tank-I filled it 50% and then you can switch the pump on and fill in the usual way. It fills a lot quicker with much stronger pressure and shuts off very quickly when the tap is closed. If the pump runs after switching on briefly open and close a tap and it should stop.

11. Forgot to mention that the old submersible pump in the tank remains in place. As it is no longer powered the Shurflo pump is powerful enough to draw the water through the impeller of the old pump. It also makes sure the pickup pipe remains at the bottom of the tank.

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Re: Another water disaster

Post by paul bullock on Thu May 04, 2017 8:06 pm

Hi Dave as usual is 100% in his advice, but really it can be a lot simpler to put in a Shurflo and quite possible to do on site .See my post" reduced water pressure",i didn't mess around with the tank just used the old pump as a "feed"  ,didn't want to mess with the electrics so wired direct with fuses to the battery  .Shurflow pump is 1000% better than the cr*p A/S put in ! and reliable   Best of luck       Regards     Paul up!
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Re: Another water disaster

Post by Gillyhar on Thu May 04, 2017 8:32 pm

Thanks Paul and Dave
I'll relay this to my husband tomoro, as most of the techy stuff went straight over my head. Definitely in the category of blue job (boy's work) I only do pink jobs.
He's nodded off, must be the valium I slipped in his drink! I cant repeat the adjectives he applied to AutoS in the last 24 hours, none of it kindly! He kept muttering 'should have bought the Rapido'.
After spending nearly £50,000 on a new van, you dont expect to have these breakdowns after 8000 camping miles. John Lewis gave me a longer guarantee on my washing machine!
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Re: Another water disaster

Post by kaspian on Thu May 04, 2017 9:49 pm

Gill,   as you say''After spending nearly £50,000 on a new van, you dont expect to have these breakdowns after 8000 camping miles. John Lewis gave me a longer guarantee on my washing machine!''
     I could not agree more ! Our so called starter van , an Elddis Autoquest came with an internal pump with built in easily cleaned filter. £20K cheaper than the Autosleeper and nothing broke in around 6 years of ownership....Came with a good warranty too ( 3 times the length of our current van) So much for superior build quality....I  know it is easy to just say replace the pump with an internal one and IF justified I would condemn Autosleeper but in my case the new replacement pump was cheap , easy and quick to replace and the pressure at the taps is excellent. ( our old pump suffered from the impeller slipping on the motor shaft.If the current pump decides to pack up I may go down the internal pump route but currently works OK so why make work....All the best..

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Re: Another water disaster

Post by paul bullock on Thu May 04, 2017 10:42 pm

Hi "KASPIAN" ,have I missed something ? yes OK the submersible that A/S fit is cheap, it must be !As for easy to replace , my Hymer had a submersible of superior quality, which was still working after 8 Yrs could be replaced through a large hatch under the seat ,literally a 5 min job ,I don't think easy comes in at all!! Anyhow I always try and improve things when repairing them   simples!  Regards      Paul
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Re: Another water disaster

Post by bikeralw on Thu May 04, 2017 10:50 pm

This problem has come up many times with owners of newer vans on this forum. Why on earth did AS drop the reliable Shurflo (the name says it all) pump that they had fitted in their vans for years?
In my case the pump has run trouble-free for 13 years now, I never give it a thought when touring, it just works!
The savings they make on fitting a submersible pump at build stage must only be a few quid, but they feel they can charge a premium price on the finished van....
Al.
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Re: Another water disaster

Post by paul bullock on Thu May 04, 2017 11:12 pm

Hi Al, named that tune in 1 !!!! Ive had 3 vans over 20Yrs ,Hymer ,Pilote , and a A/S ,never gave water pumps a second thought till after 2 Yrs my trusty A/S submersible gave up the ghost , cant believe a company who produce such well designed products fail to accept that they ought to use quality components in there manufacture!!!  Kind regards    Paul up!
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Re: Another water disaster

Post by Maasai Warrior on Thu May 04, 2017 11:28 pm

Getting my new Shurflo pump fitted in June by AS Service Centre, as we also have a cr*p submersible whale pump in the fresh water tank. Will let you all know how it goes, with photos of before and after on our Broadway EB, strangely enough a 2014 model!

Pete
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Re: Another water disaster

Post by paul bullock on Thu May 04, 2017 11:39 pm

Hi Pete, good call best of luck ,you really wont regret changing cheap for quality!!   Regards    PAUL up!
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Re: Another water disaster

Post by kaspian on Thu May 04, 2017 11:39 pm

Hi Paul , our van is  a van conversion so space at a premium inside . Inside tank  access would be a dream but I suppose it depends on how agile  and competent the individual is doing the work at the end of the day .  I honestly found little hassle ,low skill level  and next to no tools required to replace. If I had perhaps  limited mobility and / or was not very competent with tools I might have found it more difficult !. Saying that ask me again in 10 to 15 years and I ( and my joints) might have a different view. 
  I dont know why A/s fitted this system , I've only ever had internal pumps in all other vans but constantly read about horrors regarding dropping tanks which In my own case was easily done . A 15 year old van with rusty bolts might be more  of a problem. Previous experience has never had a Whale pump fail when used so wonder if there was a problem with a batch or specific model used.
         Try being suspended by the legs  upside down for 4 hours replacing a timing belt in a boat engine with no access to speak of , working from mirrors to see what you were doing . Now that was a bit more challenging! Invented a few more rude words that day ......Whistle1

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Re: Another water disaster

Post by paul bullock on Fri May 05, 2017 9:06 am

H i Kaspian, all power to you ! you are obviously a lot more competent than most ,and I guess  from that your van is kept pristine . I just question why we should be faced with this recurring and easily solved problem  to start with !       Kind regards         Paul up!
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Re: Another water disaster

Post by merv on Fri May 05, 2017 5:13 pm

Pete (Masai Warrior)..Can I be nosey and ask the approximate cost that AS have quoted for fitting the Shurflo pump?
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Re: Another water disaster

Post by Gromit on Fri May 05, 2017 6:55 pm

Hi Merv

I think you will find the price ranges between £150 and £250, depending on the complexity of the job - since the labour charges are obviously the major part of the cost.

Our van was toward the lower end, but it was very straightforward and involved no juggling with water pipes or tricky pump placement. It couldn't have been much easier. I know of at least two others who have paid/been quoted £250, but theirs have been far less straightforward.

Mark won't diddle you though. He was unsure of the cost when we had ours done as we were (I think) only the second van they had fixed. He quoted a maximum figure, but it took a little less time than he had anticipated so he reduced the charges accordingly.

Can't ask for better than that! up!

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Re: Another water disaster

Post by kaspian on Fri May 05, 2017 9:33 pm

paul bullock wrote:H i Kaspian, all power to you ! you are obviously a lot more competent than most ,and I guess  from that your van is kept pristine . I just question why we should be faced with this recurring and easily solved problem  to start with !       Kind regards         Paul up!
Paul l , Couldnt agree more with your second comment at least but then it is an A/s and I now expect this.I hate paying very hard earned good money for poor quality goods or service so prefer to at least  do repairs myself that way you are not disappointed having some so called technician try to baffle/ waffle his way through how he has just charged a fortune for doing next to nothing!  
        l have contacted Whale today commenting on frequent failures of submersibles which Is in my case the High Flow model. They replied promptly to their credit and asked for batch number from the pump which luckily I still have so  I have sent details and I will let you know their response in due course. 
       My wife is rightly fed up with Autosleeper and says for what we paid for the van we could have  £2000+ holidays yearly in the sun for the next 20+ years and then we would probably be past caring anyway. I cant really fault that logic if you also factor in running costs , time repairing frequent problems , cleaning and caring costs etc   Wives are always more logical.....Lets face it we  are all driving around in glorified builders vans with up £40K of thin plywood plus a few appliances attached to the rear , nothing more.

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Re: Another water disaster

Post by Maasai Warrior on Fri May 05, 2017 10:18 pm

Hi Merv,
Yes Dave is right. Due to extra work required it will be about £250 to fit a Shurflo Trail King 7 pump. The hab battery will have to be rotated 90 degrees and some heating pipes may require repositioning as I need room to access the fuse box. This is all under the bench seat behind the driver's side. The old whale pump will also be removed from the freshwater tank. I am confident that Mark will ensure that the job is done properly. In the past I would have tackled the replacement myself, but a niggling back issue now, has frustratingly put me off!

I will be checking water pipe joints, as I guess using the Shurflo pump may mean increased water pressure!

Pete

P.S. As said before I will post before and after layout photos for Broadway owners and will report back on the quality of the job done by AS and how efficient the new pump is.
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Re: Another water disaster

Post by Toffee on Sat May 06, 2017 9:54 am

I'm thinking of carrying a spare submersible pump our van is 2015/2016 production does anyone know which pump is correct for this period so I can get one to change on site when it fails?
Thanks

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Re: Another water disaster

Post by kaspian on Sat May 06, 2017 11:50 pm

Toffee wrote:I'm thinking of carrying a spare submersible pump our van is 2015/2016 production does anyone know which pump is correct for this period so I can get one to change on site when it fails?
Thanks
Hi Toffee, our 2014 Kemerton has a Whale 'high flow' model pump. I would think they would be the same as this is the large capacity pump that Whale make , but dont quote me....search whale high flow submersible pump. Possible to replace 'in the field' I've done it without difficulty but assume you have  reasonable fitness health and ability. Took about 30-40 mins with van reversed onto 2 inch blocks of wood or I suppose levelling wedges for clearance. Small adjustable spanner to loosen drop rods holding tank to floor of van the only tool required. Rested tank on a scrap cardboard box while rrplacing pump through upper access hatch in tank.Simples as they say..

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Re: Another water disaster

Post by Toffee on Sun May 07, 2017 8:25 am

Thanks for the info kasplan yes reasonably agile I spend my days crawling around in boats fixing them.

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Re: Another water disaster

Post by Paramedic on Sun May 07, 2017 11:54 am

From this learned discussion, I assume that the Whale submersible pump in the under slung fresh water tank, is the same as what you dangle into an outside container (as per Whale Watermaster High Flow 13.4 litre)? Just thinking about a (hopefully never happens) failure in the future, but more immediately get underneath and lubricate those tank suspension nuts.


Last edited by Paramedic on Sun May 07, 2017 12:04 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Add last sentence)

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Re: Another water disaster

Post by kaspian on Sun May 07, 2017 2:23 pm

Yes , Paramedic my pump was indeed the Whale high flow . It dangles at the bottom of the tank on the end of a bit of semi rigid pipe same as internal pipework on a push fit connector. Tank is suspended on threaded drop rods and nuts so would benefit from some waxoyl or heavy grease wiped on the threads.Currently having correspondance with Whale re pump as in over 35 years  using this  type of pump in boats caravans etc with some heavy use on boats never had a failure. We seem to be suffering a lot of failures around 2014 model year . The lmpeller is a push fit onto the motor shaft and when put under load ours  slips as it is not a tight enough fit giving poor or intermittent and eventually no flow .Have sent serial number of failed pump at request of Whale who are going to investigate further.Watch this space...

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Re: Another water disaster

Post by Gillyhar on Tue May 09, 2017 7:55 pm

Good evening everyone
Back home now and getting to grips with the water pump replacement.  Thank you for all the information, its always helpful to get an answer from someone who has 'been there, done that'. Seems we're not the only ones to suffer this problem.
My husband is drawn to the Shurflow internal pump.  I'll let you know what he decides and how it turns out.
Thanks again
Gill
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Re: Another water disaster

Post by groundhog on Tue May 09, 2017 9:33 pm

Easy if you have a hatch in the tank, simple to fit, not that expensive and you can clean the gauge points and the whole tank with no problems.
www.hendersons.co.uk    TCL4 is £30!
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