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Air lock

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Air lock Empty Air lock

Post by Mids Fri Mar 29, 2024 3:52 pm

Good afternoon
Can anybody help filled up with water with the auto fill
Turned on pump and have no water.has happened before and took van for a quick drive  like before this time it has not cleared  it any other ideas please
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Post by Bilbobaggins Fri Mar 29, 2024 4:00 pm

No water at taps or no water in tank? Could be frost dump valve open, or not enough time for boiler to fill before water reaches taps, which model Auto sleeper do you have?


Last edited by Bilbobaggins on Fri Mar 29, 2024 4:02 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by Alwaysurfing Fri Mar 29, 2024 4:01 pm

Mids wrote:Good afternoon
Can anybody help filled up with water with the auto fill
Turned on pump and have no water.has happened before and took van for a quick drive  like before this time it has not cleared  it any other ideas please

I have found that opening all of the taps and shower at the same time and moving each tap from hot to cold a few times helps in my van after a refill - lots of spluttering later good as it gets flow returns.....
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Post by Mids Fri Mar 29, 2024 4:32 pm

We have autosleeper  eb 2019. Have tried everything  you have said with on joy.
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Post by Caraman Fri Mar 29, 2024 4:54 pm

I only had the Whale submersible for a few months before I replaced it with a Shurflo that doesn't have the air lock problem.  However, in previous caravans I had, the airlock sometimes cleared itself just by leaving the pump immersed in the water for a few hours.  Another trick is to turn the shower to cold and open its tap, remove the shower rose and suck hard on the pipe whilst the pump is running with all the other taps closed.
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Post by rogerblack Fri Mar 29, 2024 6:49 pm

Can you hear if the pump is actually running?

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Post by Mids Fri Mar 29, 2024 7:11 pm

Yes  the pump is running
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Post by Kdc Fri Mar 29, 2024 7:32 pm

That use to be a problem I frequently had filling tank after draining. I cured it the same way as Carman mentioned,fitted a shurflo pump. Never looked back.
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Post by Baggiecamper Sat Mar 30, 2024 8:18 pm

This has been a problem since before my 2017 van was converted.
I am not saying my solution will work for everyone but it works for me.
Part of the problem is the non return valve in the pressure control sticks when draining down - if care is not taken.
The suction effect when draining the fresh water tank makes this worse by sucking the diaphragm inside the inlet body of the pressure switch.


My Solution is this draining down procedure:.
Do not open the fresh water drain tap
Having drained the grey tank, leave the grey drain tap open.
Start the pump and open the kitchen sink cold tap with as much flow that will exit the plug hole.
Slowly open the fresh water drain valve until there is only a trickle of water.
Wait till the pump runs dry and switch it off.
Wait for both tanks to fully drain. close taps and reclip pipes.
Takes longer, but for me it avoids the pain of priming the system after refilling.

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Post by Caraman Sun Mar 31, 2024 7:11 am

If the NRV has stuck in the closed position this will be obvious when the OP sucks on the shower pipe as I described earlier - with the shower mixer tap open in the cold position and all the other taps and the Truma drain valve shut.  Sucking on the shower pipe should be enough to open the NRV which should allow any airlock in the submersible pump to be drawn through.

Submersible pump airlocks are not unique to water systems with NRVs.
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Post by Bilbobaggins Sun Mar 31, 2024 7:52 am

Baggiecamper wrote:This has been a problem since before my 2017 van was converted.
I am not saying my solution will work for everyone but it works for me.
Part of the problem is the non return valve in the pressure control sticks when draining down - if care is not taken.
The suction effect when draining the fresh water tank makes this worse by sucking the diaphragm inside the inlet body of the pressure switch.


My Solution is this draining down procedure:.
Do not open the fresh water drain tap
Having drained the grey tank, leave the grey drain tap open.
Start the pump and open the kitchen sink cold tap with as much flow that will exit the plug hole.
Slowly open the fresh water drain valve until there is only a trickle of water.
Wait till the pump runs dry and switch it off.
Wait for both tanks to fully drain. close taps and reclip pipes.
Takes longer, but for me it avoids the pain of priming the system after refilling.
The problem I see with this method is you will still have residual water in the boiler, all hot water pipes and cold pipes to bathroom. I have always drained my system to prevent water in pipes freezing during cold weather when van us laid up. Leaving water risks getting freezing, especially this far north with resulting cracking of pipes or taps due to ice forming. Worth the extra five minutes to drain all pipes and leave internal taps open.

Alternative for me is to use oil heater and keep can heated all winter

P. S. also have Shurflo fitted so priming system is easy.

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Post by Caraman Sun Mar 31, 2024 8:04 am

I had to read what Richard Baggiecamper wrote a couple of times.  I think what he is saying is that if the freshwater tank is drained with its drain tap open and the submersible pump not running, the head of water trapped in the pipe from the NRV down to the pump is enough to drag the diaphragm in the NRV into its housing causing it to jam/stick.  I have not heard this theory before.  His solution to prevent this happening is to run the pump whilst the fresh water tank is draining through its drain tap until the pump pumps air.  I don't think any of this has anything to do with the water system forward of the NRV which is drained in the normal way through the Truma drain valve with all the taps open.
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Post by Mr Whippy 99 Sun Mar 31, 2024 12:57 pm

Thanks everybody for this discussion andthe suggestions. Nice to know there are others looking for solutions. 

I've had this problem since the first drain down and refill on my 21 Symbol. Cured a couple of times by driving up a steep hill but that didn't work this time. Alternating between hot and cold at the shower with the pump running has solved it this time.  Looks like an alternative pump would be a more satisfactory solution.

I do have concerns about running the pump 'dry'', does anybody know if this may be an issue.
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Post by Caraman Sun Mar 31, 2024 1:38 pm

Mr Whippy 99 wrote:....

I do have concerns about running the pump 'dry'', does anybody know if this may be an issue.
If the pump has an airlock and is thrashing away without pumping, it won't be doing it any good.  However, if is immersed in cold water it will get some cooling.  If it's not immersed it will overheat and burn out.  I use my Whale submersible to pump water out of my water barrel.  When the barrel is empty there are a few seconds when its running dry which is OK.  But it isn't OK to be left dry pumping for longer.  In contrast, the Shurflo is designed to run dry.
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Post by Baggiecamper Sun Mar 31, 2024 2:08 pm

Caraman's comments regarding my post are correct. 

My post was not a "how to drain down the system for frost protection" it was how to prevent the pressure switch diaphragm sticking and therefore increase the likelihood of getting the water flowing in the van next time you fill up. 

However, if you read what I put carefully my method will enable the tanks and boiler to empty fully assuming the rest of the winterisation procedure is carried out. (taps open, boiler drained etc. 

I personally would not relay on a space heater for frost protection. What if there is a power cut at 3am, or you were on holiday. 

By the way I have just filled my water tank for a trip next week and the pump started OK. I always had trouble before my tank emptying procedure was implemented. The problem with the pressure switch diaphragm was discussed on here maybe 5 or 6 years ago.


Last edited by Baggiecamper on Sun Mar 31, 2024 3:12 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by Baggiecamper Sun Mar 31, 2024 2:10 pm

When using my draining down method, I do indeed stop the pump as soon as it runs dry (tone changes) 

If anyone finds my method useful please post.

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Post by Baggiecamper Sun Mar 31, 2024 4:51 pm

So here is a link to the previous discussion I took part in nearly 5 years ago

"Getting Water System To Pump After Drain Down"
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The technical aspect of the pressure switch non return valve was explored in great technical detail by "Dare-devil-dennis"

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Post by Caraman Sun Mar 31, 2024 5:20 pm

Baggiecamper wrote:So here is a link to the previous discussion I took part in nearly 5 years ago

"Getting Water System To Pump After Drain Down"
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

The technical aspect of the pressure switch non return valve was explored in great technical detail by "Dare-devil-dennis"
That's a good find Richard from just before I joined the Forum.  It endorses the sucking technique to clear the airlock but I don't think Sally's point was addressed - why not just suck on the shower pipe after the rose has been removed.  

If there is initial resistance to flow at the NRV I can see how it could exacerbate the airlock problem.  However, as I said before, airlocks in submersibles are not unique to water systems with NRVs.  I had this problem with a previous caravan that had a submersible (it wasn't a Whale) with a non-pressurised water system i.e. it had switches integrated into each of the taps.

What we need to hear now is whether the OP has cleared his airlock.
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Post by Baggiecamper Sun Mar 31, 2024 5:57 pm

Yes shower hose is probably better. 
Thinking about it, another thing I do is always fill the fresh tank to overflowing. To stop the hose blowing out I jam it in with another piece of hose. Because the system is full of air any slight pressure on the inlet side of the pump or pressure switch diaphragm will help to prime the pump and open the pressure switch non return valve. 
However, do not over pressure the cold tank like I did once on a site with very high flow tap. I blew out a tank sensor! It popped back in OK fortunately. 
So, maybe one of those filler caps that take a hose could be used to blow into a full tank instead of sucking out of the tank and empty pipe work and boiler would be more effective. 
Fingers crossed my method continues to works for me.

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Post by Mids Sun Mar 31, 2024 9:33 pm

Hi just to say we have  moved site as planned.and the airlock
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Post by Mids Sun Mar 31, 2024 9:35 pm

Has cleared thank you to all  who gave advice
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