The Water Tank Rant

My priority prior to the next trip is figuring out the water system.  Can I get the water system working whether it was the tank, or as a back up, the municipal water line?  I brought the RV home from storage, and opened the owners manual.  (see the RV bio page for the owners manual link)

My goal was to sanitize the lines and the tank, fill it, and be ready to rock and roll this weekend.  I followed the RV cowboy’s advice.  So easy….?  If you remember, I flushed the lines the week prior, so all the pink gunk was gone, but I ran out of time to figure out the water tank.  The capacity of the fresh water tank is 16 gal.  That’s well beyond what I need for just a couple night’s stay.  So, I was only going to fill to 1/2 way.  Here’s the very NOT detailed instructions on how to fill the water tank.

freshwaterI think we all can agree that these instructions are not adequate.  It assumes A LOT.  So, making a very poor assumption that I’m good to go, I put the hose in, and turn on the water.  I really don’t understand what happened next.  As the water flowed, it POURED out the bottom.  There was a gush directly below the undercarriage, and water coming out of the back corners as well.  I ran to turn off the water, and stop the madness.

Ironically, just as I returned to the RV, a group of 10 y/o kids approached me to buy some baked good supporting children in other countries who didn’t have access to clean water.  I kid you not, I burst out laughing, they just stared at me with big, hopeful eyes, the irony completely lost on them that I just flushed at least a gallon of water down the street on my weekend toy.  I bought a brownie for a $1 which I think is double good karma because I am gluten intolerant and can’t eat it.  They ran away happy.

Returning to my chore, I read the instructions again thinking I must have missed something.  Yes, those same instructions above.  Ok, maybe I need to read further…

drains3 drains2drains1


I don’t know about you, but for a novice RV owner who never had a walk through of the water system…this isn’t helpful.  But, I have an advanced degree, so surely this can’t be THAT hard.  I learn by hacking, so it’s time to open and close some valves and see what happens.  The water system itself is located under one of the dinette seats in the back.  I go back there and remove the panel and I see a series of valves.  One big lever, and several little white valves.  What I also discover is that the floor now is damp.  Damp as you walk into the unit and by the water system.  Awesome.  Now frustration sets in.

Go big or go home, so I pull up the big valve.  I have no reason to believe I need to mess with any of the other valves, so I leave it at that, and run to turn on the water.  The gullywash underneath ceases.  Victory!  The leakages in the back undercarriage continue.  Failure.  I go head and “fill” the tank a bit and the leaks continue.  Both inside kinda and definitely outside.  I play around with the valves again, but nothing seems to make a diff.  I run the pump and open up the water in the sink and it’s nothing like when I was flushing the lines last week.  Lots of struggle with air and it’s just not happening right.  I try some other trouble shooting things with the valve and really nothing seems to make a diff.  I even drove it around a bit to see if the water leakages just needed to get out, but as I pulled back into the driveway, a trial of leaky water is clearly in my wake.  Net result of this experiences is that I need the help of a professional.  Either there’s a nuance I’m missing that s/he can show me quickly or there’s a break somewhere, and it needs to be fixed.  On the list.  Abandon mission, moving on.  Killing daylight.

I needed to give the unit a good scrub from the last trip.  Lots of buggy lives were lost on my way home from MN last weekend, and I have this really cool system that I figured would be great for the RV – Mr. Clean Autodry Car Wash System.  I had about 1/2 hr before dusk, so I abandoned the water goal, and decided to end on a good note with a clean unit.  The system did a really good job, with one exception.  My stubby arms.  I couldn’t really get to the middle of the windshield very well.  So, I did the best I could what what I had and had to abort mission on the windshield.  Dangit.  I need an extended car wash brush to achieve that feat.  On this list.

Funny now, but not at the time, I hopped into the RV and headed to put it back in storage where I had left my car.  It was 9:15pm.  Unknown to me, the storage place closes at 9pm.  And locked inside is my car.  And I have a presentation I have to give at work the next day at 7:30am.  This notes the end to a very, very frustrating evening.  I took the big gal back home and switched out for my car in the morning.  A couple days and I leave for MN with no time to figure out the water system between now and then.  Municipal water hook up it is, and I’ll bring some gallon waters as back up.

I’ve come to the conclusion that RVs are meant, primarily for, dudes.  If you’ve heard me rant about this already, you can skip this paragraph.  The rest of you, hear me out.  Dudes love projects like this.  They can tinker, and dawdle, and ponder, test and research for hours on something like this.  Whether is a sailboat, motorboat, car or RV, Dudes dig this shit.  It’s the BEST excuse to avoid sitting on the couch with the spouse being forced to watch The Bachelor during the off-season of any given sport.  “Oh no, can’t tonight, honey.  Got to work on the RV so it’s ready for this weekend.”  Then, they grab a beer and proceed to kill several hours getting it “camping ready”.  And, once they figure things out, feel very satisfied with themselves. I argue that we women, for the most part, are very different.  I don’t care HOW this things works, I just want it TO work.  I was even willing to pay to have it ready for me, so I don’t have to figure out anything until I was shamed by the stupid receptionist at AC Nielsen to figure it out myself.  So, here I am.  Wet floors, leaking RV – because it was supposed to be ‘OH SO EASY’ according to her.  She, who probably hasn’t done anything even near an RV other than answer their phone at the dealership.  Thanks for nothing lady.  When I get back from this trip, my goal is to find someone to help me with this issue.  Totally willing to shell out dough for this tutorial.  Part of me is hoping it’s broke so I can have the satisfaction of knowing I’m not a complete idiot.