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Old 09-03-2020, 12:14 AM   #1
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Default Shower Leak in 2018 Winnie Era

This is definitely not good...

Somehow I missed this at the dealer when we did the walk-thru on this used unit last month. I've opened up the shower control valve, and can see that when the shower is on (note not just when the water pump is on) that there is lots of water spraying about in a place it should not be, followed by water dripping (lots of dripping) from the frame underneath. Attached is a picture of the (opened) shower control valve, and below it is where the hose to the shower wand screws in. I believe that behind there is the problem. Most likely the unit was not properly winterized - meaning that they failed to open the shower valve after draining the system to get the last bit of water out of this low point (also an obvious failure on Winnebago's part to put this BELOW the shower control valve).

This looks to me like a panel that is just caulked/glued in, and if I cut the caulk around it with a utility knife, I should have access. I hope. Does anybody know for sure?

Thanks

dm
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Old 09-03-2020, 12:41 AM   #2
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Yes, not properly winterized. How do I know? Because after 20 years of RVing I forgot to open that valve when winterizing. The need for access to replace the valve is bigger than the opening.

If this is an A model the access to replace that valve is from the bedroom. Pop off the trim and unscrew top bottom and one side of the wall panel. Also remove a few of the bed cushion springs so you can hold the wall back for full access. I pulled the valve and took it to a plumbing shop where they matched a replacement. If not an Era A I think you will still need to open the wall behind the valve. Should be just popping trim and a few screws. The wood wall panels behind the valve flex a lot more than that fiberglass bathroom wall.
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Old 09-03-2020, 01:14 AM   #3
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Alas, this is a 170M with the dry bath. The other side is a closet (and when it is closed, the pocket door to the bathroom). I don't see any obvious sign of access points.

-dm
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Old 09-03-2020, 02:50 AM   #4
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Looking at it more, it seems like there *should* be access thru a side of the closet (with the pocket door in the closed position) but I can't see any obvious way of removing the panel. Might have to be cut out! I'm going to try calling Winnebago tomorrow and see.

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Old 09-03-2020, 10:18 AM   #5
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My only other issue was a failed touchscreen controller. Before I realized I could easily replace it from the front I opened a closet wall partway to peek behind it. Mine has carpet on the panels and in the carpet are screws thatI couldn’t locate until I removed the trim and started lifting the panel away until I could tell something was holding it.

BTW the Winnebago tech support was great. They had me debug the bad panel (which I had done) then sent me a new one and a label to send back the bad one all under warranty.
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Old 09-04-2020, 12:10 AM   #6
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I talked to Winnie tech support this morning.

They claim no access thru side of closet (although peaking around the cracks it sure looks like it should be to me). It's stapled in so removing it is probably destructive. Despite that, I suspect I will do that someday and replace it with a proper plywood panel fastened with bolts or some other easy to remove mechanism.

I ended up removing both the panel in front of the shower control valve, and the shower outlet, which is secured by caulk and two screws. I was then able to ascertain that water was leaking from multiple places when the shower was on (meaning the red and blue PEX pipes to the control valve were fine). I had to Dremel the openings in the shower enclosure a bit to open them up so that my hand could squeeze thru. I was then able to tighten all the compression fittings and a hose clamp, all of which were loose. In fact, the clear poly pipe to the outlet was so loose the connection pulled apart with a slight tug. The good news was that no fittings were cracked. Amazingly to me, I managed to not drop even a single tool or part into the oblivion behind the shower enclosure. I would have dropped the bracket/90 degree elbow at the outlet except that I had already tied a long string to it, so was able to retrieve it... My first attempt at buttoning everything up resulted in no leaks, but also no water flow - the poly tubing kinks easily. Second attempt seems to have gone better - water flows to the head, and no major water leaking underneath. There does appear to be one very small leak still in the shower drain. Since that is entirely outside the vehicle, I'm probably going to ignore it for awhile.

This is something I already knew, but they need to use much higher quality plumbing parts and give access to all fittings. The plumbing parts were basically the same quality as our circa 2000 Fleetwood tent trailer was until I entirely re-plumbed it after it had a plumbing disaster somewhere around 2004. It might amount to $50 more parts in a $150k vehicle, but given the stress that RV plumbing is under as we bounce thru potholes, it would be money well spent. It also needs to be assumed that all fittings will eventually fail, or at least the compression fittings will loosen with time and travel, so either they should ditch them or give access to all fittings.
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Old 09-04-2020, 12:46 AM   #7
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Glad you got it worked out.
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Old 09-04-2020, 03:54 PM   #8
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If you ever decide to make an access panel you could use these industrial strength fastening tapes. I used it in a few places in my conversion and I think Embassy RV uses one extensively.

https://www.mcmaster.com/hook-and-lo...r-fasteners-5/


https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_c...ature=emb_logo
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Old 09-04-2020, 04:56 PM   #9
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This is the point in the story where I was hooked:
Quote:
Originally Posted by KitsapEra View Post
I had to Dremel the openings in the shower enclosure a bit to open them up so that my hand could squeeze thru.
The Dremel is a good friend of mine.

Nice job fixing your plumbing!
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Old 09-04-2020, 05:49 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rvsprinterguy View Post
This is the point in the story where I was hooked:

The Dremel is a good friend of mine.

Nice job fixing your plumbing!
Yep. I actually went my whole life without a Dremel. Finally got one last year, use it monthly, and wonder how I was able to go this long without one.
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Old 09-05-2020, 12:07 AM   #11
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I actually started out using a drill (to drill keyholes) and a hacksaw blade, and then I remembered that I had a Dremel somewhere about. Yes, a very useful tool, but make sure you use the thingie that allows you to set depth of cut, as you do NOT want to cut any deeper than necessary, lest you make the leak problem substatially worse.

Thanks for the feedback!

dm
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Old 09-05-2020, 02:33 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KitsapEra View Post
I actually started out using a drill (to drill keyholes) and a hacksaw blade, and then I remembered that I had a Dremel somewhere about. Yes, a very useful tool, but make sure you use the thingie that allows you to set depth of cut, as you do NOT want to cut any deeper than necessary, lest you make the leak problem substatially worse.

Thanks for the feedback!

dm
Absolutely. RV repair is similar to being a Doctor in this way, "First, do no harm."
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Old 09-10-2020, 06:04 PM   #13
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Default Access method

Think marine. Watertight is the name of the game.

If you ever need a watertight access in something like a shower, get a marine deck plate. They are waterproof and come in a variety of sizes from 6" to a foot or more. They just screw out or pop out and are totally waterproof.

It doesn't have to be in a wet location. I have used deck plates to access low-point drains and to access the track of a pocket door that pulled out of the ceiling at the wall where it was impossible to reach.

When I converted to twin beds, I used a large marine hatch in the plywood bed to access the electrical area underneath without disassembling the bed.
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Old 09-19-2020, 03:39 AM   #14
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A quick update:

I thought I had this problem licked, but then we took a quick 3 day trip and I discovered not so much - first night the shower worked fine, second night there was almost no water flow, and dripping under the van indicated a leak again!

Got home, took the plate off the shower control valve again, and noticed several new sources of leaks; (1) the drain plug(?) at the bottom of the shower control valve was not tightened sufficiently at the factory and was now dripping, (2) more seriously, the vinyl pipe had worked part of the way out of the compression fitting at the 90 degree elbow a foot or so below the shower control valve. Lack of water flow was due to multiple kinks in the vinyl tubing, which probably developed where the tubing changes direction and it was full of hot water and softened. Really really crap way of doing plumbing. I cut the vinyl tubing and inserted a 90 degree elbow to route the remaining tubing directly at the 90 in the shower wall, rather than having the tubing itself make the bend. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what to do with the 90 degree elbow in the wall and it's compression fitting, which clearly wasn't handling the movement that occurs when you re-install all this stuff in the shower wall (recall that Winnie doesn't screw any of this stuff down to a stud like it should be). Decided to try a hose clamp on the end of the compression fitting. There appears to be enough of a barb for it to hold securely. At least in the driveway, it all works and finally no water dripping underneath the van. I'm not as confident it will behave on a long trip, but we will see. If I have to do this again, I'm riping it all out and replacing the vinyl tubing and plastic parts with PEX and Shark-bite connectors, which is what should have been used in the first place. $150k vehicle and they scrimp on $10 in plumbing parts!
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Old 09-19-2020, 06:33 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pahaska View Post
Think marine. Watertight is the name of the game.

If you ever need a watertight access in something like a shower, get a marine deck plate. They are waterproof and come in a variety of sizes from 6" to a foot or more. They just screw out or pop out and are totally waterproof.

It doesn't have to be in a wet location. I have used deck plates to access low-point drains and to access the track of a pocket door that pulled out of the ceiling at the wall where it was impossible to reach.

When I converted to twin beds, I used a large marine hatch in the plywood bed to access the electrical area underneath without disassembling the bed.
Hey Pahaska. Did you finally migrate over here from airforums?

I've been here for a while due to the scarcity of Chevy-based class "b's" there.
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