House Calls with the RV Doctor
By Gary Bunzer
Dear RV Doctor:
The carpet near the back of my Aqua Magic toilet is damp. I cannot see or feel any dripping from the water supply line. Does the toilet have internal seals that may be worn or damaged due to use?
Sonny Standridge, Gretna, Louisiana
Sonny, indeed, there are many internal seals and gaskets in the Aqua Magic. If the water inlet line is secured properly and not leaking, chances are the water leaks only while the toilet is flushing. This is an indication of a leak within the vacuum breaker component located inside the toilet. It’s easily replaced, and Thetford does have replacement parts readily available, typically at any RV parts accessory store. Occasionally, the vacuum breaker may be subjected to highly calcified water that might cause a seal or gasket component to leak if a particle becomes lodged inside. There is an outside chance the toilet-to-flange gasket may be faulty and the toilet leaks as it drains into the holding tank, but your observation that the carpet is damp only at the back of the toilet (directly below the location of the vacuum breaker) is indicative of a faulty vacuum breaker.
Dear RV Doctor:
I’m having my RV winterized for storage. The dealer called to tell me that the pump doesn’t work. It is located underneath the fresh water holding tank. They unhooked it from the tank to pump antifreeze into the pipes, and it wouldn’t work. Is it a suction pump? Does it have to be connected to the tank to work?
Walter Lemons, Wichita Falls, Texas
Walter, it’s not uncommon to disconnect the water pump from the fresh water tank in order to pump the RV antifreeze through the system. A better setup, however, would be a tee in the suction line between the pump and the fresh water tank with a dedicated shut-off valve just for the winterizing purpose. This is easily added. RV water pumps are self-priming pumps, but on rare occasions they can develop an air blockage. When they told you the pump didn’t work, do they mean it runs, but does not pump? Or does the motor not run at all? If it does not run at all, it is probably a 12-volt-DC electrical issue and not a priming problem. But if the power and ground connection are correct, it then may be necessary to prime the pump by pouring water directly into the inlet hose connected to the pump. RV water pumps do “suck” the water out of the fresh water tank and they also “push” the water through the rest of the fresh water system whenever there is a demand for water. If an air bubble exists on either side of the pump, suction or downstream, it could cause a water flow issue. Further investigation may be in order here.
Dear RV Doctor:
The kitchen area in my motorhome has linoleum flooring, and the rest of the coach is carpeted. The manufacturer replaced the linoleum once under warranty due to buckling and fracture. This was caused by the kitchen slideout roller coming across the linoleum when the slideout was moved in for transporting. Now, six years later, the linoleum is doing the same thing and curling at the edges under the kitchen slideout, causing the slideout to catch the edges when moving in and out (especially in cold weather). I must replace the linoleum again. When doing so, is it a good idea to glue down the linoleum? The factory did not do so, either originally or with the replacement.
I am also thinking of going to floating laminate flooring, which might better resolve my problem. What is your opinion? How difficult is it to remove that kitchen slideout to properly get the new flooring underneath it? I contacted the factory for information but received no answer whatsoever. Your opinion and help would be greatly appreciated.
Larry Reeves, Metamora, Illinois
Larry, I’m not fully convinced every factory actually glues the complete floor area, because of the time and effort involved. The factory may well have glued or otherwise fastened the linoleum along the outside edge of the floor, but it’s doubtful they cemented it fully. If the edge of the linoleum is exposed to the slideout roller, it is bound to start catching and peeling eventually, regardless of how it is fastened. A properly designed slideout should have a wedge of Teflon or other low-friction material running along its entire length. The edge of the carpet or floor should be secured under this strip. That way, the slideout contacts and is guided by the Teflon and never actually contacts the edge of the linoleum or carpet.
When replacing linoleum, the pros glue it down completely. It makes for a better, longer-lasting repair. Laminate flooring is nice, but often not practical with some slideout designs. If the slide is currently catching on the linoleum, it is likely that laminate flooring will be too thick to allow enough clearance for the slideout.
When the slideout is extended, it typically rolls across the floor and then “slides” down a slight ramp to sit flush with the rest of the coach floor. When it is retracted, it moves up the ramp and then rolls back along the floor again. The laminate floor likely would be too thick and therefore sit higher than the top of the wedge, creating a significant lip at the top of the ramp and possibly resulting in a jamming situation.
There is certainly no sense trying to replace the linoleum unless you can get it underneath the slideout, as you indicated. This is not typically a do-it-yourself project. Most RV dealerships are properly trained and have the necessary equipment to partially and fully remove slideouts. Although it is fairly straightforward to install linoleum, it is not truly feasible to remove the slide without this training and equipment. I would recommend that you have a qualified RV repair facility investigate this in the hopes that they can remedy the problem rather simply.