Brake for Nature

Central Oregon – First, Two Steps Back

On the morning of August 14th, we were going about our usual business of packing up the trailer to move on to our next destination when I reached under the kitchen sink to grab a rag and found it already soaking wet! Further investigation revealed that water leaking from somewhere had flowed across the floor, under the cabinets, and under the doormat. Unfortunately there is also a hole in the floor under the sink where the fresh water tank is accessed, and it was right in the middle of the puddle. I stuck my hand down into the hole and discovered that the insulation under the floor was all wet! How did this happen??

Then we remembered that the indicator light for the fresh water tank was showing that it was full when we checked it the night before. We assumed that the light had to be malfunctioning, because we hadn’t filled the tank. Even if the tank was full, it didn’t make sense to us that water on the floor in the trailer would have anything to do with the fresh water tank below the floor. Just in case, we decided to pull the plug on the fresh water tank drain under the trailer, and gallons upon gallons came gushing out onto the ground! We must have towed the trailer all the way from Red Bluff with a full or nearly full fresh water tank!!

While the water tank was draining, I went back inside and heard air being sucked through a tube. I searched around under the sink and discovered the source of the sound. There was the tube coming out of the top of the fresh water tank with a clamp on the end that had never been tightened, and then I found the vent in the wall where that tube was supposed to be clamped. Not only had the water pump in our new trailer failed to keep the water tank from filling from the city water connection, but no one had bothered to connect the overflow tube to the outside vent! We could have simply had a problem with the water pump, but now we had water under the floor and wet insulation, because the overflow tube was directed at the inside of the trailer!!

Tubes under the kitchen sink showing the overflow tube that was never connected to the vent

We were both quite irritated to have a problem like this so early on in our travels and with a brand new trailer, but what can you do but deal with it? We mopped up the water, drained the tank, and checked out of the Crater Lake RV Park and headed to our next destination.

We ended up spending our first couple of days in Crescent, Oregon calling all of the Arctic Fox dealerships in Oregon to see if we could bring our trailer in to have everything fixed under warranty. Unfortunately, every single dealership was booked for the next two months! We finally got in touch with Northwood Manufacturing, and they confirmed that the problem had to be the valve in the water pump, which is the only thing preventing water from the city water connection from entering the fresh water tank. Since all the dealerships were booked, they offered to send us a new water pump to install ourselves. The bigger problem was that water had already flowed under the trailer floor into the insulation. Luckily central Oregon in August is extremely dry, so we unbolted the underbelly cover to allow air to flow through and dry out the insulation. Finally, we did the job missed by the factory worker and clamped the overflow tube to the outside vent to prevent this from happening in the future.

This annoying incident set us back a few days, but what’s a travel story without an incident like this to start it off?!

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