A few days ago, a nice coach pulled into a site near us at High Desert RV Park in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It was a 2009 Foretravel Nimbus with two slides. The Foretravel company came about when C.M. Fore built a coach for he and his wife to use in 1967. In 1974, they introduced the first commercially available diesel-powered motorhome. By the 1990s, Foretravel was well-established as a manufacturer of high-end motorhomes. Foretravel is one of the few RV manufacturers to build their own chassis. Their factory in Texas turns out four models in limited quantities.
Our neighbor’s 2009 Nimbus is 40 feet long and has a tag axle. He told me he stopped at Camping World and they were interested in trading straight across for a new Entegra coach. He decided against it and I don’t blame him.
Yesterday I noticed water dripping from the compartment in front of his rear wheels. The compartment door was open and so was another basement compartment toward the front with tools in it. I walked over – it looked like water was coming out of an overflow hose.
Later, I saw him poking around in the rear compartment. I walked over to see what was going on. I introduced myself. His name is Jack and he’s from New Jersey. He told me he had the valve for the fresh water fill replaced. Now his fresh water tank slowly fills to overflowing whenever he’s hooked up to city water.
On my Alpine Coach, there’s a valve that diverts fresh water from an outside source to the fresh water tank. It’s a manual valve in the wet bay that I turn 90 degrees to fill the tank. When it’s in the fill position, the rest of the plumbing isn’t pressurized. Water just flows into the tank. We can access fresh water from the tank by turning on the water pump. When I close the valve, water no longer flows into the tank and the rest of the plumbing is pressurized by the city water hook-up.
Looking at his fresh water supply plumbing, I could see his set-up was similar – but heaven forbid an owner of a Foretravel having to manually operate a valve! His valve was operated by an electric solenoid. He could divert water to fill his fresh water tank by pressing a button inside the coach which activates the solenoid and opens the valve. When the tank is full, the solenoid is de-activated and the valve returns to its normally closed position. This is a $300 solution to the inconvenience of manually opening the valve!
This valve had to be the source of the problem. There’s no other path for water to enter the freshwater tank unless the check valve in the pump was allowing water to back-fill into the tank. I didn’t think this was the case because he had a filter with a clear bowl in the line by the pump and no water was moving through it.
Jack removed the cover plate from the brass valve assembly. I saw right away that the valve was assembled incorrectly. There’s a circular plate inside the housing that has a seal around the perimeter to seal the case and an O-ring set in the center to seal the fresh water inlet. A spring on the backside pushes the plate against the fresh water fill opening, sealing it off with the O-ring. Energizing the solenoid pulls the plate back against the spring pressure, opening the fresh water tank fill line and closing off the rest of the plumbing. This plate was put in backwards – the O-ring was on the side where the spring closes the valve. The backside of the plate was closing against the fresh water fill line without the sealing O-ring. No wonder water seeped past it and slowly filled the tank.
I told Jack to flip the plate over so the spring works against the flat plate and the O-ring fits against the fill opening. He reassembled it that way and it was job done!
Later I went online and looked up the solenoid operated electric valve. These things are usually used in marine applications where you may not have easy access to plumbing. A solenoid operated brass valve like the one on the Foretravel costs over $200. At that price, you’d hope for better quality control and not have to disassemble the part and reassemble it correctly.
Today will be a warm day with the temperature approaching 90 degrees. I plan to start organizing the trailer. Later I’ll see if I can find baby back ribs to cook on the Traeger. Donna’s friend, Hazel Thornton, will be joining us for dinner.
Tomorrow we’ll move to Larry and Ruth’s place at The Vineyard (map). I won’t post tomorrow as we’ll be busy packing, traveling and setting up.