The Fix is In

On-line wisdom to the rescue

Don Cohen Don Cohen  |  04.18.2015

After a day of driving that included the sandstone iconography of Monument Valley, we pulled into the Spanish Trail RV Park in Moab for a special appointment.  We were meeting our friends Tom and Margaret for a weekend “training camp” as they were spending their first night camping in their new Navion — which just so happened to be our previous Navion that they had bought from us earlier this year.

Tom cheerfully greeted me with, “It’s raining outside and INSIDE our rig.”  I cringed.

In the worry list of life there’s that uncomfortable list that includes clogging a toilet when you’re visiting a friend’s house and having something break after you’ve sold it to a friend.

I hadn’t been inside our old Navion since we had waved goodbye to it four months earlier, and it was an interesting experience stepping back into it.  It was home, but not our home.  Sure enough, there was a small puddle of water building on the floor near the bathroom and the definite plink, plink, plink of water dripping.  It was a baffler.  It sounded exactly like the shower dripping, but there wasn’t any water in the shower, just a growing puddle beneath it.  I was stumped.  Until that leak was stopped it just wouldn’t be practical to run the water.

As I stepped back into our new Navion I wondered why, after 42,000 miles of flawless operation, this drip suddenly happened.  Then it occurred to me that this was the first time the Navion had be winterized and de-winterized as we had previously kept it stored in a heated garage.  My thinking, of course, went to the dark side with visions of a dealer ripping out the shower walls.  Grrrrr. It was looking to be a long weekend.

Somewhere in the back of my mind a LED light bulb went on:  check the View/Navion forum on Yahoo.  With an excellent AT&T hotspot connection I clicked and typed my way to the forum tech site and searched for “shower leak.”  Within seconds a list displayed and, sure enough, there was a posting called “Shower stall leaking” that almost perfectly matched what I was seeing.  Reading that post and some other comments appended to it led me to conclude that one of the water feed connectors to the shower was the culprit.  Great, now I had a good idea of what was happening, now how could I fix it?

The next Internet stop was Winnebago’s web site where in the Resource section you can look up and download technical drawings for every coach they’ve made for years (that’s a BIG Winnebago advantage).  I quickly found the right PDF file and downloaded it.  The 3-D CAD drawing perfectly illustrated how the water pipes ran to the access panel.  Armed with this information, I popped the screw covers from around the faucet control, cut away the silicone caulking, and easily popped out the hot and cold faucet valves.  The moment I did so I could see the drip, drip, drip at the hot water connection.

Now, Moab’s not a very big town, but Walker’s True Value Hardware has an impressive inventory and after about ten minutes of peering at various connectors I found one that had the proper compression washer.

Back at Tom and Margaret’s Navion I popped in the new washer, tightened the connection, and turned the water back on.  No leak!  All fixed.  I squirted a new bead of silicone around the panel and secured the screws.  And as I did the endorphins of self-satisfaction and relief brought a big smile.  Now, to non-mechanical folks it may seem like I possessed a miraculous talent, but to many of those who are far more mechanically adept, I know they’re thinking, “so what’s the big deal?”

Sure, I might have puzzled my way through this repair, but the process was made so much easier by three critical Winnebago assets:

#1 There is a ton of specific wisdom that exists on the independent Yahoo Winnebago forums.

#2 The company has amazingly detailed technical documentation that is easy to access and understand.

#3 Winnebago’s choice to use readily available standard mechanical parts increases the likelihood that you won’t be stuck in a small town without options.

Now we’re back on track for RV training orientation 101 and I’m even looking forward to tomorrow’s chapter:  how to dump.


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