Trailers and RVs

On my knees, grasping the toilet

We’ve all been there before. A little too much indulging, or a combination of several beverages that just shouldn’t be combined, and suddenly: OOOOOOH BOY. THIS IS A HELLUVA WAY TO FINISH THE EVENING. To this day I can’t tolerate even the faintest whiff of Amaretto Di Saronno liqueur: bad experience. Really bad.

All of which leads me to the topic of this post: water leaks. Stick with me here.

As mentioned in a previous post, we got the trailer out of storage this past weekend and have since been cleaning it and restocking. Last night after work I decided to connect the garden hose to the water inlet so that I could check for leaks and refill the water heater. Last fall I used my air compressor to blow water out of the lines, so I wasn’t too concerned. Still, as a first-time trailer owner you don’t really know until you’ve gone through the different maintenance routines.

Everything went just fine. I ran water out of all the faucets, flushed the toilet, and the water heater filled up in no time. I was just wrapping up when I noticed a puddle coming from underneath the bathroom door. Oh shat.

I checked where the water line connects to the toilet and saw a drip but couldn’t tell exactly where it was coming from. So, I shut off the water, grabbed a knee pad, flashlight, small mirror and some tools, and went in for a closer look. This involves kneeling on one side of the toilet, resting your chest on the toilet lid and sticking your head in the corner of the bathroom. Super comfortable, and a perfect position for anyone who felt they owed you a swift kick in the ass.

I still couldn’t tell exactly where the leak was coming from, but guessed there might be a pinprick hole in the tube that connects the water valve to the toilet. Wrong. Maybe it’s something to do with the flush pedal? Wrong again, and a super-fun job trying to reconnect the pedal to the toilet. Removed the water valve — looked fine to me. Reconnected the valve (after running to the hardware store for a new hose clamp). Turned the water back on and, yup, still leaking.

By this point I’m using the same foul language I have in other kneeling-in-front-of-toilet episodes, except that the words are somewhat more intelligible.

Cracked water valveRemoved the water valve again. It had to be the culprit. Then I thought — and it pains me to say this — maybe I should look at the owner’s manual for the toilet. Me, the one who says to my wife, Sue, every time she asks how something works: “Did you look at the manual?”

And there was the answer, plain as day on page 9: Freeze Damage Indicator Window: white stress marks indicate freeze damage. White stress marks? Check. Barely perceptible hairline crack in valve? Check.

New valve ordered and hopefully arriving by Friday the 6th? Check.


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