RV Faucet Repair: How To Replace The Kitchen Faucet & Shower Fixtures

rv-kitchen-faucet.jpg Last Spring when I brought my Dutchman out of storage to prepare for our first RV trip of the year, as soon as I pressurized the water system I saw I had a problem.  The kitchen faucet was leaking water all over the countertop. 

The one weak link in the plumbing systems in most RVs produced today is the plastic faucet fixtures used throughout.  Even though they might be chrome plated, most are still made of plastic and have an unusually high failure rate. 

 

 

Delta Kitchen Faucet Repair

Our RV travel trailer was only a year old, probably still covered under warranty, when the kitchen faucet repair became necessary.

I chose to upgrade the kitchen faucet fixture in our RV, rather than replace it with the same low buck faucet that came from the factory.  A quick trip to the local home center provided me with a quality all-metal faucet fixture made by Delta that was a suitable replacement.  By upgrading to a quality unit, any further failure of seals or seats could be remedied with rebuild kits that are easily found at any hardware store.

 

How To Replace A Kitchen Faucet In An RV
 
Today’s RV manufacturers have done one thing right.  They’ve made the task of upgrading your kitchen faucet a simple swap-out procedure.  If you’re replacing the faucet yourself, the hardest part of the whole project will be that the fittings are located behind the sink and may be darn hard to get at. 

With the water pump OFF, bleed the water pressure by opening the faucet.  Do this with both Hot and Cold, as this will allow water to drain back away from the faucet — reducing the amount of water that may spill.

You will likely be working by feel, as there just isn’t enough room to get in a position to see what you’re doing.  Follow the water lines up to the faucet and you will find a nut that attaches it to the faucet.  It will require one special tool for this project, a inexpensive basin wrench that can be purchased at your local hardware store.

Using the wrench to break the fitting loose, remove the water supply lines from the faucet.  Keep track of which is which, as the Hot will go on the left side and Cold on the right side.  Some manufacturers use RED water lines to identify the hot water.

With the water disconnected, you will find 2 large nuts with protruding tabs that secure the faucet itself to the countertop.  Equally hard to reach, though they can usually be loosened by hand pressure alone.  With the nuts removed, the faucet can be lifted from the counter.

Take the faucet with you when you shop for a replacement.  There are many different configurations, some will require 2 holes in the counter, some will fit with 3 holes.  There may be differences in the water line attachment fittings, as well.  You want an exact match with the under the counter part of the kitchen faucet fixture or this project will quickly get out of hand.  What you see above the counter can be chosen to suit your specific tastes.

Installation is a simple matter of doing the same as disassembly, only in reverse order.  A layer of plumbers putty between the faucet fixture and the counter will make sure water doesn’t migrate under the countertop.

 

How To Replace An RV Shower Fixture

rv-plumbing-shower-fixtures.jpg Replacing the shower fixture in you RV is even easier, providing the manufacturer has supplied a removable panel behind the shower to grant access to the fittings. 

Most RVs have the same standard plastic shower faucet with the handheld sprayer and hose attached.  Unfortunately, a suitable swap-out replacement shower fixture probably won’t be available at the local hardware store.  Amazon.com is a good source for RV shower parts and RV shower fixtures, as is any RV dealership.

 

For the most part, rebuilding or repairing the standard water faucet on your RV just isn’t worth the effort.  Most likely, you won’t be able to obtain seals or parts anyway.  Instead, your money and time are better spent upgrading to a quality unit from a name brand that provides replacement parts and seals.  It just isn’t that expensive to do it right.

Curtis Carper

I’ve been involved in RVing for over 40 yrs -- including camping, building, repairing, and even selling RVs. I’ve owned, used, and repaired almost every class and style of RV ever made. I do all of my own repair work. My other interests include cooking at home, living with an aging dog, and dealing with diabetic issues. If you can combine a grease monkey with a computer geek, throw in a touch of information nut and organization freak, combined with a little bit of storyteller, you've got a good idea of who I am.

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  • denise

    how to change rv shower faucet if manufacturer did not have an access panel to allow for easy repair or change? Help.

  • denise

    how to change rv shower faucet if manufacturer did not have an access panel to allow for easy repair or change? Help.

    • Curtis

      Denise, Current RV manufactures are pretty careful to provide access to the shower faucet. The whole wall panel behind the shower may be designed to be easily removed for access. Look for screws that can be removed to release the whole panel. If removing the whole panel isn’t an option you may have to cut your own access hole. Double and triple check for other options as it is unlikely the factory didn’t leave you a better alternative.

    • Curtis

      Denise, Current RV manufactures are pretty careful to provide access to the shower faucet. The whole wall panel behind the shower may be designed to be easily removed for access. Look for screws that can be removed to release the whole panel. If removing the whole panel isn’t an option you may have to cut your own access hole. Double and triple check for other options as it is unlikely the factory didn’t leave you a better alternative.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jimmy-Betz/100000181171036 Jimmy Betz

      On my 2000 Aljo I had to carefully remove two pieces of molding and a 1/8″ thick piece of paneling about 5 inches wide from ceiling to floor between the shower wall and bathroom door, Then cut out a small section of the actual frame to make enough room for my forearm to get in far enough to unscrew the fitting. It was obviously never met to be changed easily. Check it for leaks before buttoning it back up.

  • Dave Deming

    My shower hose is leaking at the end coming from the top of the (two handle) mixer. I’m trying to figure our how to tighen it up or redo it, but am not sure how the hose is connected.

    • Curtis

      Denise, The hose is attached by the tapered plastic collar that is around it at the mixer valve. It unscrews, or tightens as well. The seal between the hose and the valve is a rubber o-ring of sorts. If it is damaged or distorted that may be the source of the leak. If you over tighten the collar it will also possibly distort the o-ring. If the o-ring is missing, it will leak for sure, and tightening will only break something because everything is plastic.

  • Skihump

    the water in the bathroom works just fine but the water in the kitchen faucet is not working??????

    • Curtis

      Skihump, Likely the kitchen faucet has failed if you get neither hot or cold from it.  Disconnect the lines going to it and hold them into a bucket while you have someone turn the water pump switch on for a couple seconds.  If you get water the problem is the faucet.

  • Urlene

    Curtis!  We sound like twins. My elderly dog is a Sheltie….he looks like  a small version of Lassie. I have fixed/replaced many items on my TT in the 9 years past but this new issue has me worried.  On the out-side shower the R side knob has popped forward and the screw is frozen still after using Liquid Wrench. Water is leaking from hose and underneath.  A 2000 Prowler 29S.
         What do you say, Brother?  Call the service tech?
         Many thanks, Nancy

    • Curtis

      Urlene, Outside showers can be purchased as a complete unit.  Just take out the screws that go around the perimeter of the enclosure and it comes forward enough to disconnect the water lines.  Hook up the new shower enclosure and replace the screws and you’re good to go.  Here’s a link to what comes with it.  http://tiny.cc/b6dxv

  • Wesmcgary

    2006 Coachmen Capri. When you pull up on the hose connected to the faucet to engage the shower the water dead heads. Have removed the hose and shower head and both are clear. Has the faucet failed or is there an easier fix?

  • Curtis

    Wesmcgary, That would be my guess but I have to ask the obvious first.  You do know the water flow can be shut off at the shower head too?

  • Chris

    We are new to owning a popup and have a 1990 Jayco. The camper came with a pump faucet but the previous owners never used the sink and they didn’t have the 5 gallon water tank. We aren’t planning on going to primative sites but want to hook up the camper to the water at campground sites. How can we change the faucet/lines to hook up to the city water connection?
    chris

    • Curtis

      Chris, First, are you sure it isn’t already setup for city water? If there isn’t already a garden hose type connection (City Water Connection) on the side you can purchase one at any RV dealer or online through Amazon. You may have to replace the faucet, I don’t know if it will handle city water pressure. You also need a regulator to put in the water supply line because city water can be way above what RV water lines can handle. Then just run water line from the city water connection and the faucet. Next, do you have a sink drain system that will accommodate the increase in water usage. When water is as easy as turning on the faucet, you will likely use more of it.

  • G.O.

    I know you say to only go to a home center to buy a faucet, but I was wondering if you knew anything about these guys? http://www.durafaucet.com . They seem to have both metal and plastic faucets and most everything I need. I like that they have a lifetime warranty too. You say to stay away from plastic, but I see that all the water piping is plastic now-a-days in RVs anyway. I may be wrong, but aren’t leaks usually caused by bad valves? I guess I am asking if they come with a lifetime warranty against leaks and they are built specifically for RVs and I can save a bunch of money, is there anything else I should be aware of? Thanks!

    • Curtis

      G.O., It’s not so much to only go to a Home Center as it is to avoid an RV dealership. Anything labeled RV is going to be noticeably higher in price. Anywhere you can get a good deal is fine. Plastic faucets are the low end, cheapest quality faucets on the market. Up grading to a brand name fixture will save you money in the long run. Of course most piping is plastic these days and I have no problem with that. In fact I recommend it because repairs are much easier.

  • David

    I have same problem as kris!!!

    • Curtis

      Davd and Kriss, The fittings for the shower are generally accessed through the wall that is covering them. It can be a removable section of paneling or in some instances the whole sheet of paneling is removable. The key is you will usually find screws attaching that wall panel instead of staples.

  • Terri Minetti

    We have a 1990 Prowler. There is a leak under the bathroom sink. It only leaks when the shower spray nozzle is used. I’ve tried to pin point the issue but can’t find the problem.

    • Curtis

      Terri, It should be fairly easy to follow the lines from the shower back to where they splice into the main water line. One thing to consider though is the leak may be coming from water that is escaping from the shower when you take a shower. I had that problem once. I thought it was plumbing but actually water was coming over the shallow lip going into the shower. I installed a 4″ high piece of plexiglass making it much harder for the water to escape and cured the problem.

  • brian

    curtis i am brian and i need your help.
    i have a 2003 forest river cardinal 36 foot 5th wheel and i have a water leak inside the trailer and i cant find it. do you have any ideas or suggestions to help me find it. i have checked all of the connections i could find and i still have the leak. is it possible that the water heater is leaking or the water filter or even the water pump?

    • Curtis

      Brian, The best I can tell you from here is it could be any of what you have listed or more. You could even have a structural leak that is allowing rain water to get in. The best way to determine if it is a water system leak is to turn the 12v water pump on with all faucets off. If it builds up pressure and shuts off without recycling shortly after it’s unlikely you have a plumbing leak. If it does continue to cycle, go to where you see water and investigate carefully. Remember it doesn’t have to be a fitting or fixture leaking, you may have a damaged water line. If the pump doesn’t continue to cycle, the water may be getting in from rain water, or snow melt…you didn’t mention where you are or what conditions you have.

  • brian

    waco texas and it is leaking on the left side of the trailer and running down to the back left slide and exiting the trailer

    • Curtis

      Brian, Still not much I can tell you from here. Start in the area where things start to get wet and keep looking.