RV Plumbing Repairs You Can Do Yourself: Faucets & Showers

rv-plumbing-issues-are-easy-to-repair-by-Arlington-County.jpg Leaky faucets, faulty shower controls, eventually RV plumbing problems will happen to most all RVers.

With many RVs being stored through the cold winter months, ice expansion from just a little trapped water can crack some small internal part of your water system’s fixtures and wreak havoc.

Come spring, the first time you turn on the kitchen faucet, water will be running all over the countertop.

No need to panic. Replacing a leaking RV faucet is a reasonably easy do-it-yourself project that requires more flexibility than mechanical knowledge.

Don’t waste your time or money trying to rebuild the original equipment plastic faucets.  This is the time to upgrade your RV faucets to household quality.

 

How To Do RV Plumbing Repairs Yourself

Your biggest concern will be to carefully match up the fittings on the damaged faucet to the new faucet that you’ve purchased as a replacement.

A good step-by-step set of instructions (with pictures) will guide you through the whole process:

This video walks you through the process of rebuilding a Delta kitchen faucet:

 

The hardest part of the whole RV plumbing project will be trying to get into a position where you can see what you’re doing. Once you upgrade to household-quality fixtures, replacement parts are readily available. 

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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  • Anonymous

    Hi I recently bought a used 94 gulfstream.My question is about the water heater. When i turn it on it will ignite then shut right back off. what should i check?

    • Curtis

      nickkitty, It sounds like the thermocouple has failed. When you first ignite it the thermocouple senses the heat from the flame. If it isn’t functioning the gas will automatically turn off because it thinks it failed to light.

      • Anonymous

        the owners manual shows that there is no thermal couple on the diagram or on the parts list do you have any other ideas

        • Curtis

          With an older unit (’94) I’m pretty confident in saying, yes it has a thermocouple that will shut off gas flow. It may be listed under a different name. As example the Atwood terminology calls it a Safety Pilot Assembly. See this link for an example: http://www.rvdealership.com/rvdstore/index.aspx?CustomerNumber=885555
          In this instance it is a complete pilot burner assembly with the thermocouple attached to it. Note, the thermocouple is not an electrical device, it will not show up on an electrical diagram. It is listed under “gas controls”. Retrieve the brand name, model number, and serial number from the water heater and go to this site: http://www.pplmotorhomes.com/parts/rv-water-heater-parts-1.htm
          and you should be able to find it.

        • Curtis

          With an older unit (’94) I’m pretty confident in saying, yes it has a thermocouple that will shut off gas flow. It may be listed under a different name. As example the Atwood terminology calls it a Safety Pilot Assembly. See this link for an example: http://www.rvdealership.com/rvdstore/index.aspx?CustomerNumber=885555
          In this instance it is a complete pilot burner assembly with the thermocouple attached to it. Note, the thermocouple is not an electrical device, it will not show up on an electrical diagram. It is listed under “gas controls”. Retrieve the brand name, model number, and serial number from the water heater and go to this site: http://www.pplmotorhomes.com/parts/rv-water-heater-parts-1.htm
          and you should be able to find it.

      • Anonymous

        the owners manual shows that there is no thermal couple on the diagram or on the parts list do you have any other ideas

    • Curtis

      nickkitty, It sounds like the thermocouple has failed. When you first ignite it the thermocouple senses the heat from the flame. If it isn’t functioning the gas will automatically turn off because it thinks it failed to light.

  • Anonymous

    Hi I recently bought a used 94 gulfstream.My question is about the water heater. When i turn it on it will ignite then shut right back off. what should i check?

  • plumbersinreading

    Thanks for the insights. You might want to visit us at plumbers in reading

  • Anonymous

    I needed to know how to repair the outside shower faucets. We can’t seem to get the old faucets out. Instead of just replacing the hose and the two knobs to adjust the water, my husband has cracked the whole thing. Now we are trying to figure out how to get a whole new assembly inside the outside shower box. Help.

    • Curtis

      Hi Debbobroberts, Your outside shower comes as a complete unit held in place by screws around the perimeter of the box. Once you remove those screws, and pry the box loose from the RV you’ll be able to disconnect the plumbing behind it. Then you will likely have to buy a whole new box complete with the faucet and everything.

    • Curtis

      Hi Debbobroberts, Your outside shower comes as a complete unit held in place by screws around the perimeter of the box. Once you remove those screws, and pry the box loose from the RV you’ll be able to disconnect the plumbing behind it. Then you will likely have to buy a whole new box complete with the faucet and everything.

  • Anonymous

    I needed to know how to repair the outside shower faucets. We can’t seem to get the old faucets out. Instead of just replacing the hose and the two knobs to adjust the water, my husband has cracked the whole thing. Now we are trying to figure out how to get a whole new assembly inside the outside shower box. Help.

  • Anonymous

    Great article!

  • http://www.localtraders.com/knowle-B-tradesmen/ Karen Owle

    Thank you for this useful walkthrough – it still looks a fairly tricky job!

  • Brenda Morris

    Any ideas why our 5th wheel would have good water pressure at the kitchen sink and toilet but only a drip at the bathroom sink and nothing at all at the shower, Our first thought was the back flow preventer valve but we replaced it and it made no change what so ever. Can’t see any leaks anywhere.

    • Curtis

      Brenda check fir grit dirt in the strainer on the faucet and inside the shower wand. debris in the tank may have plugged them up