View original topic: Me and my RV, Vanagon, Westy Plumbing With pictures!!! Page: 1, 2, 3  Next
mightyart Mon Jun 20, 2005 9:24 am

Iíve had my Westy for about a year now and Iím just getting around to getting the camping water system in shape. When I first got it I thought the sink was a bit silly, the storage tank made more sense to me than the city water connection. After camping a few times Iíve started to appreciate the city water connection. One of the first things you learn about camping in a Westy is the less you have to use the sliding door in the morning the better, it makes a lot of noise in the peace and quiet of state park, and it also lets out all the hot/cold air you may have inside. So on a cold morning it is really nice to get the water for your coffee, to wash up and brush them teeth in the warmth of the Westy. The water system on a Westy is very simple, if you know a couple of things. If you have the Camper supplement to your owners manual it should explain things to you some, but it doesnít tell everything so read on!
On the Outside of your Westy you will find three doors, the far right is the fill for the onboard water tank, the middle is the electric receptacle and the far left is the city water connection.
Letís start with the on board water tank. You have a 50-liter (13.2 gal) located in the cabinet next to the z-bed. It can be reached though the filler port on the outside of the van.

When you open this you will note that it is lockable, most Westy owner lose this key.
When I first got my Westy I didnít get the key, so I started researching and found that this is a simple lock and takes a basic key. One can be ordered here:
I havenít ordered a key so I donít know anything about the people described in the link.
One Day I got the brilliant idea to grab the cap and see if it was locked. A slight pull told me it was not, actually it had came apart, I found a few parts in the bottom of the tank..

If you donít have the key donít sweat it. The tank can still be filled from inside the van.
I find it easier to fill from the inside.
Here is a disclaimer from my 1981 camper supplement:
ďRemember that any weight carried affects fuel economy. Consider filling your tank before you reach the campsite and not at homeĒ.
This weekend I started cleaning the system; first I started with the tank. I used a mixture of Bleach and water, being careful not to get any on any fabric inside the van. I used a rough 1-part bleach to 4 parts water, this was the first time I cleaned it so I went a bit strong.
The access hole for the tank is under the rear ďhatchĒ. You take out the two screws and remove the plate. You should find a nice big screw off cap. If there is any old water in there you might want to drain it out first. The tank drain is right below the tank under the van. There are two caps under the van; the front one is the sink drain the rear one is the water tank drain. I parked the van close to the garden hose, rinsed the inside good first, let it drain then put some water in and my bleach. I got a clean rag and wiped down the whole inside of the tank with the bleach water. Then I wiped down the big cap and rinsed it off, drained the bleach water and wiped off the inside of the tank drain and drain cap.
Then gave it a quick rinse.
Now if you have the correct stuff your faucet should have tow settings, we are concerned with the ďTĒ setting this is for the onboard tank. There are two types of pumps, one that was inside the water tank and one that is outside the tank, I have the outside one.

Take your shelves out of the cabinet and lets check our connections. Letís put some water and a bit of bleach in our tank and clean, and check our pump and lines.
Turn the faucet to ďTĒ can you hear the pump come on? If the pump comes on it may take a second or two for the water to come out, it also may spit and cough for a bit till all the air gets out of the line. You should have a good stream of water, If it seems like a trickle you may have a worn out pump or a clog somewhere, itís a simple system, should not be hard to find and fix any problems. Run some of your bleach water trough there, rinse out the tank and run fresh water through the system, and give it all a good rinse to get rid of any bleach residue. Iím going to go over it with a milder bleach solution before I use it for water, it may sit a while before itís used. The Camper supplement recommends that you drain after each use and clean it before each use; also drain in the winter if the temp gets below 32, makes sense to me.
The City water connection is the one Iíll be using mostly this summer. This allows you to connect to the tap at a campground that has water. Mine works very well as long as you follow a few basic rules.
One of the keys to having the city water work is keeping the pressure coming out of the tap to a minimum. And if this is the first time you tried it you MUST check it for leaks.
Mine was put in badly by a PO and would have made a terrible mess if I had hooked the water to it. One connection you MUST check is behind the city water receptacle.

If this leaks or drips for any length of time the fiberglass insulation acts like a sponge and hold the water against the steel and wala! Rust. Over a few years this could destroy the whole side of the Westy like this one here:
A five-minuet check and some Teflon tape could have prevented that. Be careful taking off your plastic receptacles and donít over tighten when you reinstall then they get brittle with age. One thing I have that came with my Westy was an inline pressure regulator.

They used to sell this very one a Gowesty, but havenít checked in a while. If you have a regulator hook it to the tap then hook your hose to it (if you donít have a short white ďRVĒ hose a garden hose works, you can pick up an rv hose pretty easily).
When you hook your hose to the receptacle make sure you have a good rubber gasket.

Once you are all hooked up, turn the facet inside the van to ďCĒ Go outside to the hose Tap and very slowly start opening it. (I hope you didn't forget to take the cap off the sink drain under the van) turning the valve slowly is very important especially if you donít a pressure regulator. Once it is open a small bit, let the hose fill up and look in at the faucet, it may spit and cough till the air gets out. Is the water running? We just want a trickle if itís going like crazy back off, tighten your connections if necessary. Once you get the facet to your liking using the outside tap, turn the sink faucet to the off position and check for leaks.

If leaks are found turn off the water and tighten or use Teflon tape if they are weeping. Once you are sure everything is leak free put it all back together and your ready to go! Just remember when you hook up at the campsite turn the water tap very little, and If you donít have a regulator and the tap is fussy you can kink the hose a bit to get the pressure down. Remember the key is to keep the pressure low going into the van.
Now go Camping!

DanJReed Mon Jun 20, 2005 10:13 am

Nicely done! FAQ or Sticky time!!!

Twinkeeler Mon Jun 20, 2005 1:10 pm

This came at the perfect time. This weekend I was playing around with the city water connection and I got it to work for a little while, then it would not work anymore. The water from the city tap would actually start filling up the water tank in the vanagon, but would not come out the sink. Also, I could not get a good connection between the vanagon and the hose and so I had water leaking down the outside of the van. I even bought a new garden hose rubber gasket, but still did not seal. Any trick to this? Our pump does not work, so I will need to be replacing that, and also need to get a drain cap for the water tank.

r39o Mon Jun 20, 2005 1:23 pm

This is VERY timely for me. Because most of my interior is out because we had to fix a nasty dent at the floor line on the left side. That is a tough corner to pull as the floor meets the side and the lower rocker which then makes 3 pieces all welded together. Most of my campy stuff is out at the moment until it comes back from paint at the end of the week.

So the upshot here is to seal things. Not only the connections, but the seams and any place the water can run too. I will paint more on the inside panels of my Westy now. I had the insulation in but the side covers off and taped, yet water still got in and that insulation is like a sponge. It took days in the sun to dry out. I am not sure it is great idea to have the insulation right behind those cabinets.

What do you think about that?

myendaba Mon Jun 20, 2005 1:36 pm

Hey this is great, something else to check out before my 4th of July trip. I hope more people follow your lead and post photos it really helps to see what your talking about. :lol:

r39o Mon Jun 20, 2005 6:56 pm

I've been taking lots of fotos too. My Westy is a theft recovery and I bought it off the original owner it was stolen from. In fact, it was advertised here on Samba about two months ago. It's too bad the camera was left in the car we swapped for the van otherwise I would have more more pictures from the crap hole place in North Las Vegas we had to pick it up from.

For now I am doing lots of reading. I figure I do not have to reinvent the wheel. I am trying to figure out effective ways to enhance our van for future use. EX: NLX form factor PC with GPS and LC Display. Maybe a Sat setup too for TV. Stuff like that.

See a few pix when we got it in to the shop at home: More coming...

mightyart Tue Jun 21, 2005 7:19 am

r39o wrote: EX: NLX form factor PC with GPS and LC Display. Maybe a Sat setup too for TV. Stuff like that..

Nice Westy, keep taking them photo's. I lurked here for a year before I got mine, and that's what I liked to see.
My best hope when I got mine was to do very little mechanical work, and put in a nice computer system for everything, tv, dvd, navigation, mp3s, edit photo's ect. I don't want a "pimp my ride" inverter heavy fire hazzard. Something like a laptop but built in. Well I've been working on the engine and the drive train more than I had hoped of course, So a computer is on the back burner. I think I've got it figured it out, I've gotten the stereo the way I what it, this will also be the sound for the computer. I can't see putting seperate systems in, anyway I just need to save my pennies. :wink:

r39o Tue Jun 21, 2005 9:07 am

I have lurked Samba for years for vintage accessories. Got some kool stuff. There is a lot of stuff going on here. Then we decided we should get a nice Vanagon. I looked about for several months seriously and a year on and off for a Vanagon Weekender. We still may get one. I used various resources. I missed some nice ones. The ad for my van was placed at 11:30 I was in contact with the owner by 12:15 and had we had a tentative deal by 3PM on Friday. Saturday we drove to Las Vegas. Sunday we traded cars and money and pink slips. Monday we U-Hauled it home after we deemed it unsafe to drive especially with the kids on board. What an adventure!

So instead of buying one ready to use (NONE OF THEM ARE!) we got one that is basically solid - but has several warts. I "paid" in trade for it $2500. A fair price especially considering they gave us money and the van for our 1997 nice red Jetta. Thankfully, the Westy had a replaced engine with new seals (not rebuild but a nice used engine) and needed a lot of deferred maintanance. So now it has no leaks, fresh fluids, new filters, etc and runs great (barring lifter noises every now and then which go away.) I just talked to the paint place and it goes into the booth tonight or tomorrow morning. So we will be working over the weekend on it. There is a LOT to do. I am upgrading to electric mirrors and cental locking. I have an 89 parts van for all that. I may even transfer the cruise control. I am changing all the windows for late ones. I want it nice and reliable, just lke everybody else.

I thank you for you post, I have been reading about things like what you did, here and there. It is good help. Before I put the cabinets back in, I will do more work back behind them. I will put seam sealer or chalking back there too. I want to do things for the long haul, as I typically keep my fixed up cars more than 10 years. I sort of redo one and keep it. Just like a new car, except I save the money and have a hell of a time doing it. I am satisified. Especially when I hear the neighbor bemoan how much he had to spend for his mini van and how it crapped out. Hee, hee.....

Jedi Wed May 04, 2011 8:29 pm

Hey there guys I am needing some pics of how the later style water pump and switch are hooked up in your vans. I have mod'd my tank to accept a later style pump. I am looking for some idea's as how the electric is ran. The bentley book is not going to help me much here as I have none of the stock wires for the camper so I am running a fully new system. The Delta six wire colors do not match the colors of the switch. What did they run to?

Timwhy Thu May 05, 2011 3:26 am

My westy is an 87 and this is how it's wired.
sink pump wires.

You can see the blue and the brown wires connected to the black and yellow wires.

The yellow and black go to the facet switch to turn on the pump. The other wires are for the
LED panel showing water level.

This pic shows the pump wire coming out of the tank next to the cover.

Jedi Thu May 05, 2011 11:46 am

Sweet thanks. Those are great pics. I have the connector from the pump but the yellow and black wires are cut.So they run to the sinkswitch. Were dose the power tie in from the battery and fuse? This is what I am working with. I am still looking for a panel indicator for water level to. I will have that soon.

Jedi Thu May 05, 2011 8:39 pm

Ok I have got it

Timwhy Fri May 06, 2011 2:14 am

I would say that you are missing the small fuse box as well as the LED panel for the stove/sink?
These are all interconnected to one another, if you have all the bits and pieces then it would be easier
to connect the puzzle. The sink should be an 8amp fuse and the fridge a 16 amp. If you look at page
97.33b, you'll see how its
connected through the LED panel.

Maybe the faucet switch is bad and that's why you are blowing fuses? These things don't last

On my sink I have an additional switch added between the faucet switch and the pump so that I
can turn the power on/off.

Jedi Fri May 06, 2011 7:28 am

All fixed!! :oops: I had something tied in that was not supposed to be. Its all better now! :lol:

kamzcab86 Fri May 06, 2011 10:04 am

Jedi wrote: So you are correct. I have reviewed the wire job and it is hard wired correctly. This switch is faulty~~ Brand new "Delta Six" faucet :? I was going to upgrade to a Sureflo too. So it looks like they are not gaining any new quality standards :shock:

No, I got one of the last poorly-made faucets. Switched to a ShurFlo a few weeks ago and haven't looked back. But that's neither here nor there. The OEM faucet I got last year did one thing correctly: powered the pump. As was described in the other faucet thread, you've got a wiring issue. :wink:

Edit: Just saw you got it fixed! =D>

Motolocogringo Mon Aug 15, 2011 7:02 am

Great post!. I just bought my first Westy and your posting is going to be of great value to me. Thanx! Shayne :D

SteelB12 Sat Jun 16, 2012 5:29 pm

Has anyone changed the water lines for their tank?? I just got the clear hose (and the funky ridged flexible hose from GW and was wondering if it is necessary to remove the cabinets just to replace the water lines.

kamzcab86 Sat Jun 16, 2012 7:25 pm

SteelB12 wrote: Has anyone changed the water lines for their tank?? I just got the clear hose (and the funky ridged flexible hose from GW and was wondering if it is necessary to remove the cabinets just to replace the water lines.

No, it isn't necessary to remove the cabinets. Tape the two hoses together and pull the new one through using the old hose.

SteelB12 Mon Jun 18, 2012 6:28 am

Thanks, I'll give that a try

dobryan Mon Jun 18, 2012 7:06 am

Do a smooth job of taping the ends together end to end. The lines pass thru a couple of plastic tie downs behind the cabinets and your tape job will get snagged if it is not a good one. YMMV.

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