LXE Water/Plumbing Improvements

Quick connects for hoses.  After many scraped knuckles from trying to screw the water hose onto the camper inlet in a tight space, we gave up and opted for the same kind of "quick-connects" we use on our garden hoses.  We tried several different models before we found ones that fit inside the water access door, and had to remove the handy-dandy grippers on the connectors, but the results were well worth it.  We use Teflon plumbing tape for leak-proof joints.  Both ends of our water and utility hoses, as well as the spigot "Y", are now easy and quick to connect. 

New faucet.  The previous owners had the factory replace the original faucet.  The replacement unit was plastic, however, and developed a crack in the spout.  When we bought the camper, the countertop was already a bit swollen from the leaking faucet, so replacement with a Shurflo folding faucet was a priority.  To allow enough room to work, I first had to remove the sink.  Removing the existing faucet left three holes in the countertop - two from the OEM faucet, and one from the plastic replacement.  Fortunately, the stems of the Shurflo faucet fit in two of the holes, with just a bit of filing.  (That put the faucet a bit off-center, but it was better than drilling more holes in the countertop.)  Finding material to cover the third hole, and serve as a base for the new faucet, was a challenge.  The solution was to use my Dremel tool to cut a baseplate from a black plastic clipboard and use a hole-saw bit to cut the stem holes.  I glued O rings around the holes, and rounded the corners and edges of the plate on a grinding wheel.  Sandpaper would probably work for finishing, but the grinding wheel was faster.  The result is a good-looking, durable faucet.. 

Before I reset the sink, I rolled a "snake" of plumber's putty around the sink hole to seal the edge and keep countertop spills from running into the cabinet below.

Gray-water jug.  A 5-gal Blitz diesel jug from Wal-Mart was our favorite gray-water jug for the Classic, since it fit perfectly under the drain.  The LXE, however, is 7" higher and the camper's drain line terminates in a 1.5" male-threaded pipe.  To connect the drain to the jug, I used a 1.5" branch tailpiece, with a 3/4" branch.  I sawed off the large unthreaded end and plugged it with a rubber stopper, caulked and held in place with a couple of screws.  Looking inside a branch tailpiece, you can see a small ridge, or dam, that's meant to prevent backflow from the branch.  With my Dremel, I cut and filed it away so that water has a smooth course from the threaded end through the branch.  A piece of old C-PAP tubing fit perfectly over the branch barbs.  To collect gray water in the jug, it's a simple matter to screw the tailpiece on the camper drain and stick the hose in the jug. 

Sewer connection.  The camper drain was also a problem for connecting a sewer hose.  It took several trips to Lowe's to figure how to quickly and easily connect a standard RV sewer hose to 1.5" male threads on the drain.  A 2" x 1.5" pipe hub donut fit snugly inside the sewer hose.  In the small hole of the rubber hub, I stuck a sawed-off threaded sink-drain extension tube, after wrapping it with duct tape to make a tight fit.  The hub and extension tube stay connected to the RV sewer hose.  To connect the hose to the camper drain, I use a short sink-drain tailpiece with a slip-joint nut on each end.  At the campsite, I screw one nut on the camper drain, and the other nut on the threads sticking out of the hub.  To support the flexible hose, I use a sliding support from Camping World.  It's a great invention!

Winterizing.  Since we never used an on-board water tank, I removed the very large one from the camper.  I left the pump in place, however, and found it perfect for adding antifreeze to the water lines. I slipped a piece of tubing over the barbed inlet, stuck the other end of the tubing into a jug of antifreeze, and turned on the pump.  In seconds, all the water lines were winterized.  When I was done, I unscrewed the barbed cap on the pump and replaced it with a solid one.  The barbed cap and tubing will stay coiled behind the water heater til I need it again.

The water heater was not originally equipped with a bypass, so the only way to get antifreeze into the hot-water lines was to fill the water heater with it first - requiring a total of 8 gallons!  In the process of installing a bypass, I discovered that the valves in the kit were designed to connect male hose ends to female heater inlet and outlet.  I reversed the installation, but could not turn the valve handles in the opposite direction - brass stop tabs prevented it.  I unscrewed the handles so that I could pull them out far enough to miss the tabs and get the water flowing toward the bypass.  It worked!

Shower faucet.  I didn't like the design or looks of the original faucet.  It included a tub spigot that we didn't need, and the faucet handles were easy to bump and open accidentally.  A new faucet, with no spigot, was inexpensive and easy to install. 

Water system drain improvement.  The factory-installed drain for the water system was located under the heater, close to the camper floor and to the inside of the streetside frame rail.  To open the drain, I had to squat down, look under the camper to locate it, then reach to my limit.  In addition, the valve was a bit stiff and flimsy.  Since we don't like to travel with the added weight of a full HW tank, opening and closing the drain was an irritating part of each campsite setup.  To make the job easier, I added a valve to a length of  1/2" CPVC pipe, put a hose barb elbow on the other end of the pipe, and connected that barb to the original barbed drain with a piece of hose. Two copper hangers keep the pipe firmly in place.  The original drain valve stays open, and my new valve is conveniently located just below the city-water inlet.