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Old 09-06-2014, 04:42 PM   #1
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Water Pump Quit, Extremely Hot to Touch

We had an interesting issue with the water pump today. Suddenly quit working after having no '"visible" problems. I reached into the water pump and it was too hot to touch. After letting it cool for a bit it worked just fine. Any ideas, is it starting to go out? Currently we are running on solar but batteries have a good charge.

TIA,
Steve
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Old 09-06-2014, 05:32 PM   #2
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Howdy Steve,

First thing I'd check is the pump inlet - most of them have a small screen filter there. If its clogged of course the pump won't work right. Maybe it could cause overheating?

Is it an Artis pump? There have been problems reported on a number of sites with the Artis pumps. The Shurflo is a "direct replacement" if you need to replace it.

Shurflo Revolution RV 12V Water Pump 3GPM - $59.99
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Old 09-06-2014, 06:28 PM   #3
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Robert,
Yes it is an Artis. I may try to pick up a replacement just to have. But an additional piece of info. I just did the dishes (I always trickle the water vs "running" it) and the pump heated up quite quickly. When we get to a CG with hookups I will drain the water tank and check the inlet screen. Will post my findings.

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Old 09-06-2014, 07:14 PM   #4
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Good to know Steve.
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Old 09-06-2014, 07:47 PM   #5
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I too would first be suspect of it not getting water for some reason. Regardless of the problem, it sure sounds like the pump could be toast.
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Old 09-06-2014, 08:19 PM   #6
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Could it be the trickling of the water rather than "running" the water? Just a thought.

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Old 09-06-2014, 09:03 PM   #7
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Could it be the trickling of the water rather than "running" the water? Just a thought.

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Shouldn't make a difference. The pump's job is to maintain a constant pressure in the lines, whether you run the water a little or a lot. Steve is probably trickling the water in order to conserve it. A well functioning pump works either way.
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Old 09-06-2014, 09:41 PM   #8
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I'm not an expert by any means, but I would imagine that water flowing through the pump is the means by which it is cooled. If that assumption is correct, then it must be running dry if it is getting hot. I would therefore lean in the direction that the filter is plugged, blocking water flow. On the other hand, can the pump motor be heard running when demand is created? If not, then the problem is probably more serious than a plugged screen. And if it quit suddenly rather than gradually...... Again, just me thinking out loud.
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Old 09-06-2014, 09:49 PM   #9
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I don't know if the water provides much cooling for the motor, since it only goes through the pump head, but certainly a stalled electric motor get hot fast - lots of current and no airflow. Could it be jamming, so it doesn't turn at all for some periods?

When the water is "trickled", the pump should cycle on and off as required to maintain pressure (as Robert mentioned). Is it cycling (typically goes on for only a second or two, then off for a similar time), or is it running steadily even for this low water flow?
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Old 09-06-2014, 10:30 PM   #10
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I don't know if the water provides much cooling for the motor, since it only goes through the pump head, but certainly a stalled electric motor get hot fast - lots of current and no airflow. Could it be jamming, so it doesn't turn at all for some periods?

When the water is "trickled", the pump should cycle on and off as required to maintain pressure (as Robert mentioned). Is it cycling (typically goes on for only a second or two, then off for a similar time), or is it running steadily even for this low water flow?
Yep, that's the question. If the pump STAYS on it may have a faulty pressure sensor and doesn't know when to cycle. That'd make it run hot too. I would still check the inlet to make sure there is nothing obstructing it though.
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Old 09-07-2014, 07:00 AM   #11
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Thanks all, let me try to answer some of the questions:

Yes, tricking to conserve water

When it quit the red pump light was on, faucet on but no water and no pump sound

While trickling the pump surges with the water flow, when faucet opened fully pump runs (somewhat smoothly)

Also lights flicker when pump is running-this may be battery issues I think I am beginning to see (related?)

Steve
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Old 09-07-2014, 09:36 AM   #12
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Steve,
When we started dry camping with our new 21 we found that we had a problem with our water pump. Running the water full on, the pump ran nice and steady with plenty of flow and pressure. Flushing the toilet, taking a shower, filling the sink for dishes, and everything was fine. Washing hands, brushing teeth, rinsing off dishes, etc. while using restricted flow and the pump would pulse quickly and the lights would flash. This pulsing, full on - full off - full on, created pressure surges in the plumbing lines that caused a good amount of banging noise.

Reace suggested that we may have air in our lines so we followed his instructions on how to clear the air, but that didn’t help.

I asked Reace if there was an adjustment I could try (I didn’t get any paperwork on the pump at delivery) because the pump was fully capable of providing all the pressure and flow needed. I thought there were thresholds that could be adjusted wrong from the factory. He said yes. He gave me some instructions, and sent me the missing paperwork. After making the adjustment there’s no more surging, no more noisy plumbing, and no more lights flashing, even while trickling.

Our new pump has two adjustments, one for pressure shut off, and one for bypass. Reace suggested I adjust the pressure shut off and leave the bypass alone. I followed his instructions and the pump now runs steady when the water is on, no matter how much is coming out of the tap. It’s easy to tell if the adjustment you make is incorrect. If it’s adjusted too far in one direction, the surging continues while trickling. If it’s too far in the other direction, the pump continues to run after you turn off the water.

Reace has a great deal of knowledge, and he's more then willing to share. Can't get a better source then that.

Hope this is relevant, and helpful
Tom
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Old 09-07-2014, 04:43 PM   #13
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Thanks Tom, will keep this in mind. I am going to try and nurse this for the next 3 or so weeks until we get home. Hopefully we can make this last. Access in my trailer is limited as I have the fresh water tank under the bed and I really don't want to have to take everything apart while on the road. Will post after I figure out the issue but it may be a while.

Steve
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Old 09-07-2014, 04:58 PM   #14
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I'd suggest having a back-up plan ready to go. A lot of time the heat is a byproduct of bushings/bearings beginning to seize up. The fuse should pop if it seizes up but things, including the wiring can get hot.

A pump, or any device in the process of seizing up or with extra friction can draw more current. This situation can cause flickering lights etc.

I'd check your battery voltage and do other basic checks such as the integrity of connections etc. just as a precaution but it does sound like a failing pump.

I hope you can get home without having to deal with it on the road but it could fail completely unless the problem is external to the pump itself.

Good luck

Ron
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Old 09-07-2014, 05:09 PM   #15
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Tom,
Thanks for sharing your experience of water pump. Where is the Shurflo pressure adjust valve located? I can identify the two bypass switches.

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Old 09-07-2014, 07:37 PM   #16
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There are two adjustments on mine. There's one (bypass adjustment) located on the body of the pump, close to the strainer, above or below, depending on your mount, of the water inlet and outlet.
The other adjustment is located in what appears to be more in-line with the inlet and outlet, centered up on the body and farthest away from the electric motor. This one is the pressure shut off. The enclosure of the pressure shut off is more square while the bypass enclosure is more round. At least this is how my pump is configured. It would be nice if the manufacturer would indicate which is which. Lucky Reace is here to support us.
Hope this makes sense, and helps out,
Tom
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Old 09-07-2014, 07:59 PM   #17
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I agree with Ron in BC. Have a back up plan. Find out what kind of pump you need and buy it. Wait 'til you get home, and see if you can fix the existing pump. If you can, return the new one. If it quits on you and you're not home, install the new one.
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Old 09-07-2014, 08:06 PM   #18
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Things that get hot and shouldn't give me the willys. When I was a kid, we almost lost our home to a cord on a percolating coffee pot. I'd be disconnecting that sucker immediately. YMMV
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Old 09-07-2014, 09:04 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TAfraser View Post
There are two adjustments on mine. There's one (bypass adjustment) located on the body of the pump, close to the strainer, above or below, depending on your mount, of the water inlet and outlet.
The other adjustment is located in what appears to be more in-line with the inlet and outlet, centered up on the body and farthest away from the electric motor. This one is the pressure shut off. The enclosure of the pressure shut off is more square while the bypass enclosure is more round. At least this is how my pump is configured. It would be nice if the manufacturer would indicate which is which. Lucky Reace is here to support us.
Hope this makes sense, and helps out,
Tom
Tom,
Thank you for the info.

Tonny LR
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Old 10-08-2014, 10:12 AM   #20
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Water Pump Update:

I did not have reason to use the WP much the last few weeks of our trip since we mostly had water connections. But when I did use it I monitored it very closely and never had the heat or shut off issue again. Once home I removed the grit screen and it was perfectly clean. So for now if I need to use the WP I will just monitor closely and see what happens. I may just change it out before our next boondocking trip just to be sure.

Thanks for all the information.

Steve
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