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Old 04-05-2020, 01:44 PM   #1
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water pump freeze

Hi:
We were camped out in the high desert over the weekend and it got down to 15 degrees two nights in a row.
Lucky for furnace.
However, when it gets that cold, our water pump quits. Then when the van warms up, the pump works again.
Is there some kind of gizmo on the water pump that shuts it down when it gets below 20 or so.
Everything is working fine now. This has happened on several trips in the past.
Just wondering,
Pete
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Old 04-05-2020, 02:01 PM   #2
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Not sure if there’s a thermal switch that shuts off the water pump at a certain temp. Most likely the pump or the water line has frozen up. SMB doesn’t really isolate or rather insulate things very well, I found that they ran the water line right up against the outer van wall, with little to no insulation to prevent it from freezing. You could try opening up the cabinet door at night to ensure the pump and connected lines see a bit more of the cabin heat, not much you can do about the water lines buried in the walls though.
Here’s what I found behind my walls
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Old 04-05-2020, 03:49 PM   #3
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Thanks. Will try keeping the cabinet doors open and running the heat. But the pump always comes back. Knock on ice.
Pete
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Old 04-05-2020, 04:56 PM   #4
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Having spent multiple winters skiing and camping out of the van I am thinking a dedicated “Winter Camping Tips” thread is needed. We are two months into this year and have hit a low of -10F in our pop top. Keeping the interior warm is critical for lots of reasons.

If you want a wake up call, get an infrared thermometer and check the temps around the van when it is really cold outside. A closed cabinet will easily be near the outside temperature having been blocked off from any heating. Our layout allows the heated air to be directed towards and around the water tanks and water pump which have openings. That plus lots of insulation has resulted in no freezing issues.

These pumps do not have any low temp cut outs. It is not working because the water is frozen inside of it. At some point the pump will likely fail or crack.

We are hanging out at Flaming Gorge / Dutch John area if anyone is Around. Thxs!
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Old 04-07-2020, 11:46 AM   #5
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I've frozen my pump a couple times, and once it fractured what I will call the swash plate inside the pump, but fortunately I had saved an old pump with a bad motor, so I had the part needed. Since i don't run the heat at night, I try to remember to turn the pump off and open the faucet in hopes it will drain some of the water out of the pump (if I think it will get down to freezing). It would be simple to add a low point drain to completely empty the pump too. I also try to fill the coffee pot so there is no delay in making coffee in the morning.
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Old 04-07-2020, 12:13 PM   #6
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Open door policy

I agree with 1der, a "winter tips" forum thread would be very helpful. I even have a bunch of photos I took years ago to put in a post, but I never got around to it.

As REF said, SMB did a lousy job (at least in my 2010 Ford E-350 RB50) with insulation and water pipe layout. It looks like you have a similar SMB to mine. The quickest fix I would suggest for you is to just take the under-sink cabinet door off, and make sure there isn't any stuff stacked against the pipes. Also open the little access door in front of the water pump under the bench seat/bed. Assuming you run the heat at least a little all night, keeping the interior temp in the 40's, that will help if the outside temp only gets down to 15F or so.I keep all my dish towels on the shelf under the sink most of the year, but in the winter I remove them because they served to keep the pipes to the sink insulated from the warm air.

That should help. I have camped as low as -17F and not had pipes freeze, but there are several more things need to protect the water system if it gets that cold.
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Old 04-07-2020, 12:54 PM   #7
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That's a good tip. Will turn off pump and drain the faucet. Been having coffee water set the night before
pete
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Old 04-07-2020, 12:56 PM   #8
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Thanks. We don't run heat at night so opening cabinets will help. It got down to 15 outside, but inside with two bodies and a dog, it was 38 degrees.
Pete
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Old 04-07-2020, 02:11 PM   #9
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Smaller dog needed

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rapidz View Post
Thanks. We don't run heat at night so opening cabinets will help. It got down to 15 outside, but inside with two bodies and a dog, it was 38 degrees.
Pete
Or you could get a smaller dog, some short haired breed, and put it in the cabinet every night to keep the pipes warm.
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Old 04-07-2020, 03:00 PM   #10
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We need our 80-pound golden retriever for grouse, chukar and quail hunting. She's as big as the water tank and won't fit in the cabinet.
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