Saturday, September 22, 2012

Parking lot maintenance

We are at the Walmart in Hamilton, Alabama (map).  We might have been into Mississippi last night, but getting through Birmingham yesterday afternoon was a total slog, with heavy stop-and-go traffic coming and going.  That brought back memories of the seven weeks I spent there last year, after the devastating swarm of tornadoes tore through the state.

We're ahead of schedule, though, and so we'll have a short day today, stopping tonight in Memphis, Tennessee, where we will have dinner at our affiliate club.  That will give us plenty of time to stop for fuel and water along the way.

We're not quite out of water yet, but our pump has been struggling, and I've been fiddling with it since we arrived yesterday afternoon.  In the past, low-water-level pump issues have been related to calcium build-up on the rubber check valve assembly, reducing the amount of self-priming lift available.  So last night I removed the valve and soaked it in vinegar to dissolve the deposits, and then WD40 to swell the rubber a bit.  That helped, but did not cure the problem entirely.  This morning I replaced the O-ring, to no avail, and I am now soaking an old back-up assembly to see if that will finally fix it.

Whether or not I can fully repair the pump, I know that just filling the water tank to reduce the amount of vacuum it needs to draw will eliminate the symptoms, which include low water pressure and air in the lines.  We only have a couple days' supply left, anyway, and we can also use a dump station.  The diesel level has dropped below the generator pickup -- not a huge issue in this temperate weather -- and we'll need to put a quarter tank in as we roll through Mississippi, enough to get us to Missouri where it will be about as cheap as we will see on this leg.


  1. Now I know why Tiffin mounted our water pump below the tank level in one of the lockers... Supposedly the locker is heated, but that assumes you are running the forced air heater, which we seldom do. So if it will be below freezing, we run a 100 w bulb in that locker with the door closed.... Never has frozen... Some thoughts if you decide to move the pump........... Rod

    1. Well, I actually chose to mount the pump above the tank deliberately. I'd much rather have a problem like this one, where I know the unit has a leak, than to have a leak in the pump go undetected for a long time because it already has a head. BTDT. These kinds of diaphragm pumps will eventually develop these issues, so having it self-prime is a measure of insurance and gives me some early warning.

  2. Sean good luck on the pump repair.

    And just a note that you might want to try an alternate route around Birmingham in the future. We always go North to Cullman, AL and take 157 to Muscle Shoals and across 72 through Corinth, MS to Memphis.
    Or @ Corinth you can take 45N up to Jackson and hit 412 to MO and miss Memphis altogether. (but I know you wanted to hit Memphis for dinner @ your "club")


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