So it seems I’ve been kind of lucky with the leak issues in my RV. Mostly, they’re not rain water coming inside (although there is one of those, but that’s a bigger post for another time). So far, a lot of the dripping has been related to something in the bathroom going bad.

I’ve already had to replace parts that bring fresh water up into the toilet, and for my next adventure I didn’t have to look far. Just a few feet to the side I had a slow drip that I actually didn’t have any indication of at all, right under the shower! I only found it on one of my curious “I wonder what’s behind that panel” journeys around the house.

The little under shower panel

When I removed the very stubborn and wedged in panel just below the shower doors, I was greeted with a view into a very small cramped space under the basin, full of spider webs and water. Great. Two things I LOVE finding in my RV.

It turns out that the water hadn’t caused significant damage despite apparently collecting for quite some time. It seems there was a cut out in the floor just below the shower to allow room for the P-trap to be installed and, as it would turn out soon enough, removed and replaced (thankfully). A slow leak from one of the joints seemed to fill up this space that had a metal lining on the bottom. It’s almost like someone anticipated this, or it’s been experienced often enough to becoming a part of the standard design. Smart, but annoying at the same time.

After clearing up all of the water inside of the space by soaking it up with paper towels (nothing else could really fit easily inside), I had a better view of what was going on. The flange at the top of the P-trap where it connects into the bottom of the shower basin had apparently cracked just enough to allow a slow drip out of the edges. A line of dried residue led me from the lowest point of the pvc where it would drip into the space cut out in the floor, all the way back up to the top of the PVC where it joined the shower floor.

This probably wouldn’t have been a big or even noticeable problem, had it not also been for a clog in the p-trap that was slowing the drainage down just enough to stack water up near the top and let it seep out of the cracks. Just clearing the trap would have probably allowed the water to drain easily enough that the problem wouldn’t have been an issue any longer.

Why stop with just fixing the symptom though, right? So off to Home Depot for some parts and a crash course education in plumbing!

The first step was to take out the p-trap that was put in at the factory and really get a good look at what the problem was. As it turned out, it was the side of the flange on the very top piece that secured it to a ring, which then threaded onto the bottom of the shower. The broken flange meant there was just enough room around the seal to allow a slow drip through if the water collected close enough to the top of the plumbing for long enough (enter the clog’s part in all this).

The offending flange failure

The second step was picking out the right piece to replace the broken flange. As it would turn out, that wasn’t something you could just find a drop-in replacement for. This is where my day took a bit of a mad scientist turn and started me on the path through each little bin in the plumbing aisle in a quest to recreate the function with different parts, but within the same dimensions.

Basic supplies and parts

Once I had the whole idea mocked up in the aisle and got all of the necessary tools of the trade together, I headed back to the RV to put my plan into action. I cut a length of pipe down to to a short collar to help bind some parts together, but most of the pre-molded parts did the trick in the right order. The attachment points were a bit different because of … well I don’t know. Apparently Coachmen used some kind of joint that no one in the Home Depot had seen before, but luckily we were able to substitute 2 other parts to replicate the function and measurements of.

It’s like a reboot of an old movie, but without Michael Bay messing it up.

After some test fitting – and by that I mean looking at it very closely, but not actually testing it because I really didn’t want to deal with the cramped space more than once – I was good to go!

Installing it was easier than I thought it would be and, all said and done, I had a working shower several hours later after letting the binding cement cure up, with no extra swimming pool for spiders in the lower area any longer.

Like. A. Glove.

Plumbing isn’t something I ever thought I would have to learn how to do, but it’s one of those things I’m really glad I was pushed into trying. I don’t know if I’d put myself at the professional level of butt-crack exhibitionist just yet, however I’m not afraid of fixing a leak here or there if they spring up in the RV again.

But just to be on the safe side – Please don’t leak. Please don’t leak. Please don’t leak.


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