How to Replace an RV Water Pump
Do you think water is important to RV life?
We do too, so when we realized ours wasn’t working we needed to fix it ASAP.
At about 9pm one night we realized our water had quit pumping. I had one dish left to rinse when the water stopped flowing, the dish was a blender and it was covered with soap :(. We had enough water in our fresh tank because I’d just filled it up, s0 my first thought went to the water pump.
I should’ve paid closer attention to the signs. For instance earlier that day Katie was taking a shower and ended up having to shake the shower head to get water out. Soon after that experience the water began running perfectly fine again, so I shrugged it off. The point is to pay attention to any signs that could signal a possible problem.
At this point I had zero knowledge of water pumps, I didn’t know how much they cost, how hard they were to replace, or if it was even something I could do myself.
Rest easy, I found out a lot like they aren’t terribly expensive or hard to replace, and it’s most certainly something you can accomplish yourself.
How to Replace Your RV Water Pump
If you prefer watching a video you can check out our Youtube video on how we replaced our RV water pump below:
Locating Your Water Pump
This can be a difficult task considering every RV is different. Ours is relatively easy to spot because it’s in our water basement storage area. I’ve seen it in many different places though, below are a few examples:
- Under the Bed
- Near the Water Heater
- Under the Bathroom Sink
- In the Water Basement Area
Those are the only places I’ve seen a water pump, but that’s not to say it can’t be somewhere else. If you can’t find your water pump I’d suggest reaching out to your manufacturer. Tiffin is our manufacturer and through our experience they’ve been amazing at helping answer questions for us.
Things to Check Before Purchasing a New Water Pump
When our water stopped pumping my first thought went right to the water pump mainly because of the small signs we’d seen. So I called my friend Matt from elementary school who’d actually opened his own RV dealership called Friendship RV. He let me know they had a water pump that would work but not the exact same one because it was no longer being manufactured.
The very next morning I rushed over to Friendship RV to pick up my new water pump. When I got there I ran into Steve, another long time friend. We ended up chatting about all aspects about RVing when he brought up a couple possible reasons our water wouldn’t be pumping that weren’t water pump related.
He suggested I test a couple of common areas for problems before I went ahead and replaced the water pump. That way I may be able to fix the problem without replacing the pump.
The first thing suggested was…
Check the Strainer for Your Water Pump
The first thing to do before going out and purchasing a new water pump is check your strainer. The strainer can be difficult to locate considering it isn’t attached directly to the water pump. It should be attached to a hose that runs into the water pump. It looks like a clear bulb, check out the photo below.
You’ll want to unscrew the lid which will reveal a small metal screen. Make sure there isn’t debris blocking or clogging up the screen. From what I’ve read one of the leading causes of water pump failure is a dirty strainer, so make sure to give it a look.
In our case the strainer was completely spotless, so on to the next item to check…
Make Sure Your Water Pump is Getting Power
There’s always the possibility that something may have stopped power from getting through to your water pump. One such thing that can stop power from getting through is mice, Eeeek. If you find you have a mouse problem, check out how we dealt with the little rascals.
Anyway, there is an easy way to see if you are getting power though it does involve an awesome little tool. The tool I used is a circuit tester, it allows you to connect one side to the ground wire then touch the tip of the other piece to the hot wire. If you have power coming in it will illuminate the light within the handle of the circuit tester.
The great thing about this tool is you can use it to test the power of wires, batteries, and really anything that has a ground and hot connection.
To check my wires with the circuit tester I turned off the switch for the water pump inside my RV. Then disconnected the ground and hot wire from the water pump.
Once I had the wires disconnected I went back inside the RV and flipped the water pump switch back on. This is an important step because if you use the circuit tester on the wires without the water pump switch turned on it will signal that you have no power. Which will be true because you have the switch turned off, meaning you have now power going to the wires.
Make sure you turn the water pump switch back on before you test the wires with the circuit tester.
This wasn’t the problem for us either, the light bulb in the circuit tester handle lit up perfectly meaning we had power going to the pump.
So at this point we’ve found our water pump, know our strainer is clean and we’re getting power to the pump, so onto replacing our RV water pump…
How To Replace Your RV Water Pump
Pictured above is our old water pump and as it turns out they don’t manufacture it anymore. We ended up getting a different model, which is basically the same thing it just has a bit more power behind it.
Below is a picture of our new SHURflo Water Pump.
This process is fairly easy so try not to overthink it like I did.
For us it was a matter of unscrewing four screws, disconnecting two power cables, and two hoses attached to the water pump then attaching them to the new one.
Disconnect The Power Wires
Let’s start with the power cables. The first thing you should do is make sure the switch to your water pump is turned off, that will make sure no power is coming through the wires.
Depending on how you feel about the situation you may want to cut power to the RV completely. Use your best judgment for how to turn off the power.
Alright onto disconnecting the power. You should see a red and a black wire that connects to your water pump, ours was connected with a couple of wire connectors.
Some of you may find you have connectors that attached into each other. That’s fine too, but if that’s the case you’ll need to probably cut the wires and reattach them into the connector. A good video to check out for that is this one by Trek With Us.
You’ll want to disconnect both wires from the water pump.
Note that the wires shouldn’t connect directly into the water pump, there should be two wires coming out of the water pump which connect to the power wires coming from the RV. When you disconnect the wires you should have two wires coming from the RV and two wires still coming from the water pump.
Now your water pump is disconnected from power.
On To Disconnecting The Hoses
At this point your power wires should be disconnected from the water pump. Leaving you with two hoses that remain attached.
But not for long.
Before you start to unscrew the hoses connected to the water pump there are a couple of steps we can take to lower the amount of water that splashes us haha.
In my rig above the water pump I have a toggle switch which gave me the option to bypass the water pump. I switched it to bypass in order to hold back any water coming in from that hose.
You should flip this switch if you have one. After you’ve done that you should make sure you do not have city water flowing into your system, this can generally be done by turning it off at the source.
After we turned off our city water connection we switched the RV to fresh water tank mode versus city water. Then we waited about 5 minutes for the water flow to settle down.
So, you’ve taken these steps and are ready to disconnect the two hoses that are connected to your water pump. You may still want to bring a small towel to place down because water could still flow out as you disconnect the hoses, whatcha you gonna do :).
Detach Your Old Pump From RV
Before you detach the old water pump take a close look at it in order to see which way the arrows are pointing for the water flow. These arrows can generally be found on the water pump near where the two hoses connect.
You’ll want to pay close attention to this so you can put the new pump in the same way as the old.
Detaching your pump should be as simple as grabbing your Ryobi drill and removing the 4 screws that are holding your water pump in position.
Now hold your old water pump in your hand and bask in the glory of your fine work!
Installing The New RV Water Pump
In order to install our new RV water pump I simply followed the steps above in reverse.
- Use the same screws from your old water pump to attach your new RV water pump.
- Once attached reconnect the two hoses
- Now reconnect the power wires to the wires coming from the new pump
- Switch bypass switch back to normal.
- Switch water back to the tank position rather than city water.
- Go inside and flip switch to insure your water pump is up and running.
That about wraps it up for replacing your RV water pump with a new one. If you have any questions or suggestions for how to replace an RV water pump please feel free to leave them in the comments below.
You can find all of our RV-related posts here.