Abbey Spectrum 2000's model water system questions

Jun 18, 2020
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Hi all, I'm a new forum member but have owned caravans on and off for many years.

I have owned my latest caravan (a large twin wheel Spectrum year probably approx 2005) for a couple of years but we've never used the water system in it, we've always used site facilities for showers and washing up. ... In fact I don't even have a pipe/pump that will connect to the caravan's water inlet port. Now we want/need to be able to use the caravan's water facilities, so I'll need to buy an inlet hose (likely one that has an electrical pump at the end of it to use with an Aquaroll?) and I believe I'll also have to sort out a few other issues.

This is a picture of the water inlet port with electrical connection beside it.

20200618_162449.jpg

What sort of pump/connection do I need for this van?

It has an onboard water tank, which does have a bit of water in it, and I've heard the internal pump run,... but I haven't never had any water come out of taps even with the internal pump running.

The van has a Truma water heater...

20200618_162837.jpg

Hopefully we'll get hot water working too!

I'm not sure how the system is supposed to work... Does an external pump (which I have yet to buy) fill the internal tank? Does the van have a pressurised water system?

At one point when the internal pump was running there was a small leak from one of the blue pipes. The pipes are only around 10mm (?) diameter, can anyone point me to where I can buy new lengths of pipe? I believe it will be easy enough to connect new pipe to the existing T connectors?

Thanks,

Simon in Yorkshire.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Hello LPGc

Welcome to the forum.

Thank you for the informative posting. Firstly all spare parts should be available from almost any caravan dealer.

Bearing in mind the agee of the caravan (2005) it would be wise to have all the gas, electrics and water "serviced" to not only ensure operation but safety.

The water inlet is of a form first introduced by Carver but was continued by Truma, and hose assemblies with the necessary pumps should still be available, though you will also need two retaining flags - the stumps of the old ones are visible in the picture.

From your picture I cannot tell how your pump is controlled. There are two methods, One method known as switched taps, uses a microswitch in every tap, and when a tap is opened the switch send power to the pump. You will find a pair of wires attached to every tap.

The second method uses a pressure switch which monitors the pressure in the cold water pipework. When any tap is opened it causes a drop in the pressure which triggers the switch, which turns on the pump. This works for the hot system also becasue the hot water heater is fed from the cold system. The pressure switch is usually located just inboard of the cold water inlet. It contains a non return valve to trap the pressure, and there is normally a knurled knob on teh top to allow the pressure setting to be adjusted to ensure it cuts in and out correctly.

The Truma water heater works very much like like a domestic hot water tank. Cool water has to pumped in to push hot water out. The hot tank once filled remains full even if the cold water supply runs out. You should open the drain valve when the caravan is not going to be used and there is a risk of frosts

Most of the necessary instruction manuals for teh appliances can normally be found either on the manufacturers web sites or there are some independent specialists who offer services for older models.
 
May 7, 2012
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I would follow the advice of the prof. I would add that if not used the system will need a good flushing out, preferably with the appropriate cleaner, that your dealer can supply. Some people use Milton Tablets instead which do seem to work but given the length of time this one has not been used I would use the correct thing..
 
Jun 18, 2020
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Thanks for the replies and welcomes, especially to the Prof for his lengthy reply.

I did wonder how the water connection was secured against popping out due to water pressure! it's clearer to see in the picture (flash used) that there are 2 pin holes with broken pins than it is with the naked eye. Prof said this is an old Carver type that Truma continued... Do we know the specific model name for this type of water fill point? I've looked at pictures of Truma water connection points but they've all been different to my type.

I wonder if I'll be able to remove the broken pins? Or is it more likely I'll need to fit a different water connector on the van? If so, shall I aim to source and fit the same type or is there a newer type that's more reliable? Does the external pump need to have it's own pressure sensor, will tap switch(es) turn the pump on and off, does it need to have a pressure rating or is it just a lift pump?

I convert vehicles to run on LPG (Autogas) for a living and (different subject) I'm very savvy with electronic equipment down to component level. I know the different fields warrant different qualifications but I am very confident doing all manner of work and safety checks on gas and electrics of my own van - I'll probably fix everything to my satisfaction then get a caravan service pro to check things over. I was fully intending on flushing and cleaning the whole water system... I'll be removing the internal tanks's water pump to remove some fine sediment in that tank before looking into sterilisation processes. It's unlikely we'd use the van's water for drinking but it's still better to have a clean sterile water system.

The van's internal pump is inside the internal water tank, when I examined it the process was very much like working on a vehicle petrol pump! Before joining the forum I read (another thread on forum) where someone said their similar (to mine) van had a hidden switch, in one position the switch would cause the external pump to fill the internal tank, in the other position the external pump would directly supply the taps and shower. I wonder if mine has the same? In which case does this imply that the external pump is normally just a lift pump, the internal pump providing a pressurised system under normal operation? I'd better check to see if taps have micro-switches and wiring running to them!

Thanks, Simon.
 

Damian

Moderator
Mar 14, 2005
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I think the water inlet you have is a Crystal Mk1, which is no longer available, but it looks like it may take the Crystal Mk2 pump as here: https://www.leisureshopdirect.com/water/caravan-water-pump/miscellaneous-caravan-pumps/whale-assy-crystal-plug-hose-pump-hi-flow-12v-ep1622

As far as the retaining tabs are concerned, the broken pins simply push out , use a small phillips screwdriver to push them through.

Without seeing the setup its difficult to advise, but as you have an external pump and power connection then the submersible would supply water from an aquaroll while the internal pump would supply water from the internal tank, when filled.
The external pump would also fill the internal tank when selected to do so, probably by shutting one valve and opening another.

If your system is microswitched the the operation of the taps will start and stop the external pump, the internal one is probably a pressure operated pump which will only function when selected as the source.
 
Jun 18, 2020
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Thanks for that Damian.

The picture on Leisureshopdirect's website doesn't show a clear view of the pump's connector, so I've emailed them with attached picture of my van's connector and asked them to confirm the pump in your link is the correct one to suit my van.

Next time I visit my van at the storage yard I'll be sure to try and push those pins through and check to see if the taps are wired with micro-switches.

My van is only a couple of miles away, the storage yard is owned by a large garden centre but run as a separate business. The storage yard proprietor rents the land from the garden centre but they have a common entrance point / security / etc. He sells second hand vans from the same storage yard. When we were looking to change from the previous van to this van we looked at quite a few, one of the things that sold this van to us was the fact that as part of the deal we'd be able to store the van at this storage site. The proprietor assured us everything would be in order but the van didn't even come with the water filler/pump and the gas regulator was broken. Last year the site was kept tidy but this year (perhaps due to covid) parts of the site have become overgrown. I had to trim around my van with a petrol powered brush cutter, hence the cut grass and muck in pictures of my water connection point.

It's far more convenient to work on a van that's stored on the drive (as we have in the past) than it is to have to visit a van that's stored remotely, even if it's nearby.

Regards, Simon.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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From your latest post I understand that you have an internal cold water tank. The external fitting is there to lift water from an external portable tank and it will depend on how the pipework is arranged, but it might just deliver it to the internal tank, or it might be able to deliver it to the caravans internal pipework. I did notice in the internal picture showing the water heater there is a water valve in the blue pipework just to the left of the SAS box. This could be the valve that switches between the internal/ external water supply.

I agree with Damian (I believe he is a registered AWS caravan engineer), though the fitting is a Crystal Compact (without filter). You should still be able to get pump hose and plug assemblies, but there are more modern solutions which might be easier to obtain now and for the near future.

This is a picture of the type of pump, hose and plug you would need.

1592573330390.png

And the "flags" look like this
1592573177701.png
 

Attachments

Jun 18, 2020
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Thanks Prof.

Is that the same type of pump and connector that Damian linked to? If so I'll go ahead and buy one using the link Damian provided - Although I'd better see if I can buy the flags at the same time.

Are the flags just push fit or do they lock into place (I picture turning them through 90degrees)?

Edit - does this pump have an inbuilt pressure sensor?

Simon
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Hello Simon,

No its not the same. The pump plug securing mechanism is different. The flags are just a push and click fit into the housing, and they need to be rotated to lock the plug assembly into the housing.

These pumps do not have a built in pressure switches. If a pressure switch was used it would most likely be a whale device
1592579697478.png

These are usually located just inboard of the water inlet, but in your case with an internal tank and pump I'm not sure where it will be located. Some caravan manufacturers will have used a different type of internal pump typically made by a company called Shurflo

1592579843145.png

These pumps do have a built in pressure switch. These are diaphragm pumps, and they can also produce much more pressure which is why a pressure control switch is essential to protect the internal pipe work and appliances.

Diaphragm pumps vibrate and are a lot noisier than the submersible pumps.

I'm glad to read that you work with LPG, so you will be aware of all the necessary tickets for gas system and appliance testing required under the codes of practice and regulations.
 
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Jan 19, 2002
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Your lower picture helpfully shows the yellow drain tap that allows the water to be emptied from the system. So setting up the system first close all taps, then open the tap to the cold side that is furthest from the inlet. Allow it to run until a smooth flow, then close it and move to taps moving nearer to the inlet. Then the same with the hot. This will then fill the hot cylinder pictured and leave no air locks in the system. If you have some cleanser diluted in the aquaroll then this will also have been drawn through the whole system. Then drain it all out by opening the yellow drain tap and opening all the taps. As the water system has not been used for a while you can repeat the process until you are content that the system is flushed clean. Another tip is that there may be an inline filter in the cold, usually nearby the inlet that ideally is replaced every year. You may also find that each tap has a screw filter in the spout which will need clearing of debris to enable a smooth flow. I think you will find that running water in the van is much easier than having containers of water brought into the van, even if your preference is for bottled water to drink. Good luck!
 

Damian

Moderator
Mar 14, 2005
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No its not the same. The pump plug securing mechanism is different.
Yes it is the same, replaced the Truma Maxi pump and fits the Carver inlet perfectly and the locking tabs work in the same way.

Another tip is that there may be an inline filter in the cold, usually nearby the inlet that ideally is replaced every year
If you do have an in line filter the best advice is to remove it completely and replace where it is with a length of the blue pipe, which is 12mm.

You do not need a filter with the quality of the water in the UK very high, as it is in pretty much the whole of Europe, and in fact they can be a breeding ground for unwanted bugs.

If you want to keep the filter then you must be prepared to replace every 30 days once wet, once a year is NOT safe.
 
Jan 19, 2002
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I normally have the filter replaced as part of the annual service and have checked with Whale website - this may not apply to all filters but the Whale Aquasource 'lasts one season or 4500 litres'. As the van is generally in intermittent use, especially not having been out this year yet, I doubt I shall use 112 ish aquaroll refills before the service is due in the autumn! One reason for mentioning the filter in my post was that I think a number of the particles that can block my tap heads have been bits of carbon from the filter. I may take your advice and have the thing replaced with a length of water pipe that would save the hassle and the cash!
 
May 2, 2020
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I also disconnect the water filter however I do sterilise the water system once per year but we are usually away at least once per month all year and we have not had any problems (if you know what I mean) but will sterilise before we go again
 
Mar 14, 2005
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If you are only caravanning in the UK, (and the same applies to most of Europe these days) then there is virtually no need to have water filter as the majority of supplies are now well controlled and properly treated. That is why so many caravanners dispense with the filters, either by fitting a dummy to maintain the water containment, or to physically remove the in line filters and replace them with a pipe.

Because caravan water systems are often not used for weeks, it is sensible to periodically clean the system to mange any algae growth.

If you do have a filter, it must be removed before trying to clean the pipework, as many of the cleaning solutions will damage the filter elements. Always clean the system before fitting a new filter.
 
Jun 18, 2020
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Thanks for all replies and the extra info, I didn't get chance to post on forum yesterday evening.

Is there some disagreement on whether a mk2 pump will fit my van's mk1 water connector? I wouldn't want to back anyone into a corner or be the cause of argument but can I ask Damian and Prof how sure they are that the mk2 pump will fit my mk1 / how sure the mk2 pump won't fit my mk1 housing?

I have just spoken to a local caravan dealer (I'm not far from Knottingley in West Yorkshire, you'll probably be able to guess which firm this was)... The lady in the accessories department seemed very knowledgeable but didn't know the answer to the compatibility question either despite sending her the picture of my caravan water point. She will be asking suppliers on my behalf on Monday. She did say that she was quite sure that my type was only fitted for around a year, which dates my van to earlier than 2005.

I may try to take accurate measurements of my housing tomorrow (Sunday), then visit this supplier and see if I can tell if the mk2 pump will fit my mk1 housing... But I've been told that the mk2 type is now also obsolete, pumps are available but housings are not available.. So if I buy a mk2 pump and it doesn't fit my housing I won't be able to buy a mk2 housing to work with the new pump. My haste is due to having to fit work on my van around my job.

I don't know if my interior water pipe is 10mm or 12mm ? I may attempt to measure this on the same visit to my van (tomorrow). This supplier stocks the 12mm type but not the 10mm type.

Good advice on filters, thanks. I do believe they can be more of a negative than a positive (algae/bug growth areas, etc). One of my previous vans had some sort of charcoal filter, which broke up, then what looked like little pellets of carbon came out of taps. I'll be just as happy with a new filter or without a filter at all.

Believe I did mention (in my opening post) my van has an inbuilt water tank.

The LPG/electrical installation and repairs work I do on vehicles is a different field to working on caravans but I don't feel I need to know what tickets etc are required to work on caravans much more than I need a ticket to be able to suck eggs properly/safely ;-) I'll do my own repairs then get a caravan pro to confirm it's in good order.

Thanks again.

Simon
 
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Mar 14, 2005
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Damian has worked on these things more recently than me (I retired from this type of work in 1999)

To be fair, in your OP you did say:

"It has an onboard water tank, which does have a bit of water in it, and I've heard the internal pump run,... but I haven't never had any water come out of taps even with the internal pump running. "

But as at that time we did not know how much you may have known about caravanning, your reference might have referred to the Truma water heater shown in one of your pictures.

Most caravan water filters use carbon granules with filter papers. If the filter paper fails (as they will if they are left in for too long) the granules can be carried out by the water flow. The granules can get stuck in some of the other water systems equipment (like non return valves) and cause failures.

Regarding LPG safety, That used to be one of my roles, and it why I do mention it, having had to deal with the aftermath of ill informed people tinkering. Just be aware that all gas work must comply with the regulations.
 
Jun 18, 2020
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Thanks again Prof.

All input is appreciated especially from people who know the subject in-depth such as yourself. Got to wonder since there's a distinction between mk1 and mk2 whether they are compatible.. if they are compatible, why would there be the distinction? I hope Damian and/or others will say how confident they are in views about compatibility in the same way as you have.

Easy to see where I left scope for confusion / misunderstanding around internal water tank and water heater (hot water tank). The van has a cold water tank (not shown in my pics) on the floor central behind the front window, I showed the water heater in pics.

That explains the carbon granules coming out of taps in a previous van I owned...

With your background you might be slacking if you didn't raise safety concerns in a discussion like this! That's appreciated too.

Cheers, Simon.
 
Jun 18, 2020
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I visited the caravan again today.

Measured my internal water pipes, they're 12mm external diameter.

Had a look at the water connection points on other vans that seemed to have similar water connection points to my van, vans of various years. The connection points looked exactly the same as mine and (taking simple measurements) the measurements seemed to be the same.

Managed to push the broken flag stubs through, so my connection point would be ready to accept connection from a pump and new flags if I managed to get them.

Spoke to the proprietor of the storage site (same person who sold me the van), I mentioned my concerns about mine being a mk1 when only mk2 pumps seemed to be available, he had a look at my van's connection point and said it seemed no different to the norm, said I'd have no problem buying a pump from any pump stockist.

I went to the supplier in Knottingley and bought a mk2 pump, flags (£3 for two tiny bits of plastic like something out of a Xmas cracker!), a metre of 12mm blue water pipe and a metre of 12mm red water pipe. The mk2 pump cost £65 but Knottingley would allow me to take it back in case it didn't suit my van.

Returned to the van and it seems the pump connection and flags fit no problem... But I have yet to put it all to test in practice, I didn't have the battery on my van to power the pump or a source of water to test it.

Thanks for all advice, all contributors have helped me get to this point, particularly Prof and Damian.

Simon
 
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Damian

Moderator
Mar 14, 2005
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Well done , I am glad that everything went as I expected it to.

The pipe and fittings are John Guest 12mm .

As you have found, spares are very expensive for what they are.
 
Jun 18, 2020
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Yes, I could have bought the parts a little cheaper if I'd bought elsewhere but there was also the matter of time and convenience, I wanted to get this part of the work cleared away so that I'm ready to move onto testing the next occurrence I get free time away from work. My dad was into boating, as he would say... 'anything to do with leisure is expensive'!.
 
Jun 18, 2020
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Heh, too true. My dad spent loads on his various boats over the years and I currently own a little 14ft speed boat that I bought as a 'cheap' boat. I've already rebuilt the engine with new pistons etc imported from the US, customs fees and shipping were a couple of hundred quid for the parts, that was with me doing the engine rebuild.
 
Jun 18, 2020
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I've been back to the van again....

The pump works but I'm not over-impressed with it's flow rate. It also seems a bit hit and miss, sometimes the flow rate isn't too bad, sometimes it seems to stop completely. I've wondered if the one way valve in the van's water connection may be sticking?

I can see the rear of the van's water connection, there's isn't a filter.

I filled the hot water heater, tried switching it to run on gas, the red 'fail' light comes on. I tried it a few times with the same results. Maybe there's air in it's gas feed, it took a while for gas to reach the cooker. Next time I try the water heater on gas I'll wait 5mins between attempts if the red light comes on. I haven't been able to test the water heater in electric mode (no 240v at the storage site).
 
Mar 14, 2005
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The red light indicates the controller is calling for heat but it has been unable to detect a flame on the burner within the systems lock out time.

Check to see if the exterior flue cover is still fitted:-.
1593292592914.pngThis is a clip on cover and it needs to be un-clipped to allow air into the burner, and the exhaust gasses to escape.

The cover can remain in place if you are using mains power

The open flue looks something like this:-
1593292951516.png
 

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