The shower in this Winnie is very nice. Gold fixtures, gold door trim, nice metalized goldish hose, gold shower head (actually Polished Brass). When I first looked inside, I was thinking strictly of having more room in the shower. The shower in the ’94 Bounder wasn’t all that comfortable. Too small, mainly. This one really looked nice, much better than the Bounder setup. With the added benefit of being my size. Room to maneuver.
The first time I tried to take a shower though, I could tell I had some work to do. The water just dribbled out of the shower head; the head just sort of flopped around, usually ending up pointing to the floor behind me, so it’s positioning clamp needed tightening; the flow regulator (diverter valve) wasn’t working well, so it was very difficult to get warm water instead of burning hot, or freezing cold; and the door dribbled quite a bit of water on the floor when I opened it.
Here’s what it looks like. All the trim is gold-ish.
In order to take care of most of the issues, I removed the shower head, soaked it in vinegar for several minutes, and using dish soap and a toothbrush, went at cleaning it all up. Got the soap scum & what little crusty mineral looking stuff there was out of all the orifices and such. Operated the shut off many times trying to loosen any crud that might be inside. Undid all the joints, cleaned all the screw threads, & rubber washers too.
Reassembled everything, turned on the water to test, and damn, it’s just dribbling out of the shower head. Ok, hmmm, what could cause that, other than what I’d already cleaned out? So I’m thinking for a couple minutes, and it comes to me, one of those stupid pressure regulators can do that. So outside I ran, opened the water compartment and there it was, right at the entrance to the house water. Quickly removed it, went in and tested again, and now have good flow. I’ve used several of those pressure reducers over the years and I’ve never found one that was over 45 PSI. RV plumbing is designed to withstand over 100 PSI so it’s confusing why no manufacturer has come out with a higher pressure reducer sold to RV’ers. Why not a device set at 70 PSI?
The shower head is rather heavy so it’s no surprise that it’s always drooping down as I was showering. There’s a large screw and captured nut that is suppose to hold the shower head up where you position it so it won’t droop. Problem was that tightening that screw didn’t hold it in position any longer. I took that assembly all apart and again, just cleaned it all up. Got rid of the soap scum residue and any minerals that had accumulated. Slipped it back in place, and it again holds set position via friction. I wondered if the previous owner had known that just cleaning occasionally it would eliminate that annoyance of it drooping and redirecting the water pattern?
The shower head itself is also low flow, but it’s fine for me, as long as water pressure in the house is high enough. I don’t need a high flow shower system (like people with really long hair want). If I did, I’d just take the shower head apart and remove the plastic flow restriction. BTW, I have all my supply hoses & equipment for the RV set up with quick connects, along with a quick connect on a pressure tester. So when I get to a new park, it’s literally a snap to test their water pressure and if it’s under 75 PSI, I hook up directly. If it’s over 75 PSI, I add a pressure reducer. In 12 years of full timing, I can count on one hand the number of times I had to use a pressure reducer. I did test my ’94 Bounder’s water system at a park that had 100 PSI for a couple days without a reducer to see if the high pressure caused any problems…it did fine, no burst pipes or leaking water junctions. I was careful to shut off the water overnight while doing that test just to be safe. So with that background and knowledge of the typical RV plumbing system, I felt secure removing the reducer in this case.
That big round plate where the diverter valve is in the above picture had some silicone around it so I scraped that off, than removed that plate for inspection. I thought maybe the previous owner had detected a leak behind there and that’s why they added the silicone. Turned out that the only problem I could detect was the large ‘O’ ring behind it was dirty with soap scum and had some minor mineral buildup. After gently cleaning the O-ring and matching surfaces, I put it back in place without new silicone. I’m pretty sure it’ll be OK and won’t leak, as long as I keep the screws tight, but I’ll check again in a few weeks. While I had the plate off, that gave me the chance to inspect the plumbing inside the wall from where it’s mounted, all the way down to floor level, and all the way up to where it attaches to the goose neck pipe where it enters the shower stall. Everything looked fine. No hidden leaks, no evidence of excess water making it’s way behind the plate at all. I wondered why the previous owner bothered with the silicone?
And that evening, I took a fairly comfortable shower with adjustable temperature (once I learned the nuances of the diverter valve) with more than enough room to maneuver. Even has a nice seat…can’t think of any reason to use it yet, but it’s there. Very nice.
And here’s another issue with the shower. See the knobs on either side of the door below the rails? Those are to keep the shower door closed while you’re driving. Thing is, it’s a bad design. Wouldn’t hold shortly after the first person who forgets it’s locked, jerks on the door. It only has a fine piece of stiff wire connecting the two halves together. And I guess it’s glued to that wire. Took that out because it sucks and would never work long so I’m looking for a workable solution. In the meantime, I’ll just remember to packing tape the door closed before driving. While parked, the magnetic strip along the edge of the door holds it closed. Edit: I’ve tested to see if the door opens while driving over several hundred miles without the packing tape holding it closed, and the magnetic strip seems to do the job. So for now, I’ll just use the tape if I expect to be driving on roads in poor condition, like in Mexico.
And for right now there’s just a hole there where the knobs use to be while I try to come up with an attractive replacement.
In addition to that minor issue, I have found that there’s a large rivulet of water that pours off a U shaped channel at the bottom of the door as I open the door after my shower. It splashes in an arc over the portion of the bathroom floor where I stand while shaving, brushing my hair, etc., between the shower and the bathroom sink. Not good. Doesn’t seem to be a very smart design. Can’t be flipped over to make a ‘cap’ rather than a channel because it’s designed to also hold a vinyl seal for the bottom of the door. While I’m scratching my head over that one, I’ve just put some rope caulking at one end of the channel hoping that will keep most of the water off of the bathroom floor. The only other thing I can think of is to put a bowl on the floor and just open the door enough for the water to spill into that. Not much fun. At least the rivulet of water doesn’t spill into a floor heat vent or something.
Above is a shot of that extruded aluminum piece that has a U shaped channel that captures and holds water. WHY did they make it that way?? The entire channel portion of the piece should be upside down. That way it would protect the door seam from falling water from the shower, and would NOT hold water when you finished…that way it wouldn’t pour onto the bathroom floor as you open the door. What were they thinking!? Dumb, dumb, dumb.
You can see it in the below shot, there is a formed lip at the bottom of that piece that holds the vinyl seal so I can’t just flip the channel thing upside down. The entire piece was removed from the shower door and you can see how the U will capture water and then spill out the end when you open the door. Took some work with a putty knife prying it off the door after the 2 screws were out as they used that thin double sticky tape the entire length of the extruded piece to hold it in place. The picture also shows the (grey colored) vinyl piece as it looks after insertion into the channel. It really doesn’t do much except when it’s in position, it’s suppose to prevent water splashes from making it outside the door.
Here’s another view:
I’ll have to come up with a fix for this issue. If I can find some formed extruded aluminum that would span the width of the door and sort of cover that U shaped water catch channel, that might work. Maybe use double sided sticky tape to hold it in position.
What I had planned to do at one time, was flip over the channel, drill a couple new holes for the screws (because the originals were offset) and attach it to the door’s bottom edging with both screws and thin double sided tape like the original had. Haven’t figured out what, if anything, I’ll do with the vinyl sweep.
But then I took a shower without that channel in place and, well, well, I didn’t do anything special and when I opened the door, hardly any drips on the floor. No puddles or wet spots on the rug. Rather dry out there. Now I’m considering just leaving it off altogether. But on the other hand, higher water pressure at a different RV park might cause issues…
One of my regular readers has a similar corner shower and his came with a dense foam plug on one end of that channel that helps keep water from spilling onto the bathroom floor. I was going to try to find that online but I’m not so sure now since my shower stall doesn’t seem to need that formed channel and seal at all.
Update: I’ve taken several showers since the last posting here and I’ve decided that the door does NOT need that “U” shaped channel with rubber seal. I would like to add the vinyl seal, just as a preventative. I’ll keep my eyes open, and if I run into something that would hold that seal, looks good, and would not drizzle water on the floor when the door is opened, I’ll grab it.
Update: The ‘Vacuum break’ device that the shower head hose attaches to (see 2nd picture on this page). After the jostling around it gets during a shower, it’s developed a little problem. It squirts excessive water around the sides of the device on the outside of the hose. Tried taking it off and fixing it, but even though I gave it a good vinegar bath and scrub, the rubber flapper looks good, and nothing is bent, torn, or broken, it still shoots as much water out of the sides as out of the main water exit. Did a search and found it online at $18 (high price because of the gold trim) but haven’t ordered yet, for now have just removed it. I’m trying to figure out why a vacuum break would be needed there? So far I just a vague idea.
Here’s what I’m thinking…the diverter valve inside the wall is at around 3 & 1/2 feet from the floor. The supply pipes come from below the floor. After the diverter mixes hot and cold and outputs to a single pipe, that pipe goes up another 2 feet to a goose neck fitting into the shower proper. Here’s where the vacuum break is attached, than the shower head hose attaches to that, than the hose makes a loop down a couple feet than back up to the shower head that’s generally hanging on a hook at the same height as the goose neck. Of course the shower head can be dropped all the way down to the floor for convenience while showering but after you’ve finished, it would generally be hung up on one of the two hooks designed for that.
Now what I figure is, you’re taking a shower. Then when you shut off the water at the diverter, that just after the goose neck the water in the hose creates a vacuum. This can cause water to be siphoned from the pipe in the wall, and is perhaps strong enough to draw water through the closed diverter. So under the right atmospheric conditions, it could cause a steady drip…drip…drip from the shower head. Just from siphoning. So that’s maybe why they put in the vacuum break?
I just think that would be just an annoyance, not a disaster, so I’m going to leave it out for now and see what happens as I travel around the country. After all, my Bounder had a similar shower arrangement but I never saw a reason for having a vacuum break in that one.
One other thing I’ve found that is annoying about the design of this shower is that there is no way to stick suction cups to the glass. The glass has texture for some aesthetic reason of some stupid sort. It’s probably called ‘Obscura’ or some such as the texturing makes it hard to see through the glass. I can understand doing that on the outside surface of the glass, but the inside surface should be smooth! Just for easy cleaning if nothing else. I have seen shower glass with texture on the outside and not the inside so it was possibly an aesthetic choice by the manufacturer. But I’d wager it’s just cheaper to buy sheets of glass with the texture on both sides and through the glass.
As a result of the obscura, I can’t hang any kind of holder from the glass that uses suction cups. For example, there’s a ribbed soap holder molded into the back wall of the shower stall but I don’t like using those, the soap gets all mushy and makes a mess. I had bought a self draining soap holder with suction cups right after getting the RV but soon found out that the walls are textured too! You can’t stick a suction cup anywhere inside the shower. Gah! (1st world problems, I know).
Update: After I removed the vacuum break device, I did have more water sprayed out of the shower head…and that caused a little more water to make it outside the door then I cared to see, due to having removed from the bottom of the door the U shaped channel with it’s vinyl sweep. I’d taken a couple showers since and a couple small puddles had appeared. So I went to Lowe’s and searched around trying to find a fix for the, minor, problem. I checked in their metal stock section but nothing there would look very good for what I had in mind. Checked their bathroom and shower section but they have scant repair or adaptable DIY parts there.
During my wandering, I noticed this Peel & Stick caulk strip that I thought might be adapted to work in my situation. The measurements were, it turned out, exactly what I needed. At 1-1/4″ wide, it was scored so it would be easily bent to 1/2″ X 3/4″. Just right!
Back at home, I cut off a section from the roll exactly as long as the channel. Here’s how it looked after I’d attached it:The caulking is soft so I just pressed it onto the channel after cleaning it. It’s natural stickiness will hold it in place. Used an awl to poke holes in the vinyl for the screws:
Though difficult to see from the above picture, the new vinyl strip has a nice slope into the shower, and covers the U shaped portion of the channel completely. The caulking is water proof and it’ll remain soft and easily removable probably for as long as I own the RV. If I happen to run across a gold colored channel with the U shaped portion upside down, like it should be, I’ll grab it, but I never expect that to happen. Although the color of the vinyl, called ‘biscuit’, isn’t the bright white or gold color of the shower stall, it’s close enough and it sort of matches up with the decor.
So that will do it for the shower stall, for now, anyway.
Edit: May ’17 – Big flood…
I have the kind of bathroom, dressing room setup in my Journey with a corner shower and I’ve had a drip from the shower head since I bought this RV 14 months ago. It was a minor drip not amounting to much so I spaced doing anything about it. Never had a problem with the tank overflowing, and I was aware of that possibility. I dump around once every 5 to 10 days.
This is how the shower looked originally. Polished brass through out. The adjustable head, the hose, the vacuum breaker, and the wall escutcheon all polished brass. Really looked impressive.
But it never worked well. The diverter valve (sometimes just called the water valve) was touchy, often with scalding water, followed by freezing water. The vacuum break device sprayed water everywhere out of little holes when it shouldn’t have. The shower head was all wonky, spraying water every which way. Got use to most of the troubles, took the shower head off and soaked it in vinegar, helped somewhat, opened the diverter valve and tried to clean and Vaseline everything while trying to find a seal and spring kit, still acted wonky though not as bad, and finally, removed the vacuum breaker device.
Finally found a new diverter valve plastic seal kit with springs a couple weeks ago in a Gila Bend ACE Hardware for the shower diverter valve (the Home Depots and Lowe’s I’d visited the past year never seemed to have just the right kit), assuming that was the cause of the drip, and installed it without issue. But although the diverter did work better with the new seals, the shower head still has a drip, albeit a slower drip.
I was starting to realize that the vacuum break device I’d had to remove shortly after I bought the RV was probably the cause of the slow drip problem. It was just so darned expensive. Now $26 for a polished brass one. I’d removed it because when I’d use the shower, water would spray out of the vacuum breaker along with the shower head. Strange. Not having much expirience with a vacuum breaker, I just removed it and put it in a drawer. And soon noticed that the shower head would drip-drip-drip all night. So I got into the habit of unhooking the head and hanging in down into the catch basin for the shower. No dripping noise.
Soon after moved to a different RV park and when I checked the water pressure, it was at 80 PSI. I’d been experiencing around 40 PSI at different parks as I’ve traveled the last 14 months. Since the RVs plumbing is designed for over 100 PSI I didn’t worry about the 80 PSI at the time, I figured I’d find my pressure reducer and get it installed after dinner.
And promptly forgot about it…
A couple hours later, the shower’s catch basin was overflowing into the house. The 80 PSI was enough to cause the minor drip to become a stream. And soon filled the grey tank, then the shower catch basin, then spill onto the floor.
I discovered it after it had soaked the carpet in the living room (LR) in a small area adjacent to the bathroom (BR). The RV has a slight tilt down to the front and towards the drivers side. Slide was extended. My large kitchen floor runner soaked up a lot of water so it didn’t get very far into the LR. I used my wet/dry vacuum to vacuum up water from the carpet. Most of the rugs, I hang to dry after using them to sop up water. The BR and kitchen floor is tile and was completely wet in 1/3 of the BR, and 1/4 of the kitchen, but I did not see any water inside the floor heater vent the water passed on it’s way to the LR. Probably because the vent edging is slightly up above the floor and has a seal under the lip.
It’s was low humidity where I was parked so most everything dried up quickly. Outside I found there was a large wet spot on the ground under the bathroom area. It seemed the water dropped down through the propane tank area, which has an open bottom, and which is directly under the shower. The basement cabinet forward of that one was dry, as was the ground under it. On the other side of the propane tank is the wheel well, the dual tires and that area around the tires was also dry.
I think I caught the leak in time, before it did much damage. Foolish of me, and lucky I happened to be home when the grey tank and shower catch basin overflowed. I did have a big stain in the LR carpet just outside the BR but I cleaned that and the darkness has faded since. It looks normal now.
So, after that excitement, I quickly ordered a shut off valve for the shower head. Something I can turn off during, and after a shower. Then I ordered a replacement vacuum breaker to replace the bad one I have. Since I was basically forced to replace it after this flood, I thought, to prevent issues from now on, I’d buy a chrome unit, take it apart, and move the guts into the old polished brass one I have already. Didn’t turn out that way as the chrome vacuum breaker device is sort of different.
And that new valve (probably the old one too…it never worked so I don’t know) is kinda weird. What happens is if you turn off the shower, (and the shut off valve too or not), wait a couple minutes, then you’ll hear this gurgling as water falls out of the shower head. As the vacuum inside the hose is broken by the vacuum breaker thingy, allowing water to flow out due to atmospheric pressure. This prevents the water in the shower hose from sucking water up though the pipes and getting a suction going. Emptying your water tank. What’s weird is that it takes so long for the vacuum break to occur? I can’t figure out how it does that time delay thing. Well, whatever, it’s working now.
The next shot shows the $4 shower head I found at a thrift shop. Twice as big as the old one. It’s both a wider pattern, but it also has a water saver built in. Has a multi-shower set up but I hardly use it. I wish it was polished brass, but, it’s what I found. And behind that head on the wall, is the added chrome shutoff valve connected to the water inlet, followed by the chrome vacuum breaker device. Following that is the spiral metal and plastic flexible shower hose.
I definitely use that shut off now. I should have added that as soon as I bought the RV. Very handy. Stand outside the shower waiting for the water to heat up, set it to the right temp, shut off that valve, climb in the shower and turn on that handy valve. And the water is at the right temp.
This is the type of diverter valve I have. It’s a Delta. Now that most of the other things in the shower have been replace, and the seal kits have been installed, it all works fairly well. No more scalding water quickly followed by freezing water. Nice to set it once, and forget it.
And that’s the story of why my shower looks like it’s kluged together with chrome pieces mixed in with the shiny gold-ish polished brass stuff (when I clean it). Hey, most visitors seldom end up using the shower so it’s only me that looks at it. And it is working pretty well now. Really should have added that shutoff earlier. Makes taking a water saving shower much easier.