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Thursday, May 1, 2008

Free Yourself From A Dribbling RV Shower

RV showers come with a device called a “vacuum breaker” which supposedly prevents back-flow into your fresh water system. When you shut water off at the shower head and the faucet valves remain open, contaminated water could seep back into your fresh water system. I personally don’t care about this because we don’t allow our shower-head to become contaminated in the first place. Most RV manuals say this dribbling is “normal” and means the unit is working properly. Do the water saver shower-heads used in regular house bathrooms dribble? They do not, so why do we need a dribbling shower in our RV wasting precious hot water? You also need to replace the shower head with one that does not dribble. Once these two items are replaced your dribbling days are over. Vacuum breakers made from plastic and frequently fail as ours did this week. The above photo shows the plastic vacuum breaker compared next to the free flowing "D" Spud.I decided to replace the cheap plastic shower faucet with a nice brass fixture from Phoenix Faucets. These are among the best RV fixtures you can buy. Visit their website here: Phoenix Faucets.

This article will show you step by step how to remove and replace your shower faucet and replace the vacuum breaker with a non-dribbling “D” Spud (also from Phoenix Faucets). I will discuss shower heads in a later post.

Begin by turning off the water to the RV including the water pump. Next locate the access panel behind the shower and remove the retaining screws exposing the plumbing. Remove the shower hose from the vacuum breaker. Unscrew the hot and cold water connectors and remove the plastic retaining nuts holding the faucet in place (I attached a bungee cord around the water lines so I could retrieve them if they fell to the side behind the wall). Push the fixture into the shower stall enough so you are able to finish extracting it from inside the shower. Remove the faucet and clean the shower wall around the faucet.

Prepare the new faucet for installation by removing the vacuum breaker that came with the unit. Put plumber’s dope or teflon tape around the threads of the “D” Spud. If you use teflon tape be sure to trim the excess off so it does not block the water flow. Install the “D” Spud using an allen wrench, star wrench or a large flat blade screwdriver. Place the black plastic mounting flange on the new faucet. Insert the new faucet through the existing 4 inch center holes. You may want to coat the mounting flange with clear caulking prior to insertion. Screw on the new plastic retaining nuts by hand until the faucet is firmly in place. Replace the hot and cold water connectors making sure the rubber gaskets are in place inside the water connectors.

Reattach the shower-head hose and turn on the water. Before you “button up” the back cover place a dry paper towel around each of the water connectors and turn on the shower allowing the water to run. Remove the paper towel making sure it is completely dry. If it's wet you either need to tighten the connectors or replace the gaskets. When you are satisfied everything is dry and working reinstall the back cover and put your wife’s stuff back where you found it.

Helping keep your RV lifestyle dribble-free - Jim Twamley, Professor of RVing



  • Thanks for the detailed photos and directions. I'm going to file that one away, hopefully we won't need it, but if we do, I'm glad there's people like you who are out there and sharing their RV wisdom with us newbies!

    By Blogger LiveWorkDream, at May 1, 2008 8:45:00 AM PDT  

  • Another informative post. Thanks, Prof.

    By Blogger Rikki, at May 1, 2008 8:59:00 AM PDT  

  • Thank you for this post. I know one day I will need to do this. I do have one question about the orientation of the faucet. The question is. Why is the shower hose attachment located on top of the faucet? This seems that it would cause stress on the hose connection and that there would be less if the hose was attached to the bottom of the faucet.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at May 2, 2008 4:05:00 AM PDT  

  • Thank you for the excellent information. On reducing the weight we haul- if the info in camp-ground books were printed by sections of the country, we could tear out the sections we needed and leave the others at home for another trip.

    By Blogger evee in Ca, at May 4, 2008 2:52:00 PM PDT  

  • Thanks for this info. I will keep it on file, however, it came about a month too late. We had our outside shower leaking, and I tried everylthing to stop it. Finally, while getting the Oil changed at camping world I had them block it off,to the tune of $56.00! On the Winnabago Adventure there was no way to just bypass the outside shower.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at May 17, 2008 1:27:00 PM PDT  

  • I want the dribble. It reminds me the water is turned off at the shower head instead of the faucets.

    By Blogger 2oldman, at May 18, 2008 8:21:00 AM PDT  

  • I like the dribble. It reminds me the water is turned off at the shower head instead of the faucets.

    By Blogger 2oldman, at May 18, 2008 8:23:00 AM PDT  

  • I enjoyed the info and pics, but I am lazy. I just put in a simple 360degree shut off valve at the base of the hose. This allows me to take the Old Navy Shower, wet down, shut off water and soap down and then rinse off. One other thing, this way I do not have to adjust the water temp ovever and over.

    By Blogger A, at May 18, 2008 6:26:00 PM PDT  

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