Water Tanks not taking water.

Submitted: Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012 at 16:32
ThreadID: 96790 Views:15972 Replies:17 FollowUps:9
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We have a Jayco caravan and have been having trouble getting the water tanks to take water. We have even had trouble after all the water has been dropped from the tanks. Our success rate in filling the tanks is about 1/4 times.
We would like to know if any others have had problems and what have you done to alleviate the problem?
Don't want to hear from Jayco baggers please. We are very happy with our caravan otherwise.
We have contacted Jayco HO and they advised that maybe we could use a Cone at the end of the hose. Has anyone done this with success? Also because our van is 7 years old ( we bought it 2nd hand) Jayco say it should have been addressed when it was under warranty.
On speaking to other Jayco caravan owners, apparently this is a common problem, even in vans that are less than 12mths old so the problem could not be an age thing.
A couple of people have told us they rectified the problem by inserting a hose inlet straight into the water tanks.
It can be a headache at times as we have a loo and shower in the van and we have to run off 20ltr & 10ltr water bottles inside the van to get us through until the next time the tanks decide they want to take water.
We have checked for kinks in the hose and also holes but it is clear but something is causing this to happen (air blockage abviously).
Any feedback or advise would be appreciated.
Thanks in advance.
G & M
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Reply By: BJ & Reen- Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012 at 16:49

Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012 at 16:49
Gday Greig and Mish have u tried filling with the taps open to let air out of tanks as they fill we had trouble with our boat which held 200 ltrs until we opened the taps then no trouble
AnswerID: 490569

Reply By: Tonyfish#58 - Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012 at 16:51

Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012 at 16:51
More than likely your breathers are blocked, I would assume that there are breathers.

My under tray tanks had breathers that blocked with mud from the Simpson, they just would not take water until I took the tanks off and extended the breathers so that would not happen again.

Best of luck with it

Cheers Tony
AnswerID: 490570

Follow Up By: Noosa Fox - Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012 at 16:57

Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012 at 16:57
I agree with Tony, the most likely cause will be mud wasps that have nested in the breather pipe. Thread some wire in to clear it.

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Follow Up By: Member - Rod N (QLD) - Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012 at 17:02

Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012 at 17:02
Breathers are the most common problem. It ranges from breather connection on top of the tank not being drilled out, squashed or kinked vent lines, vent lines that droop and get water in them which stops air flow and lines blocked by wasps etc and, as above, by mud. Don't forget that the air needs to flow both ways.
FollowupID: 765921

Follow Up By: Greig and Mish- Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012 at 17:59

Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012 at 17:59
No not the breathers. The breathers were cleared/cleaned when the service was done about 3 weeks back as we told Jayco Service centre in Geelong that we were having problems....
FollowupID: 765930

Follow Up By: Oscar H - Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012 at 18:31

Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012 at 18:31
Had the same problem, The breather lines get full of water and air lock,
Either pressure fill with a rag around the fill hose or cut a T pieces into the line close to the tank and fit a plastic one way valve (Camec) with a bit of fly screen on the end to stop wasps.
John H
FollowupID: 765937

Reply By: Thinkin - Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012 at 17:03

Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012 at 17:03
hello G&M.

The first thing to check is, if any hose has sagged , sagged hoses can cause an airlock and prevent water to flow freely.

Also check if any breather hose has sagged with water trapped in the low part of the hose, this can prevent air to escape thus not allowing water to enter the tank.
You dont say how many tanks you have, the same thing goes for connecting tanks.

Sometimes the fitters at the factory might not route the hoses cleverly and you might have a sag or two in the hoses. from when the van was built

Any chance of wasp nest blocking your breather?

regards Alpero
AnswerID: 490572

Reply By: MEMBER - Darian, SA - Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012 at 17:13

Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012 at 17:13
Poor installation can mean that filling will always be a snag. If you still have issues after clearing the breathers, you can add a snap on hose fitting to the outlets and back fill the tanks. I have 3 tanks and back filling is the only practical method for one of them.
AnswerID: 490573

Reply By: Michael ( Moss Vale NSW) - Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012 at 17:19

Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012 at 17:19
I have owned two Jayco campers and both tanks had kinked filler hoses. It appears to be cheap hose with no braiding to support the hose from kinking.. A good place to start looking and also the breather hose!! Michael

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Reply By: Member - barry F (NSW) - Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012 at 17:47

Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012 at 17:47
Hi Greg & Mish, as already stated by others, the breather hoses would be the first place to look. We had an 04 Jayco freedom with two tanks & like you we purchased it second hand & initially had the same problem as you are experiencing in trying to get both tanks full.

The problem turned out to be a kink in both breather hoses & both kinks were located very close to the fitting connecting them to the tank and was easy to rectify.

Good luck in rectifying the problem & cheers
AnswerID: 490575

Reply By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012 at 17:52

Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012 at 17:52
Hi G&M,
I have a Jayco Sterling, my mate has a Jayco Sterling, previously I had a Gazal Champion van.

All of them have trouble filling the water tanks.

I have a connector on the end of my hose with a 150mm length of 1/2 copper tube which fits into the filler and I turn the water on slowly till it overflows. Takes about 6 times longer than it should to fill each tank but I set it up and go do something else. My mate does the same and I used my setup on the previous van.

The mate went to the trouble of fixing all the breather lines so that there were no sags in them, otherwise they hold water and will not breath, and he had some success but did not remove the problem entirely.

They still gurgle madly when filling and overflow if it is running too fast.

The Jaycos have filters on the breather lines, well the mates and mine do, so it is unlikely that wasps can get in to make a nest. Ours are both 2006 models. That may make a difference re filters on the breathers.

Check all your filler lines and breather lines and make sure there are no sags in them and that they are not kinked.

You could also use a larger diameter breather to alleviate the problem but that will take some fitting and you need to have a fair idea of what you are doing or you may run into problems. You could always take the breather hose to a plumber supply store and see if they can sort something out for you which may only require a hose clamp connection.

It is best to use flexible hose on the filler lines as anything too rigid will fracture the spigots on the tanks.

Don't know if this lot helps but that is the best I can offer without seeing the setup you have.

Cheers, Bruce.
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AnswerID: 490577

Reply By: Member - Peter H1 (NSW) - Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012 at 18:11

Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012 at 18:11
Lot of answers here but some don't read the OP when he replied that the breathers were cleaned out. More likely to be the filling line.
AnswerID: 490580

Reply By: Villatranquilla - Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012 at 18:13

Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012 at 18:13
we have a Stirling and find that we have to turn the 12v pump off and open all taps including the outside one on the draw bar
AnswerID: 490581

Reply By: KevKim37 - Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012 at 18:16

Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012 at 18:16
I have come across this problem in other forums and all seem to come up with the same result as what other replies are saying ie kinks, water laying in pipes. Also the water tanks that have their inlets half way down the end wall of the tank can be the cause of some problems if not set-up correctly. I have never had problems with my Boroma but they were a bit slow filling , so I have fitted bottom fillers to all 3 tanks which allows much faster filling from mains supplies. I can still fill from original van wall filler when bush camping with a Whale in-line pump from a bucket for top-up.

Cheers Kev.
AnswerID: 490582

Follow Up By: Member - Rod N (QLD) - Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012 at 18:25

Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012 at 18:25
I have the same set up, Click on fittings on the drain lines in the bottom of the tanks allow full tap pressure to fill the tanks until water flows from the breathers.
BTW does water flow from both breathers when you try to fill your tanks?
FollowupID: 765935

Reply By: Member-Heather MG NSW - Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012 at 19:14

Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012 at 19:14
Hi Greg and Mish.

We also have a jayco Outback sterling.

You can buy a Pope? tap fitting that has a rubber plug with a snap on hose fitting from Home hardware or Bunnings. It costs around $8.
If you remove the pipe clamp and wing nut from the rubber end it fits neatly into the tank filler (inlet) and when used will force the air out the breather and allow the tank to fill quickly.
You may need someone to turn the tap on while you hold the rubber plug in position while the tanks fill.

We often rely on having our own tank water and have to fill them quite frequently.

Hope this helps you.


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AnswerID: 490589

Reply By: Polaris - Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012 at 20:16

Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012 at 20:16
Your problem isn't the fact you can't get the water in. You can't get the water in because the air can't get out.
We also have a new Jayco (17.55-4) and right from the very first time I tried to fill the tanks I ran into problems. As the water was going in I could hear the breathers gurgling.
Close inspection under the van showed both vent lines had low points in them that were full of water - this meant the air could not escape, and thus I was having trouble filling the tanks.
I have overcome it by cutting the vent pipes at the low point. This of course allowed the trapped water to escape. I then fitted a 12mm black poly 'T' from the garden hose section at Bunnings to the spot where I had cut the breather low point. I connected a short section of 12mm black poly to the bottom of the 'T' and ran it down through an automotive fuel filter. This should stop dust or insects.
There is no real reason for the vent line to have to go up to the filler other than convenience. It works fine that way provided there is an uninterupted continual uphill run. Any deviation will cause a low spot where water will accumulate and stop the effective venting of the tank. The vent line comes out of the top of the tank, so you will not ever have a syphoning effect taking place.

You can only ever get the same amount of water in as the amount of air that comes out.
Tanks don't have to be filled from the top - they can be filled from the bottom, providing the top vent is working unobstructed.
AnswerID: 490595

Reply By: ed c1 - Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012 at 22:50

Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012 at 22:50
hi greg n mish , i too have a sterling ob ,and had the same problems filling the tanks.
what i did after making sure the vents were clear was to buy a rubber foot off a walking stick at clarks. take a piece of hose with you as there is a few sizes.
the foot is tappered . and i start by cutting the bottom off , a thin piece at a time until i expose the hole..then slip this onto a piece of hose,about 2/300 ml up the hose blunt end first,it should be a nice fit,
the hose should be about 1 m .llong and be able to be joined to your normal hose with a click fitting ,, now insert the hose so as the tapper seals off the entrance of the fiiller pipe and turn on the water,,, not to fast at first.
you should hear all sorts of noises comming from the tank as the air in the line is pushed back into the tank,,,,,,when the water starts comming out of the vent you know you have a FULL tank
travel safe
AnswerID: 490616

Reply By: Member - Tony S (WA) - Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012 at 23:23

Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012 at 23:23
Hi Greg and Mish
Have a look at my archived thread 395890 20/12/2009. If you do that you will have no more problems.

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AnswerID: 490619

Follow Up By: Member - Tony N (WA) - Wednesday, Jul 11, 2012 at 01:12

Wednesday, Jul 11, 2012 at 01:12
TonyS, can't open thread

Greg & Mish,
my son has just purchased a New Jayco Expanda for maiden voyage & as helpful Dad I thought I'd fill the tanks only to be swamped by blowback of water. Son said the sales rep in Perth said that this would happen & to rectify the problem put your finger {now wait for it } over the vent as you fill the tanks. I know it defies logic but it WORKED, tanks filled in no time at all
Cheers Tony N
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Follow Up By: Member - Tony S (WA) - Wednesday, Jul 11, 2012 at 01:43

Wednesday, Jul 11, 2012 at 01:43
Hi again G & M

Thread as below:-

Member - Tony S (WA) replied

All these suggestions work to a point.

This is all done with the black poly retic. gear.

The only way to really fix the problem properly, is to drop the tanks .

If the tanks are the black poly ones, on top you will find a recess with a thread in it .Also a small hole that is supposed to be a breather.

Next: Drill a 10 or 12mm hole down in the recess where the breather is.

Buy a poly 12mm threaded male 90 degree barbed elbow and a plain barbed elbow.[or as many as you need] together with enough 12mm black poly tube to extend over the tank .

Screw the threaded elbow into the recess, attach the tube and then push the plain elbow in pointing downwards. That just stops the dust getting into the tank.

Don't forget to put the tanks back. HEEE Cheeky sod arnt I !! Well you never know.
Seriously, it does not take long to do.

That is what I did to mine and no more filling problems.

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Reply By: Member - Old Girl - Wednesday, Jul 11, 2012 at 21:35

Wednesday, Jul 11, 2012 at 21:35
This is why i read this forum. Didnt i get into trouble for not filling the tanks caused a riot at shower time. The van is only 8 months old, its been driving me nuts. Only just got back from a two week trip. On the last couple fills (there were many) i turned the front tap on and held the hose tight onto the fillers. Went motorbike riding did the dishes tried the shower and no water. Had enough by this time. Lucky we had a 20lt jerry can handy. I will try some of the above suggestions.
AnswerID: 490687

Reply By: Geoff in SA - Thursday, Jul 12, 2012 at 08:16

Thursday, Jul 12, 2012 at 08:16
Hi G & M

As mentioned POOR installation is always a problem
I had 3 tanks fitted to the van from new.
to get water into the tanks is simply Hydrology 101

But do van manufacturers know this No Way
They think water will flow up hill.

I had a common fill tube and a common breather fitted to all 3 tanks.

water in, Air out. Sounds easy but if the first tank from the filler fills first and it does as water takes the easiest path then the breather tube fills with water and the next two tanks will not breath.
I was told the common outlet to the pump will overcome this as the water will eventually find its own level,
Yea, great if you are on a level bit of road etc. what if the van is tilting to the front or the rear or even sideways.
Van builders have no eye deer.

Solution is to have all tanks plumbed separately. each with its own breather and outlet to the pump. Drain to the pump has its own isolating valve.
A common fill point to separate filling hoses via a manifold solves the issue.

Separate breathers will make a big difference on their own. Just run then up the front and install them into a small PVC enclosure with some SS mesh and pvc foam to keep out the dirt and pests

Let me tell you it works a lot better than the original installation I was given.
and the ability to empty each tank ensures I know what I have left. Water level indicator is only on the last tank.

Remember Hydrology 101 for Dummies

A good read for ALL van manufacturers
AnswerID: 490705

Follow Up By: Geoff in SA - Thursday, Jul 12, 2012 at 08:18

Thursday, Jul 12, 2012 at 08:18
Hi again

I agree with Polaris
Vents lines need to run uphill all the way
FollowupID: 766079

Reply By: Greig and Mish- Sunday, Jul 15, 2012 at 18:11

Sunday, Jul 15, 2012 at 18:11
Thank you all for the replies and follow-ups. Heaps of advise and different techniques to help us out.
We tried the TURNING THE TAPS ON inside and also on the draw bar.... and it worked this time.
Definately not the breathers as that was looked at only 3-4 weeks back.

Thanks All.

G & M
AnswerID: 491030

Follow Up By: Geoff in SA - Monday, Jul 16, 2012 at 08:04

Monday, Jul 16, 2012 at 08:04
Hi G and M

Seems very strange that you are able to fill your tanks with the taps open
and yet say it is not a breather issue.

Water in.... Air out>>>

so what comes out of the taps when you turn them on to fill the tanks???

FollowupID: 766475

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