Upgrade your RV water pump
A couple of years ago I decided to upgrade the water pump in my motorhome. I did this for a couple of reasons. First, I wanted to be able to take a nice, hot, shower with lots of water pressure. Second, I can’t resist tinkering with the RV! I did some research and decided on the Shurflo Extreme series, 5.7 because at the time, it was the state of the art in RV water pumps. I was really looking forward to the increased water pressure and flow at my shower head.
As with any RV project, this one was not simple. And as with most RV projects, there wasn’t enough room to do the conversion. However, with a lot of maneuvering and manipulating I was able to mount the new Shurflo into the same area as my old OEM pump. One thing I did do was check out and upgrade my electrical supply system for the pump. My original OEM pump was fused with a 10 amp fuse which was adequate for the OEM pump. However, the new Shurflo is designed to do more work, and thus pulls more amps than the original one. For this reason, Shurflo recommends a 15 amp fuse for the 5.7. Before installing a larger fuse, I checked to verify that the wire feeding the new pump was large enough to carry the additional amps, which it was.
The next problem was that the OEM Intellitec water pump controller, P/N 00-00145-100 was rated for a max of 10 amps and Shurflo recommends changing to the larger Part Number:00-00776-200 that is designed to handle 15 amps.
After I got the new pump installed and plumbed, I installed the new controller and wired everything, I tried the pump to see how it worked. While the pump did produce a lot more pressure and flow, I was really surprised at how much NOISE it made. It seemed like every pipe in the RV was rattling and shaking and pounding. The flow was great, but the noise level was intolerable. Something had to be done.
I have spent the subsequent 2 years working on silencing my new pump installation and have achieved only partial success. I installed a loop of flex hose on the output of the new pump to absorb vibration. I thoroughly attached every piece of water line I could see, touch, or feel. I used foam tubes to wrap the water lines to keep them from banging on the floor, and walls. Where the water line passed through walls I used silicon caulk to seal the holes and hold the water line steady. All this work has significantly reduced rattling in the piping system to the point that I can live with the system. I intend to continue to work on silencing the system in the future. One point here is that I really don’t want the water pump to be totally quiet because I want to know if there is a water leak or a spigot left on which will cause the pump to run periodically.
I am very happy with the operation of the pump as regards water flow, but I really don’t like the way the pump cycles on and off because the flow varies widely during operation. This spring I plan to install an expansion tank in the system to act to absorb fluctuations. I will post an article when I get that done.
My original reason for starting this article was to discuss various pump options for your RV. As I started writing, I thought it might be a good idea to share the above experience with you first. In the next article we will talk about pump ratings and characteristics. Until then, good camping.