How To Change a Gate Valve on Your RV: A Simple Guide
It’s strange to think that your RV’s entire water system relies on a small plastic valve. Without a properly working RV gate valve, you might face unpleasant leaks or harmful buildup in your gray and black tanks. Like all equipment, gate valves wear down over time. Sometimes, fixing a leaking gate valve is a simple matter of clearing out debris that has collected in the valve. If the issue persists, though, it’s time to replace the valve entirely. Luckily, the gate valve is a simple piece of equipment that you can often replace by yourself. Grab your tools, and follow this simple guide on how to change a gate valve on your RV.
Find the Source of the Leak
Before you start digging through your RV’s underbelly, you need to identify which valve is causing the issue. Start by dumping and flushing all your wastewater tanks. This will take a while, so make sure you can hook up to a safe dump station without getting in the way of other RVers. Once you’ve flushed the tanks, test them one at a time by closing the valve and pouring water into the tank. If any of them leaks a significant amount of water—around a cup or more—your gate valve is leaking.
Reaching and Removing the Old Waste Valve
Now that you know which valve to focus on, you can start the process of replacing it. Before you begin, make sure you know how to reach your gate valve. It’s simple for most RVs, but some models might require you to remove the underbelly covers, insulation, and other parts to get to the valve. Don’t bite off more than you can chew—if the process is beyond your expertise, hand it over to the experts. An RV service technician can safely remove the necessary parts, preventing any serious and costly damage to the rest of your water system.
Once you reach the problematic waste valve, remove the bolts that hold it in place between the waste pipes. Remove the flange seals surrounding the valve as well. Clean the flanges and give them time to dry before proceeding.
Install the Flange Seals and Gate Valve
The next step of this simple guide on how to change a gate valve on your RV is to install the flange seals. Coat them with a gel lubricant or petroleum jelly; it will act both as a lubricant and an additional seal to keep the valve in good shape after you install it. Place the flange seals, then separate the flanges to make room for the gate valve. Slide the gate valve between the flanges—while being careful not to fold or dislodge the seals—and then make sure the valve is evenly spaced between the flanges. Once everything lines up, secure the new valve with the proper nuts and bolts. Recheck for even spacing, and test the valve to ensure it operates smoothly.
You’re already working in and around your water tanks, so this is the perfect time to prepare your RV for winter weather by installing RV gate valve heaters. UltraHeat gate valve heaters thaw the valve so that you can continue to dump your tanks safely and effectively, even in cold weather. With your new gate valve and its necessary accessories in place, you’re ready to keep enjoying a luxurious and adventurous life on the road in your RV.