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Old 07-08-2013, 07:17 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jul 2013
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Question New owner! Help! How do I do the water?

Just bought a 1985 31' Winnebago chieftain. How do I fill the freshwater tank. The water seems to be going out almost as quickly as I can get it in. Got a screaming deal on the camper so I couldn't pass it up but I have never owned a camper and it didn't come w an owners manual. I have cleaned it up and mechanic says it checks out well so now I need to figure out how to run the systems with never owning or running one of these things before! Please help me, I know I may sound silly but I love this thing and want to get it camping :-)
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Old 07-08-2013, 07:22 PM   #2
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Not sure what you're asking...can you see it flowing out somewhere while you're filling it?

Or (long shot)
Are you by any chance trying to fill it via a threaded garden-hose type connection on the rig?
If so:
That's just the city water hookup (for when you have access to running water). The tank on a unit that age is usually filled by a gravity-fill port.

Both or at least one should be labeled..
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Old 07-08-2013, 07:33 PM   #3
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:welcome: If you've got water flowing out then probably the fresh water drain valve is open from winterization . Sorry but you've got crawl around and find the valve, should be straight up from where you see it running out.
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Old 07-08-2013, 07:39 PM   #4
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Good Luck!
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Old 07-08-2013, 07:48 PM   #5
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So I got the what I would call drain valve closed now and water running, and pump on. Why won't my pump shut off now?
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Old 07-08-2013, 09:03 PM   #6
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There should be a small control panel somewhere in the kitchen area that has indicator lights showing the status of the black and grey water tanks. There's usually a rocker switch on that panel for the water pump.

The pump should only run if you're not on city water (i.e., requiring water from the potable tank) and a water-using item is open (sink faucets, toilet, shower, outside faucet). If there's no demand for water, the pump should shut off.
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Old 07-08-2013, 09:05 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by newoldwinnie View Post
So I got the what I would call drain valve closed now and water running, and pump on. Why won't my pump shut off now?
That usually indicates a leak somewhere in the fresh water plumbing. It can be purposeful or an accident. Purposeful is a low-point drain still open or faucet still open somewhere. Accidental is a frozen line that split/burst.
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Old 07-08-2013, 09:23 PM   #8
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Mr. new-old . . . ....If you are lucky, you live in a town with another good ol' boy from this forum. That would help you a lot having a buddy - I bet your 'problem' is a simple one, to boot. Suggest publishing your home town . .you might get lucky! Another possibility - make a trip to a known honest RV store and ask for help!
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Old 07-09-2013, 09:13 AM   #9
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On our Winny, if you have the hose connected and you turn the valve to "fill", the pump will run while filling. You have to turn off the pump until the water hose is shut off. If you're keeping the hose hooked up you don't need to have the pump on.

Here's the manual for the 1986 Chieftain (couldn't find the 1985):

Try also here for your manuals:
is for the 1993 Chieftain. May be different quite a bit from your but it's the oldest Chieftain manual Winnebago has on their site. A lot of the stuff will still be the same or similar.

Manuals & Diagrams
has other manuals back to 1993

Here is the google search results for pdf files for your RV:
1985 31' Winnebago chieftain - Google Search

Good luck
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