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RV Water Pump Troubleshooting – Clean the Screen!

There are two issues that can affect the performance of an RV water pump: a dirty rv water pump filter screen, and a contaminated fresh water RV system.  This RV water pump troubleshooting method will give you a starting point in helping to diagnose a problem you may be having in your RV.

The first thing you need to do is locate your RV water pump.  Some RV manufacturers locate their RV water pumps inside the RV while others will locate them in a storage bin outside the RV.  If you have never searched for your water pump before, you may have to do some real investigation to find it.

What does the RV water pump look like?

rv water pump troubleshooting

A Typical SHURflo RV Water Pump

I don’t know why, but RV manufacturers like to hide RV water pumps, even though RV owners like us need easy access to service them.  I found mine by turning on the RV water pump and tracing the distinct noise it makes when being used.  I found mine buried underneath the kitchen counter with no way to get to it.  I had to remove a cabinet panel and make a door out of it.  That also gave me future access for the maintenance I am describing here.

Okay, once you located it, the rest of your RV water pump troubleshooting process is easy!

Hopefully you will be able to access the pump well enough so that it will be fairly easy to disconnect the fresh water tank supply line and allow you to remove the RV water pump screen assembly so that you can clean it out. But before you do that, be sure to have your RV unhooked from city water, and also be sure the water pump is off. Turn on a faucet and relieve pressure in the water system.

If you have the new clear filter assembly, all you need to do is unscrew the bottom screen housing to access the screen for cleaning.

rv water pump troubleshooting

Older Style Filter Screen Assembly

If you have the semi-clear filter housing you will need to remove the fresh water supply line coming from the fresh water tank.  It will be attached to the filter screen assembly.  You may get a little residual water come out from what was left in the supply line.  Now that the supply hose is removed, unscrew the filter assembly from the RV water pump housing.  You will need to do that in order to get the screen out to clean it.

rv water pump troubleshooting

If you have the older style like the one shown above, open it by turning the threaded male end counter clockwise to allow the two parts to separate from each other. Once you have your filter assembly apart you can push the screen out from the female threaded end and clean the screen. Take it outside and rinse it with water to get all the particles out.  Once you have done that, reassemble the filter, and attach it back to the RV water pump.

This will be the first step in assuring that your RV water pump is running at its best!  The next issue that I will deal with, in another section of RV water pump troubleshooting, is sanitizing the RV fresh water system.

If you are an occasional RV-er, this should be done at the start and end of your RV season.  If you enjoy full time RV living, then a good rule of thumb is to sanitize the fresh water system every six months.

Please look for my next page on this subject!  It is very important to the health of your RV water pump!

Please leave a comment before you check out another post, or pose a question if we can be of assistance!


Blessings in your RV adventures!
Howard and Pam


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    • william keldsen on October 13, 2019 at 3:16 PM
    • Reply

    Thank you for solving my problem. All I needed was the title of this article to solve my low pressure problem! Thanks!

    1. Awesome William! Thanks for stopping by! So glad we could help you with your RV water pump issue.

    • Terry Youngman on October 1, 2019 at 9:08 AM
    • Reply

    My fresh water tank is full, I turn on my pump and bleed all my lines until I get a good flow thru all. When I run water (hot or cold) thru kitchen sink, shower and toilet, pump runs good and shuts off like it should, but when I run water thru bathroom sink, pump studders, bump, bump, bump at low or wide open pressure before shutting off. My question, why does it do this only in bathroom sink. My pump is a Shurflo Model w/pump 4008-101-A65
    2019 Artic Wolf, 5th wheel.

    1. Hi Terry!

      All I can think of is that you have a clog of some kind at the faucet or in the lines leading to the faucet. Have you checked the screen at the faucet output? This is a new RV and should be under warranty.

    • Kevin Stevens on August 28, 2019 at 2:37 PM
    • Reply

    I have a 2011 Keystone Passport and the water pump runs constantly. I’ve tried everything I can think of. Doesn’t seem to be any air in the system. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Hi Kevin!

      I am sure you have enough water in the tank, but I have to mention it anyway. Start with the simple things first. Is tank water actually reaching the pump? With the pump on does water come out of the city water connection? How about the winterizing system? Try filling the water tank to full just for grins. Also, lower the pump pressure setting to see if that gets it to cycle off.

    • Janet on July 25, 2019 at 12:25 PM
    • Reply

    I have a 2017 Outback Rv and my pump is different from this one you are showing. I can’t find the screen to the filter or if it has one we have only used this rv once before. HELP!!!

    1. Hi Janet!

      What model make and model pump do you have?

  1. The water pump in our 2018 Keystone Bullet Ultralite is off & connected to city water, but still runs after a commode oo water runs. What is wrong?

    1. Hi Paula!

      If a pump is switched on while hooked to city water and it runs when there is water usage, then it is trying to keep the pressure that the pump is set at. If it is switched off like you say it is, and it runs after flushing the toilet, to me that would mean the pump is not off and the switch may need to be checked to see if it is wired correctly or need replacement.

    • Chris on June 17, 2019 at 1:34 PM
    • Reply

    Howard, it seems that my water tank is filling when I use the city water connection and the running over into the overflow … is there a valve that I need to shut off that I am missing?

    1. Hi Chris!

      Some RV’s have a fill tank valve that is located near the city water connection. It is possible that these can go bad and allow water through to fill the fresh water tank, even when closed. The other possibility is that the one-way valve from the fresh water tank has failed and it is now allowing water to go back through it into the fresh water tank, thereby filling it, when you are connected to city water.

      I hope that helps!!

        • Kathy on September 26, 2019 at 12:28 PM
        • Reply

        We had the same problem this past weekend on our 2018 Rockwood Signature Fifth Wheel. We have a Shurflo 4008 RV Revolution By-Pass Pump. When connected to city water, our fresh water tank filled and water came out of the over-flow. When not connected to city water, we’ve noticed the pump will occasionally cycle every now and then. However, no leaks were found. I’m wondering if Chris solved his problem? Suggestions please? Thanks!

        1. Hi Kathy!

          We had this happen on our motorhome. My first thought was to replace the freshwater tank fill valve thinking it was letting water pass through to the fresh tank even when switched over to the city water bypass. That did not work.

          Looking at the interior plumbing to the water pump, it became clear to me that the water pump was possibly letting water by. So we replaced it and then the problem stopped.

            • Kathy on September 26, 2019 at 7:44 PM

            Do I understand correctly, you replaced the whole water pump? Thank you for your response.

            • Howard on September 26, 2019 at 7:46 PM

            Yes, they are not that expensive! I kept the replaced one as a backup in case of pump failure until I could get another one.

            • Kathy on September 26, 2019 at 8:42 PM

            I was thinki
            ng the same thing!! Thanks for your help!!

            • Howard on September 27, 2019 at 12:13 PM

            You are welcome, Kathy!

    • Bert G on June 14, 2019 at 9:44 PM
    • Reply

    My water pump when it first comes on after an overnight shutoff, runs for about 20 seconds and then shuts off. It will start spontaneously, about every 5 minutes, and run for about 5 seconds.
    Do you think its just a clean out? Or is it more than that?

    1. Hi Bert!

      That issue could be a pump problem or that you have a small leak in the system. The pump is trying to maintain pressure, so when it runs periodically it could be a small water leak.

      Be sure the pump is clean and properly adjusted and see if that corrects the problem. If not, start searching for evidence of water.

    • Donna on February 10, 2019 at 5:09 PM
    • Reply

    Hi. Thanks for info. I have several issues with my camper. We are newbies to this camping thing but we love it so far!
    Here are my issues….

    Water smells
    Can’t find fresh water tank
    Low water pressure
    Does water go thru fresh water tank to supply camper?

    Thank you for your help!

    1. Hi Donna!

      Thanks for stopping by! In answer to your questions:

      Water smells: is this water from the onboard water system or from the city water connection?
      Can’t find fresh water tank: depending on the RV you have, the tank is located either below the bed or below the floor in the frame assembly. Most times they are not visible or only part of the tank is visible.
      Low water pressure: Is there an inline water filter that needs changing? Are you using a water regulator? Have you checked the water pressure at the RV [ark water supply? 60 psi is usually the maximum that is recommended and the cheap water regulators put out 40 psi.
      Does water go thru fresh water tank to supply camper?: you have two sources for water, the city water connection or the fresh water tank. If you are on city water the fresh tank is eliminated from the incoming water supply.

    • Dahr-wynn on February 9, 2019 at 10:33 PM
    • Reply

    Thank you for your website information!
    I have a 2002 Itasca class C. Since I’m using it in freezing temperatures, a friend suggested I use a gallon of cheap vodka as antifreeze in my water tank. I never drink water from the tank, so I tried it. Unfortunately, the pump started making a lot of noise and the water is coming out frothy. I don’t know if they’re related. I’m going to check the pump filter. Just wanted to ask you if you know that might damage the pump somehow.

    1. Hi Dahr-wynn!

      Unfortunately listening to friends with “cheap” ways to accomplish RV tasks can wind up costing you money. I have never heard of adding cheap vodka to the fresh water tank to winterize an RV’s water system. However, that is alcohol, and to me, that seems like that would degrade the internal rubber parts of the water pump depending on how much was used. That’s all I can think of that might have happened. Fortunately, water pumps are cheap, and if it is the original replacement may be in order anyway.

    • Debbie on October 15, 2018 at 7:12 PM
    • Reply

    We have one of the old filtr screen assembly that you have shown on your website. Ours looks exactly like that. Do you have a part # for the replacement one

    1. Hi Debbie!

      If you will Google search “Shur Flo water pump parts” you will find what you are looking for. I found them on Amazon.

    • Luke on September 9, 2018 at 10:24 PM
    • Reply

    I have a new RV with a Shurflo pump. Was fine for approximately one full tank of 45 gallons. Then we hooked up to camp ground water. That went fine, too. But when we left the campground and went back to our tank water, the pump was WAY LOUDER and seems to be struggling. Sounds like a motorboat. I did everything possible to secure it down tightly, make sure nothing is touching it, and all water lines near the pump are now covered with foam insulation and secured down to remove shaking. Still, the pump labors on and makes a horrible sound. A quick visual on the filter and it looked clear. Water pressure at the faucet, toilet, sink, and shower is not bad. Outdoor shower is very poor. What to do next?

    1. Hi Luke!

      If it’s a new RV I would take it back to the dealer for warranty work.

  2. My water pump is running and the filter is clean but no water is coming out of faucets. Could my pump have debris in it? Is there a way to clean it out of the pump or do I have to replace the pump? I have an Artis Products power drive series one automatic water system pump.

    1. Hi Linda!

      Thanks for stopping by our website!

      How old is the water pump? Has it had much use? Have you kept the fresh water tank sanitized?

    • Karen on August 11, 2018 at 8:23 PM
    • Reply

    Can you please tell me where I can get a replacement? The threads on mine are broken and it’s leaking so I’m trying to find another strainer for it. I’ve found nothing so far either at camping world or online. The water pump itself works fine just leaking because of strainer.

    Thanks for help!

    1. Hi Karen!

      If the pump is made by Shurflo, call them directly to see if they can send you a replacement for your pump model. I was able to find parts on Amazon.

    • Veronica on July 11, 2018 at 8:47 PM
    • Reply

    Our pump continually runs and we get zero water through the taps. We have just started to use our water pump after not using it for a few years. We discovered a really nasty smell and discovered really gross nastiness when we decided to clean/drain the holding tank. We think we may have plugged the pump..hence the continuous running of the pump. We are going to try to access the pump filter and clean it! Do you have any other suggestions or advice?

    1. Hi Veronica!

      From what you are describing, if you have enough water in the tank, but no water coming out of the faucet, it is either clogged, or it is time to replace the pump. We had to do that recently after three years of full time RV living use. THe pump ran, the screen was clean, but the pump was not developing enough suction to provide water to faucets.

    • Robert E Hamilton on June 1, 2018 at 7:30 PM
    • Reply

    where is the location of fresh water pump on a 2004 sportcoach cross country by coachman

    1. Hi Robert!

      Thanks for stopping by our website!

      I don’t know the specific location for that model, but if you are asking I am assuming it is not working. Otherwise, when I want to find them when inspecting RV’s, I turn on the pump and a faucet and listen for the sound and chase it down that way.

      Water pumps are usually located near the plumbing bay where the water comes in. It may be in one of the outside bays or they may have placed it inside under a cabinet or bed. Follow the plumbing from the plumbing bay and you will find it.

    • Lolita McCarthy on April 26, 2018 at 9:36 PM
    • Reply

    Where can I find another old school Water shurflow filter? Mine is cracked and leaks water! What is the price??

    1. Hi Lolita!

      Thanks for stopping by our website!

      Can you tell me the model number and possibly the age of the pump from the manufacturer date stamped on it?

    • Sandy Mae Wine on November 22, 2017 at 10:48 AM
    • Reply

    Have just recently had to use the water pump this year it cuts off and on and water gets cold when its on and when it cuts off hot water again. Not sure what our problem is but in need of answers for a hot shower that stays hot lol not a happy person with cold shower and then it gets hot again help us plz

    1. Hi Sandy!

      I have to say I have never heard of this one before! I would start by checking the connections to the water pump. We had a loose wire create some issues of intermittent water pump service. The hot and cold water issue may just be coincidental.

  3. Howard,

    New to us, a 2004 Terry 250RKS. Pump is under a panel at the bottom of a kitchen cabinet.

    Since it is difficult to access (well, not really, let’s say “inconvenient”) I suspected that the unit might not have been maintained regularly. Boy, was I right!

    It has the old-style screen, and after a casual look I had absolutely no idea just how MUCH crud there was inside of it! My wife almost gagged! :-))

    Thanks for such complete instructions, as it isn’t obvious at first that the screen housing simply un-threads from the pump inlet.

    It’s all better now, though I am now looking at doing a heavy bleach wash-down of the fresh water tank.

    Best regards!


    1. Thanks for stopping by our website Pop! Pam and I are glad we were able to help!! Enjoy your RV travels!

    • Betty on July 21, 2016 at 12:21 AM
    • Reply

    Instruction book says to push in and turn filter 1/4 turn counterclockwise to release clips. Tried several times, does not work. Ideas?

    1. Hi, Betty!

      If it has been awhile since the filter assembly has been removed, it may be calcified and a little stubborn. If yours is the kind that does not need the intake water line be removed, be sure the pressure on the pump is released by shutting off all water sources and open a faucet to relieve pressure in the system. Then get a good hold on the pump assembly and try again. Maybe a rubber jar opener pad will help you get a better grip on it.

      If you just can’t get it open or break it in the effort, they are easy to get replacement parts at any reputable RV supply center.

      Good luck!!

    • balmer in Charlotte Mich. on June 21, 2016 at 5:45 PM
    • Reply

    Mr Howard.,
    Dito ……worked for me too. EASY! Thanks

    1. Glad to hear that! Thanks for letting us know!!

    • Sylvia Jordan on May 29, 2016 at 3:16 PM
    • Reply

    I got the screen assembly turned out, & thought I could see the correct direction to turn the connection cover. However it would not unscrew. I am always afraid of applying too much pressure. You confirmed that it is counter clockwise, so I tried again & voila, it unscrewed. I rinsed the screen & entire inside area & used an old toothbrush to make sure it was clean. Thanks for the info & assistance. I have noted your website for future reference.
    Sylvia in Milwaukee

    1. Thanks for visiting our website Slyvia!

      I am so glad our information was able to help you out.

      Happy RV travels!!

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