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Swing-wall bathroom sink drain repair


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Our Hymer has a bathroom sink mounted on a swinging wall, which allows space the be swapped from batheroom to shower compartment as necessary, which we like a lot. But approaching ten years old, our bathroom sink waste suddenly started leaking spectacularly. The water came out onto the floor of the bathroom, from where fortunately it could drain harmlessly away, but it was coming out of the void behind the hinge of the swing wall and suddenly feeling your feet wet as you were cleaning your teeth wasn't exactly ideal.


So how to get into the void space to investigate the problem? The shower side of the hinge was the obvious line of attack but it was covered by rubberised material fastened to both MH side wall and swing wall with no obvious way of opening it up. There is a plastic strip down the swing wall edge of this fabric and I guessed that this would pull to reveal the fasteing screws. A phone call to Peter Hambidon, who looks after our MH confirmed this, so I hooked this off to reveal the screws which I them unscrewed to reveal the void.


The reason for the leak was immediately obvious. A spiral-wound flexible pipe draining the sink had more or less parted completely as it turned down, so it needed repair or replacement. Wrap some self-amalgamating tape around it for now, said Peter, that should see you home. Unfortunately however that was clearly not going to be enough. The tear in the pipe was almost complete and the reason for this was that it had been fitted too short and pulled too tight at assembly in 2006 at the Hymer factory. It was remakable that it had lasted nearly ten years without rupture but eventually, as a result of repeated leverings over the wooden hole in the swing wall where it turned downhill into the void, ruture it had eventually suffered. This type of spiral-reinforced piping is very strong until it gives, than the gap pulls open very easily and this is what had happened.


There had been press coverage of weaknesses in Hymer quality control in the period up to 2008, when they were reported to have started sortng them out, so our 2006 MH had presumably fallen victim. It was going to be necessary to lengthen the pipe to make a satisfactory repair. Where then, in France, to obtain some suitable pipe and the means of making satisfactory end-to-end joins?


I hade called at a caravan/motorhome accessory stroe as we passed Chartres the previous day and they had some piping, but in two diameters (20mm and 25mm) and prior to opening up the swing-wall void, it hadn't been at all clear what size I would need, or whether joining spigots would also be needed either. Once I had got the void open and removed the sink drain fitting (only hand tight, so no special tools) it became clear that the tube merely push-fitted onto a spigot at either end, one at the sink drain fitting and one at a size-changing spigot into a rigid pipe system located inside the door of the toilet cassette compartment, directly below the swing-wall hinge void.


So all needed was a suitable length of 20mm spiral-reinforced pipe and i would be able to effect a repair. I had to drive back to Chartes to get this but they had it in stock at 9€ for 1.5 metres. I was able to fit this pipe to the sink fitting and refit that, then thread the pipe inside the sink moulding to the hole in swing-wall hinge area, then lead it down through another hole into the toilette cassette compartment. There were a couple of fastning pipe clips, one of which had been left unused by the Hymer assembler in 2006 because he was working with too short a length of pipe, so with an extra 3 inches or so of pipe and both pipe clips brought into use, a secure, better-than-original repair was made.


It was amazing that the original sink drain pipe had lasted so long before failing. The ten-year-old pipe was stiff and unyielding compared with the new equivalent so I think there's an argument for replacing it on age anyway. And if you have a swing-wall bathroom with it's original piping, I suggest you consider carrying a 1.5 metre length of 20mm spiral-reinforced piping as a spare part, just in case!

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