Please excuse the weird lighting – RVs are not known for reliable light sources. They’re also not known for easy plumbing replacements, alas. Above is Awana’s old plastic vanity sink. As you can see, the drain plug was no longer functional and the edge is cracked. Some months ago I found a used-but-never-installed enamel over steel sink that is the perfect size. Sadly, it was separated from its hudee ring somewhere along the way, which will become relevant shortly.
Full of optimism, I arrived at the Tin Castle early Friday morning, determined to spend the Holiday doing something more productive than standing outside with a bucket of sand, eying the neighborhood kids and their illegal fireworks. Yes, I’ve become that Crazy Old Lady yelling for the little fuckers to be quiet and get off my lawn. The cat stays inside or I might have my name upgraded to Crazy Old Cat Lady.
The old sink came out easily – there were six or eight little plastic clips screwed into the underside of the counter-top and into holes in the bottom of the sink. The clip holes were a part of the sink. Huh. The “new” sink has no holes or clips, but I was counting on gravity anyway…
Above is the counter-top minus the old sink. The hole is bigger than I remember, but the “new” sink fits just fine. Here’s the hole from the underside –
The hot and cold waterlines are PEX with pvc elbows and it are surprisingly rigid. I was hopeful the “new” sink was close enough in size to match without too much trouble.
The Experts recommend “dressing” the sink first – installing the faucet and drain mechanisms before dropping it into the hole to check the fit. At this point we realized that the drain assembly was not going to work and Awana wanted a drain with a lever anyway, so we headed for Home Depot in the next town over – no one local had the parts we needed on a Holiday morning.
Luckily for us, we encountered MarcGyver in the plumbing section and he set us on the right path, finding the correct drain assembly, plumber’s caulk and even a prettier faucet that better matches the sink. He was funny, to boot. I left him a glowing review on the HD website – I hope it leads to a bonus for him.
Back at the Tin Castle, we set to work putting plumber’s putty on the underside of the drain assembly where it goes in the bottom of the sink –
We always read directions! After screwing down the drain, the extra plumber’s caulk is easily removed –
The faucet installed with no fanfare, a preliminary fitting showed the sink would fit nicely into the hole, but the drain assembly pipe was too long. The elbows under the sink were glued and nothing short of an explosion was going to move them in any way, so out came the saw –
Two cuts later (never cut too drastically or you will be sorry) and we’re ready for caulk –
If a little is good, more is better, right?
Since we were relying on gravity and glue to hold the sink down, more is better. Except. The hole was bigger than expected and
quite a bit some of the caulk did not contact the counter-top surface, running down onto my hands as I tried to line up the waterlines.
Despite what the directions say, always put teflon tape on the male threads of any new faucet. If you don’t (forget the line in the instructions where it says a watertight seal is achieved through “friction” or “compression” because it’s total bullshit) You will be putting on and taking off the connectors over and over again until you get smart enough to add teflon tape, whereupon the connection will magically seal and you’ll be done. This ain’t my first rodeo 🙂 Sadly, I did not pick up a fixture wrench to make attaching the waterlines easy, but you can bet I’ll be getting one the next time I’m at HD!
And here’s where it got ugly. You see, there is approximately the width of my hips minus 1″ of space between the wall and the toilet, as sorta shown in the picture above. In order to screw the water connections to the underside of the faucet, one must contort oneself into a pretzel while retaining feeling in one’s fingers. Luckily for me, Awana is smart and has mounted a mirror on a stick to enable me to see what I was doing.
Look at all that sparkle in my hair!* It was about a million degrees in there, I was folded like a slinky and the damned fittings refused to line up. This part of the job really, really, sucks.
Finally everything was connected, the water turned on and no leaks! Unfortunately, we ran out of time and enthusiasm for the project. Leaving some heavy bottles on top of the rim to make the most of the glue, I left to work on some other projects while everything cured and settled into place.
On Sunday, it was time to finish caulking. Since the gap was so large between sink and counter-top, we needed a backer rod –
The backer rod is nothing more than a closed-cell foam cylinder. It was easy to cut it in half length-wise and fill the gap. Then the caulk was applied (I erred on the side of too much, knowing I could scrape off the excess. The finished result is not Perfect but it is Pretty Good for a first attempt –
So there you have it! This is a pretty easy DIY to upgrade your RV, requiring few tools, lots of patience and the willingness to make mistakes.
Awana is making noises about replacing the kitchen sink next. Stay tuned.
* It’s not gray, it’s sparkles! That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!