Replacing RV Shower Faucet Without Access Panel (How To)

When you own any type of RV or trailer, you will find situations that will have you scratching your head. You just can’t believe the company did what they did when assembling your unit. Not having an access panel to the shower is one of those head-scratching situations.

One suggestion would be to remove the entire shower enclosure to get at the shower faucets. This is a lot of work but it will provide you with the room you need to do your work. Sometimes you have to call the manufacturer to find a secret access panel.

To learn more about this challenge, just continue to read our article. It has the information you want to know about so you can handle this problem easily and without scratching your head. You never know what you will encounter when owning an RV.

How To Replace Shower Faucet in RV


The instructions here will be for those RVs that have access to the faucet. There are three ways to do this task and the way you use depends on your RV’s design. You may find some instructions will overlap all three methods.

Step one- Shut the water supply off. This may mean turning the water pump off or closing a valve so water does not reach the shower faucet. Then turn on the cold and hot faucets until all the water is drained out.

Step two- Remove the mounting plate and faucet- Screws should be placed under plastic caps. Find all of these screws that hold the faucet and mounting plate in place. Then remove the plastic caps and the screws underneath.

Step three- Now, unhook the water lines attached to the faucets. This would be a lot easier if you had an access panel behind the shower. Label the water lines cold and hot to make sure you re-connect them to the right faucet when you have replaced the old ones.

Step four- Once the water lines are off, remove the old faucet and replace it with the new one. Re-connect the water lines to their proper place and get ready to put the screws back in.

Step five- Once the faucet is securely in place, replace the mounting plate and screws. Put the plastic caps back over those screws.

Step six- After you have done all of this work, test turn the water supply back on and test the new faucet. Make sure there are no leaks and that hot water is coming out of the hot water faucet.

In most cases, replacing the shower faucet is a straight forward task. It is only when you do not have an access panel that things can get complicated.

Replacing RV Shower Faucet Without Access Panel


This can be a challenge as at least one owner has found out. He owned a 2002 Jayco Designer "C". and thought he did not have an access panel to his shower faucet. He eventually found a recessed water glass holder that turned out to be the access panel.

The location of this panel was not convenient as he had to reach 2 feet to reach the shower faucet. The moral of this story is that while you may think you do not have an access panel, it just may be hiding somewhere in your bathroom.

There are 3 methods you can try when you do not have an access panel. The first method was described in the previous section. The second method is to take the face of the shower surround off and access the faucet through that opening.

This only works if your shower surround is not a one-piece unit. You should look around this panel for the plastic caps that hide the screws and keep them from rusting.

Once this panel is off, you should be able to replace the shower faucet with ease. But to take the panel off, you will have to cut the sealant blocking water from leaking behind the shower.

The second method is to do some searching. If the shower faucet wall is on the other side of a hallway or bedroom wall, you may find the access panel behind a mirror or a picture or something else.

Sometimes a TV will be covering the access panel to the shower. As the previous section described, sometimes you can only access the shower faucet from the front due to the faucet’s design.

That is more like the traditional home’s shower set up. Everything is screwed in from the front and it is just a matter of time before you get all the screws and seats removed.

Are RV Shower Faucets Universal?


The best answer to this question is, no they are not. RV shower faucets, like traditional home faucets, come in different designs. You can have a one or two faucet system which requires different types of plumbing as well as connectors.

When replacing a faucet you will have to make sure the new one is compatible with the type of water lines that are installed in your RV. Also, some of the RV shower faucets may be designed to include a tap to fill the bathtub. If you do not have that feature, then you will not be able to use that faucet design.

Many people want to replace their RV shower faucets because the plastic ones the RV makers install are not that great. They are cheap, cheaply made, look tacky, and do not last.

The best thing to do, if you can, is to remove the current faucet, look at the connectors to the water lines, and then go to a good RV parts store or plumbing shop and find a better-quality replacement. Just make sure it is compatible with your RV’s systems.

Another problem, as one Jayco owner found out, is that the RV makers changed the design of the faucets. Older models may not be able to use the newer designs because the faucet’s parts are different or have been upgraded.

Can You Replace Just The Shower Faucet?


Yes, this is possible when the new faucet is compatible with all the other parts in this portion of the plumbing system. You just have to find a similar model to your current one and make it from the same brand and you should be fine.

That is if the RV is young enough and nothing has been upgraded between replacement time and purchase time. The other problem is that the RV maker may use plastic parts that are not compatible with brass ones.

If they aren’t then you would have to replace more than the faucet to make the new one work. Sometimes, RV owners will remove the cheap plastic RV faucet and replace it with a nicer traditional home model. In these cases, the new faucet may work or you may have to replace more than just the faucet.

The challenge to this option will be the design of the faucets and the water line connectors. If everything matches up, then replacing the faucet only is a very good cost-saving measure.

If you are not sure, you can always get help from the RV manufacturer, RV parts stores, or a good plumber familiar with RV plumbing systems.

Can You Replace a Shower Faucet Without Replacing The Valve?


If the valve is not leaking, then this is a possibility as well. What you replace will depend on the compatibility factor. The new faucet would have to be compatible with the current valve.

However, if the valve is the main problem and is leaking, then you would have to replace that part as well. Sometimes, it just makes more sense to replace the whole unit.

Older parts are weaker and may break down sooner than you would want. This is not a good situation as you have to fix your shower a second time. It is smarter and more cost-effective to replace all the parts of the faucet.

Everything is new, everything is covered under the warranty, and everything should last a long time. If you do not replace the valve, you may think you are saving money but often that is not the case as the older valve eventually needs replacing.

While the task of replacing the faucet is not complicated nor does it take a long time, finding a replacement may take longer. That is because of upgrades, design changes, or a lack of compatibility.

Some Additional Words

When you think you do not have an access panel, there may be a hidden one on a wall near the shower faucet. Or, the faucet is designed to be repaired or replaced from the front.

Do a good search for an access panel first before thinking about cutting a hole in one of the walls. If you cannot find one, check the faucet to see if it is screwed in from the front.

If so, you can replace the faucet in minutes if you have the right replacement faucet.

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