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There is air leaking in somewhere. Make sure there are no wrinkles in the bag at the sealer location. Also, make sure the seal on the bottom of the bag is complete or the machine will simply suck air from the bottom and out the top. Make sure there are no food particles stuck in or to the sealer mechanism.
I don't have a Rival but have a Foodsaver vacuum sealer. If I have trouble getting the air to vacuum out, I remove the black foam seal from the machine, run it under water for a minute, shake off the excess, and reseat the seal. For some reason, the water helps create a seal. It also helps remove food that may have leaked onto the foam seal.
If the wire that heats and melts the bag is damaged, it may not be sealing the bag completely.
Could be the heating element (wire that gets hot enough to melt plastic) is going bad, how long have you been sealing bags with the unit? If you have used it for some time there is the possibility of build up plastic/residue on the the wire or the surface that actually comes in contact with the bag as I would suspect there is a coated surface the element heats up as opposed to the element / wire coming in contact with the plastic itself!
The same thing happened to mine and I found a really,really inexpensive way to resolve it. I don't use original foodsaver bags and I found out that their thickness might not be detected correctly so it won't vacuum. To compensate for this, I used an ordinary piece of notebook paper. I cut it to a size of 4 1/2" by 1 1/2". I set the long side in the middle of the liquid catching tray and let it lean back towards the heat strip. Make sure it doesn't cover the heat strip or it won't seal. Now I inserted the bag as the directions say, close and lock the top, and it vacuums and seals perfectly.
You need new tape to replace the one presently covering the heat element. You can get a roll of it for just US$7.99. Look at the FixYa question "where [or how maybe] can I get a new tape." I think that you have to be sure that the heat element is flat. I bought a used unit with that problem and the element had somehow gotten bent. Ordered the tape this morning and the cost is worth the hopeful fix.
Is it dripping from the waterpump? Gradually getting worse?
It will appear to come from the back of the water pump. This means that you'll have to change out the pump itself.
Haven't actually done a sonoma..but basically the same on most vehicles. Pick up new pump from auto parts store. Some gasket sealer too is good idea. Also some anti freeze.
Drain antifreeze into bowl to reuse. Run it through a sock or other filter befor putting it back in.
Loosen and remove any belts. Remove the small bolts holding the pump to the block.
Possibly you may need to move stuff like the alternator to reach it??
Look at the new pump to see how many bolt holes, so you don't miss any.
Pull pump away. May need to tap the pump with hammer to bust it loose.
CLEAN the mounting surface. CLEAN the mounting surface. CLEAN the mounting surface.
Avoid gouging the surface. Apply film of gasket sealer to CLEAN surface, AND the gasket that came with the new pump. Block, Sealer, Gasket, Sealer, Pump. Position pump and bolt in place evenly. Snug up each side at same time step by step. Tighten firmly,but don't crank down too hard, you'll strip threads.
Restore any moved items, replace belts and tighten all up. Fill radiator. Start engine. Top up radiator. Top up again with gentle reving of engine. Close radiator. Fill top up bottle.
close hood if all seems ok.