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2014 23D International Fresh Water Tank Replacement

Posted 09-18-2018 at 08:37 AM by GMFL
Updated 09-18-2018 at 09:07 AM by GMFL

A while back our 23D Airstream developed a leak in its Freshwater tank. I decided to tackle this job of swapping the tank out myself. This is not a job for the faint of heart and was one of the harder repairs Iíve done to our Airstream. Took 2 days due to painting tank pan.
Started out by contacting my local Airstream dealer and ordering a new freshwater tank. Cost was $115.99 plus freight. I knew I did not want to drop the old water tank in hopes it could be repaired without having a new one ready to replace it. The tank arrived in about a week and I picked it up from my local dealer with out issue. The first step in the install was to raise the entire trailer approximately 8 inches off the ground to provide clearance to remove the tank. I did this by using large wooden blocks under the wheels and tongue jack. Then I place jackstands under the trailer for safety purposes. I did not take any pictures of the trailer up on the wooden blocks as I did not think I would be blogging about this repair. Once the trailer was up in the air allowing room for the tank to be dropped and removed itís a good idea to make sure that the tank is empty of water. Hear me when I say this, the fresh water drain on the side of your tank does not drain all the water out of the tank. You will need to remove the 1 1/4Ē drain plug from the bottom of the freshwater tank which is located under the inspection plate on the bottom of the water tank pan. My drain plug in the bottom of my tank was partially blocked by the tank pan which made it very difficult to remove. This was a problem I corrected once the tank and pan were removed by cutting a larger inspection hole and making a new cover for the tank pan. For our set up I also had to open up the area where the converter/charger was located to gain access to the plumbing on the top of the tank. The 23D trailers have a low point drain that exits through the water tank pan this low point drains must be disconnected before you can drop the tank. You will also need to disconnect the vent and freshwater fill tube from the outside fill location on the trailer. Once you have all the plumbing disconnected between the tank and the trailer and the water is drained from the tank you can remove the tank straps and additional bolts holding the tank pan to the underbelly of the trailer. Take care that when you remove the bolts you are supporting the tank pan so that it does not fall to the ground. I used a piece of old carpet under the tank so that once it was on the ground I would be able to slide out from under the trailer without causing damage.
Iíll have to tell you what I found once my tank was out was a little disappointing. It looks like Airstream you scrap Styrofoam as insulation or support around and for the water tank. There was also a large amount of debris and construction trash inside the water tank pan. A rivet that was part of this trash was determined to be the cause of my water tank leak. This pop rivet had gotten wedged between the tank and a support and rubbed a hole in the water tank. Preventable by just cleaning up the mess. This problem could have been repaired by plastic welding the tank and put back in place but since I had already purchased the new tank we decided to install it and repair the old tank for future use if needed. While we had the tank and pan out of the trailer I decided to make some modifications to the existing set up. One of these changes was a new brass drain valve to replace the plastic OEM drain valve. Not only did I change the drain valve, but also relocated it so that the new drain would fall between the tires and be easier to access. Another change as stated earlier was to enlarging the inspection hole in the bottom of the water tank pan which would allow easier access to the 1 1/4Ē drain plug in the bottom of the tank. I replaced all the foam surrounding the tank with new closed cell foam that you can get from a big box store. A new filter tube, vent line and fresh coat of bedliner paint inside and out of the water tank pan along with all new brass PEX fittings should round out the improvements are made. While we were doing this project we also swapped our stock Catcom tank monitor system to a Seelevel monitoring system. I will do a write up about that swap later but you will notice the Sealevel sensor mounted to the side of the new water tank. I had to cut the PEX pipe for the low point drains that was routed through the water tank pan in order to drop the tank. I decided to add a male and female connection to this pipe which would allow me to reconnect the line and disconnect it later if I ever needed to. At risk of being long and most of you having already stopped reading I will post several photos with indicators on them of the work done. Please feel free to ask questions provide comments and suggestions anytime.
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Total Comments 4


  1. Old Comment

    I cannot thank you enough for documenting and posting your photos and process for this project here and at your other post regarding this project. What is going on behind the tank pans has been a relative mystery to me, and you have shed so much light on it. Thank you!

    I really want to ditch my plastic drain valve (I have to us a lever to get it to open and it feels like the handle could snap at any time) You've helped me understand what this would entail. Again, Thank you!

    Also, the quick connect for the line drain is a great idea. If I ever get into this project, I'd like to do the same thing.

    Posted 03-17-2019 at 02:16 PM by Papatango Papatango is offline
  2. Old Comment
    GMFL's Avatar
    Thank you for your kind words. Please feel free to reach out anytime if you have a question.
    Thanks again,
    Posted 03-18-2019 at 05:18 PM by GMFL GMFL is online now
  3. Old Comment
    Too much pressure caused our 55 gallon tank to expand. This in turn deformed the tank pan but there is no leaking. When I inspected the situation I noticed that some of the bolts were over tightened by Airstream and the threads are stripped.

    So what to do? The tank sags about two to three inches when full. I made a steel bracket to help with the sag but I'm not too happy with the Airstream stripped threads, what do you think?
    Posted 05-11-2019 at 10:27 AM by mythbuster88 mythbuster88 is offline
  4. Old Comment
    GMFL's Avatar
    Two options I can think of right off the top would be either to use larger bolts and retap the holes or drill out and use Rivnuts to give you new threads.
    Posted 05-11-2019 at 08:12 PM by GMFL GMFL is online now

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