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Old 11-27-2008, 11:03 AM   #1
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Underbelly and insulation

My unit came missing the underbelly under the tanks. I knew this. Now I am ready to replace it. I am going to use .06 aluminum (or 1/16in) or stronger. I noticed an access cap on top of the black tank. 1. wonder what this is used for (it seems pretty inaccessable) 2. should I add any extra (perhaps one, narrow steel) support dead center front to back? and 3. I may want to do something to keep things warm there in cold weather use...and read in some other thread about a guy who installed a sheet of styrofoam under the aluminum and in that inserted a heat tape which he could plug in when needed. Is that a good idea or are there others? It does seem that if the heat tape were in any way next to any metal, it could rub and then short out and maybe cause problems we don't want. Any ideas others have will be welcome. Thanks, Dan
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Old 11-27-2008, 11:30 AM   #2
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wow .06 sounds very thin to me - I just replaced my whole belly with .32 - minimum you should use is .25

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Old 11-27-2008, 11:40 AM   #3
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Heat tape doesn't last for a long time. People who have used it to keep pipes from freezing in unheated crawl spaces learn that lesson. I did. Also, never wrap heat tape over itself—further shortens the life and could cause the insulation to melt.

Since you would be using it in a place that is difficult to access, you probably would not know when it was losing it's ability to heat the water tank. Also, a pipe has a lot less water than a water tank and you'd need a lot of heat tape. I don't know how you would wrap a tank and keep the tape in place—this stuff is made to wrap around pipes.

So, I think heat tape is not a solution.

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Old 11-27-2008, 11:46 AM   #4
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I will leave comments as to the material for the belly pan to others.

I will say that you do not want to mix steel and aluminum, as per your comment of a strip down the center. This leads to electrolysis.

As for foam insulation that is a waste of time and money unless you are prepared to SEAL every nook and cranny. Insulation is only as good as to the completeness of the insulation, any gap, void, or open end is the same as leaving the front door open in a heated house.

Now I will say a sprayed on foam has several advantages. Completeness, lack of moisture absorption, and ease of installation. Foam will not have the same coefficient of heat transfer as some of the insulations that claim a higher coefficient but the completeness of installation will more than make up for that.
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Old 11-27-2008, 11:55 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken J View Post
wow .06 sounds very thin to me - I just replaced my whole belly with .32 - minimum you should use is .25

Ken J.
Ken, you missed the zero before the six, .06 is just under a 1/16th which is .0625 or commonly known as .063 which is a standard sheet aluminum thickness. Your other numbers should read .032 and .025. .32 is slightly over 5/16's and .25 is 1/4".

.06 is a little overkill for a belly pan. I believe that the stock thickness is as Ken stated above. I however used .040 5052 H34 because I got a screaming deal on it. The choice is yours however and if you use .063 it will be bulletproof.
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Old 11-27-2008, 11:56 AM   #6
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As for the thinkness, we are off a decimal place. Campman said he was going to use .06 which is 0.060.", pretty darn think. Ken refered back to .32 which is really 0.032". Just off a order of magnitude amoung friends.
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Old 11-27-2008, 11:56 AM   #7
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Lol... Aerowood beat me to it.
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Old 11-27-2008, 11:57 AM   #8
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Never mind....

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Old 11-27-2008, 06:14 PM   #9
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Thanks for all that input. The price of the 0.063 here is quoted to me as $3.05/sq ft. So, if it is bullet proof as you say, it should be good. It weighs 0.90/lb per sq.ft and for the 22 sq ft I need that increases the weight onlhy by a little over 20 lb. Is that a bad price??
Now I will say a sprayed on foam has several advantages. So, HowieE...what do you recommend in terms of the TYPE of spray on? I would think you'd have to be careful in terms of future repairs and replacement of parts.
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