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Old 10-31-2017, 08:47 PM   #15
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The small gray water tank is due to rear bath and weak frame in the 70s trailers
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Old 10-31-2017, 11:17 PM   #16
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The water heater is located in the rear bath on my trailer. It appears to be the original one. It is one of those light the pilot light yourself on a cold, rainy, windy night. I prefer the automatic ignition while the beagle and I enjoy a snack in the trailer, imagine that! So I decided to replace with a new water heater, likely in a different location.

The water heater is in the bath "medicine cabinet". It appears the water heater was installed before the medicine cabinet went over it. My trailer is plumbed in copper. There was some kind of "super sealant" around the exterior flange of the water heater. No leaks, hard to removed the heater. But with enough patience, out it came.

The water heater has 42 years of mineral crud in the tank, not good. I weighed the water heater with it's exterior door at 38 pounds empty. Add another 40 pounds of water and you have nearly 80 pound jack hammer back there bouncing on the frame rail. That is why I desire to move the water heater forward.

David


Or go with an on-demand .. $$$ but super nice. you must be from the old country ..?
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Old 11-01-2017, 05:27 PM   #17
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I'll give it some thought. They may be budget busters. I might consider a 3 gallon heater. I find endless hot water promotes long showers and thus full grey water tank. Cold showers use much less water.

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Old 11-01-2017, 06:47 PM   #18
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Hi 4RXLA: The long mid seventies trailers do have weak frames for the loads they are asked to carry. Our 86 Limited 34' has not experienced any frame issues and has the same 5" frame rails.

I believe the trailer layout contributed to the frame weakness. Putting baths, batteries, water heaters and waste water tanks in the back of the trailer lowered tongue weight, but add significant "g" loads when we hit bad pavement. And the "lightened" axle plates (see photo) didn't add enough strength to the frame rails. The frame tended to break or buckle to the rear of the rear axle. That is the area most people strengthen in the frame.

And of course stiff axles, out of balance tires, stiff tow vehicles all add vibration and "g" loads to the rear frame members. My Overlander has way bad axles.

The 86 has the batteries in front over the A frame, a center bath, and the waste water tanks just behind the rear axle. The water heater is still located in the rear of the trailer. This layout is more balanced around the axles.

So far I don't see any evidence of frame buckle or cracks in my Overlander. There is no bulge in the body aluminum behind the axles on either side. I know I have rear end separation and I have some droop in the subfloor from the rear axle back. The bath is a half a bubble low from the level galley floor. Maybe this is due to the rear end separation.

The rear end separation standard repair procedure does say to jack up the rear of the frame rails to level or a bit higher, and then reattach the c-channel to a new, strong cross member. Maybe that process will level the bath floor. And I have subfloor rot at the c-channel in the rear, which also weakens the subfloor. Airstreams are "semi-monocoque construction", meaning the frame, subfloor, and body all work together for maximum strength. Loose one of these members, and the whole structure is considerably weakened.

I will be repairing the rusted rear cross member and the rear end separation this winter. I'll see if I can keep the bath floor level with the galley floor after the repair is complete. Who wants a droopy separated rear end.

Overall, I've been impressed with how this 75 Overlander is built, even compared to my wife's 86 Limited. I'm referring to the body and interior. It is all aluminum construction with laminated plywood fascia. It has plywood subfloor and not OSB. The bath is just thermoformed plastic and not the greatest. The plastic can crack from age, UV exposure and vibration.

David
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Old 11-01-2017, 07:54 PM   #19
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David, I agree the layout contributes to the problem. My 77 31' had a roadside frame crack just behind the rear axle and I had the frame box welded aft of the axles on both sides. My trailer has had a rearward droop in the bathroom since brand new. From the pictures you have posted of your trailer, the plywood looks good and you might not have rear end separation. If the plywood in the rear hatch looks clean and dry you might be ok.
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Old 11-02-2017, 06:17 PM   #20
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I bought this 75 Overlander knowing full well it had rear end separation. It failed the bumper bounce test street side only, and failed the ice pick floor probe all along the inside skins in the rear compartment. I wanted a project trailer and I got it.

The steel angle iron, the steel U channel that supports the body "c channel", and the rear 2" of subfloor are all rusted, rotted toast. Gonners.

I will figure out a solid repair using information on these forums. The key is a strong "bridge" from street frame rail to curbe frame rail for a solid body attachment. The key is a design that won't let rain water to migrate between seams. The key is to use materials that resist oxidation and corrosion if wet.

I likely will not add the axle plate frame stiffener and take a chance the frame will crack or buckle for many years. Adding the stiffeners is a pretty big job for a non welder like myself. If I repair the rear end separation and get the aluminum body shell to do it's job and hold up the frame I may be okay. (Maybe a little like a suspension bridge holds up the roadway.) I will relocate the 75 pound water heater and the 60 pound battery closer to the rear axle. I will install new axles that actually provide a bit of suspension. I will try very hard not to tow with water in the holding tanks except a little fresh water in the black tank for cleaning purposes. Draining the holding tanks is on my "prep to tow" checklist.

David
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Old 11-02-2017, 08:53 PM   #21
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Looking forward to following along during your refurb! Really nice trailer.
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Old 11-02-2017, 09:21 PM   #22
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That's too bad that water got in the rear and rusted it out. I've been lucky that mine has stayed dry.
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Old 11-03-2017, 06:15 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by dbj216 View Post

The steel angle iron, the steel U channel that supports the body "c channel", and the rear 2" of subfloor are all rusted, rotted toast. Gonners.

I will figure out a solid repair using information on these forums. The key is a strong "bridge" from street frame rail to curbe frame rail for a solid body attachment. The key is a design that won't let rain water to migrate between seams. The key is to use materials that resist oxidation and corrosion if wet.

David
David

My 66 Tradewind steel U channel had surface rust only yet the last 12" of my floor was rotted. The attached photo shows the repaired area with the black painted U channel and the front bumper cover that sits between the U channel and the floor. I believe the most important action we can take is to caulk the joint between the front bumper cover and the rear exterior shell using Trempro 635. This can be seen in the second photo. If this joint is sealed then the water can not get to the U channel and the floor.

Dan
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Old 11-03-2017, 06:34 PM   #24
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My Trade Wind was the same way. Floor was rotted but the rear cross member was good. My Overlander is a different story. Some previous owner used two tubes of Tempro back there and it was caulked real good, but too late. Caulk won't hold the frame rails up on a bouncy highway.

David
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Old 11-03-2017, 06:52 PM   #25
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Rear Belly Pan Down

Well, it's time to get serious about renovating this old Overlander. I've got the thing cleaned and inspected, the fridge out, the water heater out, and the toilet out. My mission is rear end separation repair and new waste water tanks.

Surprising to me the belly pan is actually attached to the "skid channels" at the rear of the frame. The existing tanks use this 7" high space for tanks and plumbing (5" frame channel, 2" skid channel). The belly aluminum covers the tanks. The belly aluminum is attached to the bottom of the bumper too forming the floor of the rear bumper "storage" compartment, except my trailer is full of holding tank drain plumbing.

This portion of the belly pan came down easily. There were no critter corpses found, except for a small mud dauber nest. But there was a lot of rust debris. Dust to dust as they say.

The waste water tanks are mounted next to each other at the very rear of the trailer. Both are in rusty pans. Both have rusty angle iron frames around the pans. And both angle iron frames are hinged in front, bolted in back. It appears I can remove the bolts and the angle iron frames will swing down the tanks fall out. We shall see.

Here is a photo of the waste water tank assemblies from the service manual to give you a feel for how it is built. I think it is pretty neat. Nothing cheap about this design.

Next job, remove the waste water tanks and see how easy they come out. Then I can inspect the frame rails for cracks and buckles. I'm nervous about that inspection.

David
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Old 11-03-2017, 07:21 PM   #26
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Or go with an on-demand .. $$$ but super nice. you must be from the old country ..?


I see no reason to go with an on-demand water heater unless you in a campground with full hook-ups. Even so, you need to pay much more money and have to deal with some of the operational,problems and it is not as reliable. Since we never camp with full hookups there is absolutely no reason to even consider an on-demand water heater. To each his own.

Dan
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Old 11-04-2017, 06:30 PM   #27
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Holding Tanks are Out

I disconnected the vent lines and drain lines from both tanks. I removed the bolts holding the "swing down" tank frames and by golly, the tanks came down with the frames. Easy. I removed the fluid level wire harness and removed both tanks from the trailer.

I was not impressed with the U shaped black tank. I don't see how it could drain and flush completely. The grey tank is a 10 gallon tank. These were the very early years of holding grey water. Modern grey tanks are considerably bigger, and that's my plan.

I found it interesting both of these holding tanks were molded by Inca Plastics in California. They have been in business for a long time.

I found the black tank 3" female pipe spinweld plastic fitting broken when I removed the Thetford toilet. Someone tried to patch it to no avail.

With the tanks down and removed, I have a much better view of the rear cross member. The whole rear end attachment mechanism from the c channel on down needs replaced. There is also subfloor rot along the rear of the trailer. Not surpirsed.

Here are a few photos.

David
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Old 11-07-2017, 04:52 PM   #28
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Out with the Bath Furniture

The tanks are out of the trailer along with the rusted pans and frames. I have also removed the rusted rear cross member. I am currently shopping for nice sized black and grey tanks that will work in the spaces I have.

I have decided the bath has to come out to gain access to the rear body to frame bolts as well as a new plumbing routing to the new tanks.

The bath has a lot of plastic pieces, but it comes out okay. I was careful not to break anything. If a piece won't lift out, then there is still a rivet somewhere. I have yet to remove the tub, but it will come out as there are drain and vent lines underneath it.

I can see where I can reinforce some of the bath pieces for a little more stability back there.

David
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