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Old 09-26-2015, 01:12 AM   #71
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Chuck, saw the dry fit of the shower as well , did you actually put a p trap on there to check the fit, it'll be very difficult to get one under the tail piece and stay above the bottom of the cross member/frame. If it doesn't fit, a 1.5" HEPVO will screw right to the tailpiece and not project down as much.
Joe
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Old 09-26-2015, 02:11 AM   #72
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Thinking about this some more you have the shower drain going into the side of the tank right ?
May really want to give HEPVO a look. With water in the tank going around a corner or just sloshing around driving the very little height difference between the tank and shower drain and the tank inlet on the side will make it very easy for water to be forced back up through the p trap and into the shower to splash and slosh around.
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Old 09-26-2015, 07:16 AM   #73
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Man, is post 65 timely for me. Thanks for all that great detail. For those reading along, my street-side tail light assembly fell off the camper a couple months back. I was able to save it before it crashed onto the roadway and disintegrated.
It was actually YOUR reporting of this that served as a warning to me to NOT attempt to whack those cans out from the inside with a hammer...I didn't realize how little was actually holding the whole housing onto the trailer. Even though I have the advantage of having access to the back side, the perimeter of the fixture is completely covered in sealant, so I still can't see what is actually holding that housing on. I probably would have knocked the whole thing right off the trailer.

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So a couple questions. The grommet is removable from the fiber?? Mine is in good shape too, but I didn't even try to pull it off. Fiber optic cable (as I'm sure you know being an I.T. guy) can be very delicate. I was worried that I might break the fibers if I messed with it too much. Also, have you tried an LED light?? I'm guessing they are a lot cooler than the original incandescent bulbs. Much more expensive, of course, but the money might be worth it in this application to save our ancient fiber.
Yes, the sensor has a cone-shaped "boot" over it that just slips over the cone-shaped grommet (you can see in the pic of the back-side of the can), and its just friction holding it on. I couldn't get it off by hand when I first touched it..wasn't sure what was holding it, but I took a pair of pliers and very gently gripped it, gave it a gentle twist, and it popped right off.

I don't think this is "data" grade fiber optic. I'm not sure that even existed in the early 70's...but anyway, it didn't take any rough handling to get it done. I The new cans came with incandescent bulbs, but yeah, I'll probably replace those with LED equivalents. That may not work well if they're directional, though.
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Old 09-26-2015, 07:55 AM   #74
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Chuck,

The tanks need support, the belly pan material alone will not support the weight of the tanks.
That's not what I meant; the tanks are supported by steel straps, (see post #49) but they're only 1" wide, so the plastic tank bottom sags in between, enough so that it may press down on the belly pan.
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...But those tanks relatively full bouncing down the highway will rip the belly pan off the rivets.
While I don't plan on driving with full tanks (almost always camp where there is a dump station), you never know when the need might arise, so...yes, I am concerned.

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This is one area where you may want ta accept the belly project down an inch to support the tanks. Trailers that have tanks original usually have pans made of galvanized steel that's thicker than the belly pan supporting the tanks and bolted up with 1/4" bolts to support the weight. Also most plastic tanks aren't capable of supporting themselves without some full support across their entire bottom.
Many ways to get some support under there.
Draw me a picture!
I went with the straps, because that's what I've seen others do. I think Colin Hyde just straps them, too.
But I'm open to suggestion.

What if you just took a flat piece of the same galvanized pan material, and bolt that up to the underside of the x-members? then you wouldn't need an aluminum belly pan in those areas. I would imagine that would be as strong as the 3-sided box...a "box" would only be needed to hold up a tank that is deeper than the frame cavity.
How do you bolt that up? the x-members are fairly thin; you would need to either weld captive nuts, or use a riv-nut to have something for the bolts to thread into.
The other issue is that since these tanks are in adjacent bays, the x-member that separates them isn't wide enough to bolt 2 pans; maybe you can get a single sheet that is 61" x 48", with just one set of bolts in the middle?
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Old 09-26-2015, 08:05 AM   #75
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Thinking about this some more you have the shower drain going into the side of the tank right ?
May really want to give HEPVO a look. With water in the tank going around a corner or just sloshing around driving the very little height difference between the tank and shower drain and the tank inlet on the side will make it very easy for water to be forced back up through the p trap and into the shower to splash and slosh around.
Yes, well...a p-trap under the shower was the "original" config...there is room for it to project down exactly 5". The factory did leave a big hole in the pan there, and had a plastic bowl-shaped cover (provides an extra 2" of depth, like a tank pan!) over it to allow access. maybe the trap did protrude slightly, but it looked flush to me, when I took it apart. Anyway...I was just looking at HEPVO yesterday, and yeah, that would be great...problem is that its too long. It might have been able to fit, if I had ordered that tank with that in mind. I could have had the inlet on the side of the tank put in further aft, but I didn't know about this gizmo then. I'll probably just have to use the drain-plug method of backflow prevention.
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Old 09-26-2015, 08:15 AM   #76
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Pics to illustrate the long-winded post above:





I removed the black tank support so that you can see the valve/collector. You can see the tab with the bolt hole in it, just above the grey valve handle.
So the idea here is that the grey valve will go straight out the side, with an extension rod. Not the most convenient location. Its about 14" from the frame rail to the outside wall of the trailer, so it'll be a bit of a reach. I could take a piece of 1" flat-stock aluminum, and make a bracket so that there can be a really looong extension to the handle...I've seen the factory use this method on late model trailers. (they put a really large bracket, 6" wide, that supports the 3" dump pipe, and the black/grey valve handles on either side of it, so that they are all flush with the exterior wall of the trailer). It dawned on me that it might be neater to just spring for the valve with the flexible handle, mount it 180-degrees from what's in the picture, and then I can route the cable under the black tank and into the bumper trunk.
Chuck, Are the pipes dissimilar materials...ABS/PVC? If so, are you using a special solvent? I see at least a couple solvent welds.

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Old 09-26-2015, 08:42 AM   #77
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Yes, I used this stuff called "transition" cement. Only needed for the connection between the abs valve flange and the pvc double-ell, (the other 1 1/2" abs pipe you see there is just a scrap used for test fitting; I used pvc for the actual final piece.).
Got it all glued up yesterday, except for the 3" line that goes from the black tank into the bumper, because I haven't decided how I'm going to terminate that, yet. I might put a threaded adapter on the black tank adapter so that it can be easily dis-assembled, should the need arise...either way, it'll also use the transition glue. Can't get abs around here...not "code" for houses (for some reason), so nobody stocks it. A local RV mechanic told me that they use pvc all the time, (for the same reason), and have had no problems with this transition cement.
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Old 09-26-2015, 12:51 PM   #78
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I'd consider adding an extra strap or 2 that will go across the center portions of the tank, put it through a bike inner tube and the rubber protects the plastic fram chafing. Just don't want it supported on edges and ends only.
Glad to see you're using transition cement. Seen people think you could just use pve cement. It might seem to work but not even close.
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Old 09-26-2015, 02:21 PM   #79
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These straps do cover the middle of the tank. The tank bottom still does bulge down in between the straps, though. (and it does say on the sticker on the tank that it should be "fully supported").

Looking at other threads where people have had to re-fab their factory black tank pans, it seems that they were 20-gauge galvanized. Why not just get a sheet of that, cut to the size of the tank, and lay it on the straps? It doesn't seem to me that bending it up into a box would add strength (maybe I'm wrong).
It dawned on me that the battery box is aluminum, and supports the weight of a 70-lb battery, holding it up by a 1/2" inch wide flange that sits on the plywood floor--I put a caliper on it, and it is about .08", which equates to about a 12-gauge. Now, a big sheet of that would be really expensive...but galvanized...and the much thinner gauge that they make the tank pans from, that wouldn't be too much $$.
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Old 09-26-2015, 06:06 PM   #80
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Some sheet metal to span the bottom betweem the straps is good. Galvanized sheet isn't very expensive. Check with a sheet metal shop to get partial sheets to save money.
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Old 09-27-2015, 06:32 PM   #81
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Since the sheet-metal shop is closed today, and I remembered that I already had them bend up the bumper flashing, I thought I'd have a crack at forming the bumper "corners".
I had the shop bend me a straight piece of .032 to use for flashing along the center panel...perfectly straight. I happened to have my steel hold-down plate with me when I was at the shop, so we used that to get the angle, which works out to 80 degrees. I also had them make a couple short pieces, about 8" long, with a wider base to make up the distance, so there would be adequate material to attach the bumper trunk lid to. They wanted no part of trying to form the curve, though.

I didn't want to spring for a shrinker/stretcher that I'd only ever use once...and even so, it won't do a piece this long. (limited to an inch or 1 1/2..the base of this piece needs to be at least 3".).

So I came up with my own method for making the straight metal conform to the compound curve. You've heard of the "English Wheel?" Well, this ain't that.
I call it: "The Irish 2 x 4".

I took a piece of cardboard, and traced out the curve in question on the back corners of the trailer, then transferred this to a scrap piece of 2x4 (right down the middle). Then took my jig saw, adjusted the shoe to tilt back 10 degrees, and made the cut.
Then I took the straight piece of angle, and squeezed it between the 2 2x4 halves using some clamps. Yes, I had to fuss with it a bit, as the metal was reluctant to conform, but after tapping here and there, using a bench vice, squeezing from different directions, I worked it into something that looked pretty close to what I was aiming for. So, I took it out to the trailer, and wouldn'tcha know--it fits.
Now I just need to square off the overhanging bits and cut it, and it'll be ready to go.

Its really sad when you think about it...all of those innocent trailers had to suffer rotten floors for lack of something I could finagle in a couple of hours, and cost only a few dollars. I'm sure a skilled metal worker, like, say....in a factory where they make aluminum trailers, could do this in a couple of minutes.
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Old 09-27-2015, 07:43 PM   #82
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For Jim:

Here's a couple of pix of the fiber-optic sensor and boot. Couldn't focus any closer than this, but I left the uploads full size, so you can zoom in for more detail.



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Old 09-27-2015, 08:25 PM   #83
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Thanks Chuck! I was all fired up to go out and finish the repair on mine over the next couple days, but alas, all rain in the forecast. Can't catch the proverbial break.

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Old 09-30-2015, 01:27 PM   #84
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Id suggest the sheet metal on the bottom of the pans too. The only thing to think about though is galvonic. You'll almost always have some water or antifreeze in those tanks. Air in the belly pan will condense on a cooler surface. I had galvanized metal straps on my 1/4" ABS tanks. I just painted them where they'd touch the belly pan, but for the most part they never touched. Just something to think about. You don't want to corrode a hole in the belly pan.
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