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Old 02-21-2014, 12:20 PM   #1
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1973 27' Overlander
Portsmouth , Virginia
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Questions on dropping FW tank, '73 Overlander

I'm at the point where I want to pull the plywood bottom panel out and drop the fresh water tank so I can inspect and clean/preserve the frame and metal components there. From what I can tell, the angle iron that holds up the plywood looks to be welded (factory) to the frame, so the only way to pull it out is to slide it forward so it comes all the way out and then the tank should just drop down. Is there anything holding it in, some hidden screws or some interference that I can't see? You can see the plywood and the metal sheet cover in the bottom left of this photo:




Thanks for any help in advance.
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Old 02-21-2014, 01:25 PM   #2
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1976 27' Overlander
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Although mine is a '76, which "had" a different style, I had a bad tank and replaced it with a '75, which is like yours. I re-engineered the bottom of my trailer to work just like yours. I had some metal bent into the z shape and had the sides and rear welded onto the frame. The front piece bolts across the frame cross member, and then 1 bolt on each side to connect to the side z's. There is a 1" piece of HEAVY plywood that slides in/out from the front. Mine is new and slides well, but on yours I think you'll find that the edge of the plywood that sits on the z, will be stuck due to wetness & dirt. If may have sealant where the plywood meets the z, but it should not be under the wood ON the z. If its not moving its just because its stuck & swollen in place. You might be able to gently jack up around the perimeter to break it free, but be careful not to squish your tank and crack it. I've seen some people had to connect some sort of eyelet on the wood, then use a come-along to pull it from the front of the trailer. I even saw a guy who said he used his truck to yank it forward.....

Good Luck!
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Old 02-21-2014, 01:35 PM   #3
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Here some pics
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Old 02-21-2014, 03:41 PM   #4
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Ours dropped out once we slid the plywood out. It was already disconnected from everything else. The plywood didn't come out too hard, and we reused it when we put the new tank in, since it was (is) 1 inch thick and still very solid.

Kay
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Old 02-21-2014, 03:54 PM   #5
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I had a heck of a time getting my plywood to slide on my '73 GT. I think I ended up grabbing the edge with some vicegrips, then attaching a come-along or big rachet strap between the grips and the a-frame and ratcheting it out.

Be ready with a tranny jack or something similar to catch the water tank, as it will fall straight down as soon as the plywood is out. Also, make sure your tank is completely empty. You may be surprised at how much water can get into your tank through the fill port during a good rain. Reach in there if necessary with a shop vac and suck out any remaining water.
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Old 02-21-2014, 07:34 PM   #6
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Ok. I kinda thought it might slide out, but wanted to be sure before I started with the brute force approach. I've got a come-along and will figure out something to hold onto the plywood while I tug it out. I'll just go slow so the tank doesnt flop out.
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Old 02-22-2014, 05:37 PM   #7
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Tank is out. Screwed an eyelet bolt into the end and attached a come-along to the eyelet and the ratchet to the tongue and slowly pulled the wood forward. Supported the rear of the tank with some jack stands and plywood and when the board was out far enough, a Jack with a 4x4 in the middle. I thought the tank was empty, but it actually had several gallons in it. I let it start draining before I pulled the board too far out, and even jacked it up on the streetside to help it drain more. Probably still had a gallon or two in it when it finally came down, and I was surprised at the amount of black sludge that came out when I tipped it on end. For those that like pix, here are a few more:












Out:

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Old 02-22-2014, 06:55 PM   #8
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Ah, it's that lovely green color, reminiscent of ours.... We bought a new one. I experimented with getting the algae/sludgey stuff out using denture tablets, and I think it would have worked if I wanted to work on it awhile. Got lazy...

Kay
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Old 02-23-2014, 06:53 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minno View Post
Ah, it's that lovely green color, reminiscent of ours.... We bought a new one. I experimented with getting the algae/sludgey stuff out using denture tablets, and I think it would have worked if I wanted to work on it awhile. Got lazy...

Kay
I'm going to dump a gallon of bleach in the tank and let that go for a few days, moving it each day so I can hopefully kill and clean out whatever is in there. I wonder how many folks with trailers this old have ever considered what might be in that tank if they have never dropped it before. Scary.
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Old 02-23-2014, 10:07 AM   #10
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Ours was full when we bought the trailer and the sellers had never put water into it so the water had been in the tank at least a couple of years, and probably a lot longer. They didn't realize the tank was full, and the drain was plugged up. The black water tank was full too, and they had never used it! It had been there so long that it no longer had an odor. I think if you use your tank every year and sanitize it regularly, you wouldn't get that issue. It does bother me though that we can't completely drain the tank out because of where the drain comes out on these tanks leaving an inch or 2 of water in there all the time. That's why I flush the tank a little when I fill it at the start of every trip.
I did bleach our old tank after we dropped it, but it still had algae flakes in it. The denture tabs cleaned that out where I put them (only filled it up part way as an experiment), but it would have been a lot of work to get the whole thing clean. I think Zepp used a power washer on his through the inlet and outlet and cleaned his that way. We drink our water, though, so I was motivated to have as clean a tank as I could get.

Kay
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