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Old 03-14-2014, 07:35 PM   #1
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2009 30' Classic
Melbourne, FL , Searsport, ME
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Belly Pan Bulging

I acquired my 2009 30' Classic from a dealer in Ohio last July and after the initial inspection and purchase I immediately towed it to Florida where it has been in an RV park ever since. My wife & I are snowbirds and have lived in it since October. Overall, the AS seems to be in excellent condition for its age and we have been very pleased with it.

Today, I was looking underneath and noticed the belly pan is bulged and I don't know why, how, nor when this could have happened. I can only imagine the freshwater tank has somehow fallen down (if that's possible) or some other weight is pushing on it from above. I've attached a picture, but I don't known if it shows enough detail. The bulge is on the curbside.

I will appreciate any ideas as to what has caused this bulge and whether it needs to be repaired prior to our towing it to Maine for the summer.

Thanks for your help.
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Old 03-15-2014, 07:27 AM   #2
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1991 34' Excella
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Step back.... it might explode!
No really it might have broken a strap or might have sprung a leak and the cover is full of water.
I would remove the service cover to see if any water is in there. Not familiar with your model but it might be worth a peek from up top to see if the tank is dropped. On my classic I have a slight bulge that seems to have grown.... nothing bad I can see and its been there for a while (me thinks).
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Old 03-15-2014, 08:28 AM   #3
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I don't think the Classics have straps under the tank and inside the pan. I believe the pan IS the "strap". Mine bulges when the tank is full. It is just the weight of the water resting on the pan floor. Don't think it is anything but normal. Always periodically check the screws which hold the tank to the frame members for tightness and integrity.
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Old 03-15-2014, 09:47 AM   #4
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Thanks for your replies.

One would think AS would have strapped or otherwise secured the fw tank to the frame. I suppose it's not a good idea to transport a full tank for longer than necessary. With the weight of that much water I'm now afraid the screws supporting the belly pan may pull out!
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Old 03-15-2014, 10:16 AM   #5
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They're probably stronger than straps. Count how many screws hold it in compared to straps. Also the weight of all that water is evenly distributed over the entire tank bottom, instead of a few strap points. The disadvantage of the pan comes in when needing to drop it and try and support the tank at the same time.
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Old 03-15-2014, 11:13 AM   #6
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They have a pretty good amount of sag to them. That tank is a few feet wide and all that is supporting it is that sheet metal box. I think what you are seeing is normal. You need to make sure that cover that is not original is pop riveted all around. Someone had butchered my tank pan like that, and I made a patch and riveted it on. I left a small access plate on it to get to the drain plug in the tank and the connections to the tank. I don't think you have a problem as long as all the bolts are securing the perimeter of the tank pan. Drain the tank when you are not using it to reduce the load on it.

Just like a telephone wire sags between poles so will the bottom of your tank pan. Figure the capacity of your fresh water tank and that water is 8lbs per gallon. My tank is 50 gals. That is 400lbs. You probably have a bigger tank than that on a newer trailer.

I would coat the bottom of your trailer with something like POR15 or Aluthane to prevent anymore corrosion. It looks like that trailer has seen some road salt.

Perry
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Old 03-15-2014, 05:29 PM   #7
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Thanks everyone for your insights into this problem.

The dealer had filled my freshwater tank when I bought it and I traveled from Ohio to Florida without knowing it was full. I suppose they thought they were doing me a favor like when you buy a new car and get a free tank of gas. However, it's possible the po had damaged it.

So, from what you've said sounds like lessons to be learned from my experience are: 1) don't travel with water tank full unless necessary and 2) if the tank is full, take rough roads/bumps slowly and carefully to avoid the extra weight stressing the belly pan.
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Old 03-15-2014, 05:36 PM   #8
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Travelling with a tank full of fresh water is routinely done and should never cause any issues. In fact, it is recommended, as the weight of the water further lowers the centre of gravity of the trailer, helping it to tow even better. We always tow full, which has the added advantage that we can use the trailer for rest stops.

If you're really worried, take a look and see what's underneath. Just empty the tank first.
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Old 03-15-2014, 05:38 PM   #9
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I carry mine full at all times at all speeds. Really designed to travel full.
Some argue mileage suffers as I am moving mass.... I get it but don't ever notice a particle of difference either way!
Unless it is leaking keep calm and stream on!
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Old 03-15-2014, 05:43 PM   #10
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Its normal! Don't worry. Travel with as much water as you want.

Sent from my XT907 using Airstream Forums mobile app
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