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Old 10-19-2015, 06:26 AM   #101
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Small leak

My dump assembly is set up almost exactly like yours. I am having a problem with the black (ick) tank leaking at the assembly. I cannot tell if the leak originates at the threaded portion connected to the underside of the black tank or the bolted connection where the blade valve connects to the dump assembly. I have had the whole thing apart three times now and cannot seem to eliminate the leak. I put teflon tape on the threads and tightened as much as I dare but note that the male fitting does not quite butt up against the female fitting. I may be able to get another quarter turn but am concerned I may crack the fitting. Any advice?
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Old 10-19-2015, 08:12 AM   #102
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Just looking at the picture, it looks like there is an angle alignment problem at the elbow to the tank drop section. I never use teflon tape on the dump system....rather, I use blue pipe thread seal. Other than that, it looks like you have a nice clean installation.
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Old 10-19-2015, 07:19 PM   #103
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Pipe threads in plastic parts are my nightmare. In fact pipe threads in any material is a nightmare for me.

Can you rig your dump valves using ABS slip joints and ABS adhesive?
I do not know these older trailers very well at all. But I have a lot of confidence in ABS pipe, slip joint fittings, and the adhesive. That's the way I plumbed my icky tanks.

David
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Old 10-20-2015, 05:49 AM   #104
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Thanks for the replies.
Melody Ranch is correct in that the pic was taken prior to finalizing installation. The gray water elbow is in fact correct now and does not leak.
I have never used the blue tape but a plumbing friend recommended using that or plumbers putty so that will be my next attempted fix. The primary problem I think is that it is not possible to enagage all the threads due to bolt heads binding against underside of the floor. It would be great if Valterra designed the valve body with hex shaped holes to capture the bolt heads and allow them to sit flush with the valve body. This would also prevent them from spinning.
dbj216: If I were to use glued fittings I would never be able to removed the tank if it were damaged since the fittings would not be accessible from either above or below. In my experience properly installed glued fittings never leak but unfortunately this is really not an option.
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Old 10-21-2015, 06:19 PM   #105
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Hi bambitex. Sounds like you found the problem. Generally, there is just one thread on a tapered pipe thread that jams tight and seals the joint. Maybe you can shorting the fitting to clear the nuts and get the taper to bite.

The joint between the tank and the outlet pipe is hose clamped on my two later year vintage trailers. Thus the dump valves can be removed from the bottom. The photos may help explain.

Always one problem or another to wrestle with on these old trailers.

David
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Old 10-22-2015, 06:57 AM   #106
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Problem found though not solved

I did indeed find the problem. Two threaded parts bind up before bottoming out (on a workbench with no bolt head interference) and the connection leaks both with and without tape.
Dicussed the problem with VTS and have decided to go with solvent welded fittings instead.
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Old 10-24-2015, 04:00 AM   #107
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It sounds like you are on the right path. I've had good sealing results with "solvent welded" connections. I understand old trailers with old parts don't necessarily lend themselves to more modern construction methods.

Let us know how it works out once you get the parts.

David
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Old 12-04-2015, 07:06 AM   #108
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Painting the frame

Another unpleasant under-the-trailer task was painting the frame. Actually, it involves a good bit more than just painting the frame:

1. Grinding the frame to remove the heavy rust and gunk. See here.

2. I then used POR-15 products on the frame:
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a. POR-15 Cleaner/Degreaser: the frame Dilute with water and spray directly on the frame via a spray bottle. I washed off with water, but I do not think that is necessary. I wore a worksuit, gloves, and a fabric face mask.

b. POR-15 Metal Prep with a spray bottle. It is a “water-based, zinc phosphate metal etching and preparation solution that is non-toxic, non-flammable, non-caustic, and non-corrosive. It etches metal to provide surface profile for superior organic coating adhesion on steel ….” and is biodegradable. I wore gloves and a fabric face mask.

c. POR-15 Paint. I wore a worksuit, gloves, and a fabric face mask. If any of the paint dries on a surface, it has to be removed mechanically, not by any solvent. If you get any on your body, you have to wear it off (which in my case took a few days). I used an inexpensive brush, and it took almost a quart to paint the frame (less the rear bumper, which has been cut off and will be modified to allow for a bumper trunk).

I will post later some images of the frame after painting.
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Old 12-04-2015, 07:23 PM   #109
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Well rank am, you have completed one of the most unpleasant tasks in your project. I did not enjoy wire brushing my frame, and working with POR 15 upside down with a drippy brush. The stuff stops rust by painting over it. About half of my frame still had the factory paint on it. The POR 15 did not adhere as well to those painted surfaces. Made we wonder if I should have used a different product.

David
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Old 12-05-2015, 07:05 AM   #110
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Originally Posted by dbj216 View Post
Well rank am, you have completed one of the most unpleasant tasks in your project. I did not enjoy wire brushing my frame, and working with POR 15 upside down with a drippy brush. The stuff stops rust by painting over it. About half of my frame still had the factory paint on it. The POR 15 did not adhere as well to those painted surfaces. Made we wonder if I should have used a different product.

David
David:

Yes, working under the trailer on the frame is very unpleasant, and I am glad that I do not have much left to do underneath.

I ended up grinding pretty much all of the frame metal, and (so far) it looks like there was good adhesion of the paint. Time will tell!

Hank
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Old 12-05-2015, 07:00 PM   #111
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After the POR dries, you get to work on any under floor plumbing, then cut and fit the subfloor insulation, then cut, drill, and rivet a new belly pan, and then install the axles, and then install the propane lines. I spent a lot of time on my creeper under the Trade Wind these last two winters.

Renovating old Airstreams is a lot of hard work. Too bad we are not likely to get paid for our hours when it's time to sell. I hope someone will appreciate it.

David
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Old 01-05-2016, 09:05 AM   #112
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Preparing gray water holding tanks for installation

The holidays are over, and I need to update my progress.

I previously ordered two gray tanks from Vintage Trailer Supply. I describe here how I cut through the subfloor of the cabin for the top side (vent) openings on the tanks.

Tools and equipment:
Prodex (or a substitute)
Straight edge
Utility knife or scissors
Duct tape

Techniques:

I wrapped the tanks with Prodex foil insulation. I cut the Prodex with scissors after marking with a Sharpie and using a piece of scrap wood as a straight edge. I measured to wrap the tank with a single layer of Prodex all around (top, bottom, and the two sides), making cutouts where necessary (using duct tape):

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The foil (without any foam) along sides of Prodex could be straightened and used for taping shut the wrapping:

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Completely wrapped:

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It turned out that I did not have enough depth in my belly pan for a layer of Prodex on the top of the tank (the side against the bottom of the subfloor), so I had to remove the top side layer.

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Next up: installation of the tanks in the belly.
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Old 01-05-2016, 09:16 AM   #113
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Installing gray tanks, part 1

With advice from VTS, Colin Hyde, and several Airforums threads, I decided to use 20-gauge galvanized sheet metal straps to hang the two gray tanks from the cross members (some of which I had welded in place, see here and here.

Tools and materials:
Galvanized sheet steel straps
Bending brake (if straps need to be fitted to frame)
Flashing for straps

I incorrectly ordered 4” straps, rather than 2” straps, and that made assembly much more difficult. My advice is that you stay with 2” straps. I installed one tank with 4” straps, but then I cut one of the 4” straps into two 2” straps, and that made installation of the second tank much easier.

Techniques:

My major problems came from the fact that I did not have much room between the side of the gray tank and the cross-member of the frame. That made it very difficult to get a wrench in place to tighten down the nut/bolt assembly that attached the strap to the cross-member.

I had purchased several years ago a 30” Harbor Freight bending brake. It is not particularly sturdy (or meant for heavy gauge metal), but it worked perfectly well for this task with 20-gauge galvanized sheet steel. I had to clean and degrease the brake, but that took only a few minutes, and then it was ready to go.

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I clamped the brake to my workbench, clamped the galvanized steel to the brake, and bent away:

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I doubled over each end of the strap so that the bolt assembly would pass through double thickness of the strap. I actually had too much length on my straps and I ended up cutting off some metal from each end so that the doubling extended only slightly beyond the bolt hole, not any further.

I applied adhesive flashing material (from Lowe's) on the inside of the strap (the side against the gray tank) to prevent the strap from cutting the Prodex or the tank:

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Old 01-05-2016, 09:33 AM   #114
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Installing gray tanks, part 2

Tools:
Bolts, nuts, washers, wrenches, and Loctite
Tanks wrapped with insulation
Drill and bit matched to bolt size.

Techniques:
To install a tank in the belly, I first drilled holes through the cross-members for the bolts that were to attach the straps to the cross-members. I spaced the holes (1) about 1/3 of the way in from the main frame rails (18”, as I now remember) and (2) about half way between the top and bottom of the cross-member. The plan was to have the strap come up against the tank on the inside of the cross-member and have the bolt pass through the strap and the cross member.

Tank #1. I just did not have enough room to do what I intended because the C-shaped cross-member opened towards the tank, and that made it impossible for me to secure the nut & bolt assembly. I tried many different ways, but I eventually gave up, reconfigured the strap, and brought the strap up the outside of the C-shaped cross member. That clearly is not the best outcome because the tank, in effect, is being supported from the very bottom of that cross-member, rather than hanging from a higher point on the cross-member, but at least the opposite side of the tank was being supported from a higher point on the opposite cross-member (the red material in the photo is Loctite to hold the locknut in place):

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My advice: if you reconfigure or add a cross member, have the "C" face away from the tank, not towards the tank.

Tank #2. With tank #2, the bay was longer (front to back), and I had more room to work. I was able to hang this tank with the straps coming up against the tank on the inside of the cross-member.

Installing tubing around openings in frame. To protect the PVC pipe, I cut and installed tubing around the holes in the cross members:

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You can see the tubing in place in the first photo above.

Tanks roughed in (note that the closest tank has 4" straps and the far tank has 2" straps):

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Old 01-05-2016, 09:57 AM   #115
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Replacement of front C channel as hold-down anchor

I previously removed the exterior panel under the front window (see here). 8038 did not have a large hold-down plate under the front window, and I decided to add a more sturdy C channel as a better hold-down anchor.

Tools:
Hack saw, cutoff tool, or multi-tool to cut aluminum C channel and steel bolts.
Chisel
Punch
Heavy gauge aluminum C channel (I do not have the information at hand, but I imagine that the C channel was made of 1/8" thick aluminum)

Techniques:

1. I cut the replacement C channel to be slightly shorter that the straight portion of the existing C channel under the front window.

2. I measured to center the replacement C channel, and then I marked where I need to cut to remove the existing C channel.

3. I removed the clecos holding the exterior wall panels to that portion of the C channel.

4. I needed to remove the green-colored section of C-channel (in the center of the following photo) that was attached to the frame via three elevator bolts.

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From underneath the trailer, I used my cut-off tool to cut through (as close to the angle iron as possible) each of the three elevator bolts and nuts.

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I used a cold chisel to knock off some of the residue:

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Finally, I used a punch to drive up, from under the trailer, the shaft of the elevator bolt. With that done, I removed the piece of green C channel.

5. Next, I cut and removed the original C channel sections on either side of the piece of green C channel so that I would have room for the new, more lengthy, and more sturdy piece of C channel. Before cutting that original C channel on either side, I should have placed a wood screw (after drilling a hole through the C channel) near where the end of the C channel would be (after the cut out) to hold in place the C channel that would remain. Instead, I cut the C channel and then inserted the wood screw. I think I had the C channel in the correct place when I inserted the screw, but it would have been better to insert the screw before I made the cut and made that section of C channel free-floating.
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Old 01-05-2016, 10:03 AM   #116
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Subfloor hole repairs

Before shutting down for the winter, I finished repairing the holes in the subfloor. See here for my prior work to fill the holes.

Tools:
Belt sander

Techniques:
I sanded the hole inserts flush with the floor:
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That's it until next spring when I get back to work on 8038.

Hank
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Old 01-05-2016, 06:51 PM   #117
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You have been busy! Installing a gray water system is tough work. Your install went well in spite of the problems encountered. Every time I did something, I had at least two "reworks" to do before the job was done right. I had difficulty hanging my tanks also. I use angle irons that ride on the tank shoulders (I selected "T" shaped tanks) and I hung the angle irons from the top frame rail flange. It was hard to get the fasteners tight. No room to work. But I eventually made it.

That's why I'm a hobbyists instead of a professional.

Enjoy the winter weeks. Go ice fishing!

David
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Old 04-26-2016, 11:33 AM   #118
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Back at work

I have returned to Montana until the fall, and I am back at work on 8038.

I have two Fantastic Vent fans on the way, and I decided to reinforce the vent framing and generally reinforce the ribs and cross-stringers in the roof. To do that, I used short pieces of aluminum angle that had holes through each leg of the angle. That let me bolt the angles to the intersecting ribs and stringers.

Tools and supplies:
Miter saw
Drill press
Grinder
Cut-off tool
Aluminum angle (I used 1" x 1", but at some joints, I needed longer legs, so I recommend at least 1 1/2" x 1 1/2")
3/4" length, 1/4" diameter hex head bolts, washers, and locknuts (I probably used about 60 of each)

Techniques:
I first cut the long angle into short sections. Sometimes the angle would go on the outside of the c channel, and sometimes it would have to go within the c channel. To fit within the c channel, the angle section needs to be cut at less than 1 1/2", and I recommend 1 1/4".

I used my miter saw with a blade devoted to cutting aluminum. I used a stop block so that the cuts would be at the correct location:
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I then drilled a 1/4" hole in each leg of the angle:
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I drilled the hole in the middle of each leg, but I suggest that you drill the hole as far to the outside of the leg as possible, as that will give you more flexibility in installing the angle.

Instead of cutting the long angle into short sections and then drilling, it would have been much easier to mark and drill the holes before cutting into short sections.

After cutting and drilling, I took the angle sections to the grinder to clean up rough edges. Be forewarned: grinding aluminum can foul your grinding wheel, so grind lightly to avoid melting the aluminum onto the grinding wheel.

Next, I went to 8038 and started installing the angles. I would hold the angle in place and mark with a Sharpie through the hole on one of the legs. Then I would remove the angle and drill through the marked rib or stringer. I found it easier first to drill a small (1/8") pilot hole with one drill and then drill the 1/4" hole with a second drill.

I then installed the bolt, washer, and lock nut for that leg of the angle. Next, I used my hand to position the angle for a snug fit with the intersecting rib or stringer and drilled the 1/4" hole by guiding the drill bit through the 1/4" hole in the second leg of the angle. I finished by installing the bolt, washer, and locknut for the second leg of the angle.
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Depending on the size of your angles and spacing of the holes, your two bolt assemblies may be close to one another, and you need to instal the bolts in such a way that the two assemblies can be tightened.

Sometimes I had to cut off part of the angle to fit where I wanted it. I took that section of the angle to my vise and then used a cut-off tool to remove whatever was required:
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It is good to be back at work on 8038.

Hank
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Old 04-26-2016, 07:14 PM   #119
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Hey, welcome back. Keep us posted on how the renovation comes along. Seems like every step of the way you are making your Flying Cloud better.

David
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Old 05-01-2016, 09:47 PM   #120
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Hey, welcome back. Keep us posted on how the renovation comes along. Seems like every step of the way you are making your Flying Cloud better.

David
Thanks, David, for your encouragement. I have completed several more tasks, and I will post on them as soon as I can.

Hank
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