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Old 05-26-2010, 11:02 AM   #1
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I can't get this screwed up... water tank strap

One of the metal straps that secure the fresh water tank is missing a bolt.

I removed a bolt from the opposite end of the strap to use to make sure that I would purchase a correct replacement for the missing bolt.

When I tried to install the new CORRECT bolt, I found that it simply does not thread into anything. The bolt can be fully inserted into the hole by simply shoving it home. In other words, there are no threads or nut for the bolt to grab.

My guess is that whatever was there (a nut?) to catch the bolt is no longer there.

I can see a plastic flange/lip with a bolt pattern around the tank. There is a flat metal strip, about 2" wide, that fits over the ground facing side of the flange. I can't see what is present or how it's configured on the top side of the flange. In other words, I can't see the nuts or whatever the bolts are supposed to screw to.

My Plan: Unless I am guided to the contrary, I plan to block the tank so that it doesn't drop when I remove one side/row of the strap bolts. This should allow for removing the metal strip, perhaps revealing what these bolts are supposed to screw to.

I suppose I could find that these bolts are supposed to screw into a threaded hole in the metal floor covering, now striped??? Then I will have a real mess.

The strap I have been talking about is the one at the end of the tank, on the curbside. About 10" toward the next strap is a bolt that I could affix the strap to, but I tried that and the strap will not fit because the belly of the tank is deformed. Even when the tank is empty it sags just enough to prevent a fit.

Question: What do I have here? What is the bolt supposed to screw to? Is there an easier approach to this than what I am considering? I suppose I could just use J-B Weld, but I would really like to fix this such that the bolt remains removable. Should I just say the heck with it, completely remove the crippled strap, forget about it and hope it's absence doesn't stress the other straps, thus cause the tank to fall off?

I suppose that I could simply flip the trailer upside down and use the tractor backhoe to rip that tank out of there and start carrying water by the jug. Although that does sound like an easy fix to me, my Bride tells me to find a less violent resolution.

If I can't get this fixed within the next couple of days... there goes the weekend camping trip... grrrrr

Thank you for any help on this,

Dan
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Old 05-26-2010, 11:36 AM   #2
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Can you find another mounting point on the frame for the strap? Perhaps drill a hole (carefully) thorough a cross-member and use a bolt and nut with a lock washer to hold up that end of the strap? Just guessing that it might be possible on your trailer. A pic of your dilemma would be helpful for us understanding.

Chris
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Old 05-26-2010, 11:41 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Minno View Post
Can you find another mounting point on the frame for the strap? Perhaps drill a hole (carefully) thorough a cross-member and use a bolt and nut with a lock washer to hold up that end of the strap? Just guessing that it might be possible on your trailer. A pic of your dilemma would be helpful for us understanding.

Chris
I'm not sure, but I don't think so.

I can't provide a picture of this. It's just too tight under there and my daughter is on vacation with my camera gear.
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Old 05-26-2010, 01:19 PM   #4
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Here is what I would do. Put a steel rod down thru the bolt hole, wiggling it through the insulation and touch the belly pan. (A philips screwdriver might work). Go under the coach with a small, strong magnet and find the end of the steel rod. Draw a 1" circle around this spot on the belly pan. Then drill a hole thru that spot on the belly pan using a forstner bit to do a neat job of it. Then take a new bolt same diameter as the old one but 1 1/2 inch long. Put on a flat washer and fish it up thru the insulation and push it thru the hole from underneath using a socket, socket wrench, and extension. Follow the metal rod to find the hole. Then have a helper install the strap, flat washer and nut inside at the tank. Pull the socket wrench out, make a small square patch of aluminum and glue it over the hole with Vulkem. Good as new.
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Old 05-26-2010, 02:39 PM   #5
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Here is what I would do. Put a steel rod down thru the bolt hole, wiggling it through the insulation and touch the belly pan.
I'm confused. I know of no access from the top or from within the trailer.

I sure wish I had a shop manual on this thing, so that I could see how it's put together.
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Old 05-26-2010, 05:15 PM   #6
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The company's website now has a LOT of exploded drawings of components for various year's Airstreams. Last time I needed something, I went to the website and when I couldn't find the right stuff, called the factory where the repair tech talked me through the website until I found what I needed (A new wheel).

Good luck
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Old 05-26-2010, 05:31 PM   #7
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The company's website now has a LOT of exploded drawings of components for various year's Airstreams. Last time I needed something, I went to the website and when I couldn't find the right stuff, called the factory where the repair tech talked me through the website until I found what I needed (A new wheel).

Good luck
I didn't know any of that.

It's too late to call them today, so I'll call them first thing in the morning.

I couldn't find any drawings on the website, so it will require a call to A/S.

THANK YOU very much,

Dan
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Old 05-26-2010, 05:32 PM   #8
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Would comething like this work for you?

Rivet Nuts Thick Wall : Rivet Nuts : Riveters : Riveting : Threaded Inserts : Hanson Rivet & Supply Co. Inc.

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Old 05-26-2010, 05:41 PM   #9
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OUTSTANDING, that might very well work. I need to study it more to know.

I would still like to know what's under the flange and strap, but you may have just bailed me out.

I wonder what kind of rivet gun would be needed to sink that large of rivet.
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Old 05-26-2010, 07:23 PM   #10
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I wonder what kind of rivet gun would be needed to sink that large of rivet.
Well, that's the rub... you'll need to buy the special rivet gun that has the threaded insert for the size of blind nut you want to use. Seems to me I bought one at Harbor Freight a few years ago as part of a kit that included several different sized blind nuts and a gun with inserts for all the different sized nuts. If memory serves, it was less than $20for the kit. I've used them a couple of times on different projects, and they worked well.

Just looked, and they still carry it: 45 Piece Threaded Insert Riveter Kit

Or do a web search for "Blind Rivet Nuts" and you'll get several places to buy them from.

Good luck!

Chris
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Old 05-26-2010, 11:32 PM   #11
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if the hole that the bolt goes through can support that strap and tank. you might be able to use a j-bolt. stainless would be best.

http://www.unarcorack.com/library/im...0and%20Nut.jpg
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Old 05-27-2010, 12:52 PM   #12
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Instead of camping this weekend, I have decided to take the, "damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead" approach. I'll be dropping the tank to better investigate/see... and begin the "hit it with a hammer,cuss and throw parts at it" process.

When I get done, if anyone wants to know how to remove or instal a freshwater tank or tank straps for a 2007 25' Classic Limited, just ask me... I'll be an expert.

I'll report back on how bad I mess this up and how long my wife is going to make me live in the dog house. LOL
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Old 05-28-2010, 06:24 PM   #13
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Problem resolved.

Simple fix: Removed the troubled strap. Drilled new holes at either side of the tank through the channel, approximately two inches inward from the stripped hole. Reaffixed strap using self tapping bolts.

Done... life is good again. Now onto the next project.
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Old 05-28-2010, 11:21 PM   #14
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Glad it was an easy fix!
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