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Old 02-13-2013, 05:43 PM   #1
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2011 28' Flying Cloud
chanhassen , Minnesota
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2010 FC 28 - Advice on R&R Broken Water Drain Tap

Anyone going down this path with a late model FC who can offer some experience here is appreciated.

Must've hit a rock and plastic water tap is busted. I bought an identical unit on Ebay only it's made of Aluminum and has a screw in tap - it's a pretty slick deal.

I called Airstream and spoke to Dan in Tech Support and he's said the easiest way they do get to the clamp to remove the broken tap is to cut a hole beneath the trailer - what's a little scary is I only have about 1/4" to play with, using a drill bit, before I could hit the water tank - he mentioned there's some insulation between the bottom ribbed piece and the water tank.

I read a post where someone went thru the closet to R&R the broken tap but Dan says his way is easier. I'm uploading pics of the broken tap and the ribbed plastic belly portion.

If any of you have done this task already, I sure would appreciate what your approach was and if you just cut a hole in the sunken portion of the ribbed plastic or had to cut a larger hole and what you used to close the hole with.

Next post shows the pics.

Thanks much!
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Old 02-13-2013, 05:45 PM   #2
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Picture 1

Here's the pictures
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Old 02-13-2013, 07:24 PM   #3
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This is what I'm replacing the plastic tap with:

RV Fresh Water Drain Valve Flange 3 8" or 1 2" Won'T Fail Ever Again | eBay
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Old 02-17-2013, 09:40 PM   #4
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Update - Mission Accomplished

Dan from Airstream tech support told me what I needed to do and also found an older post of how to do the procedure.

Had to cut a hold beneath water tap but also careful not to drill too far to breach water tank - it's tight working conditions but I did remove the broken plastic tap and replaced it with the aluminum tap from a seller on Ebay. All buttoned up and put a removable inspection plane where the hole was cut.

Can't believe how much finesse goes into making an Airstream and how poorly designed the water tap is - as if if was an afterthought - how could the engineers not think about replacing a broken plastic water tap after several years of operation!!!

Anyway, job is done!
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Old 02-17-2013, 10:00 PM   #5
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2003 25' Safari
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tank drain

Funny, I pointed out the lousy location of that drain and the worthless shield to an Airstream rep. He said he had never seen it.....told him mine got wiped out on the way to Alaska; he said they should/would redsign it. that was 7 years ago.....guess they missed the improvement on your FC.......
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Old 02-18-2013, 09:12 AM   #6
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Ken,

Could you upload some pics of your install?
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Old 02-19-2013, 08:09 AM   #7
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How I did it

Here are some pictures - I didn't get a picture of the hole but the last picture shows the view top down - I was working bottom-up as Dan at AS tech support said doing it bottom up would be easier. If you look carefully, you'll see the clear tube and clamps - note - the plastic liner on mine is not flat - it's staggered plastic - I drilled my inspection hole on the plastic "bar' to the right of the low point drains, towards rear of trailer, more or less beneath the broken tap - but on my FC 28' 2010 it looks like the hose would be under the portion of the plastic liner that is indented when lookng up - this is NOT where I cut my hole. Post #2 shows a picture of the bottom liner of the trailer and the "Z" pattern of the plastic.

I used a 2 ton bottle jack to raise the trailer so I had more working area - still was tight - lots of crawling back & forth.
Used a cordless drill with a 1/4" bit to drill through the black plastic liner - wrapped some copper wire around bit to act as a stop as i didn't want to drill through the water tank - using a low drill speed and taking my time, i could feel when I went thru the plastic - needed to be careful when I got close to the plastic outlet where the hose attaches too. Once drilled, I used a 3/8" bit to make the holes larger and a Wiss cutter to cut the plastic between the drilled holes - the pile shavings in the picture shows all the waste from holes drilled - a dremel router would have been a clean cut but didn't have my dremel as trailer is far from home.

Once I got the hose exposed, used a long slotted screwdriver to loosen hose clamps but had to coax the clamps by twisting the broken tap with a pliers to get it in the right position (was originally installed before the floor went in so the AS installers put it in top-down.

Felt a lot like doing a tedious surgery - patience paid off. Wound up removing both clamps and removing clear plastic tube - it had plumbers putty stuck in it - not enough but I used a large drill bit to ream it all out I could have bought a new piece of tubing but what i had was still okay ad it would have meant another trip to Home Depot.
Put in the new aluminum tap purchased off Ebay (link above) Seller doesn't sell the drain tap but pointed me to another seller on Ebay who does sell them. Put it all together and used a piece of small sheet metal and several self tapping screws to cover the hole - but now I have an access panel just in case. The sheet metal covers the span of two "outer" bars of the plastic liner and I used the metal strap that holds the water tank as a straightedge to align the plate before screwing it into the plastic. - I did see a metal bar near the water tank (part of the chassis) is a little bent - nothing too serious but it shows I must've hit a rock when we went to Big Bend National Park last December. The only way to straighten it would've been to remove the fresh water tank and I wasn't going there!

A previous post, above shows a link to the aluminum tap replacement - it is an exact replica of the plastic OEM but doesn't have a plastic handle (that will break down the road) and below is a link to the drain tap that fits into the aluminum tap that replaces the plastic one.

1 8" NPT Petcock Drain Valve | eBay

I found Dan at A/S to be a good resource in coaching me through doing this operation - hopefully never again! I believe the dealer charges @ $200 and probably worth it but I felt I could do this if I took my time.
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Old 02-19-2013, 08:24 AM   #8
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Thanks, Ken,

I ordered the pieces. This is one of those, "do it before you need it" jobs I have been meaning to do. Fortunately, I think I can get to mine throught the floor with some acrobatics. Do you think that rotating the "L" shield flat bottom to the 3 or 4 o'clock position would offer more protection from flying rocks? I might do that.
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Old 02-19-2013, 12:09 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dznf0g View Post
Thanks, Ken,

I ordered the pieces. This is one of those, "do it before you need it" jobs I have been meaning to do. Fortunately, I think I can get to mine throught the floor with some acrobatics. Do you think that rotating the "L" shield flat bottom to the 3 or 4 o'clock position would offer more protection from flying rocks? I might do that.
I almost didn't put the L shield back on but did for posterity - I ordered an extra tap as a spare but the aluminum base that attaches to the hose that BruceJohn sells for $20 on Ebay should never be a problem. It's possible that the tap could get tweaked somehow (but I doubt it) and I've got a spare just in case.

If I knew that thing was so fragile (the OEM Plastic (pos*#@*) I'd have replaced it at home in my driveway instead of finding my self in the middle of noplace (Big Bend NP) with a broken plastic water tap spewing out my fresh water reserve (I used chewing gum to stop the leak).
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Old 05-15-2013, 07:05 PM   #10
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Replacing the water drain petcock

I replaced the white petcock fresh water drain on my 2011 FC23FB today. It likely cracked due to a gravel hit on our last trip - the tank was draining when we arrived at our campsite.

Replacing the cheap petcock is a miserable job, due to the thoughtless plumping installation by Airstream. Instead of a bronze ball valve with a pipe thread fitting, this is a nylon petcock with a hose barb fitting clamped to a short vinyl hose under the water tank. The silly L-shaped metal 'shield' that Airstream installed is good for nothing but cutting your hand. Of course the hose clamp is behind the tank pan. I do have a rectangular access plate just inboard of the petcock, but it wasn't positioned to provide access to the hose clamp. Airstream advised me to cut another hole in the pan, but I'm glad that I didn't try, as I have only about 1/4" clearance between pan and tank. Cutting blind could have ruined the tank. I did manage to remove the hose clamp from above, working through the closet floor above the water pump. It was a long reach with a long screwdriver and one-handed blind work. I replaced the Airstream 'shield' with a 4" pvc end cap to surround and better protect the petcock. I simply drilled a centered hole in the end cap through which the hose barb fit, and mounted the new petcock through the end cap to the pan. I may completely enclose it with a mating cap.

I'd advise improving the petcock protection before failure strikes. It's truly a PIA to replace the petcock.
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