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Old 07-27-2009, 09:54 PM   #1
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Cleaning Aux and fresh water tanks

I would like to clean the auxiliary tank, fresh water tank and the plumbing system (sinks and tub). I'm planning on using the bleach solution followed by vinegar solution and then finally do the clean water rinse. I have no idea when this was done on my AS and I want do clean it all.

Where is the fresh water tank drain valve? The Owners Manual make a reference to it but I can't find it.

Can I run these solutions through the water pump? I was thinking on circulating the solution through the entire plumbing system by opening the taps and then dumping the Aux tank. I've never done this so I'm all ears.
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Old 07-28-2009, 06:02 PM   #2
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Is this the right process?
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Old 07-28-2009, 06:25 PM   #3
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Not sure where your drain valve is, but the one on mine is on the curb side behind the front wheel.

Dennis
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Old 07-28-2009, 06:35 PM   #4
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Tank Cleaning

Do the acid wash first or not at all. It is not as disinfecting as the base rinse but it will loosen concretations if there are any. Using either very dilute hydrochloric or strong vinegar and water solution, do not use nitric or sulfuric acids, I am not real bing on phosphoric either. I recommend your original design of vinegar. About a quart of vinegar per 5 gallons of water. Let it sit for 24 hours then flush. You can also flush your plumbing with the vinegar at the end of the 24 hours.

***At the end of 24 hours, run acidic water through the plumbing then drain the tank and fill with clear water, run clear water through the plumbing, flush it thoroughly. Refill the tank when needed with clear water. Drain the clear water after an hour or so, blow out the plumbing.

If you want to thoroughly disinfect the system use a cup of commercial bleach (like Chlorox) per 5 gallons of water, flush the plumbing with it, refill the tank, keep it topped off. Let this sit for several hours, drain it, then fill with clear water. Flush the plumbing with clear water, wait an hour then drain the clear water and blow out the plumbing.

When you fill for your first use use 5-6 drops of bleach per gallon. There may still be residue hypochlorite in the tank. That is accounted for to some degree. After the first fill use, start using 7-8 drops of bleach per gallon for standard use. Always let the disinfected water sit for a few hours before drinking, that will allow some of the Chloramines that initially form to dissipate.

You may find a black mold growing in the tank. This is common and comes from repetitive filling with unchlorinated water. Some times the mold can be removed with very hot water and detergent using repeated washings. I did not bother with the small colonies in mine. I hot washed then disinfected and that was it. That procedure calls for removing the tank...another project!
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Old 07-28-2009, 08:10 PM   #5
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Many of the 70's series AS's have the drain valve hidden behind a small plate that's screwed into the 'pan' that covers the fresh water tank...

crawl under your trailer and check to see if you have the small sheet metal plate...when the plate's removed, you should see a pipe threaded plug, usually plastic, with a 'hex' socket indented in the plug - the easiest way to remove the plug is to find a bolt with the head that matches the size of the 'hex'...then screw two jam nuts onto the bolt so you can use a socket wrench to remove the plug...

It's a pain, but that's what they used on the 70's...bummer...if you replace that plug with a petcock, it will hang down and could get knocked off if you're ever on gravel roads, etc...
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Old 07-28-2009, 08:39 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mexray View Post
Many of the 70's series AS's have the drain valve hidden behind a small plate that's screwed into the 'pan' that covers the fresh water tank...

crawl under your trailer and check to see if you have the small sheet metal plate...when the plate's removed, you should see a pipe threaded plug, usually plastic, with a 'hex' socket indented in the plug - the easiest way to remove the plug is to find a bolt with the head that matches the size of the 'hex'...then screw two jam nuts onto the bolt so you can use a socket wrench to remove the plug...

It's a pain, but that's what they used on the 70's...bummer...if you replace that plug with a petcock, it will hang down and could get knocked off if you're ever on gravel roads, etc...
I don't think that drain valve is meant to be used on a regular basis for draining your water tank. I had a '76 trailer & couldn't find a drain anywhere either. I just emptied everything with my sink faucets into the grey tank until the tank was emptied. Much easier than removing an access panel & a drain plug that has teflon (or should anyhow) on it.

As far as cleaning out your water system: I've always just used bleach in the tank & ran it through everything & let it sit overnight like the other posts said. Don't forget to drain your hot water tank with the plug when you empty everything.
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Old 07-29-2009, 12:23 PM   #7
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You guys are great help. Last night I added about 3 1/3 cups of bleach and filled the tank with fresh water from the garden hose…

Yes, I do have a sheet metal plate just under the fresh water tank. I noticed a continuous water drip from the bottom under the tank around that ‘sheet metal patch’. Today the tank is down to about 50% full. How do I remove this plate? I want to check if the leak is from somewhere under there…

I almost forgot to run the cleaning solution through the hot water heater. Do I simply open the valve on the water heater, turn on the pump and let the water pour out until I smell the bleached mixture?
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Old 07-29-2009, 09:17 PM   #8
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The leak from the sheet metal plate is most likely coming from the drain plug at the bottom of your fresh water tank. To remove the plate, you have to remove the screws first. I just did this on my '86 Sovereign & removing the plate was the worst part. My screws were corroded on & I had to use a crow bar (literally!) to get the plate off. After I got it off, I removed the plug with a 1/2" bolt. The head of the bolt fits right in the hex shaped hole. Put 2 nuts on the bolt so you can unscrew it. My plug was in good shape, so I just put some teflon plumbers putty on it & put it back in. No more leak. I put the plate back on using rivets, so when I have to remove it again, it won't be such a big deal. Hopefully, your plug is in good shape. If it isn't, you can order a new one from an Airstream dealer.

To get your cleaning solution through your hot water heater, you just have to run the hot water faucets for a while.

Hope it all goes well for you!
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