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Old 12-09-2009, 09:49 AM   #1
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Fresh water tank saga

Well, my fresh water holding tank had a big crack around the front corner, and was full of black sediment from years of rainwater leaking in past the filler door.

Get a new one, right?

I agree, except for the fact that it turned out that it was going to cost $520 plus tax to get it here to Ontario from Inland RV.

So .. back to the drawing board.

Brainstorm! Just replace it with a simple above floor custom one for half the cost, and hide it under the street side bed. We'd have to give up the storage under there, but there seems to be plenty without it.
Then reality set in. The filler port and door is designed for an under floor tank. (translation .... too low to adequately fill an above floor tank) And I don't want to get into moving the filler and the accomanying skin patching, etc.

So .. back to the drawing board again!

Found a place about 50 miles from here that commercially welds Poly tanks. $65.00 an hour for less than an hour's work!
Since the tank was cracked anyway, and had to be repaired, I cut a 5" square out of the tank using the crack as one side of the square. This hole was to allow me to clean the inside of the tank, and then get all the dirty water out! As you can see, the shape of the tank makes it impossible to drain it completely. Got it as clean as new, and disinfected it several times. Finished with several rinses, and we were good to go.

Took it to be welded.

Turns out Airstream uses some exotic blend of Poly. They couldn't weld it!
But they did get my clean-out square sort of welded back, but it was far from water proof.

So .. back to the drawing board AGAIN!

Bite the bullet and get a new one .... but wait! he tank is structurally ok now. I just need to get it watertight.

Enter TAP Plastic's Poly Bonder. (Sold in Canada as Mr Sticky's Wet Bond at Home Hardware)
I flame treated the areas of the tank I needed to repair,put a cote of the stuff on the seams and embeded some fiberglass cloth in the glue. Applied a second coat of the glue over top before it was set.







I just now finished the acid test. Filled the tank completely, plugged all the tubes and filler port and put my 230 lb self on the tank. Wiggled around, jiggled back and forth, pounced up and down (glad I was in my shop so the neighbors couldn't see!).

NO LEAKS. The repaired area(s) flexed right along with the rest of the tank. Now if this poly bonder stays pliable, and there is no reason to expect otherwise, I will be a happy capmer.

Total cost $25.00 for two tubes of the Wet Bond!
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Old 12-09-2009, 09:59 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by BossCamper View Post
Well, my fresh water holding tank had a big crack around the front corner, and was full of black sediment from years of rainwater leaking in past the filler door.

Get a new one, right?

NO LEAKS. The repaired area(s) flexed right along with the rest of the tank. Now if this poly bonder stays pliable, and there is no reason to expect otherwise, I will be a happy capmer.

Total cost $25.00 for two tubes of the Wet Bond!
Any form of "epoxy" will not permanently bond to that type plastic.

In time, it will just peel off.

It's very difficult to try to save a plastic tank, when the material has become brittle.

Andy
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Old 12-09-2009, 10:02 AM   #3
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Great fix; very ingenious.

I might try one more little test. Put the tank in the back of a pick-up truck, fill it and ride around for a while to make sure that the repair will handle the flexing and bouncing. I would also leave it out in the freezing weather (empty) to make sure that the repair will hold up to the contraction of the material.

Briamn
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Old 12-09-2009, 10:13 AM   #4
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Any form of "epoxy" will not permanently bond to that type plastic.

In time, it will just peel off.

It's very difficult to try to save a plastic tank, when the material has become brittle.

Andy
Yeah .. that's my biggest fear. Especially with the tank living under the floor.
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Old 12-09-2009, 10:14 AM   #5
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Great fix; very ingenious.

I might try one more little test. Put the tank in the back of a pick-up truck, fill it and ride around for a while to make sure that the repair will handle the flexing and bouncing. I would also leave it out in the freezing weather (empty) to make sure that the repair will hold up to the contraction of the material.

Briamn

Good idea. I'll try that.
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Old 12-09-2009, 12:24 PM   #6
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When I first had my '69 International I patched the freshwater tank. It has been a long time ago, but my recall is that I just roughed up the area around the leak (which I think was around the neck entrance), then used the resin product that we used to call fiberglass (don't know what it is really called), laid some fiberglass mesh in it, spread some more resin over it and used it leak free for the next fifteen years.

Hope you have good success with your fix!

Gene
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Old 12-09-2009, 01:13 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by genearnold View Post
When I first had my '69 International I patched the freshwater tank. It has been a long time ago, but my recall is that I just roughed up the area around the leak (which I think was around the neck entrance), then used the resin product that we used to call fiberglass (don't know what it is really called), laid some fiberglass mesh in it, spread some more resin over it and used it leak free for the next fifteen years.

Hope you have good success with your fix!

Gene
Fiberglass, is toxic to water, and should not be used for consumption in any water.

If fiberglass was ok for water, RV manufacturers would jump on it in a hurray.

Andy
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Old 12-09-2009, 01:43 PM   #8
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A little backup-

Standard fiberglass has been outlawed today for any use for food, drinking water, biological, and aquariums. The EPA and OSHA have found that polyesters, vinyl esters and gel coats continue to give off toxic fumes and eventually break down in many cases. Therefore all external and internal coatings must be a certified NSF product. NSF or ANSI products are all epoxies. The Federal Government must certify these products.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BossCamper View Post
Enter TAP Plastic's Poly Bonder. (Sold in Canada as Mr Sticky's Wet Bond at Home Hardware)
I flame treated the areas of the tank I needed to repair,put a cote of the stuff on the seams and embeded some fiberglass cloth in the glue. Applied a second coat of the glue over top before it was set.

NO LEAKS.
Total cost $25.00 for two tubes of the Wet Bond!
Looks like TAP Plastic's Poly Bonder is "After curing, the product is not hazardous" (from MSDS) Chemical Family: Epoxy Resin

Fiberglass cloth is not toxic so it look like BossCamper might be on to a good fix if everything holds. Good job


Quote:
Originally Posted by genearnold View Post
When I first had my '69 International I patched the freshwater tank. It has been a long time ago, but my recall is that I just roughed up the area around the leak (which I think was around the neck entrance), then used the resin product that we used to call fiberglass (don't know what it is really called), laid some fiberglass mesh in it, spread some more resin over it and used it leak free for the next fifteen years.

Hope you have good success with your fix!

Gene

Gene you might be in the toxic range. But it is a small area and not in constant contact with the water. Do you feel OK?
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Old 12-09-2009, 04:39 PM   #9
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Fiberglass cloth is not toxic so it look like BossCamper might be on to a good fix if everything holds. Good job
That's the $64,000.00 question! And if you're remember that TV show, you're older than dirt, like me!

I'll make sure I give it some torture tests before I button it up in the floor again. If it holds, the only thing then will be if it peels and lets loose over time, and only time will tell. The worst that will happen is I'll lose my water some day and then have to bite the bullet and get a new one. Who knows ... maybe by then I'll be retired and traveling around California, and be able to get it cheaper. The shipping is what puts it over the top for me right now.
I need to get it back in the floor before I can finish my floor rot patching and put my new flooring down. Since I had to remove a lot of the floor in that area, I took the tank out from above so I'm at a standstill till I get it back in.

Wonder why Airstream used an exotic blend of Poly? Could have welded it like new otherwise!
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