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Old 04-21-2007, 08:36 AM   #1
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Is something wrong with my freshwater tank?

When I fill the freshwater tank on my 2006 20' Safari, I have to go very slowly. Otherwise water backs up in the fill tank and overflows down the side of the trailer. It's like the tank is "gagging". It usually takes 25 to 30 minutes to fill the 20 gallon tank. Is this normal?

I can hear air escaping from the small vent located beside the filler, but I'm still concerned that it (or the fill tube) may be kinked or obstructed. That would explain the problem. But I can't find an easy way to access and inspect these tubes. Unless one of you knows a "secret entrance", it looks like I'll have to climb under the trailer, remove both rear stabilizer jacks, and remove the pan that covers the freshwater tank. That's a lot of work just to inspect a couple of tubes. Is there an easier way?

The filler on my Airstream is located on the rear, streetside of the trailer, just above the bumper's storage compartment. The fill/vent tubes descend into the tank by passing below the shower's bench-seat. As a result, they are just a bit to the left of the storage compartment on the rear, curbside of the trailer. Unfortunately, I can't find any access points in those areas.

Please help! Your suggestions will be greatly appreciated!
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Old 04-21-2007, 08:51 AM   #2
just jd.
 
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try this

You can check for obstructions with a longer fill hose adaptor. The one that came with my 2007 20' Safari is ~ 10" long, screws to the end of the water hose, and is made of perhaps 1/2" clear tubing.

Perhaps a run to the hardware store for a 2 or 3' length of similar tubing will suffice...you may be able to slide it in the fill inlet until you feel it actually hit some part of the holding tank, or detect a kink along the way.

It does take a while to fill, but for me I think no more than 10 minutes.

Cheers,
-jd.
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Old 04-21-2007, 10:05 AM   #3
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It is strongly suggested that you fill the tank slowly. If you fill it too fast, the air can't displace fast enough and may, over time damage either the tank or the mounting brackets or straps. Slow is good. Having done it this way, I've had zero issues. The only time I hear it gargle is if it's overfilled.
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Old 04-21-2007, 10:17 AM   #4
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I think this is what you need. I saw it at K-Mart for $5.

http://www.camco.net/Menu.cfm?SupCat...ProductId=2092
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Old 04-21-2007, 10:50 AM   #5
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I appreciate all the good ideas...

Thanks for the comments.

I know slow is good when I'm filling the tank, but does it typically take 25 minutes to fill a 20 gallon tank? If so, that sounds like a "design problem" to me. But if that's the way Airstream designed it, then that's just the way it is, I guess.

Thanks, also, for the pointer to the water filler. Actually, I'm already using one just like it, and I still have the same problem. Water backs up in the fill tube, and then it gushes out the tube and down the side of the trailer. This happens whenever I'm filling at a rate at or above about 1-gallon per minute.

I'd really like to inspect the fill- and vent-tubes to the freshwater tank. I have a hunch the vent tube is kinked or otherwise obstructed. Anyone know how to get a good look at these tubes without completely disassembling the Airstream???

Thanks again for the helpful suggestions.
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Old 04-21-2007, 02:08 PM   #6
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I should clarify that when I suggested getting a longer filler tube to insert into the tank, it is only for the purposes to see (feel) if you encounter an obstruction before contacting the tank itself. I.e., this might be one way to check for internal fill-tube kinks without opening the belly pan, etc.

Hope that's clear. I think it would ease your mind if you knew either way what's going on there.

I use the clear fill hose attachment from camping world, sans flow control valve; but I can see how that little valve would make filling even better for me

Cheers,
-jd.
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Old 04-21-2007, 02:20 PM   #7
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It is common for the fill tube going from the side of the trailer to the tank to have a rise in it that traps water and the air displaced in the tank tends to push that water back at you.

No it should not tank 20 mins. to fill your tank. 5 is plenty.

There are 2 ways around the trap problem. Shorten the fill tube so it doesn't have a rise in it between the fill port and the tank. That may be a bit hard depending on the routing of the tube. Second use a longer hose extension that you can insert beyound the rise so no water is trapped in the fill tube. This will also insure a larger vent path right back up the fill tube.
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Old 04-21-2007, 02:51 PM   #8
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Good ideas!

I'll try using a longer fill-hose to search for an obstruction (and get around any potential traps) in the fill tube.

I'd still like to take a look at the fill and vent tubes. Any ideas about how I can get access to them? I've thought about removing the fill-cap thingy that's mounted on the trailer's side (the one where you add fresh water), since both the fill- and vent-tubes are connected to its back side. It's attached with just four screws, but unfortunately it also seems to be sealed to the aluminum skin with something like Vulkem or ???. Any tips will be appreciated!

Thanks again for your suggestions!
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Old 04-21-2007, 08:17 PM   #9
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I had the same problem when filling the tank on my '87 Excella. In my situation, I attached an approximate 10" length of smaller diameter hose (the kind you can purchase anywhere with a pitcock on the end that screws onto the regular water hose). I then put that hose all the way into the tank (to where it attachs to regular water hose) and turn my water on about 1/2 open. Fills pretty quick with no "burping". If you try this and same problem persists, you may have a kink as you suspect. Good luck.
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Old 04-27-2007, 01:05 PM   #10
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UPDATE: After reviewing the posts here (and searching the forum's archives), I decided the freshwater tank's vent tube must be kinked, and that was what was preventing the tank from filling properly. So I removed the filler assembly (the locked-door compartment that contains the fill- and vent-tubes), and sure enough...the vent tube was so badly kinked that air could hardly escape! As a result, pressure was building up in the freshwater tank when I filled it, and that caused water to back up in the fill tube, producing the "burping", "gagging" problem I first noticed.

After removing the kink by replumbing the vent line, my tank now fills in five minutes! It's worth noting that when I searched the archives I learned that at least one other AS owner has had the same problem with a new trailer. To make matters worse, the problem wasn't due to poor assembly, but to a poor design. The type of hose AS used for the vent tube will almost always kink to some degree when it's attached as it was in my case.

It may help others if I explain how I solved this problem, because it was a little tricky.

The first challenge is to remove the filler assembly, which is fixed to the trailer's aluminum siding with Vulkem (or some similarly gooey stickem). I masked the aluminum around the filler with 2-inch wide painters tape, then I removed the four screws that hold the assembly to the trailer. Next, I used 25-lb (test strength) fishing line as a saw to cut through the Vulkem. Using gloves so I didn't cut myself, I held a 12" length of the line between my hands, slipped it between the filler assembly and the trailer's aluminum skin, and began "sawing" through the Vulkem. Worked great!

The Vulkem tends to reseal as soon as you remove the fishing line, so I finished the removal with a thin strip of sheet metal (available at Home Depot) that I had cut into a 1" wide strip with a point on it...so it was like a knife blade. I sharpened the "blade" on a whet stone, and then inserted it into the channel I'd cut in the Vulkem with the fishing line. After a bit of gentle tugging, the filler assembly came lose, and I could immediately see that the vent tube was completely closed by a very bad kink.

The tube is made of clear plastic (polyvinyl, I believe), with an "inside diameter" of 1/2-inch, and it's held to the back of the filler assembly by a pipe clamp. I "replumbed" the line by cutting out the kink and by inserting a plastic elbow I bought at the local home supply store. I used pipe clamps to fasten the tubing tightly to the elbow. The result, is that the area of the tube that's subject to kinking has been replaced by the elbow, and so air now flows freely from the tank when I fill it with water.

Before you reattach the filler assembly, be sure the vent tube is firmly secured to the elbow and the filler assembly by pipe clamps, since it would be difficult to retrieve the tube if it fell off into the bowels of the trailer.

Then...with the painter's-tape mask still in place around the filler area...I applied a thick coat of Vulkem, reattached the filler assembly, and replaced the four screws I had removed from the assembly. As I tightened the screws, Vulkem squeezed out onto the masking tape, so I removed the excess with paper towels. When everything Looked good, I cleaned up the Vulkem residue with a solvent. The manufacturer says that either Toluene or Xylene work well, but they're difficult to find in most home improvement stores. So check the ingredients on various paint thinners, paint removers, etc. I found a type of "paint brush cleaner" that contained them, and it did a great job of removing the excess Vulkem without damaging the trailer's skin.

Finally, I removed the masking tape, cleaned up any remaining residue with solvent and some dry paper towels, and voile!!!! My trailer looks better than new. AND best of all, my freshwater tanks fills in just 5 minutes...compared to the 25 agonizing minutes it originally took.

I hope this info is helpful. Thanks to everyone who's comments helped me find the right track!

Titus
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Old 04-27-2007, 01:49 PM   #11
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Hey Titus. Glad it worked out. The fishing line is another good idea. Hope my email helped.
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Old 04-28-2007, 10:15 AM   #12
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Hey, Killo1!

Yes, you're email was definitely helpful, and so was your original thread, which I've included here: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f443...ank-24562.html. It contains a lot of useful info for others who are facing the same problem.

Thanks again!

Titus
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