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Old 02-08-2016, 12:01 AM   #1
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1970 23' Safari
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Mice ate into fresh water tank. How to remove it?

What is the best way to remove my fresh water tank? Pictures would help too thanks
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Old 02-08-2016, 07:42 PM   #2
lrw
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Oh no, we had a leak under our fresh water tank when we pulled it out today. Have to look tomorrow and see if we have the same problem. It will be interesting.
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Old 02-08-2016, 08:29 PM   #3
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lrw:

I had a leak in the plumbing lines laying on top of the fresh water tank. The leaking water made its way down the sides of the tank and dripped under the trailer leading me to think it was the tank itself. See photo.

Removing the fresh water tank is a big job in my 86. I struggled to fix my plumbing leak working in the closet and galley area, tight quarters. I did not want to remove the tank. You know where the fresh water drain valve is located between the tires on the curb side. The fresh water tanks is directly above that. I think the front axle is in the way. I think the tank cover has to come down. I think there are two straps holding the tank in place. I am unsure where the fresh water fill hose is attached, or where the water pump suction line is attached. I wonder if the fresh water tank isn't one of the first parts Airstream assembles to the frame?

I'm surprised mice would eat a hole in the fresh water tank. That polyethylene tank is very strong and probably a quarter inch thick. But the little varmints have been known to damage all sorts of things, like my wiring. Be diligent is discovering exactly where the water leak is coming from. It could be the drain valve, it could be the plumbing lines on top of the tank (my case), etc. It is common to have a drain valve leak, it is uncommon to have a fresh water tank fail.

David
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Old 02-08-2016, 08:43 PM   #4
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Thill:

The fresh water tank in the 70 Safari is much easier to replace than in my 86 Limited. Your tank is located under the front window inside the trailer. The pump and plumbing is likely located on the street side of the tank.

I installed a new tank in my 66 Trade Wind. Here are two photos for your reference. New tanks are readily available.

And here is a photo of the fresh water tank in the 69 Globetrotter. We're building a new dinette, so the tank was fully exposed after we removed the old dinette.

David
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Old 02-08-2016, 10:42 PM   #5
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Yeah the whole corner is eaten out. My fresh water tank is just in front of the axle in the floor. I'm thinking about just patching it hopefully
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Old 02-09-2016, 07:29 AM   #6
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Under the trailer you will find several screws that need removal that go into the wooden tank support. You will also have to remove the forward angle iron support by removing the bolts from each side. Remove all water connections Now the hard part starts, you will most likely have to make a steel angle with a hole in it for a chain coupler to attach the come along hook. Screw this to the bottom of the tank support with several screw. The tank support is 1" plywood. Wrap a chain around the hitch and attach the cable to the recently installed angle and the other to chain at the hitch. Now pull the tank support out with the come along while supporting the tank. I think it took me about 4 hours to get my tank out.
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Old 02-09-2016, 07:48 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thill_1985 View Post
What is the best way to remove my fresh water tank? Pictures would help too thanks
Yeah, pictures would help. So lets see what's happening on your end. haha
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Old 02-09-2016, 10:00 AM   #8
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If it took Aerowood four hours to remove the tank, It'll take us mere mortals four days. Without images as to where the chewed hole is and its diameter and configuration, constructive advise isn't possible.


Polyethylene doesn't “patch” like most plastics. You can round out the hole to fit a rubber expansion plug, “spin weld” a flange, cap, or disc into the rounded hole, or weld an irregular shaped piece into the hole. My polyethylene tank came to me with the waterpump flange broken off. Tanks are rare and expensive.


Being an agoraphobic, asocial, introverted, Hillbilly, it's vital to fix, repair design/build from what I have at hand. I studied the yootubes , and scoured the internet for polyethylene welding equipment, I concluded that I could repair the broken tank to pump flange. I sliced off a quarter inch of the 1 inlet flange and that gave me about five inches of “stick”. I'm schooled in TIG, MIG, Gas and Arc, and conclude this… Any damned fool can weld polyethylene first try. All that fancy polyethylene welding equipment they want to sell you doesn't work any better than my Weller 100W soldering gun. Five years, and not a drop. Stay upwind of the smoke.


Pictures Please!
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Old 02-09-2016, 02:00 PM   #9
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Mice ate into fresh water tank. How to remove it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ALUMINUMINUM View Post
If it took Aerowood four hours to remove the tank, It'll take us mere mortals four days. !
Hey, I put my pants on one leg at a time, just like you. Sorry I didn't take any pictures, except the replacement aluminum platform that I haven't installed yet.

I may even get time to work on it this year, but not yet as I'm currently in Punta Arenas Chile
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Old 02-09-2016, 08:34 PM   #10
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I'm sorry I did not know that Airstream moved the fresh water tank in 1970. My son's 69 Globetrotter has the fresh water tank above floor under the dinette benches. It is very easy to remove it. And replacements are readily available.

Yes, polyethylene is a thermoplastic and very "weldable". As Aluminuminum states, you have to have a polyethylene "stick" to feed into the hole with heat. I worked in a rotomold shop for four years and we repaired a lot of plastic parts making them just like new. If you can access the mouse hole, you may be able to weld it shut.

David
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Old 02-09-2016, 10:34 PM   #11
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Alright, here you go. The picture below is of the underside of my frame with the new bellypan in place suspended sideways. As described above, there is a metal frame that supports the 1" thick wood tank support from undrneath. That frame is continuous on three sides, and the forth side is removeable with some bolts and screws. The red lines drawn on the picture show the permanent parts of the frame, the forth part has not yet been installed. You need to get hold of that wooden panel and slide it forward in the direction of the big red arrow. This is where the come-along described above comes in. Make sure all of the water is out of the tank and that you have something like a floor jack or tranny jack ready to support it as you pull the wooden support from underneath the tank.

Incidentally, I added a similar configuration behind the axle to support newly installed grey water tanks. But focus on the framed in section just in front of the axle, with the red lines.

good luck!
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Old 02-10-2016, 08:18 PM   #12
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Thanks a lot. Your photo with a Globetrotter on its side clearly shows the location of the tank and the process to remove it. I now understand.

I hope Thill can figure out a way to weld his plastic tank and avoid all the work to remove it.

You know, if I had one of these early 70s trailers and I had a fresh water tank failure, I would think long and hard about "going backwards" and installing a simple above floor tank under the front window. I would move the pump to that area, install a filler neck and create the same water system as my 66 and my son's 69 trailer has. I might have to move the converter and battery too. I guess it all depends on the cost and availability of a replacement underfloor fresh water tank for these trailers.

David
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Old 02-11-2016, 11:06 AM   #13
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The fresh water tanks for the 70's trailers are still available brand new from places like Inland RV and outofdoorsmart.com, but they are pricey, and shipping is bound to be high as well just due to their size. I've tried doing some plastic welding on polyethylene as well with limited success. I had considered building my own grey tanks from scratch, but could never get a corner weld that I was convinced would hold water for the long haul. Patching a hole might be an easier task altogether, expecially if it is in the middle of a flat spot (in which case you might be able to get your local RV shop to just spin-weld a blank patch over it).

good luck!
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Old 02-11-2016, 02:57 PM   #14
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Thanks you so much. I think doing the front under the seat tank is the best idea. I didn't want to at first bc I need to add a water access to the front. but that sounds much easier then ripping out the whole bottom or trying to patch in a confined area. Thanks again
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