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Old 08-04-2011, 10:45 AM   #1
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1973 21' Globetrotter
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Removal of 1973 fresh water tank

Greetings all,

I have a 1973 Globetrotter with a leaking water fresh water tank. I have the shop manual describing the removal of the tank, and it sounds quite straight forward. My attempts have not been very successful so far. The plywood access panel, on which the tank rests, seems to be firmly stuck in the rusty angle-iron frame. I've tried a ratchet strap connected between the panel and the tongue, but that didn't even budge it. I've checked closely to make sure there are no other screws holding it in place, but it appears to be just a combination of rust and swollen plywood that is causing me the grief. Anyone out there have a tried and true technique for this operation? I'm tempted to split the panel with a circular saw and pull it out in pieces, but I thought I would ask for some advice before getting to destructive and risking further damage to the tank.

thanks, in advance!
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Old 08-04-2011, 11:17 AM   #2
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Hello yes that can sometimes be quite a handful to get loose. There may be sealer all around the edges between the plywood and the angle iron. Have you tried prying between the angle and the plywood to break the sealer free? If you try cutting the plywood the saw may cut into the tank so I would advise against that. Some who have had trouble ended up using a strap attached to the plywood and pulled it out using a truck.
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Old 08-04-2011, 01:09 PM   #3
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I ran an oscillating tool with a scraper on it between the wood and the angle iron to break loose the old sealant and to disturb the rust. I can get a prybar in between the angle and wood all the way around, but can't get it deep enough to actually get behind the wood and move it out. Next step might be to cut away the wood "box end" just above the end of the panel where it is supposed to slide out so that I can get back in there and drill a hole, then I can fasten a winch line to it and get some mechanical advantage.
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Old 08-04-2011, 01:41 PM   #4
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just checking but did you remove the front piece of angle iron? It is bolted to the side pieces.
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Old 08-04-2011, 03:44 PM   #5
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Yep--the front angle is off.
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Old 08-04-2011, 07:25 PM   #6
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That plywood is 1 1/4" thick. And heavy. If you had a leak, the ends of it are probably swollen and it's pretty much locked in place until the swelling goes down. If it ever goes down all the way. As Wasaga Chris states, the tank is sitting directly on top of the plywood. I believe your 73 water tank is the same as a 72. Here's a few pictures of the bottom of our water tank, so you can see where you might be able to drill a hole safely to attach a strap or a come-along. Looks like you have about a 2 inch clearance, again assuming your tank its the same.

Since you can get a pry bar in under the plywood, try spraying some liquid wrench, pam, silicone, or whatever you happen to have on hand into the gap as you pry the plywood up from the angle iron. It'll be a pain to go all the way around the edge, but that might loosen it up with lubrication enough for you to get it moving.

Best of luck!

Chris
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Old 08-05-2011, 08:32 AM   #7
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Thanks for all the advice. I ended up getting the panel to move enough to expose about 1/2" of leading edge. I clamped a pair of vice-grips onto this and attached a ratched strap to the tongue. The panel was locked in place so thoroughly that the ratchet strap would barely budge it, but if I put my weight on the strap once it was fully tight, I could move the panel about an inch or two at a time. I put a transmission jack with a piece of plywood on it under the tank to support the tank once the panel was out of the way, so that it wouldn't come crashing down. Once all was done and the tank was out, I did discover that the tank was not completely empty (as was my belief), but had an inch or so of water in it. That extra water-weight on the tank probably aggravated the situation. Were I to do it again, I would jack the curb side up several inches and make sure that all the water had run out of the tank before proceeding. The suggestion of using a lubricant (above) probably would also have helped.
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