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Old 10-20-2014, 11:56 AM   #1
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Replace water tank just because?

While I am in the process of ripping and renovating a 61 Bambi, I am torn between keeping the original aluminum fresh water tank and getting a new tank for safety reasons.

The old tank from the outside appears in excellent condition, even the original air pump is still installed. Before I go through the process of testing the tank and pump, is it even worth it? Do these tanks typically corrode over time, making them a hazard for both leaking and water contamination?
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Old 10-20-2014, 12:02 PM   #2
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Keep in mind your present system is a pressurize system and any plastic tank will require a water pump.

i would change while you are at it.
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Old 10-20-2014, 12:08 PM   #3
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They do corrode from the inside out. Then you have a leak which may go undiscovered for some time, causing floor rot. The tank is 53 years old. Time to upgrade and replace it, and go to a now standard demand pump.

The only reason I would ever consider saving it is if you are doing a museum quality, as original restoration job. For use and camping change it out.
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Old 10-20-2014, 12:19 PM   #4
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That's the direction I am leaning. I have to keep in mind a 50+ year old trailer is a plumbing/electrical/gas disaster waiting to happen, especially if the old equipment is kept in use.

My first thought when I got this trailer last year was to test the tank, and if clean and no leaks, then use it as a NON pressurized holding tank, with an on-demand pump installed. That way I can still use the original fill port and don't have to retrofit a tank behind the drawers beneath the couch.
How much does aluminum corrode?
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Old 10-20-2014, 01:13 PM   #5
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Why not buy or borrow one of those scopes that is used to look into walls or in spark plug holes of car engines? Then look inside the tank from the fill hole and see what the inside looks like. Then make a decision with good information.
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Old 10-20-2014, 02:09 PM   #6
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How much does aluminum corrode?
There are several means of corrosion, and no one good answer.

But in regard to a freshwater tank, the two most likely cuplrits are microbiologicaly-induced corrosion due to microbes in the water; as they grow and/or die, they secrete an acid that can etch the inside of the tank.

However, if you chemically treat microbes with chlorine, you open up the possibility of general corrosion due to the presence of chlorides that will chemically react with the aluminum.

In other words, damned if you do, damned if you don't.

You really are better off switching to a tank made of a food-grade plastic, since it's as close to chemically inert as modern science can make it.
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Old 10-23-2014, 03:51 PM   #7
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Thanks everyone. I will be ordering a new plastic tank.

Just removed the aluminum tank and air pressure pump. Sad - that tank is pretty! Looks almost new. And so light weight. Wonder if aluminum fresh water tank was an upgrade option back in '61?

Anyone doing a museum restore, I'll send pics if you are interested in tank, pump, or both.
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Old 10-23-2014, 05:48 PM   #8
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My '63 Bambi, years ago, had a galvanized tank which I replaced with a plastic one as you are doing. So, maybe yours was an option, or just what they did in '61, or at one factory vs. the other. (CA or OH) But all metal tanks can leak, and pressurized ones are even more prone to leak. I think you made the right decision.
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Old 10-24-2014, 07:24 AM   #9
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I own a 61' Ambassador I am redoing. I pulled the Galv. water tank out just this week. Alum. may have been an option...???
I'm going plastic.
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Old 10-24-2014, 09:07 AM   #10
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Would go with new, you have no clue to what is inside the tank and nobody would. I would design the new to be able to remove and clean each year.

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Old 01-30-2015, 08:10 PM   #11
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Thanks everyone. I will be ordering a new plastic tank.

Just removed the aluminum tank and air pressure pump. Sad - that tank is pretty! Looks almost new. And so light weight. Wonder if aluminum fresh water tank was an upgrade option back in '61?

Anyone doing a museum restore, I'll send pics if you are interested in tank, pump, or both.

I plan to remove the original potable water tank from my '60 Safari tomorrow. How did you go about removing yours?
Thanks!
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Old 01-30-2015, 08:49 PM   #12
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Replace water tank just because?

Simply unscrewed from the floor. Came out easily.

I should add that my tank has a straight water inlet going into the wall to the exterior. There was no cutting or real maneuvering to get it out. I read that some have an angled inlet, necessitating cutting to remove.
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Old 05-12-2015, 05:56 AM   #13
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I changed out my original galvanized tank while switching to a water pump in my 61 Bambi and gained some capacity with a plastic tank. I also added a grey water tank to a truck cabover camper years ago with a instillation similar to your sketch. Good luck with your project.
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Old 05-12-2015, 06:47 AM   #14
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Cities don't change water mains due to age.

Regards,

JD
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