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Old 04-25-2014, 05:28 PM   #1
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1973 27' Overlander
Portsmouth , Virginia
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Replacing the fresh water fill with marine grade fixture

I've been working on this trailer on what I like to call "Phase 2" since the beginning of this year. That work is documented here: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f46/phase-2-has-started-new-kitchen-cabinets-and-front-underbelly-floor-and-restoration-115482.html

I thought it would be better to post this upgrade separately so that if folks have questions on the fresh water fill then what I've done may help.


I've got to thank "Wabbiteer" for giving me the heads up on this issue. In a nutshell, the standard fresh water fill on these 70's (and maybe earlier and later) trailers really isn't very sanitary because there is nothing to stop rain runoff from traveling down past the outer door and getting into the tank. I recently dropped the tank as part of the front frame maintenance and I was really surprised at how much black garbage was in the tank. I filled the tank with a couple of gallons of bleach and got it fairly clean again. Without dropping the tank, I doubt it would have ever been close to being sanitary and even now, I will probably cook with bottled water and save the tank for washing and flushing the toilet.

I love to hunt for bargains and have been doing well shopping off Amazon and their warehouse deals. About a week or so ago I managed to find a "used" Atwood marine boat fill for 16 bucks shipped on prime. Check. While I was getting some aluminum for the new kitchen backspash I also got a small 7x7" piece of a heavier grade aluminum as a mounting plate. Check. What was left was to find a hose that would fit both the new fill and the tank elbow fitting. I had previously bought a section of hose but could not get that to fit on the old fitting and that hose would not fit the new one either. On a whim I stopped off at a pool supplies store and picked up a section of skimmer hose that fits both ends just fine (different diameters to boot) Check.

So this is what was under the sink previously:




I'm not sure what the PO was thinking, but he had it all patched up. The original hose looked like something that would come with a swimming pool filter. Yesterday I drilled out the old rivets but had no luck getting the door assembly out. I wanted it intact in case somebody else wants to try and use it. I started again today and managed to get it loose and moving:






This is from the inside, the factory cut the lovely hole:




This is how it came out, I was very gentle, but the 40 yo plastic had seen better days. I suppose it would still be serviceable with some help.



Here is the new water fill fitting and the plate I made for it:




Gooped up with polyurethane sealant. I could only get a tube of black at the local roofing supply place.




The new plate installed where the old filler sat. I used the black poly sealant all around the perimeter and put a dab on each rivet. This is the first time I used olympic rivets, so now I have to get them shaved down and pretty. I have a rivet shaver, but I have no bit for it. The bit that fits the drill mounted shaver might fit, but they are overcharging for it by a factor of 5, so I may try and find a straight cut bit for 20 something and see if I can dial it in to just brush the top of the rivet.



Here's what she looks like from the inside:




I had a piece of the vinyl cover aluminum kicking around from the previous bath remodel so I cut it down and drilled a hole in the center for the fitting:



And here it is with the new filler hose installed. Gotta love the lovely blue aqua color:




And in case you think I'm kidding about the crap that gets in the tank, here is one of the elbow fittings from the original hose with all the black sediment that sat in it for years:



Miller time:



Total costs:

Stainless fill: 16
Sealer: 7
Hose: 12
Aluminum plate: maybe a couple bucks, he didnt itemize.
Cleaner water: Priceless
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Old 04-25-2014, 07:11 PM   #2
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Nice job, and great pictures.
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Old 04-25-2014, 07:19 PM   #3
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This is on my to do list! Thanks for the breakdown
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Old 04-26-2014, 04:52 PM   #4
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This is on my to do list! Thanks for the breakdown
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Nice job, and great pictures.
Thanks. I enjoy other folks pictorials and get lots of good ideas and hope that what I do helps the community in return.
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Old 04-26-2014, 05:11 PM   #5
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Very nice work.

Looking at you valve station, I can't really tell but looks like you did plumb it so you can fill the tank from the city water when hooked up to that. I did that when I fixed up my TW and in 3 years I have never filled the fresh tank through the filler neck. I just close one valve and open another when hooked to city water and the tank fills. Again, nice job on the filler neck fix.
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Old 04-26-2014, 05:19 PM   #6
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Very nice work.

Looking at you valve station, I can't really tell but looks like you did plumb it so you can fill the tank from the city water when hooked up to that. I did that when I fixed up my TW and in 3 years I have never filled the fresh tank through the filler neck. I just close one valve and open another when hooked to city water and the tank fills. Again, nice job on the filler neck fix.
Yep, that is the isolation valve for the tank, but if it is left open and everything else is closed then it will let the city water pressure fill up the tank. I plumbed it all just like it was previously, the other two valves are the dumps for the hot and cold side and they normally stay closed.

Probably a good reason to make sure the vent doesnt discharge inside the trailer too.
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Old 04-26-2014, 07:34 PM   #7
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Aquinob, maybe you can help me with my issue as you seem to know what you're doing.

I've been trying to get my freshwater tank running. I've discovered that the PO capped the line that should be going from the tank to the rest of the plumbing.

Here's a little homemade diagram:



It's my understanding that the water I send in through the brown line (ie, the outside fill near the door, just like yours but the original still), goes into the tank, is then pumped up the red line through the water pump, out the blue line into the filter, then through the purple line which goes back down near the tank (I don't know where exactly as I can't reach down in there far enough or see).

The green line is then capped. I'm wondering exactly where I should be sending this to. Directly back to the purple line (maybe T it?) or somewhere else?

Since you're deep into yours, I was hoping you'd be able to give me a little advice.
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Old 04-26-2014, 08:06 PM   #8
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The line with the filter should be the water pump's feed (water getting sucked in) from your fresh water tank. The red line (waterpump output) should go to the capped green/yellow line. This way the entire plumbing system is pressurized either from your city connection or the onboard water pump. The water pump should have a valve in it to prevent city water pressure from backflowing into your freshwater tank. If I misinterpreted the colors, the principle is the same. Jeff
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Old 04-26-2014, 08:10 PM   #9
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Note to Bob

Nice job on the fill fitting. I will probably end up replacing mine also, and thanks for the catalytic heater. Jeff
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Old 04-26-2014, 09:16 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by clicknathan View Post
Aquinob, maybe you can help me with my issue as you seem to know what you're doing.

I've been trying to get my freshwater tank running. I've discovered that the PO capped the line that should be going from the tank to the rest of the plumbing.

Here's a little homemade diagram:



It's my understanding that the water I send in through the brown line (ie, the outside fill near the door, just like yours but the original still), goes into the tank, is then pumped up the red line through the water pump, out the blue line into the filter, then through the purple line which goes back down near the tank (I don't know where exactly as I can't reach down in there far enough or see).

The green line is then capped. I'm wondering exactly where I should be sending this to. Directly back to the purple line (maybe T it?) or somewhere else?

Since you're deep into yours, I was hoping you'd be able to give me a little advice.
Jeff (JBIB) is right, the output of the pump which is coming from the tank has to cross connect to the main water line in order to pressurize the whole system. If it was capped by the PO, then they probably didn't ever use the onboard water system. On my trailer, there was/is a valve that isolated the two systems, maybe they removed that valve and that is where it was capped off. So yes, the purple line in your diagram has to connect over to the green line. Where is it going now (purple)?
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Old 04-26-2014, 09:17 PM   #11
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Nice work, excellent post
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Old 04-26-2014, 09:17 PM   #12
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Nice job on the fill fitting. I will probably end up replacing mine also, and thanks for the catalytic heater. Jeff
You're welcome. Hope it keeps you nice and toasty.
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Old 05-06-2014, 05:20 PM   #13
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An update to the water fill update. A while back I picked up a rivet shaver off the local CL for about 80 bucks IIRC. Looked like new or very litttle use. Didn't have a shaver bit in it to play with, so it went into the drawer. After I mounted the new filler in the plate, I started looking for a bit to shave the olympic rivets down. The curved bit that is sold as a replacement for the drill end tool is ridiculously priced so being the cheapskate that I am, I went looking for a bargain and found them at the yardstore.com, an online seller specializing in aircraft tools. Long story short I picked up a couple of "used" bits for 3 bucks each to fit in my shaver, a dotco model. The dotco looks to be the spitting image of a current Sioux model, so I trusted that the bits would fit and they did. I finagled with the settings so that the bit would just flatten out the very top of the rivet and leave a nice clean surface, hopefully better than what I would achieve with a dremel or some other manual method.

And I also took to heart the suggestion that I don't deadend the vent inside the cabinet. That was solved with a chrome plated brass boat fitting mounted just below the filller. I still have to scrounge up a small piece of the right sized hose to transition from the vent to the existing vent hose. And for the visually inclined, here are a few more pix:

The shaver and the 3 dollar bit:







Newly shaved rivets:



The plate with the new vent fitting:



And the inside view:



I also managed to get all the gas lines ran again with a combination of new and used tubing. Almost ready to start permanently attaching the parts of the cabinet face frame and get the sink cabinet done and this rig back on the road.
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Old 05-06-2014, 11:43 PM   #14
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And I also took to heart the suggestion that I don't deadend the vent inside the cabinet. That was solved with a chrome plated brass boat fitting mounted just below the filller. I still have to scrounge up a small piece of the right sized hose to transition from the vent to the existing vent hose.
Bob, could you please explain why you thought it necessary to install the boat fitting? Thanks, Hank
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