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Old 08-08-2009, 07:53 PM   #1
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1958 22' Caravanner
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water tank question

I have a 58 fly cloud and I was going to replace the galvinized water tank but I checked it out and it is like new. It had a old pressure system on it and I am thinking, I would like to keep it. On the intake for the water on the outside it has a hose connection. Is this the city hook up? Does the water pressure from the hose take over for the air pressure? Where can I get a new pressure pump for the 58? Any help will be appreciated!

Ron
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Old 08-08-2009, 08:07 PM   #2
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There are tanks in many sizes and shapes on Ebay so shop around. Custom tanks can be made, but the fabricators I have talked with are much more expensive than buying a generic tank. They are out there in many different sizes. I'd go with a new on demand pump . There is a reason RV industry went to on demand pumps. They are not expensive and if you want to add an accumulator you can, though many folks don't.
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Old 08-20-2009, 05:59 PM   #3
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Keep your pressurized water tank!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Banks View Post
I have a 58 fly cloud and I was going to replace the galvinized water tank but I checked it out and it is like new. It had a old pressure system on it and I am thinking, I would like to keep it. On the intake for the water on the outside it has a hose connection. Is this the city hook up? Does the water pressure from the hose take over for the air pressure? Where can I get a new pressure pump for the 58? Any help will be appreciated!

Ron
Hi, Ron,

We had a pressure water tank on our 1960 Pacer and liked it just fine. In later years all the RV manufacturers went to plastic tanks because they were lighter, cheaper, and could hold more water because they could be made to fit the available space. A pressure tank has to be cylindrical with domed ends to resist the pressure, and it can't be filled all the way to the top because there has to be some air space to maintain pressure.

You can't get much simpler than a pressure tank water system. There's no pump and you use the same inlet for either filling the tank or connecting to city water. I have attached a picture of the filler cap from our 1960 Pacer. I imagine your '58 is similar. You can see how it works from the picture.

To fill the tank with water from a water can or bucket, you unscrew the big cast aluminum cap and pour in the water. After it's filled you screw the cap back on (it has a rubber O-ring seal) and pump air pressure into the tank with a tire pump or air compressor. Be careful not to overpressurize--there's no safety valve. On our Pacer the previous owner overpressurized the tank with a gas station air hose and blew the end out of the tank! Fortunately there was an aluminum welding shop nearby (our Pacer had an aluminum tank) where they welded it back on.

To connect to city water you just connect to the hose bibb on the aluminum cap (with a male-to-male hose thread adapter) and open the valve. When the tank fills up to city water pressure there will still be air left over the water so you can shut off the valve and the tank will still be pressurized.

When connecting to city water we found two attachments helpful. One was an in-line pressure regulator (a good idea with any water system) and the other was a one-way check valve. Without the check valve, you can lose tank pressure if someone breaks the connection upstream, like when water is daisy chained at a rally.

If we had kept the Pacer I was planning to rig up an electric air pump to pressurize the tank at the flip of a switch. Some of the higher-end Airstreams with pressure tank systems had that feature built in. The advantage of an air pump over a demand water pump as used nowadays is that the air pump never touches the water so the check valve(s) can't get stuck open by a particle of sand in the water.

See you down the road,
Nuvi
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Old 08-20-2009, 06:08 PM   #4
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If your pressurized water system is like ours, you must fill the tank through the hose bib located on the outside of your trailer. When you are connected to a city connection you have pressure from that connection. The original pump is a Grover Products 12v air compressor. We looked for nearly 2 years before we found one on ebay. In the interim we tried a 12v pump I purchased from a 4X4 supply place. It worked well but was pretty loud. You will need to install a check valve and pressure switch in line with any compressor you install. The Grover will have a pressure switch built in. I believe the operating pressure for the switch is around 60psi. Once the tank is pressurized, it lasts a good amount of time before the pump starts. We have been very happy with the system especially since it does not run everytime you turn on the water. If you have any other questions PM me, I may have a different style of compressor here that I would be willing to part with.
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Old 08-21-2009, 06:49 AM   #5
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Thanks Guys, I still have the old air pressure pump. Can you get parts for them? It has a little hose that hooks up to the old tank, very simple operation. My main problem now is fixing the breaks in the old copper lines.. The lines have inlarged and I think I might have to change the whole cold water line. I have been looking at the pex pipe and think I might use it. Thanks again!

Ron
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Old 08-21-2009, 10:06 AM   #6
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Ron, if you plan to use the pressurized system, you will have to repair any plumbing with copper lines and pressure fittings. I do not believe that PEX will handle the pressure from the system. I do not believe that parts are available for the compressors. Not really much to them to fail ours is 40 years old and works great.
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Old 08-22-2009, 07:42 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Banks View Post
Thanks Guys, I still have the old air pressure pump. Can you get parts for them? It has a little hose that hooks up to the old tank, very simple operation. My main problem now is fixing the breaks in the old copper lines.. The lines have inlarged and I think I might have to change the whole cold water line. I have been looking at the pex pipe and think I might use it. Thanks again!

Ron
Ron,

I know exactly what you're talking about. On the old Pacer some of the pipes had been frozen and the copper swells up to where you can't put a standard fitting on it. My advice would be to go ahead and replace it all with PEX. I have put a lot of PEX in our 1980 Caravelle (originally plumbed with black polyethylene using similar crimped fittings) and love it.

The pressure in your pressure tank system isn't any higher than any city water system--at least it shouldn't be!--so PEX will work fine. As I recall it's rated 200 PSI at 70 degrees (somewhat less for hot water). Your water system shouldn't exceed 60 PSI or so.
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Old 08-22-2009, 09:30 PM   #8
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Are there good ways of sealing the connection through the body. With the tank able to flex different that the shell that seal seems to be able to fail very easy and rot the floor. Also wondering if there are any tank coatings like are available for automotive gas tanks that clean and seal the interior of the tank. The stuff I read about from eastwood wasn't ok for potable water. I'd love repair the tank and go air but don't want to install it and find out a few months later it has leaked and ruined my new floor.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nuvite-F View Post
Hi, Ron,

We had a pressure water tank on our 1960 Pacer and liked it just fine. In later years all the RV manufacturers went to plastic tanks because they were lighter, cheaper, and could hold more water because they could be made to fit the available space. A pressure tank has to be cylindrical with domed ends to resist the pressure, and it can't be filled all the way to the top because there has to be some air space to maintain pressure.

You can't get much simpler than a pressure tank water system. There's no pump and you use the same inlet for either filling the tank or connecting to city water. I have attached a picture of the filler cap from our 1960 Pacer. I imagine your '58 is similar. You can see how it works from the picture.

To fill the tank with water from a water can or bucket, you unscrew the big cast aluminum cap and pour in the water. After it's filled you screw the cap back on (it has a rubber O-ring seal) and pump air pressure into the tank with a tire pump or air compressor. Be careful not to overpressurize--there's no safety valve. On our Pacer the previous owner overpressurized the tank with a gas station air hose and blew the end out of the tank! Fortunately there was an aluminum welding shop nearby (our Pacer had an aluminum tank) where they welded it back on.

To connect to city water you just connect to the hose bibb on the aluminum cap (with a male-to-male hose thread adapter) and open the valve. When the tank fills up to city water pressure there will still be air left over the water so you can shut off the valve and the tank will still be pressurized.

When connecting to city water we found two attachments helpful. One was an in-line pressure regulator (a good idea with any water system) and the other was a one-way check valve. Without the check valve, you can lose tank pressure if someone breaks the connection upstream, like when water is daisy chained at a rally.

If we had kept the Pacer I was planning to rig up an electric air pump to pressurize the tank at the flip of a switch. Some of the higher-end Airstreams with pressure tank systems had that feature built in. The advantage of an air pump over a demand water pump as used nowadays is that the air pump never touches the water so the check valve(s) can't get stuck open by a particle of sand in the water.

See you down the road,
Nuvi
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Old 08-23-2009, 05:07 AM   #9
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Guys, do any of you have an internal pic of the Grover pump? I found my old pump and took it apart. The motor works great but the piston was stuck. I got the piston out and it looks good. How does the air get out through the top of the cylndor? I look into the top of the bushing and there is a little hole, but how does the air get through it? I tries to loosen the brass cap on top of the cylndor but I was afraid of bending or breaking It. Any advice will be helpful!

Ron
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Old 08-23-2009, 09:48 AM   #10
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My Grover pump was in pretty much the same condition as yours. I took it apart, cleaned the piston and cylinder carefully as to not scratch, cleaned the "crankcase", and put it back together after oiling the piston. Then filled the crankcase to the proper level with 20 weight oil.
I gave it a bench test and it worked as designed. I tested the pressure switch by blocking the output line with my thumb. The switch turned the pump off immediately and turned back on when I removed my thumb. I then checked the pressure switch with a tire pressure gauge and found the low pressure turn on point at 24 psi and the high turn off point at 45 psi --- plenty good for me so I did not need to adjust the switch.
I reinstalled it back in the trailer and it has been working without a problem for the last two years. Copper or pex are both designed to handle the pressure. I replumbed all of mine in cpvc and tested it to 70 psi before putting it in service.
I would advise to not try to "out think" it. There are very few moving parts to this very simple pump.
Sam
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Old 08-23-2009, 11:37 AM   #11
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Scott and Megan,

I don't know if your questions were addressed to me, but since you quoted my post I will answer. Can't tell you much.

Quote:
Originally Posted by goransons View Post
Are there good ways of sealing the connection through the body. With the tank able to flex different that the shell that seal seems to be able to fail very easy and rot the floor.
I assume you are talking about rain water leaking in around the outside of the fill tube. On the Pacer the fill tube was a length of 2" aluminum pipe threaded into a boss on the tank. The pipe stuck out through the front shell at an angle. Where it came out it was surrounded by a cast aluminum fairing. All this is shown in the picture in my earlier post. The inside of the fairing (around the pipe) and back (against the shell) were filled with some kind of non-hardening putty like Vulkem or auto body putty to seal the opening against rain water. There didn't seem to be any leaks in the vicinity.


Quote:
Originally Posted by goransons View Post
Also wondering if there are any tank coatings like are available for automotive gas tanks that clean and seal the interior of the tank. The stuff I read about from eastwood wasn't ok for potable water. I'd love repair the tank and go air but don't want to install it and find out a few months later it has leaked and ruined my new floor.
Like they call "slushing compound" in the aircraft biz. I don't know of any for drinking water.

Like I said elsewhere, if your pressurized tank is shot, it might be best to just replace it with a rectangular plastic tank and a demand pump. (You would have to plumb in a separate city water connection downstream of the pump.)

There are two distinct advantages to a translucent plastic tank, (1) a rectangular tank will hold more water and (2) you can tell by looking how much water is in it!

Cheers,
Nuvi
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