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Old 09-08-2013, 06:07 PM   #1
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1981 31' Excella II
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Anyone replaced the valves on a center bath?

I have an 81 Excella II with the center bath and am trying to get my head around the process of replacing the waste tank valves. It looks like a nightmare from hell to do. It looks like the tanks will have to be dropped in order to do this. The first barrier to this is the bolts are most likely frozen like the bolts that hold the stabilizer jacks were. They will break and will have to be drilled out and retapped. Once the pans are off, the tanks won't support themselves and I am assuming and the toilet flange and vent stacks will most likely break or come loose from the tank. The tanks will have to be lowered to some extent in order to separate the valves. The valves are between the two tanks and are connected with a Y-pipe. There is a rubber slip joint on the forward most tank. The manual says something about stuff being glued on. Is this the Y-pipe end or the tank end where stuff is glued? I have rebuild kits for the valves but the process of replacing them looks very time consuming and aggravating.

Right now, I have a third valve on the exit and it works fine, but I want to be able to separate the gray water from the black water. We always run out of gray water storage before the black water. There are times that dumping the gray water is ok (or hauling it off) but I don't want to do that if it is mixed with black water like it is now. I would like to redesign things so that this is not such a PIA.

I have thought of putting a smaller line on the gray tank which may give me room to put an elbow on the black tank and then a smaller one on the gray tank. I don't see why the gray valve could not be replaced with a simple ball valve of the 2" variety. As far as I know, there is nothing wrong with the tanks at least till I start screwing with things. There is very little room between the tanks and I am not sure that I could put two full size elbows between the tanks and then put the valves external to the tank pan like what should have been done in the first place.

Perry
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Old 09-08-2013, 06:24 PM   #2
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1978 31' Sovereign
Texas Airstream Harbor , Zavalla, in the Deep East Texas Piney Woods on Lake Sam Rayburn
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Cut a square where the valves are

Perry:

Check out my '78 Sovereign thread in my signature line.

I just recently replaced the valves.

If Lowe's stocks a floppy rubber 3" "Y" tee do your self a favor and make it work.

I think it would be easier, but you would have to secure the outlet some way.

I was unable to locate a "double Y" tee - maybe Vintage Trailer or Out of Doors Mart carries them and had to make a standard tee work.

It is doable, and you do not have to drop the tanks.
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Old 09-08-2013, 06:46 PM   #3
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1981 31' Excella II
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Your thread gives me part of the information. Do you have some pics after you replaced the valves? When you take the 4 bolts out in the valve what happens? Does the whole thing come apart or does it just come loose from the tanks? It looks like the 4 bolts just compress and O-ring and the valve just come off. I assume there are smaller bolts that just hold the two halves of the valves together?

Perry
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Old 09-08-2013, 07:23 PM   #4
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1988 25' Excella
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on my 88 and 87 the valves are cemented to the tank. I had Airstream do one and they cut a rectangular hole about 2 feet square and rebuilt the valves leaving the half that is welded to the tank in place. I did the same thing latter on another trailer. When you get in there it is fairly easy to take the abs drain pipe and y out. There is a rubber slip fitting placed in just the right place. Then the screws take the valves apart. You then replace the gaskets and o ring on the valves an reassemble.

Overall cutting the access hole is a nasty job. The metal under the tanks is heavy gauge steel. It is in a very difficult place to work on because the wheels are in the way. You have to figure out where to cut the access hole and lay it out. You have to use a stop block when drilling to be sure you do not hit a tank or line. I used a nibbler from HF for the cut. I did not get my hole straight and square. My friend used a small wheel grinder for his. After you get access it is fairly straight foward.
I do not know what you would do if the valve body attached to the tank is damaged. I have not tried to take the whole cover under the tanks off. I have read that it is a difficult job. The good thing about the hole with a cover is that it will be easier the next time. Vintage trailer has the repair kits if you go this route.
I was under a little pressure as we were living in the trailer in Fl when I did it. It took 3 hours or so to cut the opening and about 2 hours to do the valves and plumbing. I was pretty glad when it went right back together and worked.
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Old 09-15-2013, 02:20 PM   #5
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1981 31' Excella II
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Ok I am making progress. I got the old valves out and it was not too bad. I bleached the tanks before I took them loose and I am glad I did. I will post photos of the process when I get time. I think I am going to order new valves if I can find them. One I can't remove because it is glued to the Y-pipe. If I can get new valves I may put a new blade in the old one and put a new one on the gray water side that is removable. The blade does not look that bad on the black water valve and that is the main one I am concerned about. I am also going to grind about a 1/4" of material off the removable valve nipple. It is longer than it needs to be and I can really use that extra 1/4" to get the valves back in. Cutting the tank is not too bad if you use an cutoff wheel on an angle grinder. You need leather gloves and good safety goggles.

Perry
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Old 09-16-2013, 07:25 PM   #6
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Make sure you get the right valve!

Make sure you order the correct valve. Even though they all look similar the internals are somewhat different. ---FYI Vintage Trailer Supply has several with pictures of different types.

It certainly helped me when I went to order the correct valves.

I could not locate the correct rebuild kit, so I purchased two new valves and took them apart for the slide and seal assemblies.
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Old 09-16-2013, 09:10 PM   #7
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1981 31' Excella II
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I had seal kits that the PO had purchased. I ended up rebuilding the valves and they seem to be working fine. I had both tanks full overnight and no leaks. I trimed about 1/4" off the valve nipple and the nipple glued into the Y-pipe. This gave me a little extra room to install the new valves. The biggest hassle was getting the o-rings to stay on the valves while I put them in there. Without that extra space it would have been impossible. I am pretty sure they dropped the tanks the last time this was done. I did not cut any pipes apart but you would have to do this if you wanted to replace the valve glued to the Y. I wish they had glued the gray valve on instead of the black valve. I would rather have a gray water leak than a black one. I will post photos when I get time.

Perry
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Old 11-16-2013, 06:25 AM   #8
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1966 24' Tradewind
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Hi Perry,

I'm late replying to this thread. I did replace my dump valves on my 86 side bath. I removed the pan covering the black tank to gain access to the dump valve manifold and connections.

I used standard Valtera valves and bayonet connection ports. I was tired of looking for the special oversized Thetford connectors. And I didn't like the way the old Thetford dump valves were built. Too may seals.

Here is a picture of the rebuilt dump valve manifold with new valves. No leaks after 7 weeks of traveling this summer.

David
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Old 11-16-2013, 07:48 AM   #9
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1981 31' Excella II
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It looks good David. How do you remove the valves without having to break a glue joint? I do like that I can pull the Thetford valves out with the Y-pipe and rebuild them off the trailer. I took pictures and I need to post them here. Mine is a little tighter configuration since my tank outlets were facing each other and were not offset at all. I also did not remove the pans which makes it a little harder. The bolts on the pans would have stripped off so I just cut a bigger hole in the pan to access the valves.

Perry
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Old 11-16-2013, 10:04 AM   #10
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Replacing dump valves is a big project.

The Valtera valves are bolted together with 4 bolts. I can service the valves by unbolting them and then the housing, blade and its seals just slips out. I do have to drop the black tank pan to service the valves if a leak develops. I was too lazy to modify the pan for easier maintenance.

I did this work as my old Thetford valves were leaking a bit. I found the cut seal when I took them apart. I decided to replace with new valves.

I have to re-plumb my 66 Trade Wind completely from a new black tank. I will be moving the toilet location and drain manifold, so I will need a custom tank. I'll use Valtera valves just because I prefer them. I also want to add a gray tank. Big project for me. That's why I wanted advice on lifting my trailer so it is secure while I'm under there banging and cussing.

David
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Old 11-16-2013, 11:14 AM   #11
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For me it was not worth days of extra work trying to figure out how to use a different valve. I reused just about everything.

Perry
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Old 11-17-2013, 01:34 PM   #12
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1981 31' Excella II
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Ok well here are my photos from the rebuild. Now that I have done it once, it won't take long the second time. I had to cut the access hole bigger and fab a cover for it. I also changed a few things on how the pipe mounted to the L-bracket that holds the outlet pipe. I spent a lot of time fixing the tank monitors but they work now. This is one more system that has been put back better than new that the next owner won't appreciate (ie not eyewash).

Here is what I started with.



First the access hole was too small.



I made a bigger hole using a cutoff blade on an angle grinder. This worked pretty fast.






Here is a closeup of one of the valves showing the rubber coupler.


Here is with the valves removed. Note the sensor wires. Both tanks had the 3/4 and full sensors cross wired from the factory in 81.




Here is a closeup of the connector. Note the purple and orange wire
reversed on the right of the connector. I fixed this by crossing the wires again at the indicator panel.



Here is a photo of the black water valve seal problem. Somehow the seal got caught on the wrong side of the blade.



Here is one showing the crack in the gray water valve seal.



Here is what the mounting flange looks like that stays on the tank. This allows the valves to be removed by having only about 1/2" of play. The tanks would move a little and the rubber coupler had a little movement as well. To make things easier I took about 1/4" off the valve nipple section that fit into the coupler. This gave me a little more clearance. The O-rings on the valves were a bit of a pain to get in properly. I used a lot of vacuum grease to hole them in there. I rebuilt one valve and replaced the other. One valve was glued to the Y-pipe so I just rebuilt it.



I will post a photo of that it looks like when I finished. I straightened the tank flange a little where some idiot hit it with a floor jack. I did not get all of the dent out, but it looks better than it did.

Here is a thread on the tank monitor problems.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f444...rs-110159.html


Perry
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Old 11-17-2013, 02:13 PM   #13
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1981 31' Excella II
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I did not show any photos of what is in the valves. I like to know what I am getting into. I am sorry for the graphic nature of the inside of these valves, poop happens.

Here is one showing the valve body with the blade and the plunger that operates the valve. I cleaned all this real well and sanded the blade a bit to remove some of the scoring.




Here is the valve cover that has the main seal in it. The seal comes out with a screw driver. The gasket that seals the cover was a little tricky to get all the holes lined up. The 4 big holes are for mounting the the flanges left on the tank and the small holes are used to hold the two halves of the valves together.




All the components were lubed with vacuum grease (silicone). Nothing leaks and it is nice to be able to dump just the gray water.

Ok I am pooped.

Perry
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