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Old 08-02-2012, 07:04 PM   #1
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1981 31' Excella II
New Market , Alabama
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Excella II center bath dump valves

Both my dump valves leak and I have a 3rd valve to hold things back. I have overhaul kits left over from the PO. There is an access plate about 12" back from the dump valve side of the tanks. The tanks are right next to each other and the valves and Y-pipe are between the two tanks and the Y-pipe goes through a frame cross member between the two tanks. I could not see a way to remove the valves short of dropping one or both pans and tanks so the valves could be separted from the tanks or at least enough room to take the valve apart to replace the gaskets. I might be able to get to two of the 4 bolts holding the valve bodies together. There is also a circular access plate on the stem side of the valve which I don't think is going to help me.

Has anyone done a valve job on a center bath before? The frame and cross members look good with no floor or frame rot issues. Unless there are some tricks I don't know about, I am going to button her back up and just use the 3rd valve.

Dropping the tanks seems like an ordeal and I know that most if not all of the bolts are going to break instead of coming out, been there done that with the bal jacks. I don't see any leak problems around the tank outlets or valve bodies. It would have been a whole lot easier if they had the outlets to the tanks come out the street side and then have a manifold to run them to a common dump outlet. This would have made them maintainable and as far as I am concerned, right now they are not.

I guess I could cut out the whole street side corner of the pans but I would probably find the valves won't come out without removing the tanks.

Perry
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Old 08-02-2012, 08:52 PM   #2
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Bonita , California
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Oh just pay to have it done. Life is to short to fight this job. I have an 1988 32' and my valves are right behind the wheels. Also with a y pipe that connects the two tanks. Do to pour flush habits I have had the valves replaced twice. I have about a 2 foot piece cut out of the pan with more screws than I can count to hold a removable cover plate back on. An RV shop should have a pit or a lift to give easy excess to do this job right. Less than $200 and you now have 2 new valves. Now when dumping the black tank we use 2 five gallon buckets and flush 15 to 20 gallons of water down the commode to flush out any debri before closing the tank valve. So far so good. Really, something's are worth paying for.
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Old 08-02-2012, 09:17 PM   #3
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My experience is that unless you are very lucky they will screw things up worse than they were. So did they have to remove the tanks? I can live with the third valve for a long time and it is real easy to replace.

Perry
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Old 08-02-2012, 10:59 PM   #4
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No no they didn't remove the tanks. It wasn't even a airstream shop, just a standard RV shop. The pluming should be the easy part, the access is what you need a lift for. so far alls good.
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Old 08-03-2012, 05:11 AM   #5
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I already have it jacked up.

Perry
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Old 08-03-2012, 05:44 AM   #6
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Perry, I was just at Jackson Center for some work, they were replacing the valves on a '99 in the bay beside mine. Don't know exactly what they did but they did not drop the tanks and used Thetford valves as replacements. The tech said they were the best valves. I could see the old stuff lying around, been cut out with a Sawzall or something. I didn't get down to look under, probably should have.

I rebuilt the black tank valve on my '93 center bath with everything in place. Made an access hole, separated the valve, put the new pars in. I actually bought a new valve so I could use more new parts than comes with the rebuild kit. The original valves are glued in place. Like most work on an Airstream, takes about 3 times longer, costs 3 times more, and is 3 times more PITA. It all works fine now. (Knock on wood).

John
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Old 08-03-2012, 05:46 AM   #7
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Oh yeah, they worked on that '99 about half a day, at $109 per hour.
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Old 08-03-2012, 05:52 AM   #8
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Well it is something that I will tackle eventually but it is not something I just want to tear into. I can live with it for a while. I have other fish to fry right now. I don't need another Airstream project that mushrooms. I want to know as much as I can before doing this.

Perry
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Old 08-05-2012, 11:34 AM   #9
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Ok after having thought about this long and hard, I am going to redesign the dump valve system. I will probably make CAD drawing of the whole thing so I will know it will fit before I do it. The concept is to put elbows on each tank and move the valves outside so they can be maintained. The manifold will be outside as well. This willl make things maintainable.

Perry
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Old 08-05-2012, 01:03 PM   #10
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This one I can help with. Had Airstream JC do the valves in my 25'. $500. They cut an access hole in the bottom cover large enough to access the valves. About 20" square. They put the kits into the valves. Later I bought a 32'. One valve leakiing. Camping world in TN estimated $500 to do it but several months later when I was ready I called camper world in Florida and they wanted $1000 to do it and a week with the trailer. I cut about a 2' square access hole. No real probem from there. The valves were glued to the tank. I was able to take the valve apart and put in the new parts fromj the kit. No real problem at all. Thinking back I am not sure what I did about the ABS pipe and the Y. I think I cut a pipe to get it out and then replaced it with a coupling, but my memory is foggy. It took a while to cut the access hole and to put a cover plate back. But it only took an hour to take the valve apart and replace it and the ABS pipe. We were living in the trailer at the time so was a little concerned when I started about how it would go. I did have Hydro flush come wash the tanks out first. The metal for the tank cover is really heavy steel. I used a nibbler to make the cut. My friend told me he used a cutting wheel in a grinder when he did his. In any event you only have about a 1" if you are under the tank. I use stop blocks on the drill (actually anywhere in a Airstream I drill a hole) to be sure of not accidentially puncturing the tank.

I do not really like the idea of moving the valves. Where they are now they are well protected and well mounted. And after the access cover is cut, fairly straight foward to get to again. If one of the valve bodies is damaged or loose from the tank that might be a reason to do it. If you do move them be sure they are supported so as not to leverage the fitting on the tank.

I did not like the 3rd valve much either. I could find no direction to mount it so that I could open and close the handle. Traveling it looked like an accident waiting to happen. Heavy and sticking out in a bad place. I bout one, used it once, and put it up.
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Old 08-05-2012, 07:44 PM   #11
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1981 31' Excella II
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Bill was yours center bath? I can't see a way to get the valves out unless I cut something. The reason I want to reroute the valves is because I don't want to have to drop a tank everytime I have to change a valves. My valves are held to the tank with hose clamps and one valve is glued to the Y-pipe. The other valve has a rubber coupler on it. I still don't see a way to move the valve enough to remove one.

Perry
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Old 08-06-2012, 02:41 PM   #12
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Yeah, center bath. I forgot the rubber coupler. Mine had that . There is enough room to do it. It is not in a nice place to work, but I came in from behind the wheels with the wheels up on some 2x8's. 3 high I think. It was 2 years ago and the details slip my mind. But it was doable and fairly straightfoward after I got a big hole cut. I was trying to get by without a lot of effort. Moving the valves might be great, but I did not see aywhere to put them that makes more sense to me. I wouls not wanta drop the tank unless forced to.
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Old 08-06-2012, 02:54 PM   #13
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1981 31' Excella II
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I don't want to drop the tanks. I am probably going to cut the end of the box off since it needs rebuilding anyway. The end cap does not do much structurally. If I can fix the valves without re-designing things I will.

I need to repair a bad patch on my fresh water tank pan. Some idiot butchered it. I found a 4x10 sheet of 18 gage gavanized steel for about $60. I will have plenty left over to work on the holding tank area.

Perry
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