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Old 08-31-2008, 07:11 PM   #1
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1981 25' Excella II
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Going to a larger holding tank?

I had a slight leak coming through a seam in my belly pan on my 81 25' excella 2, so I dropped the pan to investigate. It turns out that my old Thetford valve #01447 was leaking at the seam where it splits apart. I thought I'd go ahead and replace both my black and gray valves since I've gone to all the work of dropping the pan, but both valves are glued into the pipes and would need to be cut out. My 16 gal. gray water tank had a broken bracket on one corner of the angle iron holding it in place. This doesn't look like a big deal to just replace the angle iron with a slightly heavier guage. I bought the iron to do this and have the tank taken out which test fine with no leaks. Since it's only 16 gal. and I like to boondock a lot I'm thinking of upgrading to a larger gray tank. It looks like I have some room to work with. My old tank measures 4' 2" X 2'2" and the thickness varies from 2.75 " to 4" while I have a full 8" of clearance for the thickness of the tank. The frame is made from the larger I-beam steel and is doesn't show any signs of rust of weakness so I'd think the added weight wouldn't be a problem.

Has anyone ever upgraded the size of their gray tank and do you have any suggestions as to where to find this?
I thought I'd read on the forums about Thetford having a rebuild kit for their valves. If they did this would save a lot of work in cutting out the old valves since they're glued in. Has anyone ever done this?

Thanks: Charlie
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Old 08-31-2008, 08:41 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Pacerized View Post
I had a slight leak coming through a seam in my belly pan on my 81 25' excella 2, so I dropped the pan to investigate. It turns out that my old Thetford valve #01447 was leaking at the seam where it splits apart. I thought I'd go ahead and replace both my black and gray valves since I've gone to all the work of dropping the pan, but both valves are glued into the pipes and would need to be cut out. My 16 gal. gray water tank had a broken bracket on one corner of the angle iron holding it in place. This doesn't look like a big deal to just replace the angle iron with a slightly heavier guage. I bought the iron to do this and have the tank taken out which test fine with no leaks. Since it's only 16 gal. and I like to boondock a lot I'm thinking of upgrading to a larger gray tank. It looks like I have some room to work with. My old tank measures 4' 2" X 2'2" and the thickness varies from 2.75 " to 4" while I have a full 8" of clearance for the thickness of the tank. The frame is made from the larger I-beam steel and is doesn't show any signs of rust of weakness so I'd think the added weight wouldn't be a problem.

Has anyone ever upgraded the size of their gray tank and do you have any suggestions as to where to find this?
I thought I'd read on the forums about Thetford having a rebuild kit for their valves. If they did this would save a lot of work in cutting out the old valves since they're glued in. Has anyone ever done this?

Thanks: Charlie
Enlarging the capacity of the gray tank is risky. First of all you will alter the weight and balance. But if you say, I always empty it before the trailer gets back on the highway, then the capacity of the tank, once again, doesn't matter.

Rebuilding waste valves that are 27 years old, is not a good idea. First of all, the original plastic has shrunk to some degree. OK, so you put a rebuild kit in the valves. They usually won't last very long, and then you can start all over again.

Replacing the valves that are glued in, takes a little extra work, but it can easily be done. Then you can forget about it for another 27 years.

Post some good photo's, or e-mail them to me, and I will tell you how to change the valves.

Andy
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Old 08-31-2008, 10:57 PM   #3
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Is the frame picture from underneith looking up. I was going to takle that job on mine. (freshwater)
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Old 09-01-2008, 08:34 AM   #4
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Is the frame picture from underneith looking up. I was going to takle that job on mine. (freshwater)

Yes it's a shot of the frame where the tank is placed. I was happy at the condition of the flooring and frame once I took the pan off. My airstream came from New Mexico so I guess the climate had a lot to do with that.

Is your freshwater tank under you belly pan? Mine sits under the couch.


Andy:
I've never traveled very far with a full holding tank, only to the nearest dump station which can be a few miles when you're boon docking. My airstream is one of the few 7' wide models made in 81 so it only weighs 3200 lbs. and seems to have the same frame and axles as the 8' wide units of that time. If I could find a tank that was similar in dimension but was deeper I think I'd like to try it. I believe it could handle the additional 80 lbs. of liquid. Do you think a tank like this exist?
I'll take some pics of the valves and post them. I have the rear end of the belly pan fully down so I can get to them easily. It looks like I'd have to saw them out and then put an extension on the pipe to make up for the length I'd lose in sawing it off. Unless someone knows of a trick to get plastic pipes apart once they're glued together. The valve itself looks to just slip over the pipe like a common plumbing fixture.

Charlie
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Old 09-01-2008, 09:07 AM   #5
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Pics of the valves.

The first is the valve that I've taken apart.
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Old 09-01-2008, 09:54 AM   #6
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Yes it does pace. right by the axles. Mine came fron lower part of Texas originally, has been up here for 12 years or so
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Old 09-13-2008, 08:20 PM   #7
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I've decided to stay with my original gray holding tank since I couldn't find a tank in the exact dimensions that I wanted. Now I'm at a point that I need to ask a stupid question. My tank had a very small hole (about the size of a pinhead) in the top corner that looked as if it may have been made this way. While I was at Windish RV buying a couple of things for the project I asked if this was normal and was told that it wasn't so I used pvc weld to seal the hole. I then put the tank back in place but it doesn't drain properly now. I checked my valve and it's opening fine. I wonder if in sealing the hole that I may have caused this problem and perhaps the tank needs the top hole as a vent to drain.
Does anyone know if the tank should be perfectly sealed, or if it require a vent on the top?

Thanks: Charlie
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Old 09-13-2008, 09:09 PM   #8
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Doesn't your tank have a vent that goes up through the top of the trailer? It should have a 1 1/2" ABS vent.
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Old 09-13-2008, 09:17 PM   #9
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Doesn't your tank have a vent that goes up through the top of the trailer? It should have a 1 1/2" ABS vent.
Yes I do have this vent. What I'm wondering about is the holding tank itself. Should they be fully sealed on the top with only the drain holes on the bottom, or should they have a slight vent on the top to aid in draining?
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Old 09-13-2008, 09:39 PM   #10
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I would check and see if that vent is clogged in any way. If it is clogged the tank will take forever to drain. It shouldn't have any other holes on top then the drain inlets from your sinks etc, and the vent.
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Old 09-13-2008, 09:52 PM   #11
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You can get custom made tanks from RV dealers... I would make it larger while you can, You may regret it latter...
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Old 09-14-2008, 08:47 AM   #12
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I would check and see if that vent is clogged in any way. If it is clogged the tank will take forever to drain. It shouldn't have any other holes on top then the drain inlets from your sinks etc, and the vent.

Thanks I'll check that out. I have it apart today but hope to figure this out and get it fully back together. It sounds like I did the right thing in filling in the pin hole on the top side of the tank.

As far as going to a larger pan, but the time I added the thickness of metal holding pan with the Styrofoam in it that goes under the tank I could only go about 2.5" deeper. That would add around 10 gal. of capacity. Since it's so little I decided to just bring my 10 gal. wheeled tote along on long trips.
Charlie
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Old 09-14-2008, 08:53 PM   #13
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I just finished everything. I took the valves back off to double check that they were working o.k. and they were. Then I leveled the airstream and tested the valves again after filling the tank and everything was fine. I can see why RV shops charge so much for this, I'll bet I put over 15 hours into it. Hopefully I won't have to touch this again for many years.
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