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Old 02-13-2013, 10:52 PM   #1
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1976 Argosy 28
Clarksville , Tennessee
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Proper support for holding tanks

I've searched multiple different ways and did not find the answer I am looking for. Here's my issue and question:

Like others here, I am swapping the old Thetford valves and related drain lines to Valterra. Parts on order, I wonder about supporting the black tank better. I don't care for it just resting on the removable pan. When I removed all of the bolts holding the access pan, both the pan and the black holding tank dropped a couple of inches to the lower edge of the frame.

Has anyone had issues with tank/fitting damage? How about a way to hold the black tank from such movement?

My brother (the welder, by trade) suggested welding in some angle for support (permanent fix), or drill the frame, install eye bolts & use 2 or 3 ratchet type straps (removable fix).

What are your suggestions?

Thanks, Richard.
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Old 02-15-2013, 07:11 AM   #2
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1974 25' Tradewind
Saint Joseph , Louisiana
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I recently replace my old/original black and gray water tanks with new ABS tanks that have a pretty wide (1 to 1.5 inch flange) around the top. I supported the tanks by attaching treated 1x2 pine strips under the flanges. The wood strips run the entire length of the tanks. Each wood strip is attached to the plywood subfloor of the trailer by carriage bolts dropped down from the bathroom through the subfloor and through the wooden strips. Thus, the tank flange is fully supported from end to end by the wood strips that are attached firmly to the subfloor by carriage bolts placed about 8 inches apart. I used large flat washers next to the wood strips and lock nuts to tighen the strips to the tank flanges. Hope this helps.
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Old 02-15-2013, 08:58 AM   #3
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1976 Argosy 28
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Bhutch74ly, I still have the original tanks installed, and they are flange-less. They don't leak (yet), and I would like to use them until I have to replace them. I'll do just as you suggested when that time comes, but these need a good support. I'll post a photo shortly. Thanks, Richard.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bhutch74ly View Post
I recently replace my old/original black and gray water tanks with new ABS...
Hope this helps.
Edited for spelling.
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Old 02-15-2013, 12:46 PM   #4
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1974 25' Tradewind
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArgosyRich View Post
Bhutch74ly, I still have the original tanks installed, and they are flange-less. They don't leak (yet), and I would like to use them until I have to replace them. I'll do just as you suggested when that time comes, but these need a good support. I'll post a photo shortly. Thanks, Richard.

Edited for spelling.
I understand. In my case the old black tank had a crack near the inlet and I decided to replace both tanks with newer, larger ones that would utilize most of the space under the rear of the trailer. This gave me a clean slate to replace tanks, drains, vents, valves, etc. I also eliminated the old, heavy galvanized pan that supported the original tanks. I suspect I reduced the dry weight of the trailer considerably in doing so. In other words, the entire drain system was replaced. I really like the way everything went together and I believe the new system is better than the original setup.

Good luck, Bob
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Old 02-15-2013, 01:48 PM   #5
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Bob,

By utilizing more of the space in the frame for your new tanks, how much do you estimate your holding capacity increased? I ask because I prefer longer stays boondocking (the Missus disagrees, I'm sure!).

Thanks Bob,

Richard.
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Old 02-15-2013, 10:24 PM   #6
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1974 25' Tradewind
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Richard, the two new tanks I installed are identical. Each holds about 10 gallons so the total capacity is roughly 20 gallons. I'm not sure what the capacity of the old tanks was although the gray tank was very shallow so I expect I increased the capacity somewhat. I generally use a 22 gallon portable (blue) wheeled tank when I'm camping so the limited onboard storage doesn't bother me too much.

Bob
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Old 02-15-2013, 11:25 PM   #7
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1969 27' Overlander
SW , Missouri
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I replaced my rusty galvanized pan with a new one fabricated from 0.100" AL. I had a local shop brake the long sides of the pan up and riveted end plates into it. It is much stiffer than the original pan and provides excellent support. It also looks much better.
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Old 02-16-2013, 12:48 PM   #8
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Convenient, Bob. I plan on crawling back under there later on today. I have to go to a parts store by Camping World in Nashville to pick up my replacement gate valves first. I'll jack the tank up to the subfloor and see if I have room to brace mine from the bottom, be able to open and close the galvanized pan, and make sure the drain still lines up.

Kyle, my pan is a bit corroded, but not in need of replacement as of yet. I read elsewhere on the forums about cutting a better access hole in it for the plumbing. I had to cut the old gate valve rods, in order to be able to remove the pan. I want to be able to drop that pan without the black tank moving.

Is the pan being the support just a fact of life, or have others supported their tanks (the ones without a flange) in a different fashion?
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Old 02-16-2013, 01:11 PM   #9
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1973 31' Sovereign
Columbus , Ohio
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I used 24gal black and 27 gal gray ABS tanks. I built removable angle sub-frames that were bolted in. I would have liked to have bigger tanks, but would have required mods to my frame that I didn't want to make. I used the angle to support the tank lips, and metal strapping underneath the tank, with 3/16" rubber spacers, to protect the tanks from the straps.

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Old 02-16-2013, 04:44 PM   #10
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1956 22' Flying Cloud
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Bauxter, will you please give some additional explanation of what the second/lower photo shows us about the mechanics of your tank support? Thanks Hank
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Old 02-16-2013, 08:37 PM   #11
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I disconnected the toilet flange and vent from the black tank and removed the tank from below. I cleaned it out and leak tested. Passed. I looked inside the pan and there is a sloped insert the tank rests on. I'll post a few photos tomorrow.
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Old 02-17-2013, 06:59 AM   #12
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Richard, I tried to salvage the poly tank, as well, but the multiple hairline cracks, and the difficulty in changing tanks, led me to replace the black, and add a gray, as my '73 did not come from the factory with a gray. The poly tanks that I considered were simply poly boxes that needed support totally from beneath, the ABS tanks had lips, that allowed for easier installation, in my opinion. I bought ABS.

The pictures I included in my previous post are a little difficult to understand. My frame was totally rebuilt, so the cross-members are 1 1/2 x 1 1/2 angle, and between the cross-members are two rectangular tank frames that are bolted to the cross-members, for tank service. On the rear cross-member, I needed to create a box to allow the 3" black tank drain to go through, which provided structural integrity to the cross-member.
I will need to add structure under the tanks for the belly pan, as the tanks are lower than the frame.
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Old 02-18-2013, 08:30 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bauxter View Post
Richard, I tried to salvage the poly tank, as well, but the multiple hairline cracks, and the difficulty in changing tanks, led me to replace the black, and add a gray, as my '73 did not come from the factory with a gray. The poly tanks that I considered were simply poly boxes that needed support totally from beneath, the ABS tanks had lips, that allowed for easier installation, in my opinion. I bought ABS.

The pictures I included in my previous post are a little difficult to understand. My frame was totally rebuilt, so the cross-members are 1 1/2 x 1 1/2 angle, and between the cross-members are two rectangular tank frames that are bolted to the cross-members, for tank service. On the rear cross-member, I needed to create a box to allow the 3" black tank drain to go through, which provided structural integrity to the cross-member.
I will need to add structure under the tanks for the belly pan, as the tanks are lower than the frame.
This system does appear to have the advantages of inceasing holding tank capacity significantly. However, the modifications to the framing and belly pan appear to be pretty extensive and I expect added considerable weight to the rear of the trailer. I am sort of obsessed with reducing the dry weight of my trailer while maintaining structural integrity. Therefore, for my 74 I opted to use smaller tanks for both the gray and black water so I would not have to add extra framing members or have the tanks extend below the original belly pan framing. In other words, my tanks are tucked within the original frame members and I was able to use the original "T" cross member to maintain the integrity of the rear framing while providing additional support beneath the new tanks. In addition, the belly pan is pop riveted to the main frame and cross members as it was originally. Both tank outlets terminate just ahead of the bumper storage compartment and the dump valves and main drain pipe are neatly tucked into the bumper storage compartment. Nothing extends lower than the original belly pan or bumper. I feel another plus for this system is that I was able to eliminate the old galvanized tank pan thus reducing the weight of the rear of the trailer by several pounds. Since we don't often boondock for more than a few days, my 20 gallons (10 gal. gray + 10 gal. black) of total storage is usually sufficient. When I need more capacity I use my portable (wheeled) blue tank for gray water storage and transport to a dump station.
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Old 02-18-2013, 09:09 AM   #14
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To go back to you original question. It sounds like your concern is how the tank flops down when you pull down the holding box. A simple fix for this would use galv plumbing strap, rapped in rubber roofing tape. Wrap the strapping under the tank, Screw the straps to the bottom oc the floor. Do this in a fashion that the tank box still can be used. This will hold the dry tank up in place while working on it, with the box still doing most of the heavy work. You then can build holding brackets out of galv angle iron to hold the box in place. Go with ss bolts vs welding in place.

Now with being said, take a good look at your tank. Most are at their end life, and start cracking, leaking, etc.. Do you want to redo the job in a few years from now?
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