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Old 05-24-2018, 01:11 PM   #1
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2002 30' Classic S/O
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Remove/Replace Waste Tank Pan Question

I searched but couldn't find anything pertinent. When I dropped my waste tanks pan the tanks sagged down and styrofoam pieces went everywhere. My question is how do the drains come in to the tanks and how should I go about replacing the styrofoam.


Here's what I did: I used a jack and a 2x4 to raise the tanks back until they contacted whatever their tops hit, i.e. subfloor or insulation panels. Assuming that is where they need to be (which is the point of my question) I measured the distance from the point where the pan flange contacts the frame at each bolt hole. I then measured the pan depth at that point and subtracted the two. I assumed that would give me the height of the foam I need at that point to put the tank back up against the subfloor.


Now that I am putting the pan back on, the thought struck me - what if the pan was not all the way up to the subfloor. If I push it up that far with the insulation will I crack the floor of the shower or some drain pipe that comes into the tank? Same question for the toilet going into the black tank. I looked at the plumbing diagram in my manual but there are no clues there. It seems the shower, lavatory, and galley sink all feed a 1-1/2" drain line that goes to the tank but they don't show any fittings. Is the connection to the tank an O-ring seal, a slip fit, or is it glued? We have overfilled the gray tank in the past and the shower fills up with nasty water. So it seems clear that however the pipe is connected to the gray tank, it is leak proof.


Thanks,


Al
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Old 05-24-2018, 03:46 PM   #2
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I do know the answer to your question. I would probably remove the toilet first and re install it after the tank was back in place. I do know that on a neighbor's trailer the straps that hold the tanks rusted and broke and the tank dropped enough to break the fitting to the toilet. At least that is what the repair shop told him. I have never seen a gray water inlet. I have seen 2 black water inlets. One was a flange mounted to the top of the tank. The other the toilet is up an a little box and there is a 45 degree elbow and a short piece of pipe and a rubber compression fitting to the fitting on the tank. One would not think that the empty tanks weight enough to do damage but you probably need to check.
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Old 05-24-2018, 08:13 PM   #3
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Hi Al: The tanks on my 86 Limited have molded bosses on them where the drain lines are attached. The boss ID is the same as the OD 1 1/2 ABS pipe. Airstream put a little butyl sealant around the pipe and then a hose clamp.

My tanks fit up snug to the subfloor. I think you jacking the tanks up snug without crushing them suggests they are home.

I used thin insulation board instead of styrofoam in the tank pan. I felt it was stronger than the styrofoam. I did not measure as you did, I just used the same thickness as the styrofoam I took out. I think it was 1" thick.

I bet the black tank has a plastic spin weld fitting on top with a 3" female pipe thread. Then the toilet flange is screwed into that and attached to the subfloor. That black tank ain't going anywhere. Maybe you noticed it did not drop as much as the gray tank did.

I installed new dump valves and reinstalled the pan. I then tested the plumbing and had a big leak. You can't put water in the tanks without the pan in place to support them. The drain line from the shower had pulled out of the gray water tank. I was very lucky to find access in the furnace duct under the shower. I was able to position the drain pipe back in the molded boss on the tank and then tighten the hose clamp. Leak be gone.

Your trailer may be built different. It is a bunch newer.

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Old 05-24-2018, 08:52 PM   #4
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Thanks David and Bill,
The drain end of my black tank (near the toilet attachment0 didn't move when I dropped the pan. The far end of the tank dropped maybe an inch or two at the most. The gray tank dropped about the same, but uniformly on both sides. The plumbing diagram (which is for Classic 28 and 30 but doesn't mention slideouts) shows everything feeding into a single line that goes into the tank towards the rear at the top. I'm hoping it had enough slack that nothing was damaged when the tank dropped. Both tanks were empty, so only supporting their own weight.

Leak test is a good point. I'll have to do that. I thought about testing the valves, but never thought about the actual tank for leaks.

Al
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Old 05-25-2018, 10:54 AM   #5
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I anticipate having to replace the valves. I asked JD Sanders Airstream and they said that I need to be sure the tanks are fully drained, and then drop the pan and hopefully (scary) they (the tanks) stay in place until you can get them up with a jack as you did. Or, they said you can cut the pan where the valves are to expose them & then repair the pan. I hope to do as you did. My pan also has issues with missing rubber around the pull rods.
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Old 05-25-2018, 11:38 AM   #6
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When I replaced my drain valves I cut the pan and put a patch on it easy job .
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Old 05-25-2018, 02:25 PM   #7
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I would put in foam about as thick as what was there initally and put it back together. Then get to the gray inlet somehow to check it. I guess you could get to that before you put the pan up also.
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Old 05-25-2018, 03:25 PM   #8
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I did the same... no taking the whole pan down... located the clear area around the valve and then carefully used a air nibbling tool .. used in aircraft... and cut out the squair piece under the valve... leaving the corners rounded .. i.e low stress...

Then after changing out the valves that were bolted in...(rusted) I helped the next owner out... and put aircraft floating nutplates on a doubbler piece of alu. Used some old PRC aircraft tank sealant to seal up the mate'n areas... Squeezed revited that doubbler to the existing belly pan... and made a flush cover then that went into where we cut out. Put in nice cad plated aircraft screws... (spaced at 1.5 inches)...and now the next time the gates go south.. easy fix to just remove the cover plates and have access to do the replacement.

Airstream should have done this at the factory.. as they know eventually the gates are going to have to be replaced in the trailers life.. but too cheap to do it at the factory... go figure...
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