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Old 10-28-2014, 09:22 PM   #1
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See-Level Installation - how to access tanks?

I want to install a See-Level system on my 2013 25' Flying Cloud RB Twin to replace the problematic MicroPulse system.

Thought I could just drop the pans to access the tanks to install the sensors to the tank sides. But looking at other threads, it appears that the tanks are not supported independently of the pans and that they would fall down when the pan is removed.

I have seen suggestions about cutting the pan to access the tank and then repairing cut section but I'm not sure how much clearance there is between the pan and the tank. Nor what tool would be appropriate to perform this type of surgery.

Perhaps a hybrid approach to create holes in the bottom of the pan so that I could put some supports against the bottom of the tank while I drop the pan?

Anyone know how the factory retrofits See-Level monitors?

Suggestions are greatly appreciated but please stick to the subject, as stated in the opening sentence. I'm not interested with ideas on how to fix the MicroPulse system or other work-arounds, I've already tried them with little success.


Greg
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Old 10-28-2014, 09:27 PM   #2
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I've thought about doing the same on my 2013. I cant imagine how that flimsy stainless steel pan could hold the tanks up. A full 36 gallon tank weighs close to 280 lbs. The tanks have to be supported some other way. Maybe try removing rivets and screws from a corner then peel back enough to peek inside.
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Old 10-29-2014, 09:45 AM   #3
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I took the pan down on my 86 to replace the dump valves. The tanks are indeed supported by the pan. But they only way maybe 25 pounds each (black and gray) empty. The black tank may be supported by the toilet flange. But both tanks are supported by the drain and vent pipe connections. If the hose clamps are tight, the tanks will stay in position. My trailer has either drain or vent pipe connections on both sides of the tank, so there is support on both ends of the tank.

I'll bet someone else has done what you want to do. I do have a SeeLevel installed on my old 66 Trade Wind and find it very well designed, so far, so good. And their customer support was excellent as I worked through one bug caused by my trailer (DC voltage ripple caused by an old style converter).

With the pan off, now you can cut a decent access hatch in your pan so you can service the valves and monitors in the future.

Here is a photo of my 86 tanks hanging by their pipe connections.

David
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Old 10-29-2014, 10:36 AM   #4
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Factory installed the SeeLevel on my 2014 FC when I had warranty work done. Since they already had to drop the black tank, spray flush system was totally clogged with some type of plastic shavings, I had them do the install. Basically they took off the bottom panel. Tanks were dropped but likely once you had it open you would be able to attach the sensors without dropping the tank. Black and grey are on the road side. They ran new sensor wires, did not use the existing wiring, across to the curb side. Put the Fresh tank sensor on the curb side (sorry I don't know how they did that as I didn't see the work at that point). Ran the wires together under the water pump. Removed the existing system, ran a wire down the wall with a fish and tied it all together. They needed to fashion a plate for the new panel as it is smaller than the original. Works like a champ.

Accuracy? After the work I went out to the Terraport to fill the FW tank. System said I was at 8% on a 39 gal tank. I have a water meter I use when I fill so that I can track usage (especially with the old system). Tank took 34.9 gals. So it appears to be dead bang on accurate.
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Old 10-29-2014, 04:22 PM   #5
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Greghoro. If you do decide to undertake thus project, please take photos as you go and post a documentary. It's a worthwhile project but a little scary as to the unknowns. Thanks.
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Old 10-29-2014, 06:04 PM   #6
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I installed the system on our Bambi but that will not help you much. The fresh water tank is under the dinet thus really easy to get at and for the combo grey/black tank I simply used a hole in the floor beneath a false floor in the closet to slide the sensor along the side of the tank, easy-peasy.
The new system has been perfect though. So glad I got rid of the stupid Micro pulse junk! I did a post on the swap sometime last year. Can't remember exactly how much detail I gave...
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Old 10-29-2014, 06:50 PM   #7
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I hate hate our micropulse

I think I will ask JC for this upgrade - how much did they charge?


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Old 10-30-2014, 06:55 AM   #8
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I installed the See-Level system several years ago on our 89 model Excella. It was a worthwhile upgrade, especially since the old guages did not work.
I am not familiar with the wiring of the Micropulse system but I was able to use the existing wiring on our 89 Excella.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f444...led-78854.html
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Old 10-30-2014, 07:42 AM   #9
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This question has actually been more of a hand wringer for me than most. I always understood that the galvanized pans on the Classics (excelles, etc.) were the only support for the tanks....and many forum members have stated and showed that. Then I began to hear murmors than newer Classics had straps AND pans. I believe it was Switz who first confirmed it....bu his is a 2014. So I emailed Randy at AS. His response was that my generation of Classics (at least) "should" have straps and pans. Not exactly faith instilling, but at least gives me reason to try to gently drop pan with a floor jack and see what I can see before cutting holes on my pans.
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Old 10-30-2014, 09:26 AM   #10
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I spoke with Mike Fasick (Service Manager) and Kevin (lead tech) who confirmed that the tanks are not independently supported from the pans on my model.

They indicated that the waste tanks will stay in place when the pan is removed, being attached to the rigid waste plumbing. However, the fresh tank will drop, as all of its plumbing is flexible hose.

When they do a straight retrofit at the factory to install the See Level, they do not drop the pans but cut access holes in the pans for the sensors. There is Styrofoam insulation all around the perimeter of the pan which provides a gap of safety.

For cutting the plastic pan for the fresh water, they suggested using a type of straight Spiral Router Bit with a stop to manage the depth. It was suggested that I make the cut near the white drain fitting. Or access the tank internally, near the water pump. The internal access suggestion is less risky, but for me I would have to remove the wardrobe floor, water pump and water pump support board to get any measure of working space.

Nothing was suggested for cutting the metal waste pan but in looking at mine, I believe that I can remove all of the rivets on the street side and simply remove the street side panel to access the waste tanks.

Once I do this, I will take copious notes and pictures to document my experience. Given that it is getting cold here in Chicago, I may be too late to get it done this year.


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Old 10-30-2014, 10:17 AM   #11
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I think I've read around here its about a $2500 job if performed at JC. I've also read the SeeLevel system installed in the new models reads full too soon, something like 60%. Not so critical for fresh water but for waste I'd prefer 80% to indicate full. How do you calibrate the SeeLevel system?

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Old 10-30-2014, 02:10 PM   #12
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The sensors for the See Level system can be cut at particular increments before they are adhered to the side of the tank. These increments do not always line up perfectly with the size of the tank.
For instance on my installation I skewed the sensor towards the top of the waste tanks but the fresh water tank I skewed the sensor towards the bottom. I figured these were the most critical measurements.
Here is a link to the manual for the 709 system.
http://www.rvgauge.com/downloads/709_709PH_Manual.pdf
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Old 10-30-2014, 07:04 PM   #13
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Okay, good information Greg, thanks. There were no tank support straps or mounts when I dropped my tank pan. I could wiggle the gray tank some, the black tank was more solid. The tanks will weigh over 200 lbs each when full of 8 pound per gallon water. I wouldn't think the hose clamps on the drain connections could possible support that weight. The newer trailers are likely better.

I did have the shower drain connection to the gray tank come loose during my dump valve replacement project. I was lucky to get it reattached through the furnace vent hole in the bath at the shower pan. Building a ship in a bottle.

My trailer had white styrofoam insulation in the tank pan, and this was all chewed up by bouncing down the highway for 25 years. I replaced it with new foam board insulation of the same thickness.

David
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Old 10-30-2014, 07:31 PM   #14
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David's findings are why I'd like to drop the pans for all my tanks. I really like to properly re-engineer the furnace ducting, compartment "sealing" for airflow and thoroughly insulate. From what I saw at the plant, insulation and proper tank heating is, at best, an afterthought.
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