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Old 10-09-2006, 12:20 AM   #1
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Tank repair or replace?

Hello, All; I discovered that the black tank in our '66 Tradewind has a split in the bottom. The split begins at the dump valve and runs towards the front of the tank about a foot. I was able to veiew this through and access hole that a PO had cut in the belly pan and through the pan that supports the tank to repair the split when it was much shorter. Have any of you had success with such a repair? My first thought was to just replace this tank but then discovered the high price on a replacement. Is a repair feasible or a waste of time?
Thanks, Neil
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Old 10-09-2006, 03:41 AM   #2
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Arrow Black tank replacement.

Hi Neil; There are products that will allow you to attempt to repair it, however sooner or later you will not be smelling roses and it will happen in the worst time.
To save yourself unplesant experience, install a new holding tank. It is hard to chemically clean out used tank and the split is to large to succesfully repair it. Be sure that you support the new one well to prevent damage.
Have fun, "Boatdoc"
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Old 10-09-2006, 07:18 AM   #3
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THe fact that it's in the bottom is bad, I agree with Boatdoc, check the salvage yards.

Colaw Cherrokee etc.
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Old 10-09-2006, 08:47 AM   #4
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66 tanks

Well, you won't like the answer here. I have been thru it too. A design error I am sure.....some flex was in the installation and these tanks break at the bottom as you describe and across the top where the toilet rests upon the floor and sends the weight directly to the flange area of the tank. Chances are if you have a nasty leak appearing out the bottom that its coming from a top crack. If the tank cracked from these normal stresses goopy sealers won't be a satisfactory fix. There are some leads to tank makers in the forems...all expensive and most dead ends. I have hit all the salvage places...no luck on these old tanks. Inland has them in stock. A real nice item but WAY to expensive for a tank that still needs finishing up by the user.
I got mine there. Had it in a week and installed it fairly easily. Be sure to brace the new tank well.
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Old 10-09-2006, 12:09 PM   #5
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Plastic tanks

Plastic tanks made 30 And 40 years ago were for most part made with state of the art plastics, "back then". It does and will fail in due time. Finding a used tank from a salvaged trailer is OK, but that results in replacing an aged out plastic tank, with another aged out plastic tank, that will result in the same failures.

That material cannot be compared to materials used today.

We decided many years ago, to have many of the older tanks availble, but made with fiberglass, that if necessary can easily be repaired.

Not so with older plastic tanks. Unfortunately, attempting to repair an older holding tank or water tank winds up very unsuccessful, because it will crack again and again.

There were differences between Airstreams Ohio and California plants back then with most all plastic tanks. They even made changes within a model year.

The outlets were always the same, but not the inlets or vent pipe locations.

It would be impossible to factor into the replacement tank design, all of those changes.

As a result, our fiberglass tanks must have the vent pipe and floor flange fittings installed by the customer. That is the only practical way to assure that the tanks will fit a particular trailers plumbing exact locations of those fittings.

Good fiberglass molds are expensive. It takes many years to amortize those costs.

Replacing old parts on a vintage Airstream, with modern today standards, does cost money.

But as always the choice is the owners, to continue with the bad, or spend a few more dollars, and usually forever solve the problem.

Andy
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Old 10-09-2006, 05:20 PM   #6
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Well, Melody Ranch, you are correct I do not like the answer. However, I expected it. This is one time "They don't make them like they used too," can be answered by,"Thank, God." I don't want to buy another old tank if they are prone to cracking. So, Andy, I guess I will be calling you for a tank. I will be also needing for sure a dump valve flange too as it has the beginings of a crack. It will probably be best to pull out all I can to see what else needs attention before ordering.
Thanks all, Neil.
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Old 10-10-2006, 12:24 AM   #7
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Hi,

I read your original post (as well as the responses...) not having the mechanical expertise that others have [challenges me to change in ink cartridge in my printer...] should be kept in mind for my off hand suggestion.

Some boat yards have flexible tanks that are essentially bladders that can be inserted inside another tank. I am clueless if it would solve your problems, but it may be an alternative to consider. Weight shifting could be a concern... I would check out the West Marine website to see what kind of holding tanks (waste water only, I think) they might have you could consider to use.

Good luck.

Mrs. NorCal Bambi (traveling in S Tardis)
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Old 10-10-2006, 12:58 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by CaddyGrn
Hi,

I read your original post (as well as the responses...) not having the mechanical expertise that others have [challenges me to change in ink cartridge in my printer...] should be kept in mind for my off hand suggestion.

Some boat yards have flexible tanks that are essentially bladders that can be inserted inside another tank. I am clueless if it would solve your problems, but it may be an alternative to consider. Weight shifting could be a concern... I would check out the West Marine website to see what kind of holding tanks (waste water only, I think) they might have you could consider to use.

Good luck.

Mrs. NorCal Bambi (traveling in S Tardis)
Thanks, I will look into your suggestion. In the past (when we had kids at home) we spent our camping days in campgrounds that had toilet facilities. We tried boodocking once with a porta poty but our then teenage daughter refused to use it and held herself for almost 4 days! (She is about to have our 2nd grandson so she must feel about the same as then). Now it's just my wife and I and it's nice not to have to bumble in the dark of night to the out house. We took our newly purchased '66 Tradewind out for the first time a couple of weeks ago. Everything was great until time to leave when the tank let go. I am not discouraged as I realize that is an old trailer. I like to tinker with our vintage TV so I am capable of fixing most anything.
Neil
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Old 10-10-2006, 04:29 AM   #9
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Hi CaddyGrn; While your recommendation may work with a blue tank it would not work in others. The problem in a gray or black tank would be 3.5" drain. shifts in fluids may stress the connections. "Boatdoc"
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Old 10-10-2006, 07:14 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by anholman
. . . I like to tinker with our vintage TV so I am capable of fixing most anything.
Neil
Have you ever worked with fiberglass? If you're handy, you can build a new tank.

You could even use the old tank for a mold. Cut the top off, then lay fiberglass and roving inside to match the shape of the tank. When you have a few layers in, remove the form and continue building thickness on the outside. You will need about 3 gallons of resin ($60) and several yards of mat and cloth ($60).
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Old 10-10-2006, 02:51 PM   #11
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[quote=markdoane]Have you ever worked with fiberglass? If you're handy, you can build a new tank.

Yes I have. It has been a while and I have considered building one. It probably outlast a couple of more POs too. Thanks for the encouragement. Fortunately I have the time now......but this retirement thing has me wondering how I ever had the time for a job.
Thank you, Neil.
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Old 10-10-2006, 04:43 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by anholman
......but this retirement thing has me wondering how I ever had the time for a job.
Thank you, Neil.
I repaired my tank with fiberglass. Actually, the original WAS fiberglass, so I wasn't risking to much. I cut the top off, added a inspection port/handhole, added a vent connection (original vented thru the back of the toilet), and added a flushing sprayball.

I also sloped the bottom toward the outlet, and corrected a severe mis-alignment of the top 3" fitting that caused the closet flange to sit at about a 10° angle out of plumb. No wonder the toilet leaked.

When I got done, I could hardly lift the tank. I used about a gallon of resin just in the repair, and yards of cloth and mat.

Here's a picture of the monster.
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Old 10-10-2006, 05:25 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by markdoane
I repaired my tank with fiberglass. Actually, the original WAS fiberglass, so I wasn't risking to much. I cut the top off, added a inspection port/handhole, added a vent connection (original vented thru the back of the toilet), and added a flushing sprayball.

I also sloped the bottom toward the outlet, and corrected a severe mis-alignment of the top 3" fitting that caused the closet flange to sit at about a 10 angle out of plumb. No wonder the toilet leaked.

When I got done, I could hardly lift the tank. I used about a gallon of resin just in the repair, and yards of cloth and mat.

Here's a picture of the monster.

Job well done

Outstanding example of why the floor flange and vent pipe fittings should only be installed in the field, at least for the tanks in the vintage trailers.

All to many times, plumbling connections were in a bind, causing even more problems.

Many times, moving those fittings a 1/2 inch this way or that way, corrected poor construction.

When these same binds are placed on plastic tanks, they are guaranteed to crack.

Fiberglass tanks cost more to make, but they are many times, far superior to plastic tanks.

Additionally, should a fiberglass tank become damaged, they can easily be repaired.

Go Mark.

Andy
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Old 10-11-2006, 12:38 AM   #14
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Nice job!

[quote=anholman]
Quote:
Originally Posted by markdoane
Have you ever worked with fiberglass? If you're handy, you can build a new tank. Fortunately I have the time now......but this retirement thing has me wondering how I ever had the time for a job.Thank you, Neil.
Your rebuilt tank looks great! It is probably the very best solution! Thanks for posting a picture. Now... wondering how you ever had the time for a job! We are retired as well and that comment is made daily! I am amazed at the great folks on this forum that go to work each day, AND restore Airstreams and/or travel in one! We are so busy there is no time for a paying job!!!!

Mrs. NorCal Bambi (traveling in S Tardis)
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