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Old 12-28-2002, 07:59 PM   #1
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Need HELP! Need help quick - dropping the belly pan

Greetings everyone!

Wow it's been a while since we've posted here - mostly due to 4 months of working on our 1969 Overlander, trying to get it back home to Portland!

We are still here in the Mid-West and in need of some information - quickly it seems. We have 2 days of a break in the weather to perform a belly pan drop!

We discovered a severe leak in the BLACK TANK on the curb side, side, which wasn't discovered until we had used the tank enough to get it nearly full. It seems the leak is high in the tank close to where the vent comes into it.

What we need info on is how to drop the belly pan without tearing it apart. Can anyone give detailed instructions on this or post a link?

We are living in the trailer at this point and the park is allowing us to do this work here, but as mentioned it's outside and the weatherman says we've got 2 days of good weather - so timing is they say!

Thank you all in advance. Soon we plan to post pics and the "story" of our trip to Indiana...but it feels like Groundhog day right now........

Thank again
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Old 12-28-2002, 08:39 PM   #2
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A Suggestion

Since you only have a black water tank where does the grey water go at this time?

Can you get a portable tank to hold the blackwater until you can take it to a dump station.

I don't know if I would want to take out a black water tank in ony two days. Just replacing a dump valve on my blackwater tank took ttwo days and several trips to the RV parts store. (Fittings).
I ended up re-piping the black and grey valves. It was Murphy's Law.

Good Luck with your project!!!

Ciao, Brian

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Old 12-30-2002, 02:49 AM   #3
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Thank you for your post. My husband and I rethought this job, deciding to get to a warmer climate before doing this. However, the question still remains. Once we are in a situation where there is less time pressure, what is the best way to do this?

I have had a very difficult time finding any resources on the net about how to do this.

Does anyone have any answers?
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Old 12-30-2002, 09:02 AM   #4
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1994 36' Classic 36
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short "cut"

removing the underbelley is a huge "under"taking, no Pun.....

The underbelley is typically a single piece of metal that has been pieced together with spotwelds and crimps.

May I suggest that you "cut" the section you desire to drop and plan to piece it back together. You will probably need some new sheet aluminum or tin whichever your underbelley is made of.

Rivets or sheetmetal screws are in order to replace the metal.

Did I mention a good mechanics creeper will be beneficial?

Good luck!

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Old 12-30-2002, 09:45 AM   #5
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Hello Escapeez!
sounds like the old 'Love Shack' is near-to-be a let's just say a shack of a different 'color'. Gotta get on top of this or yall'll be Swimmin' in More than the Sahara.

Do yall have a service and repair manual for the trailer?
There will prob'ly be a description there of how to R&R the tank. Albeit prob'ly much too brief and abridged. If not perhaps one of us that has it can post that page for you. You need to give more info on the size and floor plan of your trailer. (I don't have that year Manual but hopefully someone has.)

I agree that yall are wise to wait for more than a 2-day opportunity.
There should be lots of cleaning up necessary in the "basement" and you will want to give that (pressure bath or whatever) time to thouroughly dry before sealing the belly back up I'd assume.

Some where I read about the problems with the vent stack on some trailers (not specifically Airstream) slipping down into the tank, and/or occasionally coming away from the tank. This latter would cause much havoc and of course give the tank an unwanted outlet. I'll look for that link and come back and edit in this post.
Found it! at last. Here's the "Poop Sheet" Prob'ly more than you want to know but look under "venting", and I am sure yall are...

Apparently on non-rear bath mods in 1974 there was a vent-pipe-connector access plate which was riveted down and also covered with some sort of sealer. This plate is located in the "Ark of the Covenant" and is best accessed by Houdini using a dentist's drill. So being that yall are in Indiana maybe you could call Dr. Jones.
Seriously if you have a similar set-up, apparently you can view the vent connection there (a hose clamp) and you have to go there anyway to R&R the damm tank. Sorta makes ya wanna sing a scat song..don't it..!

Oh BTW ...I have never done any of the above, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express one time! Also if this solves the prob, I'll be needing one of those CD's.
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Old 12-30-2002, 11:41 AM   #6
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Arggg...lost my connection after I had typed such a great reply!

Anyway, Hex you're a hoot! All help is appreciated and yes you could possibly expect a CD for any help leading to the arrest and capture of leaks currently incapacitating our black tank!!

The little manual we do have has precious little info on belly pan construction and how to get it apart. Any more on that would be wonderful.

The specs: 1969 Overlander International 27 feet. The trailer is actually 24 feet with the tongue accounting for the other 3, but I would imagine you already know that... It is a rear bath configuration.

The leak is on the right side of the tank, near the top [discovered by filling with fresh water and reaching near capacity....gush gush gush]. My thought was that it did have to do with the vent but that was only a guess - your post leant my deduction a little credence....

How did you know we dubbed our girl "The LoveShack"??? Just kidding.....heh. We would LOVE to just get some rehearsal time in, but with all we've gotten to do on the trailer it has been keeping us very busy. I think we could write a book on lots of things since our journey began with a vintage trailer! - just not a black tank repair! LOL

Oh my.....we are leaving day after tomorrow, so with trip included probably a week before we'll be able to tackle [hopefully that not literal] this problem in warmer weather.

For now, any links, any help at all would be so greatly appreciated.

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Old 12-30-2002, 02:22 PM   #7
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Angry Caesar's 'Dilenama'

OK you have a rearbath model, but where is the commode?
Is it along the streetside wall, or is it backed up to the rear wall?
Is the commode resting on a raised platform? or is it at the same floor level as rest of floor in trailer?

On the 1974 models (according to the Service Manual) the rear baths with the commode on the streetside wall have a vent connection that is accessed thru the hotwater heater compartment. Of course everything may be different on a 1969.

I don't know if the vent clamp is accessable inside the HW-heater box or whether the HW-heater box must be pulled (not alot of fun either).

If the Overlander has the commode on the rear wall, I can't find any info (in 74 manual) to ID the access to the vent. But there "oughta" be a place to get a peek. Perhaps thru the trunk compartment outside, or in the cabinet that sits to the curbside of the toilet (if there is one there).

Hold it! I just found a R&R for the '74 LandYacht (not International),
Holy Smoke it musta been written by Steven King!
Seems you have to take it out thru the inside, only belly skin cut is a small one to remove a flange directly under the termination valve.
However you do have to un-rivet and dismantle the lavatory and its stand/hamper. I believe that the landyacht is the one with the platformed pot.Again remember I am talkin '74 here.
Hell I'd be almost wishin' for the Cesarian !

Now all this may be in vain, and the leak may be something else entirely but who knows maybe you can see part of the black tank top there?

As to bellyskin opening, it prob'ly depends exactly where the tank is located. Cutting and then patching with a new (larger)piece may be the most practical route. Or drilling out the rivets and rolling back a flap is preferred if circumstances permit.

I am amazed that no owner of a 1969 has come forward as yet, but I hold out much hope for you guys.
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Old 12-30-2002, 03:09 PM   #8
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Inspection Openings

I'm used to inspection openings in aircraft. Little 4" holes with snap-on covers wherever visual access is needed. Dozens of them.

This doesn't address dropping the belly pan, but what about cutting one or more circular openings at strategic places so that you can inspect the situation underneath. The openings can then be sealed off in a way that they can be used again in the future if needed.

One possible way to seal the openings would to be to use marine deckplates about 10-12" in diameter. You could install the ring permanently and the plate then screws on. I installed a 10" deck plate in the bed platform of my trailer to give me visual access to the terminal blocks and circuit breakers in the very front of my trailer. You can do a lot of work through an opening of that size.
John W. Irwin
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Old 12-30-2002, 06:03 PM   #9
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Belly pan


Don't bother looking for a shop/service manual. There was not one made for 1969. Also due to age you do not have a gray water tank.

The belly pan just under the waste tank in my 1966 Overlander was attached with screws. My assumption is it was previously removed. Cause it should have rivits. And you will need to remove the rivits to remove the tank. You may also need to cut some of the belly pan to make the extraction. My waste tank did come out from the bottom. (Note I have a unit made in '66 and there was a design change in '69)

The top of the waste tank will have 2 or 3 holes in the top. 1 for the commode, and 1 for the vent. You may also have a third hole for grey water coming from the front of the trailer. Or the grey water connection might be Tee'd to the wate line before it enters the tank. Then you will only have 2 pipes into the top of the tank. My old tank also had cracks in the top. This would have only been discovered with a full tank. --- If you replace the tank, it will be some what of a universal design. You will have to cut holes to install the pipe connections. Different models had differant locations for the holes using the same tank style. OR if there are cracks and they are not too severe, they can be glued with epoxy or resin from an auto parts store.

Also drain your tank as much and as frequently as possible untill the repair is completed. The stuff in there is caustic.

Now, about your name. ..... What did you say was escaping?


1966 Mercury Park Lane 4 DR Breezeway 410 4V, C-6, 2.80 - Streamless.
1966 Lincoln 4 door Convertible 462 4V 1971 Ford LTD Convertible 429 4V Phoenix ~ Yeah it's hot however it's a dry heat!
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