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Old 02-09-2024, 08:57 PM   #1
Plays with old toys
 
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1979 31' Sovereign
1987 34.5' Airstream 345
Toronto , Ontario
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Freshwater tank full or empty?

I understand our 345 has an 85 gallon unbaffled freshwater tank.

85 gallons of water is just over 700 lbs. Yowza. I've read that it's best to travel with a freshwater tank either empty or completely full to mitigate weight transfer of that water sloshing around for better vehicle control, less stress on the tank, mounts and so forth.

We've not traveled much in our rig yet, but expect to do a lot of boondocking, Harvest Hosts, etc. and we'll want to arrive fully ready to use what's onboard vs. arriving and immediately looking for a place to refill.

Though we've had an Airstream trailer for the past 15 years, I'm still very green on travel/boondocking best practices. We set our trailer up on a fully serviced seasonal site right after we brought it home, spoiling us with all the power, water and sewage we needed vs what we'd travel with.

So, I'm asking from those with experience if you keep your freshwater tank empty for lighter weight and to help fuel economy, or do you just keep it filled at every opportunity with plenty to have on board when needed?

Also, as I'm currently replacing all plumbing lines with PEX, I'm thinking of putting a diverter valve before the water pump that will allow me to fill the tank directly from the coach's supply hose vs bringing a hose over to the bus. Seems to make more sense to go this route and if I put a Mopeka tank sensor on the tank I can even monitor the level from outside on my phone.

Anyone done this before?

Thanks in advance....
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Old 02-09-2024, 11:23 PM   #2
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We always travel with full fresh-water tanks when possible. Never had a problem.

I like the diverter valve idea.
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Old 02-10-2024, 12:01 AM   #3
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Your 345 weighs approximately 8 tons (16,000 pounds) I’ve read.

So half the water is only 350 pounds. I REALLY doubt you’d notice sloshing. And at that weight ratio, you may as well travel with a full tank.
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Old 02-10-2024, 05:09 AM   #4
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But for when first leaving home winterized, I like to travel with at least half a tank.

85 gallons is a lot of water, and if you’re not going thru this regularly you don’t want it then sitting in your tanks for an extended period of time.

We want to run it thru, and replace regularly.

My rig is different, of course, but my preference has to do with in case of an emergency…being able to flush a toilet, water the dog, make coffee/tea, etc., if waylaid due to something unforeseen.

Stuff happens.

I always keep a 2 1/2 gallon jug of emergency drinking water in the passenger side step, for the same reason.

It’s just the prudent thing to do.

Maggie
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Old 02-10-2024, 07:48 AM   #5
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Our vintage bus conversion had an 80-gallon fresh water tank, also unbaffled. Yes, the bus was a bit heavier than your motorhome but not that much. We never felt any difference in handling with it empty vs. full.

But, we always knew the quality of water at our home. Not so much on the road. If we were going somewhere that required us to operate off the tank it was always full before leaving home. Otherwise it was at least 1/3 full to keep us flushing and cooking while on the road to our destination. Not much fun having a rig with built-in bathrooms if you still have to use public facilities on the road.

The weight of our tank did affect fuel economy, but only slightly. The weight was a drop in the bucket next to the overall package.

Filling the tank? I would not trust a tank monitor to fill the tank. I always did that with eyes on the water level on our rig - but it was built so that I could see the side of the freshwater tank.

It's not a great idea in my opinion to fill the tank to the overflow. If something's going to leak it likely to be the fittings at the top of the tank. Plus, as the water warms it will expand. I always left a couple of inches at the top below the overflow fittings.
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Old 02-10-2024, 10:08 AM   #6
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Hi

Our Classic tows better with a full tank. That pretty much is what drives us to chug along with it full. Yes, there is some weight there.

You never *really* know what you will pull up to at the end of the day. You just might pull into a "full service" campsite and find that the water (or power or sewer) isn't working right now .... "we'll get the contractor out to fix it in the morning ... ". It's always better to be prepared ....

Bob
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Old 02-10-2024, 10:58 AM   #7
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I’m in a Sprinter and tend to keep some water on board given that I boondock at every opportunity.
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Old 02-10-2024, 11:19 AM   #8
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I wouldn’t worry about filling it to overflow…. there’s a Vent to accommodate that….

And if the fill-hose and clamps leak…. I want to know about that and FIX it.

When preparing for a trip…. I add bleach to the water which has been sitting in the tank the night-before…. and run the pump in the galley, shower, and sink until I SMELL that bleach… letting it sit overnight in the system.

Then, before departure, I completely DRAIN the bleached system… and FILL to Overflow with fresh water. (I am on an artesian well with no chemical water treatment.) I THEN operate the pump to CLEAR the system of the bleached-residue in the plumbing…which also reduces the tank-level to a point Below the fill-hose/vent system.

That is how we travel…. capable ot using the toilet when DW needs a rest-stop… or ready to pull-over for lunch, etc etc. (We prefer our own water to any other…although we are not fearful of proper public water and refill from that source on long trips.)

Hope this helps.
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Old 02-10-2024, 11:32 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pauluptime View Post
I understand our 345 has an 85 gallon unbaffled freshwater tank.

85 gallons of water is just over 700 lbs. Yowza. I've read that it's best to travel with a freshwater tank either empty or completely full to mitigate weight transfer of that water sloshing around for better vehicle control, less stress on the tank, mounts and so forth.

We've not traveled much in our rig yet, but expect to do a lot of boondocking, Harvest Hosts, etc. and we'll want to arrive fully ready to use what's onboard vs. arriving and immediately looking for a place to refill.

Though we've had an Airstream trailer for the past 15 years, I'm still very green on travel/boondocking best practices. We set our trailer up on a fully serviced seasonal site right after we brought it home, spoiling us with all the power, water and sewage we needed vs what we'd travel with.

So, I'm asking from those with experience if you keep your freshwater tank empty for lighter weight and to help fuel economy, or do you just keep it filled at every opportunity with plenty to have on board when needed?

Also, as I'm currently replacing all plumbing lines with PEX, I'm thinking of putting a diverter valve before the water pump that will allow me to fill the tank directly from the coach's supply hose vs bringing a hose over to the bus. Seems to make more sense to go this route and if I put a Mopeka tank sensor on the tank I can even monitor the level from outside on my phone.

Anyone done this before?

Thanks in advance....
Check into a device called the “ShowerMizer”. I also try to travel with a full tank, but dislike having to fill from the outside! Worse, I dislike wasting my on-board water into the grey tank while waiting for hot water. This device attaches at the most remote water connection and lets you recycle the cold water in the hot water line back to your freshwater tank! Better yet, you can fill the outside tank from city water without going outside! (If you trust it)

Back to your question - in a trailer, you will want the tank full if it’s in the front (most are) for improved towing stability. In a coach, you’ll likely not notice milage, stability, or anything else with the tank full or empty. If you have a baffled tank, probably ok to go part full to have water for shorter stops. Otherwise, I think most would say - either full or empty to prevent sloshing. My 2 Cents!
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Old 02-11-2024, 08:03 AM   #10
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Hi

Just to be clear:

We don't *store* our RV with water in the tank. All the tanks get drained before we go into storage. Emptying one is not much crazier than emptying them all. Fresh water that's been sitting in storage may well be safe. I'd rather not find out about the wrong side of that "maybe" ...

Bob
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Old 02-11-2024, 12:27 PM   #11
Plays with old toys
 
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1979 31' Sovereign
1987 34.5' Airstream 345
Toronto , Ontario
Join Date: Feb 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle_bob View Post
Hi

Just to be clear:

We don't *store* our RV with water in the tank. All the tanks get drained before we go into storage. Emptying one is not much crazier than emptying them all. Fresh water that's been sitting in storage may well be safe. I'd rather not find out about the wrong side of that "maybe" ...

Bob
That's why in my 345 plumbing refresh I'm working out a system of low point ball valves for a quick dump of all fresh water on board. Might also need some degree of assist from an air blow out but the goal is not just to keep the fresh water supply fresh but also allow for easy winterization should we want to get away during the "shoulder" seasons or if travel takes us through below zero conditions.
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Old 02-11-2024, 10:50 PM   #12
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Lake Mary , Florida
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Water weight can make a difference, that is why I travel with empty black tank and a half full water tank. If I am going to an area where there is no water or water quality is questionable, I will fill up an hour or so before I arrive at that camp site. When traveling, shed as much weight as you can
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Old 02-14-2024, 10:09 AM   #13
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I travel with a full freshwater tank, and if possible, empty gray & black tanks.
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Old 02-14-2024, 10:31 AM   #14
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What is a "345"?
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Old 02-14-2024, 10:45 AM   #15
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2014 19' Flying Cloud
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I travel full. I store full. If for when SHTF, always be ready. My AS is my shelter. Black and Gray empty.
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Old 02-14-2024, 10:57 AM   #16
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I always travel full. What if you get where you're going and the water is bad? Was at the Terraport in JC during the Great Flood and the town issued a boil alert for all city water due to flooding. Folks that didn't have a full fresh water tank had to boil their water and it was muddy...
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Old 02-14-2024, 11:51 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boxite View Post
We always travel with full fresh-water tanks when possible. Never had a problem.

I like the diverter valve idea.
This. We prefer to boondock and often have no idea where we will end up. Leaving home with full fresh (and empty waste) tanks allows for greater freedom in traveling (for us).

Safe travels,

Bill
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Old 02-14-2024, 12:05 PM   #18
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What is a "345"?
A 34.5' motor home shaped like an Airstream trailer, click on picture in OPs sidebar.
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Old 02-14-2024, 03:28 PM   #19
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2007 30' Classic
KW , Ontario
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I always tow with it full. But 2 years ago I made the mistake of storing the trailer with a full tank. I thought I'd get to using it during the months of June to August, but unfortunately didn't. Then I went on vacation with it at the end of August. The tank was already full so I didn't give it another thought. Then the first night I'm wondering what is that smell every time we use the water. I thought it was the toilet. Nope. It was the fresh water tank. It reeked to high heaven. I dumped it and re-filled it and re-dumped it and re-filled it and dumped it again and it still stank. Since I was boondocking the walk to the nearest fill station was quite a distance and since it was late at night and I'm 1.5 hours from the nearest store I asked the park staff for bleach or something similar. Well the next day I got the bleach and that took care of the smell, but now I had a bleach smell. Eventually 1 week later it subsided (mind you I dumped and refilled it 2 more times in between). Never happened before, but all I can think of since it was sitting in that hot sun for 3 months it somehow went bad. Now I'm always very careful how much I put in the tank if I'm not sure the next time I'm going to use it.
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Old 02-15-2024, 01:35 AM   #20
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345?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Overstreet View Post
What is a "345"?

A 345 is a 34.5 foot long classic airstream motorhome.
Some are gasoline powered, some are diesel.
My guess is the last one made was around 1992.
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