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Old 06-15-2012, 07:27 PM   #1
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Safari #2 -- 1973

Safari #1 is going slowly, so I thought I could find one in good shape and be on the road with it in a couple of weeks. Oops! It looked pretty good until I got under it.

So here we start the saga of Safari #2. I've been pestering this owner for 3 years and he finally realized he had let it sit too long. It is now my problem. All I can say is, it looked pretty good sitting in the storage area--here I am checking the fresh tank.

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And here it is on our new lot, along with the grader that is preparing courtesy parking.

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The fresh tank appeared to leak badly, so getting it out was the first priority. The rust is thick and flakey, but the steel, although badly pitted, seems to be strong. I may have to sister it with additional angles once I get the grinder on it. Getting the tank out was a nightmare. I couldn't budge the supporting plywood, so I tore the covering aluminum away so I could rout a cup into the plywood and use a sledge hammer. That didn't work either,so I finally used a skill saw to cut nearly through the curb and street side edges, then pulled the front edge down enough to get the tank out. The plyood was completely rotten along the front edge and most of the curb and street sides.

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The water system was OK, except for leaking faucets and a major toilet leak. My main complaint is the haphazard way the factory installed the copper tubing--no thought at all to dressing the lines or conserving space. Ugly, ugly, ugly. This will all be PEX next week. I think a lot of the heater ducting is coming out, too--how much ducting do you need in a Safari? So what if the bathroom is a little cool?

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I need some help on the Thetford dump valve. This valve is installed to dump straight down. It appears that the outlet side is glued to the outlet fitting (the sinks and show come into that fitting from two sides). I hope the top of the Thetford is a slip fit with the black tank--the dump valve is leaking slightly, so I need to get it apart to put in new seals. Does anyone know which model Thetford this is--there are five or so?

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Thanks for looking. There is one additional problem--the entire back edge of the flooring is gone, not rotten, gone, about 4" wide, completely across the back. This is going to be the biggest challenge.

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Old 06-15-2012, 08:07 PM   #2
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So the fresh water tank is ok? Any signs of water coming from above to cause the water tank plywood to rot away?

Maybe the black tank valve fitting is threaded, and you can replace the valve completely. I know that would require cutting the other two drain lines, but it might be worth it. A couple of couplings would repair the cut lines.

Nice road grader by the way. Do you give rides or even better; let your guests drive it?

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Old 06-15-2012, 08:57 PM   #3
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yep, thats it. got the same exact trailer. same "absent" rear section of floor, too.
(I patched the worst of it, and kept on camping for another 8 years or so, before finally deciding to bite the bullet, and "fix" it. pics here: Floor Project 2011 - Photo Gallery).

I actually did rebuild the dump valve about a year and a half ago; then used the camper twice, before deciding to rip it all out. It was surprisingly easy to do. I really thought it was going to be one of those "should be simple" projects that somehow morphs into a nightmare, but it wasn't. went very smoothly. came apart easy, went back together easy...no more leak.
That fitting is screwed to the valve; the valve is screwed to the flange that is glued to the bottom of the tank. as long as the screws aren't frozen up, it'll come apart easy.
I'll get the model for you tomorrow.

looks like someone went to a lot of trouble to replace the furnace in yours. interesting how they plumbed that in.
all those other original pipes are run exactly the same in mine.

I'm going to remove my (original) furnace, and go without; I find that I hardly ever need it, and when I have used it, its loud. The worst part is that the trailer doesn't hold the heat very well, so it cycles on and off so often, it disturbs sleep. I can keep the trailer plenty warm with a $20 ceramic/electric heater and/or the cat heater. The space consumed by the big old furnace could be put to much better use.

I'm also going to retrofit tanks below the floor. that black tank is only 13 gallons. The plan is to hang a large tank in the space below; I'll put the bathroom back as original, but instead of a tank under the cover, a wooden box to support the throne, and a 6" riser to go through the floor to the tank.
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Old 06-16-2012, 03:12 AM   #4
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MINNO, no sign of water from above. The steel angles that hold up the plywood are uniformly rusted all around. I think there was a long-time leak in the feed line, right at the tank, that kept the underside of the tank constantly wet. But I can't explain how the pump could draw water--seems there would have been an air leak and the pump wouldn't prime.

I did a short test of the tank. Longer test today, but it seems OK

No rides on grader. It cost a bundle to hire it!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck View Post
...I actually did rebuild the dump valve about a year and a half ago; then used the camper twice, before deciding to rip it all out... That fitting is screwed to the valve; the valve is screwed to the flange that is glued to the bottom of the tank.
I've done several valves, including the complicated pair for the Sovereign mid-bath. But this one isn't obvious to me. I looked at the bottom of the black tank pretty closely and it doesn't look like there is a fitting on it--I may cut the two gray lines and see how it all comes apart. I am considering adding a small above-floor gray tank so I can use the sinks during quick stops.

Quote:
...looks like someone went to a lot of trouble to replace the furnace in yours. interesting how they plumbed that in.
Yes, and the P.O. says the dealer charged him an arm and a leg. Anyone want a heater?

Quote:
I'm going to remove my (original) furnace, and go without; I find that I hardly ever need it, and when I have used it, its loud. The worst part is that the trailer doesn't hold the heat very well, so it cycles on and off so often, it disturbs sleep. I can keep the trailer plenty warm with a $20 ceramic/electric heater and/or the cat heater. The space consumed by the big old furnace could be put to much better use.
You are singing my song! I use an Olympic catalytic when I'm boondocking and a small ceramic otherwise. Two ceramics can keep even a large Sovereign habitable (not comfy, necessarily) down to 5 degrees.

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Old 06-16-2012, 02:45 PM   #5
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The fitting is there on the tank, visible in your picture; it just looks like its part of the valve; its glued onto the bottom of the tank.

These pics should explain it:
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Old 06-16-2012, 02:52 PM   #6
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Roger, last photo I saw of your place featured a couple of feet of snow and a bunch of buildings with a few trailers. Have you moved? Looks like you could have many, many more trailers in that field to work on. How many trailers will you have at the "balloons"?

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Old 06-16-2012, 03:03 PM   #7
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This would be the replacement part: 08706 of Thetford Valve 01447

you can see on the valve page that they also have that part that glues to the tank, too. as well as a re-build kit.

Mine was a re-build, but I was lucky to get the kit that was in a dusty old bag at my old-timey local rv supply place. the notes on the VTS rebuild kit say that you need a different one if your valve has the stainless steel top, as mine does.

If you only want a small grey tank, you could use VTS's 16 gallon model; it'll fit nicely in the frame bay behind the axle. The galley drain line runs under the street-side bunk, and drops down through the floor just in front of the shower wall; e-z to move that forward a few inches so it drops right into that bay, and into the top of the tank. Nothing is in the way. the heater duct might be a little, but there's plenty of room.
I was thinking of maybe going with 2 of these; didn't think there would be room for a second one in the middle bay, due to the shower drain, but someone here the other day said it would fit in their 73 gt (same bath) so I measured...only a couple of inches to spare, but it would fit.

Anyway, with either one or 2, you could easily tie it into the existing drain lines going to that collector. (which is "unobtanium").

I'm going with a different black tank, as mine is broken at the toilet flange; 13 gallons doesn't quite cut it for capacity, and also, that is an extremely awkward dump location. pretty much impossible to access it without crawling on your hands and knees at the dump station.
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Old 06-16-2012, 05:21 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrawfordGene View Post
Roger, last photo I saw of your place featured a couple of feet of snow and a bunch of buildings with a few trailers. Have you moved? Looks like you could have many, many more trailers in that field to work on. How many trailers will you have at the "balloons"?
Haven't moved yet. It's a large vacant lot about a mile from the house. We'll be in our current house at least another year, but I am prepping the new lot for parking.

I keep threatening to bring two Airstreams to Balloons, but it never seems to work out. One is enough, but at Burning Man I did have two back in 2010.

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Old 06-16-2012, 05:25 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck View Post
The fitting is there on the tank, visible in your picture; it just looks like its part of the valve; its glued onto the bottom of the tank.

These pics should explain it:
Chuck, thanks for the pics! This totally explains the assembly. You are da man!

I think I have the all-pastic Thetford repair kit in the shop, now I just need to decide on how much surgery I want to do, eg, gray tank. I want to get this Safari roadable in three weeks, so an "under" gray tank is probably out of the question for now.

I am going to take out the heater and the heater duct, so moving the plumbing around a bit on that side won't be a problem.

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Old 06-16-2012, 05:33 PM   #10
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The P.O. delivered the rest of the accessories today--a blue boy, battery, equalizer hitch, and (whoot) the Service Manual. I'll probably redo all the systems, but it's a nice reference for the shell and frame.

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Old 06-16-2012, 05:40 PM   #11
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Anyone know what this black stuff is and how to get rid of it? It's only on the top and sides (inside the tank).

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I'm going to modify the tank with two 3/4" drains in the bottom. I can get the Metal Company in Denver to spin in the flush fittings. Hopefully this will allow me to spray high pressure water into the tank and get the crud out. Besides, it takes the tank more than an hour to drain through the original feed fitting.

BTW, when I was checking the tank for leaks I noticed that the vents are about 1" down from the top in the 5" tank. That means that if you fill the tank with the trailer level, you only get about 80% capacity. Depending on which side your kitchen is on (generally the tank fittings are on that side), you need to have that side of the trailer high, maybe 5 degrees, in order to fill the fresh tank to something like 95% capacity.

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Old 06-16-2012, 05:54 PM   #12
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Looks like our fresh water did. Green crud is probably algae, black crud is either mold or dead algae. Our was full of black and green crud, which we never did get cleaned out all the way, hence our new tank. We did try the denture cleaner trick someone suggested, and it worked fairly well, but you need a lot of it. A whole lot. More than you think... We used a full large economy sized box (180 tabs) as an experiment, and it did really help, but we didn't have a way to scrub or high pressure rinse the tank out. The new fittings you’re talking about should help with that. Kay says you need a new tank.

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Old 06-16-2012, 05:55 PM   #13
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no rides on grader. It cost a bundle to hire it!
dang!!!!
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Old 06-16-2012, 05:58 PM   #14
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Black stuff could be mold. If it's not eating the plastic, why worry about it as it appears to be the grey tank? Clorox may help with killing it.

Read your post over again and it is the fresh water tank. Get a new one if chemicals can't remove it; maybe an opportunity for a bigger one. Of course, you could use it for non-potable water and drink bottled water, beer, gin, and of course, red wine.

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Old 06-16-2012, 06:04 PM   #15
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...we didn't have a way to scrub or high pressure rinse the tank out. The new fittings you’re talking about should help with that. Kay says you need a new tank.
Thanks Chris (and Kay). I generally take separate water for drinking and cooking, the gunk doesn't bother me that much. I only use it for shower, toilet, washing dishes. However, Kay is probably correct. I'll report how I do on getting the gunk out.

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Old 06-17-2012, 10:12 AM   #16
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So you'll wash your dishes with it but not drink it? Ummm, I AM a nurse so I tend to look at things a little differently, and I do wilderness canoe camping trips and drink the water out of the lakes (after filtering), but even I wouldn't use that water out of your tank! Soaps and detergents break the surface tension on what you are washing so you can get it clean, but you are still left with what's in the water drying on your dishes or skin or whatever. Antibacterial soaps are next to useless for home use - they kill 99.99% of bacteria, but then you are left with that .001% that's too strong for it to kill. That's still a lot of bacteria, and that's how super bugs are born. Bleach will kill the mold and algae, but you will still be ingesting the dead stuff, and that can have effects on your body too. Ok, I'll get off my soap box now. It's your tank, but I'd buy a new one.

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Old 06-19-2012, 09:40 AM   #17
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Frank, thanks for the call regarding the plywood support. I found some 1-1/8" T&G flooring that I'm going to use (I can't imagine this additonal 1/8" will be a problem). I can see how it might take 5 hands and holding your mouth just right in order to get all the shims up and in place before you slide the big piece in. What a pain.

The '77 Safari uses galvanized pans to hold the tanks in, and with judicious use of jacks you can get a tank reinstalled by yourself. This 73 is just another new challenge.

I'm going to try and clean the tank. I'm spinning in two 1" drains in the bottom, with matching holes in the plywood. The plugs will project about 3/4", so I'll have to put them in after the plywood is in place. I don't expect that they can be damaged by road rash and I'll only remove them once a year, at most.

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Old 06-19-2012, 08:21 PM   #18
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Clean Tank

My process:
1. Moderately strong concentration of Clorox, sloshed around and let sit for an hour, with occasional sloshing
2. Added some Murphy's Oil Soap, sloshed around (I could stick my finger into the tank through the 1.5" holes [for the 1" drains] and feel the gunk, which felt a little oily).
3. Dumped about 3 lbs of ice inside, sloshed around
4. Added more Clorox, sloshed around now and then for about 4 hours
5. Stuck a cleaning wand in through the holes and sprayed the inside.

Voila! Almost perfectly clean tank, saving $485.

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Now I need to run up to Denver and have the guys at The Metal Company spin in the 1" drains.

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Old 06-19-2012, 10:22 PM   #19
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As always, great thread with easy to follow tips!

Thanks Roger, great thread.
Looks like your valve issue has been addressed. I replaced my original valve with one Uwe had last year at ABQ...or was it the year before? Worked out great on our added on gray tank.
We suffured a set-back last week in Joshua Tree NP. Lost a wheel on the Safari, tore up some curbside sheet metal, still got her to the campsite for nice weekend with my sons and then back home on three studs per wheel- Can Do...forget trying to find studs in 29 Palms or surrounding-
Keep up great work and keeping us in the loop on your always AS adventures!
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Old 06-20-2012, 06:57 PM   #20
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Electrical

The 12V was completely inoperative. I could look under the shelf at the bottom of the closet and see an Intellipower converter, but it was totally inaccessible. I drilled out all the rivets holding the shelf and discovered that all three battery reverse polarity protection fuses were blown. How a dealer could install something with fuses in a place that made it impossible to service is beyond me. This shot is looking down at the bottom of the closet with the shelf removed.

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The closet is too tall. If I move the shelf up a bit (I thought to myself), I could store a small vacuum cleaner under it. To make the electrical system maintainable, I moved it off the floor and hung it as far back on the wall as possible, still allowing for access to the fuse block. The new shelf will go about 2" below the level of the fuse block. Speaking of the fuse block, I also tossed the unweildly "electrical control senter" that the dealer had installed and I added a 115V receptical, instead of using wire nuts on a loose 115V wire, as the dealer had done.

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Now I just need to fabricate a slightly larger shelf. I think the bathroom ventillation fan is getting the boot, too. With a Fantastic fan in the ceiling just outside the bathroom, I think it can take care of any necessary "clearing the air."

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