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Old 07-10-2016, 03:34 PM   #1
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Cut new access & replace drain valve on fresh water tank

I've spend a few hours searching threads and found various suggestions about replacement drain valves for the fresh water tank. I think I will use a 1/4 turn brass ball valve as a replacement.

I'm working on my 25' Safari. My question is about cutting an access opening in the plastic tank surround. I've only found a few photos showing cutouts for access. I want to do the cuts without removing/dropping the plastic tank surround. Inside the trailer the hole where the fill/vent pipes go through the floor is beneath the slide out kitchen pantry, so I cannot look into this area without taking out cabinets and removing ducts.

From what I've seen in others posts it looks like I could use a wheel cutter, limiting the cut depth to about 1/2" without doing any damage. But, I'm still not comfortable doing it. I do not want to accidentally cut something, especially the tank.

Does anyone have photos showing how you cut the plastic tank surround, and how much depth/clearance there is to work with? Advice is appreciated!
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Old 07-10-2016, 06:13 PM   #2
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I just worked on this project on a 2010 FC 23fb. I cut on the side of the tank housing using a cutting wheel running about a 1/4" deep. Make a couple of shallow passes so the cutting wheel doesn't all of a sudden pull in.The first picture is of the finished cover plate. I used a 1/2" schedule 80 nipple and a 1/4 turn PVC valve. That came right to the edge of the pan. I then cut a hole big enough to thread a 1/2" street el through the cove plate and into the valve. I also cut the low water drains and put oring valves on the pex inside the pan. All valves will be inside the trailer and accessed through the closet were the pump is. I put water in the tank to test for leaks and the only leak was from the fitting were the pump draws from. I hadn't touched that. As you can see from one of the pictures I now know I need a new tank. I will post pictures as I go back together.
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Old 07-10-2016, 07:04 PM   #3
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I used one of the dremel oscillating saws. I just cut through the tank "cover" and accessed the short piece of tubing secured with hose clamps from tank to valve. All without dropping the tank. I posted photos previously.


On an island in Vermont
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Old 07-10-2016, 07:14 PM   #4
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My 86 Limited did have an access panel below the bad plastic valve. It had sheet metal screws holding it in place.

I was lucky as the molded female pipe connection was not cracked or cross threaded. I then plumbed a new valve and attached it to the frame rail for easier access. I don't have a picture.

These old plastic valves are problematic. They stick shut and break when trying to force it open.

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Old 07-10-2016, 08:00 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sb55 View Post
I used one of the dremel oscillating saws. I just cut through the tank "cover" and accessed the short piece of tubing secured with hose clamps from tank to valve. All without dropping the tank. I posted photos previously.


On an island in Vermont
I was able to find your post. The photos help.
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f443...in-149260.html
Thanks!

Anyone else got pictures of how to cut a plastic tank surround to share?
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Old 07-11-2016, 07:18 PM   #6
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I cut the access hole today in the tank cover. It turned out to be a fairly easy job and only took about 45 minutes to jack up the trailer, remove a wheel, cut the access in the plastic, and remove the original valve. (photos later)

I went online to order the parts needed to do the repair. Just my luck, the barb fitting with the flange has been discontinued. Anyone know this can be purchased? What I really want is just the flange coupling without the valve
It's been discontinued here:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/-/181327607704?vxp=mtr
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Old 07-16-2016, 02:44 PM   #7
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I searched a few days and have not been able to find the flanged fitting shown in the photo above. So, I decided to make something out of what I could find. My intent was to have a threaded fitting so that I can unscrew the valve next time it needs to be replaced.
This was my solution:
Photos 1 thru 3
1. The non functioning valve.
2. I removed screws, pull the valve and plate forward enough to cut off the valve as close to the mounting flange as possible, so that the tube is not damaged.
3. Valve and plate cut loose.
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Old 07-16-2016, 03:04 PM   #8
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4. Probed the depth to the tank so that I would not cut into it.
5. Marked perimeter of opening then cut with a small side grinder. I finished cutting the corners with a hacksaw blade.
6. Be careful! There are loose wires in there.

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Old 07-16-2016, 03:34 PM   #9
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7. The material I used to make the fitting and valve.
a. Sharkbite fitting - 1/2" barb to 1/2" pipe thread (female)
b. boiler drain
c. copper plate made from sawing a scrap 3/4" copper pipe
8. Fitting with copper plate soldered onto it.
9. The finished product. Used a piece of aluminum flashing to patch the hole.
Yes, I realize 3 different metals will cause galvanic action. I'll separate them with a plastic film later.

What I learned:
1. In the process of doing this I realized that I should NOT have cut the front face. It was not necessary to remove that portion of the plastic cover to make the repair. So all that did was create unnecessary work.
2. A quarter turn valve turns so easily that I'm concerned that something will hit the valve handle while going down the road and drain the tank. I purchased a hose bib cap to add onto the valve. I'm considering removing the valve and installing a threaded plug.
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Old 07-17-2016, 10:06 AM   #10
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Alan,

Nice write-up.

While not specifically stated but implied, I'm assuming the copper barb fits into the stub from the original valve.

You state at the end that cutting the outside shroud was not necessary. Why did you originally feel it was necessary to do so? Perhaps to fit a hose clamp to the stub?

Had you considered installing a valve threaded for a garden hose so you could drain the water away from the trailer? Would most likely have to angle it towards the rear to clear the metal guard underneath.

Anyone know the primary purpose of the angled metal piece underneath the valve? To protect the valve? To disperse the out-flowing stream of water?


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Old 07-17-2016, 11:09 AM   #11
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No, there is a 1/2" barb on both old and new fittings. The plastic barb left inside the flexible tube has to be removed after cutting the valve flange away. Then the brass barb from the new fitting has to be inserted. I did not note it in the write up, but I replaced the flexible tube since it was showing its age. I replaced it with PEX. I used the existing worm gear clamps instead of PEX clamps.

I think that plate is to protect the valve from road debris. Mine has taken a beating over the years, it's bent in multiple directions.
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Old 10-11-2016, 05:08 PM   #12
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My 2009 23FB Flying Cloud has the same problem. I have a new tank on order. Shipping and all it should be under $200. Good luck with yours. Your tip I will use, the low point drains I will do like you are doing, put the valve in the cavity where the pump is and the two exit pipes sticking down thru bottom of pan.
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Old 06-08-2021, 04:22 PM   #13
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30-minute FW drain valve replacement, and it's even easier the next time

Hello, all,


I've seen some elegant FW tank drain valve replacements on the Forum, but here's one that costs $3.99 and takes 30 minutes:

Using a hacksaw or coping saw, cut the front of the old plastic drain valve off as close to its base plate as you can; do this while it's still attached to the trailer. Take out the old valve's two attachment screws and then use a Moto-Tool with a drum sander bit and grind its outer surface as flat as you can. Cut off the barb nipple on the back of the new valve and sand it completely flat on a belt sander; it's good to leave some sanding score marks for the sealant to grab onto. Clean the sanded surface of the new valve with acetone and put a bead of 3M Strip-Calk around the hole in the back of the new valve, pressing it down well until it's just over 1/16" thick and set it aside (see photo below).


Make sure it's dry and clean the sanded surface of the old valve with acetone and carefully mount the new valve over the old, cut-off one, using longer screws (washers, too) to allow for the extra thickness of the two valve-bases. Carefully tighten the screws, wait a few minutes for the sealant to flatten and tighten the screws some more. Wait ten minutes and tighten again - always be careful not to crack the valve-base by over-tightening. Fill the tank, check for leaks and you're done.


The next replacement in ten years or so will be a breeze.
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Old 06-08-2021, 08:16 PM   #14
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Very good repair process Chuck H. Thank you for sharing it with us. Those pesky fresh water plastic drain valves are just too weak for the job considering where they are located.

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Old 07-03-2021, 06:06 PM   #15
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Thanks for the kind words, dbj216

Yes, that's right. You'd think a $60,000-$100,000 trailer would have a real brass drain valve that lasts 40 years, just as the trailer does.
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Old 01-03-2022, 01:00 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck H View Post
Hello, all,


I've seen some elegant FW tank drain valve replacements on the Forum, but here's one that costs $3.99 and takes 30 minutes:

Using a hacksaw or coping saw, cut the front of the old plastic drain valve off as close to its base plate as you can; do this while it's still attached to the trailer. Take out the old valve's two attachment screws and then use a Moto-Tool with a drum sander bit and grind its outer surface as flat as you can. Cut off the barb nipple on the back of the new valve and sand it completely flat on a belt sander; it's good to leave some sanding score marks for the sealant to grab onto. Clean the sanded surface of the new valve with acetone and put a bead of 3M Strip-Calk around the hole in the back of the new valve, pressing it down well until it's just over 1/16" thick and set it aside (see photo below).


Make sure it's dry and clean the sanded surface of the old valve with acetone and carefully mount the new valve over the old, cut-off one, using longer screws (washers, too) to allow for the extra thickness of the two valve-bases. Carefully tighten the screws, wait a few minutes for the sealant to flatten and tighten the screws some more. Wait ten minutes and tighten again - always be careful not to crack the valve-base by over-tightening. Fill the tank, check for leaks and you're done.


The next replacement in ten years or so will be a breeze.
Nice idea. I will try your fix soon, my valve handle just broke off. Think I may try using an oring.
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Old 03-31-2022, 04:10 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck H View Post
Hello, all,


I've seen some elegant FW tank drain valve replacements on the Forum, but here's one that costs $3.99 and takes 30 minutes:

Using a hacksaw or coping saw, cut the front of the old plastic drain valve off as close to its base plate as you can; do this while it's still attached to the trailer. Take out the old valve's two attachment screws and then use a Moto-Tool with a drum sander bit and grind its outer surface as flat as you can. Cut off the barb nipple on the back of the new valve and sand it completely flat on a belt sander; it's good to leave some sanding score marks for the sealant to grab onto. Clean the sanded surface of the new valve with acetone and put a bead of 3M Strip-Calk around the hole in the back of the new valve, pressing it down well until it's just over 1/16" thick and set it aside (see photo below).


Make sure it's dry and clean the sanded surface of the old valve with acetone and carefully mount the new valve over the old, cut-off one, using longer screws (washers, too) to allow for the extra thickness of the two valve-bases. Carefully tighten the screws, wait a few minutes for the sealant to flatten and tighten the screws some more. Wait ten minutes and tighten again - always be careful not to crack the valve-base by over-tightening. Fill the tank, check for leaks and you're done.


The next replacement in ten years or so will be a breeze.
I just did your repair. Only I used silkaflex. Time will tell, but I'll leak check it tomorrow. thanks for the idea. Much easier than other option. No tires removed.
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