For the 4 years we have owned our trailer, the 1/4 level black tank level indicator has lit when the tank is empty, in spite of using the recommended ways of cleaning the indicators. (commercial level cleaners, travelling with washing-up liquid and water, and ice cubes in the tank). The 1/2 level indicator is now doing the same, and a very slight leak has started in the gray tank dump valve. I therefore decided to begin by making the access panel in the under-belly tank cover. I expected problems (challenges?), and I was not disappointed! The Airstream manual says to use aircraft style snips to cut a hole. The first surprise is that this is zinc plated sheet steel about ).05" thick. The three aircraft style snips I bought were inadequate, but after a couple of hours struggling, I had a hole which gave access to both dump valves and the level indicators. It looked as if an armour piercing shell had come down through the floor, and I was ashamed of the job I had done. I eventually straightened out the edges, and now it's covered up with a large sheet of aluminum, and only I (plus 5000 of you!) know the truth! There must be better ways of cutting this hole (...at the factory, when it is assembled....), and one way is at http://www.airforums.com/forum...ump+valve+leak
However, I was on my back in a field full of fire ants, with no access to air tools.
Fixing the new aluminium access plate is done with sheet metal screws, but drilling for these has to be done with great care, as the tanks are only 1/2 inch above the metal. I slipped a 1/4" socket over the end of the drill bit, so only 1/4" was showing.
When I examined the level indicators, I saw that each one is embedded in a plastic plug about 1" in diameter, which is screwed into the side of the tank, using what is apparently silicon as an adhesive sealant. To clean or replace the indicator, these plugs must be removed. There are two small soft plastic spigots sticking up 1/8" from the top of the plugs. Perhaps some special tool with 2 holes drilled in the end was used to insert these, or perhaps they are inserted by hand. In any event, the spigots are soft, and will break off if removal is attempted. I tried with a screwdriver blade wedged across between the spigots, but I had no success. Has anyone any experience of removing these indicators, or any suggestions as to how it might be achieved? The replacement indicator I purchased does not include the plastic plug. If it did, I would be able to damage the old one by drilling or cutting. I will put in a call to Airstream Tech Support when the factory re-opens after the holiday, but I thought some of you might have some experience to share in the meantime. Thank you. Nick.