The Big Fix!
Posted On July 11, 2021
It’s funny (in a no laughing matter sort of way) what goes through your mind when facing a situation that could be a $2500 dollar repair expenditure.
Well, after making an appointment for the end of July! for a possible “fresh water tank replacement” (see blog post “Water Tank Failure”) at my local RV repair place. Thinking about it, I decided to contact Nick at Airstream of Spokane (the dealer we purchased Blue Streak from). I did this because I knew he would make logical suggestions (which he did). Nick suggested before we think about the expense of a tank replacement to cut an access hole in the pan and make sure the connection between the tank and drain valve had not failed.
Here is what this looks like:
The tank itself lives inside a pan fixed between the axels (see above). Note the location of the “low point tank drain” in the side view. What I want you to really notice is the GAP between the end of the tank and the pan. Now check out the perspective below to have an indication of what this looks like from outside.
In this pretty picture you can see the drain valve and the protective plate behind the passengers side front wheel … (FYI the two items to the left are the low point drains for the water lines which also run through the GAP between the water tank and the pan indicated in both illustrations above).
So I simply cutout an access in the face of the pan next to the drain valve – and this is what I discovered in the GAP (see below).
What we see is a clear plastic tube about 3/4″ long, hose clamped to the brass tank fitting and the nylon valve. Of course this had to have been done before the the tank was installed at the factory and I would guess before the floor laid over top. In other words, a forever installation, inaccessible, with no concept of ever failing or needing repair.
Two things to note!
- That the tank when filled with water weights about 450lb and all the stress is on that small bit of 3/4″ long clear plastic tube which needs to flex as the connections it is hose-clamped to are not going to flex.
- That small bit of plastic tube is now 20 years old and has gone from soft and flexible to brittle and cracked.
So guess what? the forever, inaccessible clear plastic tube joint failed. 🤬
OK – OK, I have now fixed the problem by the grace of God. I relocated and replaced the external drain valve and replaced the failed 3/4″ long bit of clear plastic tube with 6″ of reinforced thick wall plastic tubing that will allow for flex and I hope will never fail in this life time. Also everything now is accessible should future repair be required. Total cost = $15 DIY dollars and 3 hours time. 😎
The last thing to do is fill the tank with cool clear H2O and Blessed be the Name – perfect.
We can now salvage what’s left of the Summer and go Boondocking……….