Frozen holding tanks and water heater... - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 12-23-2012, 10:05 AM   #15
Raz
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I have lived in Minnesota and Northern Wisconsin for 63 years . In my opinion the only way you will thaw out your trailer is to place it in a heated garage (already warm) , open the windows and door of the trailer and wait about 2 to 3 days for the heat to penetrate. There is one other way "Wait till Spring" Ice out in my area is about April 15
to May 1 so you have a while till Spring
Or take a week in Florida Raz
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Old 12-23-2012, 10:10 AM   #16
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Florida Thaw

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Or take a week in Florida Raz
I like your method better . Sounds like a lot more fun.
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Old 12-23-2012, 06:01 PM   #17
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UPDATE: Well, I removed the plastic drain plug on the water heater and of course all I could see was ice blocking the exit. So, I decided to bring out my little espresso machine that I have used every morning for two decades and utilize the steamer/frother. I hooked up a small plastic hose to the metal steamer and carefully aimed it toward the drain on the water heater. Within a few seconds, the ice was cleared away and water started coming out... not exactly gushing out, but a lot more than a drip. It seemed as if only about one gallon, maybe less, came out, and even after inserting the steam hose five or six inches into the tank itself, no more water came out. So, it seems clear that the water heater tank is not full, or the water would have continued to come out. Arguments are invited.

The potable water tank on the other side I finally figured out is almost completely empty. I could tell after shining a light on it and tapping on the top.

Now... I don't think using steam on plastic would be wise, although I am open for advice... but I would sure hate to have the black water tank that is installed under the flooring get a crack in it from ice expansion... the shower lines ARE filled with ice too...

I think if I skirt the camper with pink styrofoam and aim a kerosene heater toward the underside from the front, after several hours the lines and black water tank will thaw quite a lot... from what little I am learning about these campers, it seems there is a GREY water tank AND a BLACK water tank... is this true? I know the black water tank is basically under the toilet, of course... but is there another tank under the shower? If so, is there a secondary pump that moves the liquids from the grey to the black tank for draining?

Thanks for all the help, as I would really hate to see any avoidable damage done to this quite new Scamp. A trip to Florida IS the best idea, just not possible for me at the moment...
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Old 12-23-2012, 06:59 PM   #18
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Glad to hear the draining of the hot water tank went OK. Some may have left the thawing to Spring but if it was me, I'd ~want~ to know

My 13 is a 2008. Yes, there is a dump valve for the black water tank under the toilet, on the driverside forward of the wheel. I'd heat it with a hot air gun or heater and open the valve. I'd put something down to catch whatever may drain when it thaws.

Yes, there is an electric pump that pumps the grey water to the rear tank. The dump valve for that is also drivers side to the rear of the wheel.

I would heat the electric pump and drain it. See other posts about protecting it from road debris.

I'd do the same thing for the grey water tank. Heat the dump valve before trying to open it and then use some heat to thaw it. Putting a shroud of foam should work well to keep the heat near the tank.

Good luck,

Ron
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Old 12-23-2012, 07:36 PM   #19
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Some may have left the thawing to Spring but if it was me, I'd ~want~ to know
Well, mainly I have been very concerned about the water heater tank, since that is expensive to replace. Once I saw the ice blocking the drain I felt I had to try something.

I have figured out where the two main (large) dump valves/drains are, but I am still a little confused about this:

Quote:
...there is an electric pump that pumps the grey water to the rear tank.
I found the electric pump, but are you saying there IS a tank under the shower which is separate from the tank under the toilet? And, if so, what is "the rear tank"? Sorry for my ignorance, but I love learning about this setup, and I thought the fairly large plastic tank under the passenger side seat was for potable water. If not, where is the potable water tank located? AND, does this mean my Scamp has a tank under the toilet (black water), a tank under the shower (grey water), another tank in the rear (grey water), a water heater tank, AND a potable water tank located in some mysterious place? Wow. I think I am listing one too many tanks here...

I am researching all this while engaging in this thread, so don't feel obligated to answer all my silly questions.
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Old 12-23-2012, 07:44 PM   #20
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Humm, potable water should be inside under passenger side seat. Black water tank inside right under toilet. Gray water tank (if you have one) is outside, underneath between the axle and the rear of the trailer. You already know where the hotwater tank is
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Old 12-23-2012, 08:43 PM   #21
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Okay... so I was right about the location of the potable water tank. That is very nearly empty, so I'm not worried about that one.

I initially thought the shower water drained into either the black water tank or that it shared a grey water tank with the sink. If I understand correctly, the latter is true, but the secondary electric pump must be turned on to get the water to the rear tank while using the shower, then turned off.

I'm still quite concerned about the black water tank and the toilet being frozen, then intermittently thawing partially and refreezing, so I think tomorrow I'll try the "skirt and heat" approach. I will continue my studies this evening, but if anybody wants to tell me if I can actually remove the toilet and gain more direct access to the black water tank, please feel free.

Yeah, I know... this whole project might start getting a bit "unfriendly" as things begin to thaw out... hahaha...
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Old 12-23-2012, 08:57 PM   #22
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I'm glad it is you and not me with this problem
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Old 12-23-2012, 09:18 PM   #23
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Okay... or that it shared a grey water tank with the sink. If I understand correctly, the latter is true, but the secondary electric pump must be turned on to get the water to the rear tank while using the shower, then turned off.


but if anybody wants to tell me if I can actually remove the toilet and gain more direct access to the black water tank, please feel free.

Yeah, I know... this whole project might start getting a bit "unfriendly" as things begin to thaw out... hahaha...

Yes, that's the way it is. The electric pump is visible when you kneel down and look at the area under the bathroom. There may be a guard in front of it to help protect it from road debris. It empties bathroom water and pumps it to the rear grey water tank.

The base of the toilet is the black water tank. It's completely "inside". If the dump valve has been warmed and opened a little heat in the bathroom area should thaw the holding tank and let it drain. Yeah, could be a bit unfriendly depending on the contents

Ron
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Old 12-23-2012, 11:34 PM   #24
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The thing about ice is, it doesn't just become a constant solid block. As temps change, ice is subject to expansion and contraction. It may not seem like much, but it's a powerful enough force to cause rocks to crack apart over time. My thinking is that it's better to thaw it and get the water out of there (blow out the lines) so it can't keep working at your water system. Normally I'd say add the pink rv antifreeze, but in your situation it might be better to simply use compressed air to blow the water out, because the lines may already (not necessarily, but maybe) have leaks.

A little water in the tanks is not the worst thing, since there's room for the ice to expand without doing much to the tank. But in a restricted area like the pump or the water line, there's not much room for the ice to expand, contract, expand without doing damage.
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Old 12-23-2012, 11:52 PM   #25
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Flyplain, Welcome to the forum. I agree with the rest, get it thawed. If you don't as temps change the ice will expand & contract and likely cause damage. Find a garage somewhere that will allow you to park it in for the weekend or for that matter do it over Christmas. The sooner the better.
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Old 12-24-2012, 05:18 AM   #26
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UPDATE:



I think if I skirt the camper with pink styrofoam and aim a kerosene heater toward the underside from the front, after several hours the lines and black water tank will thaw quite a lot...
I'm a little skeptical of this approach. A gallon jug of frozen water will take several days to thaw at room temperature. I think you will need 4-5 days in a heated garage. Then again perhaps you will prove me wrong. Raz
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Old 12-24-2012, 09:02 AM   #27
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Of course I appreciate every word of advice from every fellow Scamper, but the latter consensus seems to be leaning toward doing all I can to thaw this thing out now, and not wait until the weather warms up. The forecast for my home town (north of me now) is 15 below zero Fahrenheit for tonight and a high of 1 above for tomorrow.

I believe Mike nailed my primary concern:

Quote:
The thing about ice is, it doesn't just become a constant solid block. As temps change, ice is subject to expansion and contraction.
Anyway, in a few minutes I am going out to try my "skirt and heat" approach, with the camper positioned inside a very small shed that I built years ago for my powered parachute. There is no insulation, and the exterior walls are not even tar papered, but it might at least help to minimize the effect of wind, which robs heat like crazy.

Along with the stryrofoam skirting and the kerosene forced air heater aimed at the underside from the front, I'll have an electric heater inside the camper, and maybe some large blankets draped over the outside.

It all might seem a bit absurd, but I've wanted to own a Scamp for many years, and when this one came along I just could not pass it up. Too bad great opportunities rarely pay attention to time and/or convenience.

I totally agree about 4-5 days in a heated garage, but that is just as unavailable to me right now as a trip to Florida, which I also like the sound of...
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Old 12-24-2012, 10:14 AM   #28
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Fortune favors the bold Good luck, Raz
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