Frozen holding tanks and water heater... - Page 6 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 12-27-2012, 05:56 PM   #71
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Well...I guess the 'nother bright side is that since the trailer's fiberglass, you won't have water damage to walls etc. This kind of thing can be a much worse nightmare in a wood-framed-and-finished trailer!

On that subject, though:

If the WH is sitting on a plywood base as some do in our trailers, you'd best get it out/off of that surface so you can dry the plywood out well, thus hopefully avoiding replacing the floor.

Francesca
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Old 12-27-2012, 05:57 PM   #72
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Today I removed the fiberglass "bench" (as was wisely suggested) so I could get a better look at the underside of the water heater tank. And, sure enough, as soon as I introduced water into the tank, I could see it leaking from the bottom. I guess my next step is to remove the entire apparatus and see about having it welded by somebody who knows about these things...
It is possible to buy just the tank (at least for Atwood's 10-gallon size), and move the hardware (burner, controls, etc) over to it. No special tools or skills are required. It may be worth the effort to save some cost.
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Old 12-27-2012, 06:08 PM   #73
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As you say, it could have been worse and much more expensive. I'm sure some of your trouble shooting efforts have been educational for others. Certainly the water line antifreeze freezing up was an eye opener.

Two items: I'm pretty familiar with typical pipe and hose connections. I know the Scamp piping is probably Pex but I don't know how the solid plastic connectors work. I'm used to crimped fittings etc. but haven't a clue how these ones are removed or re-installed, so...does anyone know?

Actually, I didn't know the tank was aluminum. It's never been a issue for me. However, I'm optimistic that you'll be able get it welded up for only a week's abstinance from the pub. A friend does TIG welding of very thin; read paper thin; aluminum components in heat exchangers. I don't know the wall thickness of the water tank but for the right welder it shouldn't be an issue.

If you find an answer to the water line connector puzzle let us know.

Ron
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Old 12-27-2012, 08:04 PM   #74
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The RED water line connector I mentioned is a plastic "ring" made of material that shrinks as it cools down after being heated. I called Scamp just to confirm that the only way to remove it is to cut it, and they explained the general concept. Works great, but not exactly user friendly for the D.I.Y sort.

Quote:
It is possible to buy just the tank (at least for Atwood's 10-gallon size)
I will definitely look into this, thanks for the tip. I suppose Atwood has a phone number I can find online, and if so I'll give them a call tomorrow.

Quote:
get it out/off of that surface so you can dry the plywood out well
Another good suggestion. The floor IS some sort of "wafer board", or OSB, but has a good coat of paint on it... I dried that whole area of the floor a couple of days ago when I discovered the ice sheeting to the rear of the water heater, and then dried it again today when I finally confirmed the leak in the tank. If the weather tomorrow is not TOO vicious, I think I'll just drill the rivets, disconnect the gas and water lines, and pull it out as you suggest. Might as well keep plugging away at this project, so I can go Scamping around right away in the spring.
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Old 12-27-2012, 08:16 PM   #75
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I suppose Atwood has a phone number I can find online, and if so I'll give them a call tomorrow.
Atwood Mobile - water heaters
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Old 12-27-2012, 09:54 PM   #76
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The RED water line connector I mentioned is a plastic "ring" made of material that shrinks as it cools down after being heated. I called Scamp just to confirm that the only way to remove it is to cut it, and they explained the general concept. Works great, but not exactly user friendly for the D.I.Y sort. .
Thanks for clearing that up. That's what it looked like but getting the word directly from Scamp confirms it. Thanks. If I have to remove one I think I'll try heating it with a hot air gun and wiggleing it off. Maybe it can be re-heated and reinstalled. Who knows, if not then I'd use a compression fitting or a crimp ring. In case like this I always figure, what have I got to loose?

If just replacing the tank at a lower price is an option, great. If not, another option would be to just use an aluminum patch and blind rivets. It'll be interesting to see what the damage looks like.

Ron
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Old 12-27-2012, 11:14 PM   #77
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if I had to replace my water heater, I'd put in a DSI one. Having the option of gas or electric hot water heating can be kind of nice sometimes. BUt I hope for your sake that a shop can weld or braze it.
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Old 12-28-2012, 12:26 PM   #78
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Well, I know I've drilled out a few rivets over the years, but never on such an expensive piece of "equipment"... so do you just use a drill bit that is the same size as the O.D. of the rivet shaft? That way the whole rivet basically gets "eliminated" and therefore the ends become irrelevant? Or do you use a bit large enough to just drill the outer head away, making sure not to allow the drill bit to dig into the metal casing behind it?

I ask only because I have drilled one rivet as a test, and the outer head is not coming loose. Should I assume I need to keep moving up to slightly larger drill bits until the outer head comes off?

Seems like an incredibly easy thing to do, and sort of silly to even ask... I just don't like the idea of drilling a bunch of holes in this camper body that are bigger than absolutely necessary.

Also, I've evaluated the "layout" from the inside too, and it almost looks possible to pull the tank INTO the camper... maybe not...???

The strange thing is, even with the bench seat out of the way, and the insulation jacket removed from the tank, I still cannot see or feel any crack.

Oh well, I guess I'll just keep drilling until the first rivet lets loose and then the rest of this portion of the project should be pretty quick. Oops, I should NOT have said that...
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Old 12-28-2012, 12:37 PM   #79
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I'm no pro in the rivet department, but trial-and-error has taught me to use a bit slightly bigger than the rivet "dimple", which will cleanly sever the head of the rivet from the shaft. When it pops off, it usually climbs the drillbit...

Quick work with a sharp bit is required, since prolonged application of a dull/too large bit will likely set the rivet to spinning, rendering removal more difficult. Loose rivets must have their heads ground off unless the blind side can be gripped/cut somehow.

Francesca
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Old 12-28-2012, 12:58 PM   #80
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron in BC View Post
Thanks for clearing that up. That's what it looked like but getting the word directly from Scamp confirms it. Thanks. If I have to remove one I think I'll try heating it with a hot air gun and wiggleing it off. Maybe it can be re-heated and reinstalled. Who knows, if not then I'd use a compression fitting or a crimp ring. In case like this I always figure, what have I got to loose?

If just replacing the tank at a lower price is an option, great. If not, another option would be to just use an aluminum patch and blind rivets. It'll be interesting to see what the damage looks like.

Ron
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Old 12-28-2012, 01:02 PM   #81
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Wow, I am really appreciating this forum more every day. Thanks for the expedient reply.

Funny thing is, everything you wrote I learned WHILE you were writing it... hahaha...

Once I moved up to the right size drill bit, I had all the rivets out within about two or three minutes, and had the entire water heater apparatus sitting in my kitchen sink about three minutes after that... THEN I came to the computer and read your perfectly articulated advice... super easy job, so far...

The crack in the tank is right at the "front", almost hidden by the black metal housing that holds the tank in place. It is a very severe crack, and I doubt repairable.

I have found some new replacement tanks on eBay, but I need to determine EXACTLY what my model is before buying a tank. So that's my next step at the moment.
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Old 12-28-2012, 01:08 PM   #82
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Funny thing is, everything you wrote I learned WHILE you were writing it... hahaha...


You learned it by the same method I did, then...

Per the new tank- are you planning to use the "guts" of the old one as suggested earlier?

If so, and hopefully before you get too far down that path: Is there any way that the works can be tested for proper functionality before you go to all the trouble of changing things out?

I thought I'd suggest that since the trailer's new to you and you have no way of knowing if the water heater worked before the freeze damage was done- or for that matter whether it damaged the works themselves.

Francesca
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Old 12-28-2012, 01:50 PM   #83
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Look into having an electric heater up grade to the tank that way you can run either one depending on the camp ground. When I had my motor home I installed a 120 heater in my existing tank and then could use the power I was paying for at the camp ground.
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Old 12-28-2012, 02:41 PM   #84
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My "situation" is a bit unusual, whereas I don't see myself using the Scamp in a campground setting very often. 99 out of 100 times I expect I will not have access to 120v.

I called Atwood to find out exactly the tank number, since it is not listed on the Atwood labels that tell me the Model number and the Serial Number of the water heater itself. Their cost for the tank only, is $265, which is what Scamp charges for the entire water heater. The Atwood Customer Service guy was very informative, and easy going.

Previously, I had put a bunch of these tanks in my eBay watchlist, for future reference. It just so happened that one of them IS exactly my model, so I made an offer and will see if the seller accepts it.

As far as testing the other components, although this is good advice, I always tend to be the type to "go by the evidence"... this camper is a 2010 model, and appears to have had very little use. Since the tank was full of water, and all the other systems are functioning fine, I am going to guess that the water heater also worked fine prior to freezing up.

I can't think of how freezing could damage any of the other components, and even so, they are fairly easy to replace also, so I'll just trudge forward one step at a time.

UPDATE: Negotiated with eBay seller and bought the tank, with pertinent washers and some fittings, for under $100 including shipping. Pretty hard to turn that down.
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