Patching a fresh water tank - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-07-2011, 09:30 PM   #1
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Patching a fresh water tank

I have to repair a puncture in my Escape's water tank and I ran across a suggestion on a RV forum of using hot glue. The reasoning was that he tank is polyethelene, and the glue sticks are also poly, so they stuck well together. The post also suggested, I believe, flame polishing the torn edge with a small butane torch. I guess that melts the edge a little and provides a smoother attachment point. I did not make notes or links because this wasn't a problem I had at the time I read the post!

Anyone tried this? The 10 gallon tank I took out of the U-haul also appeared to be patched at least two different ways. One way did look like it was done with a hot glue gun. The other method looked like it involved RTV and some kind of (maybe) rubber patch.

If I had the clearance I could just drill and tap it and install a plug, but the plumbing that actually created the hole is too close by to pull that off easily.

Regards,

Matt
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Old 03-07-2011, 10:16 PM   #2
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Matt,
polyethelene can be welded with a plastic welding torch and poly welding rod. I have had great success welding plastic auto parts and ATV parts with a plastic welder from Harbor Freight. It uses an electric torch and low pressure compressed air to control the temp. Cost is around $20 but with a little practice, mine has paid for itself with the parts that I have been able to save with it. Dave K
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Old 03-08-2011, 05:57 AM   #3
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Since it's for the fresh water tank and I would imagine you will use the water for drinking/cooking, may I suggest you just make certain the solution you use for the repair is also for "food grade." Don't want to ingest a bunch of bad-for-you chemicals! The gray water tank would obviously be less of a problem.
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Old 03-09-2011, 05:10 PM   #4
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This is a good question. I bought a trailer with a repaired fresh water tank that had about 2 tubes of silicone gobbed on it. It didn't leak and I had the trailer for about 5 years.

My experience with a glue gun is that the glue is quite rigid when dry without much flex and because of that may not form a good water tight bond.
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Old 03-09-2011, 07:28 PM   #5
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Here is a link to a repair kit. ( I have never used one )

https://plasticstoragetanks.com/poly_tank_repair.htm

Bill K
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Old 03-09-2011, 07:53 PM   #6
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Here is a link to a repair kit. ( I have never used one )

https://plasticstoragetanks.com/poly_tank_repair.htm

Bill K

Thank you, Bill. I clicked through and was surprised to see it's probably a bit over the price of the tank itself!

$110.53

Looks like a soldering iron with a special tip.
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Old 03-10-2011, 01:31 AM   #7
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Sorry about that, I never thought to check the price.

Bill K

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Thank you, Bill. I clicked through and was surprised to see it's probably a bit over the price of the tank itself!

$110.53

Looks like a soldering iron with a special tip.
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Old 03-10-2011, 06:21 AM   #8
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Bill, it really is just a modified soldering iron. I have used soldering irons to weld polyethylene. Give it a try, what have you got to lose?
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Old 03-10-2011, 10:29 AM   #9
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Sorry about that, I never thought to check the price.

Bill K
No worries! It does look like exactly what I need. I will check out Harbor Freight this evening and see if they have something similar.

Regards,

Matt
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Old 03-13-2011, 04:45 PM   #10
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I have repaired the poyethylene tanks several times. I cut a patch from 1/16" aluminum and attached it with several sheet metal screws. Apply a thin layer of latex caulk to the patch before attaching it. DON'T use regular Silicon caulking as it has acetic acid in it that will corrode the aluminum. Either use latex caulk or Electronic grade silicon that does not have the acetic acid.
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