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-   -   Cracked Gray Tank (http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f55/cracked-gray-tank-54418.html)

jimmied 09-15-2012 04:43 PM

Cracked Gray Tank
 
I just purchased a 1981 Bigfoot B17 SM Deluxe travel trailer and am in the process of starting restoration. The previous owners left a few windows open during a rain storm and dry rot has developed. I plan on removing the windows (never done this before, but it looks easy) and replacing the wood panels where there is dry rot, as I want to paint the interior anyways, so I do not think that this part is a major project, but I need help with my cracked gray tank. It has developed a large, wide crack on the side, close to the top were it is held by the bracket that goes from one side to the other. I contacted a dealer who specilizes in plastic as they suggested a product called G Flex which is an epoxy and they said I would have to use a plastic backing. Has anyone tried patching up a tank, and will it hold. I think that if it was patched, then additional brackets would be helpful to take the weight off the tank and distribute it. I think it would be almost impossible to find a tank that is similar to the OEM as it is not square. Any suggestions would be helpful....This is only the first question I have, but will have many, many more as this is my first restoration and looking forward to many happy times camping in Bigfoot once it is all done....Thanks, Jim ;)

Donna D. 09-15-2012 05:01 PM

Hi Jim, welcome to FiberglassRV! I'll leave the answers to your questions to the experts, but I wanted to say :welcome2:

jimmied 09-15-2012 05:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Donna D. (Post 333842)
Hi Jim, welcome to FiberglassRV! I'll leave the answers to your questions to the experts, but I wanted to say :welcome2:

Hi Donna D and thanks for the welcome. I have been reading a lot of posts, making notes and looking forward to starting the restoration process. I drove 400 kms (240 miles) off Vancouver Island to the Mainland of BC to pick up the Bigfoot, and had not problem towing it with my Nissan 4 cyl. std. shift pick up. The Nissan is rated at 3500 lbs. towing capacity....It weighs 2706 lbs with all tanks empty, 1 propane tank 1/2 full, and today measured the holding tanks: fresh water 23 1/2 USA gals, and 10 imperial gals for the black tank, and of course could not measure the gray tank as it is leaking...ugggggh, but think it could easy hold 20 gals. Just thought I would throw these numbers out as perhaps some on the forum could use them.

RogerDat 09-15-2012 10:59 PM

The instructions I was given and used a long time ago by an RV repair guy are as follows. (to the best of my recollection).
  • Rough up the area to be patched with sand paper.
  • Drill a small hole at each end of the crack.
  • Clean well.
  • Use small amount of JB Weld (metal epoxy) to seal and fuse the crack.
  • Cover area with plastic mesh screen glued on with ABS (black plastic) pipe glue Not the PVC (white plastic) pipe glue.
  • Then apply thin coats of the pipe glue to the screen and tank to build up a patch.
  • Let glue dry between each coat.
The key thing was the glue had to be the black pipe glue, pvc glue would not stick.

I used the tank for many years after that patch. My damage was at the bottom of the tank, a bracket broke and one end of the tank hit the road hard enough to crack and take some damage from dragging.

john warren 09-16-2012 06:24 AM

ok,,,number one,, thats thermoplastic. which means it can melt ,,, and that means it can be welded.
most body shops weld plastic bumpers and such on a daily bases and can probably fix you up.....but.....why did it crack?

wether you weld it, or use adhesives,, it may simply be age and flexing has caused it to become brittle. if so,, you will have to redo it again.

might be the best solution is to bite the bullet and install a new tank while you already have your hands dirty.:reye2

jimmied 09-16-2012 07:54 AM

Thanks for the replies....the crack is about 6 inches long and there was an attempt by someone else before to patch it, but the product used fell off in places. I have to add that it is not a small crack, but in the middle of the crack, it is about 1 inch wide, so would invole a patch and dont know if the metal exoxy would fill the void. I may have to replace the tank, but where does a person look for an actual replacement without doing a lot of renos>

Donna D. 09-16-2012 08:06 AM

How about making the hole even bigger and installing a waterproof deck plate?

WEST MARINE - Screw-in Deck Plate, 8", Smooth, White

:shg

Joe MacDonald 09-17-2012 03:58 AM

google rv holding tanks, and you should get a lot of hits. it would be helpful to have dimensions (rough at least) to start from. most tanks were made somewhere so the molds exist. i bought mine from Shirlon Plastics in Ontario Canada, but I know there are many other places around

jimmied 09-17-2012 08:16 AM

Thanks, Joe, for your reply....I have sent an e mail to Shirlon and am waiting for a reply. There is another company that has a "fix" for ABS tanks, only, "Plastic Mend" Plasti-Mend Plastic Repair Products Do you know if the gray tank is ABS or poly, as this product will only work on ABS.
Thanks, Jim

tractors1 09-17-2012 08:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jimmied (Post 334089)
Thanks, Joe, for your reply....I have sent an e mail to Shirlon and am waiting for a reply. There is another company that has a "fix" for ABS tanks, only, "Plastic Mend" Plasti-Mend Plastic Repair Products Do you know if the gray tank is ABS or poly, as this product will only work on ABS.
Thanks, Jim

If it's gray it's probably polypropylene. Most plastic fabrication shops can do poly welding and should be able to fabricate and weld a patch plate right over your crack.
Charlie Y

RogerDat 09-17-2012 09:22 AM

The stuff I was suggesting was for the black ABS not the poly. I thought by "grey" you meant grey water and assumed ABS.

Man 1 inch is a pretty wide crack to fix! I think you would need to have a material patch, and as John pointed out if the tank material itself is deteriorating it may only be a fix that lasts for a little while. Do you have any idea how long the old patch lasted?

I know in the past I have seen tank suppliers that will install fittings to your specifications on a tank, and the books listing tanks in RV shops are pretty thick so it seems like you might be able to find a replacement that if not a perfect match would still be a good fit.

tractors1 09-17-2012 09:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Donna D. (Post 333915)
How about making the hole even bigger and installing a waterproof deck plate?

WEST MARINE - Screw-in Deck Plate, 8", Smooth, White

:shg

Now THAT would make for a REALLY fast draining tank...........................:loltu

Carol H 09-17-2012 11:25 AM

Jim, will leave answers to your question to the grey tank experts but I also wanted to say welcome and hope to see you out at our annual fiberglass trailer meet here in BC. We have a number of Bigfoot owners who I am sure would be happy to share their knowledge.

jimmied 09-17-2012 02:01 PM

Thanks for all the replies and for the invite on the BC Bigfoot Club....We are located in Ladysmith.....I called Industrial Plastics and they can do a weld on it....will probably take it in for them to look at and they MAY be able to do it while on the rig...Thanks, again, Jim

RogerDat 09-17-2012 06:35 PM

Good luck. Keep us posted on what they do and how it works.

HighPlainsDrifter 09-17-2012 10:18 PM

I have a crack on my grey water tank by the drain pipe. I used several layers of 100 percent silicon to patch it. It is ugly but was cheap and easy. Our grey water is clean so even if it did drip a little we figure no big deal. Yours is bigger and due to location and size needs a patch. I would try one of the suggestions to patch it. You could cover the patch in silicon to seal it up good. Who cares how it looks, go for the patch and save a few bucks.

jimmied 09-19-2012 02:22 PM

I found a fabricator in Campbell River, on Vancouver Island In BC that will make a tank to order....All I have to do is bring the tank it, and they will take the measurements off of it....aprox. $300 to $600 as there labour rate is a reasonable $70 per hour. They will look at the crack on the tank and if repairable will weld it...The company is Plastics Plus 250 830 1528 Hours 7:30 am to 3:30 pm
I will probably take it into the local RV dealer and they can remove the tank and fittings, then put everything back together again. Looking better all the time, Jim

Carol H 09-19-2012 04:29 PM

Jim, $600 sounds pretty steep for a grey water tank! Have you called Bigfoot to find out what brand/make yours was and where they purchased them from? Most of the RV manufactures use similar makes/brands and I would be surprised if they made the tank at Bigfoot from scratch. A new 27 gal grey water tank from Fraser Way in Abbotsford for example is only $315 and they are not known as being the cheapest place to buy anything. Their parts catalog can be found here.

jimmied 09-20-2012 06:50 PM

Hi Carol H. Thanks for your suggestion, and I called Bigfoot but they have no records that far back, so suggested I send them a sketch and dimensions which I did just now, so will wait and see what develops. Stay tuned

Joe MacDonald 09-21-2012 05:33 AM

my tank was under 300 from shirlon when i bought it, if found the closest one they had online, measured and drew in the fitting locations and had them make it for me. Bigfoot should be able to at least tell you who their suppliers were


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