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


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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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Old 12-24-2012, 01:20 PM   #29
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Doug, do you have a Scamp Owner's Manual? If not, you'd really find it valuable to have. It has lots of information specific to the Scamp. Things like the route the water lines follow etc. I was lucky, the first owner gave me a binder that had it and all the other brochures etc. for the installed equipment.

I tried to search this site to see if I could find the Scamp manual but I couldn't find it. Perhaps those more skilled than I can find one for you it you don't have one.

Good luck with a thawing, makes our almost freezing temperatures look not too bad

Ron
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Old 12-24-2012, 01:46 PM   #30
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Thanks to all for your support... living alone out in the woods of northern WI, I often forget about holidays... including TODAY!

Anyway, in the unlikely event anybody actually checks the forum on Christmas eve, here is my update:

I used fiberglass bats of insulation instead of solid stryo, and it really packed nicely around the entire base of the camper, leaving an open space of about 18 inches or so in the front to aim the forced air heater into...

Soon enough, both drain valves for the black and grey water tanks thawed and are functioning perfectly. The secondary electric pump for the shower is also working fine. After about 3 hours or so, I have gotten just a few gallons of water to drain from both tanks collectively.

When I hold the flush lever down on the toilet, I can see the upper portion of the black water tank is clearly frozen solid. Because of the fact that the drain is working, though, I plan to try pouring some warm to hot water directly into the tank through the toilet, then immediately draining it out. This might hasten the thawing of the ice from the top down. Because I know I can safely drain back out whatever warm water I add to the tank, I figure I have nothing to lose.

I plan to try the same procedure for the shower drain. Pour warm/hot water in, and use the pump to move it back to the grey water tank and immediately drain it out.

Now for the potentially very bad news... I discovered a layer of ICE on the rear floor where the tanks are located, about 1/2 inch thick, maybe a bit more in places. There is some on the fresh water side, to the rear of the tank, but more on the water heater side, also mostly to the rear. Hopefully this does not mean the water heater is cracked, but instead something much simpler such as a line or fitting that can be replaced inexpensively.

The pump immediately next to the fresh water tank is not powering on when I flip the switch next to the sink, so I'm not sure about that...

Since I am new to this forum, somebody please let me know if being too loquacious is against policy... hahaha... thanks everybody, and I hope your holiday season is spectacular.
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Old 12-24-2012, 02:23 PM   #31
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Doug, do you have a Scamp Owner's Manual? If not, you'd really find it valuable to have. It has lots of information specific to the Scamp. Things like the route the water lines follow etc. I was lucky, the first owner gave me a binder that had it and all the other brochures etc. for the installed equipment.

I tried to search this site to see if I could find the Scamp manual but I couldn't find it. Perhaps those more skilled than I can find one for you it you don't have one.

Good luck with a thawing, makes our almost freezing temperatures look not too bad

Ron

Interesting, in the Document Center there are 14 Trillium documents, 13 Boler documents, 8 Uhaul documents but no Scamp documents and Casita isn't even mentioned. Raz
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Old 12-24-2012, 03:46 PM   #32
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Good luck, you are doing a great job and your step by step tutorial will be really helpful if anyone else runs into this issue. As you say hope the ice you found is from something inexpensive.
Got to ask was there some unusual circumstances that led to the previous owner not winterising as that would be unusual for such a new trailer?
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Old 12-24-2012, 04:19 PM   #33
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Interesting, in the Document Center there are 14 Trillium documents, 13 Boler documents, 8 Uhaul documents but no Scamp documents and Casita isn't even mentioned. Raz

There's lots of Scamp documents. Mostly for appliances under the appliance manufacture. There's a Scamp electrical diagram. I didn't go through the whole document center.

I'm not sure my 2006 Scamp manual would be much help. The biggest help is the wiring diagram (more of a schematic).

I did check, I thought I had remember checking the uploaded wiring against what I had several years ago. I believe there's also the 7 pin connection wiring from the Scamp manual.

If you think it's important I can scan my 2006 manual and send it to one of the moderators to post.
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Old 12-24-2012, 04:26 PM   #34
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Interesting, in the Document Center there are 14 Trillium documents, 13 Boler documents, 8 Uhaul documents but no Scamp documents and Casita isn't even mentioned. Raz
I thought it was just my poor searching abilities that I couldn't locate a Scamp manual. Have to say, I'm a little surprised.

Doug, I'm not sure about the top down thawing. I think that if I was doing it I'd put some warm air into the dump valve and start the bottom thawing so that it can drain easily. But, whatever works.

The pump may still be frozen. It may have blown the fuse when you tried it. The fuse is located in the power converter panel.

The ice doesn't sound good. Hopefully it's just a split water line. You'll know soon enough when you can power up the pump with a little water in the tank.

What do you mean "Christmas Eve"? Heck, on the Wet Coast there's still a few hours of Christmas shopping time left

Ron
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Old 12-24-2012, 05:09 PM   #35
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Scamp Owner's Manual

I just scanned and uploaded my Scamp Owner's Manual to my web sit. You can down load it here.

Moderators---- Feel free do down load and add to the documents section.
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Old 12-24-2012, 05:29 PM   #36
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Thanks to all for your support... living alone out in the woods of northern WI, I often forget about holidays... including TODAY!
When I hold the flush lever down on the toilet, I can see the upper portion of the black water tank is clearly frozen solid. Because of the fact that the drain is working, though, I plan to try pouring some warm to hot water directly into the tank through the toilet, then immediately draining it out. This might hasten the thawing of the ice from the top down. Because I know I can safely drain back out whatever warm water I add to the tank, I figure I have nothing to lose.
One of the things we have done at home is put a hot water tap on the outside of the house. There have been occasions where hot tap water has come in very handy, and this is one of them. A jet of hot water and a little patience can often open up a number of different iced up objects.

I'm not sure how close you are to your household water supply, but a 50 cent fitting will allow you to hook your garden hosed up to the kitchen sink. Some laundry basin type sinks have a fitting like this already installed. You can run hot water right from your house out to your trailer. This should be an easier than buckets and kettles, and it will give you a much bigger hot water supply to work with.

I have had pumps freeze up in my grooming rig too. Sometimes ice will split the head, but sometimes you get lucky. If its not turning, the motor may not be able to turn because of the ice. Motors dont like to be forced to run when something is seized, and you can burn it up. Make sure the ice is 100% gone before you turn it on because the impeller is rubber, and intended for liquids only. Ice can chew it up. I don't know which brand of pump is in your rig, but typically these pumps have a metal or plastic plate on the head. Thats how your 12 volt shur-flo pumps fit together anyway. If you are up to it, you can take the plate off and heat the pump from the inside out.

Derek
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Old 12-24-2012, 07:26 PM   #37
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Smile Be Careful

Merry Christmas

Some persons on here recommend using open flame torches. A questionable practice at best. I know people who have set their house on fire that way.

A hair dryer would be a better solution. It may take longer but the temp is not above ignition temperature. Remember the movie Fahrenheit 451? That is the temp at which paper spontaneously ignites.

You could take the wheels off and replace them with rims without tires. It all depends on how much you need to lower. I did that the first year for our Trillium, but decided it is too much work, especially since I had to also take off the fan on the roof.

http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f...age-35085.html
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Old 12-24-2012, 10:19 PM   #38
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Well, I have to say... after spending the morning, afternoon, and evening on my "skirt and thaw" project, all you guys have made me feel as if I am not so alone after all...

Here's the update:

Stuffing fiberglass insulation bats all around the base really worked fantastic to capture all that heat coming in from the kerosene forced air heater positioned at the front (50,000 BTU Reddy Heater), blowing directly at the underside of the Scamp. My guess is that even though the outside temperature was not much above zero Fahrenheit, the temps underneath the camper were easily 80 degrees or warmer.

AFTER allowing the heat from below to melt a few gallons away from the bottom of the completely frozen black water tank, pouring hot tap water (from my house) directly into the toilet also worked great. The ice began to melt away from the top down immediately, and after about three gallons, the black water tank was fully liquified and then drained.

The fresh water pump DID soon enough also kick in and became fully functional. I was very cautious to only tap the switch on and off until I finally could hear the pump buzzing normally. I believe it just took a little more time for the heat to do its magic on the that pump because it was located further back and away from the heat source.

I had a 1200 watt electric heater positioned in the bathroom, facing the toilet, and the door closed. Combined with all the heat coming up from below, the shower drain soon thawed, and I started pouring hot water down there too, and pumping it back to the grey water tank. This had the same effect as pouring hot water directly into the toilet. The ice melted faster, and I was able to fully drain the grey water tank a bit sooner.

Once I knew the black water tank, the grey water tank, the shower drain, and the water heater tank were all completely thawed, and that both electric pumps were functioning normally, I followed the winterization procedure outlined here: Dan and Dawn's Scamp Travel Trailer under Tech Tips/Winterization.

Here is where a lot of good news gets a bit trampled by a little bad news that might be a lot of bad news... first let me list the good...

No leaks in the Black water tank, Grey water tank, or Fresh water tank.
All lines to/from these tanks, and to/from the shower head/drain seem good. All lines to/from sink and drain seem good.

Okay, the bad... If I keep the water heater inlet valve closed, I can pump RV anti-freeze to the cold faucet at the sink and at the shower. No leaks anywhere. BUT, if I open the water heater inlet valve and turn on the fresh water pump, there is immediately leakage directly UNDER the water heater. The leak is not visible, such as from any of the lines near the inlet valve. That said, the pink RV anti-freeze shows up in those lines when the valve is opened and the pump is on, but then the fluid begins to appear from under the water heater tank. Since I cannot SEE under there, or even FEEL under there, I don't know if the tank itself is cracked, or if there is a connection under it that needs repair. If the latter, it seems to me the tank still needs to come out, and I would love to have info on how to do that...

Anyway, all the tanks have been thawed and drained, the pumps are both working, and there is RV anti-freeze left in the drains, the pumps, and in certain portions of water lines.

If anybody knows exactly how to remove the water heater tank for further evaluation, please let me know... probably won't pursue that until spring, but I like to be prepared... hahaha...

You will notice since nobody scolded my loquaciousness, I am continuing onward...

P.S. The entire procedure from beginning to end, including intermittent periods of waiting, and a 45-minute drive to town and back for more kerosene, and a 30-minute repair of the Reddy Heater, and the introduction of RV anti-freeze into the systems... was about 9 1/2 hours. Not bad at all.
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Old 12-24-2012, 10:44 PM   #39
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Well its not horrible news. You could go without hotwater for a time... Scamp does sell a replacemement for $265 plus shipping... and you do have a few months before camping season to save up for it. Honestly better the water heater then the tanks imho.

best of luck

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Old 12-24-2012, 10:58 PM   #40
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If your hot water heater does not have a bypass line & valves, consider putting them on sometime next year. That way you can flip the valves before winterizing again and you won't need to put any pink stuff into the hot water heater. Residual pink antifreeze in the heater can make your hot water come out pink and sweet (yuck) for quite some time.

Is there any chance that a line connects to the underside of the hot water heater? If so, the leak could be in that area. I sure hope for your sake it isn't a cracked unit. But even if it is, just fix it and go on, make lemonade.
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