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Old 03-04-2017, 12:26 AM   #1
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Default Tank Repair Help Needed Please

Well, I have not even used my Roadtrek yet, when I noticed a water leak. It is happening at a (presumably "fixed" by previous owner) joint where the plastic pipe exits the grey water tank. What products/techniques do you fellows recommend?

Do I try fiberglass & resin?
Do I try ABS cement?
Do I use some kind of silicone product?

( please don't say remove the tank!!!!)
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Old 03-04-2017, 12:55 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gklugie View Post
Well, I have not even used my Roadtrek yet, when I noticed a water leak. It is happening at a (presumably "fixed" by previous owner) joint where the plastic pipe exits the grey water tank. What products/techniques do you fellows recommend?

Do I try fiberglass & resin?
Do I try ABS cement?
Do I use some kind of silicone product?

( please don't say remove the tank!!!!)
You would probably be way ahead if you call Roadtrek with your serial number and hope they can tell you what the tank is made of. Lots of tanks are made of materials that are impossible, or nearly so, to have adhesive stick to. If that is the case, you are down mainly to getting all the repair goop off and trying to find someone to plastic weld it. It will be tough to get a good weld because of all the contamination from the contents as well as the attempts at sealing, though. Replacing the tank, if they are available is also an option, but a bit of work and cost
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Old 03-04-2017, 01:24 PM   #3
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WOW - that's the first time I've seen that particular snafu on any Class B that wasn't an Airstream. What happened is that the pipe sheared away from the tank, probably due to a design or build defect. Someone then tried a very messy patch job of the type that never works. And it's rare to only see one sheared pipe. If your others haven't yet broken away, chances are that they will.

-- The bad news is that there's no effective way to fix it properly without dismounting the tank.
-- The next bad news is that, if you pay someone for that job, forum reports have stated that it's $2,000 to $3,000 for a job done even halfways right (plus not having your rig for weeks to months at a time).
-- The good news is that it's very do-able as a DIY. It's a P.I.T.A., but it's do-able.

Here are our blog posts outlining how to do such a job step by step. Your tank config will be a bit different from ours, but the general approach is the same.

INTERSTATE LEAKING GRAY WATER, PART 1: THE PROBLEM

INTERSTATE LEAKING GRAY WATER, PART 2: TANK REMOVAL

INTERSTATE LEAKING GRAY WATER, PART 3: TANK RE-INSTALL

FIXING THE BLACK / GRAY VENT LINE ON AN AIRSTREAM INTERSTATE

Additionally, if your rig happens to have the Dometic sink where the lid folds down, you may want to consider this safety modification if you've got the tank dismounted:

AIRSTREAM INTERSTATE FAUCET DEFECT: TANK OVERFLOW INSTALL

Basically the procedure involves adding flexible joinery which both achieves the repair and prevents the breakage from ever happening again. Here's a 'before and after' style pic of one of our original sheared lines, and the repair in progress with a flexible gasket in the process of being added and sealed. Good luck with it and let me know if you have any questions.

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Old 03-04-2017, 01:51 PM   #4
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I think that anyone who heads off to do this kind of repair has to be very careful to not confuse an adhesive that worked for someone else with what they are working on. Tanks have been made out numerous materials over the years, and you need to know what it is if you are going to not waste your time and effort. You will also have a butched up job like you started with.

The manufacturers should be able to tell you what material you have, and some of the tanks actually have the material symbols on them. In Interblog's case, you would be able to call the tank manufacturer directly to get a proper repair method.

If you get lucky and the tank is ABS plastic, you will be able to solvent weld it. This would allow adding reinforcements, fittings, etc. It would need to be totally cleaned in the repair areas, though, which can be a big job.

If the tank is LDPE (polyethylene) about the only way to fix it would be plastic welding, as far as I know.

Adhesive type compounds might work to lay on the surface and seal a leak, but won't hold well if they have to hold anything together, from what I have seen. I have seen some tanks that appear to be welded, and then with sealer over the welded area, probably to seal pin holes in the welding.
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Old 03-04-2017, 02:16 PM   #5
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We took the approach that we did only after getting ZERO assistance of any kind from Airstream. I say knock yourself out - by all means, try that route, go back to your manufacturer and make inquiries. But don't hold your breath because anything they say runs the risk of implicating themselves in a product defect, and they're not necessarily going to take that chance.

We knew from anecdotal forum reports that Airstream re-did multiple plumbing jobs under warranty, because "a number" of the tank connections in the 2004-2007 Interstate model year series broke very early on after the rigs were initially purchased. However we'd acquired our rig second hand, and by that time, no warranty remained on ours.

When we broached Airstream about supplying technical guidance or otherwise communicating to us how THEY had completed what we suspect had been numerous repairs - surely they'd be able to help us because they had all this in-house experience - our impression is that they were mostly just interested in playing dumb. We got absolutely nothing and so we invented the above-referenced approach ourselves.
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Old 03-04-2017, 05:34 PM   #6
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I guess I will repeat again. A lack of support from Airstream is not related to support from other sources. A vent line is not a drain line. Getting specific information related to the specific issue is the most important. Knowing the material is vital, and without it there is little chance of an good outcome--look at what the OP has now. How contaminated is that area now? Is it too far gone to save?

I am glad you are OK with your repair, but, IMO, it has little to do with what the OP is looking at.

Tank leaks happen all the time, and the vast majority of repairs do not hold for long, unless they are done by experienced plastic fabricators, or very good DIY folks, from all the information I have seen.

As a sidebar, our 07 Roadtrek tanks have the manufacturer name and part number for the tank on them(like the shown Airstream tanks) , so it would be easy to contact them and get the information about materials and repair procedures . They may even be able to recommend a local shop that is good at that kind of repair, and tell you if the tank is likely unrepairable.
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