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Old 03-14-2018, 11:49 AM   #1
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Fresh water tank collapsed through underbelly

I was recently filling the fresh water tank on my 2009 3100RK 5th wheel and the tank collapsed through the underbelly. I had no idea this was even a risk, having overfilled tanks for many years on many units, including this one.

When the tech came out to assess the repair, we discovered the problem. The stout angle iron intended to support the water tank had been totally compromised by the Forest River installers when they cut out a section of it to accommodate the hoses connecting to the tank. How incredibly stupid!

Lessons learned: 1. stand by your water tank as you fill it. 2. Don't trust the quality of your RV build.
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Old 03-14-2018, 12:01 PM   #2
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Just from looking at the photo, it appears the slot that was cut out allowed the angle iron to bend horizontally outward, allowing the tank to fall out. Guessing....
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Old 03-14-2018, 12:05 PM   #3
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Certainly the compromising of the angle iron didn't help... but... it's not always the fault of the factory modifications.

I've seen several forum reports of folks OVERFILLING the tanks either because the vent hose is/was blocked/kinked or because the vent hose simply wasn't big enough to allow air to escape the tank as quickly as the water going into the tank. Consequently the tank swells and then either compromises the straps which hold the tank in place or in some instances, the tank actually swells enough that it separates the floor from the frame.

In any case, it's my opinion that filling the tank s l o w l y is the best practice.
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Old 03-14-2018, 12:21 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by 5picker View Post
Certainly the compromising of the angle iron didn't help... but... it's not always the fault of the factory modifications.

I've seen several forum reports of folks OVERFILLING the tanks either because the vent hose is/was blocked/kinked or because the vent hose simply wasn't big enough to allow air to escape the tank as quickly as the water going into the tank. Consequently the tank swells and then either compromises the straps which hold the tank in place or in some instances, the tank actually swells enough that it separates the floor from the frame.

In any case, it's my opinion that filling the tank s l o w l y is the best practice.
Me!

Partly dealer fault for leaving it full after winterizing. Mostly dealer fault for almost totally blocking the overflow hose between tank and angle iron support. Mostly my fault.

Warranty manager told me that the overflow can NOT keep up with most home water pressures, and it WILL either buckle the supports or go upwards and buckle the floor, which is way more expensive.
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Old 03-15-2018, 06:15 AM   #5
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Me!

Partly dealer fault for leaving it full after winterizing. Mostly dealer fault for almost totally blocking the overflow hose between tank and angle iron support. Mostly my fault.

Warranty manager told me that the overflow can NOT keep up with most home water pressures, and it WILL either buckle the supports or go upwards and buckle the floor, which is way more expensive.
I disagree with this statement, at least as my 2017 3850RL is designed from the factory. The water inlet is a single 3/8" and/or 1/2" pipe. and the overflow is two pipes of the same diameter as the inlet, so, assuming overflows are not blocked, there should never be a case of positive pressure in the water tank due to household water pressure when filling the tank.

Also, just for clarification, on my 2017, the water tank is not gravity fill with standard overflow, its filled via the water docking station. If you are talking about gravity fill and overflow, then none of what I said is true for your situation.
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Old 03-15-2018, 12:48 PM   #6
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Overfilling Water Tank

On my Wildwood TT, I fill the tank fairly fast. I have noticed that air escapes both through the overflow, which is quite small, but also through the main fill pipe. The water entering the fill pipe doesn't take up all the room in the pipe, so air is allowed to bubble up and exhaust.
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Old 03-15-2018, 05:30 PM   #7
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Yea, i think its important to clarify in this thread if gravity fill vs power fill. My old TT was gravity fill, and I agree with the comments about being able to cram more water in than the overflow would let out. I suspect that is the situation with the OP.
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Old 03-15-2018, 05:32 PM   #8
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years ago, with my Southwind Class A, I learned to fill a bit at a time, then stop filling and let the air escape. I got drenched a few times before i learned this!
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Old 03-15-2018, 05:34 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by djousma View Post
I disagree with this statement, at least as my 2017 3850RL is designed from the factory. The water inlet is a single 3/8" and/or 1/2" pipe. and the overflow is two pipes of the same diameter as the inlet, so, assuming overflows are not blocked, there should never be a case of positive pressure in the water tank due to household water pressure when filling the tank.

Also, just for clarification, on my 2017, the water tank is not gravity fill with standard overflow, its filled via the water docking station. If you are talking about gravity fill and overflow, then none of what I said is true for your situation.
It's filled via the docking station, and it has only one overflow 'tube'. Really it's just a piece of garden hose cut to a length. It was pinched between tank and angle iron from factory. Don't know how yours is made.

Here is the tank after it came out.
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Old 03-15-2018, 05:57 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by 5picker View Post
Certainly the compromising of the angle iron didn't help... but... it's not always the fault of the factory modifications.

I've seen several forum reports of folks OVERFILLING the tanks either because the vent hose is/was blocked/kinked or because the vent hose simply wasn't big enough to allow air to escape the tank as quickly as the water going into the tank. Consequently the tank swells and then either compromises the straps which hold the tank in place or in some instances, the tank actually swells enough that it separates the floor from the frame.

In any case, it's my opinion that filling the tank s l o w l y is the best practice.
I had a tank explode because this bracket was badly made (bad and ineffective welds) and allowed the tank to move around, which in turn rubbed a hole through the upper edge, which eventually gave way when it was filled and the tank split from end to end.

This is a manufacturing defect and apparently a common one which no one seems to want to own. It cost me heaps to replace it.
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Old 03-15-2018, 05:58 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by djousma View Post
Yea, i think its important to clarify in this thread if gravity fill vs power fill. My old TT was gravity fill, and I agree with the comments about being able to cram more water in than the overflow would let out. I suspect that is the situation with the OP.
It makes no difference, mains water pressure of gravity, once it fills it fills. The weight is the same.
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Old 03-15-2018, 07:18 PM   #12
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Fact is, never should have happened, fast fill slow fill doesn't matter. All of these systems should be designed to accomodate any situation whether it be be operator mistake or whatever. It's called overbuild, something the industry doesn't seem to be able to to come to terms with. Build it cheap, out the door.
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Old 03-15-2018, 09:07 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by cariboo camper View Post
Fact is, never should have happened, fast fill slow fill doesn't matter. All of these systems should be designed to accomodate any situation whether it be be operator mistake or whatever. It's called overbuild, something the industry doesn't seem to be able to to come to terms with. Build it cheap, out the door.
Couldn't agree more.
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Old 03-16-2018, 12:23 AM   #14
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Can't call that "angle iron" any longer!

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Originally Posted by Buzzroll View Post
I was recently filling the fresh water tank on my 2009 3100RK 5th wheel and the tank collapsed through the underbelly....
When the tech came out to assess the repair, we discovered the problem. The stout angle iron intended to support the water tank had been totally compromised by the Forest River installers when they cut out a section of it to accommodate the hoses connecting to the tank. How incredibly stupid
The way the factory cut that piece of angle iron, it can no longer even be called "angle iron". They removed the angled piece completely, which resulted in a single straight band of metal with no angle for strength. The original uncut support might have been sufficient to bear the weight of a full water tank, but not with an entire section cut out. When they repair it - which they should, at no cost to you - they'd best not use that technique again, or you'll be back soon with the same problem! Unbelievable!
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Old 03-25-2018, 07:01 PM   #15
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We lost our fresh water tank in 2015 while pulling out of our driveway. The trailer was less then six months old at the time. We filled the tank prior to leaving. As we were pulling onto the road we heard and felt a boom. The tank fell through the bottom and was dragging. I was able to drain the tank and remove it and we enjoyed our trip. FR sent a tech to our dealer with a new tank, new brackets, hoses and coroplast. The brackets holding the tank were never secured causing the tank to drop out. FR did a great job fixing the issue, welded the bracket in the time. They replaced all of the coroplast and even filled all gaps with expandable foam and then painted it black to match. Since that in incident I've never filled the tank full, still a little nervous even though I k ow it won't fall out.
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Old 03-25-2018, 10:36 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Sierra360PDEK View Post
We lost our fresh water tank in 2015 while pulling out of our driveway. The trailer was less then six months old at the time. We filled the tank prior to leaving. As we were pulling onto the road we heard and felt a boom. The tank fell through the bottom and was dragging. I was able to drain the tank and remove it and we enjoyed our trip. FR sent a tech to our dealer with a new tank, new brackets, hoses and coroplast. The brackets holding the tank were never secured causing the tank to drop out. FR did a great job fixing the issue, welded the bracket in the time. They replaced all of the coroplast and even filled all gaps with expandable foam and then painted it black to match. Since that in incident I've never filled the tank full, still a little nervous even though I k ow it won't fall out.
When my tank exploded, not only did FR not want to travel the 6000 miles to me but the local dealer, the guy who imports these things, whom we bought it from and who 'owns' the warranty, refused to even talk to me about it, just hung up. I suppose that is the penalty for buying an imported product not a local, buying from a front yard dealer (he sells from his 300 acre property in the country) and not a commercial sales yard AND wanting bigger and better than what the local product range had to offer is (no one here makes units like FR - similar but smaller, not the same).
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Old 03-25-2018, 10:51 PM   #17
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Every RV I buy get's the coroplast cover dropped so I can reinforce the water tanks mounts.

Haven't had a problem since this first occurred to me about 4 campers ago.
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Old 03-26-2018, 06:52 AM   #18
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Every RV I buy get's the coroplast cover dropped so I can reinforce the water tanks mounts.

Haven't had a problem since this first occurred to me about 4 campers ago.
And who pays for that work?
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Old 03-26-2018, 07:27 AM   #19
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Every RV I buy get's the coroplast cover dropped so I can reinforce the water tanks mounts.

Haven't had a problem since this first occurred to me about 4 campers ago.
How do you go about reinforcing your tank? On ours it's supported at the front & rear edge with frame rails. Then there's two metal straps that go across the tank from front to back. I'd like to beef up these supports - especially the straps.
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Old 03-26-2018, 05:12 PM   #20
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How do you go about reinforcing your tank? On ours it's supported at the front & rear edge with frame rails. Then there's two metal straps that go across the tank from front to back. I'd like to beef up these supports - especially the straps.
It is those frame rails that fail, they did on mine. Where they are bent at the ends for attaching to the chassis, the welds broke. The straps in the middle should be OK. In general I think that bracket is not sufficiently engineered for the job. It is the bare necessity only. I have since replaced this with a better engineered one, larger gauge steel, wider angle, better anchoring at the chassis (because the other was a mess). I also replaced the split poly tank with a stainless steel one. Expensive and I think I was talked into it but am happy because now I won't get any wearing, even if it does float on the mounting. I also got them to install baffles inside the tank to stop the pounding the sloshing water creates when on the move. It's fun when filling it. If I forget and leave the tap running while doing other prep work inside the TT (as I might), I can hear the water going in and when it pops with the air pressure, (even with the overflows and vents open), it bounces the floor a little BUT it doesn't explode.
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