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Old 06-11-2017, 05:01 PM   #1
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Freshwater Tank Preemptive Strike

I'm the proud owner of a new Rockwood 2104S. We've taken it out for a weekend shakedown cruise at Mustang Island State Park in Texas (after many upgrades and mods, but that's another post ). So far we love the trailer, even the dog approves. We'll be using it for fun as well as the practical purpose of hurricane evacuation should a storm approach my area.
Thanks to this priceless forum, I've learned a great deal about my new home away from home, including the issue of a full freshwater tank possibly departing from it's proper home during transport. I plan on travelling with the tank empty most of the time, but during an evac or a dry camping trip to the Padre Island National Seashore, I'll want to leave with a full tank.
I know there have been numerous attempts at addressing this issue, and I've been inspired by all of them. Unfortunately I'm not a welder and my fabrication skills are limited, but I can be creative, so I developed my own technique to address this issue...at least I hope.
First, a caveat. I have no idea if this will work because I haven't tested it yet, but I hope this adds a little more support to the tank to prevent failure of the factory supports. A picture, or two, is worth a thousand more words:





The parts list:
A 12 foot package of welded (not twisted) galvanized chain.
Another ten feet of 3/4" PEX tubing. The chain should just fit inside.
2 turnbuckles with 1/4" threaded shafts.
2 nuts that fit on the turnbuckles to act as jam nuts.
4 S-hooks, one or two gauges heavier than the chain.
2 small diameter pool noodles.

That's right...pool noodles. I know there might be a long term durability issue as that foam isn't designed for such a purpose. I'll have to wait and see how well they hold up.
The pictures more or less show the installation, it's pretty straightforward. The PEX runs the full length as one piece, while the noodles are cut to fit between the center supports. The advantage of the chain is there is some springiness still present after tightening, that will hopefully allow the tank to expand without damaging the floor like some other projects have done.
My biggest concern that if a chain should break it could get wrapped up in a wheel. I might go up a gauge or two, but first I need to see what happens when I fill the tank. The trailer is in storage so I don't have access to a water faucet, but we have a trip planned in July and I'll try it out then.

Again, I have no idea how well this is going to work so do this at your own risk. Better still, wait till I test it out long term. I'll be sure to keep everyone updated on the results.
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Old 06-11-2017, 05:44 PM   #2
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Looks like it should work. My concern is the S hooks and turnbuckles as to the weight they can support. If that is a 40 gal. Tank you have about 334lbs they are holding. Should not be a problem if they are just helping, but if they need to save the whole deal, well something welded closed would make me feel better. Right now my sewer storage fence post is helping keep mine in place.
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Old 06-11-2017, 06:00 PM   #3
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I love the chain idea. Heavier chains would have to bend a frame before it would fail. Inexpensive and easy to install. High strength bolts would work to tighten the chains instead of the hooks. Great Idea.

Your tanks look better secure than just straps holding it from the factory anyway.
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Old 06-13-2017, 11:33 AM   #4
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it is a noble attempt, but perhaps a futile one.

If the main supports start to bend then I see only 3 possible outcomes
- the chain stretches and allows the supports to bend
- the S hook straightens out and allows the supports to bend
- the chains snap

Try laying under it and pulling yourself up with one of the chains - does it stay in contact with the tank or does it flex down?
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Old 06-13-2017, 11:57 AM   #5
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I definitely like the idea. No welding or drilling that could be used as an excuse to void the warranty. Time will tell if it works. If not, then maybe just going larger on the hardware would help.
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Old 06-13-2017, 12:08 PM   #6
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i hate to be negative as this is a great idea. With that said, my tank post bent on the on the metal bracket on above the Green pool noodle. It bent out. so once that happens, the extra support will keep it from falling, but it wont stop the damage.

Basically, its not the weight of the water when stationary, its the force of the water when it moves, ie, after you fill and head to your site
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Old 06-13-2017, 12:40 PM   #7
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I would use 1/2" all thread rod with threaded couplings at the ends instead of the chain.

.
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Old 06-13-2017, 12:41 PM   #8
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IMHO, those chains together should easily support ~ 400 pounds, especially if they are tightened evenly so one doesn't do all the work. Not so sure about those s hooks and turnbuckles. How about using a hook for a bigger chain with a narrow opening just enough to hook over the frame and a much heavier turnbuckle on the other end with a big hook so the chains could be adjusted. Let us know what happens when you try to do a "pull up" jay
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Old 06-13-2017, 12:45 PM   #9
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Just squeeze them shut with a big pair of pliers .I think that it will help with everything working together. Has to be better than what was there.
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Old 06-13-2017, 01:09 PM   #10
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Might be overkill but what about a ratchet load binder with a chain?
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Old 06-13-2017, 01:23 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkosu04 View Post
it is a noble attempt, but perhaps a futile one.

If the main supports start to bend then I see only 3 possible outcomes
- the chain stretches and allows the supports to bend
- the S hook straightens out and allows the supports to bend
- the chains snap

Try laying under it and pulling yourself up with one of the chains - does it stay in contact with the tank or does it flex down?
I see your point, but I'm not replacing the support structure, I'm merely trying to reinforce what is already there. Yes, there is some flex in the chains, but that's with the tank empty. When full the tank expands quite a bit, I'm interested to see how the chains feel then.
The first S-hooks I used were undersized, so I went up considerably. The hooks there now won't bend at all. I'm still not sure about the gauge of the chain, I might up-size that too and use 1" tubing. A break in the chain would be a bad thing.
I'm also thinking about adding better support to the tank itself rather than just the pool noodles. I like the idea of thin boards, something like laminate flooring planks but a bit more durable.
This is definitely a work in progress, I'm sure I'll be changing things up over time. Thanks all for the input!
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Old 06-13-2017, 02:25 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by howie70 View Post
Might be overkill but what about a ratchet load binder with a chain?
The problem with a chain binder is the light frames of the trailers you will bend the frame easily. You could use beam clamps and threaded rod but the largest beam clamp I found accepts 3/8 inch rod. At the distance of frame rail to frame rail you would have a lot of flex in the 3/8 rod.

The best bet is to change out the supporting angle iron with a heavier piece and bolting the ends together. Where the angles go under the tank you could add more angles, spacing them about a foot apart. I would put one under each end of the tank and place 3 or 4 evenly under the middle, spaced evenly.

Just my 2 cents worth as I don't use the FW tank.
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Old 06-13-2017, 08:03 PM   #13
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The problem with a chain binder is the light frames of the trailers you will bend the frame easily. You could use beam clamps and threaded rod but the largest beam clamp I found accepts 3/8 inch rod. At the distance of frame rail to frame rail you would have a lot of flex in the 3/8 rod.


The fix would be not to tighten the chain binder down too tight. Also, you can get beam clamps that are threaded for 1/2", but imo I would rather have a taut chain than all thread spanning 6'.
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Old 06-13-2017, 10:38 PM   #14
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I think you will be fine. The two cross straps put on by the factory add a lot of strength, and your add on just adds more. The problems I have seen occurred on those light weight supports when they did not have the cross straps.
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Old 06-14-2017, 06:19 AM   #15
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Freshwater Tank Preemptive Strike

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scrapper View Post
The problem with a chain binder is the light frames of the trailers you will bend the frame easily. You could use beam clamps and threaded rod but the largest beam clamp I found accepts 3/8 inch rod. At the distance of frame rail to frame rail you would have a lot of flex in the 3/8 rod.

The best bet is to change out the supporting angle iron with a heavier piece and bolting the ends together. Where the angles go under the tank you could add more angles, spacing them about a foot apart. I would put one under each end of the tank and place 3 or 4 evenly under the middle, spaced evenly.

Just my 2 cents worth as I don't use the FW tank.


Anvil International fig 86 blk or galv we stock them up to 3/4"

http://www.anvilintl.com/usercontent...-SUB-FIG86.pdf
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Old 06-14-2017, 07:59 PM   #16
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While the idea is good, I doubt that the turnbuckles will hold. The problem is that the chain, turnbuckles and hooks are under tension. If the tank starts sagging, it applies force on the chain that can be tens to hundreds of times larger than the weight on the chain.

You also see this principle in clotheslines. If you set it up very very tight, when clothes are hung in the middle, the line will break. Leave a little slack in it and it won't break.

Physics rules!

Phil
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Old 06-14-2017, 08:45 PM   #17
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Anvil International fig 86 blk or galv we stock them up to 3/4"

http://www.anvilintl.com/usercontent...-SUB-FIG86.pdf
That type is for hanging items from a beam. Used a lot hanging Conduit, J-boxes, control panels, etc. They are not good for suspending stuff from across an open space. There would be too much side force on it, they would eventually fall off.

The second part of my post would be your best bet. Others have already done similar.

"Change out the supporting angle iron with a heavier piece and bolting the ends together. Where the angles go under the tank you could add more angles, spacing them about a foot apart. I would put one under each end of the tank and place 3 or 4 evenly under the middle, spaced evenly"
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Old 06-15-2017, 12:35 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by pmsherman View Post
While the idea is good, I doubt that the turnbuckles will hold. The problem is that the chain, turnbuckles and hooks are under tension. If the tank starts sagging, it applies force on the chain that can be tens to hundreds of times larger than the weight on the chain.

You also see this principle in clotheslines. If you set it up very very tight, when clothes are hung in the middle, the line will break. Leave a little slack in it and it won't break.

Physics rules!

Phil
I thought about that, which is why I'm going to fill the tank and see how much stress it puts on the chains. I'll probably slack the chains off before adding water, then re-tension when the tank is full.

Thanks!
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Old 07-16-2017, 09:12 AM   #19
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Cents worth

What you have installed is quite well done, however from a vertical support to your fresh water tank perspective, totally ineffective. Consider adding three additional cross braces. Also consider installing stops that keep the tank centered in the TT frame (same distance from each set of wheels). Also ensure sensor wires and hoses are well routed and not strained or rubbing on things.
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