Seymour Sprung a Leak

Our trailer Seymour has been in the shop lately to get a new freshwater tank and has been unable to get out on any new adventures. Our problems started during our recent trip out to the Northwest when I noticed that we seemed to run out of freshwater quickly. Looking at the underside of the trailer, I could see a tell-tale drip and water puddling on the ground. The drip was slow at first, but over the next several days increased to a constant dribble, draining the 35-gallon tank overnight.

I couldn’t see the cause of the leak because the tank is encased in a plastic box below and covered by the floor above.  There is a small access hole under a cabinet, though, where I could reach in my hand and feel wetness around one of the flanges at the bottom of the tank.

Admittedly, I thought, I could find some epoxy or putty to patch the tank and slow down the leak until we could get back to Mississippi for a formal repair. I was not so lucky. Apparently, the container is made of polyethylene, the same material of glue bottles, and nothing sticks to it. A call to the Airstream factory confirmed this, and the only option would be to replace the tank – but they were on backorder for six weeks, well after the conclusion of our vacation.

We stopped at an Airstream dealer in Billings, Montana, only to be told that there was no temporary fix to our problem. They did offer to look at the tank the next week, and if they could “spin-in” a new flange, it would take another week longer. We kept moving.

In Glacier National Park, we were camped at a picture-perfect site, with complete privacy, a stream in our backyard, and views of the mountains out our bedroom window. However, there was no water hookup, so I had to continually fill the tank with a 5-gallon can, carried from the campground spigot, only to watch all the water dribble on the ground over the next few hours.

In desperation, I came up with a solution. In Spokane, Washington, I stopped by another Airstream dealer and suggested that they cut off the flange and plug the hole with an expanding rubber stopper, then drill a new hole in the top of the tank and drop in the tubing going to the water pump. Viola, it worked, and we were able to enjoy the rest of our trip without me feeling like a “water boy.”

So, now Seymour is getting a new water tank. When he has recovered and is feeling better, we will once again hit the road for more Airstream adventures. Stay tuned.

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