I knew of the style differences between brands, and expected to replace it with a new Suburban (bonus - they're cheaper anyways!). Extending wiring and gas lines are simple if need be, especially compared to changing the opening size.
I did take a closer look at it yesterday, and was able to easily punch a small screwdriver through the crud, which let all the water drain out. I also noticed that it didn't actually break the drain tube, but did mangle the first thread or two so that I couldn't just screw a new fitting on. The tube appears to have a pretty thick wall compared to typical plumbing pipe, and I'm thinking I may be able to run a pipe tap into it and just use a NPT plug to seal it off if I can't get the threads cleaned up on the outside.
It's definitely not an anode, or the remnants of one. The drain valve on it has a rubber disc that's connected to a screw on the inside, with a hole drilled on the side of the valve. The valve screws on to the end of the drain tube, then the inner screw is run in to press the rubber disc up against the end of the drain tube. Run the screw back out, the disc retracts, and the tank water drains out of the little hole.
I looked at new anodes at the RV parts store, and there's no good way that I can see to retrofit one either.
So I'm pretty sure I just caused terminal damage to my water heater...
I have a 1974 Amerigo truck camper, with a Suburban G 602, 5.7 gallon water heater. I attempted to drain/flush it, and got nary a drop when I opened the drain, but did get some water out of the safety valve on top when I opened it (water heater hasn't ever been on since I bought the camper last summer, so it wasn't hot).
I figured it was just clogged with crud, so I took a socket to the drain valve to get it off and clean it....and promptly snapped it off the drain pipe...oops. The drain pipe is also packed full of calcified stuff, so I figure it's likely safe to assume there's plenty more in the tank as well, and previous owners likely didn't maintain it well.
That said, are these things fairly standard in size? As in if I get a new Suburban 6 gallon model, it should drop in the same size hole? Or are they like the refridgerators where there are a million different sizes, and I need a specific model to retrofit this old stuff?
ASSume it the same there--around here there are lots of old truck campers for sale in the various "used" sites and papers. People just trying to get rid of them instead of paying to have them taken away. Parting them out first often happens.
I got a second tank same as the original for our 1981 camper that way and rigged it up as a grey tank. ( Possible with the 11 ft camper hanging out the back of the truck.) I did get "creative" with the plumbing :)
You can repair those old tanks depending on what leaks. Roof Dicor fixed ours in a couple places.
There's a large crack right at the drain opening radius into the tank body, along with some missing chunks. It appears to be the result of plastic embrittlement (which doesn't surprise me, as I assume this is the original, 30+ year old tank). There are also several layers of fiberglass and epoxy over the cracked area, from the previous owner's attempts at fixing it. He said he was lucky if the repairs held for an entire weekend.
If I put some time into it, I could form a sheet metal patch that would be form fit to the area, and use some epoxy to seal it up, but I figured for the couple hundred bucks it would take to put a new tank in, it wasn't worth the hassle of attempting to repair it yet again. I'm also thinking that given the heat and dryness of the desert (I live in the Phoenix area), most old tanks are likely going to be in the same condition as what I have now. Not necessarily cracked, but definitely well down the road of being brittle. This is only the 2nd Amerigo I've seen like mine in the past few years of looking for one, and neither of them have been anywhere even remotely close to free. Not to mention, I ended up scrapping one of my prior campers due to rot being much more extensive than I realized when I bought it, and getting rid of all the stuff I didn't want was a pretty big undertaking. Hardly worth getting a free tank, lol.
I need to replace the black tank in my '74 Amerigo truck camper, and given the location, I don't have much variance in the width dimension. I measured it as 23" wide at the flange, and 40-something inches long.
The width takes up every bit of space between the far back wall, and the shower drain on the other side, but I could go another 30 inches or so longer if need be. It also screws right through the flange, and the new style tanks I'm seeing specifically say not to drill/screw through the flange or it will leak. I think I'd have to go considerably narrower to accomodate any kind of mounting hardware, and I haven't seen any narrow, yet super long tanks (so I don't lose capacity).
Are there sources for similar style tanks for these old campers, or am I going to have to get really creative?
I too do the TC out of necessity, not desire. Most of the time I also have either a Suzuki Samurai, or an International Scout in tow with me on camping trips, and a toy hauler capable of handling a 5,000lb 4x4 is way, WAY out of my budget. I briefly considered a doubles setup, with a small TT plus the car hauler trailer behind it, but really didn't want to find myself in area at some point that takes a dim view on RV'ers pulling doubles.
Perhaps it stems from the same thing that causes many people to believe that they can't drink water straight out of a river or lake without first purifying it, despite that many of us grew up in a time where we swallowed plenty of the stuff long before environmental regulations went into effect...or we all grew up drinking water straight out of the green garden hose, but we all carry the special white hose to fill our tanks...
I don't know....just like I didn't know if there was anything that would be a cause for concern in a tank that may have had water in it for 6 months or 6 years...
As for drinking it..if I filled up at home, I wouldn't hesitate to drink it, but after years of living on a well, I've found that I can't stand the taste of most city tap water any more, so having bottled water on board is pretty likely anyways.
LOL, just what do you think was stored in the water tank? Nuclear waste?
I just don't know what the do's and don'ts are with these things, as I've never had one before. I've had tupperware in the past that I forgot to clean for a few weeks, and I never could get the funk out of them, lol. I just didn't know if these plastic tanks were the same way. Then again, it's unlikely that the fresh water tank held my special chili mix for a few weeks either....as I also said...I tend to overthink things, lol.
I need to replace the fill valve, as the Arizona sun has done a number to the plastic, and I'm thinking I'll put a new fill hose in as a preventative maintenance kind of thing, then shock the snot out of the system and go. Worse case scenario...I get the squirts, and flush out all those cheeseburgers I've been eating :D
If I get a truck camper, here is how I'd solve that problem. I looked at a number solutions for this:
Moving the spare to the front, installing an Onan where the spare was, teeing it from the vehicle's fuel tank. Problem is... nobody anywhere has done anything like this.
Putting a rack for a generator on the TC. Doable with a 2000 watt Honda, but not a 3000 watt Yamaha.
Adding a second alternator, or going whole hog with a MEPS system. Cool idea, but I don't want to add wear and tear to my vehicle's engine.
Having a custom front hitch receiver/bumper fabricated with a special rack for the generator.
If I go the truck/TC route, I am going to go for a front hitch receiver and a cargo carrier, then plop my 3000 watt Yamaha on that, securing it. This way, I have a generator available at all times, and it is in a secured location.
My truck is a diesel, and diesel generators are stupid expensive. Plus I already have dual fuel tanks, so I'm slightly more restricted on where I can install equipment.
Adding a 2nd alternator doesn't solve the "oops..I ran the radios too long and now my starting battery is dead" problem :D Although, assuming I don't become a colossal dunce out there and drain all the batteries, in theory I should be able to jump the truck from the house batteries. Which, now that I think about it, just making a heavy gauge charging cable setup from the truck to the camper may not be such a bad idea after all.
I also just thought about the solar option, which may well be a much better plan for me than the generator, though it may too become stupid expensive as well once the radio gear becomes involved.
The biggest equipment that I could see running in the field would be a small air compressor, and thinking of the 20 gallon I have in the shop runs on a 15 amp 110VAC circuit, that's roughly 1800 watts full load. Other than that, it would be a handful of lights in the camper, and occasionally recharging batteries as I too, like RoyB, am a ham radio guy. Realistically, if I dropped the ability to run a compressor, I could likely easily get by on a 1K watt generator....which considering I carry a compressor on my 4x4 crawler, it's not an absolute need to have one on the truck too.
While I know I could get the jobsite generator considerably cheaper, as others noted, those suckers are LOUD, even when they're out in the open, and it will only be worse inside of a metal box...and well, I don't want to have to listen to THAT, lol.
If possible and economically viable, I would replace the tank. Even after sanitizing you dont really know whats in there.
If the OP is going to be cautious and replace the FW tank, shouldn't all the water lines be replaced?
If there's something nasty growing in the tank I would think it's also in the water lines?
It's not so much that I AM going to replace it all, but rather that I have a tendency to overthink things often, and just didn't know if this would be one of those times, lol.
That said, I bumped the spring loaded valve a couple times while redoing the wiring on that side of the camper (over pressure valve? over flow valve? I don't know...but water comes out when I press it), and the water that squirted out didn't smell funny, feel slimy, or anything like that. While I haven't done a thorough inspection of the tank yet, it doesn't appear as if anything is growing in it either.
I'm guesstimating this to be around a 20 gallon tank, and a cursory check online shows them to be a little over $100, so it's not a huge financial hurdle to overcome by any means. Getting a new one in though will be a considerable project, given the cabinetry built around it.
As far as the plumbing, it's just flat not going to happen without a near complete gutting of the camper, and I figured being copper, there really wouldn't be anything that could "stick" and survive a thorough flushing. Even if it was plastic, I'd think with some pressure behind it, a sanitizing solution would still adequately fill the pipes to reach every bit of surface area that wouldn't necessarily be the case with the holding tank.
If it is a concern though, I'd just forgo use of the water system for now, and use bottled water until I do rebuild the camper later this year.
With some assistance of two guys on the Amerigo owners page on Facebook, and a wiring color code posted there, I was finally able to get it all figured out. The wiring was direct to the truck plug, and the ground wire to all the marker lights was trashed. I pulled new ground wire to each light, and grounded to the aluminum trim all around the top of the camper, and now have fully functioning lights again.
I didn't run new wire to the tail lights at this time, as I was racing rain storms the entire time, and didn't want to have the skin panels off if a big storm rolled through. I'm also planning on doing a full rebuild this summer during the dry season, at which point I'll be replacing all the wire in the camper...especially the extension cord a prior owner ran to the AC unit, lol.
About 6 months ago I bought a '74 Amerigo camper. There was water in the fresh water holding tank when I bought it, and has been until now when I finally had a chance to start working on some issues before the first time I took it out camping.
The black water holding tank needs to be replaced due to severe cracking, and it got me wondering about what to do with the fresh water tank too. I don't have a clue when the last time the camper was used before I got it, thus I also don't know how long the water has been sitting in the tank.
Should I plan on replacing the fresh water tank and fill hose as a precaution as well, or would I be OK going through the normal flush and sanitizing on it (or perhaps some kind of "deep sanitizing" if there is such a thing)? I realize there is likely still some water in the plumbing as well that would be rather unfeasible to also replace without a full rebuild of the camper, but since it's all copper with the exception of the fill hose, I'm less concerned about those. I'm also prepared for the possible need to replace the hot water heater if the standing water has caused damage to it as well.
Or, I suppose it would be more accurate to ask what the difference is between a normal portable generator and one meant to be permanently installed in an RV? Is it just a different frame that it's mounted in/on?
My camper is an old Amerigo truck camper without an on-board generator. My electrical needs would be pretty simple, as I generally don't use AC when camping, and rarely to never go to campgrounds (I have a reservation at one for the Memorial Day weekend as part of an annual 4x4 club run, which is the first time I will have stepped foot inside a camp ground in about 25 years). I've just recently "upgraded" to the truck campers a few years ago after many years of just using a truck bed tent, and even then was using 70's bare bones shell campers (no built in electrical or plumbing).
I really just want something to recharge the house batteries occasionally, a back up plan just in case the truck batteries go flat after sitting for a while out in the middle of nowhere, or the ability to run electrical power equipment if the need to repair one of the 4x4s at camp arises.
Being that my truck has a flat bed on it, I was planning on getting something like a 2K watt generator, and placing it in an underbed storage box for slightly better theft resistance, and to keep it out of the elements.
Can I put something like the Honda EU2000i generator in one of these boxes with the exhaust and intake plumbed outside of the box, along with electrical wiring connected to the camper, and leave it there permanently, or should I be looking at the generators intended to be mounted into an RV for this kind of setup?
You're required to adhere to the regulations of the state that your vehicle is registered in. Just like how several states require front license plates on vehicles, but as I'm registered in Arizona that doesn't require the front plate, I don't need the front if I travel to one of those states. That said, if an officer is looking for excuses, that COULD be used as probable cause to pull you over (and as such, Arizona will provide a legal front plate if requested).
In your case, I'd base it on whether the rear of the camper overhangs the bumper enough to obscure the view of your plate. If it does, move it to the camper. Otherwise, leave it on the truck. Such as with my Amerigo - it's 11.5 feet long, and drops down over the rear of the bed by several inches. If I had it on a regular truck, it would block at least half of the plate, and I'd want to move it to the camper. As it is now though, between my flat bed, and deep drop rear bumper, it sits high enough that the plate isn't blocked, and I leave it on the truck. Same as with my Six-Pack camper. It's only 6.5 feet long (not counting the cabover section), and has zero overhang (if I didn't have the bedliner in the truck, I could actually close the tailgate with the camper loaded), so I leave the plate on the truck with that one as well.
What I used to do with my last Six-Pack that overhung the plate was request the 2nd front plate from the state, then left that one on the camper so I didn't have to remember to swap the plate back and forth when I loaded/unloaded the camper. Of course, you'll only want to do this if you always haul with the same truck....I don't, and had a lovely meeting with Officer Friendly at one point who thought I was pulling something shady with a plate on the camper that didn't match the truck I was hauling it with, lol.
Some time ago I picked up a '70-something Amerigo, and the internal wiring was an absolute mess at the service panel...lots of twisted and taped wires going everywhere...I've sinced removed it all to clean it up, and re-terminate the wiring properly.
I have a few wires left that I haven't been able to identify yet (and not connected to anything at the panel) and I also don't have fuctioning running lights, tail lights, or turn signals.
Would these wires normally be connected straight to their respective lights from the truck connector, or would they typically go through the service panel? I'm thinking it would make more sense to wire direct, but I just don't know how campers are typically set up.
Oops, waited too long between beginning my response, and actually posting it, lol.
Reality Check - I like that set up, and the basic idea of what I was thinking. I hadn't thought about just studding it and dropping it in though. I was stuck thinking about how I could secure the rails without having open threaded holes collecting crud/corroding or bolt heads sticking up when the camper wasn't on the bed. But just having open holes and dropping the rails in when needed? That makes perfect sense now.
Steel diamond plate. I haven't even attempted to put it on the truck yet, as I still remember the heck of a time I had trying to get it lined up on the trailer. Centering it left to right wasn't so much of an issue as it was getting it on straight. Such as the front of the camper pointing towards 1 or 2 o'clock, instead of straight on at 12 o'clock.
I think part of it was just not having a clear view of the very back of the trailer, but I think a bigger part is not having a clear reference of the sides of the trailer compared to the sides of the camper like you'd have with the wheel wells of a pick up bed, and if it got off, it would only be a degree or two that would be easily straightened out once it came into contact with the front of the bed. I never had much of an issue getting my campers into pickup beds, but then they were also stripped down models going into 1/2 ton trucks. Or in other words, light enough that I could dang near pick up the end myself and slide it over, lol. Not something that I want to attempt with a 12 foot Amerigo.
Just drug home a F350 truck with flatbed as my "new-to-me" camper hauler/tow rig. When I drug home my camper on a flatbed trailer, I found it was a royal pain in the rear attempting to get the camper centered and straight on the trail. I found it out yet again when I tried loading the camper and my Samurai on the same trailer (which led to buying the F350,lol). I spent an hour repositioning the trailer under the camper before finally throwing in the towel, and saying it being cocked over was good enough for the testing...
I suspect putting it on a flatbed will be slightly easier, as far as maneuvering goes, but I'm still wondering if I should set up some kind of angle iron/rail system to help center it up, and keep it from sliding over on the flatbed?
Ok, obviously I'm not explaining things well enough here....I don't care about the legal aspect. Just forget about it..I don't know how to explain it any clearer. Or not..but I'm not coming back to check this thread again.
Picked up a '73 Amerigo slide in camper over the weekend, and found out my trailer is just over 102" wide across the fenders...which meant getting the camper on the trailer was a bit...interesting (my current tow rig is a 1/2 ton shortbed, and this camper was about 50 miles away from home...I didn't think it would be a wise idea to attempt to put it in the bed of the truck to get it home).
The trailer is a 20 foot long flat deck trailer, with just under 80" between the fenders, with 6 lug square beam axles (well, kinda square...looks kind of like a really thick I beam. I'm not sure how to describe it, but it IS a proper trailer beam axle..looks like every other beam trailer axle I've seen, with the curve in the axle). It also has the old school Warner brakes on it, with the rather large center hub, but common 6 lug bolt pattern. I bought this trailer as a home built, and it was built any way but correct when I got it. I completely stripped it down to nothing but the main channel side beams, and front channel cross beam, then rebuilt it like a modern 10K trailer would be, using the same axles. I built the fenders so that the outside edge of the fender was the exact width as the outside edge of the tires. So the outside to outside tire measurement is the same as the outside to outside fender measurement - 102".
I've recently learned that the maximum legal limit is 8 feet, or 96 inches, leaving me approximately 6" wider than legal. I'm running the typical cheap steel white spoke trailer rims on it, which makes me wonder if I'm supposed to be running a high offset wheel on these axles, like a modern 4WD or FWD style wheel? I certainly have the clearance between the frame and inside tire edge now to add a few more inches of backspacing to the wheels, and that would get me under the legal width limit.
I'm not so much concerned about getting stopped by the police and having a tape measure whipped out, but rather wondering if I'll do long term damage to the axles and/or bearings of the hub by running the incorrect wheels?