03-26-2016, 03:48 PM
Join Date: Nov 2008
Fresh Water Tank Cover
This is the fifth of five links that address my efforts to clean, and keep clean, my 17 footer fresh water tank.
This is the first link. http://www.escapeforum.org/forums/f8/fresh-water-tank-extreme-maintenance-7425.html#post134332
While scrubbing the inside of my fresh water tank as discussed in this other post (TBD), I was very surprised to see a lot of green cooties apparently enjoying life in the tank. There was also quite a bit of black growth in the tank but I couldn’t tell if it was black mold or dead green stuff. The fresh water tank is probably a good hydroponic green house; lots of light, humid and wet. I intend to keep my tank clean and as dry as I can get it, and I figure keeping it dark can only help. I know some cooties like the dark, but you can’t kill everything all the time, sometimes you just gotta kill what you can, when you can…
I decided that life would be better for me, and harder for the cooties, if I could block sunlight from the fresh water tank. I decided painting would not work as the low density polyethylene (LDPE) plastic that I assume the tank is made from is impervious to most chemicals and paint would not effectively stick.
I therefore made a sunscreen out of some old nylon cloth, thick black plastic, excess glue and black Gorilla tape I happened to have in the garage. The nylon cloth is robust but not light tight. The black plastic is light tight but not robust. The Gorilla tape is a strong duct tape. The combination is a robust, light tight cover.
I covered the nylon cloth with some extra glues I had lying about and laid the black plastic on top. I taped the edges down with Gorilla tape and put the cover under a mattress for a few days to set. It came out quite nice. I think the cover is robust enough to leave in place but I will remove it when the trailer is being used.
The first picture is the cover, the second picture shows the cover installed. Since I am not going to drive with it installed, it is not stretched out tight over the tank.
The left, right and back cover edges are held onto the trailer frame with strong magnets I salvaged from old computer hard drives. There are two magnets on each side and three on the back. These are strong magnets and it is best to keep them away from each other, and fingertips! I transport them separated on a short length of thin steel rail and slide them off as needed.
The front cover edge is held in place with a 4 feet long piece of pipe foam insulation. If you get under a 17 footer you can see that there is a nice little pocket between the front of the water tank and the step in the fiberglass bottom of the trailer. The pipe foam insulation fits nice and tight in that gap and holds the cover well.
Installing the cover is pretty easy. I install the front edge and pipe foam first then the magnets on one side, the back and other side. When taking it off I will start at the front as it will be easier to slide under the trailer with the cover tacked into place.
I expect the cover will keep green cooties from growing and hinder black cooties from thriving. If I ever dry camp in freezing temperatures I may bring the cover a ground cloth along. Maybe it would help keep the tank from freezing.
It is easy to install and gives me a chance to inspect the bottom of the trailer. I have the high lift axle so there is adequate space to work.