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Old 03-07-2011, 10:39 PM   #1
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Patching a fresh water tank puncture?

I have to repair a puncture in my Escape's water tank and I ran across a suggestion on another RV forum of using hot glue. The reasoning was that he tank is polyethelene, and the glue sticks are also poly, so theystuydk well together. The post also suggested, I believe, flame polishing the torn edge with a small butane torch. I guess that melts the edge a little and provides a smoother attachment point. I did not make notes or links because this wasn't a problem I had at the time I read the post!

Anyone tried this? The 10 gallon tank I took out of the U-haul also appeared to be patched at least two different ways. One way did look like it was done with a hot glue gun. The other method looked like it involved RTV and some kind of (maybe) rubber patch.

If I had the clearance I could just drill and tap it and install a plug, but the plumbing that actually created the hole is too close by to make that practical.

Regards,

Matt
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Old 03-08-2011, 12:09 AM   #2
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Re: Patching a fresh water tank puncture?

Any time I've tried to use heat to effect a repair, it appears that I'm just about there and then the material being heated suddenly pulls back and makes an even bigger hole.

Check out marinetex.com

They make all sorts of fillers etc. for the marine industry.

Marine Tex® epoxy systems repair, bond and fill fiberglass, aluminum, plastics such as PVC, ABS, polyethylene (Starboard® Marine Building Sheet), inflatables, glass, masonry, ceramics, wood, dissimilar materials and more! Dependable high-strength epoxy products, coupled with a knowledgeable technical staff provide the confidence to tackle almost any project.

I owned a boat before I came to my senses.

baglo
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Old 03-08-2011, 07:12 AM   #3
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Re: Patching a fresh water tank puncture?

I replied over on FiberglassRV"

"Since it's for the fresh water tank and I would imagine you will use the water for drinking/cooking, may I suggest you just make certain the solution you use for the repair is also for "food grade." Don't want to ingest a bunch of bad-for-you chemicals! The gray water tank would obviously be less of a problem."
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Old 03-08-2011, 02:37 PM   #4
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Re: Patching a fresh water tank puncture?

Quote:
Originally Posted by gbaglo
Any time I've tried to use heat to effect a repair, it appears that I'm just about there and then the material being heated suddenly pulls back and makes an even bigger hole.

Check out marinetex.com

They make all sorts of fillers etc. for the marine industry.

I owned a boat before I came to my senses.

baglo
ditto to what baglo says!!! Heat and any other material has the habit of unintended consequences.

I still own the boat though (and have to figure out how to tow it with the escape or


Gord (less than 4 months to go)
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Old 03-09-2011, 01:30 AM   #5
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Re: Patching a fresh water tank puncture?

I'm afraid epoxy doesn't stick well to polyethelene. I checked the Marinetex website and they suggest the flame polish, so I don't think I can get away from heat:

Quote:
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How to bond or seal polyethylene plastic joints:

-Product: Marine-Tex FlexSet

-Materials: Propane torch with flame spreader, small cup of water.

-Conditions: Minimum 65?F temperature, 48 hours to fully cure

-Read instructions on packaging. Prep polyethylene by using the 'flame-treatment' method. There is a one hour window to bond the materials after flame treating the polyethylene. Apply epoxy to the bonding surface, leaving minimum of 1/16" of material between joint. Use mechanical means to support contact between the joints while the epoxy cures. Let the application sit for the full cure time.
Apparently, polyethylene is used as a mold release for epoxy, and the little cups and mixing tools are typically poly because most adhesives don't stick well to poly. I may have to go heat weld or hot glue. Apparently it sticks very well to itself. I will keep you posted.

Regards,

Matt
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Old 03-09-2011, 09:57 AM   #6
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Re: Patching a fresh water tank puncture?

Although it takes some time to learn the necessary skill, plastic welding is one of the best repair techniques. The welder consists of a heater hooked up to an air supply - blows a stream of hot air through a fine nozzle. You use fillers just as you would with brazing or welding.
Example.

I have also seen versions that work like a soldering gun without an air supply, but have only used the air supplied version.
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Old 03-09-2011, 10:54 AM   #7
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Re: Patching a fresh water tank puncture?

That's a very interesting tool. I don't have an application for it, but I want one! I assume you have to buy "welding rods" of the same amterial you are attempting to weld?

Dave
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Old 03-09-2011, 11:03 AM   #8
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Re: Patching a fresh water tank puncture?

This is a very interesting thread.
I have not yet have had to deal with water tank problems.
I did fix the bottom of my skies, with poly filler and a old Iron
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Old 03-09-2011, 03:35 PM   #9
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Re: Patching a fresh water tank puncture?

Quote:
That's a very interesting tool. I don't have an application for it, but I want one! I assume you have to buy "welding rods" of the same amterial you are attempting to weld?
Yes. Sticks of filler "rod" are available for most plastics. If you have acceptable gas welding skills, moving to the plastic welder is fairly easy. If not, you will have to spend some time practicing before you try something as expensive as a tank. In some ways it is like welding aluminum - you don't get the color clues as to temperature like you do welding steel. Too much heat & the entire weld site turns to liquid!
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Old 03-09-2011, 04:25 PM   #10
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Re: Patching a fresh water tank puncture?

Contact someone who lays vinyl flooring, the tool and plastic filler are used to make water tight seams

Doug
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