Author Topic: Cutting the floor to access gas tank - where to cut?  (Read 477 times)

Offline ErikTande

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  • Member since: 2017
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1984
  • Make: Fleetwood
  • Model: Southwind
  • Chassis: Chevy
  • Engine: 454
Cutting the floor to access gas tank - where to cut?
« on: July 12, 2019, 12:37 AM »
I have fuel leaking from the top of the tank.   I know the hoses are dry rotted (at least the generator line is) so I assume that's where the leak is coming from.
My question is, where are the hoses on the tank? 

I have a really good idea of where the center of tank is inside, but are the hoses in the center?  Thanks!

I'd drop the tank, but I just put 60 gallons in it and I don't want to drain the gas and then get in a fight with the 35 year old nuts and bolts that have never been touched.   Cutting is easier.   :D

1984 Fleetwood Southwind 27' p30

Online Rickf1985

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Re: Cutting the floor to access gas tank - where to cut?
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2019, 09:09 AM »
I dropped mine but best advice I can give is use mirrors to get as good a view as you can from several angles and mark the side of the tank where it lines up with the lines. If you can do this from at least three sides then you will be able to triangulate the center of the sending unit from your marks. It is usually in the center of the tank but not always. Once this is done then you need to transfer those reference points to a point on the outside of the RV, Run a line straight up the side with tape and measure back to a window in the bedroom and put another piece of tape there. Now you can go inside and measure from the tape on the window back to the original line on the side of the RV and you have your spot to cut. Be sure the sender is in the center or you will find yourself cutting a lot of floor. NOW, Be aware that there is a layer of metal between the floor and the tank area, it is not just all wood. This is going to create sparks!!!!! You say it is leaking and you have 60 gallons in there, Need I say any more?  Be careful.


Also, once you open up the lines or tank keep the RV ventilated with a fan blowing in from outside and keep ALL power and pilots turned off in the RV since you will have plenty of gasoline vapor in there. Do not use the fantastic vent fan since it creates sparks from the brushes. A box fan outside the door of the RV. All windows open.

Offline Shawn62

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  • Year: 1987
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Re: Cutting the floor to access gas tank - where to cut?
« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2019, 03:16 PM »
      I took the tank out of my 1987 Southwind 28’.  My tank had a drain plug on the left front corner.  I cleaned the nuts and bolts up with a wire brush and PB Blaster.  I used a motorcycle jack to lower it. I did it alone and it went pretty smoothly.  I haven’t put it back in yet. My tank has the electric fuel pump inside.  I plan on cutting an access panel and beefing up the frame extension before I install the tank with new pump and hoses. I can’t remember if the pump was in the center or not. I’ll take a look in a couple days and let you know. 

Online Rickf1985

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Re: Cutting the floor to access gas tank - where to cut?
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2019, 05:20 PM »
I didn't drop mine all the way out due to hose length issues but here is a shot of the top of it, it is also a 60 gallon tank. you can see that things are kind of spread out there.





Here is the tank from the bottom.



Offline ErikTande

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  • Posts: 53
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  • Year: 1984
  • Make: Fleetwood
  • Model: Southwind
  • Chassis: Chevy
  • Engine: 454
Re: Cutting the floor to access gas tank - where to cut?
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2019, 11:21 PM »
I dropped mine but best advice I can give is use mirrors to get as good a view as you can from several angles and mark the side of the tank where it lines up with the lines. If you can do this from at least three sides then you will be able to triangulate the center of the sending unit from your marks. It is usually in the center of the tank but not always. Once this is done then you need to transfer those reference points to a point on the outside of the RV, Run a line straight up the side with tape and measure back to a window in the bedroom and put another piece of tape there. Now you can go inside and measure from the tape on the window back to the original line on the side of the RV and you have your spot to cut. Be sure the sender is in the center or you will find yourself cutting a lot of floor. NOW, Be aware that there is a layer of metal between the floor and the tank area, it is not just all wood. This is going to create sparks!!!!! You say it is leaking and you have 60 gallons in there, Need I say any more?  Be careful.


Also, once you open up the lines or tank keep the RV ventilated with a fan blowing in from outside and keep ALL power and pilots turned off in the RV since you will have plenty of gasoline vapor in there. Do not use the fantastic vent fan since it creates sparks from the brushes. A box fan outside the door of the RV. All windows open.
Well, I think that's off the table then.  I don't want to blow up.    I'm going to drain and drop it .

Online Rickf1985

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Re: Cutting the floor to access gas tank - where to cut?
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2019, 08:51 AM »
Aw, Where is your sense of adventure? :D :D   Smart decision! Being an 84 you probably do not have an electric fuel pump in the tank. If you have the pump mounted on the frame rail you could run a jumper wire to the pump and actually pump the gas into cans using the electric pump. If you do not have an electric pump then you can remove the fuel filter on the line along the frame rail and attach a long piece of fuel line and as long as it is lower than the tank it will siphon the gas out of the tank into cans. Slow but will get the job done. I would get the rear wheels solidly up on blocks before starting any of this because especially if you are siphoning, the higher above the ground the tank is the better the flow but also you will need the clearance to get the tank down.  I wrote up a thread a while ago which may have been made a sticky on how to drop a tank using long threaded rods. You have a lot more control that way. You can still use a jack but the rods afford infinite adjustability and if your fill comes in from the side you have VERY little room to work on it so very small movements are needed.


Once the tank is out then you can mark and even cut the floor with plenty of room and safety so the next time it is there for you.

Offline Elandan2

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Re: Cutting the floor to access gas tank - where to cut?
« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2019, 01:36 PM »
Yeah, in 35 more years.  :)rotflmao
Treatzall Waste tank sanitizer, lighting, and other RV related products!
Rick Ellerbeck, 1977 Elandan II

Offline TerryH

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Re: Cutting the floor to access gas tank - where to cut?
« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2019, 01:58 PM »
  I wrote up a thread a while ago which may have been made a sticky on how to drop a tank using long threaded rods. You have a lot more control that way. You can still use a jack but the rods afford infinite adjustability and if your fill comes in from the side you have VERY little room to work on it so very small movements are needed.

http://www.classicwinnebagos.com/forum/index.php?topic=13311.msg79021#msg79021
"You know what my problem has been all my life? I've always had my sh%t together. Always. My problem's been I couldn't lift it."
Paul Crewe (Burt Reynolds) - The Longest Yard  1974

Online Rickf1985

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Re: Cutting the floor to access gas tank - where to cut?
« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2019, 03:47 PM »
After seeing my article that Terry was nice enough to look up I remember that I have an 80 gallon tank. Doesn't really make any difference in relation to this job.

Offline ErikTande

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  • Posts: 53
  • Member since: 2017
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  • Year: 1984
  • Make: Fleetwood
  • Model: Southwind
  • Chassis: Chevy
  • Engine: 454
Re: Cutting the floor to access gas tank - where to cut?
« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2019, 11:23 AM »
Thanks, I'm gonna try that threaded rod trick.  I've been draining my tank and filling my other cars, having the pump in the middle makes it easy.   

Online Rickf1985

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  • Engine: 454
Re: Cutting the floor to access gas tank - where to cut?
« Reply #10 on: July 30, 2019, 02:05 PM »
I didn't necessarily let the tank down by unscrewing the nuts but what I would do is lift up with a jack or a shoulder and unscrew a nut a little ways and let that part down and reassess. This way you were not trying to balance and look all at the same time and you could drop or raise each corner independently. With mine the fill and vent line came in from the side between the body and the frame and it was a really, REALLY tight fit so slow was key.


 

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