Progress is being made slowly but surely on the TinCan. The good news is that the tank itself is fine. The leak has been isolated as coming from the gasket between the dump valve and the black tank. The bad news is that the gasket is a pain in the butt to get to and that quite a bit of corrosion occurred due to the leak. Additional good news: although the frame supporting the tank is rusty it is still strong with only surface rust. A good coating with POR 15 and replacement of a few sheets of belly pan and holding tank support metal and she should be good to go. Yay!
Corrosion and dirt in the back bumper storage compartment.
View of the initial belly drop and rip out of some of the corroded tank shield and foam to access the valve connection.
Ewwww! Yuck! A little crud and corrosion…okay maybe more than a little.
The hole to the left is the gray water line. The gray water drains directly without a valve as on the early Airstreams (I think from 1973 and older) there was no gray water tank. Straight to the back is the valve for the black water tank (closed).
I missed getting photos of the rest of the removal of the belly pan cover and the bumper storage pan. Therefore, we now jump ahead to coating the exposed framework and tank cover with POR 15. All exposed framework was cleaned with a wire brush (either a hand brush or wheel brush on an electric grinder.) I followed the suggestions to be sure and wear gloves and clothes you don’t mind ruining.
This stuff coats beautifully. It goes on thinner and actually easier than regular paints. It is self leveling so as it dries brush strokes and uneven paint levels disappear leaving a really nice finish. You will definitely need two coats especially on the more heavily rusted areas. In fact, I don’t think three coats would be too much if you have any very heavy rust spots. Clean off any easy to remove rust and the big rust flakes before applying, but the surface does not need to be perfectly cleaned off. The POR 15 adheres especially well on the rusty metal. I have painted over rust with products such as RustOleum in the past, but none of them have covered this well. I ordered two quarts and didn’t even use half a quart. Don’t worry I have projects for the rest, but thought you might like to know these expensive little cans cover so much area. I will be sure to keep an eye on how well the coating holds up over time, and I will post updates later.
So here goes! The paint job would be a lot easier if I didn’t have to roll/crawl around on the ground while trying to paint over my head. All of this while trying to avoid painting myself permanently gray.
Yes I know…eventually I would like to pull out the entire belly pan, clean the entire underneath out and coat the rest of the frame. As you can see the part in front of the holding tank area doesn’t look nearly as pretty, but who is going to go around looking under my house? For now, only what is necessary is being repaired. Coating the tank holder lining! Looking good. Kind of a shame it will be covered up with another piece of metal.
Two coats on the bumper sides…I really wish I had a before picture!
New gasket installed and no more leaks detected! Yay!
What is this you ask? This is a close-up of one the many POR 15 coated strands of hair removed from my head this evening after my shower. May I recommend wearing a hat while painting POR 15, especially if you are positioned under the surface you are painting. A windy day combined with crawling around under the TinCan and Uh Oh! Strands of hair touched this incredibly sticky coating then each other. Let me warn you-it does not wash or comb out! Had to clip a couple of spots to remove the mess, and there are still several silver strands adorning my locks. This is definitely not a recommended method of obtaining luster for your hair. Hahaha!