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Author Topic: Question on aluminum holding tanks  (Read 3993 times)
scanzel
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« on: February 15, 2007, 04:29:14 AM »

I am in the process of starting to gather items for my conversion. I have looked at the plastic water/ waste tanks. In seasrching on ebay I have seen some new aluminum diesel fuel tanks offered by a place called surplusneils. They come in different sizes round,rectangle,square etc. The ebay item is 150087022871 if anyone wants to check on them. I realize the openings would probably have to be modified for plumbing fittings. My question is has anyone out there actually used aluminum tanks for fresh water and waste? I would think because they are more rigidly built they would not buldge like the plastic ones. Thank You.
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Steve Canzellarini
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« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2007, 05:09:54 AM »

I have seen several sources that recommend against using aluminum (and even stainless steel) for waste water holding tanks. The primary reason is the extremely corrosive nature of urine.

As far as using them for fresh water storage (they are brand new, right?)  I would consider the following.  First, I know that aluminum is a material used to construct water holding tanks, especially on boats.  You do need to recognize that aluminum does react with minerals in the water and is especailly prone to calcium build up. It is also important to be aware of the other metals it will be in contact with as the potential for electrolosis exists.  Lastly, I would give some thought to the fact that the tanks you are considering were built with no intention to be used to store water. Who knows what chemicals were used in manufacturing or coating the inside of the tank? If they were built to hold diesel fuel and not intended to hold potable water, I'll let you have the first couple of sips.
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JackConrad
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« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2007, 05:53:11 AM »

Here we go again! 
     A while back, someone decided to use a former diesel saddle tank off a semi truck for a black water tank. It caused a big uproar and much dissention. Many said it would never work. He went ahead and used the tank, it is still working. Worst case scenario is it will eventually leak, maybe 1 year, maybe 25 years? 
     As far as for potable water, personally, I would use no tank that is not specifically approved for potable water.  My health and the health of my family and friends is much more important than saving a few dollars.  YMMV Jack
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scanzel
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« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2007, 06:28:32 AM »

Very good advice so far. I am not necessarily trying to save money because if you look at the site the tanks are $325 each, plus shipping to Connecticut would probably be high. I was just seeing if anyone had ever used them and what kind on experience they had latter if any at all.
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Steve Canzellarini
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« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2007, 06:33:06 AM »

Unless they are coated inside, aluminum will leave a taste in the water.  I had aluminum water tanks in a boat a while ago.  The first problem was the coating coming off and plugging up the filters.  I removed the tank, cleaned it, then noticed the aluminum taste.  Plastic is the right material to use.  If there is not that much difference in price, go with plastic.

Ross
 
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Jerry32
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« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2007, 06:46:16 AM »

Also you might consider that aluminum does chelate to the water and is a source of contamination to the body. Jerry
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scanzel
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« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2007, 07:14:28 AM »

Ok I'm convinced that the plastic will be the way to go. This is how us new guys learn by asking questions and getting answers from the ones who have tried it. Thank You.
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Steve Canzellarini
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« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2007, 08:24:16 AM »

Also with plastic tanks you will get a much greater choice in sizes. When you order the tanks they will install the fittings where you want them. I had them put in an xtra 3" opening for an inspection/cleanout port on the black water tank. I was in FL and picked up my tanks from  www.duracast.com  in the Lake Wales area.     Now is a goodtime to leave the north and go pic up your tanks Grin
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« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2007, 09:24:56 AM »

I assume the people opposed to aluminum water tanks are even more opposed to RV type water heaters. I expect the hot water and fire under the tank will cause all kinds of health problems.
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Tony LEE
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« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2007, 02:03:46 PM »

"I expect the hot water and fire under the tank will cause all kinds of health problems."

Even if the contamination problem is actually real, most don't drink the hot water from the heaters anyway.

There are heaters available that have a SS boiler tank - Truma is one - so that should eliminate even that concern.
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« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2007, 03:48:09 PM »

I'm with Jack when he say's not again. It was me and my use of the aluminum fuel tank that caused all the contreversy. I used my round tank soley for black water. It is going on apprx. 3 yrs with no leaks, no corrosion, and no signs of any to come! I would never use aluminum for drinking water but I see no reason to doubt what I did. Also using a round tank allows it to dump quickly IF you mount it correctly. Not sure I did that as it's still out for vote! Smiley
Actually I hung it from the floor chassis instead of on the main floor or bay floor. I slanted it slightly to the dump side and have had nothing but good luck with it. Oh, the reason I used this tank was it was free! Smiley
Ace
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Ace Rossi
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« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2007, 05:34:04 PM »

Oh, the reason I used this tank was it was free! Smiley
Ace

That's a pretty good reason (one of my personal favorites) and it sure sounds like it is working well.
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TomC
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« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2007, 10:40:03 PM »

On my big rig that I used for 12 years, it had twin 150 gal fuel tanks.  Then half size tanks in front of them at 75 gal each-one for the gasoline for the generator and the other for my water.  The water tank never had fuel in it.  I used it for all uses except for drinking (when on the road, different waters from different areas of the country can create that running sensation to get to a toilet quickly) which I carried bottled water that I refilled at the water machines.  The one draw back is the aluminum reacted with the minerals in the water causing the minerals to form small pellets that would clog up the water intake line since it was at the bottom of the tank.  About once a week I'd have to remove it and shake out the mineral pellets.  Then about once a month had to clean the water pump screen.  Personally-I have all plastic tanks in my bus (130gal water, 85gal gray, 45gal black) and had no problems with them.  Good Luck, TomC
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Tom & Donna Christman. '77 AMGeneral 10240B; 8V-71TATAIC V730.
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« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2007, 04:17:33 AM »

Another point I might add.

If you want to purchase a monitor system for your tanks, it will only read using plastic tanks. Metal would require something differant. Not sure what that would be.

Paul
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John E. Smith
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« Reply #14 on: February 16, 2007, 08:31:49 AM »

This would probably be a good place to let you guys know about an excellent tank supplier for both poly water tanks and ABS black & gray water tanks.  They produce tanks for the RV manufacturers, and always run off some extras to sell on EBay (and direct).  I bought all of my tanks from them, and was very impressed with the quality -- and even more impressed by the price!

They are Tri-State Rotational Molding of Hudson, Indiana.  They can be found on EBay at http://stores.ebay.com/id=76512888&ssPageName=STRK:MEFS:MESST.  Directly, their web address is http://www.tristaterotational.com/, and their phone number is 1-800-352-3188.

Their plant manager, Todd Risedorph, is a great guy and will bend over backward to help you out.  I bought a 36-gallon black/ gray water tank for $45 plus shipping (USPS Priority Mail) and a 40 gallon poly fresh water tank for $40 plus shipping (Priority Mail).  They have a deal with their postmaster, and everything they ship goes Priority Mail.  Their prices are about half what others on EBay are -- because the others are buying the tanks from them!
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John E. Smith
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« Reply #15 on: February 18, 2007, 01:02:21 PM »

Well,I used 2-45 gallon capacity titanium potable water tanks that were used on Boeing 727's.
Very light weight and work well for what they are used for potable water in my conversion.
I think the cost were around $150.00 each plus shipping.
Max Power Aerospace Inc.
7112 Florence Road
Smyrna,TN 37167
616-223-5600
jlv Grin


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LegalEagle82
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« Reply #16 on: February 18, 2007, 09:36:40 PM »

roadrunner,
any pictures of your tanks.  the aerospace guys are just down the road from me.  I had never thought about passenger plane parts, but thats interesting to me.  Were the tanks round/ square.
My bus currently has aluminum tanks, but as suggested earlier, my black tank is suffering from years of use, and needs to be repaired or replaced. 

For those of interest, my bus is an old entertainer bus, and the sewer tank is plumbed out on the  passenger side with an dump switch next to the driver's seat.  I read online here that it was a possible use of the street drains when the buses were parked in just the right spot while in concert.
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Legal Eagle
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« Reply #17 on: February 18, 2007, 10:40:51 PM »

The 727 Potable water tanks are round smaller radius than a 55gallon drum.
jlv Grin
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« Reply #18 on: February 19, 2007, 02:13:33 AM »

I read online here that it was a possible use of the street drains when the buses were parked in just the right spot while in concert.
Not to take this thread off topic, but dumping black tanks into storm drains is illegal.  Those drains empty directly into rivers, creeks or flood control channels without any treatment.
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LegalEagle82
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« Reply #19 on: February 19, 2007, 08:04:08 PM »

I know its illegal, and I don't dump my tanks in such an manner.   

I had only heard stories, and its a little odd to have the dump valve under the bus on the passenger side, with a remote switch next to the driver. 
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Legal Eagle
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« Reply #20 on: February 19, 2007, 09:07:28 PM »

I know its illegal, and I don't dump my tanks in such an manner.   

I had only heard stories, and its a little odd to have the dump valve under the bus on the passenger side, with a remote switch next to the driver. 

Remember a couple of years ago in Chicago??? The Dave Matthews Band bus had just such a switch. Seems the driver hit the aforementioned switch while crossing one of the Chicago River bridges. Wouldn't have made the news except for the sightseeing tour boat that had the unfortunate timing to be crossing under the bridge at that moment. Something rolled downhill that day.... Shocked


Larry
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Larry
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« Reply #21 on: February 20, 2007, 05:04:30 AM »

Entertainer coaches get serviced at the same dump station as regular passenger buses, with the dump valve on the passenger side. Having the switch at the driver location prevents accidental or deliberate dumping from the outlet location.
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pete81eaglefanasty
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« Reply #22 on: February 20, 2007, 10:17:43 AM »

I also have a dump on the right side, it works out good at some truck stops. I have one on the left side also for camp ground use. The right side has a double saftey switch so it can't be dump accidental.

           Pete & Jean
             Fantasy

               
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WHAT EVER YOU DO, OR TO WHO YOU DO IT TOO, DO IT WITH A SMILE, IT MAKES IT LEGAL THAT WAY.
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