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Old 04-27-2005, 04:22 PM   #1
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Any of you Journey or Meridian 36G owners know how to access the fresh water tank? I need to mount an external sensor strip on the outside of the tank. I can see the big steel box that holds the tank. How to I get access to the inside of that box?

I'm trying to install a SeeLevel RV gauge system that reads tank levels in percent instead of 1/3, 2/3, F. The black and gray water tanks are easy to get to, but the fresh looks a little tougher.

Thanks for any help...
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Old 04-27-2005, 04:22 PM   #2
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Any of you Journey or Meridian 36G owners know how to access the fresh water tank? I need to mount an external sensor strip on the outside of the tank. I can see the big steel box that holds the tank. How to I get access to the inside of that box?

I'm trying to install a SeeLevel RV gauge system that reads tank levels in percent instead of 1/3, 2/3, F. The black and gray water tanks are easy to get to, but the fresh looks a little tougher.

Thanks for any help...
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Old 04-27-2005, 04:39 PM   #3
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Hi Tom,

Nice project. The Seelevel system is neat. I've looked at it a couple times debating about installing one.

Now to your question. I've accessed the water tank on our 2002 so hopefully your '04 is the same. You've got to be a bit of a contortionist, but you can get to the water tank by working inside the rear storage compartment on the passenger side of the coach.

If you open the compartment, you'll see the fresh water gravity fill hose leading across the top of the compartment. The hose is attached to the floor and runs towards the front of the motorhome. At the front of the compartment, the hose goes through a metal shield/baffle and then goes straight down into the water tank.

The baffle I'm referring to is the full width of the storage area above the frame rails of the chassis. You'll have to reach through the storage compartment and remove the screws holding the steel to the compartment floor. Once that baffle is removed, you can look straight down and see the water tank. The area of the tank that you'll have access to is the end where the drain valve and the current water level sensors are located. It's going to be a little tricky to attach the sensor strip, as you're going to be kneeling in the compartment reaching down into the tank, but you should be ok. I also recall, I had to have my son slide into the upper part of the storage bay above the frame rail to get the last screw out of that baffle. I was too big, and it's tight working in there. You'll probably do like I did, and leave the last screw out when you put it together.

One item I should mention is that the water tank is 21 inches tall, so if I recall correctly, you'll need two sensor panels from seelevel to get the height of the tank covered. Figured it's better to know that upfront before it's all torn apart.

If you have any problems getting to the tank, I'll take a picture since that will explain better than words.

Joe
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Old 04-27-2005, 05:34 PM   #4
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Joe,

Thanks much for the info, especially the tank height. That may be bit of a problem since the 2 sensors are not joined together and must be placed with a 1/8" to 1/16" gap between them.

Given the tight working space you described, that may be pretty tough. A single sensor will measure a tank up to 13" tall. I'm thinking, if it looks impossible to properly position the 2 sensors, I may just meter the lower 13" of the tank. That's the important part anyway. Hopefully I'll be able to get them both in there. Think I'll have a look before I order the extra sensor though.

Don't have a son - wonder if I can teach my cat to use a screwdriver. Maybe my DW, she's pretty slim.

I'll let you know how it turns out. Will try to take pictures, but somehow I don't see me and the sensors and a camera all fitting in there
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Old 04-28-2005, 07:38 AM   #5
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Tom, I'm doing the same project using the same SeaLevel sensor system on my 02. Haven't had time to get into it yet though, so you and Joe may be advising me before long.

I had my fresh water tank replaced at the factory last October (due to a leak in the seam). I watched part of the process, and I remember an access panel on the rear of that steel box you described. It allowed the tech access to connect the hoses and sensor wires to the new tank once it was lifted on place and the bottom cover on the box re-installed. I have to go look again, as I didn't think about the SeaLevel system at that time. (too bad too, as I could have placed the sensor on the new tank at that time!).

Check if you have that access panel, visible from under the motorhome, rear of tank housing. Good luck with the project, and please keep us posted.
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Old 04-28-2005, 09:24 AM   #6
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CaptBill,

Just got back from looking at the underside of my tank. Unfortunately, I didn't see your post till just now. Our tanks may be installed reversed from each other. I did find an access plate, but it's on the front of mine. Having not read your post, I didn't even look at the back end of the tank box. I was looking at the front because the dump valve is there and the hoses and wires from above appear to be going into the front area of the tank.

I'm sure it probably allows the access you described. Didn't have time to remove the plate today, but I think that may be an easier access than from inside the storage compartment above.

Since I don't fold into storage compartments very easily anymore, I'm looking for the easiest access available

Will probably have time to start removing screws and panels tomorrow - will let you know what I find.
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Old 04-28-2005, 12:03 PM   #7
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Bill,

I'm glad you mentioned about an access panel. I'm going to go and check mine tonight. I know for sure the current tank sensors and drain valve is on the front of the water tank so your tank may be opposite of ours. It sure would be easier to remove the panel to get access than reach down through the top opening.

Tom, if the access plate is on the front of yours, I'd double check to see if the water fill hose enters the front like mine. You should be able to see them and the tank sensor wires going behind that metal plate panel I was describing earlier. If so...you should be in good shape. No contortionist work.

I'd really like to know from either of you if you can fit two of the sealevel gauges. Might be a nice upgrade
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Old 04-28-2005, 01:56 PM   #8
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Joe,

Yes, the fill hose, supply hose, wiring, and drain valve cable all come up into the front part of the storage compartment. The baffle is just as you described and the lower access panel is straight down from there. The panel slightly wraps around the drain and extends upwards from there.

I want to try to preserve the Winnie gauge system, if possible. Do you know where the cable race is that would allow me to get the new sensor wire over to the OnePlace panel area? I'm hoping if I pull the breaker panel and the bass speaker under the frig that I will find it there. Doubt if I can use the existing freshwater sensor wiring as a pull since it's probably tied off several places.

Haven't decided for sure where I'll mount the new panel. It's not big enough to cover the Winnie gauges - that's one reason I want to keep them operational. If they're there, they should work.

I may have to put it in the toilet room on that short wall where the light and fan switches are mounted. That wall is common to the area behind the OnePlace panel. The area above the OnePlace is filled with elec water htr and engine htr switches. Any ideas?
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Old 04-28-2005, 01:57 PM   #9
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AT first, I thought it is unusual that my tank connections and access plate is on the back, and both Tom's and Joe's on the front. After all, Joe and I have practically the same motorhome; both 36', 2002 models. The I remembered that Joe has a slide with sofa and dinette, and I have sofa and galley. I wonder if that explains why the tanks are reversed!?

Anyways, Tom, I hope that you can gain needed access through that panel. I am still debating whether I will leave the old monitor panel in tact, and add the SeaLevel nearby, or using a dremel with abrasive wheel, cut out the old monitor display, and mount the new one right in it's place.

Did you decide what you are going to do Tom? Joe, if you go ahead with this, what will you do for the SeaLevel display? Ideas, anyone?
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Old 04-28-2005, 02:11 PM   #10
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CaptBill,

Like a dummy, I forgot to take the SeeLevel package with me today, so I can't say for sure, but it looked to me like the existing gauge area is much bigger than my new panel. I'm using the SeeLevel 709. If you have a different model, it may be big enough to cover it.
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Old 04-28-2005, 03:05 PM   #11
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I just came in from looking under the motorhome at the water tank. Just double checked and the access panel is on the front so I think it's like Bill said that the variation could be due to the slide configuration.....or winnie build em on different days

As far as mounting the gauge, I'll wait till you guys do yours....then I'll copy who's ever looks best Seriously, if/when I add a sealevel, I'll probably leave my factory gauge intact. Only reason, is I just bought a auxilliary panel from Ventline to mount outside the motorhome in the water compartment. I always hated having to go in and out of the camper several times to keep checking the level when filling the tank. Ventline has a auxillary panel that can be installed for about $ 45.00 that displays the same as the indoor panel. Kinda handy when flushing the black tank also so you don't overfill.
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Old 04-29-2005, 07:12 AM   #12
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Bill & Joe (and anyone else interested),

Removed that access panel this morning and found a near perfect situation. The tank is slightly indented in the area behind the access panel (about 2"). This allows room for the Winnie sensor wiring, the drain cable and valve, and the water pump supply line. It also gives us a nice little area to work in.

On the right side of the recess, where you're looking at the tank wall edge on, there's a nice flat area about 2" wide. At the bottom of that wall is the fitting for the water pump supply and it's unobstructed all the way to the top.

As best as I could measure it, it's about 13" from the top of that fitting to the top of that portion of the tank. I couldn't determine for sure if the main tank extends above this "wing" or not.

Since a single sensor will monitor a 13" tank, I elected to use a single sensor placed directly above the supply line fitting and running up to near the top of the wall. I figure, at the worst, the gauge will read 100% for awhile before dropping down - sorta like the gas gauge on my car

I think the low end will be fairly accurate since the pump is gonna start sucking air when the water goes a little below the bottom of the sensor. Even with the compromise, it's still a big upgrade from E, 1/3, 2/3, F

Wiring was fairly easy. I removed a couple of drawers in the kitchen and fed wires down following the fill hose that comes in from outside behind the kitchen cabinet, goes down through the floor to the lower storage compartment, and on down into the access area.

Didn't have time to run wiring over to the other side, so I borrowed DC power for a test from the aisle light that's right there in the kit cabinet toe kick. One caution, if you do this, the light was wired backwards. Which, of course, doesn't matter on a light, but the SeeLevel PC board might not like it. It had 12+DC on the black wire and ground on the red wire!

I could see the water level in the tank and it was just barely above the 1/3 sensor - almost ready to read "E" on the Winnie panel. You won't believe this, but I flipped on the aisle light switch, punched "Fresh" on the SeeLevel panel and it read "34"%!!!! You gotta love it!

Still haven't decided where I will mount the panel, but I intended to buy another panel for the tank dump compartment for the reasons Joe mentioned. I may just put this first panel down there and mount a 2nd panel "upstairs" when we see how Bill's job turns out
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Old 04-29-2005, 11:53 AM   #13
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Bill,

I did hold the 709 gauge panel up to the Winnie panel and it's smaller both vertically and horizontally. If you want to cut out the Winnie gauges, you will need to put a plate across the cut out area and then mount the SeeLevel panel in that plate.
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