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Old 09-26-2019, 07:58 AM   #1
Winnie-Wise
 
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Location: 5 miles south of Lakeville, Mn
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Ouch! My fuel tank broke loose.

Our coach has been driven in Winter weather being from Minnesota. As a result there have been corrosion problems that we fix as they become apparent. We have replaced the floors in two roadside compartments over the years as well as the hoses that carry trans fluid to the trans cooler, and we keep a sharp eye out for more.
We thought we had it all covered, but alas, we didn't.

A week ago I took the coach into town to fuel it up. It has an eighty gallon tank. After filling I left the station returning home but only got two blocks when I heard a very loud, what I thought, was an explosion. I looked in the mirror and saw debris flying from under the coach and quickly pulled over to the shoulder and stopped. I jumped out with my fire extinguisher and looked under the coach for the cause. To my surprise the fuel tank was hanging down and one end was dragging on the asphalt. The straps had broken. One corner had scrapped enough to wear a small hole and diesel was leaking.

I called my regular mechanic and he said he and his partner would get there as quick as they could. I then called 911 and told them that there was no fire danger, but I was stalled on the shoulder of a busy street, and perhaps they should dispatch a police car to park behind with the lights for protection. They agreed and very soon a city policemen was there. He was very nice about it and kept me company waiting for my mechanics.

The mechanics got there and with jacks they raised the tank back in place and secured it with nylon straps so that I was able to drive it the eight miles to their shop. Using a bar of soap they also got the leak stopped. Once there we lowered the tank out of the unit only to find that it was damaged beyond repair. The hole was right on a corner where no patch would work. Next we started a search for a used tank, but to no avail. All the ones they found were too rusty to use. Just more problems if we used them. Freightliner had one in Atlanta but it cost thirteen hundred dollars plus shipping. Also new straps were three hundred dollars. Ouch! What we did was strap a small tank in place and I drove it the mile home and put it in the shed.

In the end we ordered the tank from Freightliner and found out that if they shipped it to a dealer, the shipping was free. It will come in tomorrow to a dealer twenty miles away and I will go pick it up. We did not order the straps as my shop can make new one out of heavier metal for a lot less. On Monday morning I will take the coach back to the shop and it should not take too long to install it. Meanwhile my fuel was pumped into two barrels and will be pumped back into the new tank.

I am fortunate that I have a shop so close and that they are very accommodating. I took them to a very nice lunch the next day.

So here's the lesson. We thought we had the corrosion under control, but those straps were invisible to us unless we removed the tank. You may want to find some way to check yours.


Thank goodness I wasn't on the Interstate doing seventy!
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Old 09-26-2019, 08:49 AM   #2
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Wow. I think I have my rust stabilized but I better check on those straps.

Thanks for the warning and the great story.
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Old 09-28-2019, 08:09 AM   #3
Winnie-Wise
 
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The tank came in yesterday as promised by Freightliner. I went down to Faribault, Mn. to pick it up with my Ford Explorer and it took three guys and a fork lift to load it. Dropped it off at the shop and we will install it next week.


Folks, get under those rigs and look for corrosion. It could mean your life.
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Old 10-09-2019, 06:49 PM   #4
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Cooperhawk, Wow, you are unlucky that you had to experience that, but on the other hand So lucky that you have a local mechanic that goes outside what most would do, and also that you didn't lose 80 gallons of fuel on the road! We bought a used 2007 WB View 24J last year. The previous owner told me of some of their experience with rust and having a body shop do some prevention. I checked under and still found more rust that wasn't touched, including the grey water tank strap that the bolt had rusted through. I replaced the bolt but now after reading your post I need to do more checking! I recently found most of the metal support that holds the rear bumper pieces is almost gone and the plastic pieces are mainly glued to the rusted metal. I'm disappointed that WB would use such poor metals and I doubt that they back any repair/replace of those items. The Sprinter chassis is pretty much rust free, it's just the coach parts that was added by WB. Glad to hear you got taken care of!!!
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Old 10-09-2019, 07:02 PM   #5
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Good and quick thinking saved you from a catastrophe. A few sparks, or a few feet further down the road, and a fire. I know your feeling exactly because we had a water tank fall out gong 60 mph-bang, debris, evacuate with the fire extinguisher. But we were blocking one lane of I 20 near Dallas. Ours was not due to corrosion, but that two straps had been butt welded, and of course the weld failed. Era 1992.
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Old 10-09-2019, 07:26 PM   #6
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Just a quick comment about Frieghtliner parts prices. As most know their retail prices are sky high. I get hot and cold number from them. I priced a new radiator for 1900 and went to a local radiator repair shop and found the exact same unit for 900 shipped. I have bough Air bags for my coach and the guy at the parts counter liked me and gave me a bid discount. A friend of mine opened up an account with them and the price he gets on parts are wholesale, but his prices is based on the amount of money he spends annually. So there is a huge swing in the cost of those parts. It never hurts to push back on the price and ask them to discount it.
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Old 10-10-2019, 07:18 AM   #7
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I think that one of the main problems with our coach is it was parked by the ocean in Key West for several winters. WB used light metals to hold down weight and they just weren't meant for salt water baths. Also we live in a state that salts everything in the Winter. Even after the snow and ice are gone the salt dust remains on the highways for quite a while. Even car and trucks rust out pretty quick here.


I had that same experience with a radiator. My guy found one after market for $700.00.
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Old 10-11-2019, 07:20 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by usaborn_01 View Post
Cooperhawk, Wow, you are unlucky that you had to experience that, but on the other hand So lucky that you have a local mechanic that goes outside what most would do, and also that you didn't lose 80 gallons of fuel on the road! We bought a used 2007 WB View 24J last year. The previous owner told me of some of their experience with rust and having a body shop do some prevention. I checked under and still found more rust that wasn't touched, including the grey water tank strap that the bolt had rusted through. I replaced the bolt but now after reading your post I need to do more checking! I recently found most of the metal support that holds the rear bumper pieces is almost gone and the plastic pieces are mainly glued to the rusted metal. I'm disappointed that WB would use such poor metals and I doubt that they back any repair/replace of those items. The Sprinter chassis is pretty much rust free, it's just the coach parts that was added by WB. Glad to hear you got taken care of!!!
The small steel brackets on most C class WBO products are well known for simply rusting to nothing. I had a '07 View that came from Jacksonville FL. It was pretty clean but many of the WBO manufactured parts were not properly prepped and were rusting. I had glass bead blasted and primed and painted many of these parts before I sold it.

Open your left and right lower doors and look at the oval shaped metal reinforcement plate that the lock passes thru. My were rusted bad enough that after blasting, a couple had holes all the way thru. They were still strong so I ended up priming and painting them and reinstalling. The brackets that hold the decorative "wings" on the roof were the worst and I ended up removing them completely and carefully sanding off the epoxy that retained the rusted, crumbling brackets and never reinstalling them.

Look at the outboard side of the chassis behind the fish tank and near the generator where WBO ground off the Mercedes paint and punched a hole in the frame and ran in a self threading machine screw to hold the ground wires. You will find large rusted patches. Disconnect the grounds, sand the area as clean as possible and prime and paint, leaving a nickle sized bare spot, and coat that with a dielectric grease and reinstall the grounds. Just keep looking, everything that WBO installed is rusting or already has crumbled away.

Charles
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