We’ve been hearing horror stories of people’s fresh water tank falling out from the bottom of the Jay Feather Micro travel trailers. And since we travel with a full fresh water tank most of the time, we thought this was a pretty important piece to take a look at and make sure that everything looked good. It felt extra important to us because if we had an issue with the fresh water tank falling out while we were at camp, it would be bad. But if we had an issue with it falling out while we were driving down the road, it could be catastrophic. So this was an important item for us to take a look at. After inspecting, we did decide to take a few precautions to hopefully ensure that we don’t have any issues with our fresh water tank in the future.
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Inspecting the Fresh Water Tank
So we decided to take a look at our fresh water tank in the bottom of the trailer to see how it’s secured, if it’s holding up well, and determine what we could do to help give it additional support.
Removing the Underbelly
The first part, and probably the most difficult part of this project, is to get to the water tank you need to take the underbelly off of the bottom of the trailer. To do this, you need to go underneath the trailer and there are several different self-tapping screws that you need to take out. You also have to remove the gas line and the low point drain for the fresh water tank. Both of these, the way that they’re mounted, get in the way with taking the cover off. So you have to remove them to give yourself space to be able to pull the cover down. The process of removing the underbelly took us about an hour.
What We Found
Once we got in there, we could see that the fresh water tank goes from right in front of the axle all the way to where the entry steps are, and it goes the whole width of the trailer. Supporting that, there were three metal bars and each of those had self-tapping screws. So there were six self-tapping screws holding up this 55-gallon fresh water tank.
Now, to be fair, ours looked totally fine. None of the screws looked like they were about to fall out. Everything looked fine. And we travel with a full fresh water tank most of the time. Most of the campgrounds we go to are dry campgrounds, and although they sometimes have a spigot there, you can’t always trust the water. Sometimes it’s turned off because of a drought, and other times the water is not a quality that we’d want to put in our fresh water tank. So we always fill up at home before we go.
So when we looked at the fresh water tank, we really weren’t sure what we were going to find, but we were really happy to see that all of the screws looked good. Nothing looked like it was going to fall out. It really didn’t seem like we would have any issue with the way that it was set up. But still, we thought we already have the underbelly off and we should do what we could to make this extra secure. Especially since we do travel with a full fresh water tank pretty often.
How we Reinforced the Fresh Water Tank
So what we decided to do was we replaced the self-tapping screws with steel bolts. We used a bolt and we put some blue loctite on it and we added a washer. On top of that, we put one of the original washers from the self-tapping screw. The original washers had a little bit of gunk on it to help them get a really tight snug fit onto the metal bars, so there’s no space in between. So we wanted to keep that original washer on there too. So, we had our bolt with a washer and then that original washer, and then on the other side, on top of the metal support, we put a locking washer and then a locking nut. So we went through and replaced the self-tapping screws with the bolts, with the locking washers and locking nuts on all of the six different points on the metal support bar that holds the fresh water tank up.
I can’t say for sure if the bolts with the locking washers and nuts are actually a better solution than the self-tapping screws. To us, it seemed like it will be a sturdier more secure solution. We think probably the weak point now are the metal bars. Those metal bars themselves are probably going to be more likely to break than the bolts coming out. Hopefully, of course, that doesn’t happen, but at least now we have a more peace of mind knowing that it’s as secure as we’re going to get it. So that’s what we did as a preventative effort to hopefully not have any issues with our fresh water tank.