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Old 09-12-2017, 09:08 PM   #1
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Regarding the Freightliner Surge Tank...

'02 Winnie Journey, 75K miles. Tank has spider cracks but no seeping coolant yet...

For those that don't know what is up with the surge tank, the plastic rots after several thousands of miles. The tanks develope spider cracks and rot from the outside in, and/or from inside out. Eventually they start to weep. Than one day, a chunk of plastic drops off the tank, coolant leaks out, and you're stuck on the side of the road.

In regards to a replacement surge tank:

Does anyone have any opinion about the Freightliner tank vs. the Sterling exact replacement available at FindItParts? The difference in price is minimal, I'd just like to get a tank that may be 'improved' over the original FL design, if possible.

Has anyone heard or have an opinion on whether the Sterling is an improvement, or did FL actually improve their own design for the tank? And I'm talking about the crumbling plastics used that rot over time, and I'm hoping to find that these tanks no longer crumble apart. Is Sterling a good brand? Or should I stick with FL and hope for the best?

Thanks!

Here's how mine looks atm...
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Old 09-12-2017, 11:08 PM   #2
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15 years is not bad, if you get another with the new tank, might be time to replace the MH.

I replaced my FL tank on an 04 with a metal tank. YMMV
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Old 09-13-2017, 06:55 AM   #3
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Mine is right at 11 years old and still going strong. If the time comes to replace it, I will go with a Freightliner one again.
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Old 09-13-2017, 09:14 AM   #4
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When I had my 2002 Journey, I had mine replaced proactively by the folks at Gaffney at about 9 years. The replacement tank seemed about the same and the tech at Gaffney suggested I install some sort of rubber flap over it to shield it from the sun. I never got around to doing the flap before I traded the coach in 2013 but the replacement tank still looked good.
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Old 09-13-2017, 09:20 AM   #5
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Had mine replaced three years ago with a new steel tank at Freightliner in Gaffney. Should not have to be concerned about deterioration of plastics going forward. Corrosion?? Maybe.
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Old 09-13-2017, 01:01 PM   #6
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"... the tech at Gaffney suggested I install some sort of rubber flap over it to shield it from the sun...."

I never could understand this suggestion. On my coach, the only way sunlight could ever reach the white plastic tank is if I placed a large mirror on the ground and angle it to reflect it up there!
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Old 09-13-2017, 02:30 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigd9 View Post
"... the tech at Gaffney suggested I install some sort of rubber flap over it to shield it from the sun...."

I never could understand this suggestion. On my coach, the only way sunlight could ever reach the white plastic tank is if I placed a large mirror on the ground and angle it to reflect it up there!
On the Winnebago Journey of that era, sunlight could shine directly on the surge tank thru the engine access door.
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Old 09-13-2017, 02:33 PM   #8
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Quote:
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On the Winnebago Journey of that era, sunlight could shine directly on the surge tank thru the engine access door.
Ditto , Newmar .
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Old 09-13-2017, 03:06 PM   #9
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The sun is the problem, I put a flap over the new one and it still looks new. Getting it, the old one, out was a B%^$# when you get around to DIY get some T-nuts turns the job into easy.
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Old 12-01-2017, 05:35 PM   #10
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RayJr,
Is there any chance you could give hints on how to take out the 2 cap screws on the side of the tank? Standing behind the coach, they would be on the RH side. You can see the head of the rear bolt from behind the unit, how do you reach the nut? Is this a 2 person job. Thanks, Ernie
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Old 12-01-2017, 06:10 PM   #11
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RayJr,
Is there any chance you could give hints on how to take out the 2 cap screws on the side of the tank? Standing behind the coach, they would be on the RH side. You can see the head of the rear bolt from behind the unit, how do you reach the nut? Is this a 2 person job. Thanks, Ernie
I'm going to be supervising the job here soon, hope to get lots of pictures and such for my RV blog. Sometime this month is the plan.

What I've read is that the easiest way for one person is to use a 12" blade in a Sawsall and cut the tank into 3rds. Remove the center section. I'm not clear if any of this cutting has to be done from the upper access hatch in the bedroom, but I think so. Guess I'll find out for sure soon enough.

Cutting the center of the tank out apparently allows access for more tank cutting and eventually, better access to the bolts and nuts on the passenger side. Once those bolts are removed then the U nuts replace them so no help needed there as they attach to the tank.

Don't know if RayJr is monitoring this thread as it's 3 months old but maybe he has a different idea?

Meanwhile, I've collected some resource material for the job at my blog: Surge Tank Info
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Old 12-01-2017, 06:38 PM   #12
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The sun is the problem, I put a flap over the new one and it still looks new. Getting it, the old one, out was a B%^$# when you get around to DIY get some T-nuts turns the job into easy.
The “degas tanks” plastic tanks on Ford Powerstroke diesels are of the same material and suffer the same tank deterioration problem. There is no way sunlight gets to them unless the hood is open. I personally question the sunlight issue. My P/U degas tank began to leak after about 10 to 12 yearsand had to be replaced, a much easier job than that on the Journey.
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Old 12-01-2017, 09:11 PM   #13
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The “degas tanks” plastic tanks on Ford Powerstroke diesels are of the same material and suffer the same tank deterioration problem. There is no way sunlight gets to them unless the hood is open. I personally question the sunlight issue. My P/U degas tank began to leak after about 10 to 12 yearsand had to be replaced, a much easier job than that on the Journey.
I agree that it's doubtful that sun is a big issue with the tanks. Several threads I've read over the last year or two published from just recently to several years ago, indicate that the tanks exhibit crumbling 'from the inside out'. Although sunlight could be a contributing factor, my reading suggests it's a secondary cause of the tank leakage. Seems that the heat from the coolant is the biggest cause, with perhaps sunlight the 2nd.
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Old 12-02-2017, 05:57 AM   #14
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OK I see this has turned into a hot topic again. The sun IS the cause of the problem when your done changing it out put a flap on the tank to keep the sun off of it. OK This IS a 2 person job!!! So were on the same page Left side driver side right side passenger side. The cutting the tank into pieces might work fine but since ya can't really see what your doing I would not recommend that for fear of cutting something ya don't really want to cut. OK Ya need someone to help with the 2 bolts on the right side. Some one small if possible. I took the 2 engine covers off from under the bed and if you put something in there for your helper to lay on it helps. If you take the right rear bolt off first that lets you take the baffle off of the top of the radiator and that exposes the 2 bolts on the left side of the tank. The baffle is held in place by a few nuts that you can see above the radiator standing behind the coach. They hold the transmission dip stick rear baffle ect. in. After ya get the right front bolt out disconnect the hose and low water sender and out it comes. When you put this mess back together USE T NUTS if not you'll never stop thinking up new curse words. SInce I'am not too sure about how these posts work let me know if you get it. Thanks Ray
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