2011 19 FBPR Bullet Premiere water capacity issue. (Long)
I bought this trailer brand new and have been dealing with low water capacity ever since. I believe this has a 35 gal FW tank and 6 in the water heater.
I am only concerned about the FW tank.
I don't like to travel with a full FW water tank. I usually try and put 3-5 gals in before a trip, and then when arriving at my destination, I fill up completely until water comes out the vent.
On the first several trips with the new trailer back in 2011, It seemed like we were using a large amount of FW. We are very conservative with our water usage, but still I had the sense that I should not have blown through 35 gals in such a short amount of time.
I was right. When the pump started sucking air, I shut it off and opened the drain to the FW tank. I measured approximately 10-12 gallons FW left in the tank even though the pump was sucking air. This is ridiculous. Why should I have to cart around 80+ lbs of water that I can't use !!!!! I made a slight modification to my FW water system. I went into the belly of the beast, and I disconnected the hose that runs from the water tank to the pump inlet AT THE WATER TANK. I put a plug in the water tank.
I then installed a 2-way valve in the FW drain the sticks out the belly of the trailer and connected the second side of it to the water pump inlet hose. Now I am POSITIVE that I am drawing water from the very lowest of the water tank. AND I can still drain the tank depending on what position the valve is in. Hopefully I will be able to attach my picture.
This gave me about a 3 gal improvement in my usable water. Still leaving 7-8 Gals in the tank when the pump runs dry.
I have lived with this this way long enough and I am fed up with it. I am now doing more "dry camping" than before and I NEED my full water capacity.
What I found is, when the pump runs dry, if I lower the side of the trailer TOWARDS the drivers side by adjusting the levelers to a far less than level condition, I get a couple more gallons out of the tank before it starts sucking air again. Not only is this STILL unacceptable, but now the trailer is rather off level and is not very comfortable to be in.
Last week I removed a handful of screws from the belly of the trailer near the water tank. I peered in and found the issue, the tank is sandwiched between the structural rails of the trailer. It appears to be a VERY wide, flat tank. In has 3 or 4 metal straps horizontally under the tank, that I presume are there for support. The tank appears to have "bulged" somewhat around these straps, making 3 or 4 "low troughs" each of which holding a significant amount of water.
Until I tilt the trailer quite a bit toward the water drain which is on the far left (drivers side) of the trailer, the pump will continue to suck air. It is worth noting that living in the trailer tilted this much is not at all enjoyable. In fact, its bad enough that I'd rather sleep in the car.
So, why do I mention all of this? because I have an idea to remedy it, and I need more information. I am hoping someone here in the forum may have encountered something like this and has a solution.
My two possible solutions are:
1. Cut two very long, gradual wedges out of 2x4 stock. IE 1.5" wide and as long as the water tank is. They would be perhaps 1.75" high on the RIGHT side of the trailer, and taper down to a "feathered edge" on the left side. Install them between the water tank and the frame members that hold the tank. This would simulate a "tilted" trailer, simply by tilting the tank toward the pump inlet. I'd still have a fairly level trailer floor.
2. Install a thin but sturdy piece of "plywood or similar" between the aforementioned metal support straps and the bottom of the tank. This may prevent the "troughs" from forming under the weight of the water.
"Bring it to the dealer" is not a solution. For a couple of reasons. The first is I DID bring it to their attention during warranty. I was told... "They all do that. Its the design of the unit. The manufacturers really don't expect that you'll be doing much dry camping. The second is I am a DIY person. I want it done, and I want it done right.
What does this all boil down to? Really just one question. Does anyone know if there is sufficient headroom at the TOP of the water tank (between the trailer floor and the top of the water tank) to allow me to lift it up 1.5"-1.75" from the bottom to install my spacers? Is the tank "strapped" at the top as well?
I can't get the belly completely off the bottom of the trailer as there are some fasteners that were installed from the top before the flooring was installed. They are inaccessible from the bottom of the trailer. Further, I can't see above to the top of the tank. But I can get enough room to work if I need to.
Thanks for any input.