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How to: Mod and install Gordonator's cistern / manifold

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This is how I modified and installed Gordonator’s awesome cistern for use on my “Move along” pack.

I reviewed some of the options / discussions in Gordon's "for sale" thread, but thought it might be a good idea to start a new thread discussing the modifications and installations, and leave his thread as a for sale thread. If people find new ways of modding it / installing it, let's share the ideas here so that everyone benefits. Troopers helping troopers! :)

Remember, this isn’t the only way to install it, it’s just the way I did it. I hope this helps a few people when they install theirs!

The cistern he has found is fantastic, really close to the original shape and design. It can be easily installed with just a few mods.

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Here’s the parts that need to be removed. Let’s start with some simple bits.

I removed the gold S shaped clip at the top of the dome. I just bent it by hand and slipped it out. Remove the plastic and rubber washers. You’ll find that you can then remove that inner rod and flat circular unit in 1 piece. Put these parts aside.

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Unscrew the big threaded plastic nuts and rubber washer at the base of the “straight tube”. Put these parts aside.

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Cut off the 2 nipples, there’s one at the top of the “twinkie” and one on the dome. The one on the twinkie has a solid bottom, just cut it off (I used a Dremel) and sand the nipple down so it’s flush and smooth with the surface. For the dome nipple, cut that off and you’ll see a hole that goes through the dome. Sand this down below the surface and sand the dome area if you want to patch the hole.

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I sanded inside the hole slightly, and filled the inside with hot glue to provide some structure for the bondo that I will patch the hole with.

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Mix up some bondo, just a little will do.

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Spread the bondo to patch the hole and let it cure. Then sand it smooth and flush with the surface.

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You can also create the rings around the “burger stacker” area by using zip ties or rubber door seal trim. I think Nol found these and a few people have used them too.

Nol's find for the rings (rubber door seal)

Unfortunately, I went to a few stores and couldn't find the right size or shape. So I decided to use the zip ties instead. Might be slightly less accurate in terms of shape, but in reality these are just structural mold lines so if you can find something that looks close to them, I say go for it! I think the zip ties will do just fine. I simply drilled 3 holes evenly spaced in the "valley" between the straight tube and the stacker area, and fed the zip ties through. The connection area for the zip ties are in the back / underside.

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Underside view. I used 14.5" zip ties but they came up a bit short to wrap around the stacker area, so I just added an extension tie. Not a big deal since they are hidden from view on the underside.

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If you want to add a little more detail, you can glue those little rectangles to the top of the dome. I just used some scrap plastic. I think I read somewhere that Mike Harrison made these ¾ inch x 1.5 inches long.

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To mount the mushroom cap and lower wipes bottle, I used a 6" long carriage bolt. The carriage bolt has a domed top, which looks a lot like the screen used cistern.

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The carriage bolt will pass through the top of the dome, through the mushroom cap, through the wipes bottle cap, through a piece of plastic, then secured with a nut. I found that the wipes bottles I used (Grand and Toy screen wipes) had a lid that flipped open like most wipes bottles. But this lid was very strong and solid, so I simply flipped it over and used it inside the bottle so that the nut secures against it. No need for extra sheets of plastic for support.

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To suspend the mushroom cap in place, I cut a ring from 2mm ABS flat plastic that had an outer diameter of 4.5 inches and an inner opening of 3 inches.

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To hold the ring in place, I glued strips of plastic approx ½ inch in from the lip of the opening of the cistern. This will create a lip for the ring to sit in. Make sure to sand the strips and inside of the cistern before gluing (I used E6000). You don’t need to glue the ring into place, it’s not going anywhere.

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Next, I used hot glue to secure the carriage bolt in place. I shot some glue into the hole inside the dome to secure it. This will prevent the bolt from spinning when you tighten the nut to secure all the parts.

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Insert the ring into the cistern, and assemble the parts (carriage goes through the top of the dome, through the mushroom cap, through the wipes bottle cap, through a piece of plastic, then secured with a nut.)

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Next, we’ll test fit the cistern onto the lower trays. In most pictures I’ve seen the dome / cylinder (burger stackers) sits about half on the lower edge of the tray, and half off. These are the measurements I used for my cistern, assembled on Crashmann seed trays. You might need to adjust the positioning for your pack.

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I’m drilling 1/8 inch holes to use 1/8 inch diameter x ¼ inch long aluminum rivets. I don’t plan on removing the cistern, and even if I did, drilling out the rivets is easy.

The lower holes have the first hole being drilled about ¼ inch in from the end of the ridge line of the seed tray, the hole to the left of it is 3.25 inches away. One the upper ridge line, the hole is 3.25 inches from the end of the ridge line. This will angle the cistern slightly (as shown by the red line). If you want to angle it more like on some of the screen used packs, just adjust the spacing of the holes. I’m happy with the position of the cistern (I liked it sitting a hair straighter than screen images)

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I drilled the holes in the trays first, then aligned the cistern, and marked through the holes in the trays. Drill the holes in the cistern now too. The holes in the cistern should sit in the the center or highest point of the straight pipe and the “burger stacker” area. Make sure that when you align it, that if you're adding the "3 rings" in the stacker area, that the holes go above or below the rings.

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Sand the surface of the cistern and wash it (with detergent, rinse then dry) before applying primer and painting. I used Krylon primer and Krylon satin black to match the rest of my pack. I hung it on a coat hangar to make it easy to paint. Here is the primer coat

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Here's the cistern after painting it with Krylon satin Black.

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To rivet the cistern, simply pass the rivets through the trays and through the cistern, and snap the rivets. You should try and install backing washers on the rivets inside the cistern if possible. *Note: the image here just shows placement with rivets inserted, but not "snapped" yet. I want to let the paint cure for a few extra days first. :)

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The cistern is now installed and riveted into place. Of course, make sure to snap on your wipes bottle under the mushroom and secure it if necessary.

Remember, be creative! have fun with your approach / technique.

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Great job is right! That's awesome man!

I wish you'd break out of your shell though and post something sometime that's more than just a sentence or two... maybe even with some good pics. :P hahaha

(sarcasm)

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This is a great walkthrough Terry! And doesn't look very difficult to do as well. :D

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So this morning after reading this post, i became inspired to try the wire ties....worked out great and superfast. One thing that i tried in addition to what you posted was the fill of middle dome hole. hate the time of working with bondo ;) ....Anyway, a super easy and fast way to do it is when you sand off the extra pieces (top tab and middle of dome)take the white plastic scrap (sanded off part) and hit it with the heat gun for about 20 seconds....use a putty knife and push the melted plastic in the hole. in about 5 seconds it hardens. quick sand and it looks like the hole was never there. another benefit is there is no change in material so it looks consistent.

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Nice idea Rick!

Terry, awesome thread! I really like the zipties idea. If i didn't have actual hamburger stackers, i would have done that for sure!

As an alternative to rivets, i screwed my cistern to my pack trays. i drilled through the tray into the cistern with a hole just a tad smaller than the screws i planned to use, which were about 1/4" diameter post. So they werent thin flimsy screws. Due to the material and thickness of the plastic of the cistern i was able to just gently force thread the screws through. Super secure and removable if need be.

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Thanks guys, hope this thread is helpful for those installing Gordon's great cisterns!

Good point Rick on the hole patching. I had also considered patching the hole with ABS or styrene, but the bondo was on hand and easy to work with.

Lou, good point on the screws. I actually might secure the bottom 2 holes with rivets and do the top one as a screw, since it's hard to reach way up into the straight pipe to back a rivet with a washer. A screw would be much easier to use in that location.

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Amazing thread Terry!

Thx a lot for sahring.

This will come on very handy when I finally start modding my cistern.

Saludos

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