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Old 09-08-2011, 06:40 PM   #1
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Question regarding cold/waste water tanks on Argosy's and similar vintage Airstreams.

Hi all.. I was just wondering if any of the water tanks (black, grey, or drinking water) are insulated if not residing within the RV itself (e.g. below, attached to the framing,etc) or are some of them in the RV itself protected from freezing? Just curious as I know I've heard about a number of people having split pipes but I wasn't sure about the tanks proper.. Just curious..

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Old 09-08-2011, 06:48 PM   #2
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They're not specifically insulated, but the furnace sends some of its output into the belly pan. Now, on Argosies I think only the gray tank is below the floor level (at least that's the case in my '75.) The fresh tank is above the floor in the front, and the black tank is in the back. More of the tanks are below the floor for Airstream models in those years.


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Old 09-08-2011, 11:30 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply.. I'm still looking at a few different vehicles with different ages -- from '73 to 84 in date ranges and am trying to understand the differences in how things were designed,etc..

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Old 09-13-2011, 09:08 AM   #4
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I am close to you Rick, down near Irvine, so PM me if you need any help!
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Old 09-13-2011, 10:59 AM   #5
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on my trailer both the black and grey tank have some insulation between the steel cover below them and the tank. There is a heat duct that must provide some minimal heat to the area. I have been told by people who camp in the winter that if you run the furnace a lot the pipes and tanks will not freeze. I have only camped down to the high 20's and the hose is all that froze.
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Old 09-13-2011, 06:37 PM   #6
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Question regarding cold/waste water tanks on Argosy's and similar vintage Airstreams

Greetings Rick F!

I am most familiar with the first generation (1972-1979) Argosy travel trailers so will answer from that perspective.
  • The fresh water tank on all of the standard coaches was mounted on top of the floor with most being mounted immediately below the front panoramic windows. There is any particular attempt at additional insulation, and any heat that reaches the area inside of the cabinet is radiant/convection as there isn't a duct to that area in most of the coaches.
  • The blackwater tank is also mounted above the floor immediately under the toilet. Again, there wasn't a particular effort to insulate the tank, but on most of the coaches there is a furnace duct that supplies heat to the area.
  • The gray water tank on the Argosy trailers can be either below floor (standard series coaches) or above floor (Minuet coaches). If my information is correct, the gray water tank became an option in 1973 and was made standard in 1974. There is a small duct opening serving the below floor bay where the gray water tank is located as well as some insulation around the tank. On the Minuets, the gray water tank is above floor and does not serve the shower drain. The Minuet's gray water tank does receive some heat flow from the duct that serves the blackwater tank area, but the flow is very minimal.
As with everything Airstream, there is little absolute . . . . and when previous owners' attempts at upgrades and changes are added to the puzzle the answers become even less clear.

I have found my Airstream and Argosy to be every bit as cold weather capable as my prior Nomad, but there are other manufacturers who make coaches with more comprehensive cold weather packages.

Good luck with your search!


Kevin D. Allen
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1964 Overlander International/1999 GMC K2500 Suburban (7400 VORTEC/4.11 Differentials)
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
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