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Old 02-05-2015, 06:06 PM   #1
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1966 20' Globetrotter
Vintage Kin Owner
McMinnville , Oregon
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Adding a Gray Tank from Vintage Trailer Supply???

Hello All. This summer we towed home my long anticipated project, a 1966 Globetrotter. What started out as intentions of a mild restoration has turned into a full-blown overhaul. I am assuming many people restoring older trailers find themselves in this situation. Currently we have fully gutted the interior and next will be getting the exterior watertight and looking good. This spring I will be replacing the floor and would like to add a gray water tank from Vintage Trailer Supply while I have access to the frame. I would like to know if anyone else on this board has experience with adding a gray water tank from Vintage Trailer Supply? If so, would you be willing to share your experience with me, supply photos, and offer any words of wisdom for me? I am curious to see the tank and fitting placements, along with seeing where others are placing their valve handles for the gray tank. Thank you in advance, Holly
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Old 02-05-2015, 06:28 PM   #2
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1966 24' Tradewind
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Welcome hjf, nice to meet you. Welcome to the highs and lows of vintage Airstream ownership. I purchased a 66 Trade Wind about a year and a half ago and have enjoyed working on the thing while we travel in our 86. I am a bunch prejudice but I think the mid sixties trailers are pretty neat. Airstream was doing very well then. And my son has 69 Globetrotter.

I only rebuilt the bath in my 66 due to floor rot. But while I was at it, I did a bunch of other work too.

Installing a gray tank is a huge value increaser for these old trailers. Otherwise you are rigging a portable waste water tank and hauling it over to dump it.

Globetrotters are a smaller trailer than my 24 footer. My son's has a "wet bath" which is tiny, and not very useful in my view. There are some nifty floor layouts in Globetrotters shown in these Air Forums. You'll have to do some research. Note the Airstream Knowledgebase toward the bottom of the home page, and then find Globetrotter. Select your year range and read up on them. It's fun.

You're going to have to design your gray water system in its entirety. The holding tank will require a vent, where to run the drain lines, and how to plumb the dump valves. The flat tank shown in VTS catalog is one option.

Take the time to assess all of your trailer's needs from the ground up. Tires, brakes, axle, subfloor, plumbing, electrical, appliances, shell, windows, vents, etc, etc. Make a list of all your trailer's needs and then set priorities. Making curtains or polishing the exterior won't help make it travel ready. Again, start reading up on the mid sixties Globetrotters.

Here is a photo of my 66 Trade Wind. You'll have to post a photo of your new, old trailer.

David
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Old 02-05-2015, 08:15 PM   #3
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1971 27' Overlander
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Welcome, hjf -

The mild-restoration-to-full-blown-overhaul journey has been taken by many of us on these forums, and - sadly - abandoned by some as well. Be encouraged knowing that anything you might face in your re-do has been done a dozen ways before by some very talented folks and posted right here.

I'm no talent, but I can copy ideas with the best of them. Re your gray tank questions, I added two gray tanks from VTS (my '72 had none). It was not hard at all. I worked off of Colin Hyde's approach shown in Reinergirl's thread http://www.airforums.com/forums/f109...-78136-10.html posts 127-154. The dump valve connections with the black tank line can be done several ways.

I hope this helps some. No matter what, have fun!

Alan

My tanks:
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Old 02-06-2015, 06:05 AM   #4
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1966 24' Tradewind
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Very well done TennTex. Very informative. You answered the OP's hjf's question exactly. The square 4" deep tanks sold by VTS allow a smooth, flat belly pan like it came from the factory. I assume you can drain into the tanks either from the side through the cross members (like the shower) or from the top through the subfloor (like the galley sink). You may have a similar tank in the rear for the toilet holding tank?

David
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Old 02-06-2015, 09:23 AM   #5
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TennTex...that's a really clean install. Cool.
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Old 02-06-2015, 12:37 PM   #6
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I've not done it yet to our 1960 Avion T20, but have researched it a lot online with others' experience & plan to do so when I go in to reinforce the belly pans & re-rivet them in a couple of years.

The biggest mistake & complaint I see is from those not realizing that these tanks need support under them across the frame rails - no surprise that polypropylene itself won't support 16 gals of water!

So if you plan on using solid steel or high strength aluminum cross bracing - in addition to replacing your floor for access from above - you'll probably also need to remove the belly pans to add the cross bracing bars shims along the frame rails so that the belly pans can then lie flat when re-riveted to the frame rails. -

... or if using "U" straps attached to the tops of the rails (as what it appears in TennTex's pix) - then you may be able to do it all from above, but then again need to un-rivet & slip in some shimming strips to the bottom of the floor rails so as not to bend/bulge the belly pan(s) if the the depth of the tank + straps is deeper than the floor frame rails.

Note that if you attach straps to the top of the frame rails, that you will not only need to notch the floor plywood panels to clear them - but more importantly - if you ever need to remove them or access them for service in the future, you cannot do so without pulling up the floor.

Whereas the method using steel or aluminum solid steel bars across the bottom or steel "U" straps (bolted at the sides of the rails) & attached from the bottom of the rails - you can then access them from same by removing a belly pan (or more for multiple tanks).

Carefully check the tank's requirements for spacing of cross braces & the weight bearing capacity of each strap or solid bar at that spacing when full of grey water.

I'm not sure, but it looks like TennTex's install included new frame rails too, which is not necessary if planned with the plumbing at & under cabinetry, etc. - from what I've seen others do on installs with the existing frame rails in place.

So do some online googling & research online for the different install methods, & pick one or cobble together a couple/few which suit your needs best.

In any case, it will sure beat those dang wheelie grey tanks, & come in handy for those short highway rest stops where you'll want to use the galley &/or bath sinks!

Good Luck!
Tom
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Old 02-06-2015, 01:41 PM   #7
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TenTex, did you put in just one vent stack for the two tanks?
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Old 02-06-2015, 02:20 PM   #8
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If you do a search for my profile, I did this recently with homemade tanks. 1/4 ABS. When I started, Steve hadn't had them available at VTS. I put in 2 gray tanks. Front kitchen, drained through the floor into the side of one tank, through the 2nd tank, then straight out the back.

I did put in venting in both tanks just in case I had air pockets. One thing I did that was interesting was to link the venting between the 2 tanks, then I dropped in a float sensor. This is a stainless steel sensor that hangs down in the vent stack (I just remembered I took pics and will post on my thread) and then the wires come out of the vent stack. So, when the tanks fill, I have 2 positions that I can run to indicator lights. I used cheap galvanized hurricane straps to hold the tanks, plus angle iron at the ends. (I tend to over build sometimes). The hurricane strapping gets bent at a 90, then a elevator bolt through the floor holds the strap. The elevator bolt got epoxied in, so I can put a new floor over, and still drop the tanks someday if ever needed.

rob.
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Old 02-06-2015, 04:16 PM   #9
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Rob, I'd be very interested in seeing your pictures. Sounds interesting. We will be starting our "shell off" in about two months. The frame is in pretty good shape, but I still plan to beef it up here and there. Probably keep the existing tank configurations, but I want to make it easy to get to them when/if the need arises. And I like your tank sensor idea. Question: Where do the stainless steel hanging tank sensors enter the stacks? At a clean-out connection, perhaps? Or out the top? And is there any problem with the sensors just hanging? How did you determine their elevation in relation to the top of the tank?
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Old 02-06-2015, 04:51 PM   #10
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Thanks David and Steve. And by the way, after taking multiple measurements, I sent VTS a hand-drawn pic of my tanks with fitting details, and they came in with perfect fitting placement, easy as pie.

I positioned the tanks such that the forward one receives the galley drain and the rear one the bathroom drains. The inlet and vent openings are in the tops of the tanks, through the floor in the storage area under the street side bed. The vents join and then tee into the existing galley stack.

I made no frame modifications. With the tanks full, there is a bulge downward of about 1".

Having fun,

Alan
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Old 02-06-2015, 07:56 PM   #11
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The tanks are likely polyethylene material, which is tough stuff. They may bulge from the weight of the water, but not likely to split open or anything.

I've seen some folks rest the tank on a sheet of plywood, or use straps, or use steel. It is important the tank is securely mounted.

There are several ways to make the drain pipe connections to these tanks. Spin weld fittings, bulkhead fittings with seals on the inside of the tank wall, or grommets. You do have to plan carefully where you need to connect to the tanks and then order a special tank.

The in the frame rail tanks are most easily drained out the back of the trailer like was done in the 60s and 70s. Newer trailers have tanks that hang below the frame rails and drain out the street side usually.

I'd be a little skeptical about using a 4" deep tank for a black tank. It just doesn't seem like you could keep the solids wet enough to prevent mounding like an old open pit outhouse. But that was how my 66 Trade Wind was built. It was a very small black tank.

David
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Old 02-06-2015, 08:44 PM   #12
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We have two VTS grey tanks on our 1970 project located in the two "bays" just aft of the second axle. I plan to vent them using "under sink" plumbing vents. As illustrated below.
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Old 02-09-2015, 07:48 AM   #13
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A few thoughts:

Polyethylene rotomolded tanks like ours do flex a lot but they never split at corners or fail for structural reasons. They are strong, but support them from underneath for satisfactory draining.

Although optional, there is an advantage to venting in more than one location on a tank. If your tank is out of level and your vent is not at the high point, you'll trap air. In fact, trapping air is an ongoing hazard of really low profile tanks, so spend a little extra time on that.

I do have some reservations about Craig and Carol's under counter vents. Yes, they will work, but make sure they are as high up as possible because you will get backing up water in a gray system. Also, gray tanks will take on an aroma over time so consider whether you have alternatives to indoor venting. I don't know whether the under counter vents prevent the odor from escaping.

Finally, HepVo traps are the newest greatest thing and consider using those instead of conventional P traps that lose their water seal every time you move your trailer.
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Old 02-09-2015, 08:48 PM   #14
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Thank you Steve for the time spent posting good information. Appreciated.

David
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