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Old 04-29-2010, 12:12 AM   #1
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1959 24' Tradewind
The Grass Capital of the World , Oregon
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How much additional water volume will my chassis hold?

Hi everybody!

I have enjoyed reading the forums. Recently, I purchased my first Airstream trailer, a 1959 24' Tradewind. The original stainless steel freshwater tank holds ~20 gallons, and the black water tank holds either 8 or 9 gallons.

I would like to upgrade both these tanks for higher volume but I am concerned about overloading my trailer chassis with the extra water weight. Any idea how much weight this model can hold? Ideally I would upgrade each tank to about 30 gallons.

Thanks!
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Old 04-29-2010, 12:53 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpaceEgg View Post
Hi everybody!

I have enjoyed reading the forums. Recently, I purchased my first Airstream trailer, a 1959 24' Tradewind. The original stainless steel freshwater tank holds ~20 gallons, and the black water tank holds either 8 or 9 gallons.

I would like to upgrade both these tanks for higher volume but I am concerned about overloading my trailer chassis with the extra water weight. Any idea how much weight this model can hold? Ideally I would upgrade each tank to about 30 gallons.

Thanks!
That stock single axle trailer chassis has only a few hundred lbs of load carrying capacity. Water weighs 8 lbs/gallon; 34 gallons of additional water would thus amount to nearly 300 lbs of extra weight. This would amount to a full load w/o any food, cooking gear, etc.

Airstream, Inc :: Specs - 1950

59Tradewind

- Bart
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Old 04-29-2010, 06:55 AM   #3
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1961 24' Tradewind
1969 29' Ambassador
1970 21' Globetrotter
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You could probably increase your water capacity to 30 gallons. That is an extra 80 lbs over what you are now carrying, however you would probably replace the pressurized steel tank with a plastic tank and a water pump which would save some of that weight.
If the 59 tradewind is similiar to my 61 it has about a 10 gallon black tank above the floor. We find with careful use that is about 6 days.
Usually every 4 to 5 days we will dump it in a 10 gal. blue tank and haul it to the dump station on the tailgate of the truck. A bigger blue tank would be too heavy to lift.
We also seperated the black and gray systems and can hold about 10 gallons of wash water in a grid of 3 inch pipe mounted under the trailer.
Our 61 happens to be a tandem, the only one I have seen of that vintage. With a single axle you are running close to the weight capacity so that needs to be kept in mind.

As nearly as i can tell the steel water tank in the 61 is around 30 gallons, yours may be the same. I can get the dimensions if you need them
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Old 04-29-2010, 07:35 AM   #4
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I wouldn't recommend either if you plan to do any traveling.

I discovered an invisible leak in the drain fitting on my water tank had caused a rust spot in the frame. Adding significant weight might have caused it to break. I also had a little leak at the back that had rotted out the floor and caused separation of the frame from the body.

I was able to fix both, and now have a larger water tank and a graywater tank. Along with some other enhancements, the trailer now weighs over 4500# ready to roll.

Here is a picture of the frame rust. Didn't know about it until I took the body off.

The original water tank is 18 gallons. 10" OD x 54".
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Old 04-29-2010, 08:04 AM   #5
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The tank in the 61 is 14 inch diameter. which would explain the 30 gal. capacity. Didn't confirm the length as I did not want to tear the bed apart but 54 inches sounds about right.
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Old 04-29-2010, 09:55 AM   #6
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1959 24' Tradewind
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Thanks for the thoughts. I am brand-new to Airstreams, so I am curious how you weigh your trailers? I travel light, and I've gutted the interior so I am at liberty to rebuild how I wish, with weight a consideration.

About the grey water tank in the '61, do you have any photos of the installation? My '59 is only rigged for black water and I thought the easiest solution would be to increase the size of the black water tank accordingly, and just grin and bear it when emptying the tank. How large is your grey water tank, and did you connect it to the bathroom sink and shower too?

Dimensions:
stainless steel fresh water tank: 48"x 11.5" (cylindrical)
black water: looks like a crazed monkey retro-fitted the tank, but from the dimensions I can see, it's a curved "trapezoid" that adds up to 8.5 gallons, more if there is a sloped bottom.
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Old 04-29-2010, 11:53 AM   #7
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1961 24' Tradewind
1969 29' Ambassador
1970 21' Globetrotter
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I will try to dig up some pictures. Your best aproach for gray might be to check with vintage trailer supply (www.vintagetrailersupply.com) I think they have a tank available designed to fit up in the frame. You specify where you need the fittings installed.
What I did was make a grid of 3 inch plastic pipe (had the pipe on hand) which is attached below the belly pan. It holds about 10 gallons. I removed the large steel pipe fitting that was originally on the trailer where all the plumbing came together and put a 3 in sewer fitting directly on the dump valve. I was always worried about knocking that off since it hangs so low

I have a 2nd dump valve on the gray "tank". I plumbed both the kitchen and the bathroom fixtures into the grid so when water runs in one end it will vent from the vent pipe on the other end.
I also installed a 2nd drain on the grid under the trailer for gray water leakage when it is possible to do that. Kind of crude but it works. The gray system is totally separate from the black.
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