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Old 04-03-2015, 01:53 PM   #1
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1959 26' Overlander
Westminster , Colorado
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Newbie Plumbing Question

Do I need a drain valve for both a fresh water tank and gray water? Or just 1? We won't be using a black tank.
Is there a resource I can learn about running pipe? I have a layout, but I'm not sure if it's correct or not....and I'm hesitant to fittings drilled if it's not correct.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 04-03-2015, 03:42 PM   #2
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The fresh water tank needs a drain valve for winterizing. The grey and black tanks should each have one too. If you don't have a black tank, you will not need a drain valve for it.
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Old 04-03-2015, 04:37 PM   #3
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The fresh water tank needs a drain valve for winterizing. The grey and black tanks should each have one too. If you don't have a black tank, you will not need a drain valve for it.

Not if you pump it (near) dry. A small amount of residual water in the tank is not harmful.
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Old 04-04-2015, 06:45 AM   #4
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Hi painterfam from Colorado. Welcome to Air Forums! This is the place to get all kinds of answers to your questions. There are a lot of us here that enjoy talking Airstreams and helping others.

Gee, it appears you have a 59 vintage trailer. They built them differently back then, that's for sure. I'm surprised to hear you have a gray water tank plumbed into your trailer. Back then it was common practice to let the "wash water" drain on the ground. My 66 had a woefully inadequate black tank under the floor, but the wash water basically drained on the ground. So maybe someone repurposed your old black tank into a gray tank?

Your trailer would have had a metal fresh water tank with an air pressure system to generate water pressure. kevin245 is correct. You can drain any fresh water tank with the 12v pump and running the faucet. I would not worry about a drain valve on your fresh water tank.

Your "gray water" tank has a dump valve on it. You don't need any other way to drain this tank.

Can you further describe what you want to accomplish with your "piping layout" with your trailer?

David

PS Here is a photo of a 59 Overlander that I was considering a few years ago. It would have been a fun project. It was in pretty good shape. Maybe your Overlander is like this one?
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Old 04-04-2015, 09:27 AM   #5
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i would strongly suggest drain valve on the fresh water tank. Most tanks are square sided and any water that would span from side to side would crack the tank. The design of a slopped sided tank was one of the biggest pattens ever issued during the era of the one lunger gas engine. That principle still holds.

I assume if you are replumbing the trailer it will be with plastic piping. Plastic is somewhat forgiving to freezing but if there is any copper left in the trailer that is not the least bit forgiving. Get it out of there.

If you have not had plumbing 101 you might want to study Sewer Venting a bit. The most likely area this will be needed it the kitchen sink as it will be a distance from the gray tank. Look at Heel Vents
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Old 04-04-2015, 11:07 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by dbj216 View Post
Gee, it appears you have a 59 vintage trailer. They built them differently back then, that's for sure. I'm surprised to hear you have a gray water tank plumbed into your trailer. Back then it was common practice to let the "wash water" drain on the ground. My 66 had a woefully inadequate black tank under the floor, but the wash water basically drained on the ground. So maybe someone repurposed your old black tank into a gray tank?

Your trailer would have had a metal fresh water tank with an air pressure system to generate water pressure. kevin245 is correct. You can drain any fresh water tank with the 12v pump and running the faucet. I would not worry about a drain valve on your fresh water tank.

Your "gray water" tank has a dump valve on it. You don't need any other way to drain this tank.

Can you further describe what you want to accomplish with your "piping layout" with your trailer?

David

PS Here is a photo of a 59 Overlander that I was considering a few years ago. It would have been a fun project. It was in pretty good shape. Maybe your Overlander is like this one?
Thank you David!!
Yes, my Overlander is similar to your picture, but a dual axle. It was used as a tiny house before tiny houses were popular. I don't have a good picture of it before we started ripping into it! But the exterior condition is about the same. I've been so blessed that there aren't any leaks!
I haven't found a black tank...the only tank I've found was under one of the beds. I have heard that the metal tank was under the gaucho, but neither the gaucho or the tank was there. I'm assuming the tank I found was a gray tank. But I don't recall seeing a release valve... I believe I've located the drain valve for the black tank (??) under the trailer. Regardless. I'm not going to be reusing the tanks...I'm going to put them in the frame (this trailer is going to do double duty as a mobile boutique, and camping).
As far as piping layout...I have never run pipe for plumbing (this is new territory), and since I'm not following the old layout, I'm not really sure where the pipes should go (besides the obvious from the tank to the sink, etc etc). Are all water pumps and drain valves basically the same? Is there a favored brand? Do the pipes need to be run at an angle like they do in houses?
Is there a thread with all this info? I have searched, but I think I'm using the wrong keywords.

Thanks so much!
Rachael
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Old 04-04-2015, 11:09 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HowieE View Post
i would strongly suggest drain valve on the fresh water tank. Most tanks are square sided and any water that would span from side to side would crack the tank. The design of a slopped sided tank was one of the biggest pattens ever issued during the era of the one lunger gas engine. That principle still holds.

I assume if you are replumbing the trailer it will be with plastic piping. Plastic is somewhat forgiving to freezing but if there is any copper left in the trailer that is not the least bit forgiving. Get it out of there.

If you have not had plumbing 101 you might want to study Sewer Venting a bit. The most likely area this will be needed it the kitchen sink as it will be a distance from the gray tank. Look at Heel Vents
Yes, I'm replumbing. I haven't seen any copper for water...just propane.
I definitely have not had plumbing 101 - and I DESPERATELY need it! I will do more research! Thanks! If you can recommend any threads on the topic, I'd greatly appreciate it!

R
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Old 04-04-2015, 06:47 PM   #8
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Hi painterfam,

Plumbing is a skill trade. Good plumbers make good livings at it. There are many "rules" and practices that take time to learn. Some of us hobbyists have picked up enough to make some repairs or run some lines. My father in law started teaching me 40 years years ago. You can learn it too. It takes time and practice for sure. I can't cook hardly at all. But I suppose I could learn it. It would take time.

I recommend you find a big box store and pick up some how to literature on plumbing basics and start reading. You can learn about hot and cold water lines, faucets and toilets, drain traps and drain lines, shut off valves, seals, etc. The connecting fittings take some time to learn, such as tees, elbows, connectors, and all their variations in size and type (steel, copper, PEX, ABS, etc, etc.) I still get embarrassed asking for pipe nipples. But that's what they're called.

Open the cabinet under your kitchen sink and take a look. Find the p-trap, drain connections, hot water line, cold water line. You can see some of the variety. And all of those "water conduits" were fabricated through walls, floors, etc.

Installing new plumbing in an old Airstream is a major project. It starts with a plan on where all the fixtures will be, and where all the drain water tanks will be. Then where the fresh water tank will be, where the city water will connect, where the water heater will be, and all the faucets and toilet. Once you have settled on a workable plan, then the building starts. It is a major project.

If your trailer had a toilet, the black tank is under it. Many old Airstreams had "rear baths" and the black tank is under the floor. Many old Airstreams had leaky windows and leaky plumbing causing the wood floor to rot out. The floor in my 66 Trade Wind was rotted and needed replacing before any plumbing could start. More work.

There are some good Overlander rebuild project threads you can stay up all night reading where you can learn how others have done it. Here is one that has it all...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f109...ion-88673.html

David
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