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Old 03-21-2016, 10:59 AM   #1
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1978 31' Sovereign
Botgek , Washington
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Removing all water tanks?

I'm doing an entire gut/remodel on a 1978 31í airstream (rear bath). Iím contemplating removing all the water tanks to make layout and plumping easier. I realize this will probably hurt resale, but Iím more interested in reasons why it would be a bad idea to remove the tanks. I have no plan of ever boondocking the airstream because we plan to live in it and will always have a RV hookup.

Reasons to get rid of them:
Mice have built a home in all of them
Expensive to replace
One more thing to leak or break
I will have to figure out how to wire them and build a dashboard
Limits bathroom layout
Plumping will be easier

Other than resale value, is there any reason I shouldnít remove them? Or pros to removing them?


Thanks for your help,
Ryan
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Old 03-21-2016, 01:02 PM   #2
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Well, the only reason I can think of is that you will be converting from a recreational vehicle/travel trailer to a portable cabin.

I find it nice to have my bathroom available for pit stops rather than use public (often gross) facilities. If you remove the waste tank, you will have to convert to either a composting toilet or a household type water flush toilet (which I have never seen done but there is no reason you couldn't if you are absolutely sure you will always have water hookups) because of the way an RV toilet works.

If I get stuck somewhere because of weather or mechanical problems, it is nice to have a bathroom, kitchen and a shower if remaining long.

As for resale, well, it will certainly damage the value but, with the au currant "tiny house" movement, you may find someone who will like it...

Generally, once the tanks are replaced and replumbed, there isn't a lot to go wrong. Leave yourself room to access the dump valves and you should be good to go.

Mike
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Old 03-21-2016, 03:45 PM   #3
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I will offer my responses to your concerns point by point:

Reasons to get rid of them:

Mice have built a home in all of them--Clean them out and don't worry about the mice. Only the fresh water tank is of concern where cleanliness is concerned, and most people don't drink water from their tanks anyway. A bit of bleach can work wonders.

Expensive to replace--Yes, but they don't need to be replaced unless they are cracked, broken, leaking, and unrepairable.

One more thing to leak or break--This is also a good argument not to have windows.

I will have to figure out how to wire them and build a dashboard--Not necessary. Many people have tanks that were originally set up with fancy sensors that eventually failed and were never replaced. You can tell how full your black tank is by flushing the toilet and looking inside, and you will get a "feel" for how long it takes to fill up grey tanks and empty fresh water tanks.

Limits bathroom layout--I find that the bathroom layout is mostly limited by the placement of windows, wheel wells, and other factory penetrations and appliance placements. The slate is never as clean as you think it is going to be.

Plumping will be easier--Yes, but what won't be easier is camping where there aren't full hook-ups. If you have any desire to camp "off the grid," or even in National Parks or NF campgrounds, then you are going to want to be fully self-contained.

But at the end of the day, it is your trailer, do with it as you wish. If it is going to be parked in a trailer park and rarely taken on the road, then it really doesn't matter to you whether it has holding tanks or not. If the "next owner" wants tanks, then they can either retro-fit them, or buy some other trailer.

good luck!
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Old 03-22-2016, 09:45 AM   #4
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1978 31' Sovereign
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Thanks for both your responses.

I'm new to all of this and have never used an RV hookup. Where Iím likely going to park it there is a sceptic hookup about 50-60 feet down hill, I don't see how solid material would make it to the septic tank without adding a ton of water to wash it down. If I can reuse the tanks it seems best to just leave them in.

The black tank has a crack where it connects to the pipe where the RV hookup goes, so not the tank but the inlet, if thatís what itís called. Is that repairable?

Thanks,
Ryan
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Old 03-22-2016, 10:24 AM   #5
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Don't know anything about repairing the tank but you might want to look at the Sewer Solution as a handy means of moving the waste to your dump site.

I use it to tie into my homes' sewer connection when the trailer is parked in the yard. Two hose sections and two sections of 1" pvc pipe. Works great!
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Old 03-22-2016, 10:35 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sirwalshalot View Post
Thanks for both your responses.
I'm new to all of this and have never used an RV hookup. Where Iím likely going to park it there is a sceptic hookup about 50-60 feet down hill, I don't see how solid material would make it to the septic tank without adding a ton of water to wash it down. If I can reuse the tanks it seems best to just leave them in.
I think you may have hit on the single best reason to leave the tanks in place. Without the extra water that dumping the black tank (liquids & solids together) followed by dumping the grey tank introduces into the system, your solid wastes will clog up the works. Remember that in a residential situation the residential style toilet introduces a lot of water into the sewer system to flush solid wastes. If you were to remove the tanks and use an RV toilet, I think you would find that after a couple of uses, you would have a real mess on your hands.
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Old 03-22-2016, 06:24 PM   #7
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I've lived in my '31 for almost 30 years in many different spots and more often than not used a 3/4 inch garden hose for a drain. Often times it was not easy to be near a 3 or 4 inch sewer drain port. For me having shade and power are the most important factors for living in my Airstream. A black and gray tank and a macerator pump always gave me the ability to find a comfortable parking spot. Last year I had to replace the Jabsco pump and after trying 2 made in china copies I spent the money to buy another Jabsco. Sometimes you just can't scrimp with cash and get the job done. Anyway, I'm glad I spent the time and money on both waste tanks and a macerator pump, being able to drain through a garden hose has helped my quality of life a lot. That said, you can't beat a 3 or 4 inch sewer hook up if it has shade for the trailer in the summer.
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Old 03-22-2016, 06:59 PM   #8
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One real advantage to a trailer is - da hurricane come - I boogie! If you ever have to evacuate with your trailer.... you're not going to want to have to squat on the running board in lieu of a "necessary"

I once got stuck in a 2 hour backup at a tunnel, and became instantly popular as I allowed a pregnant woman and several other people in need to use my facilities.

Having a tank you never use isn't a big deal, NOT having one and having the whites of your eyes turn yellow... IS!

Paula
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Old 03-22-2016, 07:17 PM   #9
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Keep the tanks, I agree with Bel I have a 72 Overlander - my black tank was cracked so I needed to replace it - along with the last four feet of frame and assorted other items - and mine was in great shape. Keep the tanks. The mice will move out and you'll keep your resale, also I'd be more worried about the mice in the walls than the mice in the tank.

Dave


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Old 03-22-2016, 08:02 PM   #10
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I would take the tanks out if I wanted to haul a big load of ganja.


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Old 03-23-2016, 01:09 PM   #11
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1978 31' Sovereign
Botgek , Washington
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Thanks everyone for your input. Some good reasons to keep the tanks. I live outside of Seattle and we are waiting for the big quake, I know Iíll regret not having tanks when we evacuate.

As for mice in the walls, problem has already been resolved because the interior has been completely gutted.

Any advice/experience on buying tanks?

I've attached a diagram of how I think the plumbing should be done. Please take a look and let me know if this looks right. I also have a photo attached of the old plumbing before I gutted the AS and there is a piece that I can't identify. If anyone knows what it is and what it is used for please let me know. I've since gutted everything including the skins.

Thanks,
Ryan
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Old 03-28-2016, 02:25 PM   #12
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Ryan, talk to the folks at Vintage Trailer supply - they can help you out.


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Old 06-23-2016, 09:54 AM   #13
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Cottage Grove , Minnesota
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Thank you!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Belegedhel View Post
I will offer my responses to your concerns point by point:

Reasons to get rid of them:

Mice have built a home in all of them--Clean them out and don't worry about the mice. Only the fresh water tank is of concern where cleanliness is concerned, and most people don't drink water from their tanks anyway. A bit of bleach can work wonders.

Expensive to replace--Yes, but they don't need to be replaced unless they are cracked, broken, leaking, and unrepairable.

One more thing to leak or break--This is also a good argument not to have windows.

I will have to figure out how to wire them and build a dashboard--Not necessary. Many people have tanks that were originally set up with fancy sensors that eventually failed and were never replaced. You can tell how full your black tank is by flushing the toilet and looking inside, and you will get a "feel" for how long it takes to fill up grey tanks and empty fresh water tanks.

Limits bathroom layout--I find that the bathroom layout is mostly limited by the placement of windows, wheel wells, and other factory penetrations and appliance placements. The slate is never as clean as you think it is going to be.

Plumping will be easier--Yes, but what won't be easier is camping where there aren't full hook-ups. If you have any desire to camp "off the grid," or even in National Parks or NF campgrounds, then you are going to want to be fully self-contained.

But at the end of the day, it is your trailer, do with it as you wish. If it is going to be parked in a trailer park and rarely taken on the road, then it really doesn't matter to you whether it has holding tanks or not. If the "next owner" wants tanks, then they can either retro-fit them, or buy some other trailer.

good luck!

Thank you for this detailed answer. I found it very helpful. We just uncovered our tanks and are hoping to reuse them

http://rumblestripramblings.com/
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