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Old 10-21-2017, 09:56 PM   #1
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Lightbulb Replace or Keep Tanks?

Hello everyone! I have a quandary for you all, which I don't seem to find any advice for on the interwebs.

So, I've just finished removing all three of my tanks. (I have a 1976 Airstream so I do have a grey tank albeit a small one.) I have not cleaned or tested them for leaks yet, but, from the state of the underbelly around them and a quick once over, they look intact. My dad keeps saying I should replace all the tanks because they're 40 years old. He says the plastic is no doubt going and eventually they'll just die and I'll regret not replacing them when I've got everything dismantled.

I'm really not sure what to do here. I've done some searching and I think I can find the black and grey tanks if I want to replace them, but the freshwater tank eludes me. It's not the same as the one Vintage Trailer supply sells for my year trailer. It's has a square hole in the middle. Therefore, I'm not even sure if I can replace it, plus I don't really want to spend any money if I don't have to.

So, that's the situation. I eagerly await your advice.
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Old 10-21-2017, 10:19 PM   #2
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If I removed 40 year old tanks I would replace them if they leak or not. VTS can work with you to make a custom tank. I think they use Inca Plastics. You also might be able to deal with them direct. Inland RV in CA also sells fresh water tanks.
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Old 10-21-2017, 10:45 PM   #3
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You want bigger waste tanks anyway, if you can modify underneath a bit and squeeze them in. Not having a 12-gallon graywater tank anymore is WONDERFUL.
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Old 10-21-2017, 11:25 PM   #4
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How did you manage that? Our grey water tank is situated above the axles. I'm not sure how we could make more room.
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Old 10-21-2017, 11:28 PM   #5
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Thanks for the information! I wasn't aware they could make custom tanks.
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Old 10-21-2017, 11:45 PM   #6
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How did you manage that? Our grey water tank is situated above the axles. I'm not sure how we could make more room.
I TOTALLY cheated, I bought a 2017 Flying Cloud. What I was planning to do to my '76 Argosy was to put 2 gray tanks plumbed together so I didn't have to make them hang down below the original belly pan. It might end up being slow to drain but shouldn't be terrible. I was OK with the black tank on that trailer, which was significantly bigger than my '75 24' Argosy. It was always the gray that filled first.
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Old 10-22-2017, 12:00 AM   #7
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I still have the stock fresh water tank in my 72, no leaks. I replaced the wastewater tank with a black and a gray, it was too thrashed for my tastes.
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Old 10-22-2017, 01:21 AM   #8
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My dad keeps saying I should replace all the tanks because they're 40 years old. He says the plastic is no doubt going and eventually they'll just die and I'll regret not replacing them when I've got everything dismantled.
If you replace them, you'll never know if the old ones would have failed. And that's okay. If you have the slightest doubt as to whether the existing tanks are structurally sound— and likely to remain structurally sound for the foreseeable future— then the time to replace them is now when everything is already taken apart. Unless you really want the extra work later…
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I'm really not sure what to do here. I've done some searching and I think I can find the black and grey tanks if I want to replace them
If you don't want to replace the gray tank with a larger one, perhaps you could buy replacement tanks, then use the larger of the two as your new gray tank, and the smaller as the black tank— assuming that you can switch them around so the smaller tank is right under the toilet.

But if you go with a larger-than-stock gray tank, allow me to offer a suggestion. Try to make the gray tank the same size as the fresh tank, if you can. That's the way my Interstate is set up, a 26-gallon fresh tank, 26-gallon gray tank, and 17-gallon black tank. Having the gray tank the same size as the fresh tank means, if I start with a full fresh tank and empty waste tanks, then by the time the fresh tank is empty, neither the black not gray tanks has overflowed, and I can go dump the waste tanks before filling the fresh tank again, and never have to worry about tank gauges.
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but the freshwater tank eludes me. It's not the same as the one Vintage Trailer supply sells for my year trailer. It's has a square hole in the middle. Therefore, I'm not even sure if I can replace it, plus I don't really want to spend any money if I don't have to.
What is the square hole in the fresh tank for? If it doesn't serve a useful purpose, you don't need the hole. If you do need the square hole, you can always cut a matching hole in whatever tank you buy.

As for whether to spend the money on new tanks, that's a choice only you can make. But consider that plastics technology has improved greatly over the last 40 years. In addition, the concept of food-grade plastics— meaning plastics that do not impart tastes or odors to the contents, and don't absorb tastes, odors, or stains from the contents— didn't even exist back when your present tanks were built. By the way, food-grade plastic is BPA-free by default, if that makes any difference to you. Black and gray tanks don't have to be food grade, but should be, so they don't permanently absorb unpleasant odors from the wastewater. And your fresh tank definitely should be food-grade so that you know you aren't drinking chemicals leached from the plastic.
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Old 10-22-2017, 01:01 PM   #9
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Hmmm I never thought about replacing my black water tank, it had a hole from a screw so I just had it welded, the hardest thing on plastic is sunlight's uv rays, which does not happen to most tanks. If the plastic is still supple, I would keep the fresh tank, the grey I would go bigger. I like protagonist's idea, about size, I don't rely on my gauges ether.
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Old 10-23-2017, 02:04 AM   #10
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A valid and amusing point about replacing the tanks. I didn't really have doubts until my dad mentioned it, which is why I thought I'd gather some opinions.

Thanks for the advice on tank size. I see the wisdom in having equally sized tank space. I'll see what I can do.

The square hole in the center of the fresh water tank accommodates a downward projection from the frame which a bolt screws into. I think the intention is to make it more stable. Unless I cut that part of the frame off, I have to have that hole in the middle. I'm having difficulty imagining how cutting the hole would work in this case.
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Old 10-23-2017, 02:06 AM   #11
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Ha! I love it!
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Old 10-23-2017, 02:12 AM   #12
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I always forget you can weld plastic. That's pretty neat. A good point about uv rays. The plastic on all the tanks is definitely still supple.
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