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Old 03-31-2014, 11:17 AM   #1
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1999 19' "B" Van Airstream 190
Denver , Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2014
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B-190 van late model holding tanks

Hi, all.

First time Airstream owner, and new forum member.

I am getting my 1999 B190 ready for our first season, and I am having trouble matching up the owner manual instructions for dumping the holding tanks with what I actually see under the van. I have not tried dumping yet, just trying to get ready. This is the later model bathroom layout with the toilet on the driver side facing the center and the vanity sink and stand up shower in the center.

Page 19 of the owner manual indicates that you dump and rinse the black water tank, and then repeat for the grey water tank, but I can't see any separate dump valves for the two tanks.

System diagram for below floor plumbing (drawing #943495 dated 2/25/97) identifies a 1.5" gate valve for the grey water tank, and a 3" gate valve for the black water tank, both leading to a 3" bayonet ring and cap at the rear.

I don't see any gate or slide valves other than the 3" slide gate valve right at the outlet at the left rear of the van. Looking under the rear of the van, and at the waste line routing, it looks like both holding tanks are contained within a single sheet metal enclosure, at the very back of the van, just ahead of the tow hitch, with no access to individual tank outlets.

Can any owners of the late-model post-1996 190's confirm the dump procedures for me?

Thanks!
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Old 03-31-2014, 02:40 PM   #2
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Welcome to the Airstream Forums.

Not familiar w/ the B190 but others here probably are.
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Old 03-31-2014, 08:59 PM   #3
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They didn't make many of the later years. Sounds like you may have just one tank. Hilariously, my B190 manual had the opposite error - claimed there was only one tank, but there was clearly two!
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Old 03-31-2014, 09:27 PM   #4
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1999 19' "B" Van Airstream 190
Marietta , Georgia
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I have your model B190. There are two tanks with two different valves. I have mine at the shop getting some cabinet work done but am picking it up on Thursday. I'll take pictures Thursday and post so you can see.
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Old 03-31-2014, 11:38 PM   #5
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1999 19' "B" Van Airstream 190
Denver , Colorado
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karenjude View Post
I have your model B190. There are two tanks with two different valves. I have mine at the shop getting some cabinet work done but am picking it up on Thursday. I'll take pictures Thursday and post so you can see.

That'd be a great help. Thanks!
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Old 04-03-2014, 06:13 PM   #6
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Posting these pictures for karenjude.

You will see two valves, one black on the drivers side, and one grey accessible from the rear of the B190.
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Old 04-04-2014, 03:15 PM   #7
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1999 19' "B" Van Airstream 190
Denver , Colorado
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1 or 2 holding tanks for 1999 B190?

Thanks for the photos. I can see that my dump set up is indeed different. I've attached some photos to show my actual dump plumbing and holding tank set up.

I have only a single visible dump valve at the left rear corner, aft of the other hookups (see photos). There is no other dump valve anywhere to be found.

I can find only three plumbing connections into the holding tank area, which is contained within a single sheet metal box (see photo).

There is the dump valve line coming out of the lower left end of the holding tank. This line has a junction which appears to be from the toilet drain line above it. The nature of this junction (see photo) seems to show that the toilet is expected to flow towards the tank at the junction.

The shower drain appears to go into the holding tank at the upper forward left side of the holding tank (photo).

The vanity and kitchen sink drains appear to join up in the house battery compartment and drop into the top of the holding tank at the right end of the tank (no photo).

All of this leads me to believe that I have only a single holding tank, for all grey and black water.

Interestingly, the specs indicate that each of the two holding tanks specified have a heater, and there are indeed two switches in the battery compartment which the dealer told me are for those heating pads. I guess the single tank is long enough to warrant two pads for full coverage. Or maybe Airstream (Thor) just didn't have any heating pads big enough for the entire single hold tank in their inventory, since they may have been geared up to normally install two holding tanks.

When I am somewhere that I can dump and do some testing, I'll run water through all the possible drains and verify that it all ends up at the single dump valve. Somewhere along the line, I'll try to figure out the capacity of the tank, as well.

Any other 190 owners out there with a single dump valve/holding tank? I have read that 1,393 190's were built through August, 1999. My Airstream (not Ford) VIN ends in 301365, so I might have number 1365 out of 1393? The Airstream manufacturing date is 3/99.

Thanks, all!

--
Tim
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Old 04-04-2014, 03:42 PM   #8
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1999 19' "B" Van Airstream 190
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But monitor shows different levels for grey and black

I just remembered that the monitor panel on the range hood shows different levels for black and grey holding tanks, throwing some confusion on my conclusion that I have a single tank, assuming that the monitor and sensors are working properly.

The grey tank reads nearly full on the monitor, while the black tank is empty or nearly so. I assumed earlier that the grey tank had runoff from the dealer's winterizing, but maybe that sensor isn't even installed if there's only one holding tank.

Further investigation warranted...

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Old 04-04-2014, 04:15 PM   #9
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1999 19' "B" Van Airstream 190
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That is different from mine. I'm going to see if I can figure out when mine was built - you've piqued my interest!
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Old 04-08-2014, 10:06 AM   #10
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1999 19' "B" Van Airstream 190
Denver , Colorado
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Apparent holding tank configuration

My holding tank configuration appears to be this:

* The toilet sits on a tank-like space which is above the floor boards.

* This toilet tank space appears to have a large, dump-line sized, drain pipe out the rear, turning 90 degrees down to join up with the dump line just upstream from the dump outlet valve (see previous photos for dump valve and outlet location).
This "upper tank" drain line does not seem to have any valves in it, and where it joins the dump line it is encouraged by the pipe curvature to flow towards the below-floor holding tank, rather than towards the dump valve outlet.
* The two grey water drain lines (shower, and kitchen/vanity) feed into the top of the main, below-floor holding tank.

If this is all correct, then it appears that my dump procedure is fairly simple, since there's only one dump valve, but it looks like I'll need to be careful to proactively rinse and flush the upper toilet tank, since there appears to be no way to hold liquid in that tank, and therefore solids may tend to sit and never get down to the main tank (in fact, there are currently a surprising amount of solids sitting there from the previous owner).

Should I get one of the "wands" that I've read about, to rinse out that upper tank?

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1999 B190
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Old 04-08-2014, 10:42 AM   #11
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Sounds like it. Surprised they are allowing the black and gray tanks to be cross-connected.
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Old 04-08-2014, 11:11 AM   #12
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1999 19' "B" Van Airstream 190
Denver , Colorado
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Interesting observation, 73shark.

Is there a standard or specification or convention that black and grey water tanks be separate? Does anyone know what might be bad about them not being separate?

I guess one bad thing is that if any grey water drain trap gets dried out, then black water smells will come up through that drain. But I've heard that grey water smells aren't that great, either.

Thanks, again, everybody.

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1999 B190
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Old 04-08-2014, 11:14 AM   #13
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The smallest Airstream travel trailer - the Bambi 16' - uses a combined black and grey tank.
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Old 04-10-2014, 05:45 PM   #14
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1999 19' "B" Van Airstream 190
Denver , Colorado
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So, I've confirmed, through the delicate use of a mirror down the toilet, that there is no valve controlling the outlet of the toilet holding tank, which means that everything just flows directly to the main holding tank. Well, everything flows as well as it can, given that you can't hold liquid in the toilet holding tank to help the solids flow out.

It seems to me that the tanks themselves are probably the same as everyone else's late-model B190's, but that the factory reworked the outlets and dump valves for some reason.

Other than simplicity, I'm not sure I see the advantage in my single-valve setup.

For one thing, the upper tank (toilet) will tend to hold solids since the tank can't hold liquids. I think I'll have to aggressively rinse the upper tank before and during dumping to get all the solids out.

For another thing, it seems like the total capacity is effectively reduced, since I can't hold anything in the upper tank. I'd be kind of nervous letting the lower tank fill until it backed up into the upper tank to exploit the total capacity.

I'd almost rather have just a simple drain line all the way from the toilet flange to the lower holding tank, instead of the seemingly useless upper tank.

I guess I could see about having a slide valve installed into the drain that comes down from the toilet holding tank, but I'll probably just use it as is until I know whether there's really any problems or not. Even if I did, I'd have to put another valve in the grey tank outlet upstream of the black/grey junction in order to be able to drain the black tank first.

I wish I could find just one other late-model B190 owner with the same configuration as mine.

Ah well, this is probably all I'll post on this subject, unless something else startling comes up.

Thanks for listening.

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Tim
1999 B190
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