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Old 06-18-2018, 07:01 PM   #1205
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First, I think I feel responsible for taking this thread into "Garage-Mods" thread. But seems no one is objecting and all seem to be having fun with it, so I am just continuing to chime in

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Originally Posted by InterBlog View Post
This is not the kind of contraption that anyone in their right mind would set out to make intentionally, but given that we already own all the parts, it makes sense. I had originally planned to sell one or both of the Dometics on Craigslist, but I would not get what they are worth, and we don't otherwise have a fridge in our garage, so here we are.
INTERBLOG - That's very resourceful. I would have re-purposed too if I had 2 of those, but would never have thought of making a fridge-condo. That's very nice thinking out of the box. I re-purposed my old beverage-cooler-fridge when it was not holding low temps, into a cycling bottle cooler in my garage. Ironically, it has done well all these years in that lowly capacity.

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Moral of that story: If you have an older fridge in your house that is still working, don't trade it in for one of these newer pieces of crap. These fancy next-gen fridges are now in the range of $1,500 - $3,500. In our experience, you might as well take that cash and throw it out your window for all the good its going to do you to spend it on one of these.
Oh so true! My Sub-Zero is 18 yrs. old. It has dual everything (2 compressors, 2 evaporators, 2 separate systems) unlike the newer systems that share everything. Mine doesn't even have a door ice dispenser. I have to open freezer door to get ice from ice maker. It's ref evaporator started leaking. Since it's sealed system problem & I do not have HVAC license, no choice but to call tech. Tech saw how perfectly maintained (cosmetically & mechanically) my unit was. He said even the NEW Sub-Zero's (which would now cost me upwards of $10,000) are not built like my old one. He describes them as throw-away units not worth repairing. It cost me $1,200 for the full overhaul. But it is like new and he said it should hold for another decade at least.

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But who can resist?

In our original thoughts, the garage would be 100% of the lower floor and the house would be much of the upper. But that might make for a bland elevation. Would be relatively cheap to build, however.
Me too. Mine was much simpler idea, 40'x40' foundation, 1,600 sq.ft. garage on 1st floor & 1,600 sq.ft. residence on 2nd floor, both with 12' ceilings. But wife and kiddos kabashed that plan. That would've been easy & cheap to build. 4 walls and 1 gigantic roof (with zero architectural appeal)

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Ha! Notice how far away I am taking the picture? There is a good reason for that. Id like to modify the roofline over the middle garage and add a 10 tall door.
TINCAMPERS - that's the way to do it, 30'x40' barn with 10' tall door for AI. RE taxes is $600 for house, garage and 13 acres ? Foul! No fair making me cry like that

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Originally Posted by Lotus54 View Post
Too hot the last couple of days to do much later in the afternoon (for me). I just mowed the law, already 68 out there! Cooking! (It has been in the 80s which is darn hot for here).
Mark
MARK - I would love to move to where 80 is considered hot. Not sure I can handle your rainy & winter season though. How about 111 when I got back to Las Vegas early this week.
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Originally Posted by wachuko View Post
Even started making mock-ups

Kids love where we are and the dream of building just faded into nothingness... we sold the property last year and that is how we got the AI...

I still tell my wife that for the new house I want something like what I wanted to build in the property... her reaction is always "what new house!!?? We are not moving!"
WACHUKO - Love the mockups, with the scale Porsches and all Ummm, same reaction from my wife everytime I bring it up. Funny thing is we are still investigating something similar to your floor plan in a work-live part of town. 1st floor is mostly warehouse/garage space, 2nd floor is residence, but not as large in 2nd floor as your plan was. Big drawback is I won't own it, would be a lease. I would prefer my own property and more land in outskirts of city though. Will see. Like you say, Pending Project! BTW - here's the architectural mockup I did of my current residence. Sits prominently on display in my front foyer as reminder of time it takes to do things right. Took 2 years of mockup tweaking before final architect approval but only 6 mos. to build. Goes to show, it's the careful planning that takes the most time. PS: I do have 1 expensive yellow vintage racing Porche, it's that little one inside the mockup. Ran out of money to buy real one when I built house
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Originally Posted by bugsbunny View Post
Awesome recycling and reuse with the fridges! It is nice to have a garage fridge!
BUGSBUNNY - it is nice to have garage fridge. Did not know that until I moved my small beverage-cooler in there. That's when the man-cave started and garage-porn mode took off.
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Old 06-18-2018, 08:52 PM   #1206
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^^ Oh goodness... wow!! All I can say is...
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Old 06-19-2018, 05:41 AM   #1207
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I like this line of thinking but it does deserve its own thread. It's a very big question of how to store an Interstate, especially if we want to keep them on our own properties, planning for retirement, etc.

Back in 2014, a former poster hatched a thread called "Where to park the space shuttle". IRRC, that OP vacated their project in midstream due to the formation of other priorities. There is no general thread dedicated to Interstate garage-ominiums.
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Old 06-19-2018, 09:37 AM   #1208
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Work on the Interstate mod-mod (meta-mod?) continues to progress. For the first time in months, we can have more than a single half gallon of milk stored at our house - yay!!

BTW, that large model airplane suspended from the ceiling above the condo is my husband's wind tunnel project from his senior year of engineering school.

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Old 07-08-2018, 06:36 PM   #1209
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Originally Posted by gmillerok1 View Post
The Valtera cap (or the sewer hose) screws into a coupler such as the one described here:

Amazon.com: Valterra T1029-1 Termination Adapter with 3" Bayonet x 3" Spigot: Automotive

This adapter is connected to the Flex-T with a clamp.

I forgot that part. Sorry for the confusion. And yes, it all goes upstream from the macerator. Basically, you are removing the following:

3" to 3" coupler
3" to 3" hose adapter
3" hose

and taking the 3" to 3" hose adapter and tossing the rest, and then it goes:

3" ABS pipe from the valve to the 3" Flex-T (inserted over the end of the 3" ABS pipe).

The saved 3" to 3" hose adapter then goes on the other end of the Flex-T with the smaller end for the 3" hose with a clamp, and then a short piece of 3" hose connects to the macerator with a clamp.

You put the Valterra T1029-1 Termination Adapter with 3" Bayonet x 3" Spigot on the other opening of the Flex-T and the cap on that.

It's easy to see once you take a look under the van. The only thing not easy to see is the 3" to 3" hose adapter. It's clamped on to a 3" coupler that is then connected to the 3" ABS pipe on the other so the flexible hose can be connected to the macerator at the factory. Since you are using the Flex-T in the place of the hose, this adapter has to go on the other side so you can connect the 3" hose to the macerator.

Hope that helps.
GMiller,
I spent a beautiful Midwest afternoon doing your mod to the pipes going to the macerator. Your instructions were excellent and I only needed two trips to Lowes to accomplish the task, which is less than usual . My macerator had quit working so I figured I'd install the T pipe while everything was apart. Now I have the option to attach a stinky slinky if the macerator goes down again and will also be better at winterizing. As you mentioned in your post, there is certainly a lot of liquid that stays in that pipe!
Thanks again
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Old 07-09-2018, 12:38 PM   #1210
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Glad it worked.

I am now on my third Macerator. This time, the plastic pump housing developed a crack which caused a leak.

As for the cause, I think it was likely caused by freezing. The way the impeller works is basically small rubber flaps around a round housing. These little chambers can clearly hold fluid, so even if you drain all the fluid from the pipe, enough can remain to freeze

Last fall, when I winterized, I still ran pink antifreeze through the sanitary system. But because so much water is held in the 3" pipes and lower part of the tank that cannot be pumped out, I'm guessing that it was dilute enough to freeze, and the pump housing was damaged because of it. This year, I'll empty the liquid out through the T and replace it with pure antifreeze.

While it is out, I may replace the flexible T fitting with a hard abs or pvc t-fitting, but it's a bit more difficult, as the rubber 3" connectors on each end add about 4" to the overall length-and there's not that much left of the flexible hose to cut. To make it work, I may have to cut a few inches off the pipe that comes from the valve.

I hit high center on a railroad trestle on the bracket that holds the macerator a year or two ago. That also may have played a role, so I'm waiting for the replacement bracket as well. It was slightly bent and was putting some pressure at an odd angle on the macerator housing, although I doubt that was the cause, since the pump housing is what failed.

The kit to replace the housing is around $70.00 but requires disassembly, and you still have a three year old macerator. A new pump is $142.00.

I went with the latter option.
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Old 07-09-2018, 07:23 PM   #1211
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gmiller - Adding my thanks too. I did the mod last fall after noticing a join in the 3" pipe near the gray tank was leaking and about to separate. I raised the entire drain system up about 2" and created a proper slope in pipes from tanks all the way to macerator.

Raising the pipes and macerator became a bigger project as they often do for me.

When I disassembled the pipe near macerator found two brass nuts from broken brass studs. I got newer version replacement stainless steel studs for about $10 and rebuilt the macerator. This is my second macerator. First one was replaced by Airstream on warranty after mounting bracket on pump body broke.
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Old 07-09-2018, 08:08 PM   #1212
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gmiller - Adding my thanks too. I did the mod last fall after noticing a join in the 3" pipe near the gray tank was leaking and about to separate. I raised the entire drain system up about 2" and created a proper slope in pipes from tanks all the way to macerator.

Raising the pipes and macerator became a bigger project as they often do for me.

When I disassembled the pipe near macerator found two brass nuts from broken brass studs. I got newer version replacement stainless steel studs for about $10 and rebuilt the macerator. This is my second macerator. First one was replaced by Airstream on warranty after mounting bracket on pump body broke.
How did you manage to raise the drain system? I currently have mine apart to the pipe that is attached to the valve. I'd be interested in what you did-sounds like a very good idea.

GM
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Old 07-10-2018, 12:54 PM   #1213
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Macerator and Sewer Line Mods

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Originally Posted by gmillerok1 View Post
How did you manage to raise the drain system? I currently have mine apart to the pipe that is attached to the valve. I'd be interested in what you did-sounds like a very good idea.

GM
It started when I noticed I had a leak in the sewage line as seen in first attached photo. The 3" line from gray tank was nearly separated from the elbow because of misalignment since the whole main line was too low.

To solve problem, I needed to raise the whole sewage line a little closer to the van floor and give me better clearance for the vulnerable macerator mount.

I did three things to achieve this goal. First, I cut about an inch off the 3" down pipe coming from the black tank. That allowed me to raise the first elbow from the black tank and get better alignment on line from the gray tank.

Then I cut the center support and shortened it to raise the center of the sewage line. That mod to the center bracket is shown in second attached photo. There is a limit of an inch or two that this line can be raised due to other obstructions under van, like the exhaust pipe, drive shaft and LP tank. I also installed the gravity T-fitting as seen in that second photo.

Then I cut, shortened and relocated the macerator mount bracket as shown in the third attached photo. I moved the macerator forward about 2 to get a better overall alignment with the main sewer line. I had to attach a new aluminum bracket to the fresh water tank frame to provide the new forward mounting point.

Overall it seems to work well and the low point is gravity drain T-fitting I inserted in the line. The macerator is now above the bottom of the LP tank and is no longer as vulnerable to low point damage.

Hope this helps,
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Old 07-10-2018, 01:58 PM   #1214
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Thanks. Great job and thanks very much for the photos. I was wondering though how you dealt with the grey tank fittings? Weren't the in line with the original black tank fittings? If I recall, the grey fittings are located just above the bottom of the grey tank, so if that's the case, doesn't liquid still stop flowing after the tank level falls to about half way of the sewer pipe to the macerator pump?
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Old 07-10-2018, 03:55 PM   #1215
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Originally Posted by gmillerok1 View Post
Thanks. Great job and thanks very much for the photos. I was wondering though how you dealt with the grey tank fittings? Weren't the in line with the original black tank fittings? If I recall, the grey fittings are located just above the bottom of the grey tank, so if that's the case, doesn't liquid still stop flowing after the tank level falls to about half way of the sewer pipe to the macerator pump?

Yes - grey tank outlet is just above bottom of tank. With raised lines it now actually drains better. On mine it just leaves about an inch of water in tank. So some water stays in tank unless you are parked with driver side slightly down hill. Fortunately a lot of dump stations are built that way.
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Old 07-18-2018, 06:29 AM   #1216
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I was not able to find the 3" hose needed to install the Valtera fitting, so I drilled a 3/4" hole in the bottom of the PVC pipe feeding the macerator. I put a sink drain plug in this hole and then secure in with a large hose clamp around the pipe. This 3/4" plug allows me to drain the last gallon of fluid out of the drain pipes when winterizing. I remove the plug after draining, flushing, and draining again the black and grey tanks. What is left at that time is relatively harmless, but I still try to avoid getting it on me. Then when winterizing I leave the grey tank valve open and plug out and drive around a bit, to let things slosh out from every possible angle then ditto with the black tank valve. Finally, I pull the macerator hose all the way out and pour pink RV antifreeze into the hose from the outlet end. With the hose end clamped to a ladder, ensuring a downhill run all the way to the macerator, I insert a screwdriver into the slot at the end of the macerator and turn it to pump the antifreeze backwards through macerator until it runs out of the 3/4" hole.
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Old 07-18-2018, 01:55 PM   #1217
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I was not able to find the 3" hose needed to install the Valtera fitting, so I drilled a 3/4" hole in the bottom of the PVC pipe feeding the macerator. I put a sink drain plug in this hole and then secure in with a large hose clamp around the pipe. This 3/4" plug allows me to drain the last gallon of fluid out of the drain pipes when winterizing. I remove the plug after draining, flushing, and draining again the black and grey tanks. What is left at that time is relatively harmless, but I still try to avoid getting it on me. Then when winterizing I leave the grey tank valve open and plug out and drive around a bit, to let things slosh out from every possible angle then ditto with the black tank valve. Finally, I pull the macerator hose all the way out and pour pink RV antifreeze into the hose from the outlet end. With the hose end clamped to a ladder, ensuring a downhill run all the way to the macerator, I insert a screwdriver into the slot at the end of the macerator and turn it to pump the antifreeze backwards through macerator until it runs out of the 3/4" hole.
A clever solution!

I also get macerator well protected by RV antifreeze. I blow all the water from lines with compressed air, making sure I get all the water out of the toilet valve, the black tank flush line and the outside shower fittings. I forgot the toilet one years and froze the toilet valve. Had to replace the valve as it leaked from crack in the plastic.

But I use a different method for the macerator. First I empty the black and gray tanks at a local I-95 rest stop with a dump station. Very handy as it is nearby and free. Back in my driveway - using the new gravity drain I make sure the lines are empty into a bucket. I then add antifreeze to all the sink drains and the black tank, usually a full gallon. Then I run the macerator pump into a 5-gallon bucket to make sure I have pink in the macerator hose. I can easily dump the content of the bucket into a toilet in my house.

Finally I use the toilet all winter by manually flushing the toilet with RV antifreeze. This method has been working well for the last few winters.
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Old 07-22-2018, 02:28 PM   #1218
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I then add antifreeze to all the sink drains and the black tank, usually a full gallon.
The sink drains (and shower drain) on an NCV3 Interstate have Hepvo valves, not P-traps, and so do not need antifreeze in them. In fact, antifreeze will not stay in them at all, but rather it all runs down to the gray tank.
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