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Old 08-18-2015, 10:52 AM   #57
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Wow, I'll be following this one closely and may hit you up with some questions. I'm about to tackle the same job on a very similar safari. Seeing these pics really let's me know what I'm getting into.

What did you end up using for tanks? Looks like 2 gray and 1 black? Did you get these from VTS? What capacity are they?

I'm wondering if I need the capacity of 2 gray tanks. My '72 had the above floor black on the road side. We'll probably keep it that way. I'm struggling to see how I'd get good flow of solids to a center mounted unit and manage the outflow as well.
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Old 08-18-2015, 11:08 AM   #58
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The grey tanks came from VTS; they are 16 gallons each. Since I bought these, they've come out with bigger ones, meant to fit the space in the 70's trailers. (the originals were intended to fit the '60's units, which had 4" deep frames). I'm going to swap one of mine for the bigger size. I still need the smaller tank for the aft cavity, because of the location of the shower--the drain needs to drop into this space. But there's nothing but tank in the forward space, so I may as well use it. The larger 5" depth will allow me to use a see-level gauge. (4" minimum...but, you need to allow for a 1/8 or 1/4" gap top and bottom...and these tanks are actually "not quite" 4" deep; more like 3 3/4").
The black tank came from another vendor. It is 22 gallons.
If yours has the corner-tank, this wouldn't work for you. (unless you're custom-making an entirely new bathroom layout, and mounting the potty in the middle, between the main frame rails.).
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Old 08-18-2015, 12:36 PM   #59
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Thanks, I think I'll check into that larger gray water tank from VTS. The Current black will probably stay as is. As much as this project scares me, seeing what I'm getting into via the pics you posted has me inspired! I'm ready to bust out the drill and start disassembling.
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Old 09-14-2015, 11:50 AM   #60
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Chuck:
Thanks for your posts - very helpful. I will be installing a grey tank in my 73 Safari. I will likely leave the black tank as is. I would love to see the plumbing connections you made - also to see where you vented the tanks and where you placed the waste valves.
Thanks so much.
Greg
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Old 09-14-2015, 01:12 PM   #61
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See post 49 for pics of the grey tanks sitting in place; you can see the vent locations there.
For the forward tank, the vent will come up under the street side bunk, in the aft-most compartment where the heat vent is located; the galley drain will connect, which is both the galley drain, and the vent.
This tank's drain (not visible in the pic) will be just adjacent to the vent opening...it will drain with a pipe heading straight back, along the frame rail, toward the black tank.
The aft tank will vent into the bathroom closet. The bathroom sink will also drain into here.
This tank drain is the "default" one that VTS puts in, in the center/back wall of the tank. From here, the line goes into the black tank compartment, takes a hard right, and over to the black tank outlet.

If you're using the original black tank, plumbing the drains will be very easy...plenty of room.
With this black tank that I bought, there is not enough room to tie 2 different grey water drains coming from 2 directions. Took me a long time, and many trips to the hardware store for more/different fittings to figure it out. This past weekend I finally solved it by cutting more metal from the cross members to give me the room...pics will follow.
But anyway, none of this will apply if you're using just one grey tank, and/or keeping the original black.
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Old 09-22-2015, 08:23 PM   #62
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So I've been test-fitting my tanks...was going to put the floor in, but a friend of mine convinced me to get as much of the plumbing completely squared away, first, as it would be so much more difficult to do from below.
Connecting the drain lines has been quite the puzzle. There just isn't enough room to connect/drain 2 tanks, and tie into the particular black-tank drain that I chose. If the tank outlet were further aft, it would have been easy. Anyway, I got that part figured out, eventually. had to cut a little more out of the x-members to get it all to tie together, but it'll work.
I'll have pics soon.

I had to re-do most of the tank straps that were whipped up by my welder a few months ago, because when I went to put them in (took them out to paint everything), I found that they are quite flush with the bottom of the frame/xmembers. Lots of fussing and re-bending to get them to fit, and not be hanging below. But I'm still concerned with "tank sag"..it'll still push down against the belly pan...how much can the belly pan fasteners take? Is this going to cause a problem?
I tested one of the tanks today...put it in place, and filled it up, and yes, it sags a bit...not too much, though. I still don't know "how much is too much" though. I'm wondering if I should add a piece of 1/4" luan under the tank to stiffen it up a bit?
That might not work with the other tank (not enough room).

Another goof I discovered: I had planned on positioning the aft tank as far to the curb side as possible..stuffing it all the way into the main frame rail, to maximize the space on the other end, as my shower drain needs to squeeze in there. As I was checking the underside, thinking about the belly pan, it dawned on me that I can't rivet the pan up through the main frame rail on that end-the tank is consuming the whole space.
I noticed from the original belly pan holes that they're spaced apart quite a bit...8" or more in some areas. I'd be able to get a rivet on either end of the 22" wide tank, and only be missing one, according to this spacing. So maybe its no big deal, and I should just leave it. I could bridge the area with a piece of 1/8th flat stock aluminum, riveted up to the frame on either end of the tank.
Or I could move the tank over just a tad, (3/4")and make sure that any rivets are on the very outer edge of the frame rail, so as not to puncture the tank. I'll have to re-notch the x-member to let the drain pipe through, but that's not too difficult. The working space on the other end of the tank is what concerns me...there is room. I actually dug the shower pan out of storage to make absolutely certain. But its a very tight fit. I suppose 3/4" more isn't going to make much difference, either way.
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Old 09-25-2015, 07:12 AM   #63
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Pics to illustrate the long-winded post above:





I removed the black tank support so that you can see the valve/collector. You can see the tab with the bolt hole in it, just above the grey valve handle.
So the idea here is that the grey valve will go straight out the side, with an extension rod. Not the most convenient location. Its about 14" from the frame rail to the outside wall of the trailer, so it'll be a bit of a reach. I could take a piece of 1" flat-stock aluminum, and make a bracket so that there can be a really looong extension to the handle...I've seen the factory use this method on late model trailers. (they put a really large bracket, 6" wide, that supports the 3" dump pipe, and the black/grey valve handles on either side of it, so that they are all flush with the exterior wall of the trailer). It dawned on me that it might be neater to just spring for the valve with the flexible handle, mount it 180-degrees from what's in the picture, and then I can route the cable under the black tank and into the bumper trunk.
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Old 09-25-2015, 07:21 AM   #64
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Just to make absolutely sure that there would be space, I pulled the shower pan out of the attic, and put it in place so I can see the drain location. You can see, there isn't much clearance, but all that is required is ">0". The trap will be parallel to the tank wall, then 90-degree elbow into the side of the tank.

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Old 09-25-2015, 07:45 AM   #65
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I finally installed the VTS tail light cans.
It was a bit of a task to get the originals out...the bottoms of the steel cans were so badly corroded, but I managed to get them pried out. Had to do quite a bit of sanding in the recesses of the housing to clean up the heavy crud.


I was able to salvage the fiber-optics...just had to drill a hole in the back of the new cans. The original grommets were in fine shape (I expected them to be all dried out, and crumble to pieces...but no).







People have left numerous comments on VTS's product page about having to cut a slot or a notch for the wires, but I'm not convinced that this is necessary. Its definitely not necessary for the stop/turn can; the bottom of the housing leaves plenty of space for the wires to pass into the trailer without pinching. (you can see in the above pic, the "floor" of the center hole is notched out). For the reverse light, though, the housing just has a notch in the back wall...the wire in the can comes out the bottom. It "might" be able to fit there without pinching, but its impossible to see the back side when you're test-fitting, so I just went ahead and cut a slot with the dremel.





Another interesting thing I discovered re: the fiber-optic sensors: seems a bit of a design flaw--the glass ends that collect the light from the bulbs are actually plastic, and the ends appear to have melted from the heat of the bulbs. (the plastic was all rough/craggly, and opaque). For kicks, I took a polishing wheel on the dremel, and some rouge, and found that this can be polished out. Might not last...but when I tested the lights, the indicators on the side of the trailer are much brighter than they used to be.


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Old 09-25-2015, 08:31 PM   #66
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Man, is post 65 timely for me. Thanks for all that great detail. For those reading along, my street-side tail light assembly fell off the camper a couple months back. I was able to save it before it crashed onto the roadway and disintegrated. I just happened to notice that I couldn't see the turn signal in the fiber optic sight along the side of the camper and pulled off the road to check it out immediately. Chuck helped me McGyver a way to get it Fastened back on and make it basically functional. I've been trying to to figure out a way to make a permanent repair. Chuck just provided the perfect road map.

Fabulous work, Chuck. I didn't realize that VTS was making those cans. Looks like I'll need to order a set. The solution for me a few years back was to recondition the cans that were already there using POR-15 and some paint. They were in rough shape. New is better in this case.

So a couple questions. The grommet is removable from the fiber?? Mine is in good shape too, but I didn't even try to pull it off. Fiber optic cable (as I'm sure you know being an I.T. guy) can be very delicate. I was worried that I might break the fibers if I messed with it too much. Also, have you tried an LED light?? I'm guessing they are a lot cooler than the original incandescent bulbs. Much more expensive, of course, but the money might be worth it in this application to save our ancient fiber.

Great work, Chuck. thanks for posting this.

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Old 09-25-2015, 09:24 PM   #67
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Re those replacement cans:

I've posted this before, but I would recommend using sealant only in a bead around the outer edge of these cans. If visions of water gushing in those big openings behind the cans make you get a bit too generous, getting that can out for some unforeseen reason (e.g. wiring problem) will be nigh impossible.

Don't ask me how I know this.

Having fun,

Alan
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Old 09-25-2015, 10:36 PM   #68
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Oh crap...Alan thanks for the tip. Here I was thinking I had sealed up every possible source of moisture infiltration on my trailer, yet I totally did not seal those cans....Heading out at first light to put a light bead of sealant on to fix that before the moist season begins
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Old 09-25-2015, 11:40 PM   #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thesignlady View Post
Oh crap...Alan thanks for the tip. Here I was thinking I had sealed up every possible source of moisture infiltration on my trailer, yet I totally did not seal those cans....Heading out at first light to put a light bead of sealant on to fix that before the moist season begins
You can use some butyl tape or plumbers putty, they'll seal and stay soft and removable in the future .
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Old 09-25-2015, 11:56 PM   #70
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Chuck,
"I tested one of the tanks today...put it in place, and filled it up, and yes, it sags a bit...not too much, though. I still don't know "how much is too much" though. I'm wondering if I should add a piece of 1/4" luan under the tank to stiffen it up a bit?
That might not work with the other tank (not enough room). "
The tanks need support, the belly pan material alone will not support the weight of the tanks. Hard to tell exactly how you've got them supported in the pics. But those tanks relatively full bouncing down the highway will rip the belly pan off the rivets. This is one area where you may want ta accept the belly project down an inch to support the tanks. Trailers that have tanks original usually have pans made of galvanized steel that's thicker than the belly pan supporting the tanks and bolted up with 1/4" bolts to support the weight. Also most plastic tanks aren't capable of supporting themselves without some full support across their entire bottom.
Many ways to get some support under there.
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