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Old 07-05-2016, 03:13 PM   #1
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1968 22' Safari
Edmonton , Alberta
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Hello All,

I have the rear of my 1968 safari gutted down to the frame. When I dropped the black holding tank for inspection, I found it was cracked.

Probably going to have to order a new tank as from what I have found they are not reliably reparable.

Is my project on hold until I get a new tank? Is it wise to wait or proceed using the old floor as a template for the tank tie in's?

Really did not want this delay... Summer is nigh!

Thanks in advance for your time and knowledge.
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Old 07-05-2016, 03:17 PM   #2
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Some pics in case anything is unclear. The tank was still in place and I was quite please with myself at this moment!

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Old 07-05-2016, 07:49 PM   #3
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Hi and welcome to Air Forums. You have a vintage Airstream close to my 66 Trade Wind. I understand that Airstream redesigned the bath in 67, so your bath and plumbing doesn't look like mine at all. Yours is better by the way.

You are wise to replace the black tank in this old trailer. I did too as my floor was rotted under the heavy old toilet, and the black tank was falling off the trailer. The original black tank in my trailer was woefully inadequate in my view. It was only about 3" deep and held about 15 gallons. The dump valves was buried under the bumper. According to my owner's manual, this whole system was designed for the "gopher hole" waste disposal routine. Dig a hole and drain the tank. We don't do it that way anymore.

I moved my new black tank forward as I don't like weight at the very rear of the trailer. And I added a gray water tank while I was at it. This was a huge project and maybe beyond the scope of your project.

There are lots of jobs to do while you are waiting for a new black tank. Maybe your belly pan is down already. If not, it will need to be to get your new tank mounted. With the belly pan down, you can clean and inspect the frame and install new insulation. You can mount the new subfloor while you are waiting for your tank. You can locate the toilet floor flange by carefully measuring its location on the new tank. There are ways to do this.

Like many before you, when you starting working on one of these old Airstreams, you are faced with many, many "while I'm at it" dilemmas. Some call this the slippery slope to an overdrawn checking account.

David
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Old 07-05-2016, 08:33 PM   #4
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We recently had this exact problem. After much research we have ordered a dry flush toilet. If it works then no need for a black tank. The measurements are close but if it doesn't fit we can return it. Of course in unused condition. We plan to put a grey tank where the black tank was. If all this fails we will be ordering a new black tank. Where are you ordering your black tank? We are working on the one million other things that need to be done while awaiting the toilet delivery. Good luck. Valarie
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Old 07-06-2016, 10:06 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbj216 View Post
Hi and welcome to Air Forums. You have a vintage Airstream close to my 66 Trade Wind. I understand that Airstream redesigned the bath in 67, so your bath and plumbing doesn't look like mine at all. Yours is better by the way.

You are wise to replace the black tank in this old trailer. I did too as my floor was rotted under the heavy old toilet, and the black tank was falling off the trailer. The original black tank in my trailer was woefully inadequate in my view. It was only about 3" deep and held about 15 gallons. The dump valves was buried under the bumper. According to my owner's manual, this whole system was designed for the "gopher hole" waste disposal routine. Dig a hole and drain the tank. We don't do it that way anymore.

I moved my new black tank forward as I don't like weight at the very rear of the trailer. And I added a gray water tank while I was at it. This was a huge project and maybe beyond the scope of your project.

There are lots of jobs to do while you are waiting for a new black tank. Maybe your belly pan is down already. If not, it will need to be to get your new tank mounted. With the belly pan down, you can clean and inspect the frame and install new insulation. You can mount the new subfloor while you are waiting for your tank. You can locate the toilet floor flange by carefully measuring its location on the new tank. There are ways to do this.

Like many before you, when you starting working on one of these old Airstreams, you are faced with many, many "while I'm at it" dilemmas. Some call this the slippery slope to an overdrawn checking account.

David

I could not agree more David- the simplest of repairs inevitably end with me fantasizing about a 'shell off' down to the bones restoration. 'If I just put in a few more days/more bucks into her... next thing you know you're pricing out wether it would be more cost effective to buy a local sheet metal shop or just start your own...

With that being said, I am probably going to move forward with the rear end separation project and let the grey tank(s) addition plan simmer for a few days before I pull the trigger on the type and location of a replacement tank.

On the note of Insulation- I was surprised and pleased to see that I have a very clean factory installation of polyurethane spray foam under the subfloor of the trailer. I own an industrial coatings company and I didn't even know they had this technology commercially available in 1968. I had read some older threads from people who own Safari's of this vintage talking about it but I always thought it must have been POs. Apparently the factory was experimenting with spray foam at that time.
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Old 07-06-2016, 10:16 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hippiechick View Post
We recently had this exact problem. After much research we have ordered a dry flush toilet. If it works then no need for a black tank. The measurements are close but if it doesn't fit we can return it. Of course in unused condition. We plan to put a grey tank where the black tank was. If all this fails we will be ordering a new black tank. Where are you ordering your black tank? We are working on the one million other things that need to be done while awaiting the toilet delivery. Good luck. Valarie
I would be very interested how that 'dry flush' toilet works out for you since I am going to take some time (for once) to rethink the tank system in my Safari. With regards to who I am going to order the tank(s) from- I have priced out a fibreglass unit from Inland RV (more $$$$ but should be of higher quality) and a 'specialty polymer' tank from Inca Plastics (about half the price of Inland RV).

Let me know if you like you new toilet!
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Old 07-06-2016, 07:58 PM   #7
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Hollyroller becomes holy cow! when you start considering all the work and cost associated with rebuilding one of these vintage Airstreams.

I purchased my tanks from Inca Plastics in California. They are likely polyethylene and they are roto-molded. Inca was an industry leader in the roto mold process, and their website says they invented spin welding. I worked in a roto mold shop for several years. We made all kinds of tanks, some of which were 12 feet high and 8 feet in diameter. RV water tanks are a piece of cake. Inca has many, many varieties of tanks. Polyethylene is plenty strong for the application. I purchased "grommets" from Inca which allowed much easier sealed penetrations of my new tanks, drains and vents. Even the toilet is sealed with a grommet. Works good in my view.

I vote for your "full monty" shell off refurb of your vintage Airstream, especially since I don't have to do the work or fund the project. But it would be fun to read along on how you solved this problem or that.

David
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Old 07-07-2016, 09:02 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbj216 View Post
Hollyroller becomes holy cow! when you start considering all the work and cost associated with rebuilding one of these vintage Airstreams.

I purchased my tanks from Inca Plastics in California. They are likely polyethylene and they are roto-molded. Inca was an industry leader in the roto mold process, and their website says they invented spin welding. I worked in a roto mold shop for several years. We made all kinds of tanks, some of which were 12 feet high and 8 feet in diameter. RV water tanks are a piece of cake. Inca has many, many varieties of tanks. Polyethylene is plenty strong for the application. I purchased "grommets" from Inca which allowed much easier sealed penetrations of my new tanks, drains and vents. Even the toilet is sealed with a grommet. Works good in my view.

I vote for your "full monty" shell off refurb of your vintage Airstream, especially since I don't have to do the work or fund the project. But it would be fun to read along on how you solved this problem or that.

David
Rule no. one of restoring vintage airstreams is do not talk (too much) about the cost of restoring vintage airstreams!

12 feet high and 8 feet in diameter?! That has to close (if not bigger to the dimensions of a Bambi! I suspected inca's tanks were polyethylene but all I could find on their website was 'specialty polymer'. I am liking the inca tank approach more so now that I am leaning towards a custom tank set up.

I will definitely look into those grommets you mentioned as my last tank failed at the tank to drop valve connection. It was the weakest point in the system. I assume it was a just a leak and could have been repaired but the po used so much silicon caulking around the fitting I couldn't tell heads from tails.

Thanks for the input!

Kevin
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Old 07-07-2016, 10:33 AM   #9
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New Flooring Coatings Approach

Ok so I have the old subfloor up and I am preparing to lay my new subfloor.

I have selected 3/4" British Standard Marine grade plywood (about 5 times the cost of exterior plywood FYI). I am planning on using a type II 100% solids epoxy cut with 15% MEK to aid in wood grain penetration/stabilization. I will apply as many coats as the plywood will take until it reaches saturation (expected to be 3-4 coats)

I plan on applying this coating to the entire interior (top) side and outer edges of the plywood. I will apply a high solids exterior wood preservative/stain to the underside of the plywood.

My thinking is that I want to waterproof the top sides and edges as much as possible but I do not want to seal the underside because the water that does end up penetrating (and it will) needs a path way out. By treating the bottom side of the plywood with a breathable exterior preservative/stain I am adding some extra protection without creating a double vapour barrier situation.

As a final thought I am thinking about going one step further and overcoating the topside and outer edges with a 100% solids pure aromatic polyurea. We use this material for secondary containment, pond liners and water features and it is very durable with virtually zero perms.

The new subfloor in this trailer should never require replacement again. I will post again with my shell attachment approach.

If anyone has any concerns that I may be missing please feel free to voice them!
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Old 07-07-2016, 07:17 PM   #10
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I think your Airstream will be sea worthy with your approach to the subfloor. Land Yacht was just an Airstream marketing term as Mr. Byam liked sailing in his spare time.

Me, I used 5/8" exterior ply, finished on one side. Then I applied a couple coats of exterior polyurethane. I did drill a couple of weep holes in the C channel thinking that made sense.

Here is a picture of the Inca Plastics supplied sealing grommets. We used these too in our roto mold factory to seal fuel and hydraulic lines in and out of speciality tanks. The hole is cut with a hole saw, so pretty "loose tolerance" dimensioning. the grommet OD groove is the width of the thickness of the tank, typically .188 inches. Then when the ABS plastic pipe is inserted into the grommet, it swells the rubber creating a press fit between the tank and the grommet, and the grommet and the pipe. Seems to work good.

So I ran my drain and vent plumbing, marked the floor where the center of the pipe penetration would be, cut the pipe clearance holes in the floor, then mounted and marked the tanks, and then used the hole saw to cut the tank. There is no rework after the tank is drilled. Such pressure! All of my grommets are on the top surface of the tanks, so they are sealing splash mainly. But I believe the grommets would work on the bottom of the tank also.

David
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Old 08-18-2016, 11:40 AM   #11
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It has been a bit of a world wind over here the last few weeks! Nonetheless I wanted to at least document my progress thus far.

As planned, I stabilized the interior/top side and outer edges of my marine plywood with the 100% solids type II epoxy. It only took 2 coats to reach total saturation. I opted out of the Polyurea top coat because I was concerned with my flooring choice gain a sufficient bond to the subfloor top coat.

I then sand blasted the frame which thankfully had no weld repairs and very little rust considering how badly things can go in this area. Directly following the blast I coated the frame with a 100% solids high performance polymer epoxy.

My main regret at this point in the process was that I did not make the replacement subfloor one piece... I will touch on this subject in my next post
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Old 08-18-2016, 12:12 PM   #12
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Once the subfloor was in place I jacked and levelled the trailer.

I had previously replaced the original rear hold down plate with a thicker stainless (to mitigate the loss of strength by going to stainless) and used a longer/beefier rear hold down C channel (1/8"). Bolted it all down to the frame using 6 5/8" grade 8 bolts with red loctite, lock washers, and nyloc nuts. Waaaay overkill I know but for the extra couple of bucks... why not?

After replacing all of the C channel (except the curved corner pieces). I bolted the rest of the subfloor to the frame using 2" long 1/4" grade 2 elevator bolts, red loctite, lock washers, and nyloc nuts. As I could not source any higher grade elevator bolts- I just tightened up the spacing and added a few more.

Now there were some areas where I simply could not reach the underside of the elevator bolt to tighten them up as I have done everything on this job myself (other than the buck riveting). In those areas I opted for 1/4" carbon steel blind 'structural' Huck rivet. They were definitely better than nothing and from I could feel- they grabbed like hell.
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Old 08-18-2016, 12:49 PM   #13
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In tying it all up- I bit the bullet and purchased a decent 3X rivet gun and went with the harder of the military grade solid aluminum rivets. It was nice having a extra set of hands for once!

With regard to my regretful seam I mentioned in an earlier post- I decided to use a structurally enhancing aromatic polyurea to fill the slight gap and stiffen everything up. When sprayed this polyurea is only slightly more viscous than water and gels in around 2 seconds- so it penetrated and filled the gap nicely.

After dropping the jacks and having the trailer holding its own weight some of the indents above the wheel wells straitened up quite nicely- not perfect but a lot better than they previously had been.

With summer waining and no bathroom systems back in place- I reattached the belly pan, cleaned up the electrical and decided to celebrate with a family trip to Drumheller National Park

What A Ride it has been so far- I will try to update more regularly as I 'finish' the work for this round
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Old 08-18-2016, 01:06 PM   #14
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next thing you know you're pricing out wether it would be more cost effective to buy a local sheet metal shop or just start your own...
Ha! I'm there!
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