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Old 04-05-2010, 04:01 PM   #1
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1976 Argosy 24
Toronto , Ontario
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In the BEGINNING .. which road do I take?

I thought it would be great to be somewhat self-reliant. I'm forty seven years old..and am challenging myself.
I don't like feeding all the appliances in my apartment, and I have too much stuff. What do I really need? What do I really love?
The land will soon soon fill with trilliums and ferns and leaves.There is no hydro or water, which is ok.
I don't really have the desire to live off the land. I'll go to grocery stores and I don't want to really rough it out, and make it difficult, I want to be comfortable, but I want to be amongst trees, instead of buildings.
I 'live' and work in the city, and will travel up to the trailer on weekends.

Here is what I need from the trailer, in a sort of order:
A place to sleep.
A music system.
A cooktop.
A place to sit and eat and relax.
A hot shower.
A bathroom (although, there is an outhouse).

Here is what I love:
Hand Drumming.
Night Skies.

Here is the nitty gritty:
This 1976 Argosy needs a ton of work, and I will doing the work myself and put all the purchases on my line of credit.
I jumped in to it, without knowing anything about trailers and because I looked at other trailers, and i just didn't want anything else but an airstream, and this argosy came up.
I've starting taking things out of it, and the further I get the more I realize this trailer needs, and the further I want to go.
I'm at the point where I can dive in further, to the point of no return, or just turn back now and make it verge on liveable.
I now think it needs some frame work and floor, along with the new plumbing and the new holding tanks and..and..and.
I've taken the kitchen out, and can easily put in a new one, but I think I want to take out the floor / repair the frame, new holding tanks, and make a good solid structure. I've read lots over the past week or two off this site, and I think I would get some good advice from here. Any suggestions on which road I should take?
Thank you in advance, if you have some time to respond, and for reading this.
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Old 04-05-2010, 04:21 PM   #2
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Are you planning to use it during winter months? If so, your primary consideration should be how to keep your water lines from freezing. Since they run adjacent your furnace ductwork, you'll want to ensure the furnace is in good repair. Also, if you want hot water, the water heater must be in good repair. You may want to consider a bulk propane tank so that your not having to refill your propane cylinders every few days. How will you get rid of your grey and black water?

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Old 04-05-2010, 04:30 PM   #3
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1976 Argosy 24
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Hi Cameron.
I will get a new water heater first and furnace later. I don't think I can be there in least not this first winter. I thought of transporting the grey water to a proper city disposal drain, and there are these macerator pumps, that look like an option for moving black water into containers for proper disposal, but I would be using the outhouse, for now.
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Old 04-05-2010, 04:31 PM   #4
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First off...welcome to the forums!

You should be able to search & find many older threads from others who have pondered similar lifestyle changes. But, in the meantime, here's a couple more thoughts...

You'll probably need a generator of some sort to keep that battery charged so your music system going...and lights, unless you are a sun up to sundown kinda guy.

Also, if there aren't water hook-ups on site, your showers will be short ones.

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Old 04-05-2010, 04:40 PM   #5
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Gloucester , Virginia
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Welcome Mike you have come to the right place. It sounds like you have a fine project on your hands and noble goals. Prioritize and dig in! You have all summer so go to it!
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Old 04-05-2010, 04:44 PM   #6
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1976 Argosy 24
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There are these huge water storage tanks that I can use. I have a small generator, which I'm also using for the hand tools. This project and the details have been occupying my mind for a while now. I just don't know how far I should go. I will go in and talk to a trailer repair shop that is just down the road from where the trailer is now, this weekend, and will hopefully have a better idea. I'm hoping he can do some welding for a reasonable cost.
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Old 04-05-2010, 06:30 PM   #7
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Mike, if you don't try this, you'll never know what could have been. No regrets! We live for months at a time in a field in our Airstream, and I built a septic system for about $40, which I believe is more ecological than many city systems which discharge into rivers. Two 40 gallon plastic barrels from the local dairy form the basis of the septic. PM me if you want detailed construction details.
Nick Crowhurst, Excella 25 1988, Dodge Ram 2500 Cummins Diesel. England in summer, USA in winter.
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Old 04-05-2010, 06:35 PM   #8
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....and if anyone mentions zoning, or permits, I shall roll on my back, wave my arms and legs in the air, and die a horrible agonized death. Really.
Nick Crowhurst, Excella 25 1988, Dodge Ram 2500 Cummins Diesel. England in summer, USA in winter.
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Old 04-05-2010, 08:19 PM   #9
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The minimums would be a dry, bug free comfortable place to sleep and some place to wash up. Until you get your kitchen together you could use a portable camping cook top outside and an ice chest if your refridge doesn't work on propane. I like nickcrowhurst's idea. You mentioned an outhouse, if this is a pit toilet you in effect already are using a "septic system" albeit a primitive one. I have also used buried barrels or drums as a septic tank for a temporary trailer site. I would use organic barrels like steel rather than plastic for the simple reason that it can be abandoned and will eventually biodegrade into the soil over time unlike plastic. Rather than look at the project as a whole take it a piece at a time, with the first bit being done so that you can use enjoy your site next week instead of next month.
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Old 04-05-2010, 08:38 PM   #10
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Thank you

I hesitated about posting these somewhat personal details about myself, but I am glad that I did, and I really appreciate all of the advice and encouragement. Thank you, I am sure that I will benefit from all of your words.
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Old 04-06-2010, 09:16 AM   #11
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If you are not going to be pulling it down the road, I wouldn't worry about small areas of floor damage. Just patch them up to keep the rodents out. Check all of the frames on the outside of the windows and reseal any cracks and crevises to prevent more leaks, also the roof vents etc.
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Old 04-06-2010, 11:14 AM   #12
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Old 04-06-2010, 02:44 PM   #13
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Design for a simple, efficient and economical septic.

I've received some PMs asking for details, so here goes: A septic system for a static travel trailer needs to cope with a once-a-week rush of 30 gallons of sewage, followed closely by another 30 gallons of flush water. A small drainfield has difficulty in coping with this rush, so I use an old-timey secondary soakaway tank. Some details:

1. A local cattle dairy was pleased to get rid of two blue 40 gallon (approx) plastic barrels which had been used to store disinfectant. For the secondary tank I drilled a couple of hundred 1" diameter holes through the lower threequarters of the sides.

2. I dug two holes to bury the tanks. The primary hole is just deep enough to lay sod on top of the tank to hide it. The secondary is 6" deeper to allow the tank to rest on a bed of small rocks and crushed concrete, collected from round the yard. The hole for the secondary is 6" larger all round the secondary, and I filled this gap with concrete rubble and rocks from the yard.

3. I dug a trench a foot deep between the two holes to bury the connecting sewer pipe. This pipe should be checked for level with a spirit level. It should be fitted with a 90 degree bend and a short length of pipe. About 6' will work. This vertical section helps prevent solids from passing through to the soakaway before they have had time to liquefy. This transverse pipe is passed through accurate holes cut near the top of each tank, with a mark to indicate the vertical positioning of the down-pipe. Where the leaks would occur where the pipe passes through the tank walls I wetted the area with water, and sprayed foam (Great Stuff from Home Depot, etc) all round the joint. This seals the joints, and allows some flexibility.

4. The tanks did not have lids, and only had a filler capped hole on top. I was able to get my hand through this hole to install standard plumbing tank fittings and pipe to form vent pipes with a threaded ends to take end caps when the tanks were not in use.

5. The intake hole takes a standard sewer tank fitting with an internal thread. This takes a standard clean-out plug with a square protrusion to enable the plug to be removed when the tank is in use.

I don't remember the cost of the system, but it was about forty dollars and a mornings work. We usually leave the gray tank open to the septic all the time we are using the trailer. Connection from the trailer to the septic is the usual flexible 3" sewer hose with a 90 degree end fitting, but a length of solid plastic pipe could be used for a static trailer. We are very careful about what goes into the septic. In particular, no bleach or similar chemicals which would inhibit normal septic action. This system has been working efficiently for several years.
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Nick Crowhurst, Excella 25 1988, Dodge Ram 2500 Cummins Diesel. England in summer, USA in winter.
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Old 04-06-2010, 06:08 PM   #14
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1974 31' Sovereign
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Design for a simple, efficient and economical septic

Originally Posted by nickcrowhurst View Post
Design for a simple, efficient and economical septic.
This sounds somewhat similar to a septic system I helped dig when I was volunteering with Habitat for Humanity in Costa Rica. The strict rule there was no toilet paper goes into the toilet - only human waste. There was always a garbage can next to the toilet for the toilet paper.

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Milton, ON

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