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Old 08-31-2009, 04:59 PM   #1
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Hello to all - I would love to own an Airstream but have no idea what I am doing. Is there such a thing as "An Idiot's Guide to Airstreaming?"

Here are just a few things I don't understand:

1.) What is this business of different colors for water containers and how do you clean them out?

2.) Why is the shower on some older models above the toilet and where does the water go?

3.) Do most models have hot water tanks and how is the water heated?

4.) What exactly is a "hook-up" in a campground and how do I "hook-up" (sorry for that, but I haven't a clue)?

5.) Someone told me I would have to get a V8 to tow an Airstream, are they correct?

Sorry for such simple questions, but I really want to learn more. Thanks, Ben.
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Old 08-31-2009, 05:14 PM   #2
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Welcome!

1. You must be referring to the holding tanks, black and gray. The empty through a valve normally at the rear of the trailer, curbside. You connect a hose to the dump station or at the campsite (usually a 4' PVC pipe)

2. Normally there is a shower pan with a drain. Mine is close to the toilet but not over it.

3. Yes they have hot water. On older models, unless the water heater has been upgraded, it runs in propane. Newer models are available that are electric/propane.

4. The "Hookup" is the utilities at the campsite....water, electric and sewer.

5. Not necessarily, depends on your trailer. Alot of people tow with a V6. A lot of factors involved, but primarily the size of your trailer.

these are quickie answers, I'm sure our fellow members will help out as well....

Good luck

Al
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Old 08-31-2009, 05:31 PM   #3
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and...regardless- if you ever DO get yourself an Airstream, There are manuals available for everyone of them I betcha! Airstreams are the most sought after, most loved,and most iconic of all...what a way to spend your life!
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Old 08-31-2009, 05:36 PM   #4
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Hi, Ben. I agree about needing a book. Someone, who has done a complete Airstream restore, would make a killing writing a thorough, step-by-step "Dummies for Airstream Restoration" book, with lots of pix - actually, one for each decade! I'd certainly buy one for the '60's!
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Old 08-31-2009, 07:15 PM   #5
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New to Airstreaming

Greetings ben3rd!

Welcome to the Forms!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ben3rd View Post
Hello to all - I would love to own an Airstream but have no idea what I am doing. Is there such a thing as "An Idiot's Guide to Airstreaming?"


There isn't one for Airstreams, but there are several good books from various authors that are generic in their coverage -- but most systems on the Airstream are little different in operation from what is found on other brands of RVs. The books that I would suggest include:
  • RV Repair and Maintenance Manual: Updated and Expanded, Bob Livingson -- Link
  • The RV Handbook: The Essential How-To Guide for the RV Owner, Bille Estes -- Link
  • The Complete Idiot's Guide to RVing, Brent Peterson -- Link
  • Trailer Life magazine -- Link
  • The RV Handbook -- Link
Most of the books above are readily available from your local library, and if not, inter-library loan should be able to get the titles.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ben3rd View Post
Here are just a few things I don't understand:

1.) What is this business of different colors for water containers and how do you clean them out?


There are three holding tanks on a modern RV. One for fresh or potable water, and two for waste water. Waste water from the toilet is referred to as "blackwater"; while waste water from the sinks and bath are referred to as "graywater".
  • The owner's manual provided with your coach will describe the process for sanitizing your tank. It is actually a rather easy process once you have done it a time or two.
  • The waste holding tanks are basically emptied -- blackwater first and then gray water. Newer RVs often have built in rinse devices, but with older coaches the usual process is to run some fresh water through each tank.
  • Tank chemicals (for waste tanks) are a personal choice. There are many on the market and many will assist with unpleasant odor control.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ben3rd View Post
2.) Why is the shower on some older models above the toilet and where does the water go?
What you are describing is referred to as a "Wet Bath". In Airstreams, a "Wet Bath" is generally found in only the smallest coaches. There will be a separate drain (often in front of the toilet) where the shower water will collect and be handled as gray water. The toilet becomes a "shower seat" in many coaches with a wet bath. The wet bath does involve some additional maintenance as the walls may need squeegy attention to aid in expedient drying of the bathroom -- also, the user's feet are always going to be in the shower pan when the toilet is utilized.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ben3rd View Post
3.) Do most models have hot water tanks and how is the water heated?
Airstreams typically have six gallon (and sometimes 10 gallon) water heaters. The base standard is typically a six gallon LP with manual ignition (pilot light). More common, are six gallon dual fuel that have the capability of running on LP gas or 120-volt AC. The great feature found on many of the latest model Airstreams is the remote control electronic ignition on the water heater.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ben3rd View Post
4.) What exactly is a "hook-up" in a campground and how do I "hook-up" (sorry for that, but I haven't a clue)?


Campgrounds identify their hookups as follows:
  • Basic three-point hook-ups
    • Potable "city" water
    • Sewer
    • 30 or 50 AM electric service
  • Additional "premium" services
    • TV Cable
    • Telephone
Not all services are available in all campgrounds. A campgound identified as primitive typically has no hook-ups with just a designated parking spot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ben3rd View Post
5.) Someone told me I would have to get a V8 to tow an Airstream, are they correct?
This is one area where there is always generous discussion. The smallest Airstream coaches (current modern models) may be within the towing limits of V6 tow vehicles. With much over 22', in a current Airstream, a V8 equipped tow vehicle will likely be the motivation of choice. With the vintage Airstreams and Argosy coaches, it is possible that a longer coach may be possible since the vintage coaches are generally much lighter in weight than today's coaches as well as somewhat narrower. The amount of towing that you plan to do in the mountains and hilly terrain will also impact your tow vehicle selection as most are more comfortable with greater power when frequent mountain or hill country use is anticipated.


Good luck with your research -- I am sure that you will enjoy Airstreaming!

Kevin
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Old 08-31-2009, 07:18 PM   #6
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(Must have been posting at the same time as Overlander64...) Welcome to the Airforums, Ben...and fellow Tucsonan... Feel free to ask questions... the answers are here, with either in various subforums or from members.

Question #1...answered I think...The grey water is waste water from kitchen sink and shower ...and sometimes the bath sink (although in some models the bath sink goes into the black tank). Some older models do not have a grey water tank. The black tank is for toilet waste. And ther eis a fresh water tank as well...

Question #2...Maybe this is what you mean... some models have a "wet bath"...that is, the shower and the toilet are in the same space...you just wipe down the whole area after a shower. A ''dry bath" has separate spaces for the toilet and the shower/bath...

Qusstion #3...answered.

Question #4...answered.

Questions #5...the size of your trailer will determine who big of a tow vehicle you need. We tow with a V6 but we have a small trailer...19' Bambi...

You should drop by a rally sometime and look around...we love to show off our trailers!

There's a New Year's Rally nearby at Picacho Peak State Park up on I-10 between Tucson & Phx...you're welcome to stop on by!

Hope to see you down the road, neighbor!
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Old 08-31-2009, 11:00 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ben3rd View Post
Hello to all - I would love to own an Airstream but have no idea what I am doing. Is there such a thing as "An Idiot's Guide to Airstreaming?"

Here are just a few things I don't understand:

1.) What is this business of different colors for water containers and how do you clean them out?

2.) Why is the shower on some older models above the toilet and where does the water go?

3.) Do most models have hot water tanks and how is the water heated?

4.) What exactly is a "hook-up" in a campground and how do I "hook-up" (sorry for that, but I haven't a clue)?

5.) Someone told me I would have to get a V8 to tow an Airstream, are they correct?

Sorry for such simple questions, but I really want to learn more. Thanks, Ben.
Just imagine, a hot shower in the middle of the woods.
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Old 08-31-2009, 11:49 PM   #8
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I think it is more fun to imagine a cold freshly shaken martini in the middle of the woods... with ice from our ice maker of course!

Please do come and join us at Picacho for New Year's as one of the rally hosts.. give me a shout and I will be more than happy to sponsor you.
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