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Old 05-21-2013, 10:09 AM   #1
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1966 17' Caravel
Klamath Falls , Oregon
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Waste Water Holding Tank 66 Caravel problems

We are new Airstream owners and new to these forums. We have just purchased a 66 Caravel I am overwhelmed with questions about many of it's workings however the most critical one at the moment is the waste water system. Ours does not seem to function properly. It seems that just a very little amount of water down the drain will cause back up into the shower pan. Opening the drain cap under the tank allowed the water to go away however it was only less that a gallon of water that we are talking about. Shouldn't the holding tank hold more that that? Part of my problem is that I have absolutely no vision of what this system looks like. Are there chambers in the tank? Is the grey water held separate from the toilet? There is a handle in the square tubular bumper which I have not noticed on any photos of other Airstreams, see attached photos. Is it open when it is pulled out or is it open when it is pushed in or are you totally in deep doodoo when it come off in your hand? Is there a detailed diagram of this whole mysterious contraption that has kept me up a night trying to figure out. I lie awake with visions of me tearing the whole trailer apart trying to make a functioning sewer system. HELP!!! I am tired of napping all day from lack of sleep!!!
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Old 05-21-2013, 10:29 AM   #2
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1974 Argosy 20
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Kooskia , Idaho
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On your 66 caravel there is no gray water holding tank, only a black water tank. Gray water tanks were not included until 1973. So, what you are experiencing is normal. The gray water has no valve and just runs into the outlet of the trailer. When the cap is in place, there is, as you have found out, a very limited capacity in the pipes. When you exceed that, it comes up in the shower.

So, what you do is to get an external tank (generally called Blue Boys, after their usual color) and hook it up to your drain. You then cary that away to the dump station. Now, if you are traveling and on the road, essentially you cannot use the sinks, as you will not have any capacity.

In the "old days" it was allowable to just let gray water drain out on the ground. Of course that is no longer true.

You may be able to have a gray water tank (small one) retrofitted to your Caravel.
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Old 05-21-2013, 10:32 AM   #3
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Oh, the pull valve you mentioned is for the black water (toilet). When in it is closed, and when pulled out it is open dumping the contents of the toilet holding tank into the sewer pipe and dump station. Don't use the toilet and pull the valve with out having it connected to a proper sewer dump location or you will have a real mess to clean up.
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Old 05-21-2013, 10:45 AM   #4
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Idropa is right! Your Caravel sounds like it's water system is functioning exactly as intended. The Blue Boy is a great solution, that's the way we went. Some folks have added a grey tank to their pre-73 trailers, but it's major surgery. The Blue boy is easy and cheap, and you should be on the road enjoying your new little gem! Just be sure you open the vent on the Blue Boy when you are using it, or you'll end up with grey water in the shower again - guess how I know that

Congrats, and welcome, lots of happy caravel owners on here Plus I wanted to say Hi because my husband and I went to OIT!
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Old 05-21-2013, 10:58 AM   #5
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1966 17' Caravel
Klamath Falls , Oregon
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I was not kidding about the handle coming off in my hand. Would I be able to access it to reattach it by removing the belly skin from the underside? It looks like a pain in the butt.
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Old 05-21-2013, 11:02 AM   #6
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If the handle just came off the shaft, you can still pull it out with a set of vice grips. If the shaft is still attached and it came off somewhere inside the belly pan where it attaches to the actual valve, you will have to cut into the belly pan to re attach it. Yes, a pain in the butt to do.
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Old 05-21-2013, 11:19 AM   #7
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1966 17' Caravel
Klamath Falls , Oregon
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It looks like I am stuck with a pain in the butt! There is a piece of the belly skin the size of the bathroom that will have to come off. I have a cheap rivet gun so I guess I can go for it. I noticed that there were varied sizes of rivets holding it up. Some of them quite large in diameter. Are those the recommended rivets of choice.
One other thing. There is a leak in in the toilet vent pipe right as it attaches to the tank in the bottom of the closet. Do you know of anyone that is about twelve inches tall that can crawl in there and fix it for me?
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Old 05-21-2013, 11:24 AM   #8
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Well, that's a bummer! You'll soon be intimately familiar with the workings of your toilet valve. One piece of advice, get a good rivet gun, you'll HATE that cheap gun by the time you're done. There are some good threads on here showing repairs to the valve so you can get an idea of what you're going to find once you get the bellypan off.
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Old 05-21-2013, 12:12 PM   #9
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1966 17' Caravel
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Well--- It's not the toilet valve. It is the toilet vent pipe were it attaches to the black water tank. I suppose if I can be careful not to let the tank overfill, I could live with it until I can figure out how to seal it.
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Old 05-21-2013, 12:16 PM   #10
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1966 17' Caravel
Klamath Falls , Oregon
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Also, can anyone tell me if my bumper is a "made at home with loving hands" kind of deal or an Airstream factory part. Part of it for sure looks homemade.
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Old 05-21-2013, 12:52 PM   #11
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go to post 12 here.http://www.airforums.com/forums/f137...day-22840.html
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Old 05-21-2013, 01:11 PM   #12
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Welcome to the forums and all things Airstream. Sure hope you enjoy the ride and that it is a long one.

Your bumper is not stock. Below are photos of my 66 Tradewind Bumper and its suport.

Dan
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Old 05-21-2013, 01:17 PM   #13
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Regarding the hole in the black water tank vent pipe, maybe you could take a picture of it and post it. If you don't repair it, it sounds like the sewer gas from the black water tank may vent into the living space- no thanks. Repair should be simple- epoxy, bondo, duct tape and chewing gum in a pinch.

Dan
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