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Old 11-12-2005, 03:45 PM   #1
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1970 29' Ambassador
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Fresh Water Tank to Grey + Shower Pump?

First of all, thanks to everyone for all your help on these forums. There is a LOT of valuable information available here, and I have been reading a few hours every night for the past few weeks trying to learn more...

Here is my question... I have recently purchased a 1970 29' Ambassador Airstream. This was a rear bath, double bed, international model for your reference. I am 'modernizing' this unit as it was almost gutted by the PO. I have finished gutting the trailer and have removed all the inner wall panels and insulation (as well as the interior wood work, which is available for FREE- please see the forums classified section...). I need to replace the rear four feet of plywood floor also, as it is rotten. So, currently my options are very open as to how to create a new modern interior for this Airstream.

I am an architect and have admired the trailers that Craig Dorsey has remodeled under his company Vintage-Airstreams. I am trying to create a similar look in my trailer, all with updated and modern designs, (and if this trailer goes well, maybe restoring other trailers a job on the side, as nobody is doing this here in the South...).

Now that you have the background needed, I would like some help on the placement of my water tanks. Because my options are so open, I would like to have a center bath on this trailer. Maybe, shower on one side and toilet and sink on the other. I want to convert the current fresh water tank (which is 35 years old and who knows what has been or lived in it???) to my grey water tank. This would provide around 45 gallons of grey water. More about this below. I would then add one or two fresh water tanks to the front of the trailer under the couch area, but above the floor. I would use a demand water pump to pump the fresh water throughout the trailer. Finally, I would add an above floor small black tank that the toilet would sit on. I will be using a mascerator pump to dump both the black and grey tanks.

The problem as always is how to run the plumbing to the holding tanks. In this case, the main problem would be running the shower drain into the grey tank I am proposing. I would like to solve this problem with a shower drain pump. These are used very often in the Marine industry, and I think this would solve my problems of how to get the shower waste water to the grey tank. I have read on these forums where others are opposed to the shower pumps, but I do not understand why. I know that gravity will never fail or get clogged like a pump might, but if that happens, we will just have to deal with it. We would obviously have all the pumps in an accessible place so that if we did have problems, we could get to the pump to fix it. So, why are others not using these pumps to pump the grey water into holding tanks that are above the shower's trap? If anyone has used these pumps before, please help me decide what to do. I could always just install a grey tank under the floor right behind the axles, but I hate adding more weight to the rear of the trailer (rear sag and seperation...)


Any other ideas? suggestions?



Thanks you for your help,

-John Foshee
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Old 11-12-2005, 04:52 PM   #2
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I am using a shower pump. Don't forget you need to drain the sinks. I have a 35 gallon marine tank over the axels under each twin bed, one for grey and one for black. I am putting in a marine electric head which pumps to the black tank. Discharge for both is with a marine mascerator going to a common 1" connection. Being near Rhode Island the shipping for the Todd tanks was almost nothing.
The shower pump hose connected directly to the shower drain. I will have electric heating tape as it is the only water below deck level. May want to go winter camping someday.

Check the floor around the edges, it can be bad and look good.
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Old 11-12-2005, 06:57 PM   #3
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Thank you very much for your reply. I am glad to hear that someone else is using these shower pumps without any problems. As far as the floor is concerned, I have checked all around the edges and have only found one small spot near the front street side and a replacement plexiglass wing window. If I put two and two together, it seems that water has leaked from this replacement. I believe that it is a small enough area and not too bad of a floor rot problem. I think that I can use the penetrating epoxy to fix this problem. Also, I will look at the window very closely to try to find the leak. I will get my wife to spray water on the exterior while I look for the leak on the inside, then correct with sealant (and a new wing window if I can find one. If anyone knows where to find one, please let me know...).

My other question is about draining the sink into the grey water tank. How small of a drain line can be run for this application. I think it would be okay to have a slower running sink if need be. I would like to use a smaller flexible line after the trap under the sink if possible to run to the grey water tank. Anyone have any ideas???



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-John Foshee
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Old 11-13-2005, 11:16 AM   #4
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gray water tank addition

hi all, need advice, does anyone know of where i could have a gray water tank put on in the washington state area???considering purchase of a 1966 25 foot tradewind, dual axel. i live in montana and the work would have to be done in washington, thanks, dieterdog
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Old 11-13-2005, 05:35 PM   #5
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If you tap in before the shower pump intake for the sink drain you can run the pump with the sink. Get a run dry pump. Otherwise add a hole to the tank to drain the sinks. You don't want the pump senting shower water into the sinks. I don't think one way values are of much help as I don't think the drain pressure would be enough to open them.
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Old 11-19-2005, 01:21 PM   #6
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Thanks

Thanks for your help. I will try to run the sink into the shower drain before the pump. Draining the sink or shower will run water into the pump and cause it to turn on. This will then pump the water into the 'new' grey water tank (aka the old fresh water tank). With this setup, I will not have to worry about the pump pushing the water up through the sink drain, instead of only to the new grey tank (if I understand exactly what you are saying...).
I am looking to perform some of this work over the holiday weekend coming up. If anyone has any other ideas, please let me know. Does anyone think that my set-up described above will not work? Has anyone else tried to reuse the old fresh water tank as a retro grey tank?
As always thanks, and I look forward to hearing other's responses...


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-John Foshee
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Old 12-07-2005, 11:42 PM   #7
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Does anyone else have any ideas on this subject. I have recently purchased a shower drain pump, which I plan to use to pump all the wash water into the grey tank (the tank that was originally used as the fresh water tank). If you can imagine... all the wash water will be pumped into the side of this new grey tank. From there, I have the idea of using two y-diverter valves on each side (the inlet and outlet) of the shower pump. The lines connected to this pump will pump the grey water from the new grey tank to the black tank when it is time to dump (but will remain in the normal position at all other times , simply pumping the wash water into the grey tank...). I am thinking of using a macerator pump to pump out the black tanks. So, by flipping the y-diverter valves on the shower pump to the dump position, I will pump the grey tank into the black tank, while also using the macerator pump to pump out the black tank at the same time. This will also help to wash out the black tank while dumping.

I want to try to keep most of the pumbing above the floor (except maybe the p-trap for the shower). I am going to have a local shop make a stainless shower enclosure to use in the new mid-coach bath). If anyone knows another way not to use a p-trap on the shower that would extend below the floor, please let me know. I am just trying to keep almost everything above the floor. Do I have to use a trap on the shower when connected to a shower pump? I am not sure that the gases would be able to get past the pump? Can anyone help???

As always, thank you so much for your help. One of these days, I will get around to posting a few pictures...


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-John Foshee
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Old 12-08-2005, 10:22 AM   #8
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Dieterdog, RE: Grey water tank. I've seen a couple trailers of this vintage with added grey water tanks, neither very well done. Finding a tank to fit in the space available AND get the plumbing right is the major problem. My '65 Tradewind had a broken black water tank that was of very small capacity. I faabricated a new tank of approx. 25 gal that holds both black and grey water and fits in the same area as the original so the underside of the trailer looks original. Since my fresh water tank holds only about 27 gal., filling and emptying should work out about evenly. Email me at landyachtdoc@earthlink.net for more info. I'm in Ridgefield, WA, just north of Portland/Vancouver. Darol
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