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Old 02-13-2006, 11:46 PM   #15
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Sergei -

Thanks so much for all the great info! The prospect of having a greater GREY water capacity is very tempting. This weekend I will get under the Tradewind and have another look with these ideas in mind.

Looking at those pictures it looks as though you re-located your thetford valves... Just as a point of reference, in the bottom right photo, is that hole in the floor where the shower drain comes down?

Thanks!

T
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Old 02-14-2006, 09:09 AM   #16
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Chuck and T Man:

The tanks are H488 32” x 54” x 6.75” for 31.66 gallons

and

H076 32 3/4” x 18” x 7.87” for 14.5 gallons.

My black was above the floor, under the toilet. The main tank was under that box that Airstream usually has in bathrooms with a kind of “snout” going through the floor to the drain outlet.

I didn’t like that throne on a box and moved the tank BELOW the floor.

The photos will be hard to understand. Lots of shop confusion around. Keep in mind the tanks are just propped in position, for fitting, etc.

I’ll try to explain them:

The first shows the darker black tank, propped on a box near the rear and the end of the grey at the top left of the photo.

Shown is the 3” Double Rotating Elbow where the 1 1/2” drain (left) meets the 3” sewage drain (right) at the central common outlet.

A Sani-Con macerator will permanently replace the cap on the outlet. The macerator hose, with grey water by-pass, will be stored here. The space between the two outriggers will be developed into a compartment with a closing door.

Next, the black tank in basic position.

Then, a head on front shot of the outlet described above. Note GREY handle to the left, BLACK to the right.

The Micro Pulse sensor heads will also be attached to the plumbing lines inside this compartment.

The last photo just shows what I’ve described from behind.

T Man, the hole you asked about is for the black vent to the roof. The photo is shot from under the trailer and behind the new common valve.

The plumbing has been completely relocated. The dump valve is now just to the rear of the rear wheel, street-side.

All materials are new including the VALTERRA main valve referred to above.

The photos were not taken to post but merely for a shop work record so they aren’t easy to understand. I’ve tried my best to explain.

It’s hard to find tanks that are right for the situation but you will if you search hard enough. There are hundreds of sizes and shapes floating around out there.

Getting them shallow enough is a problem. Mine will come below the belly pan but that is the case with contemporary Airstreams so. The box that holds the tank comes 5” to 7” below the belly pan on current models. You can do that at the axles but not at the rear.

It was also important for me to try to match the depth of the two tanks because one of the features of the Sani Con system is that you can “back-flush” the black with the grey water.

I hope this helps.


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Old 02-14-2006, 10:14 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmokelessJoe
I didn’t like that throne on a box and moved the tank BELOW the floor.
"throne on a box"....I have that, too, but it doesn't bother me that much. my tank is 13 gallons. all that work for 1.5 extra doesn't seem worth it, to me, but you could probably go much bigger, still, under the floor. I think that a bigger problem with removing the "throne box" would be the modifications to the rest of the bathroom. If I were to upgrade the tank, I think I would make a dummy throne box out of plywood, use the same tank cover, and re-assemble the bathroom the same way it is now.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SmokelessJoe
The photos were not taken to post but merely for a shop work record so they aren’t easy to understand. I’ve tried my best to explain.
yes, the explanation sums it all up. just an fyi...you can post bigger pics on the forum. it'll take up to 640x480. if you have windoze xp, you can download a free "power toy" from microsoft that makes picture resizing as easy as can be.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SmokelessJoe
...The box that holds the tank comes 5” to 7” below the belly pan on current models. You can do that at the axles but not at the rear.
do you mean, "the other way around"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SmokelessJoe
It was also important for me to try to match the depth of the two tanks because one of the features of the Sani Con system is that you can “back-flush” the black with the grey water.
that sounds interesting. can you tell us more about it?

also...the innards of your trailer are more different from mine than I thought. seeing supports and metal thingies going every which-way under there threw me off. also looks like the main frame rails are much taller than on the early 70's airstreams. that cutout for the drain pipes: is that factory, or did you add that?
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Old 02-14-2006, 09:38 PM   #18
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Chuck:

I can understand your concern that removing a tank could result in too much modification to your bathroom but that wasn’t my situation.

I had determined to strip the whole interior out and redesign the area.

My new ceramic toilet will sit flat on the floor in a clean lined space and that’s what I wanted to achieve.

Finding a bigger tank for the available space might have been possible if I had looked even longer but 14.5 gallons is enough when one or two people use the coach. I don’t have a family full of kids trooping in and out to use the can all day.

Most people have a problem with the grey capacity, rarely the black.

Thanks for the tip on photo size. I will tell iPhoto to send in the larger size when I do it next.

I don’t understand “the other way around”

What I meant is that on present day Airstreams the insulated boxes that contain the holding tanks dip below the belly skin by 5” to 7”. That doesn’t matter near the axles but it would at the rear of the trailer.

The Sani-Con Waste management System can be seen at

http://www.emptythetanks.com/index.html


The manufacturer says it can “back-wash” your black with wastewater from the grey this way:

Open the black valve and push the start button. Macerator expels the black at 12 gallons per minute.
Shut motor off. Open grey valve. Soapy wastewater will immediately flood into the black tank.
Close grey valve, start motor. Waste water expelled from black.

This is repeatable depending on how much wastewater you have.

We also installed the No Fuss Flush device that is factory installed on modern Airstreams.

The Sani-Con has a 1” compressed coil hose that is 7’ long, extending up to 21’.

The macerator with grey water by-pass and hose, the drain valves and the Micro Pulse sensor heads will all be enclosed in a compartment with a closing door, conforming to the shape of the Argosy.

I don’t think the undercarriage is different from other Airstreams of the era. It will be very much like yours.

The main frame rail is a 5” C channel. 4” “axle mounting plates” are added so that the frame reaches approximately 9” in that area. There were also 4” plates used to hold the original tanks.

We enclosed some of the space between the plates.

We did the cut out for the main drain.

The tube stock beam running across the last photo is temporarily added by us just to hold the frame “true” while we modified or added cross members or supports.

Sergei
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Old 02-15-2006, 11:38 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmokelessJoe
....14.5 gallons is enough when one or two people use the coach.
yep, I think so, too. our 13g seem fine for the 2 of us, for a long weekend. but soon, there will be 3 of us. actually, there ARE 3 of us, but the little one still poops like an astronaut. (which is actually not such a bad thing, when you're camping. ). But that should be changing soon. and I'm just thinking that if I have to tear it all apart under there to do a grey tank, (of which I have none, at the moment), might as well do it all, and do it once.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SmokelessJoe
I don’t understand “the other way around”
you said that current models can have a tank drop 5" below the belly pan AT the axles; my axles practically touch the belly pan. (in fact, I remember reading allignment procedures in the service manual state that you might have to actually cut into the belly pan so the axles can stick up in there, should the axle tube need to be bent that much to correct the allignment of the wheels). so there is no space to drop anything there. but there's nothing in the way at the back of the trailer. (?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by SmokelessJoe
....
I don’t think the undercarriage is different from other Airstreams of the era. It will be very much like yours.
gotta remember, I have *no* grey tank at all. so no plates extending the frame at all, except for the axle mounting plates.
but that all makes sense, now, considering that you are upgrading something that was already there.

thanks for the link. I'll have to check that out.
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Old 02-15-2006, 09:57 PM   #20
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Chuck:

The photo below may help you understand what I meant about the tank projecting below the belly on current Airstreams.

(Incidentally, can anyone out there tell me what that round device on the belly pan is, the one that looks something like a door stop?)

You interpreted AT the axles as ABOVE the axles, I think. I mean in the area of the axles, up close to the front or rear axle.

Clearance and weight do not matter as much there.

There is about 30” BETWEEN the axles too but it would be difficult to run plumbing to a tank located there. The axles would get in the way.

If you install a grey water tank you can copy the techniques used on later or contemporary trailers. The frame you start out with should be basically the same.


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Old 02-16-2006, 09:34 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmokelessJoe
You interpreted AT the axles as ABOVE the axles, I think.
yep. I did.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SmokelessJoe
I mean in the area of the axles, up close to the front or rear axle.
yep, that's my plan. as close as possible to the rear axle. It would look very much like the picture...except I don't much care for the position of the dump outlet. very precariously perched behind the tire. I know, that's the way "everybody" does it, but I've heard many stories of tire blow-outs completely taking out that whole assembly, emptying the tanks all over the roadway, and pretty much ruining people's vacations, because from that point on...no more water use.
anyway..in the pic, is that the axle mounting plate I see there behind the valve handle? or is it a shadow? if its the plate, then I think my imagined plan would look very much like that.

But you had said before that you didn't think it would be a good idea to put the same thing in the rear of the trailer. why? clearance? or just too much weight, with the additional moment-arm created by being so far away from the axle?

on my trailer, from the location of the axle to the rear of the trailer, there are three 2-foot wide cavities created by the frame and x members. I would put the grey tank in the one closest to the axles. (the existing galley drain pipe already comes through the floor in that location, so it could easily be attached to the top of the tank to vent it). the middle bay would be skipped over, as its space is consumed by the shower p-trap and drain pipe. The aft bay could house a black tank in the same manner as the grey tank pictured.
which is pretty much what you're doing, right?


oh, and that round thing: I don't know, but I wonder if it is in fact a door stop? if that piece of banana wrap is actually a compartment door that folds down, it could be there to keep it from "banging" into those plumbing fixtures. the painted surface would get scratched up otherwise. just a guess.
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Old 02-16-2006, 05:23 PM   #22
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Chuck:

I wish I knew how to make those neat “quotation” outlines you use.

(Can anyone tell me how it’s done?)

I took the photo at Can-Am’s lot. I think it was one of those combined 70 gallon black/grey tanks Airstream built for only one year.

It’s generally agreed that combined tanks is not so good. You lose flexibility.

Their plumbing does look very fragile and exposed. Ours is being enclosed in a compartment. The sheet aluminum used is much heavier than that used in the Argosy body.

I think a tire blow out would wreck the body and the flimsy plastic wheel well covers before the compartment.

We are putting on new wheels and new tires so that should lessen the chance too.

You do see the axle mounting plate in the photo of the International or Safari, or whatever it was.

Having a deep tank at the rear is probably not good for all the reasons you suggest: clearance, weight, moment-arm.

I think you should go as shallow there as you can.

We are using the space much as you imagine, except that the grey tank was 32” wide so we had to move a cross member. That is usually possible.

Maybe that is a compartment door above the main drain in the photo. I didn’t notice. That would explain why the “stop” is there, so the drain doesn’t scratch the body panel.

Our compartment door will open DOWN so as to be less in the way.

Sergei
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Old 02-17-2006, 10:33 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmokelessJoe
Chuck:

I wish I knew how to make those neat “quotation” outlines you use.

(Can anyone tell me how it’s done?)
Easy! what you do is start off your reply to a given post with the "quote" button, instead of the "reply" button. that will copy the quoted post in its entirety into your composition window, but it will append the quoted text with some html code that tells the web server to make a quote out of it. I can't type the html code exactly, because if the server sees that, it'll make a quote out of something, and you won't see what it was that I typed. so...the first character is "[". then the text as follows: quote=smokelessjoe. then this character: ] closes the command. When the server sees that, it'll make a "quote" out of the text that follows, until it sees [ followed by / followed by quote, and ending with ].

go ahead and find any post by anyone, and click the "quote" button, as if you're going to reply with quoted text, and you'll see what I mean.

So, if you want to use multiple quotes, all you have to do is type out those same commands on either side of the text you want to quote. type your response after the [ / quote ] . start the next piece of quoted text with [ quote=whoever ]. highlight and delete the text you don't want. when you're done, click on the "preview post" button, and that'll show you how it will look to others. if it all looks right, click "submit reply".


Quote:
Originally Posted by smokelessjoe
I think a tire blow out would wreck the body and the flimsy plastic wheel well covers before the compartment.
yes, I'd say that looks secure. But I'm not just talkin' airstreams...SOB's, too. one friend of mine had this happen to him on his Winebago MH. Seems that ALL rv manufacturers just let that fragile, yet very important stuff just hang out there, inches above the road. any good speed bump or pothole could take it right out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SmokelessJoe
Having a deep tank at the rear is probably not good for all the reasons you suggest: clearance, weight, moment-arm.

I think you should go as shallow there as you can.
yep. but the thing I'm thinking is that for the 3" drain pipe to get past the frame, it should hang below it. so, an 8" tall tank would fill the cavity (5"), and the pipe could come straight out and still clear the frame. That way, a back-flushing device could spray water straight into the tank. any bends in the output of that tank would minimize the effectiveness of that sort of "power flush". (check out "the sewer solution", if you're not already familiar). Of course, your design more than compensates for that, but with added complexity and expen$e.
As for the weight issue way back there, I'm thinking:
a) don't drive around w/ a full tank. (we almost never boondock, anyway, so there's almost always some sort of dump facility available).
a1) beef up the shell to frame attachment when I'm in there tearin' it all apart. (I have damaged floor to replace back there, as well, that needs to be addressed).
b) use a smaller tank, and just mount it lower. as long as the outlet is just under the bottom of the frame rail, there's no need for the rest of the tank to completely fill that cavity.

of course, I call this my "plan"; it would be more appropriately called a "fantasy", because Lord only knows when I'll actually have the time or gumption to undertake such a project. I'm all talk.

But hey, I know how to use the "quote" function on the forum. that's gotta be worth somthing.
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Old 02-17-2006, 12:16 PM   #24
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wanted to just add: this pic sums it all up...with an explanation.

it is of the middle of the 3 frame cavities that are aft of the axles. Pic is shot facing the street side of the trailer. The p-trap is the shower drain. Its drain heads toward the curbside, bangs a left, and goes aft to the existing sewer outlet. That pretty much excludes most of the space here for any other use.
The forward bay would house the gray tank. The axle tubes don't interfere here at all; they cross at the next forward bay, so a tank could be installed/removed as necessary without much trouble. The drain pipe in the background that slopes right to left is the galley drain; it could easily be dropped into that forward bay, into the top of a tank, and provide the vent.

I can't really expand that forward bay by moving the cross members, because as you may see in the pic, right above it is a gusseted floor seam. the cross member is shorter by 3/8" to accomodate that seam, which is exactly 4' forward of the back of the trailer. (first 4x8 sheet of plywood ends here). the cross member on the other side of this bay (not seen in the pic) is too close to the axle tube.

the cross member on the left of this center bay is the one to which the BAL stabilizer jacks are attached. So if I want to keep those, (and I do), that one can't be moved. (also, the legs of the jacks swing down from the belly, and that precludes running any drain lines beneath the belly pan in this area). So I think I'm pretty much stuck with working within this alloted space.

So, my fantasy is to get a 8" grey tank that slopes to a center aft-facing drain. (Ameri-Kart H882 http://www.kart.com/rv_catalog/14_H%..._29_Gallon.pdf). The drain would hang just below the belly pan, and a drain pipe could run down the center line of the trailer, so as to go in between the jacks. Then I put a 90-degree elbow and head for the streetside corner area to tie into a sewer outlet.
a black tank could fit in the aft bay, with an outlet that points straight out to the streetside.

OR, I could skip the black tank, and just have that grey tank drain meet up with the existing sewer drain, which is located in the center of the trailer, just forward of the rear. (it doesn't exit in the aft streetside corner, like most campers, airstream or sob). The existing black tank sits on the floor, inside the trailer, and its drain just goes straight down through the floor and belly pan.

another option would be to get the type of tank that's lowpoint would be located toward the streetside, (6.5 or 8" deep, so the drain is just below belly pan level) with an outlet pointing aft. (H052, same link as above). I could snake the drain line to the outside of the frame rail through that gap between the axle mounting plate, and the frame extension (who's purpose is completely unknown; there isn't one on the other side of the trailer; its much lighter guage metal than the frame c-channel...doesn't appear to do anything, or protect anything. the hole in it is for the acutator of the BAL jack to stick through to the outside) with a couple of elbows, and follow along the frame member to a rear corner sewer outlet. But more of the system would be exposed...visible (ugly) and in the line of fire of blown-out tire.

the pic:
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