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Old 10-19-2014, 11:48 AM   #1
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1966 22' Safari
Santa Barbara, , California
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 17
'66 Safari 22' Black Tank Repair & Adding Grey

Can any one provide solutions, diagrams, photos or a link to their solution of what is underneath the belly pan and what they did to improve the original design?
I have a drip in the black tank and corrosion in the belly pan towards the rear. It's a full rear bath, and would like to approach the work from the bottom without tearing out the bath. I don't know if it's likely to be a crack in the tank or in a fitting.
I know there are members that have been through this and am looking for a good approach that does not require full gutting.
I get that the rear will have to be jacked up on two by sixes to lower the tank after the supports of been cut, depending on how this AS was built.
I would like to try to identify the leak in case it is repairable before doing all of that, and finding what others have done to add a grey tank, hopefully larger then the black,and how they plumbed it to work. I am looking to find a diagram or photos of the frame, tank, plumbing, wiring of the rear of the coach, or any other pertinent information.
This was a Los Angeles AS, in case that makes a difference. I will provide photos to anyone that would like to see what's there now, if it is necessary.
I really would appreciate any suggestions or help that people could provide.
Thanks in advance!
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Old 10-19-2014, 08:38 PM   #2
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1986 34' Limited
1966 24' Tradewind
Conifer , Colorado
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Hello from Minnesota. A SW Airstream may have less corrosion than the ones from around here. I have a 66 Trade Wind which is one size up from your Safari. They are similar trailers for sure, and I think they have the same rear bath. My black tank was cracked at the toilet flange ring. My toilet flush valve did not work. And the rear floor was rotted out. It was possible that sitting on the toilet would result in the occupant on the ground under the rear of the trailer. How embarrassing!

So I repaired the floor, added a new black tank and a new gray tank. There is no easy way to make this repair that I know of. I will try to post four of pictures of my project.

#1 Shows the black tank insulation and dump valve. There is a pan or box that supports the black tank. Mine was rusted out.

#2 Shows the extent of water damage around my toilet. Rear floor rot is very common in old, leaky Airstreams.

#3 Shows the new black and gray tanks I installed between the frame rails and just behind the axles. I opted for tanks that discharge below the frame rails similar to my 86 Airstream. Many 60 Airstream owners do not like this approach. I opted for function over form.

#4 Shows the new bath with the toilet moved forward and over the new black tank.

I know there are Airstreamers out there that have done some very novel things with their trailers and plumbing systems. You will have to do some studying to determine the degree of work you want to do. I think if you drop the rear belly pan, drop the tank pan, unscrew the toilet from the flange, disconnected the gray water pipe, and removed the black tank... you will find other problems that need fixed "while you're at it."

David
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Old 10-19-2014, 09:17 PM   #3
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1964 26' Overlander
Richmond , Virginia
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You can search through my threads if you'd like. I started with a toilet I wanted to replace as it had a crack in it. Then found out my black tank leaked like a sieve. Then decided to add gray tanks. I custom made all my tanks, but now Vintage Trailer Supply has some solutions that will really work. I jacked the whole trailer up where my wheels were about a foot off the ground. Took off the axles and the belly pan opens up like bay doors. Bent the propane lines a little at the sides, but planned on replacing those anyway. I have some good picks of my little workspace I lived the last year. Jack each side up a little at a time.

RobWok
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Old 10-20-2014, 05:19 PM   #4
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1966 22' Safari
Santa Barbara, , California
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dbj216-
Pics 1 & 2 look just like my plumbing & wiring, minus the fiberglass bath. I am hoping, if I do have to replace the black tank, and (add a grey), that it may be possible to do from below, or at least partially, without removing the entire interior of the bath. This may not be possible.
For a start, I'm removing the belly pans, and examining the tank pan for condition, even though I see heavy rust in the center drain, and re- evaluating. I think its going to be a discovery process.
Do you or any other members know (or where I can get) the frame space dimensions for a 66 Safari, or what the largest grey tank that will fit in that 2nd bay?
This is the beginning of peeling the onion.
I wonder what the odds are that the black tank is repairable?
Thanks for the input.
John
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Old 10-20-2014, 07:55 PM   #5
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1986 34' Limited
1966 24' Tradewind
Conifer , Colorado
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Our collective friends at Vintage Trailer Supply sell tanks that fit inside the frame rails. I believe it is in the 55" range INSIDE the frame rails. I know it is 58" outside to outside. Hey, I just remembered you can measure the inside clearance distance between frame rails at your rear bumper.

Inland RV in California also has a good collection of tanks for Airstreams.

I purchased my tanks from Inca Plastics, also in California. But my tanks are not Airstream originals, and hang below the frame rails. Inca is a long time supplier to the RV industry and have a huge on line catalog of tanks. They welcome service orders.

Cracked tanks are likely repairable. The plastic is likely polyethylene, a thermoplastic material. Some guys will get a "stick" of polyethylene, and heat the crack and stick at the same time to about 220 degrees, and weld it up. Then you need to test it for leaks by filling it clear full and leave it sit overnight. Restoring an old black tank isn't the most pleasant task around. Or the tank might be ABS material, but again it is weldable.

The next from the last frame "bay" on my trailer was a narrow 19". Most of the bays are 24" in length. You gotta measure before you specify a tank.

The fiberglass bath fixtures in these mid sixties Airstreams were cool, no doubt. The 68 may have been the best design. The toilet in mine must have weighed 30 pounds, too much for the back of the trailer in my view. The fixtures just didn't ring my bell, and everything in mine didn't work. Doing it over was easier than restoring it. And I needed a gray tank, so that required drain pipe plumbing, etc, etc.

You will find the bath fixtures in your way as you work. They can be removed without damage if you work very carefully. All Airstream interior parts are design to fit through the entrance door.

You are right on about "discovery". You will use "oh my God" many times as you peel back that aluminum under your trailer. Your trailer is old, very old. It just needs some refurbishment.

David
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Old 10-20-2014, 09:20 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRow View Post
Can any one provide solutions, diagrams, photos or a link to their solution of what is underneath the belly pan and what they did to improve the original design?
I have a drip in the black tank and corrosion in the belly pan towards the rear. It's a full rear bath, and would like to approach the work from the bottom without tearing out the bath. I don't know if it's likely to be a crack in the tank or in a fitting.
I know there are members that have been through this and am looking for a good approach that does not require full gutting.
I get that the rear will have to be jacked up on two by sixes to lower the tank after the supports of been cut, depending on how this AS was built.
I would like to try to identify the leak in case it is repairable before doing all of that, and finding what others have done to add a grey tank, hopefully larger then the black,and how they plumbed it to work. I am looking to find a diagram or photos of the frame, tank, plumbing, wiring of the rear of the coach, or any other pertinent information.
This was a Los Angeles AS, in case that makes a difference. I will provide photos to anyone that would like to see what's there now, if it is necessary.
I really would appreciate any suggestions or help that people could provide.
Thanks in advance!
Fiberglass tanks are available.

Andy
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Old 10-21-2014, 12:29 AM   #7
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1966 22' Safari
Santa Barbara, , California
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Thanks for the good info and encouragement.
A pity that the second "bay" wasn't 24 and the third one the 19". If I were to go into that third one I would be committed to a full re-do, not to mention what possible obstacles that may need rerouting in that over- axel area. It seems that this would be a good area to add weight though, as I have the 40 gallon fresh across the front to add ballast.
I see your point about the bath styling, mine's an exact replica your "before" foto. But the little lady loves it…I think maybe on the next one. I'll see how this one goes.
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Old 10-21-2014, 06:06 AM   #8
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1986 34' Limited
1966 24' Tradewind
Conifer , Colorado
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Hello JRow,

I admired the Airstream design in the bathrooms of our mid sixties trailers. It was very efficient use of small space, utilized newly developed fiberglass and thermoformed plastics, and created a "window bench seat" for dressing with the padded cushion cover over the toilet. Neat design for sure.

I tried to post a picture of the rear of my frame. I did add a cross member support (angle iron) under my new floor as this big section of plywood floor was not well supported in my view because of the large, flat black tank they had back there. There is a lot of heavy human traffic back there in front of the bath sink so I wanted additional support for the plywood floor.

My photo shows a trial fitting of the black tank in the second from last frame bay. You can see it is a narrow frame bay. The tank is 17" wide. It is hanging on 1 1/2 angle irons. This photo also shows the angle iron support I added under the floor in the rear frame bay. The rear bumper is shown last on the left of the photo.

I'm just trying to show you what it looks like under there.

David
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Old 10-22-2014, 02:02 AM   #9
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1966 22' Safari
Santa Barbara, , California
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Your new waste dump tanks appear adequate in size. I see how you have created a manifold for side discharge, That seems a good idea. Will you add strapping to support the tanks, or do the tanks have flanges that they can hang from?. Lastly, are you planning to add belly skins or leave it open?
From your pics, it looks like all the top openings in the tanks must have new cutout locations, to correspond to your new floor layout.
Thanks again,
John
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Old 10-22-2014, 05:48 AM   #10
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1986 34' Limited
1966 24' Tradewind
Conifer , Colorado
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Hi Jrow,

The tanks I selected that fit inside the frame bays are about 25 gallon. I went with the street side discharge as it is the most normal place one finds the sewer connection in most campgrounds. And it is so much more convenient than the "under the trailer" drain connection that was configured on the original Trade Wind.

My tanks are "T" shaped and designed to hang from supports. I used angle irons and bolted those to the upper lip of the frame rail. They are very secure.

I drew up a tank pan, or box, that covers the bottom of the tanks, very similar to my 86 Airstream, very similar to what Airstream does now. The tank pan provides insulation so the tanks can be heated, provides protection from road debris, and provides somewhat easier access to the tanks should a problem develop (leak, bad dump valve, etc.)

Yes, all the drain plumbing in my Trade Wind is new. Since the tanks fit inside the frame rails, the drain lines must be routed above the tanks, inside the frame rails. Shower, bath sink, toilet, and kitchen sink all drain inside the frame rails. And there is a vent pipe from each tank that exits the roof of the trailer in their original locations. Bottom line: new tanks required new drain plumbing, required a new bath.

Mid sixties Airstreams had smooth, flat bottoms. Vintage restorers do not want to disturb the original design so they daisy chain 4" high tanks together in the various frame bays and plumb a drain port through a frame rail in the back of the trailer. My install has a 4" pan hanging below the frame rails.

Installing these waste water tanks is a very significant, costly, and time consuming project. Many folks go with external tanks ("blue boys") to avoid the cost and work of installing on board tanks.

David
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