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Old 07-20-2011, 06:45 PM   #1
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??Black/Gray Tanks for Clean Slate '56 Caravanner

Hello all - looking for some advice on black/gray tanks for my 56 Caravanner.

In the midst of restoration - frame/tongue repair is going very well - so fast that I'm worrying about the bathroom when I thought I would have more time to ponder it.

I did not have a black tank or a gray tank to start with. The P,PO changed the layout of my caravanner and I pulled the old toilet out as well as a little sink - that is all that I had in there to start.

I have the entire back couple of feet plus probably 4 feet on the street side that I can put in any sort of bathroom I want. Attached is a photo of the space.

Since the frame is almost all done (and belly pan is off) - my guess is that I have to decide on tanks soon. Since I did not have either black or gray tanks and I have a clear interior space and underneath space - my question is:

Can I start from scratch and get a black and a gray and situate them how I want?

What are your recommendations???? Thanks. Wendy
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Old 07-20-2011, 07:21 PM   #2
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I added black and gray and relocated fresh tanks in my '57 Caravanner, Wendy. You can see what I did in my thread linked below easier than I can explain it.

cheers,
steve
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Old 07-20-2011, 08:15 PM   #3
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Just a thought: I know that some of the newer AS models have gone to one single tank instead of two.

I'm wondering what the downside of that might be. On the plus side, it would simplify the plumbing below deck...
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Old 07-20-2011, 08:57 PM   #4
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The combined arrangement is problematic when handling greywater with a blue tote or otherwise dealing with it in a fashion that is not suitable for sewage.
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Old 07-21-2011, 01:45 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jammer View Post
The combined arrangement is problematic when handling greywater with a blue tote or otherwise dealing with it in a fashion that is not suitable for sewage.
I agree, don't do it if you plan on boondocking.

We added both a black & gray (actually, 2-gray) tanks to our '56 Safari. You can see how they are situated in post #158 of my "It's a Girl!!!" thread - the details of what/where & how we got these are within the thread. Good luck in whatever you decide to do - it's not a bad project.

Shari
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Old 07-21-2011, 02:28 AM   #6
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Seems to me you could just run everything out the back end there.... Why bother with tanks at all?
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Old 07-21-2011, 09:52 AM   #7
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Quote:
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The combined arrangement is problematic when handling greywater with a blue tote or otherwise dealing with it in a fashion that is not suitable for sewage.
I agree: IF you plan to boondock, it MAY introduce the complexity of having to think of waste water as all being black water. I've never boondocked, and only camp where there are services, so for me, this is not a consideration. YMMV.

On the other hand, even separate tanks have a finite capacity. By using one larger one, you get the flexibility of not being caught with, say, a full grey tank, while a larger black tank lies empty, or almost. To be truthful, I can't see myself storing and emptying a "blueboy" being part of my vacation fun time anyway.

To new members, a "blueboy" is a separate tank, available in a variety of sizes, that has the same connections as your trailer's waste water outlet. They often have wheels and can be towed at slow speeds for limited distances, or stored in the bed of a pickup truck to allow disposal at a proper dumpsite for trailers.
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Old 07-21-2011, 09:56 AM   #8
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Seems to me you could just run everything out the back end there.... Why bother with tanks at all?
This is only possible on a regular basis if you have a home-style toilet (one having a storage tank of water), since the typical RV toilet does not have any "whoosh" to force the contents of the bowl out the pipe. They rely strictly on gravity and a little flow of water.

In other words, it wouldn't work, and I really don't think it would be too interesting to discuss why. Trust me, stick with tanks.
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Old 07-21-2011, 10:35 AM   #9
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Being a avid boondocker, the advantage of having both gray & black tanks separated is it is MUCH easier to dispose of gray water than black. Some places will even allow (and encourage) you to run gray on the ground - not so with black under any circumstances. If all your water is now "black" because it is a combined tank, it makes it impossible to dump any water without approved sanitation disposal methods. Even if the gray tank fills up - I would much rather deal with gray water in a blue boy than black. On the otherhand, we lived without a gray tank in our '64 GlobeTrotter for years. Dealing with a blue boy for gray is no problem - it's just soapy water - even if you drain some off and add it to the black tank - that's no problem.

Our '56 was originally a "park model" meaning it had no tanks - black or gray, a set-up much like what ddstech is suggesting. When you "flushed" the toilet, the flapper would drop, a little water would run and gravity would do it's thing - you could literally see the ground through the open flap. It was a direct drop so not much water was required to "flush". The normal protocol at the time was to do one of two things:

1) When boondocking - dig a "golpher hole" and bury your waste when you left
2) When at a trailer or RV park - hook-up to a waste system and everything just flows into the system. This is where they got the nickname "park models" people mostly used them at parks.

As we all know, the practice of using "golpher holes" is not allowed today. If you never plan on using your waste system "on the road" traveling, I suppose you could forgo tanks and make your trailer a modern "park model"...but most people going through the effort of a major restoration, add at least a black tank. I think it would really effect the resellability if you didn't - most people expect both. It really is not that difficult to add tanks at the time of floor replacement - it makes it easier having access from both above & below. The only limiting factor we had, was the belly pan/banana wrap curves at the perimeter of the frame/trailer - so we utilized the full depth of the frame in the center bay. Our gray tanks are below the floor, but our black tank sits above. They are all tied together to one waste dump valve. We dump black first, then gray so the gray rinses the hose after the black.



I believe, the combined tank that was offered by Airstream, was done so on a limited basis - I wonder how popular it is/was.

Shari
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Old 07-21-2011, 10:59 AM   #10
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I would agree with Shari. I put the same size grey tank as fresh tank in my 68'. 40 gals. This way when I run out of water my tank is full. Well not always some of it goes in the black tank. So when I put water in my fresh tank I dump the grey. And don't worry about the 15 gal black till the trip is over. A hose hooked up to the grey is a great way to empty in the bushes when boondocking.
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Old 07-22-2011, 03:22 AM   #11
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Were all early models "park models"? Very useful information!
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Old 07-22-2011, 03:24 AM   #12
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Not even sure what my 55 Panorama has or doesn't have, I'm learning a lot! Any one have a user manual... I wish!
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Old 07-22-2011, 06:56 AM   #13
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Good discussion - thank you.

I am going to go with tanks. I have a large family camper (Thor Citation) - and all those systems are go; also have a small Ace canned ham camper with none. I don't want my Caravanner to go without - no buckets for her. I have plenty of experience with blacks/grays and emptying - so that doesn't worry me. What I am stressing about it where to get the tanks and how to install.

Where can I get black tanks? Do they need to be custom? What is the reason for putting them on top of the floor? (Not disagreeing - just curious to the rationale.)

What about gray tanks? In my searching - they seem to be easier to order.

On my family camper - the tanks empty on street side. Is that where everything should be piped on the Airstream? How much room should we account for as we plumb everything?

Any input on where to get black tanks? Any tips?

Thanks all!

PS -Steve - I follow/study Island Girl all the time - thank you!
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Old 07-22-2011, 07:05 AM   #14
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I have started a blog to document the progress on my 56 Caravanner. Her name is Luna - and the blog is: The Luna Phases
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