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Old 03-10-2016, 06:47 PM   #1
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1977 27' Overlander
Winnetka , California
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Black holding tank

Hello, anyone know what type of material is the Black holding tank is made of on a 1977 27' AS?
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Old 03-10-2016, 08:06 PM   #2
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1986 34' Limited
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Hello aircraft1. Welcome to Air Forums. It appears you are interested in vintage Airstreams.

The plastic waste water tank in your 77 is very likely polyethylene, and very likely rotomolded. This material and process became viable in the early 60s, and it is still being done today. I worked in a rotomolding shop for several years. Polyethylene tanks are very durable and relatively low costs, especially compared to metal tanks.

Polyethylene is a thermoplastic material. It can be heated and fused together, similar to welding. The cross linked polyethylenes are not thermoplastic and can not be "welded" or repaired. Nylons are considerably more expensive, like 8 times more expensive, but stronger yet and can take higher temperatures.

Inca Plastics in California is a pioneer in the rotomolding process. They have numerous configurations of polyethylene tanks available. They have been serving the RV industry for many, many years. If you are interested in replacing your black tank, Inca Plastics would be one place to look.

Hope this helps,

David
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Old 03-10-2016, 11:45 PM   #3
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Hello David,
Thank you for the information, yes it helps. I bought my Airstream not too long ago and I need to sanitize the tank. I don’t want to damage the tank while doing it. What do you recommend using to clean and flush the tank? Are there certain chemicals that I should use or not use? Thanking you in advance for you help. Hector
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Old 03-11-2016, 07:23 PM   #4
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Well, what fun! Cleaning the black tank of an old trailer. I think there are lots of recipes for cleaning the black tank.

Thetford is a Michigan company that makes chemicals for black tanks. Visit their website and see if there is anything you think might work.

Here is what I would recommend:

Fill the tank half full or more with warm water (if possible) and a good squirt of Dawn or your favorite dish wash detergent (low foam). Let the tank soak for a couple of days. The idea is to loosen any waste that might have hardened in the tank. Now drain the tank completely. It would be handy to have a clear plastic fitting in your sewer hose so you can see what is draining out. Make sure you say Ewww while doing this.

Repeat again, and then a third time until your tank is draining mostly clear water.

Now fill the tank with some detergent and a bag of ice. Pull your trailer down the highway for maybe an hour. The ice will abrade some remaining debris in your tank. Drain the tank watching for mostly clear water coming out.

The last step might be filling the tank half full and adding a Thetford sanitizer and let it stand for a week or two.

Most Airstreamers like to keep a few gallons of water in the black tank (1/4 full) during the traveling season where there is no risk of freezing. Pulling your trailer with a few gallons of water sloshing around helps keep it clean. A dry tank runs the risks of solids hardening in the tank.

For what its worth...

David
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Old 03-11-2016, 07:54 PM   #5
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Hello aircraft1. I'm going to show you how to "highjack" a thread. This means another Forums members joins in and changes the subject completely. Since this thread is only you and I so far, I'm taking a chance you won't mind.

Your career experience may help me.

I've been looking for a better "pop" rivet, or blind rivet. Many of us Airstreamers use the "Olympic" tri-fold blind rivets. We use these because the mandrel breaks above the rivet head where it can be trimmed and "shaved" to look like a regular solid buck rivet. But it is not a very strong rivet.

I've done some research in marine blind rivets and aircraft structural blind rivets. But I haven't found exactly one that might be better. The Cherry Q rivets are the closest I have found. Here is a link to an old thread of mine.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f381...et-131216.html

Maybe in your experience you have used a blind rivets that is as strong as a pop rivet but the mandrel breaks above the rivet head. Airstream exterior shell used 5/32 rivet size.

David
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Old 03-13-2016, 11:51 PM   #6
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Hello David,

Well I finally cleaned the tank and followed some of your advice. it worked! thank you again. as far as the High jacking of the thread I dont mind at all, this is what makes this forum fun. Are you asking me if I know of a blind rivet stronger that an Olympic rivet? or a better rivet than the Cherry Q? I like using cherry max even thoug the stem will break above the head. it can be shaved. as far as the removal it is not hard at all.

Aircarft1
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Old 03-14-2016, 08:08 PM   #7
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Hi from Colorado.

I was asking if you knew of any rivet that would be better than the Olympic tri-fold rivet. The Cherry Q was one that broke above the head. I did not realize that the Cherry Max also broke above the head. We Airstreamers like to use blind rivets for repairs, and like a 5/32" rivet with a shaved head that looks mostly like a bucked rivet. I'll take a look at the Cherry Max again. We really need an all aluminum rivet. Some of the marine rivets have steel mandrels.

Thanks for the info. Nothing like a cleaned black tank to make a guy feel better about his Airstream. Now what's the next project?

David
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