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Old 01-19-2004, 03:31 PM   #1
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Black Tank Galv Box

My Airstream, before I bought it, sat many years with leaks which wasted the bathroom floor, and the galvanized box which supports the black water tank. I have completed building a new galvanized box, repaired cracks to the black water tank, and removed the bathroom floor up to the first seam (roughly 4X8 foot area).

Since my floor had turned to mulch, I have no idea of what many things looked, like how close the galvanized box was to the decking. There appeared to be the remnants of a [foam?] seal between the box, and the decking. Also, once holes are cut for the waste drain valve, and the gray water line (I do not have a gray tank), it does not look like there will be a whole lot of support for the weight of the toilet.

I am now ready to cut new decking for the bath area. Does anyone happen to have pictures of what the decking, with holes, is supposed to look like. If not, has anyone done a similar procedure to a rear bath Airstream I could PM to get more insight?

Thanks,
Tom
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Old 01-19-2004, 04:21 PM   #2
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I am in the middle of the same repair on a 68 overlander right now. We replaced part of the floor from the rear wall to the first frame crossmember. Used marine grade plywood and attached it to the remaining floor with west system epoxy and about 8 biscuits. We also had a new galvanized tank pan made. It has a lip to screw it to the underside of the floor, then two 1inch wide metal straps bolt to the frame and actually support the weight. For insulation the tank sits on a white foam block shaped like a big flat lego peice. I can take a picture of it tomorrow.
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Old 01-19-2004, 05:21 PM   #3
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Before floor repair. sorry for the blurry pics, it's hard to take a good shot under there. everything missing was rotting or soft wood. the hole on the left is where the toilet was.
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Old 01-19-2004, 05:22 PM   #4
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sorry there should have been a picture attached. I will try again.
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Old 01-19-2004, 05:28 PM   #5
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this is after the repair with marine grade plywood and wooden buscuits glued up with west system epoxy.
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Old 01-20-2004, 11:38 AM   #6
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Unhappy BLACK WATER TANK REPAIR - HOW?

Hey Tom,

I'm a new AS owner discovering the joys and perils of vintage ownership. Can you tell me how you patched your black tank? I have a '78 Tradewind that must have come by way of the arctic circle because the water heater, the copper water lines and the black water tank are all split.
Is there any easy repair??? I assume you had to remove the tank first. Does that mean ripping out the whole bathroom with all the fixtures and walls or can it be dropped out the bottom??

Regards,

Bob
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Old 01-20-2004, 12:42 PM   #7
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Re: BLACK WATER TANK REPAIR - HOW?

Quote:
Originally posted by BOBHAST
...Is there any easy repair??? I assume you had to remove the tank first. Does that mean ripping out the whole bathroom with all the fixtures and walls or can it be dropped out the bottom??
On my Overlander, the black tank sits in a galvanized box supported by the main frame members via angle iron. "Simply" disconnect the vent pipe, gray water drain (I don't have a gray tank), toilet flange, disconnect enough of the belly pan to get to the four bolts connecting angle iron to frame, and it drops right out. At least that's how it would look on an RV improvement show.

In reality, if you are hoping to repair & reuse the tank, and are not planning to replace any floor decking, you will have quite the challenge. On my tank, the ABS fittings are glued (solvent welded) to the tank, and the pipes come off of them. It didn't mean much to me during removal because my floor had already rotted away. I'm now ready to install new decking, and can't decide how much too big to cut the holes to accomodate the fittings. I can't cut the fittings off because there would be nothing to glue new fittings to.

My black tank was cracked all around the toilet flange due to the weight of the toilet siiting on a rotten floor. Confirming my tank was ABS plastic (look for another thread with my name on it) I was fortunate enough to find a local vender who sold me a sheet of ~.060 inch ABS. I then solvent welded the new sheet on top of the cracked area on the tank.

Lastly, in response to your first question, "Is it an easy repair?" Well, easy is relative; But it sure has been a time consuming one.

Tom
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Old 01-21-2004, 06:42 PM   #8
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tank insulation

Hear is a pic of the foam insulation under my black tank. All of the little bumps are all different lenths. Almost 2" down to nothing at the drain. They match the angles on the bottom of the tank. I hope this is some help to you. I have more pics from differernt angles if you want them.
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Old 01-21-2004, 06:43 PM   #9
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OK here is the picture.
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Old 01-22-2004, 10:07 AM   #10
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Easy Repair Methods

The easiest repair method when ther are many major problems, is to sell the trailer.

The second best method of repair is much more difficult as well as expensive.

Cracked tanks, because of the kind of plastic used back then, can be temorarily repaired. However, they will continue to crack, but that won't happen in your driveway.

New tanks are made with different materials that don't have the problems like the old type plastic tanks did.

Patching is also very short lived. Generally speaking, many "patch" compounds won't stay in place.

I know, I know, on rare occassion, a successful repair has been made, but, the vast majority quickly fail.

Swelled copper tubing is a "POSITIVE" size of a freeze up. Best repair method is to replace "ALL" the copper tubing. Sooner or later, the part that is not replaced will also fail.

Therefore, when a major failure becomes an issue, "THERE ARE NO SHORTCUTS." A major repair is the best and only long term solution to the problem.

Ask those that first choose the "shortcuts."

The universal answer will be, "it's not worth the pure hell, the waste of time, and, money."

Andy
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Old 01-22-2004, 11:06 AM   #11
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Re: Easy Repair Methods

Quote:
Originally posted by Inland RV Center, In
The easiest repair method when ther are many major problems, is to sell the trailer.
Yep, that's what my seller did.

Quote:
The second best method of repair is much more difficult as well as expensive.
"Difficult" is in the eye of the beholder. I personally enjoy a good, hands-on challenge. More money does makes most tasks easier - I doubt Bill Gates will ever wrestle a rusty holding tank box. I have all the money I want to spend on my Airstream, but I have the money because I learned in my other hobbies when it is appropriate to rush out and buy new parts instead of repairing the existing ones. I also walked to school...in the snow...uphill both ways with no shoes...

Quote:
Cracked tanks, because of the kind of platic used back then, can be temorarily repaired. However, they will continue to crack, but that won't happen in your driveway.
Depends on what made them crack. A porcelain toilet on my back for five or ten years would test MY endurance

Quote:
Patching is also very short lived. Generally speaking, many "patch" compounds won't stay in place.
I would agree. However, solvent or heat welding is a different matter.

Quote:
Therefore, when a major failure becomes an issue, "THERE ARE NO SHORTCUTS." A major repair is the best and only long term solution to the problem.
Good advice. Hopefully people who buy vintage Airstreams either have money & access to fine repair places like Andy's, or are like me, enjoy spending time on their projects spending a reasonable amount of money repairing when possible, and replacing when necessary.

Streamsaver and BOBHAST: Don't get disillusioned working on your vintage Airstream. It will probably take a lot of time to address your list of repairs, but it IS possible to do a quality repair that does not cost a fortune in new parts.
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Old 01-22-2004, 06:37 PM   #12
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It takes a special mind set to be able to successfully restore a vintage trailer. Bringing an Airstream to its former glory yourself is worth ten new airstreams. There are very few things that can't be repaired by the average owner if they take the time to understand what they are fixing. Focusing in on individual problems and taking everything one step at a time has been working for me. Do your research. Buy some books, search the internet, call Andy at Inland. Just when something is getting frustrating and the end doesn't seem so near anymore, wait a day or two. The solutions are out there.
Not a single thing will go "as planned". Once you get used to that idea it is a peice of cake. Places like this forum help the project along. Knowing someone else out there has the same problems and finding out how they solved them is priceless.

I had never set foot in a Airstream 8 months ago. Today my Dad and I own two. One is a complete shell off restoration. Do you think I knew what I was doing when I started? NO! I have a extensive construction background going for me. I have worked on charter boats, built and installed custom countertops and cabinets, installed Amdega English Conservatories, Got certified for Computer networking, sold high end electronic music and recording equipment. I have installed custom competition car audio systems. Tried to restore a 74 porche. Built furniture, desks, porchs, model wooden boats, rockets, rocket cars, rocket boats........... All of those experiences combined didn't really prepare me for a 63 airstream. Maybe little pieces here and there. But for the most part I was blind to travel trailer restoration. Today after only 8 months I find myself sizing up every airsteam I see in all conditions. Still learning something new everyday.
To finish up, if it takes 5 years and $10,000 to get your vintage Airstream into shape. Be proud to know that you have a one of a kind trailer that can't be bought at $450 a month with no money down. Be proud to know you installed that black tank, that tail light or what ever it is. Nothing as special and unique as a vintage trailer can be finished in a day. How long did it take to build Rome?
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Old 01-27-2004, 07:35 PM   #13
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Blackwater tank??? Galvanized box??? What are these things precious?????



Can you send me a good discription and/or photos of the box. Is the foam still available??

Maybe a picture of the floor after the new plywood deck is installed, but before the throne is installed??
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Old 01-27-2004, 10:22 PM   #14
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tank insulation

Till,

I believe on you year and model the black tank was round, about 2 foot high and would hold about 5 gallons. You would place the open end of the tank/bucket under the hole when parked. There was no tank guage so you would visually inspect the tank/bucket for level.
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