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Old 07-20-2014, 09:55 AM   #1
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Grey Tanks, first year

Now that I have sold my two completed Argosys I am considering what I want in an Airstream. My current criteria lead me to 23 ft Safaris,Globe trotters and Carvelles or similar or shorter lengths One of the considerations is an onboard grey tank. My understanding is that Grey Tanks were required from 1975 on. However I have seen where early 70's airstreams sometimes have a grey take. I am guessing there was an option for one.

Am I correct that post 75 will all have grey tanks or is it earlier?

Thank's for sharing the knowledge.

Greg
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Old 07-20-2014, 10:14 AM   #2
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74 was the first year for grey tanks (although, people keep mentioning that they existing in "some" 1973's...there is absolutely no mention of such a thing in the 1973 service manual).
Be aware, though, that these early grey tanks were very small. (no more than 10 gallons, which imo, is useless). If you want to be able to comfortably spend the weekend at a no-hookup site, you'll still probably need to retrofit...or use the ever-popular blue-boy.
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Old 07-20-2014, 10:26 AM   #3
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My first Airstream was a 1973-30' - rear bath, center twin. It had a gray tank. Size? I do not remember!
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Old 07-20-2014, 11:23 AM   #4
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OK, '74 is the year which is good to kmow. I knew the tanks would be small but I am accustom,ed to using a tote so that really isn't an issue.

Thanks so much for the info, now the search starts.

Greg
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Old 07-20-2014, 01:10 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by A W Warn View Post
My first Airstream was a 1973-30' - rear bath, center twin. It had a gray tank. Size? I do not remember!
Airstream never made a 1973 30 foot Airstream.

What is your trailers serial number?

Andy
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Old 07-20-2014, 01:22 PM   #6
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My '74 Argosy has a 12 gallon grey water tank. I added a 21 gallon tank under the curb side bunk. I simply pump the grey water into the 21 gallon tank when the original 12 gallon tank is full. I now have a 33 gallon grey water capacity. With no major modifications to the coach.
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Old 07-20-2014, 01:54 PM   #7
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As I recall, the only '73 that had a grey tank was the Excella--the other models didn't get one until later.
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Old 07-20-2014, 02:24 PM   #8
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For now, a tote and the existing tank on whatever I find will work but I like the idea of a second tank and a pump..definitely makes some send rather than major reconstruction since you can benefit from otherwise unused space.

I am currently studying a '76, 23 foot but neither the dealer that has it consigned nor the owner seem to know the grey capacity. I suppose I will err on the side of conservative and assume it is still only in the neighborhood of 10 or 12 gallons.

Thanks again for the ongoing shared knowledge.

Greg
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Old 07-20-2014, 08:42 PM   #9
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Airstream never made a 1973 30 foot Airstream.

What is your trailers serial number?

Andy
It has been more than 20 years since I saw that trailer, so I have no idea about serial #. Last time I heard about it, it was being used on a movie/filming site in Wilmington, NC. Don't know where it went from there.

I think you are correct in saying it was not a 30'. Maybe it was a 31' instead. That 1973 had both Excella and Land Yacht badges on it if I remember correctly. I've had 4 different Airstream trailers in the 30'-31' range, so I get the details of those first three trailers confused sometimes. Though, I am positive all of them had gray water tanks.
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Old 07-21-2014, 04:08 AM   #10
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1975 was the year that grey water tanks became mandatory. From what I have seen they were optional for sure in 1974 and possibly as early as 1972/73. The small tanks appear to have been used until around 1980. The center bath had a larger tank than the rear bath. On my 1975 it is a whopping 10 gallons.

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Old 07-21-2014, 10:09 AM   #11
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I think my 81 Excella has a 25 gallon gray tank. When I get around to doing some work on the front portion of the under belly, I will probably add another gray water tank. We can get buy for a weekend no problem and for a week if we don't shower in the trailer. The center baths had bigger tanks.

Perry
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Old 07-21-2014, 06:16 PM   #12
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Sounds like you're committed to the '76, but I'll add this observation...


It seems RVers deem it necessary to store turd water separately from whatever was excavated from their orifices in the shower, all the meat prep juices from the kitchen sink, gunk washed off plates and pans, the blood from washing cuts and wounds, deodorants, scabs, tooth brushing debris and saliva, sloughed off skin, rinsed out rags, mucous, insect repellant, coughed up phlegm and bile, sunscreens, spittle, snot...... I'm not a human waste scientist, but grey water seems to be not much less healthy than what comes from human evacuation orifices and deposited directly into a black tank.


In the statutes of most State and Fed Governments, it's all black. Homes, businesses, airplanes, trains, boats, generally don't make the distinction, and health-wise, that's the way it should be. The RV grey tank is an evolved vestige of long ago when grey water was dumped on the ground. RV waste management has been running under the radar and is due for change. Already, some newer trailers are going with single waste tanks. These days, you dump it all in the same sewer hole anyway.


I point to this, not to argue sewage, but only as encouragement to expand your search and also consider the truly fine lightweight trailers of the fifties and sixties. It takes only a Thetford to Valterra adapter and a Valterra 3”gate valve to change a 1968 black tank to a general waste tank. Cost is $40 and takes thirty seconds to install. If you accidentally exceed the limit of the tank, you'll know, as the bathtub fills next. No problem with full hook-ups. Most rear bath trailers this vintage have plenty of room to install boon-docking tanks if you pull the belly-pan.


TG Twinkie's above floor suggestion is viable as well.


You can always snap on a “sewer solution” or macerator and pump your honey where ever you like.




Things change...
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Old 07-21-2014, 06:44 PM   #13
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Hi Aluminum in UM. Thanks for sharing your graphic description of disgusting human existence. We're worse than pigs in a sty. I agree that one tank can suffice for waste water. My country home has one tank, and I empty both of my Airstream waste water tanks down the same hose and then rinse thoroughly.

So I made a command decision to utilize my two new waste water tanks in my 66 Trade Wind for both classifications of waste water. I can better utilize the waste water volume by having kitchen sink and shower in one tank, and toilet and bath sink in the other tank. All drains except the toilet are protected with P traps. I think I'm okay. I guess I'll label them both "dark gray" tanks.

David
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Old 07-22-2014, 08:29 AM   #14
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Despite grey and black water going into the same sewer, I am still a fan of keeping them in separate tanks. If I am going to have waste water back up into my shower when a tank gets full, I prefer that it not have raw sewage in it. I also like having a closed valve between the area where I wash dishes and a big tank full of raw sewage. You never know when some funky little critters are going to bring the contamination of the tank right up where you are brushing your teeth.

Additionally, if you see your grey tank is getting full, you can always put off taking a shower and doing the dishes, but you still have access to a flushing toilet as long as the black tank isn't also full. If you have a black/grey single tank, you could fill it up while taking a shower, and all of a sudden, you are standing in two inches of back/grey water.
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