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Old 05-06-2014, 12:46 PM   #1
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Grey water tanks in a '71 Overlander Question..

I'm going to put 2 of the in-frame grey water tanks from Vintage Trailer Supply in my 71 Overlander. I have the pan off and the axles off and am wondering if it is a bad idea to install them over the axles? Would I regret having to remove the axles to service if necessary? The are 4 spots in the frame these would fit aft of the fresh tank and in front of the small space right before the black tank compartment. I will need 2 of these open spaces and would like to leave an open space between the two to allow me to easier connect them. So either way one or both of the tanks will be over an axle. Otherwise, I will need to modify a cross member to allow the two tanks to be lifted in place with the connection between the two in place and then reinforce that cross member. Any thoughts or experience would be greatly appreciated!!

Ryan
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Old 05-06-2014, 01:29 PM   #2
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Hi Ryan,

I installed those tanks in my '71 a few months ago. What I did is basically reviewed here

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f305...ml#post1438728

Good luck and keep us posted on your progress.

Alan
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Old 05-06-2014, 02:18 PM   #3
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I did almost exactly what you are doing in my '73 GT. I put the two tanks adjacent to one another in the first two bays immediately behind my single axle. In retrospect, I wish I would have put one tank directly over the axle, then ran a pipe through the next bay, and kept the second tank in the second bay. This extra length of pipe connecting the tanks would have allowed a little more wiggle. In my current execution, the tanks are connected by a very short rubber connector of only a few inches, and I have a hunch that in the long term, this may result in breaks in those tank connections. Do a search for "vintage trailer supply grey tanks" and you can see some pics of how others have installed these tanks.

good luck!
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Old 05-06-2014, 02:57 PM   #4
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Thanks for the replies!! TennTex, I'm not sure how many times I've read that thread and somehow I missed your pictures there. Sounds like from both of you, skipping a bay would be the best way to go.

TennTex do you have any pictures of the lines coming into the tanks and how you handled the top side (vents & drains)? Also if you have the dimensions of the fitting locations you sent to VTS that would be interesting to look at as well!

My black tank is missing the galvanized pan under it and is strapped to the bottom of the subfloor. Do you think it is necessary to have the pan or is strapping it up there good enough, better, or adequate??

Tanks again!...er I mean Thanks!
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Old 05-06-2014, 06:19 PM   #5
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I don't have pictures, but I ordered the fittings so the drain into the top of the tanks and the vent line out ended up under the curbside bed. Be very careful with the location of the fittings so you keep the ones on the front and back of the tanks adjacent to the open space of the crossmember, while the top ones end up right. The tanks are about 4in deep, and the space is 5in, so I did not have to alter the crossmember at all. My OCDness really came out when I was laying all that out for the order! I'll look for the order placed to VTS for the measurements. They nailed the placement of the fittings.

By the way, you can tell by the picture I installed these with the forward tank over the rear axle, with the old axles still in place; not a problem. Also, the open space between the tanks makes everything easier, with Femco-type connector fittings between, to give you some room to nudge things to fit.

The black tank pan was there to hold ducted furnace heat from a hole in the floor so the tank would not freeze in winter. Many folks (mostly southerners) go without it. But I also think it would be difficult to strap up the original poly tank without damaging it. I had a new pan made by a local heating and air place for about $70. New tanks with edge flanges would be much better for going pan-less.

Have fun,
Alan
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Old 05-07-2014, 03:38 PM   #6
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Alan, thanks again for the reply. I see your point about the black tank pan. That totally makes sense now. Are there any published dimensions for a 'stock' one?

Attached are the dimensions I came up with for my grey tanks. Let me know if you see anything glaringly wrong before I place the order. I'm relying on the fact that I can drain from the galley into the same line that will also vent the galley as well as the bathroom will drain into the vent line for the rear of the trailer. Since both tanks are vented this seems to make sense to me... or do I have too much fiberglass and dust in my head from laying under the belly too long!??

I intend to have VTS install the fittings as close as possible to the bottom on all the bottom fittings. The outlet fitting on the rear tank will snake around the curb side and back of the black tank and into the dump valve. I have 2 1.5" galvanized 14 gauge straps per tank that I'll wrap in rubberized deck flashing. I will also use various foam board pieces to wedge around the tanks to keep them from moving around too. Reflectix is planned above and below the tanks.

Lastly, what are the commonly used methods of tank level sensing on these grey tanks?

Thanks again for all the advice!
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Old 05-07-2014, 04:03 PM   #7
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I installed a "See Level" gauge on one of my grey tanks. Haven't gotten to the point in my rebuild where I have actually used the gauges, so no knowledge so far as to how well they work. Tank gauges are another one of those trouble prone items that I hear a lot of grousing about--were I to do it over, I probably wouldn't bother with them. I did bench test my gauges, and they worked correctly, and reported tank levels accurately.
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Old 05-07-2014, 04:15 PM   #8
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With shallow tanks, the gauges are particularly fiddly.

If you have to remove your new greywater tank at some future point, it will make you cross whether or not you have to pull an axle to get at it.
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Old 05-07-2014, 11:15 PM   #9
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Your renderings remind me of your blog that I read through last night - very impressive. You have some really creative and helpful info on there; I hope plenty of forums folks will click over. (I'm glad VTS was able to get my locations exact from my doodling-by-hand.)

Your fitting locations look good, but is there a reason why the fittings connecting the 2 tanks couldn't also be at the curbside edge in line with the drain? That way the tanks could be more completely drained with the trailer cast a bit to that side. (I obviously didn't think of that on mine.) Also, I put separate vent and intake fittings on top, but I remember a discussion pro/con on one of the threads about that.

The black tank galvanized pan on mine was 25"x51". Of course, it had no bottom (see pic).

The pan had a sloped styrofoam insert to hold the tank at the proper angle. I made one out of foam board wedges.

One other thought: If I had it to do over, I would use 3 straps per tank. They are easy enough to install, and the tanks bulged a bit more when full than I anticipated.

Alan
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Old 05-08-2014, 11:21 AM   #10
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Alan,

Thanks for checking out my blog! It is just kind of a nice diary to keep track of what is all going on. I'm on a pretty tight timeline and trying to get things back to somewhat operational by the middle of July. If nothing else I'd be ok with a aluminum tent as long as it is road worthy!

No there really isn't a reason I had the fittings to connect the two tanks placed where I put them. Purely arbitrary for all practical reasons. However, you make a very valid reason to put them 'somewhere' so I'll move them over to the edge and inline with the drain. Thanks for that little nugget of information. I will also take your suggestion on the 3 straps per tank too. I actually have the strapping to do three per tank but was thinking that there would really only be a max of 125 lbs there and figured two might be fine. But they are cheap and will not have any real weight penalty for using another.

Thanks for the dimensions on the black tank pan. I'll verify that will work in my case and send it off to my buddy at a HVAC shop and see what he can bend up for me. I do have the wedge shaped piece of foamboard that was under mine. So with the pan under the black tank in place is there really any gap between it and the belly pan? I'm assuming you still run the belly pan all the way to the back of the trailer?

I did find I have a bit of a saggy frame back there too. I'm not sure if it is due to having the floor separated from the frame or not but I'll have to get that checked out and come up with a way to reinforce or box the frame if that is the case. So much fun!!
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Old 05-08-2014, 04:19 PM   #11
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Grey Tank Updated Plans

Here is the modified set of plans with Alan's suggestions.
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Old 05-08-2014, 09:48 PM   #12
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The tank pan is held in place tight against the underside of the floor by sitting on two pieces of steel angle, I think 1x1, running across the lower lip of the angles welded to the bottom of each main c-frame in the rear. That will be your measurement for the depth of the pan. Yours may be like mine were - rusted off so I could barely tell where they went together. Where the crosswise angles are placed is critical to the resulting location of the toilet and dump valves. I ended up having to guess, and I think it's going to barely work out okay.

The angles leave a little space so the galvanized pan is not in contact with the belly pan. The belly sheet does run all the way back, but I changed mine so that the entire rear end is sealed off from rear skin to belly pan. Others have posted how they did this, and I want to get my method posted sometime just to add to the options.

You can sorta see the black tank pan and support angles here:
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Old 05-08-2014, 10:50 PM   #13
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Well here is the craziness from tonight. I see what you are talking about with the small angle iron support. I'll have to verify the measurements but it looks as though it will be the same as yours. Did you make the new pan out of galvanized metal and how thick? My C channel along the back is toast and will need to be recreated. I'm going to have to do some forum searching on that one. Structurally the frame is pretty good and just has a nice coating of surface rust. I still think that I'm going to pursue boxing it in from the aft axle to the rear bumper. I have about 1/2 inch of sag from the level floor over the axles to the bumper as far as I can tell. The photo on my blog must have been with the jack putting pressure between the frame and the body.

On the subfloor, the logistics of sliding in a full sheet from the rear seems a little daunting. I might have to lose some sleep over that and decide what I'm going to do there. I do have a little planning time as my welder had something come up this weekend so I'll have until next to come up with a game plan.

Ok off to do more reading and clean up for the night.


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Old 05-09-2014, 10:48 PM   #14
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Rarely see a frame of this era in that condition. I don't remember the thickness of the galvanized pan, but it shouldn't be critical.

I had c (or U) channel made up from 0.040 5052, some have used thicker, mine worked great. Notch every couple of inches to make curves.

The frame droop is typical, I think. I noticed having to jack my frame up a tad to tighten up the frame-to-floor-to-skin fastening, and I remember reading a post by one of the commercial guys saying to expect that.

Floor can be put in as an intact sheet, which may require a minor trimming of the ext. skin, at least on one corner. Usually also requires creating a little separation between frame and shell - one guy posting using a front-end loader on his bumper. I just used a linebacker son at the end of a couple of 2x4's in the frame channels (below).

Some have installed floor in sections with a cleat, positioning/recessing it to miss black tank, pan, cross members, etc.

I read where one guy was successful by putting in a 1/2 in sheet, then bowing up a 1/4 in sheet over it to slide it under the shell edge, laminating the two together.

I noticed your rusted rear hold-down plate. I had a fab shop copy the size and proper angle out of 0.063 stainless for mine. Others (Aerowood) used thicker aluminum. The installed plate can be seen above the aft cross member in the second photo.

Have fun,
Alan
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