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Old 09-07-2018, 08:51 AM   #1
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Increasing gray tank capacity

I was looking at specs for an SOB trailer with my son-in-law's father and the trailer had about twice the capacity for gray water as it did for black. I don't know why Airstream has the same size tanks for gray and black water, other than it is easy. I want to try to increase the gray capacity at the expense of black.


I had my tank cover off to replace the dump valves and noted that the tanks are rectangular with the long side across the trailer. There is a frame cross member between them. I don't recall if there were any holes in it, but if there was one, or I could add one, I would put in a black tank that is half the size of the existing one and add an auxiliary gray tank in the freed up space with a crossover pipe between it and the existing gray tank. Alternative layouts may be possible as I think I remember that the cross member is not as deep as it nears the roadside frame rail. the crossover pipe could loop through there. I would also have to figure out how to vent the auxiliary gray tank.

I'm wondering if anyone has done something like this.

I realize I could replace the toilet with a composting toilet and re-work the drain plumbing to allow the use of the black tank for gray water, but I'm not sure I'm fully on board with the composting toilet idea.

Has anyone tried to do this?


Al
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Old 09-07-2018, 11:25 AM   #2
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25' RB Tank Layout

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Originally Posted by Al and Missy View Post
... I don't know why Airstream has the same size tanks for gray and black water, other than it is easy. ...l
Our 25' Rear Bedroom does not have rectangular tanks - more like jig saw puzzle pieces.

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Old 09-07-2018, 12:25 PM   #3
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This doesn't really answer your question but I sympathize with what I'm guessing is the concern behind your desire to increase gray tank capacity, since the gray tank is what usually drives our need to find a dump station.

My solution, though not as elegant as the one you're researching, was to purchase a 5 gallon "blue boy" portable gray water tank. It's small enough to be easily thrown in the bed of the truck when full and can be filled via a garden hose attachment which mates to a fitting on our aftermarket dump pipe cover. When we go out for the day we simply drop by the campground dump station or other facility. This extends our gray tank capacity significantly and eliminates the need to frequently move the trailer just to dump the gray tank.

Not really what you were asking about, but just a thought.
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Old 09-07-2018, 06:41 PM   #4
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I was working from scratch (1958 no gray water tank) and put in two gray water tanks. I ran a 1-1/2" line with a cable operated valterra valve between them. Using a cable allowed me to place the valve handle inside the kitchen sink cabinet. I wanted to able to close the valve when traveling so fluid wouldn't flow back and forth.

Photo is before connecting line was installed, area circled in red.

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The front tank handles kitchen sink. The back tank handles the bath tub. (Bathroom sink goes to the black water tank.)

I opted for tanks within the belly pan. If you have tanks hanging below the belly pan, connection would be easier.
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Old 09-08-2018, 09:24 AM   #5
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Just changing your useage psttern could ease the volume constraint
Do dishes in a dish pan in the sink then dump it down the toilet
It might be easier to redirect the bathroom sink than add another tank. I never run out of black water space but grey water is occasionally an issue so I dump dishwater down the toilet if I can't dump outdoors
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Old 09-08-2018, 09:28 AM   #6
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We have a sport 22fb and our tanks are puny. What helps us control grey water is we always setup an outside kitchen under a shade tent. We use an outdoor sink like this one https://www.amazon.ca/Tricam-MT-2-Qu...s=outdoor+sink . We connect it to our outdoor shower and run hot water through it. If we need quick water it's cold but if you run it you have hot water. All your grey dish water fills up a 5 gallon pail. We then use the pail to put out our fire at night.
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Old 09-08-2018, 10:21 AM   #7
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I bought this inexpensive gate valve which fits on the tank exit. When the gray tank is full, and with the gate valve closed, I pull the handles on both of my tanks, which moves fluid from the full gray tank into the almost empty black tank. This almost doubles my capacity.
Valterra T58 Twist-On Waste Valve https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000BGHYJS/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_2p.KBbMC995N2
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Old 09-08-2018, 11:04 AM   #8
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While at Salem rally (with a wait of 5 days for tanks to get pumped out), I talked to other attendees to see what they did. I have 37 gal tanks for all three tanks, and based on inputs, I:
1) Used my large mixing bowl to wash dishes, emptying used water into black tank.
2) In between dishwashing, kept same bowl half full with hot water for hand washing throughout the day. Threw used water down the black tank.
3) While waiting for shower water to warm up, used same bowl to hold the initial cold water until it was warm enough. Threw that water down the black tank.
4) With the shower head's on/off valve, took Navy showers (of course).
5) In short, any water coming into the trailer for any purpose went into black tank whenever possible.
I took showers every day, including washing my hair and was around 85% of used capacity on grey water when the pumper-outer showed up, black tank was around 50% used capacity. I don't know why I didn't think to use it in these ways before now!
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Old 09-08-2018, 11:47 AM   #9
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Grey and Black Tank options

Increasing or decreasing Grey and Black Water use.

Some can by planning. Others cannot. This is dependent more on your kind of Camping. Our Airstream is a fancy TENT on wheels.

A private shower enjoying the fresh air.

Often our neighbors do not mind.
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Old 09-08-2018, 11:53 AM   #10
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Hi

I'm sitting here at a COE campsite that allows a very simple solution to the gray water issue. .... attach a 3/4" hose and route it into the grass / nearest ditch. Welcome to the 1960's !!!!!

Rino makes a nice orange colored hose so you .... errr ... don't confuse it with one of the white ones ... errr ....

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Old 09-08-2018, 12:12 PM   #11
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Opening your grey water tank valve to share it into the black tank is a nasty and possibly of little value solution. The black tank is mounted ABOVE the grey tank and very little grey water will be able to enter the black tank...the most probable scenario is that black water will enter your grey tank and provide possible sanitation and odor problems.

A simpler solution might be to simply add a second grey tank and plumb the two together thru the sewer pipes. You'd have to find a way to vent the new tank tho'.

My wife and I avoid filling our grey tank "prematurely" by standing a plastic (collapsible) water bucket in our shower. While waiting for hot water will use it to capture water normally wasted into the grey tank.
We then use THAT bucket to flush our toilet. (We turn off the pump when using the toilet and pour a little bucket water into the toilet. After adding human waste to it, we open the valve to dump it into the black tank, then flush the bowl with more bucket water.)
By this method we have avoided EVER filling our grey tank. About once a week we visit a dump station and refresh all tanks.
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Old 09-08-2018, 01:20 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boxite View Post
Opening your grey water tank valve to share it into the black tank is a nasty and possibly of little value solution. The black tank is mounted ABOVE the grey tank and very little grey water will be able to enter the black tank...the most probable scenario is that black water will enter your grey tank and provide possible sanitation and odor problems.

I don't know about your 22 Sport, but on everything 25' and up, the tanks are side by side and both empty right at the gate valve. So actually being able to back flush the black with grey water is simple and efficient. You would not believe how much crap leaves the black tank after it has been emptied by gravity and the AS tank hose flushing alone.
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Old 09-08-2018, 01:26 PM   #13
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Hi

There's also the "shower outside" and "shower at the bath house" approach. Once you cut out / cut down shower water, the gray tank can go a long time.

There a wide range of trailers with a wide range of tank sizes. Four people in a 20' trailer going the same number of days as one person in a 30' requires major management on the part of those four people.

If you were in a tent, both black and gray tanks would be missing from the equation. Some campsites require tent campers to wash cookware at designated stations ( = they capture the gray water ). Other campsites do not provide these setups / don't care and the gray water from the tent people goes into the grass. If tossing the dish water in the grass works for a tent ... it may work for a trailer. It's certainly worth asking about .....

Captured water from heating up the shower is fresh water from the tap. Tossing a bucket out the door may get an inquiry started. It certainly isn't going to pollute the campsite.

Lots of tricks / twists / turns ....

Bob
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Old 09-08-2018, 02:07 PM   #14
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The bathroom sink in my Serenity 28 feeds to the black tank. Kitchen sink and shower go to the grey tank. So we pick and choose which tank we are filling. Typically we run out of grey capacity before black .
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