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Old 09-10-2017, 02:48 PM   #1
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Leaking grey tank in 1976 safari

I've got a 1976 safari and my tank leaks when it is near full or full. What should happen when the tank is full? Is there an overflow that will leak? Will it back up into the shower (lowest point and drain near tank)?

Anyone have a picture of a 76 safari aux (grey) tank?

According to the manual it should hold 10gal. The old tank gauge on the control center reads full when I've put about 8.5 gal into the tank. I've heard those aren't all that accurate... so When I put the full 10gal in the tank it leaks somewhere and water comes out some holes in the tank pan under the trailer. It's clear it's been doing this for some time as there is some rust and corrosion on the low point in the pan.

I could probably get along fine as is if I just make sure I don't get close to full on the tank or dump more frequently. But if it's something easy to fix I'd like to give it a shot.

Any thoughts or suggestions you can offer?
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Old 09-10-2017, 06:25 PM   #2
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I just got done redoing all mine, can't believe I don't have a picture. On the top of the tank street side are 2 inlets they come out of the top at 45 degree angles the front onevpoints forward the aft one points aft. On the curb side there are 2 inlets. The rear one points straight up and is typically used for the vent and sink drain. The forward one is at 45 degrees as well but points outboard and is udually capped off. Your best hope is that the clamps on one of the inlets is loose.

One other possibility is that there is a air admittance valve on the shower drain. It sticks up through the floor behind the shower under the sink/bench. If it's broken water might be coming out of there. It might be hard to see but best bet is from under the sink.
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Old 09-10-2017, 07:12 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by inthewoods View Post
The old tank gauge on the control center reads full when I've put about 8.5 gal into the tank.
The accuracy— or lack thereof— of the tank gauges can be understood when you realize that the tanks are only as thick as the trailer frame, comparatively wide and long but not very tall.

It's like the difference in putting water in a bucket versus putting water in a skillet. Your tanks are like the skillet, not the bucket, and even if your trailer is level enough for comfort, it may not be level enough for the tank gauges to read accurately. Just a small amount of tilt in any direction could mean that the tank is full at the low end/side but not at the high end/side.
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Old 09-10-2017, 07:50 PM   #4
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Protagonist is right about the tank level indication. The tank is only about 3.5" tall on the street side where the tank probes are. The tank probes all go in the back wall of the tank and they are about 3/4" spin welded meaning they can't go to the exact top of the tank so you end up with about 1/2" between the tank top and the full probe. It's a good approximation.
I might be able to get a picture tomorrow.
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Old 09-10-2017, 08:13 PM   #5
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Leaking grey tank in 1976 safari

Thanks both of you. My trailer parking leans a little to the street side so given what you say about the probes being on street side that would cause it to be off a little more!

I took a look at all the places where the drain and vents drop through the floor towards the tank and can't see any issues... but then the connections or clamps you mention are not visible and can't be felt with my finger either. Pipes feel solid and don't move around much if any.

Here's a couple photos of what I see..

Curb side - capped 45 and vent line
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Sink drain under shower shelf
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Galley drain line where it drops under floor street side under the twin bed
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I pulled out the insulation but can't see or reach very far into the holes..
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Old 09-10-2017, 08:24 PM   #6
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Leaking grey tank in 1976 safari

Here's also a photo of where the water leaks out. Street side front corner of the tank pan right behind where the shower drain trap would be. A previous owner added a mystery drain pipe which doesn't do much of anything. So they opened up the belly in a small area with an access panel. I pulled that panel to look inside thinking the leak might have been around that drain pipe/ valve. But was not the case. The valve when open only drips a bit... so either it is attached to grey tank and really clogged or it's hooked up to black tank or something else.?? I might open valve and fire some water pressure up into it to clear it and then see what happens.........

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Old 09-10-2017, 10:00 PM   #7
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That's different. What is above it? The shower from the description right. What kind of pipe is connected to it? The shower should have a P trap coming down and then back to the gray water tank. Looks like they may have removed it and used that to drain a straight pipe section or something. Originally there would have been a plastic 'box' there covering the P trap since it stuck down below the belly pan, that's why most of that square hole is there.
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Old 09-10-2017, 10:16 PM   #8
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Yes the plastic box for the shower p trap is still in place. It is just on the edge of the photo to the left side of the hole and mystery valve. I suspect the gray tank is above the mystery valve but really I'm not sure. Until I can try un-clog it - then I'll know more clearly when I can see what comes out...

The square hole was definitely cut in the pan that is under the tank. There are sheets of white polystyrene insulation (like stuff they make cheap coffee cups out of) visible in the belly around that square access hole by the valve

Looks like a brass valve and stub of pipe that goes straight up to what I think is the grey tank.

This same previous owner installed another similar valve on the fresh water tank at front that acts as a direct way to drain the fresh tank. I've used that valve and know it drains the fresh tank so this one... probably grey tank drain... but why I have no idea.
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Old 09-10-2017, 11:40 PM   #9
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Looking at the picture again I can start to figure things out and just saw the water running. Unless he put a hole in the bottom of the tank not sure what he was doing. Right above there on the top side of the tank is one of the inlets. This is definitely not original or a fix to anything original that I can think of.

The p trap might be loose from the pipe. Pull off the plastic box and you might be able to see it better. The way the water is running it would be coming from that area if the p trap to pipe connection was bad.

Looking at the pan condition you should really start thinking about getting it replaced before the gray water tank falls out going down the road. You'll have to find a metal fab shop to do it for you.
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Old 09-13-2017, 12:10 AM   #10
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Looks like the PO did put a hole in bottom of the grey tank to add that valve. No idea why other than they wanted to have a secondary way to drain the tank completely. I was able to get the clog out and it definitely drains the grey tank.

The shower p trap seems to be solidly in place but again I can't see the connection to the grey tank itself.

Yeah the pan is in rough shape right around the opening but everywhere else seems very solid. I don't think it's in danger of falling out... at least I hope not.

Is the grey tank in this model supported by the floor above in a way that the pan can come off without the tank falling down or does the pan itself completely support the tank and both would come down together if removed?
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Old 09-13-2017, 04:34 AM   #11
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Looks like the PO did put a hole in bottom of the grey tank to add that valve. No idea why other than they wanted to have a secondary way to drain the tank completely.
I can guess why. It allows for "stealth" discharge of grey water onto the ground in campgrounds that don't allow it, to save having to make a trip to a dump station.

One Airstreamer of my acquaintance (a member of a WBCCI Unit that I no longer belong to) used to run an extra-long slinky under his neighbor's Airstream to discharge grey water and shift the blame to that person.

I think this was just a different solution to the same problem of laziness and bad ethics.
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Old 09-14-2017, 02:13 AM   #12
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"Is the grey tank in this model supported by the floor above in a way that the pan can come off without the tank falling down or does the pan itself completely support the tank and both would come down together if removed?"

The tank is supported by the pan. As long as it's empty, if you drop the pan the pipes will hold it up enough it won't come down all the way but it will settle a little. You don't want to leave it hanging that way though because it puts stress on the tank inlets.

Other pain is that it's practically impossible to drop the tank without cutting pipes due to the way they attach to the tank.
When I put mine back I put straps to hold it up if I have to drop the pan and used some fernco/mission clamps to be able to remove the tank fairly easily. At some point I want to get a bigger tank.
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