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Old 11-03-2003, 04:53 PM   #1
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Living with / without a gray water tank?

I am looking for an older AS and am wondering about the desirability of the built in Grey water tank. I am totally new to trailer camping, and don’t have a clear picture of the alternative. It seems you can get an external one, but when it is full what do you do? The flip side of the coin seems to be the dreaded frame droop from trailers that have them (mid 70s) and the frames were not designed for them. I think I want one, but I want to have a better understanding of why ;-)

BTW the size I am looking for in a trailer is 25’ I don’t know if they had the frame problems that the longer ones had…
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Old 11-03-2003, 05:00 PM   #2
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Thumbs up We have a 1976 25' Tradewind

Hello and Welcome to the forum.. Marvin and I have the above and just love it.. it has a grey water tank which is full after 2 showers and washing the dishes a couple of times.. we camped at our home park and it does not have full hookups.. so we invested in a little 32 gallon blue wagon.. and it was the best investment.. when it is full just hook it over the ball and pull it slowly out to the dump station.. can be gotten at camping world.. that is where we got it.. we also have no problem with rear frame sag.. or separation.. 25' is the ideal size.. we tow it with a GMC 1/2 ton.. 5.3litre engine.. pulls like a dream.. happy hunting for your trailer .. we hunted for a year.. Annie
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Old 11-03-2003, 05:15 PM   #3
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We don't have a grey tank in our '64 and it's never been a problem...

We use a 10-gallon blue belly tote and empty it when full....usually not more than once a day. We chose the smaller tank, because we wanted to be able to just pull it by hand to a dump station or even a vault toilet to empty it, so it's lighter if we need to lift it. Also, because it doesn't take up as much space as the larger ones and it fits under the trailer when in use.

Regardless of the size, it's not a big deal to have it external. We only use it is when there are not full hook-ups, which is about 50% of the time for us, otherwise the grey just goes into the hook-up sewer or occaisionally on the ground where allowed.

FYI '73 is when they started adding grey water tanks...so if you "must have" one, mid 70's and newer are for you, although some folks have retrofit older trailers with grey tanks.

Good luck with your search & welcome to the Forum!

Shari
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Old 11-03-2003, 05:51 PM   #4
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Here's another consideration. Do you boondock frequently? Do you like to use Wal-Marts for overnight stays? In those situations, a gray tank is a major plus.

Adding a tank also means you can pick what capacity works for you: 10 gallons, 20, 30 ? Ours is very large (30+ gallons). With careful water use we run out of black tank capacity well before we need to dump graywater.

No question, if you add one to a vintage trailer you need to think long and hard about how to install it, and how to use it. Even though ours is well bolted to the frame and very close to the axle (so very little risk of frame droop), we always dump it before we travel.
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Old 11-03-2003, 08:09 PM   #5
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Thanks for the info, as I was reading the replies I was thinking, gee if everyone who has grey water tanks has a little blue tank anyway, why not drain into that in the first place.

But the Wal-Mart / boondocks argument makes sense. Every once and a while you do need to drive off with water in the tank, so putting that now full, blue “portable” tank back into the trailer doesn’t sound like much fun…
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Old 11-04-2003, 08:50 AM   #6
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couple of things:
the blue tanks are not necessarily so "little". mine is 25 gallons. not usable unless there is a dump station very close by. (i.e. "in a campground"). anything that I could lift into my truck and drive off with wouldn't hold enough grey water to be worth bothering with, imo.

even if you are parked in a campground, and have an installed grey tank, you might want to have one of these things so that you can "shuttle" waste water (of either type) over to the dump station. this way, you don't need to break camp and hook up the trailer just to dump. depends on whether or not you like to stay in one spot for a long time.

the 1973's had grey tanks only on the larger models; for a 25 footer, you'll have to go w/ a 74 or newer to get a factory installed tank.
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Old 11-04-2003, 10:45 AM   #7
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Quote:
even if you are parked in a campground, and have an installed grey tank, you might want to have one of these things so that you can "shuttle" waste water (of either type) over to the dump station.
Or, you can do what the guy next to us did in Acadia Nat'l Park's "Blackwood" campground ... draw off a couple buckets of gray water every night and sneak them over to the bathrooms under cover of darkness!

-- RL
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Old 11-04-2003, 01:25 PM   #8
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Grey Water tank

I have a 27' 1973 Overlander. No gray water tank. I just picked up the 25 gal blue tote from camping world. Haven't used it yet but think it will be a good addition.
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Old 11-04-2003, 05:09 PM   #9
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Depends...

It really depends on what kind of camping you want to do. Sometimes I need it, often I don't. But, I have yet to hear someone say " Gee, I wish my trailer did NOT have a grey tank!"
Given the choice, i would opt for it, or retrofit it. It's really not that difficult to do. The blue tanks are also a very good option, if you have aplace to store it when it's not being used.
My 1971 has a retrofit grey tank, and it's very nice to be abe to use it when underway, take a quick shower or clean up at a rest stop.
I would not pass up a great trailer only because there is no grey tank.
We have been mostly camping with hookups this year, so it was not an issue at all.
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Old 11-04-2003, 07:20 PM   #10
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I thought I needed a grey tank when I was shopping, but the perfect trailer came along without one. Now that we have it, I don't find the blue tank that awkward to use. We've camped without hookups about half our trips this summer, and each time we've just put the full blue tank in the back of the van and emptied it on the lawn when we got home. We've never had to empty it while camping, but our longest trips have only been five days.

I agree that you might want to aim for getting one with a grey tank, but don't let it be your only deciding factor, because it isn't really that big a deal. If you camp with hookups it's not a problem at all.

I would like to add a grey tank someday like rluhr has, but I will have to get really fed up with the blue tank first, and I don't see that happening!
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Old 11-04-2003, 11:27 PM   #11
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help me understand

alot of the posts here are talking about using the blue totes in place of a grey tank and empty it once a day or dump it on the lawn when you get home. how is this possible if you do not have a grey tank then doesn't all water end up in you black tank???
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Old 11-05-2003, 12:43 AM   #12
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Quote:
how is this possible if you do not have a grey tank then doesn't all water end up in you black tank???
In the older vintage trailers, the grey drains are "downstream" from the black tank valve, so the grey water could run directly onto the ground instead of into a grey tank. It does not automatically back-up into the black tank...that's where the external blue tanks come in. They collect the grey water to prevent it from going directly onto the ground while still manitaining the seal on your black tank.

You can back-up the grey water into your black tank, however, if it over-fills it's capacity, you run the risk of having "brown trout floaties" in your shower pan. This happens because basically you leave your black tank valve open and the "combined grey/black water" fill the tank and the drain pipes leveling out until full. Oftentimes, the shower drain is the lowest point and the first chance you have of knowing your "tank is full".

If you segregate your grey water from the black + keep your valve closed = no "floaties" in your shower. Which is a very good thing!

Hopefully this helps...

Shari
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Old 11-05-2003, 08:57 AM   #13
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steph, how the heck do you manage to go 5 days using an amount of grey water that is small enough so that you can lift it into your tow vehicle?
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Old 11-05-2003, 09:22 AM   #14
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Ahhh, chuck, now you're getting personal.

I wouldn't dare speak for Steph, but I know that if she is like us and accustomed to tent camping, she's already got the necessary skills to brush teeth with only a cup of water; wash dishes with only enough water to dampen them; and hunt out public facilities for everything else.

In fact we had trouble getting used to the luxury of a 24-gallon fresh water tank. Old habits are hard to break ...!

-- R
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