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Old 07-06-2014, 12:09 PM   #1
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1978 25' Tradewind
Pleasanton , California
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 8
Removing black water tank?

Hello all,

I am new to the forum. So far it is a great resource. I picked up a 1978 Tradewind 25", after graduating Navy Dive School. I have torn out the majority of the interior for a remodel.

I have decided to go with a composting toilet but the black water tank is proving to be a bit of a pain. Before I cause more work for myself I figured I would ask around here in case anyone has some insight. The toilet is removed but the black water tank is being held down, probably by it's connection to the drain pipe somewhere. Do I need to remove the surrounding floor to reach the connections?

I have read about different models, needing to remove the bumper or the metal panels on the bottom of the Airstream. I am hoping this is not the case with mine. It appears it should just lift up from inside but how to remove the connections...

Any assistance is appreciated.

Thank you,
Chris
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Old 07-06-2014, 12:31 PM   #2
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1973 21' Globetrotter
Houston , Texas
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 1,210
Welcome to the forums!

Yep, there is a bunch of plumbing underneath your wood floor, and it connects to the dump valve that is attached to your black tank. To get access to it, you either need to drill out the rivets that hold your bellypan in place, and remove enough of it to access that plumbing, or just cut an "access" hatch into the bellypan so that you can see what is going on. Even with a composting toilet, you will still need a dump valve for your gray water system, so cut a big enough hole so you can really access that dump valve and the connecting plumbing.

Don't cut into the floor if you don't have to (and the only reason you would have to is if your floor is rotting out). The floor is sandwiched between the shell and the frame, and is way more hassle to patch than replacing a few rivets in the belly.

good luck!
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Old 07-06-2014, 12:40 PM   #3
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1978 25' Tradewind
Pleasanton , California
Join Date: Jul 2014
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Ok, thank you for the quick reply. I don't have rivets or the rivet gun yet but will have to pick on up. I thought it would be easier to unscrew the plywood sub floor to gain access but I will rely on your experience. This is all new to me! It's fun but I have limited time to complete the project as I plan to live in it full time since I am fairly mobile right now. Eventually it will serve as a place to live when I buy some land and start building on it. If I wasn't limited on time I would pull down the walls, replace the electrical and insulation. Fun fun!
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Old 07-06-2014, 02:03 PM   #4
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1973 21' Globetrotter
Houston , Texas
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The rivets that hold the belly-skin on are just pop rivets. You can get the rivets and rivet gun at your local hardware or big-box store cheap. You may find that the aluminum around the rivets is heavily corroded. If so, you may want to replace the rivets with some that have extremely oversized heads. You can order these from Vintage Trailer Supply, or look for aluminum washers that can be used to effectively increase the size of the rivet head.

As mentioned above, removing the floor is not a trivial matter. If it looks like it should easily come up with the removal of a few screws, then a previous owner may have slapped a piece of plywood down on top of rotted original subfloor. You should be able to see the whole picture as you remove some of the belly-skin. There are always plenty of surprises to be found in there!

good luck!
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