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Old 08-24-2007, 09:40 PM   #1
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Totes versus Gray Tank

I have the belly pan off in the back of our 72 Safari so this is probably a good time to ask this.

I am trying to decide if I want to install a gray water tank or take the easy approach and just get one of the totes.

What we did this summer while camping is put a plastic tub in the kitchen sink and dumped that when partially full behind a bush in the campground.

Here is the issue: We are planning a trip this Christmas when we hope to take rig to Texas and visit relatives over the holidays. This trip is probably going to include one or more "WalMart" style stops. How do you deal with the tote at one of these stops?

There is no way I would consider the recommendation in the manual of opening the black water valve and allowing the gray water to flow into that tank since that makes it very ugly getting the cap off at the dump station.

Of course the related question is: How do you keep everything from freezing while still in the North?
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Old 08-24-2007, 09:49 PM   #2
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Okay, last question first: The furnace has ductwork that goes to the holding tank area, when it runs, a small amount of warm air moves around the tank, keeping the contents from freezing.
Now, when you have the belly pan off, is a good time to put in a grey tank. One of our trailers had a grey tank added to it, it stuck down through the belly pan, and had a seperate drain from the black tank.
Next, most places take a dim view of dumping grey water on the ground (or behind a bush). What many vintage owners do, is hook up the blue tote, and allow a small "leak" to drip on the ground. After all, it's an old trailer, and old trailers leak...If you allow your trailer to "leak" just right, you won't have much grey water to dump in the morning.
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Old 08-24-2007, 09:51 PM   #3
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Tom - a grey tank is a very nice thing to have. It makes those overnight stops alot easier to manage. If you use a tote, you need to find a place to dump it. BTW, dumping the dishwater behind the bush is illegal in many places.

Installing a grey tank is not a simple task. If you have the time and the talent, go for it.
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Old 08-24-2007, 10:54 PM   #4
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A grey water hose stuck in a gopher hole solved my problem last time out.
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Old 08-24-2007, 11:13 PM   #5
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A built in grey water tank is very handy, to be sure... A tote works well, too, however, and is probably an easier solution. Since you'll have to dump a tote at some point—and maybe not where you happen to be staying—make sure it's not so big that you have trouble lifting it into your tow vehicle if it's full to take it to dump site! Water gets heavy real fast.

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Old 08-24-2007, 11:58 PM   #6
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I would say if you are going to add a gray water tank, now is the time... however, be sure your frame will be able to withstand the extra weight with the tank full! You might consider a "small" tank, say one that would hold one nights cooking/washing if you don't have a place to dump a tote. I know our little frame would have had to be beefed up to add a tank, and then we would have given up valuable space!

On my current wish list is a small gray tank that will hold just one night's water... there are some places that won't let you stay with a tote. It isn't always considered "self contained". But usually we can use the tote and it is still "doable" to lift back into the pickup for the next dump station.

Good luck. I would check out others with the same vintage and style of your trailer and see what they have done.

Mrs. NorCal Bambi (traveling in S Tardis)
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Old 08-25-2007, 08:33 AM   #7
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You will never regret installing a grey tank..We opted for two 21 gallon tanks so no frame mods were needed. Just one of these tanks might be enough for you.
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Old 08-25-2007, 09:54 AM   #8
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We are facing this same decision on our Safari. We definitely are adding a black tank (never had one in '56) but are on the fence with grey...we don't have one in our '64 GT and it's never been a problem. If we stop at a Walmart or someplace where grey on the ground is not okay, we either use a blue tote and then take it with us until we can empty it or use very little (bird-bath) then keep it contained in the sink/tub until we get where we are going...no big deal, it's just wash water and it's usually only one night at a time.

The dilemma is if we add a grey tank, it would be small to fit between the frame members and once it's there we would have to break camp to move the trailer to empty it. No big deal for overnight Walmart boondocking, but a PITA if we are really boondocking out in the middle of nowhere like this. No hook-ups for miles! AND it's okay to run grey on the ground out there anyway...so, for now, we are leaning towards no grey tanks - stick with the blue tote which is much easier to empty without breaking camp...we'll see.

Shari
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Old 08-25-2007, 11:01 AM   #9
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Shari ~
I do not understand why adding a grey tank would complicate things. If you had a grey tank you could still drain onto the ground (where it is legal) or dump into a blue tote to be trasported somewhere else. Stopping for a night in a rest area, wallmart or just on the side of the road would be alot easier then what you do now.

My 75 TW has a small grey tank which I will sometimes drain into a hole. I had to do that this last weekend when the shower started to fill with water. BTW, it is legal to do that where I live.
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Old 08-25-2007, 11:15 AM   #10
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I agree with Richard, installing a grey tank in no way limits your options. You still can do everything you did before a grey tank install - and more.
That is one of the projects I'm considering. The only downside I can see is the install itself and the associated cost.
Dave
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Old 08-26-2007, 10:04 PM   #11
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I had a feeling I knew what the answer was going to be. A small gray tank right behind the axle is where it is going, nice open spot and I can run plumbing back and forth through cross member to the bathroom area. I am thinking of no more than 20 gallons, possibly less. The fresh water tank is only about 40 gallons or so as it is.

I figure that there is generally no net change in the weight of the trailer since water from the holding tank ends up in the gray tank and I seriously doubt I would fill one with out emptying the other first - I don't like pulling any more weight than absolutely necessary.

I will add a blue tote for longer stays.
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Old 08-26-2007, 11:16 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azflycaster
Shari ~
I do not understand why adding a grey tank would complicate things.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fyrzowt
I agree with Richard, installing a grey tank in no way limits your options. <snip> The only downside I can see is the install itself and the associated cost.
True, it may not limit the options...but it is one more thing to retrofit in - cost is not as big of a deal, but PITA factor is. We absolutely don't want to have any tanks or too many extra pipes hanging down below the belly. So to try & route everything between the floor & belly within the frame is not something we want to do - too complicated. Even if we could get it all to fit, it would be small and then we would still bring along the blue tote - so why bother? We are used to using the blue tote...so it's no big deal to us.

One other point to consider with our Safari is all the plumbing is up on the tongue - kitchen & bath, thus grey & black tanks too. I think it would be too heavy up there on the tongue...no calcs, just gut-feeling at this point. The fresh water tank will be back below the bed (behind axle) or in a dinette seat (just in front of axle) undetermined right now. We are also going with an insta-hot water heater (in front under kitchen cabinet) to lower our water weight. Keep in mind, this Safari never had ANY tanks - it was a 1956 park model - we don't want to load up the frame with too much weight if we don't have to. Anyway, with all the plumbing/tanks/appliances up on the tongue...it would just be one more thing .

Shari
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Old 08-27-2007, 12:27 AM   #13
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Shari - consider adding a small grey tank. We have found that with careful use we can go 3 or 4 days on a 12 gal grey tank. (shower elsewhere). I have seen more and more places to camp recently that do not allow external tanks for one reason or another - or there is no place to dump it (except under cover of darkness).

It gives you more flexibility. We still end up using a blue tote if boondocking for more than a few days - but at least we have the option to choose.
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Old 08-27-2007, 07:21 AM   #14
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Tom, another thing to consider is that the extra weight of the grey water tank (because at some point you will be towing with water in that tank) can lead to frame separation issues. I'm not sure if grey tank-equipped Safaris ever had these issues, but the place where I had my Sovereign restored told me that the grey tank was one of the leading factors in frame separation. I decided against putting a grey tank in mine for this reason. Even with the frame fix that Airstream provided, I've heard that separation problems still occured.

Frederic
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