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Old 09-03-2016, 02:07 PM   #1
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1959 24' Tradewind
Todos Santos , BCS
Join Date: Sep 2016
Posts: 2
1959 Airstream Switching the bathroom from the back to side

Hello! We are a hubby/wife team, remodeling an airstream for a couple who lives up north. We are at the point of having to decide what kind of bathroom to put into it and I have no idea where to look for any of it. Our airstream didn't have any piping or plumbing at all and we will have to order nearly everything because we live in Baja California Sur (aka Mexico) and there isn't really a store for this kind of thing.

They want move the bathroom from the back to the side. One of the biggest issues I'm running into is that someone at some point added a second door to this airstream so that takes some of the room we would have to point a bathroom. Debating back and forth between a shower/toilet combination or to having the toilet on one side and the shower on the other.

Where can I go to find products? I was also reading that a marine style toilet might be better -- something to do with the pumping system to get to the black water tank? They will mostly be hooked-up but when they are on the road, off the rv site, I think they will need something to store waste. I thought they talked about just doing a water tank and a gray water tank but if we do that, can you still use the toilet?

Thank you!!
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Old 09-03-2016, 02:36 PM   #2
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1975 31' Sovereign
Palomar Mountain , California
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 317
You can mount a black tank on top of the floor and install a short toilet on top of it - thus not having to figure out mounting a under floor tank. Much easier and you can put it anywhere. Than use gray tank only for gray water - more capacity!

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Old 09-22-2016, 12:32 PM   #3
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1973 31' Sovereign
hallsville , Missouri
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 8
Vintage Trailer Supply seems to have about everything you would need. The prevailing opinion on these forums seems to be that it's too much trouble to change from a rear to side bath.
One issue with moving the bathroom location seems to be the location of the vent openings in the roof. The vent allows air to escape out of the top of the tank as it is filled. Otherwise you can end up with an air bubble that limits the capacity. I'm not sure how much of an issue this is for a black tank where you open the valve to the toilet every time you flush, but the above floor black water tank on my '73 was vented before I took it out.
You could work around the vent and black water tank by installing an composing toilet, but the best reviewed of those have a fan to dry out the solid waste, and would require a vent for the moisture/stink to escape.
A grey water tank will definitely need to be vented, otherwise the air pressure buildup will restrict its usable capacity. You can marry the black and grey vent pipes together before they go through the roof, but that limits their placement. You will want to join the vents up hill of the shower drain and toilet to prevent one tank running over into the other.
If you want to move the tanks you'll need to move the vent outlet through the roof. That involves patching the old vent hole and cutting a new one. This is a little scary with the potential for leaks at the patch and outlet, and having to cut into the exterior skin.
You will also need to connect the tanks to the current dump valve, or more likely move the dump valve closer to the new tank location. The structure of the frame wont really allow running a drain pipe across the trailer under the sub floor without cutting cross members and you won't want to get into that.
So you could do it, but it's a bit involved.
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Old 09-22-2016, 12:44 PM   #4
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1959 26' Overlander
Western , Massachusetts
Join Date: Sep 2005
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Originally Posted by themostream View Post
.... The structure of the frame wont really allow running a drain pipe across the trailer under the sub floor without cutting cross members and you won't want to get into that.
So you could do it, but it's a bit involved.
Great advice in your reply.

As thermostream points out, it is a bit involved, but... I do want to point out that some people drill a hole in the crossmember and weld a stiffener on the frame, allowing grey tank piping to pass through frame members. That was done on mine by Colin Hyde Trailer Restorations. There are pictures of the grey tank plumbing from underneath in this thread.

There is also a thread on the major restorations, loaded with ideas.

Relocating major items is a challenge -- frame, window and electrical items always seem to get in the way. We originally thought of moving the bed aft and bath to the sides but eventually gave up on the idea.

Good luck!
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