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rckfw 05-02-2015 03:34 PM

leak in my grey water tank
Bought my first a/s 1974 27ft rear bath. knowing I would have to tear into it. removed all the rusty brackets,foam and tin right down to the tank. Is the leak repairable with things on the market? Hate to take it ought. Will support it with new frame work that will allow me to service the leak should it reappear. floor is actually quite firm.Please advise, many thanks---Ron

dbj216 05-02-2015 08:18 PM

Hello and welcome to vintage Airstreams and Air Forums. You'll likely enjoy the folks you meet here.

Your 74 Sovereign is an early model with a gray tank. I wonder how big it is. Have you located the leak exactly? The tank is likely a rotomolded polyethylene plastic. That's tuff stuff and doesn't crack or puncture very easily. My tank was leaking from the drain connection into the tank. I also had a leak at the dump valve. These leaks were easier to fix.

If you do have a crack or puncture in your tank, it can likely be repaired. Polyethylene is "thermo plastic" meaning it will melt and fuse to itself. So a crack or hole can be "welded" shut. You'll need a stick of polyethylene and a stout soldering iron. Heat the area until it starts to melt, and melt the stick of material into the area as if you were brazing.

There is not likely any adhesives that will stick to polyethylene. A weld is about the only way to repair a crack or puncture.

Replacement tanks are available if your interested. Cost would be about $250 and shipping about $100.


rckfw 05-03-2015 05:47 AM

thanks David, its a 27 Overlander. it had been sitting for five years . All original inside it appears. I only had to pull it three miles to my house. I new the bottom needed work. The leak appears to be in the corner bottom area, bottom side below the inlets. Didn't want to pull it but have to now. Will need new tires and new suspension no doubt. Hoping to have it ready for Labor Day. If I have more questions, could I contact you ? Being 76 I move a little slower than I used to. Thanks again---Ron

dbj216 05-03-2015 10:37 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Yep, I'm retired and move slower than I used to also. We all experience aging one way or another. So be it. I count my blessings.

Sure, I'll help where I can. We'll have to teach you how to post photographs on Air Forums. A photo sure helps explain a lot, and may allow others to help too. My 66 Trade Wind is a bunch different than your 74.

When you mention the leak shows in a area below the drain inlet makes a guy suspicious. You may have removed some of the belly skins already.

So put an inch of water in your gray tank and try to see exactly where it drips. Add another inch or so and check it again. Make sure your tank is supported while doing this test. I thought the drain line on my fresh water tank was leaking. I put a couple of inches of water in it and no leak. Turns out it was a fitting above the fresh water tank was leaking. It's going to be a hard job to repair it right. Currently I smeared epoxy on the fitting and I stopped the leak so I could take my trip. It's still holding. If it ain't leaking, why worry?

Here is a photo of the new black and gray holding tanks I installed on my old Trade Wind.


rckfw 05-03-2015 07:07 PM

Thank you for the reply. Your pic looks great. Very professional. It pays to do the job right the first time. Yes the skin is peeled back , actually I cut it out with tin snips. The tank is totally exposed and supported with a hydraulic jack. It was late in the day and will check it closer tomorrow. Might be a fitting on top side. I would like that for sure. Poured water down the kitchen sink and bath tub and didn't notice in leaks on topside around the inlets and the discharge valve. I'm working out side on my back laying on a large piece of cardboard with a flashlight, so i will get back with you with a for sure answer. With no one to help me it is much more time consuming. The mrs. check on me ever so often to make sure I'm still alive. She's 82 and ready to go camping again, bless her soul. warmest regards, Ron

Pursuit 97 05-03-2015 08:58 PM

Grey Water Leak
I love tough guys, you have my admiration. I didn't get how severely it was leaking but I know that people in California (relatives) throw grey water on their lawns - it's just soapy water for crying out loud. If its just dripping and you have no fear of it getting worse, the heck with it - it doesn't hurt anything.

oldiesel 05-03-2015 09:17 PM

There is an inexpensive plastic glue made by loctite available at the Ace herdware and probably other stores that is made specifically for polyethylene.It is a very thin liquid so not gap filling but it can glue a piece of polyethylene over a crack and you can easily find some waste object that you can cut a piece out of,i used some cut out of a coffee container

rckfw 05-04-2015 07:18 AM

will get more light on the tank, add some more water an check fittings closer. if it is what I suspect can one person pull it? no doubt two hands on top side would help.

dbj216 05-04-2015 09:06 AM

2 Attachment(s)
The tank in my 86 Limited has molded pipe connectors. The ABS pipe fits into this plastic connector, it is calked, and a hose clamp makes it tight. I had one drain connection on one end of the tank, and the vent pipe connected to the other end in a like manner. Both connections are in tight places. On my trailer, the tank cover was bolted to the frame cross members. It is a big galvanized sheet metal designed to support the weight of the tank. The tank weighs about 30 pounds empty.

One photo shows the tank cover, the other photo shows a molded in ABS pipe connector. This is for a 3" discharge pipe, but the 1 1/2" pipe connectors are the same configuration on top of the tank.

So to remove the tank, I would have to disconnect the hose clamps from the pipes, remove the pan, and I think the tank would drop to the ground.

Hope this helps.


rckfw 05-04-2015 03:53 PM

David. Your last comment about your tank would probably drop right to the ground. It rang a bell. Looking again isn't it strange how a person can overlook the obvious staring right at you. The plywood is cut around the dump valve, the water inlet and the vent pipe.this tank has to drop straight down also. As I see it I will have to drill out three rivets that attach the trough[ I call it that anyway] to the bottom of the bumper and also one bolt on each end of the bumper which then exposes everything. there is a four bolt flange on the end of the tank like yours no doubt. The dump valve doesn't move, it stays attached to the 3 in.discharge pipe. The leak is a small crack. Caved in like something was pressing on it from the bottom side. When ready will have to have a welder come out and build some new frame work to secure both tanks before the skin goes on. Could the skin be left off that area if the tanks were protected properly and it did;t look to amatureristi. Just a thought

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