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Old 05-03-2014, 09:12 AM   #1
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New to Airstream '62 Overlander Water system questions

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Hey all! I'm so glad to announce the purchase of our first Airstream.... Lovingly referred to as "my baby".

I think we did well, considering our budget, and what was out there we looked at locally. The electrical and gas work (I still need to have the lines checked for safety, but we know they work with a quick test)

It's partially gutted, but nothing that can't be rebuilt. Super solid floor? The drawers look brand new inside.

So, for some reason, the water system is stressing me out.... Probably because I don't understand it. I was cleaning the tub, and knocked the plug out, and could see the water at the top of the drain :/. It's full!!! I doubt the PO even knew, because they owned it a year & didn't touch it.

Is there someone who could just do a basic "how does the system work" explanation so we know where to start? We see the water heater, where would the fresh tank be normally, draining advice? I see some people use the portable gray tanks under their trailer, but what about black? I'm so confused! not hard to do.....

I'd like to repair the system ourselves if possible, rather than hire someone.
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Old 05-04-2014, 03:54 PM   #2
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1959 26' Overlander
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Great find and welcome to the forums!

I can answer for a '59 Overlander, which should be close to your '62.

Your fresh water tank was probably located right behind the front window. The water systems then were aluminum pressure tanks -- like a well tank. They were pressurized with a pump and supplied water with copper tubing to the sink, water heater, hot water, tub, etc.

You'll probably find the black tank below your toilet. Can't see it in the picture, but most are up on a platform that sits about 6-7" above the floor nearby. If so, you still have a tank underneath, probably fiberglass.

The water under your tub is probably just in a trap. They used a clever metal trap below the tub that was low profile. If your bellypan is loose in the area, you should be able to see a line running from the tub to the dump valve just below the toilet. Back in '62 they dumped grey water right on the ground in a hole they dug below the dump valve called a "gopher hole".

There are a number of threads on this sub-forum, the 58-63 Overlanders that show a lot of plumbing. Most use PEX and many get their parts from vintagetrailersupply.com.

Good luck and I hope your restoration goes well!
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Old 05-04-2014, 04:29 PM   #3
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1959 28' Ambassador
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Quote:
Originally Posted by romerkb View Post
Attachment 211132Attachment 211133Attachment 211134

Hey all! I'm so glad to announce the purchase of our first Airstream.... Lovingly referred to as "my baby".

I think we did well, considering our budget, and what was out there we looked at locally. The electrical and gas work (I still need to have the lines checked for safety, but we know they work with a quick test)

It's partially gutted, but nothing that can't be rebuilt. Super solid floor? The drawers look brand new inside.

So, for some reason, the water system is stressing me out.... Probably because I don't understand it. I was cleaning the tub, and knocked the plug out, and could see the water at the top of the drain :/. It's full!!! I doubt the PO even knew, because they owned it a year & didn't touch it.

Is there someone who could just do a basic "how does the system work" explanation so we know where to start? We see the water heater, where would the fresh tank be normally, draining advice? I see some people use the portable gray tanks under their trailer, but what about black? I'm so confused! not hard to do.....

I'd like to repair the system ourselves if possible, rather than hire someone.
Before diving too far into this project, check the perimeter of the floor with an ice pick or sharp screwdriver, all of the way around. It would be unbelievably rare to find an Airstream of this age with a "super solid floor". They typically rot around the rear end, right next to the wall, along with other areas, like under hatches & by the door & often under the front window. Count yourself very very lucky if your trailer indeed rot free. There are numerous threads that describe floor section replacement & "body off" replacement. Another source is the The Vintage Airstream Podcast | Vintage Trailer Restoration .
Good luck with your project.
Colin
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Old 05-04-2014, 04:56 PM   #4
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Before diving too far into this project, check the perimeter of the floor with an ice pick or sharp screwdriver, all of the way around. It would be unbelievably rare to find an Airstream of this age with a "super solid floor". They typically rot around the rear end, right next to the wall, along with other areas, like under hatches & by the door & often under the front window. Count yourself very very lucky if your trailer indeed rot free. There are numerous threads that describe floor section replacement & "body off" replacement. Another source is the The Vintage Airstream Podcast | Vintage Trailer Restoration .

Good luck with your project.

Colin

Ahh.. Yes. After reading your suggestion I ran right out to find out how lucky I was

Indeed, I am very very lucky. I could barely dent the subfloor. My husband tried too. We used a screwdriver. The only place I couldn't test was the rear (today), so I'll try it soon when we get to the back. The sink cabinet & original flooring was in the way,so we will need to remove it or something to check. I see no water stains on the floor, anywhere (we've restored 2 other small trailers, both with water damage rot & needed partial rebuilds). But you're the second person to mention the rear to me, so I will get on checking that as soon as I can..... But so far so good! Yay! Thanks for the tip!
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Old 05-04-2014, 05:02 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by 65CV View Post
Great find and welcome to the forums!



I can answer for a '59 Overlander, which should be close to your '62.



Your fresh water tank was probably located right behind the front window. The water systems then were aluminum pressure tanks -- like a well tank. They were pressurized with a pump and supplied water with copper tubing to the sink, water heater, hot water, tub, etc.



You'll probably find the black tank below your toilet. Can't see it in the picture, but most are up on a platform that sits about 6-7" above the floor nearby. If so, you still have a tank underneath, probably fiberglass.



The water under your tub is probably just in a trap. They used a clever metal trap below the tub that was low profile. If your bellypan is loose in the area, you should be able to see a line running from the tub to the dump valve just below the toilet. Back in '62 they dumped grey water right on the ground in a hole they dug below the dump valve called a "gopher hole".



There are a number of threads on this sub-forum, the 58-63 Overlanders that show a lot of plumbing. Most use PEX and many get their parts from vintagetrailersupply.com.



Good luck and I hope your restoration goes well!

Thank you so much. Your info helped us narrow down the mystery. From what we can tell now, is the PO at some point capped off all the hot water lines. It does look like the fresh tank was under one of the twin beds though (see pics). The fill is under the kitchen sink. Click image for larger version

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ID:	211246The copper line we think filled the tank broke off when we moved it. There are straps under bed. Click image for larger version

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Old 05-05-2014, 06:12 AM   #6
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I love '62's

Look at Cardinal283's thread in the 63 overlander complete restoration post #31 - I believe his water system setup was like yours - he posted lots of good pictures and still has the fresh tank under the bed. Mine did not, but I was told that was the most common place for the fresh tank.

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Old 05-05-2014, 10:44 AM   #7
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the gray water fills up the line quickly. Open up your drain in the rear and see what comes out, do not open the black tank valve, the gray water line is plumbed in after the valve and is always open
Maybe that water is what you are seeing.
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Old 05-05-2014, 10:56 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by romerkb View Post
Thank you so much. Your info helped us narrow down the mystery. From what we can tell now, is the PO at some point capped off all the hot water lines. It does look like the fresh tank was under one of the twin beds though (see pics). The fill is under the kitchen sink. Attachment 211243Attachment 211244Attachment 211245Attachment 211246The copper line we think filled the tank broke off when we moved it. There are straps under bed. Attachment 211242
Your trailer would have had a galvanized steel tank. I have never seen one last this long, so count yourself lucky for not having to remove it. You can get a HDPE fresh tank from Vintage Trailer Supply that will fit in this area. VTS will spin weld fittings on to suit your configuration. You will also need to install a "demand" pump. You can use the old compressor wiring for it though.
Colin
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Old 05-05-2014, 07:10 PM   #9
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Awesome, thanks everyone for the advice & pointing us in the right direction!
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