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Old 05-11-2021, 11:20 AM   #1
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1965 17' Caravel
Culver City , California
Join Date: May 2021
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Black and grey tanks 65 Caravel

Have had 65 Caravel for 4 years now. Love it and travel with it often.



We have been getting some work on it (at local so california shop) because we have never had working plumbing. Fresh water tank leaks and will replace it.



We would like to replace black and grey tanks too. Any suggestions? What size should we make the grey? can the black size be increased? Also, is it true that there actually is no grey tank in the 65 Caravel? And any suggestion of where to place the grey tank?
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Old 05-11-2021, 11:35 AM   #2
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You are correct, there is no grey tank in trailers until the early 70s. The Black tank is located under the toilet and is about 10 gallons. It is shaped to fit that curved corner. Some people have had bigger grey tanks made that extend into the closet, and it adds a couple more gallons of capacity.

I had a friend who added a grey tank under the bathroom sink, which is a great place to put one as the plumbing for the kitchen and bathroom sink both are right there.

Edit: Just wanted to add a quick overview of standard vintage trailer water use: When you have a working system, the black tank collects whatever goes down the toilet, and holds it until you pull the handle to open the valve when you dump. The grey water will flow directly from the sinks and shower, and go straight out the same dump connection. The grey water comes into the pipe past the valve, so grey water will always flow directly out.

Many (myself included) deal with this by using a 'blue tank' to catch the grey water when we don't have hookups at the campsite. If we do have hookups, you just hook up to the drain and let the grey water drain as you use it, and when the black tank is ready to be emptied you will pull the valve and let it drain. If you do not have hookups, you just cap everything off and take it to the dump station, and dump the black tank and then the blue tank.
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Old 05-11-2021, 01:59 PM   #3
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1965 17' Caravel
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Thanks for the explanation. Can you explain the "blue tank" what is that? Where does it connect to the plumping?
Do you think it is a good idea to have black tank replaced? or do you think if there is nothing wrong with it to keep it?
We are newbies and are not capable or have time to do the plumping repairs.
Right now the drain cap on black water/grey is also leaking and needs to be replaced.


Thanks for the help! really appreciate it. Want to make sure we know how to talk to the shop with our exact needs.
Audrey
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Old 05-11-2021, 03:02 PM   #4
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The "blue tank", "blue boy" or "blue tote" (they also come in grey) is a portable tank that you use to collect your wash water (grey water) when you don't have full hook-ups. They can be purchased at Camping World or other places online. It's not needed if you have full hook-ups, only when you don't. They come in different sizes, but keep in mind they get heavy with full of water.

We used one for years with our old 1964 GlobeTrotter, and before we added tanks in in current 1956 trailer (which didn't have either grey or black tanks when we got it) ...not a big deal for grey water. However, we preferred to tow our trailer to a dump site to empty the 10 gallon black tank - not use the blue boy for that.

Shari
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Old 05-11-2021, 03:27 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InsideOut View Post
The "blue tank", "blue boy" or "blue tote" (they also come in grey) is a portable tank that you use to collect your wash water (grey water) when you don't have full hook-ups. They can be purchased at Camping World or other places online. It's not needed if you have full hook-ups, only when you don't. They come in different sizes, but keep in mind they get heavy with full of water.

We used one for years with our old 1964 GlobeTrotter, and before we added tanks in in current 1956 trailer (which didn't have either grey or black tanks when we got it) ...not a big deal for grey water. However, we preferred to tow our trailer to a dump site to empty the 10 gallon black tank - not use the blue boy for that.

Shari
Thanks. I think it sounds like it is better to put in the tanks and not tote around the heavy grey/black water.
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Old 05-11-2021, 03:41 PM   #6
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It just depends on your intended use for your trailer:

If you plan on using it in campgrounds with full-hook ups, you won't need to worry about it at all - just use the hook-ups.

versus

If you do more boondocking-style camping...built-it tanks would be nice to have.

But, they are a major upgrade to add to your trailer...we did it, but had the entire trailer torn apart for a complete restoration. Adding tanks is also quite a bit more expensive than to just use a blue boy. We paid $1500 for the tanks in 2007 and did the work ourselves, so no labor cost added.

Good luck in whatever you decide to do.

Shari
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Old 05-11-2021, 04:55 PM   #7
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'64 Bambi II...tank added

Hello! Our model directly preceded yours as the smallest in the Airstream lineup.

We added an aluminum gray water tank of about the same capacity as the fresh water tank (20 gallons +/-). It is below the floor, and just behind the axle. We very creatively vented it up through the fridge exhaust stack with flexible spa hose connected the the PVC off the tank.

We plumbed the kitchen sink and tub into it. We removed the vanity sink so we could have counter space back there, and also, I could have literally washed one hand in each sink at the same time they were that close together. It seemed crazy to have two sinks in a 17' trailer.

Having even a small gray water tank is a great luxury for even a few nights of self-contained camping...or literally anywhere that does not have full hook-ups.

You do, as others have posted, have to remove at least part of the belly pan to get a tank under there. Also, the frame is shallow (only 3" or so). I had my tank made deeper and fabricated an aluminum reveal to cover the tank. Using Hepvo traps instead of P traps saves a ton of clearance as well.
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Old 05-11-2021, 05:11 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Auch13 View Post
Do you think it is a good idea to have black tank replaced? or do you think if there is nothing wrong with it to keep it?
If there is nothing wrong with it, keep it! It's a LOT of work to replace.


Quote:
Right now the drain cap on black water/grey is also leaking and needs to be replaced.
You can perform a couple tests to see what is going on there:

So if you put liquid in the black tank, and it drizzles out the dump outlet, then you have a problem with the valve that keeps the black tank contents in place.

If you pour liquid down the sink and it drizzles out the dump outlet, that is normal, because there is no grey tank. I find the cap usually does not seal well enough to hold back grey water, it tends to drip out.

If you just need a new cap on your dump outlet, that is a simple fix, they wear out and have to be replaced occasionally.
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Old 05-11-2021, 09:50 PM   #9
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A grey tank for the sinks is easy.



I plan to do a boat style shower bilge pump for our shower grey water. Then the tank can be anywhere.
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Old 05-12-2021, 09:36 AM   #10
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1964 30' Sovereign
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Back in the 60's people just let their grey water out on the ground. But that's no longer kosher.

On our 1964 trailer we had a grey tank added and black tank replaced (installed new toilet at that time too). Because more grey water is produced (sinks, shower, etc.) than black, we followed a trend for a larger tank to be placed on the underside of the trailer behind the axle(s). This is a wide but shallow tank that fits between the frame ribs and thus keeps the weight centralized. You can see it on the underside of the trailer...sloping bottom that causes water to gravity flow to the left where the exit port is mounted. The bottom of the tank is higher than the axle in front of it...so there is no possibility of hitting an object or the ground.

I'm not a fan of the blue portable exterior tank. Pain to hook up and then transport to a dumping location. But it works well for some people who don't want to have a grey water tank installed in their trailer.
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Old 05-12-2021, 10:01 AM   #11
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1966 20' Globetrotter
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Exterior Gray Water Tank

A quick reply about the portable gray water tank we use in our '66 20' Globetrotter. I found a gray-colored "Thetford SmartTote2 Portable RV Waste Tote Tank 40501, 2 Wheels - 18 Gallon Capacity" that fits perfectly in the shower pan, inside the trailer, when we are on the road. No rolling around while traveling. When hooked up outside, I needed to remove the wheels to give sufficient clearance under the trailer. A thinner model would solve that problem. I empty that tank before it is completely full. Not that heavy. The wheels are pretty useless anyway. Since it is only soapy water, I either empty it in a wooded area or into the camp ground faucet drain. We use low-suds, biodegradable, soap.
I'm too cheap to tear the trailer pan apart and put in a permanent gray water tank.
In a nod to simpler camping times, our original Airstream manual suggests digging a "gopher hole" for gray water. Try that at a campground these days!
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Old 05-12-2021, 11:12 AM   #12
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1965 17' Caravel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stefrobrts View Post
If there is nothing wrong with it, keep it! It's a LOT of work to replace.




You can perform a couple tests to see what is going on there:

So if you put liquid in the black tank, and it drizzles out the dump outlet, then you have a problem with the valve that keeps the black tank contents in place.

If you pour liquid down the sink and it drizzles out the dump outlet, that is normal, because there is no grey tank. I find the cap usually does not seal well enough to hold back grey water, it tends to drip out.

If you just need a new cap on your dump outlet, that is a simple fix, they wear out and have to be replaced occasionally.
Thanks I think we will go for the tanks so we can be self contained, and fix the leaky plug.
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Old 05-12-2021, 11:39 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trowbridge View Post
I'm not a fan of the blue portable exterior tank. Pain to hook up and then transport to a dumping location. But it works well for some people who don't want to have a grey water tank installed in their trailer.
We have been using a blue tank for 18 years now (we only travel a few times a year). It's not that bad, really. I'm finally getting to the grey tank install. I plan to try putting a marine style bladder tank under the bathroom sink. It is otherwise wasted space right now, but inaccessable to get a hard grey tank in there, so I'm hoping the bladder tank will work.
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Old 05-12-2021, 11:42 AM   #14
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Thanks I think we will go for the tanks so we can be self contained....
Yep, I get it. That's why we did it too. Just wanted to give you a 'head's up' to the magnitude of the expense for your reference & budgeting purposes. We added tanks and never looked back...

Shari
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Old 05-28-2021, 12:18 AM   #15
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I’ve welded the new tank supports into my ‘63 GT, but with the Caravel I’m thinking I might do the pump up option to a gray tank in the closet until it gets the full gut. But then, I might just put a tank underneath too...

I have a portable tank too, but as others have said, they are a pain for longer term use.
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