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Old 05-06-2022, 07:31 PM   #1
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1965 22' Safari
Chicagoland , Illinois
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Holding Tank Placement in Vintage AS

New here. Need advice on my new project: '65 Safari


I would like to install a grey tank (somewhat as large as possible) and possibly move the fresh water tank (and increase its size) from the front wall to underneath between the axle.


I have been doing some research (including here on this forum), but don't think I have the whole picture.
Some sites say that Vintage AS didn't have holding tanks, that they were presumed to be hooked up to use the facilities.
Some sites say that this era AS had a shallower frame and therefore it is difficult to install tanks.


What say you, Oh Wise People of Airstream Experience?


The frame on my Safari does seem to be 5" deep (perhaps I am measuring wrong?)


--Are shallow tanks available for TTs such as mine? (If so, where are they?)
--Are modifications to the frame needed to install tanks? (If so, what does that entail?)
--What are the disadvantages of moving the fresh water tank from inside the trailer on the front wall to underneath between the axle? What's the likelihood of freezing/ bursting with this proposed new setup? (Don't modern TTs place their fresh water tanks in the basement?)
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Old 05-06-2022, 08:19 PM   #2
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I think your unit would have had a small grey/black combination tank. It is absolutely possible to add a small grey tank in the frame. You want it up as close to the axle as possible to reduce stress on the frame and changes in towing characteristics if you have to tow with it full. In the rebuild of my 68 I retained a 35 gallon fresh tank under the gaucho and added a second tank in the frame. How good of an idea this is time will tell. In terms of sourcing your tanks, I recommend measuring your usable spaces and shopping for tanks from there. There are lots of tank companies with a dizzying array of choices- but none will be plug and play. You will have to make them work. As to alterations those will be dependent on where you place your tank and their shapes. Good luck!
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Old 05-07-2022, 05:14 AM   #3
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Another option might be to use a combined gray/black tank instead of separate tanks, especially if you are struggling to find a place to put all three tanks.

There are very few places nowadays where it's acceptable or legal to discharge gray water to the ground, so plumbing all your drains into a combined waste tank can simplify the process.

On our coach we have a combined tank for gray & black. In some ways it works even better than separate tanks in that the contents are always liquified and we have never had a problem with black tank contents not fully dumping.

May not work for you, but it is an option.
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Old 05-07-2022, 08:31 AM   #4
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Because of your expressed concern about the size of your tanks I am going to assume you plan to be doing some camping off-grid, which might include state and national parks. Therefore you may be capacity challenged for longer stays. Some thoughts from someone who has had trailers with separate grey/black, a combined tank, and no tanks:

— separate tanks are nice but, in my opinion, not necessary. If the grey tank fills you can transfer some contents to a portable tank and dump it in the campground bathroom. Helps a lot to have a dump tank cap with a hose fitting for the transfer.

— the combined tanks are OK, but transferring via a portable tank is not as attractive. Unless, of course, you have used the campground facilities for #2.

— the trailers with no tanks had a porta-potty and external drains for grey water to be captured in portable tanks for transfer to the campground facilities.

These tricks — along with conservation and catching grey water at the sink — will help with getting by with installing and using smaller tanks.
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Old 05-07-2022, 09:09 AM   #5
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Tank Placment

I added 2 tanks in my 70 Tradewind forward of black tank. They were hung down several inches and I did a aluminum box cover under tanks. Total 35 gallons of grey water
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Old 05-07-2022, 09:46 AM   #6
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1965 22' Safari
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I was considering doing a composting toilet with urine diverting into the grey tank. That way I can make the most of my limited resources, space and volume. So I'm right there with you in only putting two tanks under there.



Madmarke007: As far as boxing in --how did this affect the belly wrap? Have you ever had ground clearance issues?



Boondocker: I have the front dinette, websites say that my fresh water tank is only 15 gallons and that a person uses 6 gallons a day (Seems high to me...) so 15 gallons doesn't get two people very far... All my seats are on one side or another, I was worried about weight distribution if I locate a tank to one side (or hitch weight if I put a larger one on the front wall).
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Old 05-07-2022, 10:19 AM   #7
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Water use is quite variable and depends a lot on your “ style”. If you see your trailer as an aluminum tent and are in a camping mentality then 1-2 gallons a day per person is a reasonable estimate. If you think of your trailer as a mobile hotel room or cabin, then the numbers get so big so fast that you cannot begin to have big enough tanks.
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Old 05-07-2022, 12:41 PM   #8
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I have had a composing toilet with urine diverted to the holding tanks for four years now. Work great and gives you much more grey tank capacity. Keep on dripping.
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Old 05-07-2022, 12:55 PM   #9
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On our 66 Safari we have a black tank under the toilet and a gray tank that hangs down a couple of inches aft of the axle and is still well above the bottom of the axle tube. We have a Thetford valve that allows us to dump the black first. Then open the valve allowing the gray to flow through the same 3 hose and rinses out the black tank stuff. 1972 (I believe) was when RVs were required to capture gray water and not dump it on the ground.
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Old 05-07-2022, 01:08 PM   #10
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A few thoughts from an owner of a '60 Overlander. Some years/models have a tub/shower trap under the floor. This will limit how high in the belly pan a gray tank can be placed without the addition of a pump for the shower water. We added a tank, but it does protrude from the belly pan. Not a terrible sight, but not exactly OEM either! Our tank is in the rear of the trailer as well as the black tank (above the floor). The first thing we do when leaving a campsite is to find the nearest dump. Occasionally we have to drive a ways, but the extra weight has not yet affected towability. Additionally you may wish to rethink locating the fresh water tank. The trailer is most likely designed to have the weight of the full water tank to give the trailer the needed tongue weight for stable towing. I know that this IS an issue in my case.
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Old 05-07-2022, 01:16 PM   #11
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gray tanks in vintage AS frames

I added a gray tank to my '64 Bambi II (3" deep frame). It was added within an existing frame cavity just behind the axle. No mods to the frame were made, but the tank was made deeper than 3" for added capacity and the bellypan formed to surround this deeper tank.



I will be adding a gray tank to my '61 Tradewind (4" deep frame). The tank is made 4" deep and was added to a cavity a bit behind the axle. I had a great deal of frame rot back there and had to replace the frame rails and cross members. I left our a cross member in order to accommodate a bigger tank. That said, all new frame rails and cross members are heavier gauge than they used in '61.



Both of my tanks were TIG welded made from aluminum sheet and have three plumbing fittings...1.5" FPT fittings...to allow connection with regular PVC to vent, inlet, and drain.
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Old 05-07-2022, 01:18 PM   #12
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We had the water system upgraded on our 1964 Sovereign. Clean water tank beneath double bed in middle of trailer above location of twin axles. Grey water tank under trailer right behind rear axle. Black tank in rear of trailer under toilet.

My only regret was not leading both the black and grey drain tubes under the floor to a single y-exit valve with two valve handles...that would have allowed us to carry just one drain tube to go into sewer drain at campgrounds or dump stations (we need to lead two hoses to a 'y joint and then another single line into sewer drain.
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Old 05-07-2022, 04:05 PM   #13
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This year would not have had a original grey tank. Cat hole or bucket was the method then.

There is enough room in the frame space for several gray tanks. They can be placed online to fill one then the next. Vintage Trailer Supply has some slim tanks. Inca supply also.
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Old 05-07-2022, 07:19 PM   #14
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I have done a rebuild of my "68 Globetrotter. Used a 30 gal fresh water under the front bed and a 17 gal grey water tank at the rear from Vintage Trailer supply. Composting toilet with urine diverter to grey water tank. Used a diaphram type trap in the shower drain which goes straight down into the tank, had to modify the standard pipe fittings. Hope to make the outdoor shower stretch the holding tank capacity. Gonna find out soon how well it all works. Happy trails.
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Old 05-07-2022, 08:21 PM   #15
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1965 22' Safari
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Scott S said "Additionally you may wish to rethink locating the fresh water tank. The trailer is most likely designed to have the weight of the full water tank to give the trailer the needed tongue weight for stable towing"




I was thinking this too. Part of the "issue" I have with the current location is it seems crazy to locate the water at the other end of the trailer from where you are going to use it. In my mind, that's farther the pump has to push water, that's less likely that all water will be gone when draining the lines for winter, that's more water lines to develop leaks...


I thought if I relocate the tank, I could use its current location against the front wall for batteries, thereby putting some weight back into that position (and hopefully avoiding any tow-ability problems).
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Old 05-11-2022, 10:07 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vernation View Post
New here. Need advice on my new project: '65 Safari


I would like to install a grey tank (somewhat as large as possible) and possibly move the fresh water tank (and increase its size) from the front wall to underneath between the axle.


I have been doing some research (including here on this forum), but don't think I have the whole picture.
Some sites say that Vintage AS didn't have holding tanks, that they were presumed to be hooked up to use the facilities.
Some sites say that this era AS had a shallower frame and therefore it is difficult to install tanks.


What say you, Oh Wise People of Airstream Experience?


The frame on my Safari does seem to be 5" deep (perhaps I am measuring wrong?)


--Are shallow tanks available for TTs such as mine? (If so, where are they?)
--Are modifications to the frame needed to install tanks? (If so, what does that entail?)
--What are the disadvantages of moving the fresh water tank from inside the trailer on the front wall to underneath between the axle? What's the likelihood of freezing/ bursting with this proposed new setup? (Don't modern TTs place their fresh water tanks in the basement?)
Vern' -

It sounds like you've gotten some incorrect info.

First, do some research on the Airstream website's Vintage Archives section for what was actually available in 1965 on your 22' - both standard equipment & options. That will help you to identify & prepare for the grey tank installation - & to decide whether you want to undertake it yourself, or to have a qualified vintage AS shop do so.

AS had both grey & black tanks as well as fresh available on all trailers during the 1950s-60s - either as standard or optional equipment, varying by model years (with the exception of Cruizettes, some 16' Bambi's, etc. that didn't have toilets needing black tanks). For the most part they were all 2 or 3 tanks made to fit flush to & between the 4" or 5" frame rails.

This was also true for the other "silver twinkie" vintage kin of the era, including Avion, Curtis, Silver Streak, etc. Our 1960 Avion T20 "Tourist" was #2 of that model off the line, & was equipped with only the air-pressure fresh water tank/pump system & black water tank/toilet options, but not the grey tank option - which we'll eventually add between the frame rails, as with your AS project. The installation process is essentially the same for vintage kin & AS, with some detail items/parts varying by model/size & make.

Then go to Vintage Trailer Supply to match the tank info from the AS Archived `65 specs with their available tanks, & if not currently listed, then check with Steve about whether they can still get them for your `65 AS 22' Safari or not, as well as what all else for parts & tools that you'll need to do the installation. You may also be able to catch Steve at a nearby vintage rally, so check with them for Midwest Rallies that he's attending (he'll probably be at the Pismo Vintage Rally next weekend). Also, the company who made the original tanks for AS & the other kin is still around the last I heard, so he or you may be able to still get one made to the original specifications.

https://www.vintagetrailersupply.com...icedesc&page=1

I don't think that the frame shouldn't need to be modified nor cut to mount the AS optional grey tank, other than adding the mounting hardware for the tank

I don't think that you're well advised to move the fresh tank from the front wall to the frame, since AS designed the trailer to be balanced with fresh, grey, black tanks of their respective sizes in those positions - plus you'll have more plumbing to redo/reroute. Also it may limit your grey tank size if moved to the frame rails.

Our Avion is also that set-up: fresh at front rail, black at rear bath (above the floor in the toilet pedestal), & grey underfloor between the rails in the axle area - & it's well balanced.

Yes, with either your new or the original factory standard/optional equipment set-ups you'll have freeze/thaw issues with the entire trailer back there in the Midwest - so winter camping isn't advised using water, and you'll need to drain tanks & lines & winterize - just as you'd do for a vacation or ski cabin/home/condo.

If you were here in SoCal then I could recco a good vintage AS resto shop, but don't know any in your area.

Have at it!
Tom
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Old 05-11-2022, 11:15 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hittenstiehl View Post
This year would not have had a original grey tank. Cat hole or bucket was the method then.

There is enough room in the frame space for several gray tanks. They can be placed online to fill one then the next. Vintage Trailer Supply has some slim tanks. Inca supply also.
Hittenstiehl & Vern' -

It's my understanding from a a fellow vintage trailerite who had a `64 Safari 22' from new that the grey tank was available as an extra cost option back then, so I'd expect that one could order it new or retrofit them.

And I recall from that time that our neighbors had the factory optional inter-frame grey tank installed at the AS dealer in San Diego for their new `63 AS 17' Caravelle before they took delivery.

So I'm assuming that it was available for the `65 AS 22' Safari too - either as a special order factory option, &/or as a later dealer added factory option.

Most trailers, RVs & slide-in truck campers of that era didn't often bother with grey tanks, because they could simply drain it in the planting areas.

Now with increased use of reclaimed water for irrigation & the severe droughts, we may see that option coming back for properly strained grey water.


Vern' -

Inca Supply was one of the original OEM tank suppliers for AS that I mentioned.

FYI - Here's a link to a pdf doc of the 1965 AS from their website's archives that appears to cover several or all models, with section 13 on the drain system with a combo waste tank & diagram, etc. -

https://www.airstream.com/wp-content...manual-152.pdf

It doesn't mention the optional separate grey water tanks, so you'll probably have to find either the options &/or sales brochures &/or manuals for them, which may have the diagram & instructions manual for rerouting thee grey water drains. However, it does mention the "gopher hole"! ;-)

If there is a long time AS dealership &/or service tech near you who was around in the 1960's, then they may know more about the optional/add-on grey tank & installation.

Cheers!
Tom
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Old 05-11-2022, 11:28 AM   #18
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Tom T

Thank you for the additional information. Its always good to have a full picture. There were always exceptions to the rules in the early Airstreams and dependant on which factory they came from.

I think it's okay to continue to say in most cases the 60's trailers did not have dedicated gray tanks.

We put two slim tanks into the grids of the frame and plumbed them together on a 65 Tradewind with lots of help from Steve at Vintage Trailer Supply.
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Old 05-12-2022, 05:06 AM   #19
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Putting grey tanks under the floor certainly has advantages, but it isn't the only way. In my '56 Safari, I added two grey tanks above the floor for a total of 26 gallons, one under a dinette seat and the second buried in a corner of the kitchen. It did require a shower sump and a macerator pump to drain the second tank, but the whole system works great.

If you are replacing the floor or don't mind spending a lot of time on your back, underfloor tanks are great. Otherwise you might want to look for other options. Welcome to the Forums - Mark
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Old 05-12-2022, 12:03 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hittenstiehl View Post
Tom T
...
I think it's okay to continue to say in most cases the 60's trailers did not have dedicated gray tanks.
...
That's true that the pricey grey tank(s) option was less common in both AS & the range of Vintage Kin like our 1960 Avion.

Even that 1965 AS manual that I linked was showing a combo black & grey water waste tank - which has the backflow cross-contamination problem. BTW - the Avion top of floor black tank was never cross-plumbed from the factory.

I think where we started to see the change toward having them more was in the later `60s & `70's when the Interstates got more completed with their Rest Stops, which allowed folks to just stop & short term camp overnight while in transit to their destination but they'd still want to use at least some of their onboard galley & bathroom facilities (can't dig "gopher holes" into asphalt easily), and as more Campgrounds & RV Parks frowned on them.


>>>>


Quote:
Originally Posted by steinVT View Post
Putting grey tanks under the floor certainly has advantages, but it isn't the only way. In my '56 Safari, I added two grey tanks above the floor for a total of 26 gallons, one under a dinette seat and the second buried in a corner of the kitchen. It did require a shower sump and a macerator pump to drain the second tank, but the whole system works great.

If you are replacing the floor or don't mind spending a lot of time on your back, underfloor tanks are great. Otherwise you might want to look for other options. Welcome to the Forums - Mark
The downside to putting them under your Dinette & other cabinetry is that you'll loose a lot of the already scarce storage spaces.

The underfloor tanks can usually be done just by accessing the frame by removing the belly pans - which are usually in need of re-riveting by now in most cases anyway, so pulling the belly pans for a good inspection is a good idea, & just do the added tanks at the same time.

I know that one AS restoration shop has also done bigger/deeper belly grey &/or black tanks by retrofitting custom formed extended deeper belly pans. So that's another option out there for larger tanks, but may necessitate non-dropped-axles - so it's more of a job for a full resto or at least more extensive work - as a "while you're in there" item.

Some in SoCal may know Uwe Salwender at Area 63 Productions who did a few of those "belly bulge" pans & tanks. He was here in Orange Ca 5 mins from us; then moved the shop up to Lytle Creek (north of San Bernardino off I-5), but that was burned out in one of our big wildfires up there a few years back; and I think that his shop is now in the Rialto or Yucca Valley areas - but call his number on the website below if anyone is interested.

http://www.area63productions.com/

The website shows:
56060 Cedarbird Road, Yucca Valley CA 92284

T - 909-355-3558
F - 909-355-3497
E - salwender@sbcglobal.net
Area 63 Productions, LLC


Uwe helped us out on our Avion while in Orange, and did the PPI for us on it back in 2012; & I'll have his shop do our grey tank install along with some other stuff when I find the correct period & type stove to back-date the galley to what the original was like (or close - the PO had done a more contemporary SS galley redo).

But for now I'm going outside to re-rivet some missing belly pan rivets before our trip to the Pismo Vintage Rally next week/weekend!

Cheers!
Tom
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