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Old 04-09-2013, 05:44 PM   #1
4 Rivet Member
1963 28' Ambassador
Vintage Kin Owner
Northern VT , Vermont
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 360
original pressure system

I'd like to hear opinions on the original early '60s Airstream air pressure fresh water system. Anything I've had 'till now was beyond salvage and converted to 12v on demand. They have their drawbacks, especially noise. The '62 I'm now rebuilding has the complete air pressure system intact. The pump delivers 60 psi and the tank withstands 80psi from the shop compressor. Anyone have any input on the performance of these old systems?
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Old 04-09-2013, 06:45 PM   #2
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1974 Argosy 20
2014 20' Flying Cloud
Kooskia , Idaho
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Posts: 4,591
My '63 Bambi had one, but the compressor was dead, so I removed it. The tank was pretty small and heavy, so a larger plastic one gave me more capacity, along with lower weight. The air pressure system would work about the same as any home well system with an air over water, only as the water is drawn out of the tank, the compressor would come on to replenish it with air, keeping the water pressure up. The compressor, like a demand pump, is noisy, however you could shut it off overnight so you were not having it run then, only the residual air pressure would push the water out of the tank. The tank fill cap has to be sealed without leaks, and you need some way to relieve the air pressure prior to removing the cap, otherwise it would blow off in your hand.

I can think of no real reason to keep the compressor system, other than the ability to have water without noise overnight. Time and technology has marched on I think.
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Old 04-09-2013, 07:14 PM   #3
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I took the compressor/pressure tank out of my '59 and installed a 28 gal water tank and variable speed pump. Never going back.
If you want water overnight without the pump noise, install a small air bladder pressure tank. It will deliver about 3 quarts of water without using the pump.

I'm not even sure the pressure system would still be considered safe. They didn't have a pressure relief valve.
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Old 04-16-2013, 04:30 PM   #4
4 Rivet Member
1963 28' Ambassador
Vintage Kin Owner
Northern VT , Vermont
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 360
Thanks guys. You're right on the noise from the pump. I set it up in the shop. There is a net gain in noise! Way better than an on demand until it reaches high 20s psi. At that point its about as loud as an on demand. The net gain in noise comes from the extended time it runs to come up to pressure. With a half tank about 3 minutes to go from 20 to 35 psi. No improvement. The variable speed & bladder sounds like what I'm looking for.
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