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Old 02-14-2020, 12:08 PM   #1
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1977 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre
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Weird waste water tanks in a Minuet 20í

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Hi yíall! I am learning as I go, currently demoíing and renovating a 1977 Argosy Minuet 6 meter (20í). I am super perplexed about how the current system is supposed to have worked, and what modifications I should make to prevent gross waste water issues.

Currently, The grey box at right is the grey tank, and the big tank centered is the black tank. The green thing is a cover I just pulled back to reveal the black tank.

Itís my understanding that the grey tank needs to be under the shower to prevent water from coming up through the drain. If I reconfigure the shower so that it sits atop a grey tank, I think it will be too short for anybody to stand in (besides me, Iím 5í2Ē).

Should I remove the belly pan and look to see whether I can relocate the grey tank underneath the floor? Or does anyone out there have a alternate solution?

Thank you so much. Iím always so amazed that this community is so giving of their experience and advice. Youíre my Airstream Angels!

Thanks!
K
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Old 02-14-2020, 12:51 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WandrWomanNM View Post
It’s my understanding that the grey tank needs to be under the shower to prevent water from coming up through the drain. If I reconfigure the shower so that it sits atop a grey tank, I think it will be too short for anybody to stand in (besides me, I’m 5’2”).
The top of the gray water tank needs to be BELOW the shower, but not necessarily UNDER the shower.* It can be offset forward, backward, or to the side, as long as the top of the tank is lower than the bottom of the shower pan. This can work to your advantage because the water can flow into the tank from high on the side instead of through the top of the tank.

One thing that may help is, instead of installing a P-trap on the shower drain, use a Hepvo valve. It's a one-way valve that lets water drain, but not flow back into the shower pan. It can be installed almost horizontally (with just enough slope for adequate gravity flow) and it will still work. My Interstate uses Hepvo valves instead of P-traps on the galley sink, bathroom sink, and the shower pan, and they work just fine. And there's an additional benefit come winterizing time— a Hepvo valve doesn't retain water, unlike a P-trap, and doesn't need to have antifreeze poured in.

*Same is true for the bathroom sink. It doesn't need to be directly over the gray tank, either. The black tank should be directly below the toilet, however, because it's difficult to get solids to flow through an offset when one flushes an RV toilet.
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Old 02-15-2020, 01:21 AM   #3
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1977 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre
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Originally Posted by Protagonist View Post
The top of the gray water tank needs to be BELOW the shower, but not necessarily UNDER the shower.* It can be offset forward, backward, or to the side, as long as the top of the tank is lower than the bottom of the shower pan. This can work to your advantage because the water can flow into the tank from high on the side instead of through the top of the tank.

One thing that may help is, instead of installing a P-trap on the shower drain, use a Hepvo valve. It's a one-way valve that lets water drain, but not flow back into the shower pan. It can be installed almost horizontally (with just enough slope for adequate gravity flow) and it will still work. My Interstate uses Hepvo valves instead of P-traps on the galley sink, bathroom sink, and the shower pan, and they work just fine. And there's an additional benefit come winterizing timeó a Hepvo valve doesn't retain water, unlike a P-trap, and doesn't need to have antifreeze poured in.

*Same is true for the bathroom sink. It doesn't need to be directly over the gray tank, either. The black tank should be directly below the toilet, however, because it's difficult to get solids to flow through an offset when one flushes an RV toilet.


This is Incredibly helpful, thank you. I think Iím going to need to find someone who can move the tanks below the floor. Iím trying to do as much as possible by myself but that seems major.

I was reading some other threads and saw the Hepvo valve cone up frequently. Sounds like a fabulous idea to me!

Thanks again
K
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Old 02-15-2020, 05:52 AM   #4
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Your Minuet should already have a (small) grey tank mounted under the floor.I would look at that area, and see how large a tank you can use. Just bear in mind, that tank's location behind the axle is one reason it's small. Try to keep any heavy stuff forward of the axle, it will end badly if you remove too much weight from the tongue by adding it to the rear.
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Old 02-15-2020, 10:52 AM   #5
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We have a Minuet of the same vintage and with the same puzzle you are dealing with. Both tanks are above the insulated floor and the BW tank gets the shower drain as well as the BW. The other higher tank for GW gets the sink (if you have one) and the galley sink. Being a boater, we are used to using a momentary sump pump (12v) to empty the shower bilge and the same approach can work with the Minuet. You can plumb the shower drain pipe to the sump pump and have it empty into the GW tank pretty easily with a little plumbing modification and the insertion of a small 12v pump. Neither GW or BW tank has much capacity in the Minuet, so if you have the bottom skin off, you could also install a larger tank(s) below the floor and tie them into the existing ones, but we have elected not to do that. I do like the suggestion of the hepvo valve and will look into that to replace the shower pan's P-trap.
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Old 02-15-2020, 07:18 PM   #6
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I have a 78 6.0 with the same tank setup as yours.
The shower was not plumbed into a tank.
The gray tank you have is for both the kitchen and bathroom sinks.
The shower drain goes into the drain pipe between the gray tank and the dump valve.
The idea was to open the gray dump valve when showering, which was acceptable at the time but is frowned upon today.
I got rid of the original gray tank and put a new 20 gallon tank under the floor. It was not easy.
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Old 02-15-2020, 11:46 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by GeocamperAS View Post
I have a 78 6.0 with the same tank setup as yours.
The shower was not plumbed into a tank.
The gray tank you have is for both the kitchen and bathroom sinks.
The shower drain goes into the drain pipe between the gray tank and the dump valve.
The idea was to open the gray dump valve when showering, which was acceptable at the time but is frowned upon today.
I got rid of the original gray tank and put a new 20 gallon tank under the floor. It was not easy.


Eek! Yes it really doesnít seem easy. Iím going to run up to VTS and talk to someone about having some new tanks made to install between the floor and frame. Iíd love any pointers or advice for methods, doís or donít if you can think of anything.

K
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Old 02-16-2020, 12:00 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by overlander63 View Post
Your Minuet should already have a (small) grey tank mounted under the floor.I would look at that area, and see how large a tank you can use. Just bear in mind, that tank's location behind the axle is one reason it's small. Try to keep any heavy stuff forward of the axle, it will end badly if you remove too much weight from the tongue by adding it to the rear.


Thanks for the advice! I guess Iíll find out when I take the belly pan down if there is a grey tank under the floor. It doesnít seem like it. I have heard that the Minuets may have been designed to drain grey shower water directly out. The current grey water tank is a taller square box near the old water heater locker, just behind the wheel well. It may only connect to the sinks. I bought the trailer winterized so itís still a mystery.

I agree with you (with my vast vast weeks of experience with Airstreams Ha!) that I should snuggle tanks close to the axle. I may also
try to drain bath sink water into the black tank to provide more liquid and help prevent clogging.

-K
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Old 02-16-2020, 12:04 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobH41 View Post
We have a Minuet of the same vintage and with the same puzzle you are dealing with. Both tanks are above the insulated floor and the BW tank gets the shower drain as well as the BW. The other higher tank for GW gets the sink (if you have one) and the galley sink. Being a boater, we are used to using a momentary sump pump (12v) to empty the shower bilge and the same approach can work with the Minuet. You can plumb the shower drain pipe to the sump pump and have it empty into the GW tank pretty easily with a little plumbing modification and the insertion of a small 12v pump. Neither GW or BW tank has much capacity in the Minuet, so if you have the bottom skin off, you could also install a larger tank(s) below the floor and tie them into the existing ones, but we have elected not to do that. I do like the suggestion of the hepvo valve and will look into that to replace the shower pan's P-trap.


Aha! So the black tank also holds shower water?! I was wondering why the black tank was so much larger than the grey. Still, that seems scary. I do think Iím going to install new tanks under the floor. I may drain the bath sink to the black tank, though, since Iíve read that frequently people have issues with the black tank getting clogged from a lack of liquid.

So so so appreciate the feedback!
K
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Old 02-16-2020, 02:06 PM   #10
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Aha! So the black tank also holds shower water?!
K

Think about it.... water does not flow uphill. Your black tank and gray tank is above the floor. The shower drain trap is below the floor.
From the factory 6.0 minuets had the kitchen and bath sinks draining to the gray tank. From the gray tank there is a 1-1/2 inch pipe going to the dump valve. The shower drain (after the trap) drained into that 1-1/2 inch pipe between the valve and the cap. When you remove the cap with the dump valve closed the shower water will drain onto the ground.
With you open the dump valve with the cap off the gray tank will empty. Because water seeks itís own level, if you open the dump valve with the cap on, water from the gray tank will back up into the shower.
The black tank has only the toilet draining into it and has a 3 inch pipe going from the tank to a dump valve.
Both the gray and black tanks have a 1-1/2 inch pipe coming out of the top of the tank and going up and out the roof. This is to vent any smells and what is called sewer gas.
If you find a tank under floor for the shower it was not added by the factory.
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Old 02-16-2020, 04:02 PM   #11
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Lots of people carry a "blue boy" tank on wheels. It used to be fine to drop gray water into the ground, but now someone else will be camping on the same spot you use today, and you will have neighbors near your site at all times. You place this tank under the open hole where gray water drains, it is caught, and periodically you drag it to the dump station and empty it.
In the last 10 years or so, these tanks have started.to come in colors other than blue... Nd with wheels, you can tow them slowly behind a tow vehicle or golf cart. Simple and lots less expensive than redoing all the waste plumbing.
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Old 02-17-2020, 10:55 AM   #12
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1977 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre
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Hello all. Yesterday was a strange day for us! We got the back belly pan section off, and found that the shower had a small p-trap, then the pipe ran forward to the galley (Iím guessing to drain the kitchen sink), before joining back with what I think is a valve to open the grey tank. I still donít understand how water is supposed to flow upwards into the tank, so my plan is to remove both tanks (done) and reinstall new tanks surrounding the axle underneath the floor.

Hereís the thing though: someone drilled a hole through the frame to run the pipe. Maybe twice. This seems really, really bad. Photo attached. Is it time to take the shell off and take it somewhere for frame repair or am I overreacting?

Thanks to everyone for being patient in helping me understand things without being patronizing. This is an awesome experience. I learn so much every day.

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