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Old 03-06-2019, 05:12 PM   #141
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1978 31' Sovereign
New Smyrna Beach , Florida
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Ready to Lift Faith from the Frame.

Because it was so windy today, I decided to make certain there was nothing still holding Faith to the frame. Since I had the gantries in place, and the chain hoists in position, I thought I would “dry run” a lift, lifting the shell enough to make sure everything was loose. I spent the whole day hunting down rivets.

When I tried to lift the front, I knew something was wrong when I was lifting the front end off of the jack.

I found the first of the hidden rivets in small hold down plates (cover in Vulkem) to the right and left of the main hold down plate in the front.
The pic below shows the battery box opening from the outside.
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The two picks below show the location of the two smaller hold down plates one right behind the battery box opening.
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After I removed the rivets from the hold-downs, the shell was still stuck. It took me an hour to find one rivet holding the doorframe to the c channel. It was immediately to the left of the door right at the floor. That one remaining rivet caused all that trouble. I feel like I’m repeating this statement a lot.

For those who may be scratching their head trying to understand the difference between C channel and U channel, the next pick shows the difference well.

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I thought I was home free, but the back was stuck, too. I had snapped all the elevator bolts off, but the remnants were every bit as stubborn and it took a chisel to shake everyone one of them loose.

In previous posts, I said that the project was going smoothly and that nothing had arisen that had caused a significant challenge. I stand corrected. During this phase, I would say that getting the gantries into an upright position was challenging. And finding all the things holding the body to the frame was both challenging and at times frustrating. But in fairness, it just took time and patience. The former I have plenty of. The latter, not so much.

Faith is ready to lift. I know this because I have already done a test lift and raised it several inches to make sure the body was free from the frame. It was.

Another thing to remember, is that the wiring in Faith for the trailer brakes is connected inside near the fuse panel and comes outside the body then runs down through the frame to get to the axles. Don’t forget to disconnect the wires inside and tag them, then pull them down through the floor so they won’t interfere with the lift.

The following pics show how the chain hoists are connected to the beams used to lift with. It is straightforward. The pictures below tell the story. Can’t claim credit for coming up with this on my own; I followed IANSK’s guidance on how to do this.

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Tomorrow, I add some cross bracing and with the wind down, I hope to lift the shell off.
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Old 03-06-2019, 05:20 PM   #142
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Photos were helpful. Most hoist lifts I have seen posted used a single span from front to rear, but I can see how this set up would work equally well as long as each segment is spanning several ribs.
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Old 03-06-2019, 08:42 PM   #143
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Excellent work Bill. And an excellent write up on the trials and tribulations of lifting the body off the frame. Looks like tomorrow you will earn a coveted Airstream merit badge; lifting the body off the frame. Not many vintage Airstreamers have done this.

Good luck tomorrow.

David
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Old 03-07-2019, 07:04 PM   #144
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Lift off Day
At 10:30 a.m. EST, March 7. 2019, we had lift off.
I am here to provide my personal testimony, that the gantry method of lifting a shell from the frame using the method described in the following pics and description that goes with it, is the simplest, most straightforward way to accomplish the job with no adverse effects.
I have spent a great deal of time studying the forums and the various ways in which to accomplish the goal of separating the shell from the frame. I credit IANSK with cutting through a lot of misinformation, over engineering and wives tales to offer a simple way to do the job. You will see from the pics below that I used minimum bracing, minimum beams to lift with. I did overbuild the gantries, but in the end, because they were so strong, I was able to do the lift without assistance.
The first pic is the official lift-off photo op.
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You can see that when the body separates from the frame, it yaws substantially to the curb side, and that is even with ballast.
The next pic shows 40 pounds of weight added to the driver side to offset the weight of the awning and the door on the curbside. Even then, 40 lbs. was not enough. I’m thinking that 80 lbs. would probably do the job.
You can see from the next two pics that bracing was minimal.
Forward
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Aft
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The degree of yaw, even with the counterbalance weights was significant. Note the blocks and stringer that the body will be set down on. I am going to add a third stringer, because I don’t think two is enough support.
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As I have said, I was able to do the lift without assistance. First, I took care in mounting the chain hoists to the gantry to leave as little slack in the connecting chain as possible. That gave me plenty of room to raise the body sufficiently to clear the wheel wells and the doorframe. Since the curbside was significantly lower than the street side, you need to have maximum lift from the gantries and hoists to clear all the obstructions. With my setup, I had more than enough lift, and could have raised the body further if needed.
While the other day I was complaining about how heavy the gantries were, today, when lifting, they didn’t budge or sway making the lift a non-event with one person. I have heard the warnings of doing a lift in heavy wind; I concur in that warning. But, today the wind was 10 mph, and Faith didn’t move much at all. I never felt uncomfortable with the body in the air, and the wind was a minimal factor, if any.
Once I separated the frame from the body, I began the work of stripping the frame.
The first task is removing all the C channels.
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The C channel is held down by two types of fastener: elevator bolts, and #8 X1/2” #2 Phillips screws.
Phillips screws
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Here is a pic of the elevator bolts
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The best way to break these elevator bolts loose is to first, use an Ĺ deep socket to attempt to loosen the bolts a little.
Then take a stout pair of vice grips and clamp down on the exposed nut. See the next pic.
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With a firm grip on the nut, I mean as tight as you can get it, start to rock back on forth on the bolt, little by little and eventually the bolt will break in two below the nut. Then you take a center punch and drive the remaining portion of the elevator bolt out.
Continued in the next post - loaded the max number of pics - to be continued.
Bill
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Old 03-07-2019, 07:07 PM   #145
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To be continued

Continued from the previous post

Here is another view of the screws holding the C channel
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After all the C channels have been removed, remove the black plastic wheel wells. They are held to an aluminum channel with #8 screws. In addition to the screws, the wheel well covers are held to the channel with sealant which may hide some of the screws.
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Remove the wheel well channel. This is also held by #8 screws and sealant. Some of the sealant is so thick it may be hiding some of the screws. If you donít get the screws out, the channel is not coming off. While I was able to get the channel off by chipping away at some of the plywood, because of the design of these channels (similar to C channel) you probably will not be able to reinstall with the wheels on.
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Tomorrow we start removing the decking.
Bill
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Old 03-07-2019, 07:12 PM   #146
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I don't know why the pix get out of sequence

Some of the pics referred to in the latest 2 posts, ended up at the bottom of the post as thumbnails. In reading the text, if you see a pic out of sequence, look to the bottom of the post for the pic. Sorry. Maybe someone can explain to me what I'm doing wrong.
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Old 03-07-2019, 08:05 PM   #147
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A milestone day for you and Faith the Airstream. Your description of all the little obstacles to a clean lift off are very good. Your gantrys look robust. Now you gotta get Faith down in the ground nest and comfortable for the wait for the new frame.

Give serious consideration to the plywood subfloor corner pieces as patterns for the new decking. The corner radius can be difficult to duplicate to the body. The body may be too flimsy to make a good template for the corners. If you don't have too much rot there, save those corner pieces for patterns. Also study the notch in the plywood for the door threshold. That throws some folks also.

The plastic wheel wells look good. I think my trailer leaked stormwater at that intersection of wheel well to subfloor. I had rot in the subfloor fore and aft of the wheel wells, especially street side. I'll ensure it is sealed up good before I mount the new axles on my trailer. Your subfloor plywood looks pretty good around the wheel wells. Add some photos of any subfloor rot you have discovered at this point.

Your shell off merit badge is in the mail.

David
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Old 03-07-2019, 09:09 PM   #148
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Patterns

Thanks David your encouragement. The front plywood is in good shape to make patterns. The back plywood is pretty rotted. Iíll post pics tomorrow. IANSK has the same rear bath setup and his decking may be in better shape than mine. I may ask him to make a paper pattern for me.

Bill
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Old 03-08-2019, 06:42 AM   #149
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Congrats Bill. Feels good doesn’t it?
My rear most subfloor section, while possibly in better condition than yours, is still going to take some speculation. We can attempt a pattern for you but I think Airstreams are a bit like fingerprints.

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Old 03-08-2019, 07:44 AM   #150
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Thanks to David

Thank you to David for the hours of help, advice and encouragement he provides to many people hooked on old Airstreams. Kudos to David.

Bill
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Old 03-08-2019, 07:59 PM   #151
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Ahh shucks!

I'm learning right along with you. Maybe I too will earn a shell off merit badge some day. I think I have learned enough from these Air Forums to complete the job. Iansk knows more than I do for sure. I learn from him too.

When Faith is out of the rehab center so to speak, you will have to sign up for a vintage Airstream rally. They are usually a collection of like minded folks who have walked the same journey you are. The "seminars", the dinners, the open houses, a flea market, and local attractions are a lot of fun. Setting a date and place on your calendar provides a good excuse to see new country. You can discuss how others renovated or restored their trailers. I even met a couple who built a 60's Caravel from scratch. There is not a Airstream part in the thing. That takes some doing. I bet he is good with an English wheel.

Here is a photo of my first vintage Airstream rally. What fun for me to see my old 66 Trade Wind there. The new owners have made it significantly better.

David
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Old 03-09-2019, 12:28 PM   #152
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Stripping the Frame

Yesterday was devoted to removing the decking from the frame, removing insulation, and examining the frame.
Before I started, I labeled all the decking.
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Here is what the deck bolts look like. They are threaded like a bolt, but have a Phillips #3 head.
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With a stout drill, and a #3 Phillips bit, I was able to get about half of the deck bolts loose.
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For those stubborn bolts, At ianskís suggestion I used to a 1 ľ hole saw, to cut the wood around the bolt. I worked like a champ. Getting the hole started was a little tricky, but once the bit got beneath the surface, the bolt itself acted as a guide for the saw.
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Then I ran into a snag. I ran into a problem with the toilet flange. Iansk said that the flange was threaded and he had to make his own tool to unscrew it. This is my version Ė and it worked well.
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The next pic is of the frame with the tanks exposed. The interior parts of the frame were in much better shape than I expected, but awful around the outside. I have no idea how Iím going to rearrange the tanks.
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The Black tank is 20 gals and the Gray is 16 gallons. While we might be able to live with the size of the black tank, the grey is excessively small for the way we camp and I am not a fan of dragging the little blue tank around. Donít have a solution yet. I agree with Iansk that, if I can, Iíd like to move the grey tank into the empty bays behind the axles, but because Iím staying with the rear bath, Iím almost forced to have the black tank in the back unless I can figure out how to pipe from the toilet to a tank near the axles. Plumbing is not my forte. And trying to design a new system where there is enough fall and venting is a stretch.
I know that the tanks are 5Ē deep due to the fact that the main frame is 5 inches. Could the tanks be made two inches deeper, say 7Ē, and just build a bigger box to hold them? We never travel with fluid in our black and gray tanks. And if we do, it is minimal, no more than five gallons. Anyway, I have to figure it out soon, since I plan to take the frame to the welder next week and if I need to change the structure of the frame to adjust for larger tanks, they will need to know how to make the changes.
Tomorrow, I tackle removing the tanks.
Bill
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Old 03-09-2019, 12:51 PM   #153
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A cheat, for future reference. Use the hole saw and put a hole in a scrap piece of ply. Place this hole over the bolt and you now have a guide to run the saw thru without it trying to run away from you. If you make the scrap piece a good size, you can stand on it.
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Old 03-09-2019, 01:42 PM   #154
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A jig for the hole saw.

Hihoagrv

Great suggestion. I can see that would have made the sequence go more smoothly. Thanks for this!

Bill
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Old 03-09-2019, 06:24 PM   #155
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Answer to LV's question

L.V. asked me how many hours it took for me to get to the point that the body was off the frame. I bought Faith in December just before Christmas, but didnít start work until the first of the year. So I guess I would say that it took two and half months. Except for a ten day camping trip, Iíve worked 4 hours a day on average.

Hope that helps.
Bill
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Old 03-09-2019, 08:33 PM   #156
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Hi Bill: Maybe your welder can repair this frame and not have to start over again. I've seen worse frames in these forums.

Holding tanks are a key design criteria. And they must be compatable with the trailer's layout. Will the toilet stay in the same spot? That will define the black tank. It is good to hear you will dump the tanks to shed the water weight before towing, even if you have to stop at a dump station. That means you can locate tanks toward the rear of the trailer.

You want more grey water capacity, and maybe 20 gallons is enough black water capacity. Here is an idea: Replace with the same capacity black tank, replace the grey tank in the same location, and add a second grey tank in the next frame bay forward. Daisy chain the two gray tanks together and drain them with the same design drain manifold out the street side frame rail.

Okay, here is a photo of the two new tanks I installed in my Overlander. I purchased both tanks from Inca Plastics in California. I did not like the U shaped black tank with the drain valve at the bottom of the U. My gray tank was only 10 gallons. I built supports for the new 30 gallon black tank and bolted them to the frame rails, and I "hung" the 27 gallon grey tank on angle irons bolted to the frame rails. I ran a grey water drain line from the tank to the back of the trailer. I drained the bath sink into the new black tank for capacity and to help keep it wet. I installed an improved drain manifold with the dump valves operated from the bumper storage compartment. I did not want to penetrate my new subfloor back there with holes for valves and vents.

So maybe you can figure out a three tank arrangement that will work. By the way, our trailers have "skid angle irons" at the rear that are about 3" high. This gives almost 8" of depth to the tank compartment. So why not add "skid angle irons" clear up past the next frame bay to give more room for tanks.

Here are a couple three four photos of my new tanks and with them mounted in position.

Maybe all this gibberish will give you some good ideas.

David
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Old 03-10-2019, 08:22 PM   #157
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Great progress your making there Bill. Just a quick update on the Southco window latches. They work with a little bit of modding. The shaft is too long for the window frame but trimming them down is quick work with a cut off wheel and the lock lever that comes with them, the one that contacts the window itself, is too thick to use, but I guess you could grind them down and make them fit. I just choose to use the old style lock lever which fits the new shaft without issue. The oem interior handle installs easily on the new shaft as well as the pin size is the same on both new and oem.


I did get the chance to remove my banana, side panels and front and rear belly pans. The frame was not as bad as it could have been but not as good as I would have liked it to be and I will need at least 4 new outriggers. Still thinking I will make my repairs with the shell on though.


Picks of the new latches with OEM interior handle and latch lever installed below.
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Old 03-13-2019, 05:40 PM   #158
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Progress Report on Faith

Hey Everyone

Over the weekend, I started stripping the frame down. The first pic is of the frame with all the tanks in and the belly pans still attached.
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All of the tanks (water, black and gray) are free floating and are held in place with metal covers. When you remove the covers, the tanks come down with the covers. The tank covers come off before the belly pans. With an impact wrench, the tank covers were removed easily. It was all underneath work, but didnít take long. I must confess I did not drill out all the rivets holding the belly pans in place. Working on top, I took a screwdriver and worked on the rivets until the pan popped free. The only trouble I ran into was that, at the factory, the belly pans were installed before the axles. I assumed (correctly) that I had to cut away that part of the pan underneath the axle plate. Once that was done, the belly pan came out without difficulty. I probably took too much time trying to preserve the old pans. They are solid, but the sides exposed to the elements were heavily corroded. In the end, Iíll probably replace them.
The next pic shows the frame sans tanks and pans.
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Once everything was removed from the frame, and I got my first unobstructed view of the frame, I was surprised that some parts of the frame were in pretty good shape. Whether it is enough to be able to be able to salvage the frame, I donít know. I doubt it. Thatís a call for, Josh, the fabricator to make. Pic below is of the naked frame.
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I have been ruminating about what to do with the holding tanks. A 16 gallon gray tank just doesnít cut it. We would fill that up in a day. And that would mean hauling that little blue tank around and using it frequently. Not going to do it, if I can help it.
I still donít have the tank situation worked out yet, but Iíve decided that work on the frame can begin without the tank situation being settled. But I did notice something when taking the rear tank compartment apart that might provide a solution. The next pic shows foam that was placed under both the gray and black holding tanks. The foam is 3 1/2ďthick under the gray tank, and 2 Ĺďthick under the black tank.
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I suspect that part of the reason for the honeycomb shape is to allow heated/ducted air from the furnace to circulate around the tanks. But if one is not so concerned about having heated tanks, the space taken up by the foam could be used to increase the depth of one or both of the tanks. That would mean, however, having tanks custom-made, which can be expensive. I am also considering the potential of adding a third tank in the small bay behind the rear most bays.
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There are complicating issues in using a third tank, like proper venting and cutting into the cross member to pipe between the two gray tanks.
The existing tanks are both warped and misshapen.
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You can see that the threaded inlet to the black tank is not square to the flange. If this tank were reused, since the threaded part of flange is caved in, once decking is installed, I may have a problem screwing in the toilet flange into the opening. And the tanks that are available off the shelf have tradeoffs that make them less desirable than the OEM design.
I am still searching for a solution. But it is looking more and more like having custom tanks made is the way to go.
The next pic is of the holding tank cover. Three sides have a flange that can be bolted to the frame. You can see from the pic that the pan is heavily corroded and that there is no flange on the one side that is heavily corroded. Iím thinking that there may not be a flange on this side that it was meant to be open for all the tank plumbing. The problem is that there is so much corrosion, I canít be sure of it.
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If anyone has some input, I would appreciate it.
The last pic is the frame loaded on the truck. It is going to Tavares, Florida tomorrow to act as a template for a new frame.
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Iím praying that the roached out frame and weather checked tires will make it without incident.
Bill
Keeping Faith
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Old 03-14-2019, 09:22 AM   #159
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1972 31' Sovereign
Lexington , Minnesota
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 3,765
Vintage Trailer has grey tanks that might fit your frame. He used measurements from the tanks my hubby, Chris, made for our trailer.
The foam under the black tank, on our trailer, was to give the tank the slant it needed. In part, anyway.
Chris created 2 grey tanks that fit over the axles, and ganged them together to give us about 32 gallons of grey water storage.

Kay
Minno is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-14-2019, 07:21 PM   #160
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1978 31' Sovereign
New Smyrna Beach , Florida
Join Date: Dec 2018
Posts: 376
Thanks Kay

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minno View Post
Vintage Trailer has grey tanks that might fit your frame. He used measurements from the tanks my hubby, Chris, made for our trailer.
The foam under the black tank, on our trailer, was to give the tank the slant it needed. In part, anyway.
Chris created 2 grey tanks that fit over the axles, and ganged them together to give us about 32 gallons of grey water storage.

Kay
Do you have any pics with the new tank arrangement install?
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