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Old 02-12-2019, 06:25 PM   #1
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1973 29' Ambassador
Wetumpka , AL
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So we just purchased a 1973 29' Ambassador, rear bathroom, twin bed.

Our RV tec just told me there isnt a grey water holding tank? Is ghis correct? If there is truly not one, how do you overcome this?
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Old 02-12-2019, 06:43 PM   #2
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Thumbs up So we just purchased a 1973 29' Ambassador, rear bathroom, twin bed.

Greetings Evdreaming!

Welcome to the Forums and the world of Vintage Airstreams!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evdreaming View Post
Our RV tec just told me there isnt a grey water holding tank? Is ghis correct? If there is truly not one, how do you overcome this?
You are correct. There is no gray water tank on a 1973 Airstream travel trailers as it is a feature that did not become standard until 1974. Even in 1974, the gray water tank was quite small by today's standards.

Vintage Airstream owners typically handle the situation in one of two ways. The simplest is to carry a "blue tote" or "blue boy" -- an auxiliary blue plastic tank designed to collect the gray water that is available at most any RV accessory store -- these can be emptied at the dump station or the smaller ones can be carefully emptied in a standard flush toilet. Those desiring a "permanent" solution add a gray water tank to the coach, but that involves a number of engineering challenges and often results in a tank that is smaller than ideal. I utilize "blue totes" with both of my vintage coaches.

Good luck with your Ambassador!

Kevin
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Old 02-12-2019, 06:48 PM   #3
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1973 29' Ambassador
Wetumpka , AL
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Quote:
Originally Posted by overlander64 View Post
Greetings Evdreaming!

Welcome to the Forums and the world of Vintage Airstreams!



You are correct. There is no gray water tank on a 1973 Airstream travel trailers as it is a feature that did not become standard until 1974. Even in 1974, the gray water tank was quite small by today's standards.

Vintage Airstream owners typically handle the situation in one of two ways. The simplest is to carry a "blue tote" or "blue boy" -- an auxiliary blue plastic tank designed to collect the gray water that is available at most any RV accessory store -- these can be emptied at the dump station or the smaller ones can be carefully emptied in a standard flush toilet. Those desiring a "permanent" solution add a gray water tank to the coach, but that involves a number of engineering challenges and often results in a tank that is smaller than ideal. I utilize "blue totes" with both of my vintage coaches.

Good luck with your Ambassador!

Kevin
Thank you Kevin. The things you learn just after you needed them.
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Old 02-12-2019, 06:54 PM   #4
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That's how I felt
I added a gray tank.
the blue boy wasn't bad, I had the big one.

but the Thetford valves leaked, my black tank was broken, and so on. Just remember Airstream's are adventures, not just for going on adventures
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Old 02-12-2019, 07:01 PM   #5
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1973 29' Ambassador
Wetumpka , AL
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Can of beans View Post
That's how I felt
I added a gray tank.
the blue boy wasn't bad, I had the big one.

but the Thetford valves leaked, my black tank was broken, and so on. Just remember Airstream's are adventures, not just for going on adventures
Beans, did you have same floorplan as mine? How, where did you add tank?
Does anyone know how, where to add what size grey tank to 29' rear bath, twin bed?
Thank you very much.
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Old 02-12-2019, 07:44 PM   #6
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Our Trailer is a 31' center bath, I bought a 37 gallon tank off of amazon, and modified my frame and lifted the trailer to make it fit.
I believe there are pictures of it on my rebuild thread. Search my created threads.

there must be easier ways than what I did, but I had it torn down to the frame at the time, and I wanted the volume. I also plan to add a diverter valve to run the bathroom sink into the black tank when desirable.
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Old 02-12-2019, 07:50 PM   #7
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1973 29' Ambassador
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Can of beans View Post
Our Trailer is a 31' center bath, I bought a 37 gallon tank off of amazon, and modified my frame and lifted the trailer to make it fit.
I believe there are pictures of it on my rebuild thread. Search my created threads.

there must be easier ways than what I did, but I had it torn down to the frame at the time, and I wanted the volume. I also plan to add a diverter valve to run the bathroom sink into the black tank when desirable.
Thank you canofbeans. I dont know what we are going to do. We were not doing full renovation. So i wonder how, or if it can be done?
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Old 02-12-2019, 08:16 PM   #8
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Hello from Colorado, welcome to the vintage Airstream hobby. You gotta post some photos of your 73 Ambassador 29', both exterior and interior. I bought a 75 Overlander 27' a year and a half ago. It is also a twin bed, rear bath.
Here are a couple of photos of it the day I towed it home.

Our 45 year old Airstreams certainly have needs. I know canofbeans has done major, major work to his Sovereign including the addition of a nice sized grey water tank. My 75 Overlander had a 10 gallon grey tank, quite small. I have added new grey and black tanks to my trailer during its renovation. You might like to read over my "project thread" and see all the areas I have addressed in renovating my Overlander. I'm driven to complete it this spring for the upcoming travel season. Can of beans has a very good project thread too.

You might want to do an analysis of your Ambassador to determine what it needs. Start at the ground level and work your way up. Chances you will find it needs a lot just like mine did, and just like can of beans did. Then decided what to do first. I might suggest that painting the cabinets or polishing the exterior isn't the most important thing. Axles, brakes, bearings, frame and subfloor need checked first.

These Forums will be very valuable to you as you work on your Ambassador.

David
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Link to my 1975 Overlander Improvement Journal:
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Old 02-12-2019, 08:38 PM   #9
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1973 29' Ambassador
Wetumpka , AL
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evdreaming View Post
Our RV tec just told me there isnt a grey water holding tank? Is ghis correct? If there is truly not one, how do you overcome this?
This is our 1973 29' Ambassador. Click image for larger version

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Old 02-13-2019, 01:33 AM   #10
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Hi E,
Welcome to the club! Nice looking Ambassador...

As "Colorado David" said, this forum is fantastic for learning all about Airstreams. My wife and I have a similar model to yours, and it is incredible how much I have picked up from the great people here.

I was puzzled by the very same question that you asked. In my case, the rear floor was soft, so everything in the bathroom was removed to get to the floor. At that point, I could clearly see how the plumbing was routed. The short version is that only the toilet drains into the "black" (and only) tank. The grey water (kitchen sink, shower and bath sink) drain to the Thetford valve assembly (the one kind of sticking out the rear of the Airstream). That grey water meets the Thetford valve assembly DOWNHILL (closer to the exit end of the valve) of the sliding valve that drains the "black" waste. In the old days, that water might not have been collected, but just would drain onto the ground. Now, people use portable tanks, as referenced earlier...

In the picture below, the toilet connects to the biggest inlet on the far left (still on the top of the tank), the other hole/connector at the far right in this picture is the vent, and the grey water comes via the black pic pipe over the top of the Thetford valve and into the waste end (after the valve that opens from the nasty black water)...

Hope that helps :-)


"California David"
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Old 02-13-2019, 03:59 AM   #11
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1973 29' Ambassador
Wetumpka , AL
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Wow. Speechless. Thank you.
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Old 02-13-2019, 09:29 AM   #12
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Many owners (such as myself) converted to a composting toilet, and then the existing black tank became a gray tank. Before ripping stuff apart, maybe consider how you're going to use you Airstream? If it's just weekending, you can probably get away with the combined tank. A lot of boaters use a 5 gal. bucket full of water for initial rinsing of dishes, then a quick fresh rinse.

We have a tendency to mostly use campground showers and toilets anyway...
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Old 02-13-2019, 04:13 PM   #13
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My 71 GT had a grey tank mounted just behind the axle below the belly pan. The plumbing was rather convoluted but functional. The tank looks to be readily available
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Old 02-13-2019, 08:33 PM   #14
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1972 31' Sovereign
Silverton , Oregon
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Your Trailer looks like it's in great shape. must have been stored inside mostly? That would prevent a lot of the common rot problems.
some things rot from no use though, so check your appliances carefully.
our furnace looked like brand new except where the water had settled in the burner tube and rotted a hole through. I'm glad I checked it before I used it. I would also recommend cutting the rear trunk lid from the body and attaching it separately, the system Airstream has to direct water from the trunk lid directly into the rear floor plywood is a design flaw they hung on to even in the newer trailers.
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Old 02-13-2019, 11:48 PM   #15
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welcome to the wonderful world of vintageAS, my first 4AS did not have gray tanks, so i also used a blueboy. never had a problem. my 80 caravelle has a gray tank, so i'm getting used-to it. enjoy your trailer. kurt
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Old 02-14-2019, 07:27 PM   #16
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Very nice looking vintage Ambassador. You certainly found a good one.

As you explore and learn all about your new Airstream, you can then assess what it needs to be comfortable and reliable. The appliances in my 75 Overlander were in rough shape. You don't want to know what I poured out of the water heater. And my plumbing was repaired here and there. My axles were shot, and I had the typical "rear end separation" from a rotted subfloor under the bath vanity. So let the project begin.

I now have the rear end separation repaired, the subfloor repaired, new waste water tanks installed, new axles ready to install, a new water heater, a new toilet, a new water pump, a new converter and battery, new plumbing, and a new fridge and microwave cabinet. I've been working on my trailer for quite some time, including today.

So just peck away at it as you can. Soon it will be exactly the way you want it to be.

David
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Link to my 1975 Overlander Improvement Journal:
https://www.airforums.com/forums/f17...ml#post2053792

Link to our 1976 Renovation Project:
https://www.airforums.com/forums/f221...ct-202081.html
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Old 02-14-2019, 07:44 PM   #17
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1973 29' Ambassador
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Wow. Thats alot! Your bath counter top and tub, did you paint? Mine is original faded stained gross.
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Old 02-15-2019, 06:54 PM   #18
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I'm crazy you see. I enjoy working on old, dirty Airstreams. My friend invited me over to look at his 76 Sovereign 31' old dirty rear end. I said I would love to. It has rear end separation like mine had. And yep, we will fix it.

Here is a photo of my bath when I bought the trailer. Some of the old bath had been painted, like the tub. I disassembled the bath to fix the floor rot and rear end separation and then decided to reuse the plastics instead of trying to build a better bath. I did have the plastic parts painted "toilet white" with an automotive paint designed for plastic bumpers and the like. Some folks have done very will with epoxy paints and rattle can paints. I'm not a painter by any means.

I figure my stark white bath will look a whole lot better with a nice shower curtain, nice towels, and maybe a vase of plastic flowers. It needs decorating, same with the bedroom, galley and sitting area. All in good time. That's the fun of the vintage Airstream hobby.

David
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Link to my 1975 Overlander Improvement Journal:
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Link to our 1976 Renovation Project:
https://www.airforums.com/forums/f221...ct-202081.html
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Old 02-20-2019, 02:24 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Evdreaming View Post
This is our 1973 29' Ambassador.
A very nice looking unit. It appears to be well cared for, and the axles were probably replaced at some point, because the ride height is good.

Your best bet, IMO, until you are good and ready for a major retrofit project, is to buy a "blue boy" for handling gray water. An 11 US gallon unit should fit nicely in the bathtub for transport. It's small enough to pick up and take to a dump station in the back of your tow vehicle. You can buy bigger, but moving it around when full will be challenging.
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Old 02-20-2019, 03:21 PM   #20
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1973 29' Ambassador
Fayetteville , Georgia
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Gray tank

My 1973 AS had a gray tank. It is mounted under the bottom not inside the pan. It was aluminum but was corroded so I removed it. Have not replaced it yet. It had a dump valve separate from the black tank dump. My AS is titled as a 73 but the build date is Aug 72.
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