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Old 05-12-2020, 04:24 PM   #1
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1975 31' Sovereign
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Rear to center bath

I'm looking for help/advice from someone who has moved their rear both to the center-side.

The best forum I saw was from people almost 10 years ago. Is this something people have decided is too involved to do. I understand the issues of vents, tanks, etc.

My AS is a 75 Sovereign. I can't let go of the idea of a bedroom in the back with privacy and the dinette in front that can convert to another reasonable sleeping area, and possibly a bench system along the center side opposite of the bath that can serve as a small bunk for child.

After talking with Colin Hyde I am leaning toward a fresh water tank above the floor in front, and converting the old freshwater (43 gallon) into a gray tank.

For the bath I'm leaning toward a compost toilet with a small black tank for liquid (so I don't have to empty a quart of pee every couple of days)
This black tank may sit above the floor as well and have an outside empty valve.

I'd love to hear from some of you experienced airstreamers, even if you haven't tried this sort of change.

Mike
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Old 05-12-2020, 05:07 PM   #2
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Iím doing it. Taking the bathtub from the rear and moving it to the middle of the trailer; diverting toilet (I think Sunmar GTG), fresh above floor tank up front and some grey tanks below floor mid trailer. Bedroom at the rear.
Definitely lots of work but Iím not making a bed from a sofa every day 😃

I think your trailer is wide than mine so it should give you more wiggle room
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Old 05-12-2020, 07:37 PM   #3
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I have a 76 Overlander 27' and I'm helping a friend renovate his 76 Sovereign 31'. Both have rear baths which were used extensively until the early eighties. I believe Airstream did it this way so they could make a BIG bathroom which might impress buyers, and also might reduce tongue weight so you can tow the thing with a Ford Falcon. Many of us remember the fuel crisis of the mid seventies and the significant downsizing of vehicles.

I mid bath makes much more sense, although likely smaller. The wife's 86 Limited 34' has a mid bath with a big wardrobe on the other side of the aisle.
Airstream layouts often have a shower room on one side of the aisle and a toilet, vanity on the other side. This layout makes sense too.

You can plan it, build it, and make it like you want. You won't have a plastic bathtub maybe. I built a shower stall in my 66 Trade Wind and eliminated the broken plastic bathtub.

Go for it.

David
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Old 05-12-2020, 11:04 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by truckasaurus View Post
Iím doing it. Taking the bathtub from the rear and moving it to the middle of the trailer; diverting toilet (I think Sunmar GTG), fresh above floor tank up front and some grey tanks below floor mid trailer. Bedroom at the rear.
Definitely lots of work but Iím not making a bed from a sofa every day 😃

I think your trailer is wide than mine so it should give you more wiggle room
Thatís encouraging to hear as Iím committed to that plan too. Thanks for sharing
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Old 05-13-2020, 04:50 AM   #5
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I'll be watching here for sure!

I've got a 78 Sov, that I'm looking at converting to mid bath as well.

Unfortunately, when trying to research the topic I've found you get one of two answers:

1. It's too much work. Buy a centre bath.
2. Thread goes cold, probably related to 1.

Neither of these are very helpful!

We would like ours to be a rear queen, mid bunk bed and bathroom, and front convertible dinette. I've done some preliminary drawings, and the challenges I've identified are the width of the trailer for the bunk beds and bathroom (88-90"? doesn't leave a lot of room for a hallway between), as well as the placement of tanks and plumbing. The wheel wells are not helping either.

I'm sure there's a way to make it all happen, it's just a matter of the work you are willing to put in, and compromise you are willing to accept.

Looking forward to seeing what you come up with, and how you overcome the challenges that lie ahead! Please keep us posted.
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Old 05-13-2020, 10:39 AM   #6
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I did the conversion on my '72 Ambassador. It's worked out very well for us. It's a non-trivial task, but do-able with patience. We're basically weekend warriors, so having the wet head isn't that much of a problem.

Make sure that all parties wholeheartedly agree to the composting head. I think it's great, but some might balk at the ick factor. Oddly enough, there is rarely any odor from the poo, but dumping the pee is no fun! Also, the Nature's Head that I used is very expensive for such a low-tech thing. A handy individual could fab one up for a fraction of the cost. Maybe check out the C-Head model...

I used 3/4" clear vinyl tubing for my drain lines- it was easier to run them than the big 1 1/2" PVC. I used the sink traps that have a built-in vent, and wish that I hadn't. If the gray tank gets too full, schmoo will flow out of the vent where you can't see it.

I built the bed so the the frame functions as spar to help support the rear end of the trailer. Mattress hinges up with gas-assist shocks, and is also accessible from the rear hatch.
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Old 05-19-2020, 12:09 AM   #7
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We are in the middle of converting to a center bath. We went with a flush toilet and tanks built into the frame over the axles. Also, just a shower and no tub.


We are just doing layout on the subfloor now. The issues we see is the A/C needs about 2 ft of space for the fan shroud on the cieling. This only leaves us about 35" (number is close but just off the top of my head) of space to fit the bathroom in. Then subtract the wheel well from that area and the thickness of the bathroom wall and you only get about 18" to put your toilet. Not a ton of space for anyone 200+lbs. So to get shoulder waist clearance you need to drop the counter/vanity that sits on top of the wheel well to roughly the height of the toilet seat and keep the toilet a few inches closer to the exterior wall. Unless you keep your tank above the floor and mount a toilet you step up to.



None of that has been too bad, its just playing with the dimensions to make it feel comfortable. The real task I see is making a custom shower pan that has a bench to clear the wheel well.


These were some rough sketches with dimensions. It's changed quite a bit with the actual layout. You can see how the bath works over the frame and tanks.



Good Luck.
Shane
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Old 05-19-2020, 06:21 AM   #8
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Hey Shane, just an idea... You could have a of the bathroom wall not go all the way to the ceiling to accommodate the AC shroud, and push the wall out a little more.

Not sure if I explained that clearly
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Old 05-19-2020, 01:17 PM   #9
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Thanks Mike. I brought offsetting the wall up to my other half, she said no. Haha. The other option was to move the AC forward and swap it with the next fantastic fan opening. I liked the idea of keeping it directly over my axles though.

I suppose maybe the shroud is smaller if you have a ducted system, but I have no clue of that is true. Or maybe the sell a more narrow shroud.
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Old 05-21-2020, 10:58 AM   #10
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Hi Shane,
I sent a PM to you this morning. I live about a whopping 10 miles from you (I'm in Santa Rosa), so maybe we can trade sourcing tips and other fun info :-)

I have been studying your and Doug's -- aka Suzy Homemaker's fantastic drawings , as I hope to embark on a similar adventure with our 1970 Ambassador. My plan for the interior has morphed along the way, but I am swinging back to the solution that you and Doug, among others, have found.

One comment: would it be feasible to have the bath door hinge on the other side of the doorway? If so, you would create a bit of a private hallway between the bath and the rear bedroom when both doors are open at the time. Not a big issue if it just you and your mate, but it may be handy if (like in our case) a kid or someone else is along.

I don't mean to hijack the OP's thread. This is really cool (and encouraging , and hopefully all will benefit from the discussion.


Thanks,
David
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Old 05-21-2020, 07:16 PM   #11
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Hi California David: Fancy meeting you here. Last I knew you were on your back taking down a disgusting belly pan.

Your idea is the same as ours. The 76 Sovereign rear bath layout does not have a bathroom door. The two wardrobe closets are included in the "bath room". I suppose so a person can "get ready" all in one area.

Well, we just used the wardrobe doors as the bathroom door. It saved us installing a pocket door which takes about 3" out of the wardrobe closet width. Can't say we have tried it in real life, but it certainly provides the needed privacy.

Colorado David
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Link to my 1975 Overlander Improvement Journal:
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Old 05-21-2020, 08:38 PM   #12
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Hi Colorado David,
Sorry to take this thread further off topic, but yeah, I am in the throes of nastiness, with another round coming this weekend. I'll butt out now, and head back to my usual spot.

This thread is fantastic, and I am looking forward to see how these (and ours) turn out...


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Old 05-21-2020, 08:45 PM   #13
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Hi Colorado David,
Sorry to take this thread further off topic, but yeah, I am in the throes of nastiness, with another round coming this weekend. I'll butt out now, and head back to my usual spot.

This thread is fantastic, and I am looking forward to see how these (and ours) turn out...


California David
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Old 05-22-2020, 08:07 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2002sheds View Post
One comment: would it be feasible to have the bath door hinge on the other side of the doorway? If so, you would create a bit of a private hallway between the bath and the rear bedroom when both doors are open at the time. Not a big issue if it just you and your mate, but it may be handy if (like in our case) a kid or someone else is along.
I swung the door that way for ease of entrance from the main living area. I also thought of some way to seal off the stateroom, but in the end, I found that that bathroom wall wasn't perfectly aligned with the opposite galley wall. I would have had to make some weird wedge sections, and it would have shrunk the doorway too much, and I decided I didn't want it that bad.

Figuring out just exactly what is square in an Airstream is quite a challenge. The floor is wavy, the sides are curved, forget using a level! Looking back, I wish that I'd been a bit more judicious with the drywall square...
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Old 05-22-2020, 09:05 AM   #15
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Hi Doug,
Great advice! I was out in our coach yesterday, outlying the new bath area on the subfloor with chalk. It quickly became apparent that I need a way to find a straight line between floor and ceiling. It wonít be plumb until I get the coach much more level than it is right now. A drywall square with a temporary extension clamped on it may be perfect...


Thanks,
David
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Old 05-22-2020, 10:42 AM   #16
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"Outlining"... I gotta read my posts more closely before hitting Submit Reply.
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Old 05-23-2020, 07:40 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by 2002sheds View Post
Hi Doug,
Great advice! I was out in our coach yesterday, outlying the new bath area on the subfloor with chalk. It quickly became apparent that I need a way to find a straight line between floor and ceiling. It wonít be plumb until I get the coach much more level than it is right now. A drywall square with a temporary extension clamped on it may be perfect...


Thanks,
David
In thinking about it more since yesterday, I would get an L-shaped alum extrusion, and install it vertically at the corner of the bath and bedroom. Using that drywall square, various measurements, and swinging a dead chicken, declare it square to the floor for evermore and base all further measurements off that!

I sorta thought that I did that, but it turned out that it didn't quite happen that way for me.
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Old 05-23-2020, 12:31 PM   #18
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Hi Doug, All,
I am hoping that this discussion is helping the Original Poster. It for sure is clearing things up on my end...

I definitely like the idea of the aluminum extrusion as a reference point, and probably will do some version of that for wall framing. Shane mentioned (as did you) the AC shroud as a limiting factor, in terms of how far out the bathroom wall could come from the exterior wall -- at least without messing with the shroud or working around it. I'm assuming that you, Shane or both of you investigated the idea of creating or buying (if available) a smaller shroud.

Or is that not necessary because the bathroom can be just big enough as you both have designed?


Thanks,
David
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Old 05-23-2020, 10:00 PM   #19
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Hi All,
I am inspired by the work that Doug has already done and Shane is doing! Based on the sketch that Shane provided (and going with the idea that the frame on our Ambassador is similar in the axles area), I think I can install a black tank between the frame cross members that run back and forth between the rear-most wheels (90 degrees clockwise compared to Shane's drawing).

The tank I am considering is shown below. I could install 2 90's in order to route the drain pipe out past the tire.

My main concern is that the tank is 8 inches tall at its tallest, but this area of the frame already has built up flanges. Hopefully, I would be able to provide some protection for it. It would still be above the axles, in any case.

Maybe it could work? I would still keep the current black water tank at the rear and convert it to grey water.

Thoughts?


Thanks,
David
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Old 05-24-2020, 07:43 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by 2002sheds View Post
Shane mentioned (as did you) the AC shroud as a limiting factor, in terms of how far out the bathroom wall could come from the exterior wall -- at least without messing with the shroud or working around it. I'm assuming that you, Shane or both of you investigated the idea of creating or buying (if available) a smaller shroud.
My 1/4" thick wall is 3" away from the edge of the AC shroud. That gives me a bathroom that an average ( 190 lbs, 5'10") guy can wave his arms around while hand-showering. No jumping-jacks or ballroom dancing, however.

That shroud is an aerodynamic nightmare internally, I don't think that Dometic would put themselves out to actually design a nice one, much less one that took up less space. Even with its side flaps closed, air leaks out and chills the side walls. Say, that would be a good 3D print project!
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