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Old 09-13-2005, 02:52 PM   #1
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Join Date: Aug 2005
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Holding tanks

Just recently purchase a 1973 Safari in fair shape. This is also my first trailer I might add. Could some one run me through everything I need to know on how to use the water features. Like where are the holding tanks? do I have a gray water tank for that year if not how do I deal with that. What are the proper valve setting for city hook up verses self contained hook up. I guess what I am looking for is a crash course in h20 101 for a 73 Safari that I believe is in original condition. Any takers, I am anxious to try it out very soon. Regards, Eddo
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Old 09-13-2005, 03:21 PM   #2
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1973 23' Safari
North of Boston , Massachusetts
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no grey tank on that model, unless a PO retrofitted it.

There is a 13 gallon black tank, sitting under the toilet. the toilet is the only thing that feeds that tank.

the sink and shower drains terminate under the black tank dump valve, so there is nothing to hold that water back. it'll just drain out onto the ground.

solution: blue tote-tank. you can hook that up to the sewer outlet, either with a slinky, or w/ a 5/8ths garden hose. There should be a "cap" that covers up the sewer outlet...most often, these have a 5/8ths threaded fitting on them, to which you can connect a short length of garden hose. the other end goes to the tote tank, which also has a 5/8th fitting. You can buy an RV grey water hose for 50 bucks, or for $3.95, pick up a 6-foot standard washing machine hose at home depot. (has female fittings on both ends). When the blue tank fills up, you disconnect, and drag that over to the dump station.

inbound water: there is a 44 gallon fresh water storage tank under the floor in the galley. Water from this tank will feed the supply lines in the trailer by means of an electric pump. When the pump is activated, it should pressurize the lines, and when full pressure is reached, it should sense this, and shut off. it will turn on when the pressure drops below a set point.

If you have city water available, all you have to do is connect it to the fitting by the street-side rear corner, and turn on the water. the city pressure will pressurize the lines in the trailer. there is a check valve at either end of the system, one just inside where the city water connects, and one between the pump and the water tank, which keeps both sources from pushing water out the other end. (without these check-valves, city water would fill and overflow the storage tank...or water from the storage tank would be pumped out the back end of the trailer by the water pump.).

There are low-point drain valves located under the galley sink, and under the bathroom vanity. (one each for hot and cold lines). Under the galley, there is a 3rd valve for draining the fresh water tank. make sure these are all closed before turning on the water, or it'll just run right out onto the ground.

now. that's the way its SUPPOSED to work. How it really works...well, depends on what condition things are in, and what the PO has done to modify things. I've seen some here suggest testing water lines with compressed air, before connecting water to them. that way, if there is a leak, there won't be a mess. You can get a blow-out plug from your local RV place, which simply screws into the water connector, and connect a compressor to that. (less than 30 PSI, though!!). close all the faucets and drain valves, apply a little pressure, and go inside and listen for leaks.
Wbcci: 3752
'73 Safari 23'
'00 Dodge Ram 1500 4x4 QC
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Old 09-13-2005, 05:47 PM   #3
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Thank you Chuck for a fountain of information. Is there a way to retrofitt a gray water tank into my A/S. Also we just purchased two EU2000i Honda generators with an RV adapter to run in parallel. Will this be sufficient power for our A/S. It looks by your pictures we have the same Airstream with the exception in the center we have a couch/bed on one side a cabinets on the other, our goal is to change ours into a retro 40s Hawaiian. It did come with an external blue tank but that is only 10 gallons which translates into very quick showers. Regards, Eddo Oh, by the way how can I post pictures on here to show off my new endeavor?
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Old 09-13-2005, 05:58 PM   #4
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2002 25' Safari
Dewey , Arizona
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You might want to use the search tool and find some info. I know it has been done before. You can attach photos to your posts or add them to your photo gallery. Either way you will have to shrink them down first. To add them to a post, start with manage attachments located below the input text box.
Good luck with your "new" airstream.


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Old 09-13-2005, 07:30 PM   #5
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1977 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre
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1977 25' Tradewind
Eastern , Washington
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Originally Posted by chuck
solution: blue tote-tank. you can hook that up to the sewer outlet, either with a slinky, or w/ a 5/8ths garden hose. There should be a "cap" that covers up the sewer outlet...most often, these have a 5/8ths threaded fitting on them, to which you can connect a short length of garden hose. the other end goes to the tote tank, which also has a 5/8th fitting. When the blue tank fills up, you disconnect, and drag that over to the dump station.

One quick tip I found out the hard way. Make sure you vent the Blue tank when you are using it otherwise it will back up on you after the air pressure in the tank gets to be more than the weight of water. Made a real mess, backed up into the shower which happened to have about $5k worth of guitars in it at the time.
Ouch!! Lesson Learned!
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Old 09-13-2005, 07:47 PM   #6
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1977 31' Sovereign
1963 26' Overlander
1989 34' Excella
Johnsburg , Illinois
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The ten gallon blueboy is a popular choice because when it is full it is about 68 pounds which is about what most older people can handle easily for the dumping function. Many smaller campsites do not have complete trailer dump stations which you more easily handle the larger blueboys. if you have to load the full blueboy into the back of you pickup truck to take it to the dump station that is another reason to have a small one available.
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Old 09-13-2005, 10:06 PM   #7
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2005 25' Safari
Roseville , California
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Tank bobber gauge

The company that makes the blue toters also makes a float indicator that screws on to the hose-bib threads to give you warning when the toter is almost full (about $9 at CW, http://www.campingworld.com/browse/s...19175&src=CROS). Unfortunately it also blocks the escape of air, causing the same problem you had . It might work on the larger tanks, but my 10-gallon toter fills in such a rush I never had a chance .
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Old 07-01-2014, 03:36 PM   #8
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Phoenix , Arizona
Join Date: Mar 2011
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holding tanks 77 Land Yacht

Hello, Im sorry to post as a reply - Im still new here and completely clueless on some things but I have a question myself about this very same thing only I have a diffferent Airstream. I dont really understand how the holding tanks and the sewer work together. Could someone please explain the same things for my model?
For example the other day I was pulling the airstream home from the lake where we couldnt hook into anything and there was some stuff, not much, in the sewer tank and when pulling the airstream home the sewer leaked into the shower and there was inches of nasty sewer water in the shower!
I had just emptied it before that trip and sprayed out the toilet with a hose trying to clean it but it didnt seem to all come back out the hose either and I was wondering where the damn water was going if not back out the sewer hose?? Please help me to understand my Airstream better ; (
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Old 07-01-2014, 04:47 PM   #9
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1972 31' Sovereign
Lexington , Minnesota
Join Date: Feb 2009
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Your trailer should have both a black holding tank and a gray holding tank. The black holding tank is for the toilet. The gray holding tank collects water from the kitchen sink, bath sink and shower. There are two dump valves, one for each holding tank. Typically, the black tank is a 3" dump valve and the gray tank is a 1 1/2" dump valve. The key is the gray tank is the smaller dump valve. The black tank may also be called the sewage tank, and the gray tank called the holding tank. That depends on the model and year for the most part.

In your shower, did you have toilet backup, or just gray water? Gray water is icky enough, and can be pretty stinky, but toilet backup is much worse.

A normal procedure for dumping the tanks is to:

Connect the sewer hose to the outlet on the trailer. Put the other end in the dump station opening.
Open the black tank valve and let it drain.
Rinse the tank via the toilet if needed/desired.
Close the black tank valve.
Open the gray tank valve and let it drain.
Rinse if desired.
Close the gray tank valve.
Carefully disconnect the sewer hose, and rinse it out using the non-potable water hose at the dump station.
Let it drain down the dump station hole, and then put ti away.

I'm going to take a guess that perhaps you have emptied the black tank, but maybe not the gray tank. If you did empty the gray tank, then you filled it while camping. Depending on the size of the gray tank, and how often you shower, wash dishes, and how much water you use, it can fill up fairly quickly. Once the gray tank fills up, it will back up into the shower as the shower is the lowest drain in the trailer.

Hope this helps!

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