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Old 08-09-2005, 11:02 AM   #1
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Thumbs up Eliminate black water tank?

As I was removing the sludge that used to be plywood from above my black water tank (1966 Safari) I noticed a crack in the black water tank just below where the toilet connects. Not having $450 to spend on a reproduction tank, and not having the skills to recreate the rusted galvanized casing around it, my thought was just to bypass it altogether. Considering the small capacity of the original tank, and considering that it will fill up pretty fast with black and gray water anyway, I am considering plumbing it in such a way that all drain water goes straight into a 25 or 32 gallon Tote-N-Stor type portable tank sitting on the ground. Has anyone else used this poor man's method?
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Old 08-09-2005, 11:11 AM   #2
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No, I haven't. But let me say this: When camping without sewer hookup, the grey pretty much has to go into a blue tank anyhow, for the reason you state. Sewage goes into the black tank, but only fills after about 3 days of two people using it. I would try to keep your black tank, there are other options out there that cost less, some of the hard core restorers here know where, just search the threads.

As for the galvanized box, you can salvage what you can and then hold it to the frame with L channel steel, both along the front and the back, I think PizzaChop has pictures that show this method and it works equally well for us '60's owners.

Before you let everything go, let's try to see what we can do to keep your coach with it's original functionality.

Oh, and I'm going to be redoing my bath this fall, and would like to know about your experience in this matter!

John
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Old 08-09-2005, 02:09 PM   #3
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Don't camp next to me...

Don't camp next to me if you don't have a black water tank. Poo STINKS!

You'll probably gross & gas yourself out of the campground before your neighbors complain, OR you'll run to the campground bathroom for everything... not pleasant at 2:00 am, or you'll be hauling your stanky, nasty tank to the dump station every day - twice if you've got more than one or two people in your trailer.

You may find that you can't pass a state inspection (depends on the state) and you'll certainly find that you can't go boondocking in state or federal parks without facilities to store your waste. (Of course if you want to leave a ....tty mess behind you, you dig a hole and in the dark of night bury it, but who knows what the "scent" will attract? ).

Shop around, you may find a workable plastic tank for less - maybe a current model's tank would fit? Lots of people have done repairs with fiberglass, etc. Use your "search" tool.

Tin Lizzie
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Old 08-09-2005, 02:13 PM   #4
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Another possiblity would be to replace the toilet/black tank assembly with a chemical porta potti. Years ago we had a small homebuilt TT and that was the bathroom showers were taken out side from a bucket with a spigot and valve on it

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Old 08-09-2005, 02:55 PM   #5
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AYSTRM2 - thanks for the good advice. Maybe you can help me understand where it is along the pipes that there is a differentiation between gray and black water. I mean, it is obvious how the black water gets in to the black water tank since the toilet sits right on top of it, but where does the gray water from sinks and shower tie in? I have the original owners manual (let me know if you need any scans of it) and it mentions that I have a choice between sending gray water to the ground or to the black water tank. I am not finding the mechanism that would allow this (not that I would send gray water to the ground) but I would need to find this to divert gray to a portable blue tank.

I am an inexperience RVer (as in ZERO experience) so I apologize for agitating anyone - there was a reply that suggested I was going to dump my black water on the ground. I would never do that - I assumed that black water in the original AS tank would not smell any worse than black water in a sealed external, portable tank. My bad.
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Old 08-09-2005, 03:16 PM   #6
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Hee hee, clever aren't they, with that grey water/black water "functionality"? Here's how it works (these are your choices):

1.Remove the cap on the waste outlet, it's a thetford fitting. You would attach your sewer hose here. Keep your sewer valve door closed. You now have grey water draining out of the coach through this outlet. Attach a sewer hose or garden hose to allow grey water to drain off. Sewer water goes into black tank. Tow vehicle to the camp dump to empty black tank, see 2.

2. Does as 1. above. Attach a sewer hose to your outlet and put the other end in a sewer pipe at your local campground. Pull up on your sewer valve, below the toilet and the "Sewage" drains out into the hose and the bowels of the earth ( I think).

3. Don't do either 1 or 2. Leave cap on sewer outlet. Pull up on the sewer valve. Grey water will now flow into the black tank. You then have to close the valve and go somewhere or use something to get the waste out of the black tank. If you let this go too long, this tank will start to back up into your tub and yuck. Also, you will have a small amount of the sewer/grey combo water that will be trapped between the cap and the valve and when you remove the cap you cannot avoid dumping that tea cup amount of yuck on the ground.

NOW, let me state this. If you use a blue tank to dump your sewer tank, well, that's what it is designed for. No one should have a problem with you doing that, as you should be able to prevent almost all spillage at your camp site and there won't be any smell. I disagree that it's smelly and disgusting and bad camping. Not true. Those of you who don't like it will be at a sewer site anyway, and won't have to witness this.

short story is, you should fix your tank to give you most flexibility. Stay at campsites with sewer connections, cause the blue tank for even grey water is a pain, but don't shy away from great camps that don't have them, just don't try to save the 5 bucks from one site to another.

And thanks, but I do have the owner's manual too!

John
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Old 08-09-2005, 03:46 PM   #7
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macman,

Your black tank can possibly be repaired. It sounds like a mild case of what I encountered.

Your galvanized box can be rebuilt by a local sheetmetal shop for a reasonable fee.

I highly recommend you consider keeping a black tank in your Airstream.

My repair to the tank, and rebuilding of the box are at my website (link in my signature). Black tank repair cost - about $20. Galvanized box - $22 parts but I had access to cool tools. A local shop wanted $75 to build it.

Tom
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Old 08-09-2005, 03:59 PM   #8
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Tom's the master and has an excellent photo of using the angle iron to support the galvanized box. His 67 isn't identical to the '66's but close enough to get the idea.

John

Quote:
Originally Posted by TomW
macman,

Your black tank can possibly be repaired. It sounds like a mild case of what I encountered.

Your galvanized box can be rebuilt by a local sheetmetal shop for a reasonable fee.

I highly recommend you consider keeping a black tank in your Airstream.

My repair to the tank, and rebuilding of the box are at my website (link in my signature). Black tank repair cost - about $20. Galvanized box - $22 parts but I had access to cool tools. A local shop wanted $75 to build it.

Tom
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Old 08-09-2005, 04:20 PM   #9
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Does anyone put a composting toilet in? There are lots of them out there, good for the environment, etc... This is what we are planning to do but it seems like nobody is doing it this way...is there a reason?
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Old 08-09-2005, 09:10 PM   #10
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I read a funny story a long time ago about a composting toilet that never composted.... Wish I remember where that was. Ah, those were the days...

John
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Old 08-09-2005, 09:18 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2kids&adog
Does anyone put a composting toilet in? There are lots of them out there, good for the environment, etc... This is what we are planning to do but it seems like nobody is doing it this way...is there a reason?
There have been several (heated) discusions about this on the forums. Use the search tool... here are a few of the threads you'll find.

composting v incinerating

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Old 08-10-2005, 02:49 PM   #12
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Photo

I have added a photo of the remnants of the black water tank pan. It is in my gallery if anyone is interested. I will be adding a picture of the tank as soon as I can figure out how to cut the vent pipe! It is a tight fit back there between all the copper and hot water heater and the bathroom wall. Thanks to everyone for their responses. I am determined to repair the tank, have the pan fabricated someplace, then see if I can piece all of this back together. The good news is that the trailer frame all around this section appears to have only minor surface rust. I hope to piece back in replacement plywood without removing the shower - the wood is solid under the shower and the water heater. It is not so good under the Univolt though. Does a Univolt hold a charge after the trailer is unplugged and the battery is disconnected? Don't want to get shocked.
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Old 08-10-2005, 03:34 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macman
...Does a Univolt hold a charge after the trailer is unplugged and the battery is disconnected? ...
Here is a link to macman's old galvanized box.

Good move to save the black tank. Feel free to PM me if I can share additional insight.

The Univolt will not hold a charge after the trailer is unplugged and the battery disconnected. If you want to prove it to yourself, turn on a light (any light) after both shore power & battery are disconnected. No light = no shock (although 12 vdc is not enough to get your attention even if something was hot).

Tom
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Old 08-16-2005, 09:07 PM   #14
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Black Tank and Galvanized pan

My pan was much worse that macman's ! The local AC/Heating place built me a new one for $75.00- I sprayed it with undercoating in hopes that when it is 100 years old someone else will not have to go thru that again!
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Old 07-01-2006, 08:18 PM   #15
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We have a 67 Internationial which the PO had installed a new black tank. There is no galvanized pan. Maybe the PO did not re-install one or maybe the 67 airstream does not need one? What is the purpose of the galvanized pan?

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Old 07-01-2006, 11:51 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silver 67
We have a 67 Internationial which the PO had installed a new black tank. There is no galvanized pan. Maybe the PO did not re-install one or maybe the 67 airstream does not need one? What is the purpose of the galvanized pan?

silver67
Beth, if the tank is under the floor, it does two things:
1- It helps protect the tank from foreign intrusion (read getting smashed by roacks and stuff that might make it through your belly pan)>
2- Many coaches that have under-floor holding tanks have insulation inside the galvanized pan, with a heater duct from the furnace to keep the contents from freezing. I think this is more important, as I have never cared for frozen poo-sicles.
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Old 07-02-2006, 08:03 AM   #17
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Blue tank

The only trouble with using your blue tank as a black tank is if you don't open the small cap to let the air out it will pressurize itself very fast, if you leave the small cap open for a vent that is where you will get the smell and making the person camped next to you mad, expecially while they are outside at their picnic table.
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Old 07-02-2006, 09:47 AM   #18
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Tanks available

Macman:

We have both the 10-gallon BLACK and the 12 gal GREY (complete with itís galvanized pan) left over from the ongoing re-build of our 1976 Argosy 24.

The Argosy, including these tanks, was in perfect shape. Nonetheless, we are re-newing everything: new electric, plumbing, 14 and 36 gallon holding tanks, etc. etc.

Only the frame and iconic aluminum shell will be original in the end.

If these tanks look like they could be of use to you, send me your measurements and we can check them against the Argosy originals.

Sergei
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