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Old 09-30-2011, 10:45 AM   #1
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A-Frame Gray Tank

I'm wanting some input from the tent campers and A-Framers out here in FR land. This goes along the lines of a mod (although I haven't done it yet) so if a moderator sees the need, move as appropriate.

First - I don't want to debate the usefulness, need or practicality of having a gray tank on my A126. I know some folks think it's useless and use various container solutions and carry to the dump station. Some would argue that having small gray tanks just leads to having to off load to a container if you get full anyway, so what's the point. For me however I would like to have a tank.

So on to my question: Has anyone with an A-Frame or tent camper that didn't come with a gray water holding tank done a PVC pipe tank addition?

I've already looked under my A126 and there's no good location for mounting a standard gray tank.

I'm considering some 8" PVC combined wiht a 4" PVC tube (and various fittings) to fashion a set of parallel tubes that will sit on the rear bumper of the A126 and be fastened in place for (semi) permanent mounting/travel on the trailer. I don't have a sketch yet (and haven't measured to verify the 8" PVC will fit, may have to use 4" and 6") but here's a verbal of what I have in my head.

8" PVC mount in forward position with 4" PVC in the rear position. These would be connected in some way (haven't figured out the best way yet) and appropriately sealed. Length of each pipe would be 6.5 feet (maybe less depending on what fittings need to be used). The gray water from the sink could drain via PVC fittings attached to the gray water port on the side of the camper, rearward then down to the left side of the 8" pipe (into the appropriate 1.5" fitting on that pipe). A drain would be included on the 4" pipe with ball valve to draining the system and a hose fitting for a drain hose allowing easy draining of the tank at the dump station on the way out of the CG.

I know there are some key things to consider like connections between pipes, obviously the sizes, mounting to ensure water flows from the entry and fills the cavity of both pipes and still allows complete draining of the system, venting of the tank, etc..

Has anyone done anything like this with their pop up? Got any tips or advice (pictures?).

The weight of the tank would be between 30 and 50 lbs depending on fittings and wall thickness of pipe chosen. I would never haul the tank full or partially filled but would always empty prior to travel.

The 'rough idea' I have would yield about 20 gallons of tank storage which is my goal (21 gallons is the capacity of 3 aquatainers, and would give me 3 days of gray water storage if I'm careful with water usage)
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Old 09-30-2011, 11:06 AM   #2
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I like the idea.

I would want to keep the storage area at a high point on my trailer because I prefer camping in out of the way places and ground clearance is important. Very small 12v bilge pumps are available to pump the water.

I can envision a small catch basin directly below the sink. Place a bilge pump and a float switch in the basin and pump the water to the remote storage tank or pipe.

I am not sure about the A126 storage space. In the A122 there is space under the bed for a small rv type storage tank.

Keep us informed on your progress.

Dave
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Old 09-30-2011, 11:49 AM   #3
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Good ideas -

So far my progress is rough drawings. I've got to get pricing on PVC piping. I know Sch40 6" pipe is quite pricey. I'm thinking of using the thinner 'sewer' grade pipe for this project if I can figure out a way to fit everything.

I'm hoping a pipe connection with a little slope connected to the drain on the side of the camper going to the rear of the camper with a few elbows and then a final drop to the PVC tanks will avoid the need to do any interior modifications. Right now I'm just trying to figure out how to affix plumbing fittings to end caps of the 6" pipe, or a way to tap pipe to pipe to allow water to enter one pipe but still flow to the others. Just need to go roam around the Lowes plumbing section for a while and get my eyes on all the fittings and such so I can figure that out, and a drain valve.

My goal will be like yours Dave, nothing below the camper. The whole system will have to reside on the rear 'bumper' to meet my needs as well. I don't want to do a bunch of work then have it all taken out by a speed bump or steep grade at a CG site.

Regarding Interior on the A126: Mine's similar to yours with less overall storage. I have about half of the underside of the rear sofa that is open for storage (outside access door, small inside access door). The Coolcat takes up the rest. The front of the camper has a very small storage area under the cabinet next to the toilet (passenger side front). So the A126 is lacking a bit on storage overall. Since we have the gas furnace there's not storage left under the drivers side of the dinette seating.
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Old 09-30-2011, 07:32 PM   #4
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I thinkyou may need to engineer a venting solution because I don't think anything will drain into a closed/sealed container without a way for the displaced are to come out.
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Old 09-30-2011, 09:28 PM   #5
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Why not just purchase a blue tote. You could just leave the tote on the ground beside the TT. You would need to reduce the size of the opening from 3 inch to 1 1/2 inch. the tote then could be towed to the dump station before leaving. You could then mount the tote on the back of the A126 for transportation home. You would not have to worry about the pipes being damaged when traveling.
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Old 09-30-2011, 11:31 PM   #6
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Then container will be vented. That is a core part of any tank. The blue totes are expensive, and have to go to the DS just like my proposed solution. I hope to beat the cost of a portable tank and the plan is to be on top of the rear bumper so no damage worries. My hope is a tank that is sufficient to hold 3 days worth without off loading, just dump on the way out. If I can't hit that mark then I'll continue with buckets or the oz aquatainer solution.

The other bad part of the blue tanks is that if I spend $135 for a 25 gal portable, I have to transport it to cg, manage it to the DS and store it form the trip home.... I like a bumper mounted solution if possible.

Camping this weekend, so no start on this project yet but soon... Might have to wait for winter since I'm loving the camper too much to sit still for long.
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Old 10-01-2011, 04:46 PM   #7
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for what it worth i have seen someone do this on an Aframe. He took 6 inch PVC and routed it back and forth in a shortened snake pattern,and pushed it up and connected it to the rear of his frame. Not sure of how much it holds .. but if you can figure out the displacement of 6 inch PVC ..and find out how long it has to be to hold 20 or so gallons ... you should be half way there.
I use a 6 gallon aqua-taner for grey water holding... 3 of those and I know i need to fill my trailer up again with water .. which is off-loaded from the back of my truck by centrifical force.
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Old 10-01-2011, 05:39 PM   #8
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Perhaps this item will get you by. It's an 8 gallon water container on wheels for only $26.

Amazon.com: Reliance Products Hydroller 8 Gallon Wheeled Water Container: Sports & Outdoors
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Old 10-04-2011, 05:22 PM   #9
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Cheap Gray Tank from Harbor Freight

At just over 2 gallons this tank works for me.



details at: Waste Oil Storage Container

I like that it is:
  • black in color...can't see the slime
  • cheap...on sale at $ 8.99 recently
  • low c.g. ...won't tip or blow over
  • has hole with removable plug ta accept garden hose size drainline extension
  • carry handle
  • stores easily
  • Larger opening for dumping and flushing
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Old 10-04-2011, 05:52 PM   #10
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When it comes to a tank on the ground, the 7 gallon aquatainer from Walmart comes in at about $10. However my hope is to find a mounted solution that will eliminate the need to haul smaller tanks repeatedly to the bathroom or DS. I'd prefer a short stop at the dump station on my way out.
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