Crappy discovery…corrosion under the holding tank!

By October 26, 2014 January 23rd, 2018 Airstream, Full-timing, Plumbing, polishing/exterior, Repairs

Do you have those days where you feel like things are starting to look up? I’m talking about the kind of day where the weather is nice, and you can feel at least some sort of progress towards your goals. Maybe it’s even just a day where you can relax for a moment from the stresses of daily existence. Last Saturday felt like one of those days. Even the tin can was feeling a bit of shine…crappy discovery-5 crappy discovery-4

Then Sunday happened!

Just when I thought I was finally seeing a flicker of a tiny candle at the end of the tunnel…somebody or should I say something crapped on my candle! It really was truly a very rude and unpleasant discovery to see it so easily smothered. This is what I discovered under the tin can: (Forgive the quality of these shots. They were taken by reaching my phone under the tail end of the tin can, so the focus is not great.)crappy discovery-3 crappy discovery-2 crappy discovery

Corrosion and very slight leaks going on under the holding tank area!* Not what I wanted to see! Obviously there has been some serious leakage going on-most likely from the black tank. A totally crappy discovery indeed! The state of the undercarriage inside the belly pan has been a concern of mine from day one (not so much from inspecting my tin can as from the experiences I have read of other vintage Airstream owners). Opening her up to inspect and repair any weak areas of the frame, etc. has been on my project list. However, the plan was to do this in another year or so after I had saved up the money to pay for any necessary repairs. I guess the tin can doesn’t want to wait that long. The realization that this project needs to happen sooner rather than later knocked the wind out of me for a couple of days. I will be honest. Monday and Tuesday I really wanted to sit in a corner and suck my thumb all day. (and I have never before in my life sucked my thumb) My optimistic and joyful attitude of the previous day went right straight down the “drain”. I thought about consuming a bottle of wine, but even the cheap stuff costs money which right now by priority needs to go into the toilet.

Thanks to the help of some good friends I now have a plan in place for the repairs. The tin can will opened up from below for full inspection and repair. She will be receiving a new Natureshead composting toilet. Depending on the repairs needed the black tank may be converted to a gray tank in the process. These are the upgrades I’ve planned all along. I just wasn’t prepared to complete them right now. Honestly I am having nightmares as to what we will find when we open her up. I am fairly certain that it can’t be as awful as I imagine. Here I am envisioning a frame totally rusted out and a subfloor unknowingly about to cave in. I imagine a scenario so awful that no repair can possibly fix it. I’m sure this is over-reacting, but I definitely cannot wait until the repair is complete so I can quit entertaining these panicked thoughts in the back of my mind.

Ups and downs will happen!

I thought about waiting to share this crappy situation until I can report joyfully on the success of the repair effort. However, I write here to share my adventures living full-time in a vintage Airstream. I think I will be completely remiss if I leave out the downsides and only share the positive. This way of life does have its challenges and sacrifices. Anyone considering doing this should keep that in mind. It’s not all simple and happy times. However, it would be the same if I owned a house. Things break and repairs must be made. Sometimes the repairs are expensive and set things back for a while. That is just part of owning your own home conventional or not. On the plus side, once the repairs are made the biggest project planned for the tin can will be done. I’m trying to keep that outlook regarding this crappy situation. When I start to fail with this I think I will just go get a popsicle! (better than sucking on my thumb! Hahaha)crappy discovery-6

*For those of you not familiar with RV’s the holding tank is a sort of temporary septic tank. Yes. A leaky one is indeed a crappy situation!


  • Jasan says:

    Hi! Sorry to hear about your potty problem. 🙁
    I’m curious to know how you decided on the composting toilet? Have you any prior experience using one?
    Thank you,

    • aunt am says:

      Thanks for the sympathy. 🙂 I haven’t used one myself, but I have talked with some people who have. I have also read reviews, blogs, forum discussions and anything else I could find on the subject. Initially I found the concept intriguing, but I wasn’t sure about it. However, after living for a year in the TinCan and dealing with dumping the black tank, buying chemicals for its odors, etc., I am pretty confident the composting toilet cannot be any worse than that. Lol! Another plus is there are no water lines required and thus no fear of the toilet freezing up in winter. Also, anything that breaks on the composting toilet I should be able to repair on my own-no plumber or bellypan removal required. 🙂 It might be a little pricier up front but for the long run I think it will be good choice. Be sure to keep following along as I will definitely share my future opinion on the blog after actually having personal experience on the subject.

  • The other Lindsey says:

    ahh, this is what you meant when you said “life happened”. So sorry girl.

  • Zybane says:

    Tin is a separate element than Aluminium just as an FYI. 😉

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